Borg (Star Trek)

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The Borg
Borg insignia.png
A Borg insignia, designed by Rick Sternbach
(first appeared in the episode Q Who)[n 1]
Founded Before the 15th century
Base of operations Delta Quadrant

Borg is a collective proper noun for a fictional alien race that appears as recurring antagonists in various incarnations of the American television and film Star Trek franchise. The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the Collective, or the hive. A pseudo-race, dwelling in the Star Trek universe, the Borg force other species into their collective and connect them to "the hive mind"; the act is called assimilation and entails violence, abductions, and injections of microscopic machines called nanoprobes. The Borg's ultimate goal is "achieving perfection".

Aside from being the main threat in Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg play major roles in The Next Generation and Voyager television series, primarily as an invasion threat to the United Federation of Planets, and serve as the way home to the Alpha Quadrant for isolated Federation starship Voyager. The Borg have become a symbol in popular culture for any juggernaut against which "resistance is futile".

The Borg manifest as cybernetically enhanced humanoid drones of multiple species, organized as an interconnected collective, the decisions of which are made by a hive mind, linked by subspace radio. The Borg inhabit a vast region of space in the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy, possessing thousands of vessels. They operate toward the fulfilment of one purpose: to "add the biological and technological distinctiveness of other species to [their] own... [in pursuit of] perfection". The concept of perfection is the unifying idea at the core of the Borg. The pursuit of an unemotional, mechanical perfection is the Borg's only motivation. This is achieved through forced assimilation, a process which takes individuals and technology, enhancing and controlling them. Originally presented as an autonomous collective, the ideas of a Borg Queen and central control were introduced in First Contact", as well as a preface in Star Trek TNG, " The Best of Both Worlds. "

In their introduction (TNG '​s "Q Who"), little information is given about the Borg, their origins or intentions. In nearly all their finds, they exhibit no desire for negotiation or reason, only assimilation. Exhibiting a rapid adaptability to any situation or threat, the Borg become one of the greatest threats to Starfleet and the Federation. Major characters that have escaped the Collective after having been assimilated include Jean-Luc Picard, Data, and Seven of Nine, as well as several lesser roles such as " Hue/ third of five " and the children in the spinoff "Voyager."

TV Guide named them #4 in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time.[1]

Concept[edit]

A Borg prop on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum.

The Borg were designed to evoke Transhumanism. With their frightening appearance, immense power, and, most importantly, their sinister motive, the Borg became the signature villains for the The Next Generation and Voyager eras of Star Trek. In Voyager episode "Q2", even Q tells his son to never "provoke the Borg."

In the text commentary to the Collector's Edition of Star Trek: First Contact, Michael Okuda revealed that Star Trek: The Next Generation writers began to develop the idea of the Borg as early as the first season episode, "Conspiracy", which introduced a coercive, symbiotic life form that took over key Federation personnel. It was thwarted by the Enterprise crew and presumably never heard of again (the 'alien conspiracy' plotline itself was scrapped when it became clear that the concept was too grim for Star Trek's target audience). Plans to feature the Borg as an increasingly menacing threat were subsequently scrapped in favor of a more subtle introduction, beginning with the mystery of missing colonies on both sides of the Neutral Zone in "The Neutral Zone" and culminating in the encounter between Borg and the Enterprise crew in "Q Who?".

"Resistance is futile"[edit]

Individual Borg rarely speak. Instead they send a collective audio message to their targets, stating that "resistance is futile", generally followed by a declaration that the target in question will be assimilated and its "biological and technological distinctiveness" will be added to their own. The exact phrasing varies and evolves over the various series episodes and film. One phrase, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, is:

"We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile."

The complete phrase used in Star Trek: First Contact, as performed by Jeff Coopwood[2] is:

"We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."[3]

The phrase "Resistance is futile" became prevalent in popular culture from its use in the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation.[4][5][6][7]

The Borg uttered the phrase in several Star Trek episodes and the film Star Trek: First Contact (which used the phrase as the tagline for the 1996 film). Patrick Stewart's delivery of the line, as Locutus, in "The Best of Both Worlds" was ranked No. 93 in TV Land's list of "The 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases".[8] It was used as the title for an episode of the TV series Dexter. The phrase appears in several preceding TV series, including Dr Who episode The Deadly Assassin (1976), where it is used by the Master through the voice of his mouthpiece, Chancellor Goth.

Origin[edit]

The origin of the Borg is never made clear, though they are portrayed as having existed for hundreds of thousands of years (as attested by Guinan and the Borg Queen). In Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg Queen merely states that the Borg were once much like humanity, "flawed and weak", but gradually developed into a partially synthetic species in an ongoing attempt to evolve and perfect themselves.

