Make up your mind, Janeway! (The Borg dilemma)

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by NewHeavensNewEarth, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Janeway. The Borg. Voyager. The Borg. There was a yo-yo effect in this show where you felt like these folks were meant to tango forever, with how many times their paths crossed. It's like when Megatron asks Optimus Prime, "Who would you be without me?" Then Optimus/Janeway finally does answer, and the end product is pretty messy on the floor.

    What VOY added to our knowledge of the Borg is debatable in its usefulness, contradictory at times, and doesn't quite feel like the same menacing Borg that almost took over the Alpha Quadrant with a single cube. But what gets me about Janeway's approach is her own yo-yo way of treating them like a scourge one moment, then people, then a scourge again.

    The 1st time that they enter Borg-controlled space, Janeway sides with the Borg only because she views the Borg promise of assimilation to be better than their enemy's promise of extermination. It's a purely calculated move based only on that and their ability to bargain, using the nanites. But every time she sees a cube gets blown to bits, she sheds no tears over it.

    However, it's been said elsewhere: “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him." Through her very personal interactions with certain Borg in episodes like "Unimatrix Zero" along with her daily interactions with Seven, one could argue that her position "evolved" with time, thus leading to a bizarre situation where the Borg queen is the one blowing up Borg ships, and Janeway is the one wanting it to stop.

    Yo-yo back to Janeway blowing up every Borg ship in her path in order to get her future self an audience with the Queen, thus leading to the presumed downfall of the entire Borg collective. Too much.

    Part of why it's so confusing is because it's not clear what actions lead to what outcome - even after the fact. Back when Picard was debating using the invasive program with Hugh, it was said that it would lead to the collapse of the entire collective in a way that would amount to genocide. He declines. But when Janeway injects a neurolytic pathogen, it's all good, right?

    The yo-yo between the high road and the low road is so extreme here that it's hard to make sense out of Janeway's actions or even the intentions behind the actions. She goes from humanitarian to genocidal war criminal in the blink of an eye. It makes for a story arc that's a mess, frankly.

    Here's the rest of that quote mentioned above.
    “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them.... I destroy them.”​
     
  2. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    Only Captain Kathryn Janeway could play "Lets Make A Deal" with... the Borg.
     
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  3. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    Probably true. Let's see how other Captains would have dealt with it.


    Picard
    :

    EMH
    : Notice how the alien cells are oblivious to my modified nanoprobes until it's too late.
    Paris: We could use that as a weapon. And so could the Borg. Hey ... couldn't we propose a deal with them? Something like free passage through their space while we offer them a weapon against 8472?
    Picard:Nevah! Help the Borg assimilate yet another race? We would be complicit to their evil, irrevocably chained to their depravity! They invade space, their victims fall back. They assimilate entiah world and their victims fall back. Not again. The line...
    Chakotay (hailing from the bridge): Captain, the Borg are attacking!
    Picard: How often have I told you? Nevah interrupt me when I'm pontificating! And that also goes for the Borg!
    Chakotay: But captain.... AAAARGHHHH <gurgle> ... We are the Borg. Resistance is futile.
    Picard: I'll fight you with my last lines on screen!

    Verdict: Never would have struck a deal with the Borg out of sheer principle (and spite). (Admittedly, this is movie Picard)

    With Sisko the plan would get marginally further, but:

    Sisko
    : Borg vessel. What you're receiving is a sample of the knowledge we possess. If you don't disengage your tractor beam immediately, I will have that data destroyed. You have ten seconds to comply. We know you're in danger of being defeated. you can't afford to risk losing this information. Disengage your tractor
    (Sisko is beamed away.)

    [Borg Cube]

    BORG [OC]: State your demands.
    Sisko I want safe passage through your space. Once my ship is beyond Borg territory, I'll give you our research.
    BORG [OC]: Unacceptable. Our space is vast. Your passage would require too much time. We need the technology now.
    Sisko: If I give it to you now, you'll assimilate us.
    BORG [OC]: Species 8472 must be stopped. Our survival is your survival. Give us the technology.
    Sisko No. Safe passage first or no deal.
    BORG [OC]: State your proposal.
    Sisko: Let's work together, combine our resources. Even if we do give you the technology now, you're still going to need time to develop it. By working together, we can create a weapon more quickly. If you escort us through your space we can perfect the weapon as we
    (Whumph! 8472 is attacking.)

