As the most popular, restored tale of the Borg will hit the stores in April, I figured it's a good time to look back on STNG's most popular enemies. If you haven't read the sources of these origins you may want to look away.
If you look closely enough they are out there...here's what we have so far:
The origin of the Borg is never made clear, though they are portrayed as having existed for hundreds or thousands of years (as attested by Guinan and the Borg Queen). In Star Trek: First Contact
, the Borg Queen merely states that the Borg were once much like humanity, "flawed and weak", but gradually developed into a partially synthetic species in an ongoing attempt to evolve and perfect themselves. This theme or relation to humanity is repeated in other sources.
s "Q Who?", Guinan mentions that the Borg are "made up of organic and artificial life [...] which has been developing for [...] thousands of centuries." In the later episode of Star Trek: Voyager
, "Dragon's Teeth
", Gedrin, of the race the Vaadwaur, says that before he and his people were put into suspended animation 892 years earlier, the Borg were just a few assimilated colonies inside the Delta Quadrant and viewed somewhat like a minor pain. Now awake in the 24th century, he is amazed to see that the Borg control a vast area of the Delta Quadrant. Seven of Nine comments that the Borg's collective memories of that time period are fragmentary, though it is never established why that is.
The Star Trek Encyclopedia speculates that there could be a connection between the Borg and V'ger, the vessel encountered in Star Trek: The Motion Picture; this is advanced in William Shatner's novel The Return. The connection was also suggested in a letter in Starlog No. 160 (November 1990). The letter writer, Christopher Haviland, also speculated that the original Borg drones were members of a race called "The Preservers", which Spock had suggested in the original series episode "The Paradise Syndrome" might be responsible for why so many humanoids populate the galaxy. It was confirmed in the The Next Generation episode "The Chase" that an ancient species seeded hundreds, if not thousands of planets with their DNA, creating the Humans, Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians and many more. Coincidentally, in the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (written by Gene Roddenberry), the V'ger entity notes that the Ilia probe is resisting the programming given to it because of residual memories and feelings for Decker, from its precise replication of the Deltan lieutenant. When V'ger becomes aware of this, it decides that "the resistance was futile, of course".
The extra section of the game Star Trek: Legacy contains the "Origin of the Borg", which tells the story of V'ger being sucked into a black hole. V'ger was found by a race of living machines which gave it a form suitable to fulfilling its simplistic programming. Unable to determine who its creator could be, the probe declared all carbon-based life an infestation of the creator's universe, leading to assimilation. From this, the Borg were created, as extensions of V'ger's purpose. Drones were made from those assimilated and merged into a collective consciousness. The Borg Queen was created out of the necessity for a single unifying voice. However, with thoughts and desires of her own, she was no longer bound to serve V'ger. This explanation, however, is not canon.
I hate this origin most of all, it makes NO sense whatsoever. V'Ger was from a machine planet, they were sentient but very logical. It was confused only by its merging with the Voyager probe and it's resulting damage. It got what it wanted...something new to explore in a desired MERGING with human beings. This and The Matrix movies are the greatest examples of a positive Singularity in film..in both cases after some conflict, there is a merging or working together and peace. It's the exact opposite of assimilation. Tacking on a Borg origin to this story cheapens the good ending of STTMP.
In the graphic novel Star Trek: The Manga, the Borg resulted from an experiment in medical nanotechnology gone wrong. An alien species under threat of extinction by an incurable disease created a repository satellite containing test subjects infused with body parts, organs, and DNA of multiple species along with cybernetic enhancements put in place by advanced medical technology. The satellite was maintained by nanomachines, which also maintained the medical equipment on board. The medical facility is parked in orbit by a black hole, and along with the anomalous states of time around the black hole, allows long-term research to continue at an accelerated time scale rather than in real time speed. The medical facility deteriorates and so too does the programming of the nanomachines. The nanomachines began infusing themselves into the patients, interpreting them as part of the satellite in need of repair. Among the patients is the daughter of the head medical researcher of the satellite. The satellite eventually falls apart in an encounter with an away team from the Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk. In the final moments of the satellite's destruction and the escape of the crew members of the Enterprise with the patients, the subjects display qualities inherently resembling the Borg; injection of nanomachines in a fashion like assimilation, rapid adaptation to weaponry, and a hive mind consciousness, as all the subjects begin following the whim of the daughter. As succumbing to the disease was inevitable, and the corrupt nanomachine programming infused itself into the bodies, the final image of the page of the manga Borg origin is left with the daughter turned Borg Queen, stating, "Resistance is futile."
A medical accident cause by Kirk?? Well he DID seem to hate machines didnt he? This doesn't really seem to fit well with the few "canon" elements we do have, mainly from Voyager and First Contact, still I could entertain the idea the Borg were not an intentional result of directed medical knowledge from an advanced species. More likely though, as many scientists as well as science fiction authors suggest, most biological species will likely end up as mechanical AI or partially mechanical at some point.Species will eventually outstrip the biological limitations and even we as a species in 2013 have already ended our biological evolution.
In the novel Lost Souls (the third book in the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy) the Borg are revealed to be the survivors of the Caeliar city Mantilis. Thrown across the galaxy in the Delta Quadrant and back in time to approximately 4500 BC by the destruction of Erigol at the climax of Gods of Night, the first book in the trilogy, a group of human survivors from the starship Columbia NX-02 and Caeliar scientists try to survive in a harsh arctic climate. Most of the human survivors die of exposure, while several Caeliar are absorbed into their race's gestalt to give life to the others in their group mind.
