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RavenCWG March 23 2011 06:07 AM

Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
In the beginning were the Borg, and the Borg were cool! They were unlike anything we had ever seen in Star Trek before, unlike any other aliens the Federation had ever faced. They were the embodiment of evil. If Q represented a "god" archetype in TNG, then the Borg was the devil. And yet, in another sense the Borg were no more evil than the unstoppable forces of nature, like the storm that destroys or the disease that kills. A Borg cube, along with its thousands of drones, essentially functioned as a single entity. There were no individuals in the Collective, no one leader making all of the decisions; instead all drones functioned, like cogs in a machine serving the will and needs of the collective whole. That was by far the Borg’s greatest strength. I love how Infinix put it in a post in another thread:

Quote:

infinix wrote: (Post 4793843)
The original Borg were basically a virus that assimilated or destroyed everything in its path. It has no emotions, it has no ulterior motives, it does not negotiate and it does not back down. The Borg was not supposed to be a civilization that you send delegates to. The Borg was not supposed to sign treaties with anyone. The Borg was not supposed to operate under the guidance of a Queen.

By far the biggest change made to the Borg in ST:FC (and which was subsequently perpetuated on Voyager) was the introduction of the Queen. To me, the very idea of them having a Queen flew in the face of everything we knew about the Borg. Sure they turned Picard into Locutus, but that was a special case, solely a means to better facilitate the assimilation of humanity, based on the Collective’s interpretation of Picard’s memories and experience. But, for the writers to suddenly switch and say that the Borg have this one leader, calling all the shots, secretly manipulating the Borg from behind the scenes, who could be killed and thereby throw the entire Collective into chaos was just totally unacceptable to me. I had to find some way to redefine the Queen, to somehow make her fit better into the original concept of the Borg. Then it suddenly hit me…the Queen isn’t actually a person at all, rather she is the anthropomorphication of an idea, or more specifically, an ideology. In the United States, for example, we talk about "Uncle Sam" to refer to the Federal government; likewise there is Lady Liberty, and justice is often represented as a blindfolded woman holding a scale. These, however, are mere fictional characters representing ideas, but the Borg Queen is far more than just a mere symbol; she has life and intelligence and the power to enforce the ideals she represents. The next logical question then becomes, “What DOES she represent?” Well, I see her as the embodiment of something very similar to “Big Brother” from George Orwell’s book “1984”.

Speaking of “1984”, I have, from the very beginning, felt like that book (with some modifications) could make a perfect and very logical back-story for the origin of the Borg. (If you have never read "1984", shame on you! It's a classic. Read it!!!)

Consider these two short excerpts:

Quote:

from 1984 by George Orwell wrote:
'It is time for you to gather some idea of what power means. The first thing you must realize is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual. You know the Party slogan: "Freedom is Slavery". Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. Alone—free—the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal.'

----------

'The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy...everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life.'

Do these not sound like philosophies out of which the Borg could very well have evolved? In FC, the Queen stated that the Borg were once like humans--weak, organic--but that they evolved to include the synthetic. I take this as conformation that the Borg indeed began as an organic specie, very similar to humans, rather than, as some have proposed, that the Borg started out as a race of living machines that learned to assimilate organic beings. This being the case, it seems very reasonable to think that the Borg as we know them could have evolved from just such a totalitarian state, one which eventually turned to cybernetics to achieve the ultimate fulfillment of its nightmarish goals. If this conclusion is correct, then the Queen may very well be, as I stated above, the embodiment of the philosophy and will of the State--a living, breathing "Big Brother", fulfilling much the same role as O'Brien in the "1984" story. Her purpose: to put down dissention and to ensure that the collective will is kept in line with the founding philosophies of the original Borg. Given that the Borg do not reproduce in the biological sense, it is highly unlikely after 900+ years any of the original species that transformed themselves into the Borg still remain, and therefore the Borg as we know them would now be made up entirely of other assimilated species. This would make the need for some kind of an over-arching control mechanism even more essential, because without it the Collective would simply collapse into chaos under its own weight as conflicting philosophies from other species were assimilated into an ever changing Collective.

