The Borg are a race of cybernetic organisms from the Star Trek universe and are usually depicted as a near-unstoppable enemy of the United Federation of Planets and virtually all life in the galaxy. They exist as a collective of various alien life-forms that have all been interconnected through cybernetic technology into a unified hive-mind. This hive-mind is driven to seek out and assimilate new species and new technologies in order to achieve what it considers to be "perfection". To this end, the Borg have mercilessly attacked and conquered thousands of worlds, assimilating countless millions and slaughtering anyone who tries to fight back. With each new conquest, the Borg's technology advances and adapts, making the collective ever more powerful.
Several stories regarding the Borg's origins have been told, but none are considered canon. When they were first shown in the Next Generation episode "Q Who?", Guinan stated that the collective had been developing over thousands of centuries. Stories written since then have contradicted that statement, mentioning that the Borg have only existed for as long as a few thousand years. One popular theory is that humanity may be inadvertantly responsible for the Borg's creation, since the V'Ger space probe that appears in Star Trek: The Motion Picture was of human manufacture and had travelled to a world inhabited by sentient machines. It is unlikely that the Borg's full origins will ever be fully revealed, however.
In 2365, the Borg had already conquered most of the Delta Quadrant of the Milky Way galaxy. They made their first contact with the Federation when a lone Borg cubeship came across the USS Enterprise-D in a Beta Quadrant system that the collective had destroyed 100 years prior. The Borg recognized the Enterprise as a worthy target and attempted to assimilate the vessel, but the omnipotent being called Q whisked the Starfleet vessel back to its own space. During that first encounter, however, the Borg had gathered information directly from the Enterprise's computer banks and knew where the vessel had originated from. The same cube that had made contact with the alien ship then made its way toward Federation space on a mission of assimilation. It would arrive a year later, attacking and destroying a Federation colony and a Starfleet ship before re-encountering the Enterprise.
The Battle of Wolf 359Edit
Despite the Enterprise crew's preparations, their defensive capabilities were no match for the power of the Borg, who abducted and assimilated Captain Jean-Luc Picard so that they could use his knowledge and experience to bring about the downfall of the Federation. As they made their way towards Earth, they engaged Starfleet at the Wolf 359 star system, obliterating 39 ships in a fleet of 40. The Enterprise would later catch up with the Borg vessel and initiate a plan to rescue Captain Picard. This plan was successful, and while the Borg hung in orbit above the Earth, the Enterprise crew used Picard's link to the collective to plant a command to the invading cube. The command ordered all drones on the cube to enter their regeneration cycle, putting them to sleep. A malfunction occured as a result, triggering a self-destruct sequence aboard the cube. When the cube exploded, Captain Picard's link to the Borg hive-mind was severed.
The Battle of Sector 001Edit
After the Battle of Wolf 359, Starfleet had a few encounters with rogue Borg who were cut off from the hive-mind. Their next encounter with the collective came in 2373 when a Borg ship destroyed the Federation colony on Ivor Prime while en route to Earth. Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-E were ordered to stay out of the fight since Picard's lingering connection to the Borg made him a potential liability, but the captain disobeyed Starfleet's orders and joined the battle as the Borg approached Earth. With Picard coordinating the fleet, the tide of battle turned in Starfleet's favour and the Borg cube was destroyed, however a smaller spherical ship was launched from the cube just before it exploded. Using temporal displacement technology, the Borg sphere created a time vortex that took them back to the 21st century, just before humanity had achieved warp travel and was recovering from a third world war. The planet was defenceless and would have been assimilated easily, but the Enterprise followed the Borg sphere through the vortex and destroyed it before the Borg could kill Zefram Cochrane, the man who invented humanity's first warp drive. Though their ship was destroyed, the Borg managed to beam over to the Enterprise and quickly began assimilating the ship and its crew. Thanks to Captain Picard and Lt. Commander Data - who had released plasma coolant gas into the engineering section - the Borg all died following the death of their queen. Despite this loss, the Borg would recover to plague humanity again in the future. The struggle wasn't over yet.
The Species 8472 ConflictEdit
While they had failed yet again to conquer the Federation, the Borg still remained a threat to the galaxy at large and were now spreading their menace beyond the boundaries of the Milky Way. They had forced their way into another universe entirely, into a region of fluidic space populated by a race that the Borg referred to as Species 8472. These aliens were regarded by the Borg as the pinnacle of biological evolution, possessing destructive power unlike anything the collective had seen before. Their biology was so complex, in fact, that the Borg were unable to assimilate them. Species 8472 took the Borg's entry into their space as a clear sign of aggression and retaliated by declaring a campaign of extermination not only against the collective but all life in the galaxy. For five months, the Borg endured numerous attacks by the aliens and lost every engagement. The tide of the war turned when the lone Federation starship - USS Voyager - had reached Borg space on its journey through the Delta Quadrant on its way back to Earth. They had been researching ways of resisting Borg assimilation by analyzing nanoprobes recovered from dead drones in the Nekrit Expanse, and had begun looking into a means of using the Borg's nanotechnology to fight Species 8472. Captain Kathryn Janeway negotiated with the collective for safe passage through their territory, in exchange for the weaponized nanoprobes. An agreement was reached and the two uneasy allies developed a biomolecular warhead that could damage the otherwise invincible alien bioships. The warheads were successful in destroying a number of the alien vessels, deterring Species 8472's invasion and prompting them into returning to fluidic space. With the alien menace gone, the Borg terminated their alliance with Voyager and intended to assimilate the ship. However, their representative drone Seven of Nine was the only surviving drone on the ship and Voyager's crew managed to stop her and sever her link to the collective.
