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Old June 18 2009, 02:49 AM   #1
Gotham Central
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The Borg, Villan or Victim?

The Borg represent a rather interesting problem for for sentient species. We always view the Borg as a menace, a soulless evil to be destroyed. Yet in reality, they are a collective composed of individuals for whom service to the Borg was not a choice. Indeed, in most instances they opposed their own assimilation. Yet few people have any problem with killing them en masse (given the opportunity). This might have been ok when we were led to view them as essentially zombies. However, we KNOW (Thanks to Picard, Hue and 7 of 9) that the Borg are not so much zombies, but slaves. Slaves who can be liberated.

On several occasions, Voyager presented a situation where people who's civilizations were destroyed by the Borg, held 7 of 9 responsible. However, even a cursory examiniation of her history shows that she was merely another victim of the collective. This begs the question, who do you hold responsible for the actions of the Borg? There are the queens, but we have no idea how much of their behaviour is is driven by their own assimilation into the collective.

This is why I think that its unfortunate that Voyager never looked into the origin of the Borg while they were in the Delta Quadrant. If there a species from which the Borg originated, they could be held responsible for the actions of the collective. Of course, its also possible that the Borg were the result of an accident, or an experiment that went ary, or even an attempt at developing AI or IT technology that worked a little TOO well.


I also think it would be interesting to consider what exactly comprises the collective. IE, who is making the decisions? How does each individual contribute to the thought process of the collective?
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Old June 18 2009, 04:34 AM   #2
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

I believe you must hold the collective at fault, but if you need to prosecute an individual it must be the Queens. She probably started the whole thing herself and cloned multiple copies of herself as the collective grew.
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Old June 18 2009, 05:23 AM   #3
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

I lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of whoever first created the Borg, and, ultimately the will of the Collective. One thing we've never seen addressed: we know there are those who don't want to be in the Collective, but are there those who actually embrace it?

As for being willing to kill drones, I look to the zombie comparison. They're not "really" alive anymore. If I were a drone and the chances of rescuing me were nil, I'd rather be shot.
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Old June 18 2009, 09:01 AM   #4
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

I think killing Borg drones is somewhat equivalent to killing rabid dogs, but there being a slight chance of being able to cure them of the 'disease'. Problem obviously being it's difficult to 'cure' individuals, so trying to 'cure' entire Cubes must seem like a somewhat insurmountable task.

'Unamatrix Zero' demonstrated that there are still individuals attempting to retain their individuality, even if only in their subconcious, so perhaps efforts on the part of those oppossing the Borg would be to create a virus or the like that would strengthen the urge for individuality, rather than just destroying the Borg materially.

As to the blame, I'd lay it upon whoever first deliberately created the technologies with which the Borg rely on for their Collective for said purpose. The problem is, is that assuming that the Collective result was a deliberate aim. For all we know, the Collective may be the horrible unanticipated result of creating a constant cybernetic link between a large groups of individuals.

The base (or subconcious) needs of most/some species to expand that most individuals probably share may of overwhelmed the conscient sentient difference between individuals, scrubbing out their 'higher' desires, leaving only the common denominating behaviours, to the point of scrubbing out any oppossing instincts.
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Old June 18 2009, 09:09 AM   #5
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

It's like Robert A. Heinlein said...we still shoot mad dogs.

Meaning it may not be the Borg's fault, but if they can absolutely not be reasoned with, we'd have to do everything possible to stop them.

One thing I found odd about how Picard dealt with them (in I, Borg) is that he, and many others, had no problem with shooting drones as they came down the corridor at them...one at a time...but what if two come around, you shoot them right?..then 5 come around...shoot them too right? Then what if 20 come around the corner?
Well, where's the line where you say "Stop shooting them! it feels like genocide!"
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Old June 18 2009, 10:47 AM   #6
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
I also think it would be interesting to consider what exactly comprises the collective. IE, who is making the decisions? How does each individual contribute to the thought process of the collective?
The impression I get is that an assimilated drone becomes a victim of mind control -- conscious thoughts are controlled and re-directed towards believing in and serving the Borg Collective's pre-existing objectives, with a smaller aspect of the conscious mind that stays normal but is "locked up" inside the drone's head, so to speak, unable to affect motor control. The mind-controlled thoughts of each drone contribute to the Collective, but they're ultimately submissive to the coordinating intelligence.

