"We are the Borg. Existence as you know it is over. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile." - The Borg Collective
The Borg are a race of cybernetic beings - part organic, part machine - originating from the Delta Quadrant. Perhaps one of the most feared races in the galaxy, the Borg exist as a hive mind, many working as one. They have one fixed goal: the assimilation of other worthy beings and technologies into the Collective.
Since the Borg assimilate beings from every race they have encountered (with few exceptions), the physiology of the 'average' drone varies. However, all drones have certain common aspects. All Borg are cybernetic, their organic bodies merged with synthetic tissues and cybernetic implants. All drones are linked to the Collective through subspace transceivers.
The precise origins of the Collective are unknown although it seems likely that their homeworld is located somewhere in the Beta or Delta Quadrant. Starfleet assets have encountered references to their existence at least 900 years ago, and possibly earlier. According to some, the Borg were "far less impressive 900 years ago."
History in the Alpha Quadrant
The history of humanity's encounters with the Borg has become rather more complicated than previously believed, due to recent discoveries in Starfleet's historical database. Indeed, the exact date of first contact with the Collective has shifted somewhat. Reports received from Captain Picard of the Enterprise-E following the battle at Earth in 2373 suggest that humanity's first contact with the Borg took place in April of 2063, following a temporal incursion made by a Borg Sphere shortly after the battle. The Sphere was destroyed in Earth orbit, after it attempted to interfere with First Contact. It was believed that the Sphere's presence had no impact on the timeline.(Star Trek: First Contact)
However, records recently unearthed at Starfleet Headquarters, and long thought lost, have revealed a further encounter with the cybernetic species. In 2153, scientists investigating unusual debris at the North Pole reactivated two drones found preserved in the ice.
The two drones assimilated the science team and used an arctic transport to escape from Earth, intending to head to contemporary Borg space. The Enterprise, which at the time was the closest vessel to react, engaged and destroyed the vessel, but not before the drones transmitted pulsar triangulation coordinates towards the Delta Quadrant. The message was expected to arrive at its destination some 200 years later. (ENT: "Regeneration")
Although it is not clear whether the signal ever arrived it is interesting to note that the Borg began to make incursions into the Alpha Quadrant in the 2350s. These early incursions left very little evidence but some people did begin to believe that a hitherto unknown power was making its presence felt. This led Magnus Hansen and Erin Hansen to petition Starfleet for the loan of a ship so that they could find hard evidence of this species. He took his daughter Annika Hansen aboard the ship, the USS Raven, and set off. By 2356 he had found evidence of the Borg but he and his family were assimilated before he could inform Starfleet of his discovery. (VOY: "The Raven")
Thus the Borg incursions continued without the Federation’s knowledge. The largest of these incursions occurred in 2364 when the Borg wiped out a series of Romulan and Federation outposts in Sector 30 and Sector 31 on the borders of the Romulan Neutral Zone. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone")
In mid 2365, the Enterprise-D was thrown into Borg space by the entity known as Q where they encountered a Borg cube. Although they suffered losses, the Enterprise-D became the first ship to survive such an encounter and so managed to inform Starfleet of the existence of the Borg. (TNG: "Q Who?")
First Attack on Earth
Via these various contacts, the Borg were now fully aware of humanity and made their first concerted attempt to assimilate the entire race in late 2366. A single cube destroyed the New Providence Colony, the USS Lalo and kidnapped Captain Picard when the Enterprise-D attempted to intervene. Picard was partially assimilated and became a Borg drone known as Locutus of Borg. The cube proceeded towards Earth and engaged Starfleet in the Battle of Wolf 359, resulting in the destruction of 39 Federation ships including the USS Saratoga, the then post of Benjamin Sisko, his son Jake Sisko, and his wife Jennifer Sisko, who was killed in the battle. On arrival at Earth an away-team from the Enterprise-D successfully rescued Picard/Locutus and used his connection to the Borg to implant false data in the cube, destroying it. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
The Rogue Collective
The Enterprise-D again encountered the Borg 2368 when they rescued a single drone from a crashed Borg shuttle. This drone was cut off from the collective and slowly regained an individual identity, eventually being named Hugh. Although a plan was put forward to use Hugh to destroy the collective in its entirety it was vetoed by Captain Picard and Hugh was returned to the collective. However his presence had unforeseen consequences. (TNG: "I, Borg")
The individuality present in Hugh spread through the ship he returned to causing a catastrophic separation of the ship from the rest of the collective. This rogue mini-collective was unsure how to cope with its freedom and so fell under the influence of the android Lore. He persuaded them to aid his plan to conquer Earth. Using the rogue ship they attacked several outposts before being tracked down by the crew of the Enterprise-D. They destroyed the Borg ship and were able to persuade the remaining members of the mini-collective of Lore’s unreliability. The mini-collective then disappeared into space and has not been encountered since. (TNG: "Descent, Part I", "Descent, Part II")
Second Attack on Earth
The main Borg collective made another attempt at Earth in 2373 once more sending a single cube. The Federation lost a number of ships in the Battle of Sector 001 but the cube was destroyed using information supplied by Captain Picard of the Enterprise-E. His knowledge of the cube’s weakness appeared to derive from his earlier connection to the collective. While the cube was destroyed, a Sphere escaped the battle and travelled back to 2063 followed by the Enterprise, thus creating the first Borg contact mentioned above. The battle was also humanity’s first encounter with the Borg Queen (although there is evidence that she was present at Wolf 359). (Star Trek: First Contact)
Since that point, there has been little Borg activity in the Alpha Quadrant, however the situation in the Delta Quadrant has been very different.
History in the Delta Quadrant
The Borg are a major presence in the Delta Quadrant. Their far border seems to be marked by the Nekrit Expanse. Several worlds in that region (including the homeworld of the Sakari) have suffered from Borg attacks.