In TNG's "Q Who?", Guinan mentions that the Borg are "made up of organic and artificial life [...] which has been developing for [...] thousands of centuries." In the later episode of Star Trek: Voyager, "Dragon's Teeth", Gedrin, of the race the Vaadwaur, says that before he and his people were put into suspended animation 892 years earlier, the Borg had assimilated only a few colonies inside the Delta Quadrant and were considered essentially a minor nuisance. Now awake in the 24th century, he is amazed to see that the Borg control a vast area of the Delta Quadrant. Seven of Nine comments that the Borg's collective memories of that time period are fragmentary, though it is never established why that is.

The Star Trek Encyclopedia speculates that there could be a connection between the Borg and V'ger, the vessel encountered in Star Trek: The Motion Picture; this is advanced in William Shatner's novel The Return. The connection was also suggested in a letter in Starlog No. 160 (November 1990). The letter writer, Christopher Haviland, also speculated that the original Borg drones were members of a race called "The Preservers", which Spock had suggested in the original series episode "The Paradise Syndrome" might be responsible for why so many humanoids populate the galaxy. It was confirmed in the The Next Generation episode "The Chase" that an ancient species seeded hundreds, if not thousands of planets with their DNA, creating the Humans, Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians and many more. Coincidentally, in the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (written by Gene Roddenberry), the Vejur entity notes that the Ilia probe is resisting the programming given to it because of residual memories and feelings for Captain Decker, from its precise replication of the Deltan lieutenant. When Vejur becomes aware of this, it decides that "the resistance was futile, of course".

The extra section of the game Star Trek: Legacy contains the "Origin of the Borg", which tells the story of V'ger being sucked into a black hole. V'ger was found by a race of living machines which gave it a form suitable to fulfilling its simplistic programming. Unable to determine who its creator could be, the probe declared all carbon-based life an infestation of the creator's universe, leading to assimilation. From this, the Borg were created, as extensions of V'ger's purpose. Drones were made from those assimilated and merged into a collective consciousness. The Borg Queen was created out of the necessity for a single unifying voice. However, with thoughts and desires of her own, she was no longer bound to serve V'ger. This explanation, however, is not canon.

In the graphic novel Star Trek: The Manga, the Borg resulted from an experiment in medical nanotechnology gone wrong. An alien species under threat of extinction by an incurable disease created a repository satellite containing test subjects infused with body parts, organs, and DNA of multiple species along with cybernetic enhancements put in place by advanced medical technology. The satellite was maintained by nanomachines, which also maintained the medical equipment on board. The medical facility is parked in orbit by a black hole, and along with the anomalous states of time around the black hole, allows long-term research to continue at an accelerated time scale rather than in real time speed. The medical facility deteriorates and so too does the programming of the nanomachines. The nanomachines began infusing themselves into the patients, interpreting them as part of the satellite in need of repair. Among the patients is the daughter of the head medical researcher of the satellite. The satellite eventually falls apart in an encounter with an away team from the Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk. In the final moments of the satellite's destruction and the escape of the crew members of the Enterprise with the patients, the subjects display qualities inherently resembling the Borg; injection of nanomachines in a fashion like assimilation, rapid adaptation to weaponry, and a hive mind consciousness, as all the subjects begin following the whim of the daughter. As succumbing to the disease was inevitable, and the corrupt nanomachine programming infused itself into the bodies, the final image of the page of the manga Borg origin is left with the daughter turned Borg Queen, stating, "Resistance is futile." This origin story shares many similarities with that of the Replicators from Stargate SG-1.

In the novel Lost Souls (the third book in the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy) the Borg are revealed to be the survivors of the Caeliar city Mantilis. Thrown across the galaxy in the Delta Quadrant and back in time to about 4500 BC by the destruction of Erigol at the climax of Gods of Night, the first book in the trilogy, a group of human survivors from the starship Columbia NX-02 and Caeliar scientists try to survive in a harsh arctic climate. Most of the human survivors die of exposure, while several Caeliar are absorbed into their race's gestalt to give life to the others in their group mind.

The Caeliar offer the remaining humans a merging of human and Caeliar, to allow both groups to survive. The human survivors are resistant and as time goes on, the Caeliar called Sedin becomes the sole survivor of her group, her mental processes and her form both degrading as time goes on. When the humans return to Sedin for help, she forces them to merge with her, unwilling to allow herself to die when a union can save her life. The forced merging of the humans and the mostly-decayed Caeliar results in the creation of the first Borg, the name being created due to the fragmented thought of the first drone as he was assimilated (His last thought was that he would not become some cyborg, with his individuality ceasing before be could finish thinking the final word). The gestalt group mind is perverted to become the collective, driven by Sedin's desperate hunger and need to add the strength, technology and life-force of others to her own. Ironically, while the Caeliar were–albeit accidentally–involved in the creation of the Borg, they also provide the means to end it; in the 24th century, the Caeliar absorb the entire Borg collective back into themselves, ending the cyborgs' centuries-long reign of terror.

Characteristics[edit]

Unicomplex[edit]

The Borg unicomplex, destroyed in the year 2378.

