What's your favorite Borg origin tale? *potential spoilers*

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by RAMA, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    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:

    Origin

    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.

    Borg Invasion:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=7HggEf9xrLY

    In TNG'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.

    Legacy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anMOQ3vTy9k

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Borg Documentary:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7txo8OfYONA

    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.

    END:

    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.

    http://www.gregorybenford.com/
    http://www.worldswithoutend.com/sea...c+Center+Series&t=1&at=All&gid=0&ys=0&ye=9999


    RAMA
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  2. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't like the origin stories where humans end up being responsible. We already have a galaxy with the conceit that all important events of the last few centuries are pioneered by humans, we don't need the Borg to have been the fault of humans too. Let something important in the galaxy not revolve around us.

    The motives of the Borg are made pretty clear in the series. The goal is to attain perfection by adding the particular characteristics of every race to their own. This is a little different from the Nazis because the Nazis believed their culture was inherently perfect and everything else needed to be destroyed. The Borg believe they are not perfect yet but can attain perfection by absorbing others.

    As for the origin story. I tend to think they started when a biological species gave themselves technical augmentation to improve themselves, and then wanted to spread the gospel of perfection to the rest of the galaxy. Though the 'center of the universe' explanation is an interesting proposal.
     
  3. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    You could read "ultimate power search" equals ultimate evolution, equals "perfection".

    I think the Nazi analogy I made isn't a complete one, only that they felt they should spread thier idea through the world.

    I agree, a "human" responsible for the Borg seems so convoluted and incestuous...especially Kirk!!
     
  4. The Laughing Vulcan

    The Laughing Vulcan Admiral Admiral

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    I had a Borg origin outline wandering around my head once, and it was a little similar to the one we finally got in Trek Lit. I also gave the Borg a human origin, given that the Borg refer to Earth's location as Sector 001, and I also had a pre-Federation Starship thrown back in time to the Delta Quadrant.

    No advanced species though, just a love triangle between a female starship captain (who would become the Borg Queen), a chief engineer, and a doctor that turns excessively tragic.

    Marooned on a planet, surviving on a crashed ship, and hopelessly outnumbered by primitive inhabitants, the birth of Borg technology occurs when the engineer and doctor have to work together to save the life of the Captain, and create a cybernetic prosthesis to keep her alive when she's grievously injured in the crash. When it becomes clear that she can interface with the ship's systems following the procedure, and with a surviving crew too small to even consider repairing the ship, or getting, home, let alone establishing a colony and creating a civilisation, they realise that they can use the primitives as a labour source, by capturing them, implanting them and turning them into drones. Over the next few years, the surviving crew get implanted with control technology, and more and more of the primitives get turned into drones to service the civilisation that's now growing out of the wreckage of the starship.

    But as the doctor and the engineer compete for the Captain's affections, and the rivalry turns sour, she begins using the control circuitry to control her own crew as well as the drones, and the collective is born. When a passing spaceship pays an interest in this abberation on what should be a primitive planet, the first assimilation occurs, and the Borg as we know it start their expansion.
     
  5. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    I don't read a lot of fan fiction, but I'll look for it in the forum unless you have a link.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sounds like they got it backward. Time slows down near a black hole. It doesn't speed up.

    There are a couple of Borg-origin stories in Pocket's Strange New Worlds anthologies: "The Beginning" by Annie Reed in SNW VI, and "Forgotten Light" by Frederick Kim in SNW VII. Although, as a contributor to the Pocket novel continuity that includes Destiny I naturally favor that origin, I think "The Beginning" is an excellent alternative take. ("Forgotten Light" doesn't work so well, in part because it places the Borg's birth world someplace within the Enterprise-E's exploratory range rather than in the Delta Quadrant.)

    I've heard it proposed that more than one of the Borg origin stories could be true. Given their tendency to assimilate and homogenize, it's possible that there could've been different cyborg-collective races that developed independently, met, and merged together, one absorbing the other. So maybe Destiny and "The Beginning," or whichever mix of origins you prefer, could be equally "true."

    Although I agree, the linking of the Borg with V'Ger is totally unworkable. The two have nothing in common besides involving cybernetics.
     
  7. The Laughing Vulcan

    The Laughing Vulcan Admiral Admiral

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    It only ever got as far as wandering around my head, I'm afraid. My creative writing stinks, and is usually derivative of something I've read, seen or heard (and I only realise years later).
     
  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Destiny. I'm usually quite good as guessing endings, but the Borg's origin being told in the same story as their demise caught me totally by suprise.
     
  9. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    I've read a few New Voyages books, but I don't think I have them anymore, I'll have to look those up.

    I've read half of the Typhon Pact novels, and was intrigued by the Destiny references, but I have such a backlog of SF novels I don't know when I'll get around to it. I just bought David Louis Edelman's Jump 225 trilogy and am eager to read them.
     
  10. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I prefer the Destiny version.

    And I know there's very little chance of this getting out (assuming anyone in the present could even know about it), but...

    If word ever gets out that the first ever Borg drones were in fact humans, I wonder if there'll be any fallout from that. Never mind that they weren't willing participants, or that it happened millennia ago via time travel. Enough races were decimated by the Borg that they're going to want revenge, and they'll take it out on whoever they can. They will believe that humans are responsible for the Borg, and they won't care if that's not actually true. Besides it's not like they could ever get back at the Caeliar...

    That being said, the only thing I thought was kinda cheesy about the Destiny version was the origin of the actual name "Borg."

    Also I'd love to see how this went down in the Mirror Universe. The MU Borg are different enough that they could have a completely different origin. Of course there couldn't be a mirror Destiny, but there's lots of other origins to pick from.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually that's one of my favorite bits about it. The Borg having a human origin helps explain the otherwise contrived coincidence of a race of alien cyborgs just happening to have a name that sounds like part of the word "cyborg." I used to figure it was a name Magnus Hansen coined for them and that Guinan had come across at some point, but there were a lot of Delta Quadrant races in VGR that called them that too.
     
  12. lewisniven

    lewisniven Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I actually really like that, sort of a tragic beginning for them, suits their general ethos well.

    If I was writing the book I'd make it a delta quadrant race though, just to remove humans from the origin story
     
  13. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A Børg once assimilated my sister...

    No realli! She was Karving her initials on the drone with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush.
     
  14. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I really wanted to mention that in my post, but my copy wasn't at hand and I didn't want to botch the quote. It was awesome.
     
  15. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like the one about a harmless species who became desperate when the Founders invaded their home planet and tried to come up with an artificial equivalent of the Great Link. They created the Collective and were absorbed by their own creation, in a huge Frankenstein-event.

    Or did I imagine that one?
     
  16. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    Another vote for Destiny.