The Caeliar offer the remaining humans a merging of human and Caeliar, to allow both groups to survive. The human survivors are resistant and as time goes on, the Caeliar called Sedin becomes the sole survivor of her group, her mental processes and her form both degrading as time goes on. When the humans return to Sedin for help, she forces them to merge with her, unwilling to allow herself to die when a union can save her life. The forced merging of the humans and the mostly-decayed Caeliar results in the creation of the first Borg, the name being created due to the fragmented thought of the first drone as he was assimilated (His last thought was that he would not become some cyborg, with his individuality ceasing before be could finish thinking the final word). The gestalt group mind is perverted to become the collective, driven by Sedin's desperate hunger and need to add the strength, technology and life-force of others to her own. Ironically, while the Caeliar were–albeit accidentally–involved in the creation of the Borg, they also provide the means to end it; in the 24th century, the Caeliar absorb the entire Borg collective back into themselves, ending the cyborgs' centuries-long reign of terror.
This is more like it, I haven't read the books (I started reading the series after it)but I like this one better. I like the irony of the ending though I'm not sure I buy it. I also think the thrown in time part is a bit convoluted. It seems possible that sheer survival might lead to this evolution..a group mind could be perverted, and it also provides an origin for the "Queen". Still I'm not completely satisfied.
So finally here's my take on it: a slightly revised and condensed origin of the Borg I've posted since the late 90s.
ORIGIN OF THE BORG
I have an interesting idea for the Borg. It is based on the Galactic Center series of novels by Gregory Benford. In it, he hypothesizes that all lifeforms that are intelligent/advanced enough, would seek the rich energy at the center of any galaxy--especially ones with black holes at the center--which spew forth gamma, radio, and all sorts of energetic waves. This would be an ultimate source of energy for any species, and an ecosystem similar to hot vents at the bottom of the sea, which supports many various lifeforms, despite the difficulty in existing there. However, organic life may find existence at galactic center too difficult. The ecosystem would cause the organic forms to die, and their hardy machines to continue on. The machines would "evolve", create new, more advanced machines. The best machines would exist closer to the black hole, natural selection would shape their form, they would get the best of the energy while less advanced forms would absorb photons further out. There would be predators, prey and parasites, as in any biological ecosystem. My idea is that the Borg are at a level of machine evolution where they are part man, part machine--very advanced, but less advanced than the other machines which Benford calls mechanicals, or "mechs". The Borg have sent out numerous ships to gather all raw materials in a desperate attempt to accelerate their evolution, and catch up to the mechs. They want that energy! The only means of traveling that distance to galactic center in a reasonable time is by the transwarp conduits they use. Most of the oldest Borg exist at galactic center fighting for scraps like scavengers. The Borg "queen" was one of them, and was entrigued by Data and humans after being gone so long from the rest of the galaxy. Hence her behavior in STFC.
The mechs on the fringe of galactic center will be mostly interested in their absorption of energy, however, close rivals will surely struggle with, and pursue them, giving the Borg's hunt a sense of urgency. In Benford's books, the most advanced mechs near the event horizon of the black hole have shed their advanced metal/ceramic bodies, and become pure energy, as in the biological model. Many of the mechs will exist as "herds" of gigantic sheets of energy-absorbing "wing" or solar-type panels. Some of them will be gigantic, as they live in zero gravity, and try to maximize surface area to collect energy waves. Photovores dozens of square miles in area are common. They will be hunted by packs of jagged-shaped metallic predators called metallovores that can absorb energy and materials in fusion furnaces, and turn them into needed alloys, as the sun has been fulfilling the old alchemist's dream of transmutation of matter. Mech ships would be created out of several large, mech bodies, and would have a segmented, complex look. The most advanced metallic mechs even have weapons that can distort space-time itself. You can see what the Borg would be up against.
So far in ST up to DF, the Borg origins are left enigmatic, and no doubt this will be the case for a long time because the writers would not want this fascinating race to lose any of their mystery. But most people I have seen tend to overlook that their reasons for assimilating(if not their actual creation/origin) are mentioned time and again. They simply feel theirs is the best way..they feel the enhancement of lifeforms is their prime directive, and unleash their single-minded collective will on everyone they encounter. Is this a satisfying reason? Possibly, its not unlike the Nazi ideal of Aryan perfection, and so they appear to be like the stormtroopers in SW--which to me is somewhat of a disappointment. They should be much more interesting than this, and I feel my idea above supplies the rationale that does not conflict much with established history. In Dark Frontier, the Queen mentions that she is of an assimilated species, now this could still mean she is one of the oldest Borg, or it could be the NEW queen is a newer species and that the original Queen we saw is still from a similar but older species (just speculation if it were to fit into my origin). I feel that the idea she is a coordinator rather than leader of the Borg has as much evidence as the common conception of her because of the "hive", "insect" and hierarchical analogies that seem obvious.
While the evolution to AI/mechanical species is a common concept in fiction (Culture series, Anvil of Stars, etc) and within speculation of scientists (Hawking, Dick, Bostrom, Marovec, Benford, Vinge, et al) I felt I should credit Benford with the direct inspiration.