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This article is about a fictional race of aliens. For the tennis player, see Björn Borg.

The Borg are a race of cyborgs in the fictional Star Trek universe.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 The Borg Change Over Time
3 Origin of the Borg
4 Famous Maxim
5 All Borg episodes to date
6 The Borg as a cultural allusion
7 Hacker jargon
8 External Links


Borg are humanoids that are enhanced with cybernetic implants, giving them improved mental and physical abilities. The minds of all Borg are connected via implants to a hive, a collective mind, orchestrated by the Borg Queen. According to themselves, the Borg only seek to "improve the quality of life in the universe" and add to their own perfection. To this end, they travel the galaxies, improving their numbers and advancing by "assimilating" other species and technologies, and forcing captured individuals under the control of the Hive mind by injecting them with nanoprobes. They harbor no ill will to anyone, they merely fulfill their biological or programmatic imperative to assimilate. As they say, "You will be assimilated – resistance is futile." They make good on that threat by their ability to quickly adapt to any attack to render it harmless. Thus, any successful defense depends on the ingenuity of the opponent to find an method to stop the Borg completely before they can neutralize it.

The first formal contact of Starfleet with the Borg occurs by interference from Q with the mission of Star Trek: The Next Generation crew. Q transported the Enterprise D into the Delta Quadrant just long enough to expose them to the Borg. The Enterprise was hopelessly overpowered, and Q brought them home after their confrontation. Q says something to the effect of "Now that they know about you, they will never stop until they find you." ('Q-Who?')

The second contact occurred in the two-part "Best of Both Worlds", which is considered one of the greatest episodes in Star Trek history. In that incident, Captain Picard was captured and assimilated by the Borg to become Locutus of Borg. With his knowledge, the Borg destroy a Federation fleet at Wolf 359 and proceed to Earth. In the process, however, the Enterprise uses an emergency transporter to rescue and capture Locutus. Data, with the help of Counsellor Troi and Dr. Crusher managed to tap into the computer network of which Picard/Locutus was a part of. Their actions managed to give Picard enough force of will to tell Data to give the command for the Borg to "sleep", that is, enter their regenerative mode. This created a excess of energy which created a fatal feedback that destroyed the Cube.

They occur in the series after that, in the Star Trek: First Contact movie as the main plot, and the Starship Voyager even gets a rescued Borg crew member, Seven of Nine.

Due to the retconning (retroactive continuity) of Enterprise, the first contact of Starfleet with Borg occurred in the 22nd century. (Showcased in Regeneration)

The Borg Change Over Time

The Borg have changed significantly over the years. Initially, they were a mysterious group of marauders that snatched entire starship crews or took over planets, and rather crudely and frighteningly assimilated the people by surgically altering them for joining the collective. As time went on however, this was replaced with the more efficient method of injecting nanites into the individuals. The nanites would grow electrical input pathways to facilitate the later insertion of the Borg's notable brain uplink to the collective, holographic eye replacement and forearm control unit.

Borg Nanoprobes are injected into the bloodstream by tubules that spring forth from the hand of a Borg drone. The Nanoprobes are about the size of a red blood cell and travel through the victim's bloodstream to various tissues and locations throughout the body. The purpose of the Borg Nanoprobes is to prepare the body for assimilation. They do this by attaching to cells and re-writing their DNA to alter the victim's biochemistry as well as form higher structures such as electrical pathways, processing and data storage nodes, and ultimately Borg implants that spring forth from the skin like spiders.

It is probable that the Nanoprobes utilize iron from blood cells to replicate and create higher structures. Breaking down red blood cells would cause asphyxia or suffocation in the victim, also aiding in the submission to forces taking the body away for full implantation. This also alters the appearance of veins and capillaries large enough for Nanoprobes and creates dark veins that appear to snake across the surface of the skin as the cyber-infection spreads. Based on the size of a single Nanoprobe and the volume that could be injected in the short time of a drone attack, it is estimated a single injection carries at least 5 million Nanoprobes.

