Star Trek Canon Database

Displaying 1 to 42 of 42 records.

Database started: 1999-07-27
Page generated: 2017-10-19

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TNG Season 2, Ep# 42: "Q Who?"

GEORDI: Security to Main Engineering -- we have an intruder.

WORF: He came right through the shields!

Q: Interesting isn't it? Not a he -- not a she. Not like anything you've ever seen. An enhanced humanoid.

The Borg: Q claims that the Borg are genderless, when we know that they are not (say what you will about 7 of 9's acting, but she's definitely female). This casts some doubt on the rest of Q's claims about their nature and motives.

TNG Season 2, Ep# 42: "Q Who?"

PICARD (addressing drone): Stop -- we cannot allow you to interfere with the operation of this ship.

(The drone ignores him)

PICARD: Lieutenant Worf.

(Worf motions, and one of his security men grabs the drone, only to be thrown several metres away. Worf draws his phaser and fires a stun blast. It is ineffective)

PICARD: Worf -- use whatever means to neutralize the intruder.

(Worf adjusts his phaser and fires again, killing the drone. Another drone appears, and Worf fires again. This time, the blast fires is absorbed by some sort of forcefield)

The Borg: this scene establishes the capability of Borg drones to survive a direct hit from a hand phaser, after being made aware of its characteristics.

Of course, some Trekkies have, in their inimitable way, used this and similar scenes to argue that Borg drones can adapt to any sort of weapon regardless of mechanism or firepower, using a peculiar form of logic which is apparently known to no one but them.

TNG Season 2, Ep# 42: "Q Who?"

WORF: Captain -- they have locked onto us with some form of tractor beam.


DATA: Whatever this beam is, Captain, it is draining our shields.

RIKER: If they pull down our shields we're helpless.

PICARD: On any heading -- warp eight engage.

WESLEY: It's holding us here!

RIKER: Increase power!

WORF: The shields are weakening.

DATA: In eighteen seconds the shields will be down.

The Borg: the cube appears to have some sort of tractor beam which can seize a starship and hold it against the full power of its warp drive. It appears to serve two functions: hold enemy ships and drain their shields. However, it seems to be useful only at very short range; 1-2 km. At longer ranges, seen later in this incident and also at Wolf 359 and the battle in STFC, it wasn't used.

TNG Season 2, Ep# 42: "Q Who?"

PICARD: Locate the exact source of the tractor beam -- lock on phasers.

WORF: Phasers locked on target.


(The Enterprise fires on the cube, with no effect).

WORF: They still have us.

DATA: Shields are down.

WORF: A type of laser beam is slicing into the Saucer Section.

RIKER: They're carving us up like a roast.

PICARD: With whatever force you need, terminate that beam ... fire!

(The E-D blows a hole in the cube)

DATA: The tractor beam has released.

RIKER: Damage report.

WORF: Sections twenty-seven, twenty-eight and twenty-nine on Decks four, five and six destroyed.

PICARD: Casualties?

WORF: Eighteen were in those sections and are missing.

RIKER: They couldn't have survived it.

DATA: A force field is maintaining hull integrity.

PICARD: What is the condition of their ship?

WORF: They have sustained damage to twenty percent of their vessel. Life support minimal.

The Borg: this scene contains several revelations:

  1. The Borg learned enough from their initial interface with the Enterprise computer to survive a low-powered phaser blast without damage. However, they didn't learn enough to resist a full-powered phaser blast until they'd experienced one first-hand. Obviously, they weren't able to take all of the information in the Enterprise's main computer.
  2. The ship automatically compensates for hull breaches with forcefields.
  3. 20% of the Borg cube was damaged (some Trekkies translate that into "20% of the cube was vapourized", using the special Trekkie translation dictionary).
  4. In the aftermath of the explosion, we could see some of the innards of the cube. Its construction was that of a wispy lattice structure, without the exoskeletal shell typical of many starships as well as real-life naval vessels.

TNG Season 2, Ep# 42: "Q Who?"

PICARD: Guinan -- what else can you tell us about these creatures?

GUINAN: I only know bits and pieces.

PICARD: Anything would be helpful.

GUINAN: They are a mixture of organic and artificial life that has been developed over a thousand centuries.


Q: The Borg is the ultimate user, with the result that they are unlike any threat your Federation has ever faced. They have no interest in political conquest -- or wealth or power as you know it. They simply want your ship -- its technology. They have identified it as something they can consume and use.