The Unicomplex is a location in the fictional Star Trek universe that is used as a Borg central base. The Unicomplex is located in an unknown area of the Delta Quadrant. It is a center of all processing activity for the Borg collective, and is the home of a Borg Queen. The Unicomplex resembles a patchwork-like collection of thousands of cubes, connected by assorted conduits and transportation hubs. Borg cubes frequently cross into and out of the Unicomplex on their way to other parts of the galaxy, using transwarp conduits. The Unicomplex primarily appears in the episodes leading towards the conclusion of Star Trek: Voyager. The Unicomplex was destroyed in 2378 after the Borg Queen assimilated a neurolytic pathogen from the future Admiral Kathryn Janeway, who had traveled back in time, as seen in the Star Trek: Voyager series finale, "Endgame".

General design[edit]

Though Borg rarely look alike, they share several common characteristics. Borg commonly have one eye (most often the left eye) replaced with a sophisticated ocular implant which allows them to see beyond the human visual spectrum. This implant usually projects a red laser beam, particularly in later appearances. They also usually have one arm replaced with a prosthetic one, bearing one of a variety of multi-purpose tools in place of a humanoid hand, and flat white skin, giving them an almost zombie-like appearance. This skin was originally dry and human-looking, but it later had a more "slick" look to it, with veins showing.

Due to their cybernetic enhancements, all Borg are far stronger than humans to varying degrees (depending on the species the drone came from). However, they never run to their destination, and hence most species can outpace them. Borg drones are resistant to phaser fire, being completely immune to the stun setting. In addition, all Borg drones possess personal shielding which collectively adapts to phaser fire. In various episodes, phasers tend to become ineffective after a dozen shots (on a rotating frequency) at most, depending on the settings (usually maximum - Start Trek First Contact) and time between shots. Phaser frequencies can be altered to penetrate the shield, but the Borg adapt more quickly with each change in modulation.

It is possible however, though these particular tactics have not yet been utilized in cannon (to my knowledge), that it is "safe to assume" that a volley-type attack would have a more direct effect on a group of drones, rather than individuals firing randomly. Also, Borg shielding doesn't protect against physical attack. In this sense, one or two quick volleys on a rotating modulation setting, coupled with a hand-to-hand back up attack (like a Klingon Bat'leth or similar weapon), could have saved many Starfleet officers:(Star Trek-First Contact)


Due to this, crews have been known to employ a variety of other countermeasures such as holodeck-generated bullets (Star Trek - First Contact. Holodeck items are solid as long as the holodeck safety settings are disabled) and melee weapons, as demonstrated again in Star Trek: First Contact. The Borg hive mind can lead to certain downsides: Borg drones have a weakness in that they will usually ignore anything which does not present itself as a direct threat (unless specifically directed to attack), allowing armed but passive Starfleet crew to walk among them relatively unscathed until threatening behavior was observed.

The most important cybernetic component of any Borg is their "cortical node", which controls every other implanted "fixed location" cybernetic device within a Borg's body, and is most often implanted in the forehead above the usually-retained organic right eye. If the cortical node fails, the afflicted individual Borg eventually dies, as it cannot be replicated or repaired. However, successful replacement of the node can be carried out on a Borg (or a starfleet) vessel, if the failure is detected promptly before the afflicted Borg's impending death (Star Trek: Voyager.)

Assimilation[edit]

Assimilation is the process by which the Borg integrate beings, cultures and technology into their collective. "You will be assimilated" is one of the few on-screen phrases employed by the Borg when communicating with other species. The Borg are portrayed as having found and assimilated thousands of species and billions to trillions of individual life-forms throughout the galaxy. The Borg designate each species with a number assigned to them upon first contact.

When first introduced, the Borg are said to be more interested in assimilating technology than people, roaming the universe as single-minded marauders that have assimilated starships, planets, and entire societies to collect new technology. They are discriminating in this area, finding certain races, for example the Kazon, to be technologically inferior and not worthy of assimilation. A Borg infant found aboard the first cube introduced (TNG: "Q Who?") shows that the Borg will even assimilate the children of a conquered race. However, the Borg then place the assimilated children into maturation chambers in order to quickly, and fully grow them into mature drones that can be of use.

Patrick Stewart as Locutus, the assimilated Jean-Luc Picard

In their second appearance, "The Best of Both Worlds", they capture and assimilate Captain Jean-Luc Picard into the collective by surgically altering him, creating Locutus of Borg, meaning "he who has spoken" or "he who speaks", in Latin, fitting as he speaks to Federation humans for them. After this, life-form assimilation becomes much more prominent in their overall behavior, as they learn about the nuances in tactics, as well as what they consider diplomacy with the human race.

