Borg (Star Trek)


Borg (Star Trek)
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

The Borg are a fictional pseudo-race of cybernetic organisms depicted in the Star Trek universe associated with Star Trek.

Whereas cybernetics are used by other races in the science fiction world (and in recent times the real world) to repair bodily damage and birth defects, the Borg use enforced cybernetic enhancement as a means of achieving what they believe to be perfection.

Aside from being the main threat in Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg also play major roles in The Next Generation and Voyager television series, primarily as an invasion threat to the United Federation of Planets and the means of return to the Alpha Quadrant for isolated Federation starship Voyager, respectively. 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 frequencies. The Borg inhabit a vast region of space in the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy, possessing millions of vessels and having conquered thousands of systems. They operate solely toward the fulfilling of one purpose: to "add the biological and technological distinctiveness of other species to [their] own" in pursuit of their view of perfection. The concept of perfection is the central unifying idea at the core of the Borg. The pursuit of perfection is the Borg's only motivation, albeit an unemotional and mechanical one. This is achieved through forced assimilation, a process which transforms individuals and technology into Borg, enhancing - and simultaneously controlling - individuals by implanting or appending synthetic components.

In their first introduction to the franchise (Q Who?), little information is forthcoming about the Borg or their origins and intents. In alien encounters, they exhibit no desire for negotiation or reason, only to assimilate. Exhibiting a rapid adaptability to any situation or threat, with encounters characterized by the matter-of-fact statement "Resistance is futile", the Borg develop into one of the greatest threats to Starfleet and the Federation. Originally perceived on screen as a homogeneous and anonymous entity, the concepts of a Borg Queen and central control are later introduced, while representatives for the Borg collective are occasionally employed to act as a go-between in more complicated plot lines.

In Star Trek, attempts to resist the Borg become one of the central themes, with many examples of successful resistance to the collective, both from existing or former drones, and assimilation targets. It is also demonstrated that it is possible to survive assimilation (most notably Jean-Luc Picard), and that drones can escape the collective (most notably Seven of Nine), and become individuals, or exist collectively without forced assimilation of others. They are notable for being a main antagonist race in more than one series who never appeared in the original Star Trek.

Contents

Concept

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?".

The Borg were a concept born out of necessity for Star Trek to feature a new antagonist and regular enemy that was lacking during the first season of The Next Generation; the Klingons were allies and the Romulans mostly absent. The Ferengi were originally intended as the new enemy for the United Federation of Planets, but their comical, unintimidating appearance and devotion to capitalist accumulation by "free enterprise" failed to portray them as a convincing threat. They were subsequently reassigned as comic relief. The Borg, however, with their frightening appearance, immense power, and, most importantly, their sinister motive became the signature villains for the The Next Generation and Voyager eras of Star Trek.

"Resistance is futile"

Individual Borg rarely speak. Instead, they send a collective audio message to their targets stating that "resistance is futile", 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 among appearances, and the biological aspect is entirely absent when the Borg are first introduced. One phrase, from Star Trek: Voyager is: "We are the Borg. Existence, as you know it, is over. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile."

The phrase "resistance is futile" became prevalent in popular culture from its use in the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994).[1][2][3] The Borg use the phrase in several Star Trek episodes and the film Star Trek: First Contact (1996). Locutus's (Patrick Stewart) delivery of the line in "The Best of Both Worlds" was ranked #93 in TV Land's list of "The 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases".[4] The phrase was also the tagline for First Contact.

The phrase "Resistance is futile." is also used in the DC comic book "The New Teen Titans" issue #3 in 1984 and by The Master in the 1976 Doctor Who episode "The Deadly Assassin",[5] and the phrase "Resistance is useless" is used in other episodes.[6] The phrase "Resistance is useless" is also used by the Vogons in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The phrase "Resistance is futile" has been used in a propaganda message from American forces to the Taliban during the invasion of Afghanistan.[7]

Characteristics

Unicomplex

A Borg unicomplex. This unicomplex was later destroyed in the year 2378

A 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 the 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.

General design

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 multi-purpose tool 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.