The Borg: Guinan claims that the Borg have slowly developed over the last 100,000 years, and Q claims that the Borg are more interested in the Enterprise than its crew.

However, we discovered in "Best of Both Worlds" and other incidents that the Borg are more interested in humanity itself than in any of its technology, which they regard as inferior to their own. Q's motivation for lying about Borg motives is unknown.

TNG Season 2, Ep# 42: "Q Who?"

RIKER: From the looks of it the Borg are born as biological life form. Almost immediately after birth they begin getting artificial implants. They have apparently developed the technology to link artificial intelligence directly into a humanoid brain. Pretty astounding. Something else -- I haven't seen any females.

The Borg: Riker is very impressed by the Borg's ability to create a two-way interface between humanoid brains and computers.

It also appears that the vast majority of the drones are male, hence Riker's observation. This is reminiscent of certain insect societies where females and males are stratified into different classes, often with females in the leadership position. Borg society seems to be similar, with a Queen in control of the Collective.

Wayne Poe notes that the deplorably bad "Voyager" spin-off explores this stratification in detail, and it eventually reveals that 7 of 9 is more important to the Collective (and the Queen) than is initially suspected. This lends further credence to the idea that Borg society is modelled after matriarchal insect societies (although it leads to the question of what happens to all the females, since the assimilation of a typical society would add as many females as males to the Collective but males tend to predominate on their ships. Could the assimilation process be dangerous for females, thus leading to a high attrition rate and the consequent elevation of their value? Could there be entire "capital worlds" out there somewhere, populated exclusively by females and selected breeder males?

TNG Season 2, Ep# 42: "Q Who?"

RIKER: Arm the photon torpedoes. Recommend we try to slow them down.

PICARD: Agreed.

WORF: Torpedoes armed.



WORF: They had no effect.

The Borg: the Enterprise's torpedoes were ineffective even though the Borg had not experienced torpedoes beforehand. This would suggest that a Borg cube's defenses are typically more effective against missiles than phasers, since they needed to develop an adaptation to the phasers but not the missiles.

TNG Season 2, Ep# 42: "Q Who?"

WORF: Captain -- the enemy vessel is firing on us ...

(Borg cube fires energy blob which hits the E-D shield)

WORF: There are no reports of any damage to the Enterprise.

DATA: The target was not the ship. The weapon was designed to drain the shields.

WORF: Shield effectiveness has been reduced twelve percent.

WESLEY: The Borg ship is closing.

WORF: They are firing again ... shields have been reduced by forty one percent. Another hit and we will be defenseless.

The Borg: another specialized shield-draining weapon, this time without the tractor beam that they were able to use at extreme close range in the earlier incident.

This indicates that their shield-draining weapon has much longer range than their tractor beam. This is not unusual in Star Trek; all of the various superpowers' tractor beams seem to be very short-range devices.

Ted Collins points out another possibility: their tractor beam does not work at warp, while their other weapon does.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

(after the failure of their deflector dish idea)

RIKER: They couldn't have adapted that quickly...

LOCUTUS: The knowledge and experience of the human Picard is part of us now. It has prepared us for all possible courses of action. Your resistance is hopeless ... Number One.

The Borg: the defense system of a single cube can easily deflect the deflector dish attack, indicating that it is capable of withstanding the power output of the warp core at warp nine.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

RIKER: Mister Crusher has suggested a chip might be designed that will automatically retune phasers to a random setting after each discharge.

The Borg: random frequency modulations are a method which will be used in all future encounters with the Borg, because the first shot always gets through.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

O'BRIEN: The Borg have adapted their electromagnetic field to prevent main Transporter functions, sir.

The Borg: they use an electromagnetic field for defense, even though the vast majority of Trekkies insist that electromagnetic fields and weapons are useless against Federation technology.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

WESLEY: Borg tractor beam attempting to lock on, Captain...

RIKER: Evasive manuevers... pattern Riker Alpha...

(The Enterprise slowly wallows to port, and the Borg tractor beam misses the ship entirely from less than 10 km range).

The Borg: their weapons can't be counted on to hit a 600 metre long starship at close range.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

SHELBY: Fire antimatter spread.

RIKER: Launch shuttle.

DATA: Shuttle launch sequence confirmed... departing Enterprise in three seconds.

WESLEY: The Borg tractor beam has moved toward the anti-matter spread.

GLEASON: They might be picking up engine ionization from the shuttle.

RIKER: Data, cut your engines... take her in unpowered.


WORF: Shuttle has penetrated the Borg electromagnetic field.

