The Seven Wonders of the Fictional World – #7: The Borg
Ah yes… the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. We all have, at one point, looked at things like the Colossus of Rhodes, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Pyramids of Giza with child-like wonder. How were they built by ancient societies? Could we build such things today? What purpose did they serve?
While the true answer lies in the past and may therefore never be found, our imaginations constantly draw on these things as inspiration for equally mysterious and wondrous fictional locations, people, and stories. Man’s mind did, after all, developed the actual wonders… and it is with equal imagination that fictional companions exist. They may not be real, but they have the same level of thought and care put into their creation and design.
I was inspired by the Star Wars movies to start this series of posts, as they alone contain dozens of fictional people, places, and ideas to fill an encyclopedia. I chose seven items from various works of fiction to put on my “Seven Wonders of the Fictional World” list, each item getting it’s own post and some great detail on them for those who may not be familiar with all of them. I realize that there are plenty of things that would qualify to be on this list, so don’t assume that I am any authority on this sort of thing. These seven items that I chose reflect the depth of imagination and wonder that the actual wonders of the world showcase.
Let’s start with a race of beings that are truly mysterious… and quite dangerous.
#7: The Borg Collective
Fictional Origin: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Introduced: May 8, 1989 – Season 2, Episode 16: “Q Who”
There is no fictional enemy more thought out than the Borg. Their exact creation/origin was never revealed to Star Trek audiences, but their goals, disposition, and unrelenting search for perfection is clear from the moment they are introduced. Each time they show themselves, they are met with fear and horror, and they are nearly unstoppable, even with the science of the 24th century at one’s disposal.
The Borg are a cybernetic race of humanoids who operate as a Hive-mind entity. There are no individuals in the collective, but instead drones who carry out the will of the hive mind. They have one goal: achieve perfection through cybernetic enhancement. They work to achieve this by assimilating any information they can gather. Unfortunately, this is usually accomplished by finding and subjugating any organic life forms they encounter. Each time they run across a race they feel will enhance their own, they assimilate the people of the race by injecting them with nanotechnology to quickly, and violently, turn each being into another drone. Within moments of injection, the nano-tech evolves and takes over the body of the victim, creating cybernetic links to the collective, as well as other mechanical enhancements to the organic tissue. The memories, knowledge, and technology of each victim and their race is added to that of the collective.
When they were first introduced, it was revealed that the Borg have operated as such since well before the 15th century. They have killed trillions of beings and eradicated countless races of aliens throughout the galaxy. As part of their technological assimilation, they have achieved a level of scientific advancement that is centuries ahead of any other race they seem to encounter, allowing them to easily overpower their next target and continue the cycle. They are virtually impervious to standard weaponry and have the ability to quickly adapt to threats they have not seen. A common example of this is seen in the television show when characters fire on Borg drones. Usually the first few blasts from a phaser will kill one or two drones, but a few seconds later, their personal shields adapt to the weapon, rendering it useless on any other drone in the collective.
In Space, their ships are very unimaginative, and yet unimaginably powerful. The Borg use ships shaped as cubes and spheres, with no visible engine, shield, or life support system. The interior is littered with a labyrinth of corridors and alcoves where drones complete various tasks while the hive mind directs ship operations. Maturation chambers contain the infantile forms of Borg (assimilated or cloned) where future drones are developed into adulthood at an accelerated rate.
Since their first introduction in 1989, the Borg have been the single greatest reoccurring threat to humans and other races in Star Trek. They have successfully assimilated important people, such as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and various other alien leaders, and have shown abilities to manipulate time & space to achieve their goals. A famous example is in the movie Star Trek: First Contact, where the Borg attempt to go back through time to assimilate humanity before they achieve first contact with the Vulcans. Thankfully, the Enterprise, thwarted this plot, but even in failure, the Borg adapted.
The Borg continue to be a large part of what drives the current Star Trek story forward. They are infinite in number and due to their hive nature, they are tough to eradicate. Even in the face of Humanity’s best ideas, like computer viruses, restoring drone individuality, and provoking other races into fighting the Borg, they have not been able to stop the collective from assimilating more people and eliminating more races across the galaxy.
Below are two great clips from the First Contact movie where the Enterprise crew engages the Borg in both space and direct contact. Hopefully you get an idea of how terrifying they really are.
This first clip is of the Enterprise joining the Federation’s second fleet at the Battle of Sector 001. Picard, having been assimilated and subsequently rescued six years prior, has a special instinct when it comes to fighting them, and provides the killing stroke the fleet needed.
This second clip shows how quickly the Enterprise was being transformed by the Borg once they boarded it. The crew fights back, but they quickly adapt… You also get a nice glimpse at how organics are assimilated. Brutal.
The Borg are so powerful, and yet we barely understand them as an audience. Of all alien species, they continue to be the most alien to viewers of Star Trek, and therefore deserve to be counted among the wonders of the fictional world.
~Jimmy “Google the term “Seven of Nine” to see some female Borg greatness.” the G.
This post has a Shenanaganary rating of:
“Time to Regenerate”