In "I, Borg" (the title is a reference to Isaac Asimov's book 'I, Robot') the Enterprise crew captured a single borg who appeared to be detached from the collective with his whereabouts unknown. Seeing an opportunity to study their enemy, he is taken aboard the ship. Eventually, due to separation from the Borg collective, the Borg (given the nickname "Hugh" by the crewmembers) begins to develop an individual personality. Events lead to him eventually returning to the collective. He seemed to lose his individuality, but the introduction of his experiences into the collective had far reaching consequences. Some eventually broke away. They later joined with Lore, Data's prototype brother who helped them express their newfound freedom through hatred ('Descent').

The purely collective nature of the Borg was later undermined in Star Trek: First Contact, which introduced the Borg Queen as the driving force behind them. The queen is only a representation of the collective consciousness because some decision making process requires fast-response and a consistent style. The collective will elect one elite drone in the collective and give her the decision power. When the one dies, the collective will elect another one to avoid a single-point weakness. As a result, the Borg Queen never dies.

Continuity dictated no such person, as Borg always refer to themselves as "we", and Borg collective communications would have indicated the presence of a queen. The Queen refers to herself as "I," further complicating the matter. The presence of the Queen could have been explained as a reaction to the concept of individuality introduced by Hugh, but Star Trek retconning didn't stretch this far.

Origin of the Borg

It has also been speculated that there could be a connection between the Borg and Vger, the vessel encountered in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

In fact, there are similarities between the Borg and V'ger. V'ger is originally a machine, but it wanted to see and touch its creator in order to proceed to the next level of life. The final form of V'ger is the machine somehow "melted" with the two persons. With reasonable conjecture, the Borg, a cybernetic organism, a mixture between man and the machine, is born.

Despite these commonalities between the Borg and V'Ger, following Star Trek: First Contact this does not seem likely. The Borg attempt to use the Enterprise's deflector dish as a subspace transmitter to contact the Borg existing in their time. Voyagers 3-6 have not been launched as of 2003. Assuming V'Ger (Voyager 6) was launched in 2004, by 2063 a spacecraft traveling at Warp .99 would be no more than a short trip from Earth at maximum warp, hardly a distance which would require a subspace transmitter to contact anybody. Then again, since the Borg were obviously able to travel back into time in the film, it's conceivable that they travelled back at another point to establish a hive in the 21st Century.

An early cyborg concept which is intriguingly similar to the Borg were the Cybermen in the BBC Television Science Fiction series Doctor Who which dates from November 1963.

Famous Maxim

As some may often hear the Borg say "resistance is futile", in some movie clips, they said something longer:

"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."

Additionally, Locutus (assimilated Picard) was known to say (at the
Battle of Wolf 359):

"I am Locutus of Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. You will disarm your weapons and escort us to Sector 001. If you attempt to intervene, we will destroy you."

All Borg episodes to date

This listing is not counting the "normal" Seven of Nine episodes.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek: Voyager

Star Trek: Enterprise

The Borg also appear in the motion picture
Star Trek: First Contact, and the game Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force.

The Borg as a cultural allusion

The Borg are one of the more recognizable and popular Star Trek villains, which has made them icons in American popular culture even outside of Star Trek.

Trekkers love to engage in speculation about what elements of the series 'represent.' Many regard the Borg as a criticism of communism and other collectivist ideologies, others see them as a symbol of American cultural imperialism. Both analogies can be easily drawn, though neither is a perfect fit.

Calling a group of people "borgs", or "borg" (maintaining the proper plural) means that they are completely given to conformity with each other. A single person who is slavishly conformist can also be called "borg," "a borg," or a "drone."

Hacker jargon

In hacker jargon, to be a user of a Microsoft-based system is to be "Borged". This is an allusion to Microsoft's wide consumer base. There is a popular picture in circulation through the Internet displaying Bill Gates as a Borg.

External Links