But the question remains—“Is the Queen a real person and an individual?” I tend to think the answer is no. The physical persona of the Borg Queen that we see is really no more an individual than any other drone, and her physical body is ultimately irrelevant. The essence of what “she” is (i.e. her consciousness, her memories, her personality) is most likely some kind of A.I., part of the Borg's original programming, which is transferable to any designated "Queen drone" which can then perform that function for as long as needed. This, if true, would go a long ways towards explaining the Queen’s response to Picard's question regarding how she survived the destruction of the first Cube that attack earth. Rather then directly answering the question, she instead chastised him for thinking in such "three dimensional terms". As cryptic as that answer might seem, it actually makes sense if her essence is not tied to a particular body (i.e. a "three dimensional" physical form), but is instead virtual--a basic, programmed function of the Collective--then she would be essentially immortal and "eternal".


Well, I’ve rambled on long enough for now. Sorry this is ended up being such a long post. But I am very interested in seeing what you all think of my take on the Borg Queen.

C.E. Evans March 23 2011 07:07 AM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
I think in general, the more you know about a Trek enemy, the less scary they become. As a monolithic, seemingly unstoppable force of nature that couldn't be remotely reasoned with, I think the Borg were scary as hell in "Q, Who?". They were running the Enterprise down and only divine intervention literally saved her.

The moment you start to talk to the Borg and have a civilized conversation with them about their wants and desires, it's over. It could be said that the "de-fanging" of the Borg began with "Best of Both Worlds" when the Borg suddenly needed Picard to be their spokesman for the assimilation of the Human race. From that point on, the Borg ceased to be a true group entity as Picard was clearly an individual among them as "the Borg King" in that story. In that regard, a Borg Queen might have been inevitable at some point no matter what as a female version of Locutus.

The Borg were more or less originally written as a race of space zombies--and zombies don't have a leader. They simply come at you either individually or in a mob. Having them take on a hive-like command structure with a designated leader, makes them not too unlike other Trek villians, IMO. The Borg Queen becomes essentially another moustache-twirling nemesis and the Borg drones her fairly easily felled foot soldiers...

BlobVanDam March 23 2011 07:42 AM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
It seems most people dislike the Borg Queen idea, but I for one had no issue with it. Anyone else not really mind? I totally understand and appreciate the concerns and points, but to me it didn't diminish the impact of the Borg. Would they have been better off without the Queen idea? Maybe, but I don't view them as any worse for it either.

Alienesse March 23 2011 10:32 AM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
Well, I can't say I mind the Borg Queen really. To me, the Borg remain one of Trek's most impressive villains with or without her, but I can't say I much like the idea of a Borg Queen idea either.

RavenCWG, I find your parallel between the Borg and the model of society presented in Orwell's 1984 rather well-founded. But I think, in contrast to Big Brother / O'Brien, the Borg Queen ended up taking away the very idea of a collectivist juggernaut that made the Borg scary and unique in the first place. And that's why her introduction diminished the Borg's villain power.

david lowbridge March 23 2011 12:50 PM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
she wasnt the worst idea in ST... certainly defanged the borg, but it also made stories a little more interesting for the borg, otherwise it would have been the same story over and over again...

King Daniel Into Darkness March 23 2011 12:52 PM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
There was a season five Star Trek: Enterprise episode pitched where a human Starfleet medical technician played by Alice Krige makes contact with the 22nd century Borg, is assimilated and becomes the Borg Queen. It was supposed to explain her obsession with Earth and humans.

I can imagine some fans being furious at the idea of that, but I think it would have been cool. Maybe Archer blew her body to smitheens or something.



Personally I think the Queen is a manifestation of the Borg's directives and goals. I think she was made her a bit too petty and human, though (which the ENT episode would have justified)

Rom's Sehlat March 23 2011 03:06 PM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
Then the Borg Queen would have lived like 300 years or so? Even for a human in the ST universe, that's a long time. Those Borg implants do improve lifespan... so how long will Seven live then?