DATA: The shuttle escape transporter should provide adequate power to beam us onto the Borg ship from here, sir.

The Borg: the gamma radiation of the antimatter light-show blinds the Borg sensors so they cannot detect the shuttle, particularly when it is powered down. Also, the unpowered shuttle slips easily through the Borg defense field.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

LOCUTUS: There is no need for apprehension... I intend no harm.

The Borg: at this point in time, a single drone obviously lacks the ability to assimilate other life forms. Assimilation seems to be a surgical procedure, with the infamous Borg "nanoprobes" apparently being invented sometime after this date.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

LOCUTUS: The Android... Data... primitive artificial organism... you will be obsolete in the new order.

The Borg: they are not above psychological warfare. Here, Locutus attempts to cow the assembled Starfleet officers by dismissing Data as "primitive" even though we discover in STFC that he is beyond their assimilation abilities and their understanding of his brain is so limited that they are unable to extract the encryption code from his memory.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

DATA: Sir, it is clear the Borg are unable or unwilling to terminate their subspace links.

BEVERLY: That may be their achilles heel, Captain; their interdependency.

RIKER: What do you mean, Doctor?

BEVERLY: He's part of their collective consciousness ... cutting him off is like asking us to disconnect an arm or a foot... we can't do it.

The Borg: they apparently can't voluntarily disconnect a drone from the collective. As Dr. Crusher notes, that is a potential point of vulnerability, and in this case, one which Data was able to exploit.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

DATA: I successfully planted a command in the Borg collective consciousness, sir. It misdirected them to believe it was time to regenerate. In effect, I put them all to sleep.

RIKER: To... sleep.

DATA: Yessir.

RIKER: Status of Borg power drive... ?

WORF: Minimal power...

RIKER: Electromagnetic field?

WORF: Nonexistent.

The Borg: each cube can be regarded as a sub-collective, and it would seem to share many of the strengths and weaknesses of human biological processes. When you sleep, many of your autonomous functions continue to operate but your awareness of the environment is seriously reduced. In short, you become extremely vulnerable. If you're worried about threats, one solution is strength in numbers, and rotating sleep shifts; some people sleep while others remain on guard.

However, with the Borg, the entire cube can be "put to sleep" at once, hence Data's ability to shut them all down simultaneously. Of course, we might imagine that it is supposed to occur only when the ship is deep in Borg space, where there is a measure of safety. But with more than a hundred thousand drones on board, is there no reason why half the ship can't be "awake" while the other half sleeps? All real military vessels use rotating shifts to maintain 24 hour readiness, regardless of whether they're in enemy territory.

Another possibility is that they don't normally do this, but the possibility exists in the Borg command structure and there is no safety interlock to prevent it. If true, this would indicate that Borg engineering is as faulty as Federation engineering, with a single point of failure in their supposedly ultra-redundant ship.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

SHELBY: Enterprise... there are indications here that their entire power net's about to feed back on itself. I'd say we're looking at a self-destruct sequence activated by the Borg's malfunction... do you want us to attempt to disarm it?

The Borg: their built-in defense mechanism for a sleep cycle in enemy territory seems to be the destruction of their own vessel. This is a prudent measure but it wouldn't be necessary if not for the poor design of their regeneration method.

TNG Season 4, Ep# 75: "Best of Both Worlds Part 2"

BEVERLY: Life signs are stable... the DNA around the microcircuit fiber implants is returning to normal...

The Borg: their implants supposedly rewrite the DNA of the host body's cells, but those cells rapidly return to normal after the implants are removed. This doesn't really make sense; mutated cells which are viable will continue to exist and reproduce (think "cancer"). I can think of no reason why cells would magically "mutate back" to their original DNA.

However, Ryan Kitchel points out that if the nanoprobes only alter the blood cells, then this scenario is indeed possible. Unless the stem or the marrow are mutated, then the victim's blood will gradually return to normal once the implants are removed. This implies that massive blood transfusions would accelerate the process of de-assimilation.

TNG Season 5, Ep# 123: "I, Borg"

BEVERLY: He suffered massive internal injuries. We've got the hemorrhaging under control, but some of the implants in his brain were damaged. I may have to remove them.

PICARD: The Borg will die if they're removed permanently. Their brains grow dependent on the biochips.

The Borg: according to Picard, Borg implants eventually create a dependency which makes their removal impossible. This would explain why 7 of 9 is still partly Borg, while Picard was able to make a full recovery. She was a Borg for most of her life, while he was a Borg for only a few days, presumably not long enough for his brain to become dependent on the implants.

