Reports of my assimilation are greatly exaggerated.
-Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Module BI-08T: The Borg: Part 1
Some enemy threats deserve their own discussion and the Borg is, unfortunately, among them. When that fiend, Q, introduced us to this disturbing menace, we were comfortable in our technological complacency with most aliens we engaged, but the Borg blew all of that out of the proverbial waters. They absorbed tech from species faster than the Collective could utter the words, “You will be assimilated,” and far surpassed us in every way we could imagine. Provoking existential humility, to say the least. We had to up our game and do it quickly before these bionic zombies consumed everything in their path, including over a hundred and fifty, comparatively, wimpy planets in Federation space.
We were first introduced to the Borg when Captain Jean-Luc Picard stood his ground against Q’s usual verbal assaults rather than submit to his dismissive belligerence. Q was opining about things in the universe far worse than we could envision. (Worse than him?) But, understandably, Picard thought he was bluffing. And for this, Q hurled the Enterprise-D so far away, light years barely describes it. Only to come to a full stop before a massive tritanium cube. Darn you Q!
Initially, Picard and crew were curious. What intelligent lifeform builds a non-aerodynamic ship resembling a gray-scale Rubik’s cube? Absolutely nothing threatening about it. So, these space Sherlocks initiated the customary array of investigative tools and started poking around. Then they heard a prelude to the least of ominous things to come. “We have analyzed your defensive capabilities as being unable to withstand us. If you defend yourselves, you will be punished.” Hubris doesn’t even begin to cover this.
Soon, it became apparent the Enterprise crew failed to display the proper respect for this technologically-superior species when, despite damage from much-needed phaser fire, the oversize cube began eerily regenerating itself. It was time to go. They immediately turned tail and ran. Ran for all their brief lives were worth. But the Borg were hot on their warp trail. And when they were about to overtake their coveted prize, Picard verbally genuflected to Q, shouting, “I need you!” Just the words a bored, narcissistic immortal wants to hear. He snatched them out of there almost as fast as he flicked them in. However …
A year later, finally assimilating their way to Federation space, the Borg destroyed a distant colony to officially announce their arrival. When Enterprise-D and crew confronted them, the Borg captain-napped Picard. A truly unusual move since we know Borg absorb whole civilizations at a time, not the occasional wanderer holding a “make it so” sign. The Borg made it so and after a few modifications, renamed Picard Locutus. From Locutus, they gained valuable knowledge of the Federation and, at Wolf 359, used that knowledge to destroy more starships than should be conscionable for evil invading aliens. By the time Enterprise-D caught up with them under field-promoted “Captain” William Riker, that region of space looked like a starships-for-sale junkyard.
But Riker turned out to be a better captain than the number one and wrested Picard/Locutus from the Borg’s death grip. And since turnabout is fair play, Picard’s knowledge of the Borg put the remorseless drones to sleep. Whilst still sleeping, they dreamed they’d never complete their world-assimilation quota and, rather than endure excruciating disassembly by the Borg queen, hit the self-destruct button and sent themselves to forever la-la land. Who is the Borg Queen? Hmm …
Meanwhile, the Borg launched a major push into Federation space. Picard would eventually exclaim, “We’ve made too many compromises already. Too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here … this far and no further.” No wonder when they found the drone, Third of Five, Picard was willing to do anything they could to survive.
Third of Five was barely alive in the wreckage of a Borg scout ship. Picard thought “nothing to see here” and ordered the away team back to the ship. But the fatally-forgiving, Dr. Beverly Crusher, pleaded for its life, and they brought the thing on board and gave it an attractive name, Hugh. Surprisingly, that turned out to be a good thing. We extracted so much tactical intelligence from this one drone that the Borg seemed almost defeat-able.
Turns out that all Borg brains contain a biochip they’re unable to survive without. Picard’s deviously marvelous plan was to “introduce an invasive programming sequence” to Hugh’s biochip system and then reintroduce him to his relentless brothers. And because the Borg connect like neurons in a giant hideous brain, the program would transform into a virulent synaptic impulse, infecting and disabling their entire neural network. But bleeding heart Dr. Crusher intervened (again) saying it was “not right” to wipe out billions in this very ingenious way. And she kept up her incessant whining until Picard changed his mind and returned Hugh-Borg to the Collective virus-free.
Six years later, the Borg (you know it) unsatisfied with the results of the first lone cube they sent to Sector 001, decided to send another lone cube to Sector 001. The arrogance of this many minds communing together just wouldn’t allow for more ships. Good thing, too, because one cube was still doing a pretty good job of kicking our collective assessments.
But Picard/Locutus’ synaptic processes, once again, came to the rescue, directing a fleet of starships to fire on a seemingly inconsequential area of the Borg ship. But before the cube turned into an enormous fireworks display, the sore losers ejected a smaller spherically-shaped ship. This ship then opened a time portal and escaped into the past. When the Enterprise-E pursued it, they saw 9 billion Borg living on Earth. That’s right. In one of the many alternate timelines, you (if you existed at all) are a Borg.
Nevertheless, Picard and crew made it to the year 2063, where the time infractions took place, giving them a chance to correct the Borg’s temporal hatchet job. Turns out it was just a few days before Zefram Cochrane famously made his shuttle-run into warp drive history. For a brief moment in time (pun intended), they foolishly believed they had successfully defeated the Borg since they destroyed the slippery sphere when exiting the time stream. Wrong. Borg are like Xindi probes. Just when you think you’ve eradicated them all, more show up in the unlikeliest of places.
The time-bouncing cyborgs clandestinely beamed aboard the Enterprise-E and began terraforming the ship. And who would finally make her appearance known? The Borg Queen. What, you ask? Why was this bewitching bee queen on a lone cube, far from Borg space, overseeing what can easily be described as a routine acquisition? A task that millions of drones have presumably handled alone for over a millennium. Why else would any sentient half-humanoid female do anything so stupid? She was looking for vengeance.
Pissed off at Locutus/Picard for abandoning her (didn’t matter that his friends forcibly abducted him), she immediately started flirting with Data to take his place. “Are you familiar with physical forms of pleasure,” she whispered. An exquisite Data temptation for a whopping 0.68 seconds. Eternity for an android. But Picard crashed the party and broke up their hot cyborg/android kiss.
The queen then instructed Data to destroy Cochrane’s ship before it could leave a warp signature. “Watch your future’s end,” she gloated as three quantum torpedoes glided toward the ship. Planet hell hath no fury like a Borg queen scorned. But Data’s synthetic-lover tactics deceived her, and he overshot the ship by a hair. Then thwarting the queen’s galactic pursuit of a man’s warm embrace, Data and Picard tossed her into plasma coolant and watched her ambitions die. And just to be sure, Picard broke what was left of her pretty cyber-neck. Talk about rejection of the third kind.
Earth was once again saved by the combined efforts of womanizing males with a roving eye, but, unfortunately, that was far from the last stand of the evil Borg Queen. If only vindictive time-traveling queens could be so easily dispatched. Part 2 of this article will illustrate just how problematic she truly would prove to be.
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