Owing 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 at most, depending on the settings and time between shots. Phaser frequencies can be altered to penetrate the shield, but the Borg adapt more quickly with each modulation. Due to this, crews have been known to employ a variety of other countermeasures such as holodeck-generated bullets (Star Trek holodeck items are solid as long as the holodeck safety settings are disabled) and melee weapons, as demonstrated 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 Enterprise 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 vessel if the failure is detected promptly before the afflicted Borg's impending death.[8]

Assimilation

Assimilation is the process by which the Borg integrate beings and cultures 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 encountered 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 in order 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. (TNG: "Q Who?") A Borg infant found aboard the first cube introduced shows that the Borg will even assimilate the children of a conquered race.

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", in Latin, fitting as he speaks to Federation humans for them. After this, life-form assimilation becomes much more prominent in their overall behavior.

The method of assimilating individual life-forms into the collective has been represented differently over time, only consistent in that infant and fetal humanoids have been grown in an accelerated state and surgically receive implants connected directly into the brain, 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-(nanites)-into the individual's bloodstream through a pair of tubules that spring forth from the drone's hand. Assimilation by nanoprobe 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 individual has all traces of individuality removed and implants are attached to the new drone so it can fulfill its new role in the collective. This method of assimilation is also shown to be much more surgical in nature; in "The Best of Both Worlds" the Borg essentially overlay the body with cybernetics, while in 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 rejecting assimilation attempts, and 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 encounter into the Borg collective is demonstrated 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.

Borg Collective

Also referred to as the "hive mind" or "collective consciousness", this is the term used to describe the group mind of the Borg civilization. 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 utilized 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.[9]

Borg Queen

Prior to 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 (she is not named as such in the film but is referred to as the Borg Queen during the credits). The Queen is played by Alice Krige, who reprised the role in the Star Trek: Voyager series (except for the two-part episodes "Dark Frontier" and "Unimatrix Zero," in which Susanna Thompson was in the role). 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 dialog 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. The introduction of the Borg 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."[10]

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 liquified as a result of Data rupturing one of the Enterprise's warp core plasma coolant conduits. Picard finishes her off by rupturing her spinal column. She is destroyed in the Voyager episode "Endgame", as well.

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 Star Trek: Voyager relaunch 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.

In the Mirror Universe story "The Worst of Both Worlds" by Greg Cox, the Borg are led by a King (and travel in ships shaped like diamonds, not cubes).

All information from books, games or otherwise, however, is not recognized as being within the proper Star Trek canon.

Character history

The Next Generation

The Borg first appear in the Star Trek: The Next Generation 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" (a T. S. Eliot quotation) by showing the dangers they will eventually face. The final episode of season one suggests that the Borg may have been responsible for the destruction of Federation and Romulan colonies in the "The Neutral Zone".[11]

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". "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".

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.[12] 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.

Deep Space Nine

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 crew members, among those 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, the primary starship setting from the third season onwards, is explicitly stated to have been designed as a countermeasure against the Borg.[13]

First Contact

The Borg return as the antagonists in the film Star Trek: First Contact. After again failing to assimilate Earth by means of 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, if they had succeeded, would effectively erase 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 the 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."

Voyager

The Borg make frequent appearances in Star Trek: Voyager, which takes place in the Delta Quadrant, where the Borg make their home. The Borg are first discovered by Voyager in episode "Blood Fever". Later Chakotay discovers a population of ex-Borg of various species in "Unity". 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 immune Species 8472. Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01, 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 plot point of the series. Flashbacks and allusions in several episodes, such as "The Raven", establish that prior to 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 "Dark Frontier", Captain Kathryn Janeway decides to attack the Borg in the hopes of stealing a transwarp coil to aid in 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 find 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, and they become part of the crew.

In the Voyager finale, "Endgame", a version of Janeway from a future alternate timeline travels back in time to aid in Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant through the use of a Borg transwarp hub, one of six such structures in 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, killing her and destroying 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 a transphasic torpedo fired by Voyager.

Enterprise

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 had an idea for an Enterprise episode, which might have been developed if the series had been renewed for a fifth season, which would have featured Alice Krige as a Starfleet medical technician who encounters the Borg and is assimilated - thereby becoming the Borg Queen.[14]

Other media

In the non-canonical Star Trek: The Manga, 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 prior to 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. David revisited this concept in a 2007 sequel novel, Before Dishonor.

