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:
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:
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.