    (later, on a private encrypted channel between Chakotay and Sisko):
    SISKO: They're going to stab us in the back... with assimilation tubules.
    Chakotay: Are you sure?
    SISKO: I am positive. The moment I mentioned 'safe passage first or no deal', we both knew there'd be no deal. Everything else was just words, a feeble attempt to lull the other side into a false sense of security. I didn't buy it, and I'm sure the Borg didn't either.
    Chakotay: How soon?
    SISKO: As soon as they can amass sufficient force to overwhelm us so quickly we won't even have time to issue a self-destruct. I'd say as early as tomorrow. Which means we have to find a way to somehow contact the Prophets from our position in the Delta Quadrant today.

    Verdict: Might have pretended to strike a deal with the Borg, but never really mean it.

    Kirk,
    then:

    Kirk:
    Open communications to that Cube, mr. Spock.
    BORG [OC]: We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is..
    Kirk: Yes, we know the drill. But what are you going to do once you have assimilated every life form worthy of assimilation? You strive for perfection, yet you can't invent anything new yourselves. What then, I ask you?
    <viewscreen switches to inside view of the cube. Drones start running through one another, hands up, seemingly without pattern. Some of them are shrieking "Illogical!", others "Irrelevant!". Stuff starts to explode. Viewscreen switches back to outside view of Cube with explosions going off on its surface, and finally the Cube itself explodes.>
    Kirk: With the Borg destroyed, and a viable defense against species 8472, I think we can call it a day. Oh wait...I forgot. Kirk to Engineering.
    Scotty [OC]: Engineering here.
    Kirk: Scotty, recreate one of those transwarp corridors , one that leads to earth, please.
    Scotty [OC]: Cap'n, I cannae change the laws of physics! Even if I had a hundred years, then still...
    Kirk: The Borg can do it, so you can do it. You've got three hours .
    Scotty [OC]: Ayeaye, Cap'n,

    Verdict: Wouldn't need to strike a deal with the Borg.

    Archer, then, finally:

    Hoshi
    : Captain, that ... cubical ship is hailing us.
    BORG [OC]: We are the <static interference making this part unintelligible>. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
    ARCHER: When I was in my early twenties on a trip to East Africa I saw a gazelle giving birth. It was truly amazing. Within ...

    Verdict: The less said about this, the better.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
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  4. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Captain Captain

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    The more the Borg appeared in Trek, the easier they became to defeat
     
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  5. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    In fairness though, that would have happened to any foe originally presented as almost unbeatably superior, whether in or out of Trek. You can have a super-threat appearing only so many times on screen before they start losing credibility (if you intend our heroes to keep suriving, that is). Even First Contact already weakened them since at the end they failed to assimilate earth … once again.
     
  6. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Captain Captain

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    I understand fully what you're saying, but maybe if the Borg hadn't appeared so often over the years, then some mystery and menace would have been retained.
    Wouldn't it be cool if our heroes knew that there was a potential threat out there, who effectively couldn't be defeated with the technology at their disposal ?
    A ticking time bomb, if you like.
     
  7. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    There are definitely writing considerations like that to keep in-mind, but in theory, the Borg should have become *more* deadly over time as they should've adapted more & more to the Federation. In Voyager, it almost felt routine after awhile to board a Borg ship and wreak havoc. The Federation could adapt, too, but it was a little silly to have that 1 ship besting the entire collective over & over again.
     
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  8. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    ^I think the best use of the Borg without spoiling their potential could have been made in Voyager had they been used as a constant threat on the background, the Voyager crew finding chilling reminders every now and then that the Borg are active in the area (like finding remnants of habitations that were forcibly scooped away such as on Jouret 4), but rarely directly seeing them onscreen "in action".
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019 at 11:03 PM
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  9. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    As a reply to the original post, is Janeway really yo-yoing that much?