The method of assimilating individual life-forms into the collective has been represented differently over time. The only constabt is that the infant, and fetal humanoids have been grown in an accelerated state and surgically receive implants connected directly into the brain (cannot be removed without death), as well as ocular devices, tool-enhanced limbs, armor, and other prosthetics. In Star Trek: First Contact, the method of adult assimilation is depicted with the more efficient injection of nanoprobes into the individual's bloodstream through a pair of tubules that spring forth from the drone's hand. Assimilation by tubules is depicted on-screen as being a fast-acting process, with the victim's skin pigmentation turning gray with visible dark tracks forming within moments of contact. The individual is then taken away for complete assimilation by drones. The Borg are neither male nor female [9] and individual's reproductive systems are removed during the process of assimilation. The individual has all traces of individuality removed and implants are attached to the new drone so it can become an integrated part of the collective. This method of assimilation is also shown to be much more surgical in nature.[10] In Star Trek: First Contact a captured crew member is shown to have a forearm and an eye physically removed and replaced with cybernetic implants.

Because assimilation depends on nanoprobes, species with an extremely advanced immune system are able to resist assimilation. Thus far, Species 8472 are the only race shown to be capable of completely rejecting assimilation attempts, however other species, such as the Hirogen have also proved more than a match, both physically and technologically against the Borg. [11] Phlox was able to partially resist the assimilation process in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Regeneration".

Nanoprobes are microscopic machines that inhabit a Borg's body, bloodstream, and many cybernetic implants. The probes perform the function of maintaining the Borg cybernetic systems, as well as repairing damage to the organic parts of a Borg. They generate new technology inside a Borg when needed as well as protecting them from many forms of disease and virus. Borg nanoprobes, each about the size of a human red blood cell, travel through the victim's bloodstream and latch on to individual cells. The nanoprobes rewrite the cellular DNA, altering the victim's biochemistry, and eventually form larger, more complicated structures and networks within the body such as electrical pathways, processing and data storage nodes, and ultimately prosthetic devices that spring forth from the skin. In "Mortal Coil", Seven of Nine states that the Borg assimilated the nanoprobe technology from "Species 149".

Though used by the Borg to exert control over another being, reprogrammed nanoprobes were used by the crew of the starship Voyager in many instances as medical aids. In one instance, the probes were used to revive crewman Neelix 18 hours, 49 minutes and 13 seconds after death by repairing his body, and are used to treat various visitors' ailments.

The capability of nanoprobes to absorb improved technologies they find into the Borg collective is shown in the Voyager episode "Drone", where Seven of Nine's nanoprobes are fused with the Doctor's mobile emitter which utilises technology from the 29th century of the history line of the Federation, creating an individual 29th century drone existing outside the collective, with capabilities far surpassing that of late 24th century drones. The attempt by the Borg to assimilate this drone is unsuccessful, so its enhanced capabilities are not disseminated throughout the collective.

The Borg will not try to immediately assimilate any being that it comes to contact with; in fact, Borg drones tend to completely ignore beings that are identified as too weak to be a threat and too inferior to be worth assimilating. Captain Picard and his team walk safely past a group of Borg drones in a scene from the film First Contact because they are unarmed, while the drones fulfill a programmed mission. In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Mortal Coil", Seven of Nine told Neelix that the Kazon were "unworthy" of assimilation and would only detract from the Borg's quest for perceived perfection.

Maturation Chamber[edit]

The Borg use Maturation Chambers as the means of assimilating children that have been captured.

The child is kept in the Maturation Chamber for a period of 17 cycles.[12] There is conflicting information about how long 17 cycles is. Based on information from Star Trek: Voyager (Mortal Coil) and Star Trek: Voyager (Drone) the time frame calculates out to about 6 months, however in Star Trek: Voyager (Collective) Seven of Nine mentions that she was in her Maturation Chamber for 5 years. It depends what age the child was assimilated, Seven of Nine was assimilated at the age of 6, therefore has a longer time in her Maturation Chamber.

During this time spent in the Maturation Chamber nanoprobes are introduced into the child's body along with cybernetic implants which either surgically implanted or constructed by the nanoprobes. The child's physical age is also accelerated. When the child emerges from the Maturation Chamber they have physically grown into an adult drone, being no different from a drone that was already an adult when assimilated.

The appearance of Maturation Chambers has changed over time, originally seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation (Q Who) and later in Star Trek: Voyager (Drone) and Star Trek: Voyager (Collective).

Borg Collective[edit]

Also referred to as the "hive mind" or "collective consciousness", the Borg Collective is a civilization with a group mind. Each Borg individual, or drone, is linked to the collective by a sophisticated subspace network that ensures each member is given constant supervision and guidance. The collective is broadcast over a subspace domain similar to that used by the transporter. Being part of the collective offers significant biomedical advantages to the individual drones. The mental energy of the group consciousness can help an injured or damaged drone heal or regenerate damaged body parts or technology. The collective consciousness not only gives them the ability to "share the same thoughts", but also to adapt with great speed to defensive tactics used against them.[13]

Borg Queen[edit]

Before the movie Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg exhibit no hierarchical command structure, instead using a structure similar in principle to the internet with no control center and distributed processing. First Contact introduced the Borg Queen, who is not named as such in the film but is referred to by that name during the credits. The Queen is played by Alice Krige in this film and in the finale of Star Trek: Voyager, "Endgame". The character also appeared in Voyager's two-part episodes "Dark Frontier" and "Unimatrix Zero", but was portrayed by Susanna Thompson. It is never confirmed whether or not all of these appearances represent exactly the same Queen.