TNG Season 5, Ep# 123: "I, Borg"

PICARD: If we could get to the root command, we could introduce an invasive programming sequence through its biochip system, and then return it to the hive.

GEORDI: The Borg are so interconnected it would spread like a virus.

PICARD: Until it infected the entire Collective. We could disable their neural network in one stroke.

The Borg: this tactic remains a mystery. It remains to be seen whether it would have been successful, although it is interesting to note that Picard knows the Borg quite literally from the inside out, and he seems to think it will work.

Some have asked why they never tried it in subsequent encounters, but an obvious explanation is that it's not easy to capture a drone and then return him to the Collective without alerting them.

TNG Season 6, Ep# 152: "Descent Part 1"

SCREENPLAY: Riker and Data have taken cover behind some consoles and they are trading phaser shots with the Borg. These Borg are not acting like the calm, neutral automatons that we've become used to seeing. They are quickfooted, cunning, and ferocious. Their faces are twisted into expressions of fury and hatred... and they take care to hide behind objects to avoid being shot -- in short, they are behaving like individuals instead of mindless worker ants.

The Borg: the screenplay describes their unusual behaviour quite well (as one would expect), and the contrast reminds us of how awful Borg drone tactical initiative normally is. They're just as plodding and predictable as the creatures in Quake 1 and 2, if not more so.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 153: "Descent Part 2"

TROI: Are you saying you caused them to become individuals?

LORE: No. You and your friends did that. All I did was clean up the mess you made when that Borg you befriended returned to his ship.

DATA: Hugh interfaced with the others and transferred his sense of individuality to them. It almost destroyed them.


LORE: Without me, they would have perished. When I stumbled on their ship, they were lost, disoriented -- they had no idea how to function as individuals. They couldn't even navigate their vessel. They had lost their sense of purpose.

The Borg: an entire group of Borg drones was hopelessly corrupted by a spark of individuality in just one drone. This raises some obvious questions, since every single person they assimilate should carry at least as much individuality as Hugh did. Why don't regular people corrupt the Collective when they're assimilated?

The most obvious answer to this problem is that their assimilation process must incorporate some kind of safeguard against the thoughts of the individual affecting the programming of the whole, and that those safeguards are not in place for drones which have already been assimilated.

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

JANEWAY: We don't know exactly how many vessels are out there, but their space appears to be vast. It contains thousands of solar systems ... all Borg. We are no doubt entering the heart of their territory, there's no going around it. But there may be a way through it.

The Borg: Borg territory includes thousands of star systems. We can reasonably presume she meant "thousands of inhabited star systems", since thousands of star systems with no qualifiers would occupy a small region of space relative to other ST civilizations.

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

DOCTOR: These injection tubules are the first step in the Borg assimilation process. Once inside the skin, they release a series of nanoprobes into the bloodstream.

KES: Maybe we can develop some kind of protective shielding against them.

DOCTOR: Unlikely. The tubules are capable of penetrating any known alloy or energy field. Which means our battle must be waged inside the body itself.

The Borg: their assimilation tubules are described. These tubules may be a fairly recent development; there was no sign of them in "Q Who", "Best of Both Worlds", or "Descent".

But what does it mean when the Doctor says they can penetrate any known alloy or energy field? He might have simply been wrong; he is programmed as a medical doctor, not an engineer. However, Star Trek fans are typically loathe to admit that their favourite characters are capable of error (even when presented with irrefutable evidence).

After assuming that he is infallible, some over-eager Trekkies have interpreted his statement to mean the tubules are simply unstoppable (gee, maybe they should just make whole starships out of tubules). However, no mention is made of alloy thickness or energy field strength, and it is frankly imbecilic to assume that this omission constitutes proof of omnipotence (poorly qualified or carelessly unqualified statements are hardly proof of anything, but this wouldn't be the first time Trekkies have tried this foolishness; see the infamous "no laser" fallacy).

In any case, the doctor is obviously referring to alloys or energy fields which are both known to their materials science and light enough to be worn by a foot-soldier.

To put this sort of statement in perspective, I would point out that given a sufficiently thin sheet, I can penetrate any known alloy with a hand-held power drill and a carbide cutter.

Could Borg tubules penetrate stormtrooper armour? That remains an open question, although physical contact is unlikely if the drones cannot adapt sufficiently enough to block stormtrooper blasters (and even if they can, the stormies would quickly learn to shoot at walls and floor next to the drones, so as to kill them with shrapnel).