    It seems there has always been a dual stance -you could almost say a cognitive disconnect- in starfleet (officers): if there is any possibility of saving humans (individuals) from the collective, then please do so; however the collective itself is a scourge that must be fought with all possible means. There is no 'bridge' between these two stances.

    Consider I, Borg. First they want to "keep" Hugh, until it becomes gradually clear to them that it might be impossible, or the costs might be very steep (Borg send out scouting parties looking for him in their territory, and so on). Then they plan to return him and destroy the collective, against which Picard finally decides. But even then, it's in the hope that the brief experience of individuality might change them forever. After this episode, he's told in no uncertain terms by Nechayev that he should have used the invasive program, so apparently that's how Starfleet's higher echelons think about the issue (or perhaps Nechayev's personal opinion). Then, in First Contact Picard tells his men:

    Of course this was in an emergency situation where they had to save their ship first, but still - rescue one from the collective if at all possible (which it wasn't in this emergency), but fight the collective itself with all means. Even Archer in the 22nd century comes to this conclusion. He tries to rescue some drones, but gives up on them when he finds some they are 'not human anymore'.

    I think we see the same in Janeway. The only time her attitude really is different is in Scorpion, since she then tries to make the alliance work . When she has the opportunity, she "liberates" 7 (and also on other occasions when she is at risk, such as in Dark Frontier). In Unimatrix Zero, it's about helping an 'internal resistance' in the Collective, so there's the potential to 'save' drones (and also cripple the Collective), whereas the Queen shows that the 'perfection' of her collective is more important to her than the numbers. In Endgame it's just about 'dealing a crippling blow to the Borg and getting to earth' ' -never about liberating drones from the Collective, and I suppose the neurolytic pathogen was OK since Starfleet apparently already made it clear that such means were approved by them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019 at 7:00 AM
  10. Farscape One

    Farscape One Commodore Commodore

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    My problem with the Borg on VOYAGER is not the amount of times they were used, but how easily they get beaten by that one ship.

    If Voyager encountered them just as often, but only barely escaping by warping or playing hide and seek in a nebula or other anomaly, the Borg wouldn't have been declawed like they did.

    Escaping the Borg is one thing... escaping them by almost always BEATING them is another.
     
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  11. Crazyewok

    Crazyewok Captain Captain

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    Remember only Picard and his crew where to pussified to release program.
    Starfleet command wanted him to do it!

    Not all star fleet captains are going to wusses.


    Picard high moral stupidity likely caused billions if not trillions of beings to be assimilated.
     
  12. Crazyewok

    Crazyewok Captain Captain

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    Picard should of been court martialed and imprisoned for what he refused to do.
     
  13. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Borg let Janeway live.

    The didn't want to assimilate or kill her for reasons we were not privy to.
     
  14. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    ^Perhaps that reason was Seven of Nine. In Dark Frontier, the Queen treats 7 almost as a lost daughter. (Though I still think she would have ended up as a drone again). This might have been some kind of prestige project for the Queen .... convincing 7 to rejoin the collective instead of forcibly assimilating her.

    Depends. Beverly mentions that it would result in the 'destruction of the species'. But what does that mean, exactly? Does it mean disabling the collective, the drones stop being drones and each go their own merry way (best case scenario) - or does it mean that all drones die? In the latter case it amounts to genocide (or at least mass murder, if you don't consider the Borg an artificial species). If that is OK, then I suppose what section 31 did to the Founders is OK as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019 at 5:11 PM
  15. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    If I may offer an additional comparison, but from a lame movie, it would be like if Neo were to kill everyone in the Matrix because they're all potential agents (and power cells/batteries for the machines). Would he be a hero? It's not a surefire argument either way, but that's partly why it's a discussion worth having. Janeway's legacy is debatable.
     
  16. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Umm the Borg did assimilate Janeway. Without hesitation. Multiple times. Episodes: "Unimatrix Zero part II" and "Q2."
     
  17. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    You ever play cards with a child, and try to lose, so that they feel good, but you can't always play bad enough on purpose to force a loss?