My views on the Borg Queen

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Tiberius, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

    Sep 28, 2005
    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?
  2. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 26, 2008
    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]
  3. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 29, 2008
    Go ahead, caller. I'm listening...
    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.
    Yes. This too.
  4. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

    Sep 28, 2005
    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.

    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.
  5. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 29, 2008
    Go ahead, caller. I'm listening...
    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.
  6. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

    Sep 28, 2005
    IIRC, the Borg were portrayed as a hive mind right from the start....
  7. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 26, 2008

    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.
  8. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 26, 2008
    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.
  9. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

    Sep 28, 2005
    With my model, the Borg are like this - until the Queen starts paying attention to you.

    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.

    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.

    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".
  10. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 26, 2008
    Fair points indeed. Just sometimes hard to reconcile with ones first impressions of the Borg.

    Still a scary lady, of course.
  11. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

    Sep 28, 2005
    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.
  12. Cobalt Frost

    Cobalt Frost Captain Captain

    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...
  13. Captain Randy Hall

    Captain Randy Hall Commodore Commodore

    May 16, 2001
    Columbia, Maryland USA
    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.:borg:

    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.:borg:

    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.:borg:

    Too bad. They were cool at the start.:borg:
  14. Aquehonga

    Aquehonga Fleet Captain

    Very interesting thread Tiberius:techman:

    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.

  15. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

    Sep 15, 2006
    Italy, EU
    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.

    That is actually very insightful. Never thought that. Bravo.
  16. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Personally, I always saw the Queen as something of an "escape valve" for all the mental/emotional sludge that must be coursing around the Collective, with so many enslaved drones. In other words, actually not that far off from the Armus concept, except that instead of being able to slough that off forever, there must constantly be such a vent available or else the Collective would implode under its own neural waste.

    This, to me, explains the Queen's highly erratic and emotional behavior.

    Just my own personal theory.
  17. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Oct 30, 1999
    Yeah that was the core problem - trying to sex her up and make it seem like she was chasing Data and then Seven. :rommie: Janeway and BQ were having a big ole lesbian catfight over Seven before long. Poor Borg! They got treated with zero respect.

    I guess it's possible that the BQ was petty because she was spoiled, but who wants to see a show about a spoiled brat cyborg? It just drags the whole species down.

    Plus, let's face it, the lesbian catfight was about ratings, not about any sort of logical approach for the Borg. The whole thing was sleazy and tacky.
    Yep - the BQ was a liability for the Borg, so why did they bother with any queen much less a sleazy slutty bisexual spoiled brat princess for a queen? The only possible answer is: ratings.
  18. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 18, 2004
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    I agree generally with the OP - in fact I've long subscribed to my own version of this theory too, not too dissimilar from what Nerys Ghemor suggests above - an 'escape valve' for the emotions of all of the drones. 'Collective individuality' all rolled up in one body, if you will. It may not be what the writers intended but it works, I think.

    I do also agree with the sentiment that the reason that she is generally credited for castrating the Borg is that the writers tried too hard to give her a 'personality.' Particularly on 'Voyager.' Or, contrarily, perhaps they slipped too easily into letting her be a mustache-twirler. I'm thinking particuarly of the way she behaved in 'Unimatrix Zero.'

    "Off with their heads!"

    Not verbatim, but close enough. Borg Queen, not Queen of Hearts. :p

    But I think the notion of the Queen's personality as a manifestation of the personality of the collective as essentially a spoiled little girl who's used to getting what she wants is as good, plausible retcon explanation as any, and helps me ignore those few cringe-worthy moments.
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Mar 2, 2002
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Tiberius, you have some very well-thought out ideas.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the Queen and the nature of the Borg Collective after you read David Mack's Star Trek: Destiny trilogy.
  20. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 20, 2009
    America after the rain
    I think Tiberius is right on how we should view how the Queen works in universe.

    But taking a step back, and not to overcook the analogy, my consciousness, arising from neurons, does not take the form of a single lead neuron which wants to screw things.

    The Borg Queen concept would have worked better as the consciousness of the Collective itself, without the mediator of a drone (why always female?) anointed as order-bringer, over and above the rest of the drones. Logically, the Collective can speak through any drone with a mouth, but its essence is the interaction between drone minds. Technically speaking, the Borg Collective is a program running at a level of higher implementation than the individual consciousnesses of the drones.

    And presenting such a mind as ultimately human in scope was so shockingly missing the point that I find it hard to believe that any thought was given to it in the first place. The advent of the Borg Queen in the middle of First Contact was like having V'Ger turn out to be Norman from I, Mudd, out for the revenge for having his head blown up.

    The more I think about it, though, the more I come to believe the Borg were undermined as far back as Best of Both Worlds--by incessantly demonizing them, by showing their way of life as nothing but rape and exploitation with nothing more to show for it than some cubes and (eventually) a horny greasy bald woman, the Borg became little more (indeed, a litle less) than Space Zombies in concept and in execution. Any interest I had dissipated when it became clear there was no longer, if there ever was, any ideological and philosophical argument between the Borg and the Federation, but only mere animal survival.

    Yet I picked up Destiny. Go figure. I've even almost finished it. The Caeliar were cool.

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