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

SCREENPLAY: On the graphic, we see a cell-sized Borg nanoprobe race into view, it attaches to a blood cell, and in a frightening chain reaction all of the blood cells are Borgified, turning dark and more elongated.

DOCTOR: Assimilation is almost instantaneous.

KES: They take over the blood-cell functions, like a virus.

The Borg: the mechanism of nanoprobe function is revealed, in an display that reminds me of CGI shampoo commercials. Of course, it goes without saying that this is irrelevant if the nanoprobes cannot successfully enter the bloodstream.

The fact that they must be physically injected into the bloodstream (as opposed to simply being sprayed on the subject) indicates that they are similar to bacteria, in that they cannot survive environmental conditions outside the body and they cannot penetrate the protective epidermis, so they need an "entry point" somewhere.

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

SCREENPLAY: Close on the Borg (optical) He raises his hand toward the fleshy perimeter, and assimilation tubules extrude from the Borg's fingers and penetrate the alien flesh ... instantly, the flesh crackles with energy that jolts the Borg backward slightly.

TUVOK: The Borg is attempting to assimilate it.

SCREENPLAY: A beat, then the Borg tries again (offcamera), single-minded. He is jolted backward again.

The Borg: It appears that a simple electrically charged plate would stop Borg assimilation, by frying nanoprobes and giving the drone a jolt. Mind you, it would not be easy to wear electrically charged body armour, so this may not be a practical solution.

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

SCREENPLAY: Tuvok is eyeing a large section of the wall that is scorched and torn. He scans it.

TUVOK: This damage was caused by a Borg disruptor beam. The wall appears to be regenerating itself.

The Borg: Proof that contrary to popular belief, Borg weapons were not ineffective against Species 8472. One of them had obviously blasted a bio-ship and caused enough damage to punch a hole clear through to its cockpit area (luckily for the pilot, Species 8472 can survive at least temporarily in vacuum).

Moreover, the ships heal so slowly that Voyager had time to catch up to the Borg fleet, board one of their ships, explore it, and board the attached bio-ship and the damage was still visible inside the cockpit area.

This begs the question of why they were defeating the Borg so badly, but the most obvious explanations are poor Borg combat initiative and nonexistent drone independence (an entire cube with more than a hundred thousand crewers can't fire on more than one target at a time) and horrible targeting accuracy (a Borg cube missed the six hundred metre long Enterprise-D in "Best of Both Worlds", so a cube has little chance of repeatedly hitting a much smaller, more maneuverable bio-ship).

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

DOCTOR: As you know, I've been analyzing the nanoprobes. They're efficient little assimilators; one can't help but admire the workmanship. But they're no match for the alien cells. So I successfully dissected a nanoprobe and managed to access its re-coding mechanism. I was able to reprogram the probe to emit the same electrochemical signatures as the alien cells. That way, the probe can do its work without being detected.

The Borg: the Doctor cleverly reprograms the Borg nanoprobes for stealth. Of course, the simplicity of this idea begs the question of how the entire Borg Collective could fail to think of it, but the Borg have demonstrated appallingly low creativity in combat situations, so it should not come as a surprise that their problem-solving skills are similarly deficient.

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

TORRES: We've analyzed the Borg's tactical database. They refer to these new aliens as Species 8472.

TUVOK: Over the past 5 months, the Borg have been attacked by them on at least a dozen occasions. Each time, they were defeated ... swiftly.

The Borg: Species 8472 has attacked the Borg around a dozen times over the past 5 months, which averages to less than one attack every 1½ weeks (perhaps this is how long it takes to recharge their planet-killer or planet-killers).

This means that the Borg have had nearly half a year to figure out a solution, yet we saw at the beginning of the episode that they still attack by lumbering toward their opponents, introducing themselves with their ridiculous "resistance is futile" speech and letting the enemy take the first shot. <SARCASM>Verily, their tactical brilliance blots out the Sun</SARCASM>.

On another issue, the Borg expected to be defeated in another few weeks at this rate. Even if we assume that the casualty figures (8 planets, 312 ships) reported later to "7 of 9" were only for one major attack as the Trekkies have been angrily insisting, the fact that 15-20 such attacks would defeat the Borg severely limits their total resources, far below what some over-optimistic Trekkies have claimed for them.

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

CHAKOTAY: (snip long-winded "scorpion" story)

JANEWAY: I understand the risk, and I'm not proposing that we try to change the nature of the beast. But this is a unique situation. To our knowledge, the Borg have never been threatened. They're vulnerable. I think we can take advantage of that.

