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Old March 19 2009, 12:47 AM   #1
Tiberius
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My views on the Borg Queen

A lot of people seem to think that the Borg Queen is a bad idea. In TNG, the Borg were portrayed as an unstoppable force of nature that couldn't be reasoned with, but in FC, we saw the Queen. She was unlike any drone we had ever seen. She spoke of herself as an individual, she emoted, and she seemd to have more on her mind than assimilate, assimilate, assimilate. Many people saw this as such as radical departure from the established nature of the Borg that they felt it ruined the Borg.

However, I have given it some thought, and I think I've come up with an explanation that not only shows that the existence of the Queen is plausible, logical and maybe even inevitable, but will also let us understand what the Queen meant in FC when she made those cryptic remarks "I am the Collective", "I bring order to chaos". It will even explain how the queen was able to survive the destruction of the Cube in BoBW.

The first thing we must understand is the nature of the Borg Collective. The Collective (for the purposes of this discussion) is made up of a huge number of drones connected together. They are able to share information among themselves. What one drone knows is quickly spread throughout the entire Collective. The connections between drones should be viewed as being very similar to the connections between neurons (brain cells).

When viewed like this, it is obvious that the Collective is very powerful. It allows for widespread storage and analysis of information - destroy a few drones, and you don't do much damage, because there are still millions of others that can do the job. And we have seen that the Borg are quite willing to sacrifice a drone here and there to gather information, or eliminate a threat.

But it also means that the Collective functions, for all intent and purposes, as a single massive brain. The idea is similar - whether it's neurons in an organic brain connected together, or drones in the Collective connected together.

When viewed like this, it becomes obvious that the Borg drones are the Collective's equivilent of brain cells. Just as a single brain cell by itself is practically useless, a single drone is pretty much useless as well. A single neuron can't experience emotion, neither can a drone. A single neuron isn't an individual, just as a drone isn't.

But when you connect a large number of drones together, you'd get the same sort of results that you'd get by connecting a large number of neurons together. Connect the neurons and you get a conscious mind. And likewise, connect a large number of drones together and you get a conscious mind as well.

I propose that it is this mind that we know as the Borg Queen. The Borg queen is not the body we saw in FC. Rather, the Queen is a mind that controls that body like a puppet and exists seperately to that body. The mind of the Queen is formed by the interactions between all the drones, just as our own minds are formed by the interactions between all the brain cells we have.

Using this point of view, the Queen's claim, "I am the Collective" is easily understood to mean that she is the conscious mind formed by the interactions between the drones just as we are the conscious minds formed by the interactions between all our brain cells.

Likewise, her claim, "I bring order to chaos" is understandable as well. As the conscious mind that can control the actions of the Borg drones, she is able to guide the Collective to the accomplishment of various tasks - assimilate that person, destroy that starship etc.

Thus, the Queen died in FC not when her body was destroyed, but when all the drones were destroyed - she no longer had the drones required to form the Collective, and wihout the interactions of the Drones, the Queen cannot exist. It's the same wit us - if our brain cells are prevented from interacting, who we are ceases to exist. And destroy all our brain cells (just as all the drones were destroyed), and we are prety much dead.

And we can understand how the Queen was able to survive the destruction of the Cube in BoBW. The Body was destroyed, that's all. The mind behind the body lived on.

I've done a lot of thought about this, and I have found it hard to find anything in Trek that can't be explained by this particular model. Some speculation may be required, but it is never a great amount of speculation, and it is always reasonable speculation, I think.

What do you guys think?
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Old March 19 2009, 12:54 AM   #2
mirandafave
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

There is merit in what you outline esp as it could explain in-universe the different faces of the Queen and her apparent death in FC and resurrection in Voyager.

I guess most people's gripe with the Queen rests just in how the Borg appeared more scary when faceless - Picard in BoBW talking to a huge empty cavern within the cube. Lines and lines of drones, voices speaking as one. Whoah ... chilling.

Queen? Reduces them to almost a villian of the week status - which is what they became in many people's eyes in Voyager. [And recent TrekLit]
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Old March 19 2009, 12:56 AM   #3
USS Triumphant
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

Tiberius wrote: View Post
What do you guys think?
I can buy all that. But I still don't like the Queen the way she manifested. Locutus was a better personal representative of the way I think the collective consciousness would exhibit itself in a single body. The Borg Queen seemed petty, and way too catty. If she had been written and acted as more distant and less personal, like she could see the whole universe in her mind's eye, I think it would've worked a whole lot better.
mirandafave wrote: View Post
I guess most people's gripe with the Queen rests just in how the Borg appeared more scary when faceless - Picard in BoBW talking to a huge empty cavern within the cube. Lines and lines of drones, voices speaking as one. Whoah ... chilling.
Yes. This too.
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Old March 19 2009, 12:59 AM   #4
Tiberius
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

mirandafave wrote: View Post
There is merit in what you outline esp as it could explain in-universe the different faces of the Queen and her apparent death in FC and resurrection in Voyager.