I would consider the over-all coordinating intelligence to be the Queen, and as such would hold the Queen ultimately responsible for the Collective's behavior. Given the Queen's tendency to rise from the dead, I would infer that the Queen herself is actually some sort of artificial intelligence that can be transferred from modified drone body to modified drone body.

As for the origin of the Borg... I go with what they established in Star Trek: Destiny. It was the most tragic, most heartbreaking, and most thematically and emotionally relevant version of the Borg's origin I've ever seen, and was far more moving than any of the five thousand "this-is-an-allegory-for-our-society's-current-attitudes-towards-technology-that-I-made-up-because-I'm-oh-so-SMART-and-CLEVER-hey-look-Twitter-is-going-to-turn-us-all-into-drones!" fan-created origins.
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Old June 18 2009, 10:56 AM   #7
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

Sci wrote: View Post
As for the origin of the Borg... I go with what they established in Star Trek: Destiny. It was the most tragic, most heartbreaking, and most thematically and emotionally relevant version of the Borg's origin I've ever seen, and was far more moving than any of the five thousand "this-is-an-allegory-for-our-society's-current-attitudes-towards-technology-that-I-made-up-because-I'm-oh-so-SMART-and-CLEVER-hey-look-Twitter-is-going-to-turn-us-all-into-drones!" fan-created origins.
Wow, that's definitely piqued my interest. I'm guessing it's worth a read?
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Old June 18 2009, 11:12 AM   #8
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

SilentP wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
As for the origin of the Borg... I go with what they established in Star Trek: Destiny. It was the most tragic, most heartbreaking, and most thematically and emotionally relevant version of the Borg's origin I've ever seen, and was far more moving than any of the five thousand "this-is-an-allegory-for-our-society's-current-attitudes-towards-technology-that-I-made-up-because-I'm-oh-so-SMART-and-CLEVER-hey-look-Twitter-is-going-to-turn-us-all-into-drones!" fan-created origins.
Wow, that's definitely piqued my interest. I'm guessing it's worth a read?
I think it is. Bear in mind as you read it that you won't discover the origin of the Borg until the third book, and that it's important to read it in the context of the emotions and themes developed in the previous two. It's not a heavy-handed allegory about society's use of technology -- it's much more basic and more intuitive. It's about the choices people make when facing lonely oblivion -- when facing the possibility of dying guilty and alone.

But, yeah, I think the Destiny trilogy was a wonderful and moving series of books that sheds a lot of light on the Borg -- and provides us with an interpretation of the nature of the Collective that reconciles the sometimes-contradictory portrayals of the Collective in the canon (emotionless machines in TNG vs. emotion-driven megalomaniacal Queen spouting bad villain lines from a Snidely Whiplash cartoon in VOY) -- and does so in a way that makes the Borg all the more thematically relevant than they'd once been.

ETA:

Plus... It's the first Borg story where the Borg stop pussyfooting around and actually invade the Federation en masse instead of sending one cube at a time. They pull the 300-lbs. gorilla into the room and finally deal with it realistically instead of providing the heroes with an easy out the way they did all the time in VOY.

Be aware that the resolution to the story might not work for you. But I think it works in context.
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Old June 18 2009, 11:27 AM   #9
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

Sci wrote: View Post
I think it is. Bear in mind as you read it that you won't discover the origin of the Borg until the third book, and that it's important to read it in the context of the emotions and themes developed in the previous two. It's not a heavy-handed allegory about society's use of technology -- it's much more basic and more intuitive. It's about the choices people make when facing lonely oblivion -- when facing the possibility of dying guilty and alone.
I'll keep that in mind when I start getting them.

