The Borg are a cybernetic race originating in the Delta Quadrant. They have only one driving goal: perfection through the assimulation of species, cultures, and technologies. In this pursuit the Borg are relentless. They have been a persistent threat to the Federation and all other sentient lifeforms they come in contact with.
The Borg are part organic, part artificial, fused into a single hive consciousness that eradicates individual personalities. Hence, all Borg think and act the same, their single "mind" controlled by a highly sophisticated central processor called a vinculum. Each Borg base or starship (a "cube") has a vinculum, which unites Borg consciousness through a unique subspace frequency. Each member of the Borg Collective, called a drone, receives and emits signals from its home vinculum. The "thousand" voices it processes and transmits flood through the minds of all drones, uniting them in a single (if cacophonous) "hive" mind.
Individuals exposed to the chatter of Borg minds on the Collective's frequency find it hard to concentrate, and often feel as if they are going mad. The only relief is to either shut off the frequency and the voices, or to lose one's individuality into the Collective - to become a drone.
Borg "breed" by assimilating other beings from various species and cultures. They capture these beings and inject nanoprobes into the victim's blood, which then grow microcircuit fibers throughout the body, taking over its functions. This expands into corticsl implants and neural subprocessors, effectively replacing the subject's brain with a Borg brain, one that receives directives on the Borg frequency.
Sometimes, new drones are grown in maturation chambers, genetic vats that take organic entities from fetal stage into adulthood, implanting devices during its development. More often, however, drones originate as assimilated beings. These assimilated drones, if removed from the Collective, must begin a long, hard process of remembering their former lives and redeveloping an individual sense of self. This task is hardest for those beings who were assimilated as children, before they matured. Separating a drone from the Collective is not easy, for the Collective will usually seek to reintegrate lost units. Homing beacons attract them to the wayward drones.
Species to be assimilated are designated by a species number (humans are Species 5618). Assimilation doesn't simply involve turning a person or group of people into Borg; it also involves merging their memories - especially those concerning technology - into the Collective, so that the Collective can grow, gaining new technologies to better assimilate new species. As the saying goes: "We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own."
Some species are unworthy of assimilation - they are judged to have no distinctiveness or technology worth adding to the Collective. The Kazon are one such species. The Borg ignore species or beings that pose them no threat. This often makes it possible for some people to walk among them - even in their starship cubes - without being bothered by the drones, who go about their work, which takes greater priority than bothering with harmless intruders. One the intruders prove harmful, however, the entire weight of the Collective is turned against them.
The Borg do have one being who seems at times to have an individual personality: the Borg Queen. This individuality, however, is an illusion, for "she" is in fact a highly sophisticated artificial intelligence generated by the synergy of the Collective's thousands of minds, based on the core organism and personality of an assimilated drone (Speces 125, to be exact). She can manifest in any Borg ship that has the proper material with which to form her body. She has a degree of autonomy and creativity unseen in any drone, and represents as close a thing as the Borg can get to a central brain. If she is destroyed, it sets back the tasks of the entire Collective until she can manifest again.
Most of the Borg encountered have been humanoid, but it is possible that there are non-humanoid drones in ships of their own. Borg mix organic and artificial structures. Their flesh is kept alive by biochips that synthesize whatever organic nutrients the species requires. If denied this technological upkeep (through a long-term power outage, perhaps), their flesh quickly necrotizes. To stave off such a death of the flesh, the Borg must also regularly undergo regeneration sessions by standing in specially designed alcoves. When they have no immediate tasks assigned to them by the Collective, they plug themselves into their alcoves until needed.
If a drone dies, it can still be reactivated up to 73 hours later using special nanoprobes (this technology was gained by assimilating Species 149). Drones too damaged to function are deactivated and either scavenged for parts or vaporized. A drone that learns it is irrelevant to the Collective will willingly deactivate itself. Likewise, any drone demonstrating the ability to think or feel for itself will also be deactivated.
All that a Borg needs to operate indefinitely is a power source. They have adaptable energy conduits that can siphon energy from just about any source.
Thanks to the constant tactical monitoring of all Borg by the Collective, each drone can adapt its armor and energy shields to resist enemy attacks. All an enemy usually gets is one or two good shots before the Collective has analyzed its weaponry and developed a defense against it - a defense given to every Borg linked to the vinculum of the ship or base being attacked.
Borg drones appear to be quite homogenous. While their basic facial features and body types remain the same after assimilation, drones all wear the same black armor and are fitted with an array of technological implants, the most recognizable being the glowing, round eye that replaces one of the drone's original eyes. One limb is usually replaced with an artificial device bearing numerous tools and even weaponry. They stop growing hair and their skin turns a grayish, ash color.
The Borg homeworld was completely assimilated long ago, and is now a teeming mass of organic matter and machinery working together in a strange, horrifying grid toward purely practical but ultimately meaningless goals. The homeworld is no longer unique or necessary to the Collective, except as another node in an ever-increasing, star-spanning domain.
Despite the enormous threat posed by the Borg, few races - in any quadrant - have any real knowledge of Borg history. Surely, buried deep in the memory of the Collective, is some account of what this world was once like before the Borg claimed it entirely, but none know this story. Did it host a culture of scientists whose race for the next big technology blinded them to the dangers of their experiments? Who or what was Species 1? The answers to these and similar questions are unknown and, given the present state of the Borg, now meaningless.
The Collective is an amalgam of all cultures it has assimilated, but it doesn't practice or celebrate any of them. Instead, it values only cold efficiency and practical work. It drones do the jobs assigned them, and when done plug themselves into their regeneration alcoves until called up again for more labor. The Collective's only urge is to assimilate new technologies. The unique diversity of other species is only meaningful to it so far as it can be turned toward technological uses. Emotions and morality are literally meaningless, wasted sentiments.
The Borg really do not have a culture in terms that most individuals would understand. However, they instead assimilate other sentient races into the collective and add that culture’s “distinctiveness” to the collective’s, thus making the Borg collective a melting pot of all cultures that the Borg have come into contact with.
The process of assimilation is painful and after such a process, the new drone is considered to be dead by members of its former race. The process begins with a drone injecting nanoprobes into a victim. The nanoprobes then start the assimilation process and prepare the victim for the complete process, which normally entails the removal or replacement of approximately fifty percent of the victim’s organic biology. Sometime during this process, the victim loses all sense of individuality and essentially becomes a drone.
Once the assimilation process is complete, the drone is programmed to carry out a certain task on the ship it’s on. The drone can perform this duty with devastating efficiency as it draws from the collective knowledge of the entire hive mind.
In the collective, there exists one central consciousness, a nucleus, from which order is found in the chaos of the collective mind. This is personified in the Borg “Queen” who acts as the central voice of the collective. “She” provides order and strategy for long-term goals, one of which is the assimilation of the Federation.
The Borg can call upon all the languages of every species it has assimilated. Borg drones speak no language of their own, but instead communicate in impulses and programming codes through the Collective;s unique frequency.
- Bridges, Bill, et al. Star Trek Roleplaying Game Book 5: Aliens, Decipher, 2003. ISBN: 1582369070.