The Borg Civil WarEdit
In the year 2377, the Borg became aware of a virtual environment that existed within the collective called Unimatrix Zero. Certain drones throughout the collective possessed a recessive mutation that allowed them to enter this virtual environment and exist as individuals. The Borg Queen began systematically identifying and deactivating any drones with the mutation, but the proccess would take centuries before all the mutant drones were discovered. As the queen planned the destruction of Unimatrix Zero, the Zeroes reached out to Seven of Nine, who used to be one of them. The crew of the USS Voyager then became involved in the conflict and tried to assist the Zeroes in organizing a resistance movement against the collective. Developing a nanovirus that could nullify the cortical inhibitor implants of the Zeroes, Voyager attacked a Borg tactical cube and Captain Janeway and two of her officers boarded the vessel. They allowed themselves to be assimilated, but remained separate from the collective thanks to a neural suppressant that prevented them from falling sway to the Borg's hive-mind. With the nanovirus already in their bodies, the three infiltrators used their new Borg implants to download the virus into the cube's central plexus, transmitting throughout the collective instantly. As the virus spread and the Zeroes emerged from their regen cycles, they retained their individuality in the real world and worked toward sabotaging the collective from within. The Borg Queen attempted to curb the Zeroes' resistance by commanding several Borg ships across the galaxy to self-destruct, killing their entire drone complements which numbered in the thousands just to eliminate a handful of renegades. The Zeroes were too widespread for self-destruction to be effective, and so the Queen modified Janeway's nanovirus to attack every drone with the mutation. The queen ordered the captive Janeway propose a compromise to her crew on Voyager, telling them that Unimatrix Zero could no longer exist. The Voyager crew convinced the Zeroes to exit Unimatrix Zero completely so that they could delete the construct altogether. With the Zeroes now free in the real world and their virtual homebase gone, the Borg had no way of eliminating the rebel drones without self-destructing the entire collective. How long the Zeroes' rebellion would last remains unknown.
In 2378, the Borg once again were forced to deal with the nuisance that the Voyager crew represented. The vagrant Starfleet ship had discovered on of the collective's six transwarp hubs thanks to the aid of a future version of Kathryn Janeway who had travelled back in time to get Voyager home early. Admiral Janeway offered her future technology up to the Borg Queen, in exchange for letting Voyager use the hub to return to the Alpha Quadrant. The Queen was able to locate the admiral's shuttle hiding within the Borg Unicomplex and had her beamed into the central nexus where the Queen assimilated her personally. Unknown to the Queen, Admiral Janeway had injected a neurolytic pathogen into her system prior to beginning her mission. The pathogen infected the Queen and spread across the collective, disrupting their entire subspace network. The Queen and Janeway both perished and the Unicomplex self-destructed. Voyager had meanwhile used the transwarp hub to return to the Alpha Quadrant, using the admiral's transphasic torpedo weapons to destroy the subspace manifolds that held the tranwarp network together. The hub collapsed and the entire network was destroyed, rendering the other hubs across the galaxy useless. With the loss of their transwarp network and primary base, the Borg were left crippled and supposedly defeated for good.
Although the Borg suffered tremendous losses thanks to Voyager, they would continue to pose a threat to the Federation in the Star Trek novels set after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis.
The Borg possess some of the most advanced technology ever seen in the galaxy. Everything they possess has been assimilated from another culture, though which cultures these technologies came from is known only to the Borg themselves. Below are some of the commonplace abilities that the collective have achieved over their centuries of domination.
- Regeneration - Borg vessels are capable of regenerating any damage they sustain. All Borg ships and facilities contain alcoves for drones to interface with when they require rest or are injured. The energy supplied by the alcoves replaces the Borg's need to eat and restores the cells of the body which die naturally over time. Because of this, the Borg are practically immortal and do not age the same way that normal organic life-forms do.
- Nanotechnology - Nanotechnology is essentially the foundation behind all Borg tech. Microscopic, self-replicating nanoprobes are present in all Borg systems and are designed to rebuild and reinforce any and all systems aboard ships and the drones themselves. They are the Borg's primary tool in assimilation and will remake and transform any biological or artificial bodies they infect.
- Adaptability - The Borg are highly adaptive and will analyze every aggressive action taken against them and work toward an effective countermeasure. This capability has made the Borg a seemingly invincible foe.
- Transwarp - All Borg spacecraft are capable of travelling at speeds that far exceed the warp capabilities of most races in the Star Trek universe. Although all their ships can make transwarp jumps, navigation whilst in transwarp is difficult. The Borg have built a network of permanent transwarp conduits that allow them to deploy forces anywhere in the galaxy within minutes. The network is sustained by six hub stations which are located throughout the Milky Way and are heavily defended at all times. The loss of one transwarp hub can result in the loss of the entire network. Voyager was able to destroy a transwarp hub in the Delta Quadrant, which left the collective's various branchpoints cut off from the central nexus point.