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At some point in 2368, a Borg cube traveling through the Nekrit Expanse was disabled, apparently by an electrokinetic storm. Because the equipment on the cube was no longer functioning, their collective consciousness collapsed, after which some drones, now having regained their individuality, managed to transport to a nearby planet.
Among the 80,000 former Borg stranded on the planet, violence quickly emerged, but some survivors banded together in a benevolent faction called the Cooperative. Members of the Cooperative started re-linking their brain patterns using a portable neural transponder to aid in healing. It also gave them an unique ability to cooperate and problem solve, and use it to create a safe and productive community. However, they continued to face attack by other survivors, which posed a major problem to them.
By 2373, the Cooperative had come to the conclusion that the only way to survive was to forcibly re-link all former drones into their Cooperative. This was functionally impossible because the neurotransponder they had managed to build was only powerful enough to link a small group of people. They pleaded with captain Kathryn Janeway to help them access the derelict cube, as to realize this plan.
Although applauding the ideals behind the idea, Captain Janeway was sceptical, not only because the Cooperative would be imposing a choice on thousands who had no voice in the decision, but also because of the risk in helping to create a new collective. Faced with imminent defeat, the cooperative did not await Janeway's decision, took over commander Chakotay and through him accessed the derelict cube, using it to re-establishing the link to all former drones.
After this action, the newly expanded group called themselves the New Cooperative. They released Chakotay from their bond and destroyed the cube.