In William Shatner's novel The Return, Spock is nearly assimilated by the Borg, but is saved by the fact that he mind-melded with V'ger. This is because, according to Shatner's novel, the alien race that found V'ger was an earlier form of the Borg. Spock was saved from assimilation because he had part of the Borg collective in his mind after he mind-melded with V'ger.

Origin

The origin of the Borg is never made clear, though they are portrayed as having existed for hundreds or 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. This theme or relation to humanity is repeated in other sources.

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 were just a few assimilated colonies inside the Delta Quadrant and viewed somewhat like a minor pain. 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 #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, Cardassians and many more. Coincidentally, in the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (written by Gene Roddenberry), the V'ger entity notes that the Ilia probe is resisting the programming given to it because of residual memories and feelings for Decker, from its precise replication of the Deltan lieutenant. When V'ger 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 in an accelerated pace, which allows research to be done at an altered 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."

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 approximately 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 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.

In video games

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

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Birth of the Federation
  • Star Trek: Armada
  • Star Trek: Armada II
  • Star Trek: Away Team
  • Star Trek: Borg
  • Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force
  • Star Trek: Elite Force II
  • Star Trek: Starfleet Command III
  • Star Trek: Encounters
  • Star Trek: Invasion
  • Star Trek: Legacy
  • Star Trek: Conquest
  • Star Trek Online

They also appear as the main characters to the player in the only Star Trek game title, Star Trek: Borg Contact, where players must squeeze two handles without letting go or letting the timer expire.

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 his 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."

See also

Notes

  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

  1. ^ Hayot, Eric; Haun Saussy and Steven G. Yao (2008). Sinographies: writing China. U of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-4724-8. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=CuB8gQY3XokC&pg=PT28&dq=resistance+is+futile+borg&cd=5#v=onepage&q=resistance%20is%20futile%20borg&f=false. 
  2. ^ Nardi, Eric Bonnie; Vicki O'Day (2000). Information ecologies: using technology with heart. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-14066-7. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6d1VwyZhQRQC&pg=PA46&dq=%22Resistance+is+futile%22+popular+culture&lr=&client=firefox-a&cd=3#v=onepage&q=%22Resistance%20is%20futile%22%20popular%20culture&f=false. Retrieved 3 Jan 2009. 
  3. ^ Strangelove, Michael (2005). The empire of mind: digital piracy and the anti-capitalist movement. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802038182. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lbheLBLhOPAC&pg=PA137&dq=%22Resistance+is+futile%22+popular+culture&lr=&client=firefox-a&cd=7#v=onepage&q=%22Resistance%20is%20futile%22%20popular%20culture&f=false. Retrieved 3 Jan 2009. 
  4. ^ "The 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catchphrases". TV Land. http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/44609139.html. Retrieved 2010-01-02. [dead link]
  5. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide". http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/deadlyassassin/detail.shtml. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  6. ^ Shapiro, Fred R. (2006). The Yale Book of Quotations. Yale University Press. pp. 728. ISBN 9780300107982. http://books.google.com/books?id=w5-GR-qtgXsC&pg=PA727&dq=%22resistance+is+useless%22+%22Resistance+is+futile%22#v=onepage&q=%22resistance%20is%20useless%22%20%22Resistance%20is%20futile%22&f=false. 
  7. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/oct/20/afghanistan.terrorism7
  8. ^ "Cortical node". Memory-alpha.org. http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Cortical_node. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ "The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II" [TNG]
  10. ^ 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."
  11. ^ Okuda, Mike and Denise Okuda, with Debbie Mirek (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5. 
  12. ^ Nemeck, Larry (2003). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5798-6. 
  13. ^ "The Search, Part I" [DS9]
  14. ^ "Interview: Reeves-Stevenses Talk Mars and Enterprise". Trekmovie.com. September 22, 2007. http://trekmovie.com/2007/09/22/interview-gar-judy-reeves-stevens-talk-mars-and-enterprise/. Retrieved 09-08-21. 

Further reading

  • 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


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