I guess most people's gripe with the Queen rests just in how the Borg appeared more scary when faceless - Picard in BoBW talking to a huge empty cavern within the cube. Lines and lines of drones, voices speaking as one. Whoah ... chilling.

Queen? Reduces them to almost a villian of the week status - which is what they became in many people's eyes in Voyager. [And recent TrekLit]
But this model allows them to keep that force of nature thing as well. After all, just as we have an unconscious mind that exists with out conscious mind, the Borg would have that as well. We know that if you beam aboard a Cube and destroy a distribution node that the Borg will attack you. This is their equivilent of a reflex action. And if they detect a ship with advanced technology, they try to assimilate it. This would require no more thought of the Queen than we need to think about scratching an itch.

USS_Triumphant wrote: View Post
I can buy all that. But I still don't like the Queen the way she manifested. Locutus was a better personal representative of the way I think the collective consciousness would exhibit itself in a single body. The Borg Queen seemed petty, and way too catty. If she had been written and acted as more distant and less personal, like she could see the whole universe in her mind's eye, I think it would've worked a whole lot better.
Actually, I think the pettiness of the Queen (and thus the entire Collective) is quite reasonable. The queen is a spoiled little girl who is used to getting her own way all the time. She's selfish and manipulative. We're all aware that there are spoiled brats out there that shower their parents with love and affection, only to run away and ignore the parents as soon as they get a lollipop. The Queen is the same way. She's so powerful she's used to just taking what she wants, and she expects to always be able to get what she wants without having to pay for it. We saw this in Scorpion. As soon as the Queen got what she wanted, she basically said "Screw you" to Voyager and tried to assimilate the ship.

When an individual (And the Collective, when viewed as a single giant mind is certainly an individual) is so powerful that they can get whatever they want whenever they want it, then they are certain to turn out as a spoiled little brat that is happy to manipulate and lie and cheat and do whatever it takes to get their own way.
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Old March 19 2009, 01:03 AM   #5
USS Triumphant
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

Another negative about the Queen concept is that, up until they showed her, the Borg were more alien. After showing a queen and drones and making them seem like a hive in that way, they no longer seemed as alien - they seemed like a rip-off of bees.

They took something original and "added" something to it that kinda took that away.
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Old March 19 2009, 01:10 AM   #6
Tiberius
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

IIRC, the Borg were portrayed as a hive mind right from the start....
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Old March 19 2009, 01:10 AM   #7
mirandafave
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

Yeah:

Another negative about the Queen concept is that, up until they showed her, the Borg were more alien. After showing a queen and drones and making them seem like a hive in that way, they no longer seemed as alien - they seemed like a rip-off of bees.

They took something original and "added" something to it that kinda took that away.
The presentation of the Queen and how bad guy is she detracts from the emotionless Borg the vast drone army, the Armada of cubes.

As USS_Triumphant states the character should have been much more inpersonal, distant. Being sly, seductive doesn't match/tally with the reality of the remainder of the Borg.

Also why create the personage of Locustus if there is a representative already in the Queen to speak for the Borg. I know that's a matter of studio/writer decisions afterwards. But surely they could have gone down that line in FC - with another representative chosen - maybe an Admiral / Captain from Wolf, a one time friend of Picard now so alien/Borg in their manner, belief etc. That in my opinion would have been scary and much harder for Picard to contend with, especially considering the lengths gone to by his own crew to rescue him.
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Old March 19 2009, 01:12 AM   #8
mirandafave
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

Yes protrayed as a hive mind - but I think the original concept viewers got was a computer link more so than a bee/hornets/wasp colony hive concept.
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Old March 19 2009, 01:25 AM   #9
Tiberius
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

mirandafave wrote: View Post
Yeah:

Another negative about the Queen concept is that, up until they showed her, the Borg were more alien. After showing a queen and drones and making them seem like a hive in that way, they no longer seemed as alien - they seemed like a rip-off of bees.

They took something original and "added" something to it that kinda took that away.
The presentation of the Queen and how bad guy is she detracts from the emotionless Borg the vast drone army, the Armada of cubes.
With my model, the Borg are like this - until the Queen starts paying attention to you.

As USS_Triumphant states the character should have been much more inpersonal, distant. Being sly, seductive doesn't match/tally with the reality of the remainder of the Borg.
That would have been more mysterious, yes, but any individual that can get whatever she wants whenever she wants it isn't going to be cool and distant and mysterious. She's going to be a spoiled brat. And she'll also be - let's face it - a slut. Exactly what we see in FC.