The Borg Queen is the focal point within the Borg collective consciousness and a unique drone within the collective, who originates from Species 125, that brings "order to chaos", referring to herself as "we" and "I" interchangeably. In First Contact the Queen's dialogue suggests she is an expression of the Borg Collective's overall intelligence; not a controller but the avatar of the entire Collective as an individual. This sentiment is contradicted by Star Trek: Voyager, where she is seen explicitly directing, commanding, and in one instance even overriding the Collective. She also identified herself as having originally been a member of Species 125. The introduction of the Queen radically changed the canon understanding of the Borg function; some fans consider the Borg queen "nothing more than an illogical plot device" designed to make for "good theater."[14]

Alice Krige as the Borg Queen in First Contact

In First Contact, the Borg Queen is seen as apparently present during Picard's former assimilation at the start as flashbacks in Picard's mind, and was believed destroyed along with that Borg cube years earlier. Here, she instead directs her attentions to Data. After he is captured by her drones, she tries to tempt him to join her by playing on his desire to be more human. She claims that she desires a semi-independent non-Borg being as an intellectual companion. This Queen is partially destroyed when her organic components are liquefied as a result of Data rupturing one of the Enterprise's warp core plasma coolant conduits. Picard finishes her off by breaking her spinal column with his own hands. The Queen is also destroyed in the Voyager episode "Endgame".

In the Star Trek: The Experience attraction The Borg Invasion 4-D, the Borg Queen re-appears after Voyager returns to the Alpha Quadrant, but as Admiral Janeway attempts to kill her, she activates a transporter, allowing herself to survive.

In the post-Star Trek Nemesis novels, the Borg Queen is not a single, irreplaceable entity, but the product of a program called "the Royal Protocol" that shares its name with a Starfleet document outlining requirements when dealing with foreign royalty. This program is used to create a Borg Queen from any female Borg, commanding the technology within her to alter and adapt to the Protocol's specifications. In the relaunch novels, one of the leaders of Starfleet Intelligence gets her hands on the Royal Protocol and, with the use of an Emergency Medical Hologram, turns herself into a new kind of Borg Queen who cares about and loves her drones.

Alternatively, in the game Star Trek: Legacy, bonus content unlockable throughout the course of the game offers further information on the role of the queen. It is suggested that the females of a particular species have a natural ability to filter and control the immense 'traffic' of thought present in the collective consciousness of the Borg. These females, in a sense, serve as regulators or signal boosters even assisting in maintaining the complete consciousness over the thousands of lightyears of Borg space. This also presents the possibility of multiple queens, which would be a suitable explanation for why, on more than one occasion, a Starfleet officer has 'killed the queen'. In the illustration accompanying the explanation, all the females distinctly resemble the queen portrayed on screen, suggesting that this species is Species 125, mentioned by the Borg Queen as her original species in "Dark Frontier".

In the novel Before Dishonor by Peter David, Admiral Janeway is assimilated while exploring a supposedly "dead" Borg supercube and is later transformed into the Borg Queen. She is later stopped by Seven of Nine who introduced a virus into the Borg ship. This leads up to the events of the Destiny Trilogy.

In the Mirror Universe novella The Worst of Both Worlds by Greg Cox, the Borg are led by a King.

Character history[edit]

The Next Generation[edit]

The Borg first appear in the Star Trek: The Next Generation second-season episode "Q Who?", when the omnipotent life-form Q transports the Enterprise-D across the galaxy to challenge Jean-Luc Picard's assertion that his crew is ready to face the unexplored galaxy's unknown dangers and mysteries. The Enterprise crew is quickly overwhelmed by the relentless Borg, and Picard eventually asks for and receives Q's help in returning the ship to its previous coordinates in the Alpha Quadrant. At the episode's conclusion, Picard suggests to Guinan that Q did "the right thing for the wrong reason" by showing the dangers they will eventually face. It is suggested that the Borg may have been responsible for the destruction of Federation and Romulan colonies in the final episode of season one, "The Neutral Zone".[15]

The Borg next appear in The Next Generation '​s third-season finale and fourth-season premiere, "The Best of Both Worlds". In the third-season cliffhanger, Picard is abducted and subsequently assimilated by the Borg and transformed into Locutus, the Latin term for "he who has spoken" or "he who speaks". "Locutus" is the Borg method of describing the former Picard as the representative of the Borg in all future contacts related to humanity. Picard's knowledge of Starfleet is gained by the collective, and the single cube easily wipes out all resistance in its path, notably the entire Starfleet armada at Wolf 359, which consisted of 40 starships, some of which were sent from the Klingon Empire. The Enterprise crew manages to capture Locutus and gain information through him which allows them to destroy the cube. Picard is later "deassimilated", a process quite different from what happened to Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager (Seven of Nine had to be totally "Re-schooled" on humanity, Picard merely needed to be reminded of humanity).