But, yeah, I think the Destiny trilogy was a wonderful and moving series of books that sheds a lot of light on the Borg -- and provides us with an interpretation of the nature of the Collective that reconciles the sometimes-contradictory portrayals of the Collective in the canon (emotionless machines in TNG vs. emotion-driven megalomaniacal Queen spouting bad villain lines from a Snidely Whiplash cartoon in VOY) -- and does so in a way that makes the Borg all the more thematically relevant than they'd once been.
Sounds like it could be a very intriguing read I'll be sure to pick up the 1st one next time I'm in a book shop

ETA:

Plus... It's the first Borg story where the Borg stop pussyfooting around and actually invade the Federation en masse instead of sending one cube at a time. They pull the 300-lbs. gorilla into the room and finally deal with it realistically instead of providing the heroes with an easy out the way they did all the time in VOY.
Sounds messy

Be aware that the resolution to the story might not work for you. But I think it works in context.
Ah, sounds like the resolution, whatever it turns out to be something to shake one's expectations.
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Old June 18 2009, 11:41 AM   #10
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

Those books do sound interesting. I know the Borg have been linked to Vger in the past, which I'm not a fan of personally, but the Borg similarly seem to be left wanting, in their case they feel incomplete and less than perfect, their solution is to learn everything by assimilation; in that context perhaps they are victims of a large inferiority complex.
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Old June 18 2009, 05:00 PM   #11
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

Ok, now I'm curious, gotta get these books just to see what you guys are talking about!
Some time ago I had a similar thread to this one, I believe my question was "Was the creation of the Borg an accident or intentional" or something along those lines, I'll go look for it.

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Old June 18 2009, 05:11 PM   #12
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Re: The Borg, Villan or Victim?

Since I seem to be plugging them, anyway, here are some links.

Star Trek: Destiny, Book I: Gods of Night by David Mack:

Half a decade after the Dominion War and more than a year after the rise and fall of Praetor Shinzon, the galaxy's greatest scourge returns to wreak havoc upon the Federation -- and this time its goal is nothing less than total annihilation.

Elsewhere, deep in the Gamma Quadrant, an ancient mystery is solved. One of Earth's first generation of starships, lost for centuries, has been found dead and empty on a desolate planet. But its discovery so far from home has raised disturbing questions, and the answers harken back to a struggle for survival that once tested a captain and her crew to the limits of their humanity.

From that terrifying flashpoint begins an apocalyptic odyssey that will reach across time and space to reveal the past, define the future, and show three captains -- Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise, William Riker of the U.S.S. Titan, and Ezri Dax of the U.S.S Aventine -- that some destinies are inescapable.
Star Trek: Destiny, Book II: Mere Mortals:

On Earth, Federation President Nanietta Bacco gathers allies and adversaries to form a desperate last line of defense against an impending Borg invasion. In deep space, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Captain Ezri Dax join together to cut off the Collective's route to the Alpha Quadrant.

Half a galaxy away, Captain William Riker and the crew of the starship Titan have made contact with the reclusive Caeliar -- survivors of a stellar cataclysm that, two hundred years ago, drove fissures through the structure of space and time, creating a loop of inevitability and consigning another captain and crew to a purgatory from which they could never escape.

Now the supremely advanced Caeliar will brook no further intrusion upon their isolation, or against the sanctity of their Great Work.... For the small, finite lives of mere mortals carry little weight in the calculations of gods.

But even gods may come to understand that they underestimate humans at their peril.
Star Trek: Destiny, Book III: Lost Souls:

The soldiers of Armageddon are on the march, laying waste to worlds in their passage. An audacious plan could stop them forever, but it carries risks that one starship captain is unwilling to take. For Captain Jean-Luc Picard, defending the future has never been so important, or so personal -- and the wrong choice will cost him everything for which he has struggled and suffered.

For Captain William Riker, that choice has already been made. Haunted by the memories of those he was forced to leave behind, he must jeopardize all that he has left in a desperate bid to save the Federation.

For Captain Ezri Dax, whose impetuous youth is balanced by the wisdom of many lifetimes, the choice is a simple one: there is no going back -- only forward to whatever future awaits them.

But for those who, millennia ago, had no choice... this is the hour of their final, inescapable destiny.
(Yes, Ezri Dax is a captain. No, it's not as implausible as you'd think. The Destiny trilogy is set in 2381, six years after DS9. Ezri switched over to the command track in the post-finale DS9 novels, and she was the second officer aboard the Aventine when the first Borg attack began. She inherited command and assumed a field commission of captain at the age of 27 under the same conditions that Picard assumed command of the Stargazer -- and only one year younger than him when he assumed command, too. And, yes, all this is explained in the trilogy, as is any other reference to prior Trek novels.)
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