Anwar March 23 2011 03:22 PM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
Having a leader can still be done while having a "Hive Mind" type enemy. The Cybermen in Doctor Who have Cyber-Kings and Cyber-Emperors while still remaining a Hive Mind.

Gojira March 23 2011 04:12 PM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
I liked the idea of the Borg Queen. It gave more life to the Borg who where on their way to becoming very ineffective. It gives them something more concrete to interact with.

infinix March 23 2011 04:47 PM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
Ignoring why the Borg would require a mouth piece for a second. Had the Borg Queen truly been nothing more than a mouth piece (like Locutus was), I would not have been as annoyed at the concept. But the Queen we see is obviously much more than a mouth piece. She was looking for a partner basically to help her rule the Collective. Gone was the will of the Collective and it was replaced by the will of the Borg Queen.

As a result of having the Queen, the Borg lost their singular collective mind of "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile" and replaced it with "You will be assimilated. After the Queen gets what she wants, and when we get around to it."

Think about it, don't you think the Borg could have easily overwhelm the crew and assimilate all of E-E if the Queen had not been hell bent on finding a mate? Yes, I understand that you can't make a villain that our heroes can't destroy. But I would have liked it a lot better had Picard actually blown up E-E to destroy the Borg, and either show they somehow rigging a Deus-Ex-Machina temporal device to get home, or have the temporal police come and pick them up.

Though if that had happened, there is no way the Vulcan sensors wouldn't pick up the explosion. damn... there sure are a lot of annoying parts in the TNG movies.

Deks March 23 2011 04:47 PM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
I think the Borg's 'effectiveness' diminished with Queen's introduction.

I liked how they were handled without one in Q: Who, TBOBW and Scorpion.

They were actually like a force of nature in those episodes.
The queen was nothing more than a gimmick to cater to the masses because apparently the public is too stupid to envision a concept of a hive mind without a leader of any kind.

As the Borg described humanity in TBOBW: "Your archaic cultures are authority driven."
And that's what sets them apart from others in the galaxy.
It's that they were based on a concept which most humans (but not all) were incapable of envision to work in practice.

For crying out loud, even TNG started out while being based on concepts that contemporary majority of people were not able to digest entirely.
They keep saying money doesn't exist in the 24th century, and you have people who keep coming up with ideas that would effectively kill that premise simply because they cannot wrap their minds around the thought that human society is capable to function without money.

As the shows progressed, the characters and their mannerisms were turned effectively into early 21st century humans... just in space, and kept forgetting how to use the technology at their disposal because the writers apparently were incapable to write the drama around the setting.

Anduril March 24 2011 02:21 AM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
I always viewed the Borg Queen as sort of the Agents in The Matrix. She could manifest herself wherever and whenever needed. Like any drone could be transformed into the Queen if need be.

ngc7293 March 24 2011 03:53 AM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
Everyone has been saying the words Hive and Drone a lot and they go well with a Queen Bee. The queen need not have gone anywhere and you could still have had the drone ships. If you go along with the Bee idea then killing off one Queen does not mean you have chopped off the head of the Borg. There would be a lot more Queen hives throughout Borg space.

RavenCWG March 24 2011 05:37 AM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
Quote:

C.E. Evans wrote: (Post 4830983)
I think in general, the more you know about a Trek enemy, the less scary they become. As a monolithic, seemingly unstoppable force of nature that couldn't be remotely reasoned with, I think the Borg were scary as hell in "Q, Who?". They were running the Enterprise down and only divine intervention literally saved her.

The moment you start to talk to the Borg and have a civilized conversation with them about their wants and desires, it's over. It could be said that the "de-fanging" of the Borg began with "Best of Both Worlds" when the Borg suddenly needed Picard to be their spokesman for the assimilation of the Human race. From that point on, the Borg ceased to be a true group entity as Picard was clearly an individual among them as "the Borg King" in that story. In that regard, a Borg Queen might have been inevitable at some point no matter what as a female version of Locutus.