In the fifth-season episode "I, Borg", the Enterprise crew rescues a solitary Borg who is given the name "Hugh" by Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge. The crew faces the moral decision of whether or not to use Hugh (who begins to develop a sense of independence as a result of a severed link to the collective consciousness of the Borg) as an apocalyptic means of delivering a devastating computer virus that would theoretically destroy the Borg, or to humanely allow him to return to the Borg with his individuality intact.[16] They decide to return him without the virus. This is followed up in the sixth-season cliffhanger "Descent", which depicts a group of rogue Borg who had "assimilated" individuality through Hugh. These rogue Borg fell under the control of the psychopathic android Lore, the "older brother" of Data.

In cult leader-like fashion, Lore had manipulated them into following him by appealing to their restored emotions and exploiting their new-found senses of individuality and fear, hoping to turn them on the Federation. Lore also corrupts Data through the use of the emotion chip he had stolen from Noonien Soong (Data and Lore's creator). In the end, Data's ethical subroutines are restored (having been suppressed by Lore through use of the emotion chip) and he manages to deactivate Lore after a battle in which a renegade Borg faction led by Hugh attacks the main complex. Data reclaims the emotion chip, Lore is mentioned as needing to be dismantled (for safety) and the surviving Borg fall under the leadership of Hugh. The fate of these deassimilated Borg is not revealed, though non-canon material suggests that they remained on the planet and esablished a permanent colony.

First Contact[edit]

The Borg return as the antagonists in one of the Next Generation films, Star Trek: First Contact. After again failing to assimilate Earth by a direct assault in the year 2373, the Borg travel back in time to the year 2063 to try to stop Zefram Cochrane's first contact with the Vulcans, which would have erased the Federation from history. However, the Enterprise-E follows the Borg back in time and the crew restores the original timeline. First Contact introduces the Borg Queen, a recurring character on Star Trek: Voyager.

Parts of this destroyed Borg sphere, along with at least two drones, are shown to have crash landed in the Arctic in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Regeneration".

Deep Space Nine[edit]

The only appearance the Borg made on this series was in the premiere episode Emissary. Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) was an officer on the USS Saratoga, one of the ships in the Starfleet armada dispatched to Wolf 359. The Saratoga was hailed by the Borg cube with Locutus speaking as their representative. The Borg opened fire on the Saratoga, leading to the deaths of most of the ship's personnel, including Sisko's wife Jennifer. This created great resentment in Sisko when dealing with Picard; for Sisko, Picard was the living embodiment of the suffering the Borg inflicted at Wolf 359, making their meeting in "Emissary" tense when Picard gave Sisko his orders for taking over the station. Sisko found it hard to separate Jean-Luc Picard from the Borg drone who was responsible for his wife's death.

Despite their absence for the vast majority of the series beyond the pilot, references to the Borg, as well as the Wolf 359 massacre, are made occasionally throughout the series. In fact, the USS Defiant, a primary starship setting from the third season onwards, is explicitly stated to have been designed as a countermeasure against the Borg.[17] In addition, the battle from Star Trek: First Contact is used as a plot point in Season 5 as Starfleet is spread thin to deal with a Dominion incursion.

Voyager[edit]

The Borg make frequent appearances in Star Trek: Voyager, which takes place in the Delta Quadrant, the region of our galaxy from which the Borg are believed to have originated. The Borg are first discovered by Voyager in the third season episode "Blood Fever", Chakotay discovers the body of what the local humanoids refer to as "the Invaders"; which turns out to be the Borg. In "Scorpion", the Borg are engaged in a futile war against the much more powerful Species 8472. In one of the few instances of the Borg negotiating, in exchange for safe passage through Borg space, the Voyager crew devises a way to destroy the otherwise invulnerable Species 8472. A Borg drone, Seven of Nine, is dispatched to Voyager to facilitate this arrangement as Captain Janeway refuses to allow the Borg to use neural implants for communication with the Voyager crew.

After successfully driving Species 8472 back into their fluidic space, Seven of Nine attempts to assimilate Voyager but is severed from the hive mind and stripped of most of her Borg implants, becoming a member of Voyager '​s crew. Seven of Nine's rediscovery of her humanity becomes a recurring theme throughout the series. Flashbacks and allusions in several episodes, such as "The Raven", establish that before her assimilation, Seven of Nine was Annika Hansen, the child of scientists who studied the Borg in the Delta Quadrant independent of the Federation.

In "Drone", an advanced Borg drone is created when Seven of Nine's nanoprobes are fused with the Doctor's mobile emitter in a transporter accident. The drone, who adopts the moniker "One", involuntarily sends a signal to the collective, bringing a sphere to Voyager. One destroys the Borg ship and lets himself die to protect Voyager from further Borg pursuits.

In "Infinite Regress" it was revealed that all Borg starships have a device called a vinculum which connects all the minds of the drones, eliminates individual thoughts, and disseminates information to the Borg Collective.