The New Cooperative
In 2368 a Borg Cube in the Nekrit Expanse suffered a major electrical failure. This resulted in the death of the majority of the Borg on board and separated the survivors from the Collective. They escaped to a nearby planet and began re-building their lives as individuals.
Many races were represented on the new planet including a number from the Alpha Quadrant. They included Humans, Romulans, Cardassians, Klingons, Farn and Parein. Sadly as their personalities returned, so did their original hatreds and differences. Within a short time, the planet became a warzone.
One group of survivors set up a cooperative in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the conflicts. They were unable to achieve this and were running out of supplies when they encountered Commander Chakotay of the USS Voyager. He helped them repair their communications while they healed him of a serious head wound by bringing him into a temporary mini-collective.
On returning to Voyager he explained their plan to use the abandoned Borg Cube to bring all the planet's inhabitants into a new collective mind and so stop the war. Although applauding the ideals behind the idea, Captain Janeway would not allow the plan to go ahead.
Using their communications array the cooperative took over Chakotay's mind using a lingering effect of the mini-collective. They forced him to re-start the Borg Cube and so formed the New Cooperative. Unexpectedly, the Cube and its Borg inhabitants also re-activated, however the Cooperative actived the Cube's self destruct mechanism and destroyed it.
The Borg-Species 8472 War
In late 2373, the USS Voyager found itself about to enter Borg territory in the Delta Quadrant. On scanning the area they discovered an region of space with little or no Borg activity, which they named the "Northwest Passage". The passage, however, would later be discovered by the Voyager crew to be swarming with an alien presence even more dangerous than the Borg: Species 8472.
Species 8472 originated from fluidic space, and had been attacked by the Borg in their realm some months previously. Species 8472 fought back, however, and the Borg soon found themselves on the losing end of a war with a species whose tactical abilities far outweighted their own. The Borg were able to defeat Species 8472, though, with help from Captain Kathryn Janeway of Voyager, who negotiated a temporary alliance with the collective in order to secure safe passage through Borg space. Janeway oversaw the development of a new nanaprobe-based bio-weapon that was designed to attack Species 8472 at a cellular level. The Borg-Species 8472 War was the first significant defeat that the Borg had suffered in centuries. (VOY: "Scorpion, Part I, Scorpion, Part II")
In 2377 the USS Voyager discovered the group of Borg known as Unimatrix Zero. Unimatrix Zero was made up of Borg drones who were able to retreat for a time into a dream-state, where they would revert to their pre-Borg selves.
A major defeat came at the hands of the USS Voyager in 2377. Voyager discovered a nebula that had readings suggesting dozens of wormholes. However, upon entering, they saw a Borg cube and were forced to abandon their attempt to return to Earth. Shortly afterwards, an alternate timeline Admiral Kathryn Janeway arrived and told (present-day) Captain Janeway to return to the nebula. Armed with new, advanced anti-Borg weapons, Voyager easily destroyed two cubes. When they reached the coordinates, they discovered a Borg transwarp hub. Realizing that this was a major tactical advantage to the Borg, Capt. Janeway ordered her crew to figure out a way to destroy it.
Adm. Janeway entered her shuttle inside the hub's unicomplex and allowed the Borg Queen to assimilate her. Meanwhile, Voyager entered the transwarp network. The hive mind was then disrupted by a neurolytic pathogen in Adm. Janeway's brain. With the collective in disarray, Voyager launched its torpedoes at the network's support beams, causing a chain reaction that destroyed the network.
However, as the network collapsed, Borg Sphere 634 pursued Voyager inside a transwarp conduit. Voyager maneuvered within the sphere as it emerged less than a lightyear from Earth. Admiral Paris ordered all available ships to intercept. As the Starfleet armada opened fire, Voyager destroyed Sphere 634 from inside. The fleet then escorted Voyager to Earth. (VOY: Endgame)
The Borg have no culture in the traditional sense of the word. Their sole purpose is the assimilation of other beings. To them, art, music, leisure, all are irrelevant; however, they hold a near-reverance for the Omega molecule (which they classified as Particle 010), which they consider to be an expression of flawlessness.
Alphanumeric code is used as the Borg written language and also for information encoding and transmittion of data throughout the collective. It consists of circular symbols with geometric shapes cut out of them. It can be seen on various control panels, labels, and viewscreens within borg structures. It is written in many different direction: in horizontal lines going from left to right and right left, and vertically. As the name suggests, the symbols represent both alphabetic characters that represent sounds; and numbers; with much Borg terminology comprising alphanumeric sequences, this makes sense.
Borg vessels are amongst the most powerful in the galaxy. Highly decentralized, they have no bridge, living quarters or engineering section. All drones collectively operate the vessel, under the general direction of the Collective as a whole, and the Borg Queen as a nexus.
Examples of Borg vessels include:
- Assimilation tubule
- Autonomous regeneration sequencer
- Bio-synthetic gland
- Central plexus
- Cortical implant (cortical node)
- Cortical processing subunit
- Data node
- Distribution node
- Neural transceiver
- Ocular implant
- Ocular node
- Reticular node
- Sensory node
- TNG: "Q Who?"
- TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I"
- TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"
- TNG: "I, Borg"
- TNG: "Descent, Part I"
- TNG: "Descent, Part II"
- Star Trek: First Contact
- VGR: "Unity"
- VGR: "Scorpion, Part I"
- VGR: "Scorpion, Part II"
- VGR: "Dark Frontier"
- VGR: "Unimatrix Zero, Part I"
- VGR: "Unimatrix Zero, Part II"
- VGR: "Endgame"
- ENT: "Regeneration"
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