Also why create the personage of Locustus if there is a representative already in the Queen to speak for the Borg. I know that's a matter of studio/writer decisions afterwards. But surely they could have gone down that line in FC - with another representative chosen - maybe an Admiral / Captain from Wolf, a one time friend of Picard now so alien/Borg in their manner, belief etc. That in my opinion would have been scary and much harder for Picard to contend with, especially considering the lengths gone to by his own crew to rescue him.
I think the Queen's interest in Picard wasn't so much as to have a speaker for the Borg, but rather to exert power over him. It was a rape, after all, and most rapes are a way for the rapist to exert power over the person being raped. And by having Picard speak for the Collective, it is the Queen showing what she has done, and thus exerting that same power over all Humans. Making Humans fear what she has done, and making them fear that they will be next.

mirandafave wrote: View Post
Yes protrayed as a hive mind - but I think the original concept viewers got was a computer link more so than a bee/hornets/wasp colony hive concept.
And the model of the drones connected together does fit that much better than it fits the hive of bees. The insect analogy came about because of the way the drones work together to "perform ship functions".
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Old March 19 2009, 01:33 AM   #10
mirandafave
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

Fair points indeed. Just sometimes hard to reconcile with ones first impressions of the Borg.

Still a scary lady, of course.
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Old March 19 2009, 01:45 AM   #11
Tiberius
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

Of course. That mean streak combined with the Queen's sheer unpredictability is the scariest thing, I think. After all, the Borg as a force of nature are predictable, despite the scariness. The queen has the same scariness, combined with unpredictability.
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Old March 19 2009, 02:51 AM   #12
Cobalt Frost
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

Very well thought out and articulated; I never thought of the "neuron/brain" analogy, but it works much better than the insect model. I suspect it was the hands of writers who were unable to fully understand the Borg's potential that saw the Borg reduced to "villain of the week".

Still, there were plenty of "scary Borg moments" to go around...
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Old March 19 2009, 03:05 AM   #13
Captain Randy Hall
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

USS_Triumphant wrote: View Post
Another negative about the Queen concept is that, up until they showed her, the Borg were more alien. After showing a queen and drones and making them seem like a hive in that way, they no longer seemed as alien - they seemed like a rip-off of bees.

They took something original and "added" something to it that kinda took that away.
Let me start that I am SICK to death of seeing the Borg all the time. They were in TNG, First Contact, and Enterprise, to note a few. I agree that the initial view of the Borg was much more terrifying before the Queen was brought on board.

Battling the Borg was like confronting a herd of grasshoppers. They didn't have a central person you could outmaneuver or trick. You couldn't say, "Look there, That's Raquel Welch," and pull some trick that got you out of a jam. You had no choice but to overpower them force to force.

Every time the Borg showed up, they've been diluted. At first, they just wanted our technology. Then they wanted Picard as their spokesman. Then Lore came along and served as their version of Jerry Falwell. Then the Borg Queen was brought in, and now you had someone to trick and dance your way out of the mess.

Too bad. They were cool at the start.
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Old March 19 2009, 03:19 AM   #14
Aquehonga
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

Very interesting thread Tiberius

I agree with your observation(s) & thoughts on the Borg Collective.

The Collective is 1 huge complex brain & consciousness. It is very much like neurons & a, the brain as a whole.

Similar, if not the exact same thing, with hymenopteran insects (ants, bees, wasps, hornets) & isopteran insects (termites). The entire anthill, beehive, wasp or hornet nest, or termite colony, nest or mound is one gestalt consciousness, like the Borg, the xenomorphs of the ALIEN(S) films & the Sandkings of the 90's Outer Limits pilot.

The individual hymenopterans & isopterans are like neurons, as well as arms/legs/etc, & the Queen Hymenopterans/Isopterans are the brain, & also heart as well, of these insect's hive-mind consciousness. Analogous, parallel, if not identical, to the Borg drones relative to the Borg Queen, the xenomorph soldiers/workers relative to the Xenomorph Queen, or the sandking workers/soldiers relative to the Sandking Queen.

Hope my take on all this was useful.

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Old March 19 2009, 03:28 AM   #15
iguana_tonante
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Re: My views on the Borg Queen

Tiberius wrote: View Post
What do you guys think?
I think that there are some very good points, and it fits my personal idea about the Borg, just put down better than I could ever have done. It also fit well the established canon, even if in reality I think there wasn't so much though about the decision to include the Queen, just the need to have a face to relate for the occasional movie-goer that would not understand what the Borg were.

But when people say that the Borg Queen was a bad idea, I think they mean more in terms of story and pathos than the actual workings of the hive mind. And in that regards, I agree with them.

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Actually, I think the pettiness of the Queen (and thus the entire Collective) is quite reasonable. The queen is a spoiled little girl who is used to getting her own way all the time. She's selfish and manipulative.

When an individual (And the Collective, when viewed as a single giant mind is certainly an individual) is so powerful that they can get whatever they want whenever they want it, then they are certain to turn out as a spoiled little brat that is happy to manipulate and lie and cheat and do whatever it takes to get their own way.
That is actually very insightful. Never thought that. Bravo.
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