In "Dark Frontier", Captain Kathryn Janeway decides to attack the Borg in the hopes of stealing a transwarp coil to aid Voyager '​s journey home. The Borg Queen learns of the plot and offers Seven of Nine a deal to spare Voyager in exchange for her rejoining the collective. Voyager recovers the transwarp coil and uses it, with the Delta Flyer, to save Seven from the Queen. Voyager uses the transwarp coil to travel 20,000 light-years before it burns out.

In "Collective", the crew of Voyager stumble upon a severely damaged cube that is holding Tom Paris, Neelix, Harry and Chakotay hostage. The crew later finds out that the ship is run by five Borg children who left their maturation chambers early. There are no living adult drones on board the ship due to a pathogen that somehow infected the entire vessel. The children sent a message to the collective that they were attacked. The collective replied and told them they were irrelevant. Seven of Nine is sent to assist in repairs and negotiate a trade for the prisoners. However, Voyager is soon attacked by the cube when the Borg children attempt to rip the main deflector off of the hull so they can rejoin the collective. When the cube's leader dies, Seven takes the children onto Voyager, has their non-essential Borg components removed before most returning to their home planets, some however choose to stay and become part of the crew.

In "Q2", Q's son places Voyager in danger and brings Borg onto the ship. Q intercedes, saves Voyager and angrily warns his son about provoking the Borg.

In the Voyager finale, "Endgame", an elderly Admiral Janeway from the future travels back in time, to aid in Voyager '​s return to the Alpha Quadrant through the use of a Borg transwarp hub. The hub is one of six such structures scattered across the galaxy, which allow Borg ships to traverse galactic distances in minutes. The future Janeway allows herself to be assimilated, delivering a neurolytic pathogen that disrupts the Queen's link to the collective. The elder Janeway thus kills the Queen and helps buy time for the young Janeway to destroy the Borg Unicomplex: Voyager uses the transwarp hub to travel back to the Alpha Quadrant, destroying it as they do. On the way, a Borg sphere pursues and captures Voyager, but upon arrival at Earth, is destroyed from the inside by Voyager '​s transphasic torpedo.

Enterprise[edit]

In the Enterprise episode "Regeneration", the remnants of the destroyed sphere from Star Trek: First Contact are discovered in the Arctic along with two frozen drones. Once unearthed, the Borg quickly revive and assimilate the human scientists who found them before stealing an unarmed research ship, modifying it to match Starfleet technology in a matter of hours. The drones manage to send a transmission toward the Delta Quadrant before they are destroyed. According to dialogue, their transmission would reach its destination in 200 years, essentially establishing a closed time loop with the events of "Q Who", explaining why the cube in the latter episode was already en route to Earth. Although the Borg never identify themselves as such in dialogue, the episode's events prompt characters to allude to Zefram Cochrane's claims that "strange cybernetic creatures from the future" tried to interfere with First Contact.

Writers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens developed an unproduced idea for an episode which would have featured Alice Krige as a Starfleet medical technician who encounters the Borg and is assimilated – thereby becoming the Borg Queen.[18]

Other media[edit]

In the non-canonical Star Trek: The Manga story 'Side Effects' written by Chris Dows, the crew of the Enterprise under James T. Kirk discovers an alien station operating near a black hole. The commander of the station appears to be abducting races in a desperate attempt to cure a strange plague among his people. Using his own daughter as a guinea pig, he is able to create a cure for the plague, though the end result is always assimilation into the consciousness of his daughter, the future Borg Queen, for those cured.

In the Star Trek novel Probe, which takes place following the events of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the Borg are mentioned obliquely in communication with the whale-probe as spacefaring "mites" (the whale-probe's term for humanoid races) who traveled in cubical and spherical spacefaring vessels; the Borg apparently attacked the whale-probe and damaged its memory in some fashion before the events of the film.

In the Star Trek Game Star Trek: Legacy, the Borg are featured midway through the TOS era as "Assimilated Klingon ships". In the final mission, once the player has completed the primary objective, a confrontation with T'urell ensues; she departs, and the player must destroy a Borg Sphere.

The Peter David novel Vendetta reveals that the planet killer weapon from the Original Series episode "The Doomsday Machine" is a prototype for a weapon against the Borg, with a woman whose race were destroyed by the Borg trying to use the weapon against them despite the damage she will cause on her journey due to its need to consume planets. David revisited this concept in a 2007 sequel novel, Before Dishonor, which features the Enterprise-E working with Spock and Seven of Nine to reactivate the original planet killer to stop the Borg.

In William Shatner's novel The Return, Spock is nearly assimilated by the Borg, but is saved because he mind-melded with V'ger, an earlier form of the Borg, causing the Borg to register an "imprint" of the Collective already in Spock's mind and spare him as they assume that he is already a Borg. Using the information he subconsciously acquired in the meld, Spock is able to lead a crew of Enterprise officers- consisting of the Enterprise-D senior staff, himself, Admiral McCoy, and the resurrected Kirk- in a Defiant-class ship to destroy the Borg central node, severing all branches of the Collective from each other and limiting their future threat.

