The Borg were a pseudo-race of cybernetic beings, or cyborgs, from the Delta Quadrant. No truly single individual existed within the Borg Collective (with the possible sole exception of the Borg Queen), as they were linked into a hive mind. Their ultimate goal was perfection through the forcible assimilation of diverse sentient species, technologies, and knowledge. As a result, they were among the most dangerous and feared races in the galaxy.
The physiology of each Borg drone varied according to the species from which it was assimilated. (Star Trek: First Contact) Drones were typically humanoid, although the Collective has demonstrated a willingness to assimilate non-humanoid life forms. Upon assimilation, a drone would cease to grow body hair and develop an ashen, grayish skin coloration. Cybernetic implants would be either surgically attached to the body or grown internally by nanoprobes injected into the bloodstream. (: ""; Star Trek: First Contact) The nature of these implants varied from drone to drone, depending on its intended function. In certain cases, parts of the body such as an eye or an arm would be amputated altogether to make room for the cybernetics. The implants of a fully assimilated drone allowed it to function for extended periods without shelter, food, water, or even air. A drone's only requirement would be a supply of energy to maintain the implants that in turn maintained its biological functions. This energy would be supplied during regeneration cycles within a Borg alcove.
Borg drones were equipped with a myriad of technologies integrated into their bodies which enabled them to perform their duties within the Collective, several of which were universal to all drones. A neural transceiver kept them connected to the hive mind. (: "") A personal force field protected each drone from most energy-based attacks. As of 2373, each drone possessed a pair of assimilation tubules embedded in one hand for the purpose of instantly injecting individuals with Borg nanoprobes. (Star Trek: First Contact) A cortical processor allowed a drone to rapidly assimilate visual information. Borg drones were also equipped with a neural processor, which kept a record of every instruction that particular Borg receives from the collective hive mind. Captain Picard used this processor to discover the Borg were attempting to use the Enterprise-E deflector dish as an Interplexing Beacon to contact the Borg in 2063 (Star Trek: First Contact)
Drones also contained failsafes designed to deactivate and even vaporize their own bodies, thereby allowing the Collective to eliminate damaged or dead drones without leaving remains to be exploited by outsiders. The captured drone Third of Five also made comments indicating that this vaporization may have been a form of resource reabsorption.One of these failsafes was intended to automatically deactivate drones experiencing strong emotional states, which the Borg interpreted as a sign of disconnection from the hive mind.
- Main article: Borg history The precise origins of the Borg are unclear. As of 1484 they were reported as controlling only a handful of systems in the Delta Quadrant, but by 2373 they had assimilated thousands of worlds. In addition to this stronghold in the Delta Quadrant, the Borg also dispatched vessels throughout the galaxy via transwarp conduits.
A Borg vessel traveled back in time from 2373 in an unsuccessful attack on Earth in 2063. (Star Trek: First Contact) Drones which survived this defeat were discovered and reactivated by Human scientists in 2153, and transmitted a subspace message to Borg space before being destroyed by the Enterprise (NX-01). (: "") In 2293 the Federation offered aid to El Aurian refugees fleeing the Borg. (Star Trek Generations) However, each of these incidents contributed almost nothing to the Alpha Quadrant's awareness or understanding of the Borg Collective.
By the 2350s rumors of an alien race called "The Borg" had reached the Alpha Quadrant, inspiring exobiologists Magnus and Erin Hansen to set out in search of them. Their research took them all the way to the Delta Quadrant before their assimilation in 2356. Borg activity in the Alpha Quadrant went undetected until a series of unexplained attacks along the Romulan Neutral Zone in 2364. (: "") The Collective's true nature was finally revealed to the Federation in 2365 when Q took the USS Enterprise-D to meet a Borg cube near the J-25 system.
In late 2366 a Borg cube invaded Federation space and assimilated Jean-Luc Picard, whose tactical information contributed, along with the Borg's own vastly superior power, to Starfleet's disastrously one-sided battle with the cube, called the Battle of Wolf 359. A fleet of 40 starships assembled to combat the cube, and 39 of those ships were completely destroyed, with the cube emerging unscathed. The Enterprise-D recovered Picard and used his connection to the hive-mind to disable the cube before it could attack Earth.
During the 2370s, the Borg were beset by several major setbacks in the Delta Quadrant, all witnessed by the crew of the USS Voyager. The Borg-Species 8472 War decimated the Collective from 2373-2374. Voyager's liberation of Seven of Nine allowed Unimatrix Zero to create an active resistance movement in 2377. In 2378, a crippling blow was delivered to the Borg when Voyager discovered one of their transwarp hubs and destroyed it, killing the Borg Queen (again) and devastating the Unicomplex in the process.
- After this, there is no canon information on the state of the collective. However, since the Borg controlled thousands of star systems and worlds, there would be no reason the destruction of the unicomplex would destroy the entire collective, or the queen for that matter, since she has been shown to have several bodies.