The Borg were more or less originally written as a race of space zombies--and zombies don't have a leader. They simply come at you either individually or in a mob. Having them take on a hive-like command structure with a designated leader, makes them not too unlike other Trek villians, IMO. The Borg Queen becomes essentially another moustache-twirling nemesis and the Borg drones her fairly easily felled foot soldiers...

I totally agree with you, that the Borg were certainly at their most frightening conceptually in "Q, Who?", and that they have been on the decline ever since. Like you, I much preferred the Borg as a bunch of techno-zombies with no leader. Personalizing the Borg, giving them a spokesperson who can converse and be negotiated with, ultimately dilutes the purity of the original concept. (This is certainly not a mistake unique to Star Trek and the Borg. Almost the exact the same thing was done was done to the Replicators in Stargate; they were really cool as long as they were basically just an unstoppable infestation of mechanical termites, but were completely ruined with the introduction of the Human-form Replicators.) I too wish that the writers had never come up with the idea of the Borg having a Queen, but unfortunately they did, and so, like it or not, we are stuck with her. The best we can do now is to minimize the damage by finding a way to redefine her, not as a leader in any conventional sense, but rather as a kind of control mechanism, a programming hold-over that echoes the origins of the Borg more than it defines their present state.

Quote:

infinix wrote: (Post 4831665)
Ignoring why the Borg would require a mouth piece for a second. Had the Borg Queen truly been nothing more than a mouth piece (like Locutus was), I would not have been as annoyed at the concept. But the Queen we see is obviously much more than a mouth piece. She was looking for a partner basically to help her rule the Collective. Gone was the will of the Collective and it was replaced by the will of the Borg Queen.

As a result of having the Queen, the Borg lost their singular collective mind of "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile" and replaced it with "You will be assimilated. After the Queen gets what she wants, and when we get around to it."

Think about it, don't you think the Borg could have easily overwhelm the crew and assimilate all of E-E if the Queen had not been hell bent on finding a mate?

You are right that the Queen is far more then just a simple mouthpiece like Locutus was. But as I postulated in my original post, I see the Queen as representing the “Will of the State,” and as such her function in the Collective is to maintain order and to insure that the ideologies of the original Borg are preserved and adhered to. This would, under normal circumstances, be predominately an internal function, that would go completely unseen outside of the Collective; and even within the Collective itself, her presence and influence would not necessarily be conspicuous. (Think of some object in your house that you have walked by a thousand times. On some level, you know it’s there, it’s in plain sight, but you never even think about it unless something about it changes to draw you attention to it.) Seven of Nine, for instance, seemed genuinely surprised and confused by the Queen’s existence when they first met (Voy : Dark Frontier) or at the very least by the Queen’s behavior towards her; as she put it, “The Borg have changed as well. I expected re-assimilation, not conversation.” So if the Queen’s role is normally subtle and covert, then why the sudden paradigm change? Perhaps it’s because humans represent a different kind of threat to the Collective then it is use to facing, not a tactical or technological threat, but an ideological threat. Perhaps it is our deep-seeded sense of individuality and our love of freedom and self-determination that could potentially damage the Collective in a way no weapon ever could. (How wonderfully Star Trek is that!) Perhaps it is for just this type of threat for which the Queen exists to protect against, and that therefore is why she has taken such an obsessive interest in humanity. She knows it is no longer enough to simply assimilate humanity. Human’s individuality has become like a disease to the Collective, but to cure that disease she must first understand it before she can subvert it. Again I see so many parallels between the Borg Queen’s methodology and arguments and those of O’Brian in “1984”, that it’s almost frightening how similar they are.

Tiberius March 24 2011 08:25 AM

Re: Just some random thoughts about the Borg Queen...
 
The Collective is a single giant mind, formed by all the drones etc working together.

The Borg Queen is that mind. THe body played by Alice Krige is just a puppet. That's how she kept coming back. The mind was never destroyed, just the body.


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