In David Mack's novel trilogy Star Trek: Destiny, set over a year after Star Trek: Nemesis, the Borg stage a massive invasion of local space using the totality of their forces. Due to Kathryn Janeway crippling their infrastructure in "Endgame", the Borg fear for their survival and thus attempt to exterminate the Federation and its neighbors. They wipe out the populations of numerous Federation worlds before being dismantled by the Caeliar, the advanced species that spawned them. The crews of the Enterprise-E, the Titan, and the Aventine had made contact with the Caeliar, learned of their role in the creation of the Borg from Erika Hernandez, and convinced them to end the threat of the Borg once and for all.

In the Doctor Who/Star Trek crossover comic, Assimilation2, the Borg join forces with the Cybermen, but the Enterprise-D crew are later forced to work with the Eleventh Doctor and the Borg when the Cybermen subvert the Collective, resulting in them restoring the Borg to full strength and erasing the Borg/Cyberman alliance from existence.[19]

In video games[edit]

The Borg appear as antagonists to the player in the following Star Trek game titles:

They also appear as the main characters in one of the Star Trek arcade games, Star Trek: Borg Contact, where players must squeeze two handles without letting go.

Activision at one point planned to release Star Trek: Borg Assimilator, in which the player would play a Borg, but later canceled the game.

In Mass Effect 2, Legion's loyalty mission – deciding whether or not to infect its fellow Geth with a virus that would re-write their collective consciousness – was inspired by the fifth season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation: "I, Borg".

In Star Fox Assault, a race known as the "Aparoids" invades the Lylat system. Their goal is to assimilate all living organisms and mechanical devices, much like the Borg. However, instead of cyborg humanoids, Aparoids are insect-like creatures (coincidentally, the Borg were originally conceived as an insectoid race).

The Grox from the game Spore from Electronic Arts are similar to the Borg.

The Zerg from StarCraft universe (from StarCraft video game series from Blizzard Entertainment, as well as from books expanding the universe), although biological, share some traits with the Borg, such as evolution through assimilation of other species (including human) with goal of achieving perfection, ruling queen from some point in storyline, and hive-mind.

Critical reception[edit]

The depiction of the Borg cube in "Q Who" garnered the episode an Emmy Award nomination.[20]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The insignia appears at about 35:00 in the episode, to the left of Commander Riker as the away team walks into the Borg nursery.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bretts, Bruce; Roush, Matt; (March 25, 2013). "Baddies to the Bone: The 60 nastiest villains of all time". TV Guide. pp. 14 - 15.
  2. ^ Movie Quotes for Movie Quotes Said By Jeff Coopwood MovieQuoter. 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2013
  3. ^ Star Trek - First Contact (1996). Moviesoundclips.net. Rikeromega3 Productions 1999-2013. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  4. ^ Hayot, Eric; Haun Saussy; Steven G. Yao (2008). Sinographies: writing China. U of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-4724-8. 
  5. ^ Nardi, Eric Bonnie; Vicki O'Day (2000). Information ecologies: using technology with heart. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-14066-7. Retrieved Jan 3, 2009. 
  6. ^ Strangelove, Michael (2005). The empire of mind: digital piracy and the anti-capitalist movement. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-3818-2. Retrieved Jan 3, 2009. 
  7. ^ /video-games-about-depression
  8. ^ "The 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases". TV Land. Retrieved January 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 2, Episode 16 (Q Who)
  10. ^ Star Trek: First Contact
  11. ^ Star Trek Voyager, Season 3 Episode 26 and Season 4 Episode 1 (Scorpion Parts 1 & 2)
  12. ^ Star Trek: Voyager, Season 4, Episode 12 (Mortal Coil)
  13. ^ "The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II" (TNG)
  14. ^ Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg, The Computers of Star Trek. New York: Basic Books (1999): 147. "It was a lot easier for viewers to focus on a villain rather than a hive-mind that made decisions based on the input of all its members."
  15. ^ Okuda, Mike and Denise Okuda, with Debbie Mirek (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5. 
  16. ^ Nemeck, Larry (2003). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5798-6. 
  17. ^ "The Search, Part I" (DS9)
  18. ^ "Interview: Reeves-Stevenses Talk Mars and Enterprise". Trekmovie.com. September 22, 2007. Retrieved 09-08-21.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  19. ^ http://news.whoviannet.co.uk/2012/02/doctor-who-star-trek-crossover-comic-revealed/
  20. ^ Nemecek, Larry (2003). The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion: Revised Edition. Pocket Books. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-7434-7657-7. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Daniel H. Nexon, "Representation is Futile?: American Anti-Collectivism and the Borg" in Jutta Weldes, ed., To Seek Out New Worlds: Science Fiction and World Politics. 2003. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-29557-X. pp. 143–167.
  • Thomas A. Georges. Digital Soul: Intelligent Machines and Human Values. Boulder: Westview. ISBN 0-8133-4057-8. p. 172. (The Borg as Big Business)

External links[edit]