In one quantum reality, the Borg conquered the Federation, with a battered Enterprise-D one of the few remaining ships. (: "")
- See also: Borg philosophy
The Borg Collective is made up of at least trillions of humanoids referred to as drones. Through the use of their cybernetic implants, the Borg interacted by sharing one another's thoughts in a hive mind. Upon assimilation, these trillions of "voices" would overwhelm the drone, stifling individual thought and resistance to the Collective's will. To some drones these voices could eventually become a source of comfort, and their absence a source of pain.
Borg philosophy was governed by a primary directive to add the biological and technological distinctiveness of other species to that of the Borg. In this manner the Collective sought to achieve its definition of perfection; all other pursuits were deemed irrelevant. Accordingly, Borg drones did not engage in any activities except their duties and regeneration.
- It is unclear whether these principles were simply the consensus of the majority of Borg drones, or if they were "hard-wired" into the technology that links the hive-mind together.
Having no regard for individuality, Borg drones were identified with designations rather than names. A drone's designation typically described its position within a group, e.g. "Third of Five." To more specifically identify a drone, its function could be appended to this designation, e.g. "Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01." In the same manner, the Borg refer to alien species by number rather than by name.
If a drone was sufficiently injured or otherwise in distress, other drones would offer assistance. However, if a drone was deemed irreparable by the hive-mind, the Borg would deactivate it and redistribute any salvageable components throughout the Collective. (: "")The Borg did not procreate; they added to the Collective's population only by assimilation. (: "") Assimilated infants and juveniles would be placed in maturation chambers until adulthood.
The Borg typically operated in an atmosphere with a constant temperature of 39.1 °C (102.38 °F), 92% relative humidity, an atmospheric pressure of approximately 102 kPa, and trace amounts of tetryon particles. (Star Trek: First Contact) These conditions were presumably conducive to the operation of their cybernetics.
Borg drones ignored alien species until they demonstrated the potential to be a threat or a suitable candidate for assimilation. When addressing a small number of individuals, drones would simply attempt to assimilate them without comment. Before assimilating a larger population, such as a starship or an entire culture, the Borg would collectively transmit a standard announcement of their purpose and the futility of resistance. Species the Borg found unremarkable would be deemed unworthy of assimilation. As of 2374 the Borg considered the Kazon beneath their notice, and by 2376 they only took interest in the Brunali if they detected sufficiently relevant technology. On the rare occasions that the Borg were willing to open a dialog with individuals, they chose a single drone to speak for the Collective. Jean-Luc Picard was assimilated and given the name Locutus in the misguided assumption that such a representative would lower the Federation's resistance to assimilation. (: "")When Kathryn Janeway successfully negotiated a truce with the Borg and refused to discuss the terms via a neural transceiver, the Collective agreed to communicate via Seven of Nine. (: "")
The Borg Queen also spoke for the Collective, acting not as a mere liaison but as a physical manifestation of the hive mind. The exact nature of her role is unclear. (Star Trek: First Contact)
The Borg possessed a near-reverence for particle 010, which they considered to be an expression of perfection. The Collective's fascination with assimilating this molecule has been compared to a religion. (: "")
- Main article: Borg technology
Borg technology was a combination of technologies assimilated from other cultures and technology developed within the Collective in order to overcome obstacles to its goals. When confronted by a problem it could not solve with its existing resources, the entire Collective would work in concert to consider all possible solutions and implement the one determined to be the most efficient. By applying the unique skills of each drone to a task, the hive mind could engineer new technologies at a pace that would astound an individual.
- Main article: Borg starship classes
Borg vessels were highly decentralized, with no discrete bridge, living quarters, or engineering section. Each ship was collectively operated by its complement of drones, under the general direction of the hive mind. Owing to the Collective's disregard for aesthetic considerations, the architecture of Borg ships took the form of basic shapes such as cubes and spheres. (: "")
Each Borg spacecraft was equipped with a vinculum to interconnect its crew, which was in turn connected to a central plexus that linked the ship to the Collective. In addition to warp drive, vessels were fitted with transwarp coils that could achieve even greater speed by opening transwarp conduits. When critically damaged or otherwise compromised, a Borg ship would self-destruct to prevent outsiders from studying Borg technology. (: ""). However, USS Voyager encountered several damaged Borg vessels, notably including the cube carrying Icheb, Mezoti, Azan and Rebi, and a sphere carrying a transwarp coil, which Voyager stole.
- That the Borg seem to have changed their attitude toward destroying damaged ships was not explained. It may have simply been a change in general policy between the last encounter in TNG and Voyager's first. Alternatively, the Borg may have felt more comfortable allowing damaged vessels to limp home within the Delta Quadrant, much of which is Borg space, and virtually devoid of major threats. A specific rationale for the cube carrying the Borg children (which was critically damaged) may be because they were released from their maturation chambers early, and did not have the complete set of protocols and capabilities full drones would implement.
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