CHAKOTAY: Even if we do somehow negotiate an exchange, how long will they keep up their end of the bargain? It could take months to cross Borg territory. We'd be facing thousands of systems. Millions of vessels.

The Borg: this passage is often interpreted by exaggerationist Trekkies as proof that the Borg have millions of combat vessels. However, it must be noted that Chakotay has no way of knowing whether this is true. Janeway had earlier stated quite clearly that they don't know how many ships are out there, and even with their long-range sensors on, they could not detect Borg cubes until they were already on an approach vector, just 5.8 light years away. If they can only detect cubes which are within 5 light years and which happen to be headed straight for them, how can Chakotay possibly know how many vessels are out there?

Their only concrete data is the number of star systems (probably derived by localizing Borg subspace transmissions from planets), which numbers in the thousands, not millions. For them to have millions of combat vessels would imply thousands of combat vessels per star system. Not only is Chakotay obviously pulling the number out of thin air, but he has obviously not given it much thought (as we saw later, when a Borg planet was defended by only three ships).

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

SCREENPLAY: Janeway materializes on a narrow bridge in the middle of the vast interior, a tiny figure among the thousands of Borg drones that line the walls.

The Borg: This scene was produced as described, and it showed that Borg cubes are almost entirely hollow, with vast, open interior spaces (a similar scene was shown in STFC).

This indicates that the size of Borg cubes is somewhat exaggerated; while their volume is large, it is mostly empty space. There is no intelligible reason to build their ships this way (it vastly increases their targeting profile for no good reason), and it indicates either staggering stupidity or a psychological warfare motive (making their ships look really big so they can cow their opponents into blind terror).

Some have suggested that the interior cavity may serve some useful function such as carrying captured vessels, but that is a flimsy rationalization at best; there is no visible opening through which a large vessel could be drawn in, and they could just as easily do their work inside a ship parked next to theirs rather than dragging it inside (particularly since we know they can drag ships along with them at warp speed if necessary).

VOY Season 3, Ep# 68: "Scorpion Part I"

SCREENPLAY: The corridor is piled high with dead Borg- their bodies mangled and mashed together in a bizarre "sculpture of death".


Just then something in an adjoining chamber catches his eye ... he moves to it, looks down to see a dead Borg on its back, eyes wide with shock. There is a thin alien tendril sticking out of its mouth, wrapped around its head, leading into its nostrils.

The Borg: Dozens of Borg drones were killed by the Species 8472 pilot's slashing claws. After six months of combat and an undoubtedly vast number of casualties, the Borg have still not found a way to adapt to simple physical clawing and tearing attacks.

Many Trekkies blanche at this and angrily insist that the Borg must have the technology to block physical attacks, and then proceed to construct all manner of flimsy excuses for their inability to do so when needed.

However, they appear to be willfully ignoring Newton's third law as it applies to physical impacts, as it precludes the effectiveness of physical forcefield systems generated from miniaturized body implants (such as the Borg are known to use). See the Shield Technology page for more information.

VOY Season 3, Ep# 69: "Scorpion Part II"

TUVOK: We could encase the nanoprobes in some of our photon torpedoes; in essence, turn them into bio-molecular warheads.

7 of 9: Your torpedoes are inadequate. They lack the necessary range and dispursive force.

JANEWAY: Do you have a better idea?

7 of 9: We are Borg


(shows graphical display of a Borg scout ship similar to that seen in "Descent", which will presumably be jury-rigged into a giant bomb)


A multikinetic neutronic mine. Five million isotons yield.

TUVOK: An explosion that size could affect an entire star system.

7 of 9: Correct. The shockwave will disperse the nanoprobes over a radius of 5 light years.

The Borg: they need to stop Species 8472 in a matter of weeks; how can any weapon possibly affect a 5 light-year wide area quickly enough, since even an infinitely powerful explosion cannot possibly accelerate debris beyond c?

Tuvok seems to feel that this explosion would "affect" an entire star system, but what does that mean? The Praxis explosion affected an area so large that it extended beyond the Klingon Neutral Zone into Federation space (at superluminal speeds, thus satisfying the Borg requirements in this situation), yet Quo'nos, despite being far closer, suffered only the loss of its ozone layer; not exactly an apocalyptic event. Obviously, it is not a simple matter of explosive force.

According to 7 of 9, this mine would disperse nanoprobes over a 5 light year wide area with its "shockwave". This shockwave must be similar to the superluminal subspace shockwave seen in ST6, but on a smaller scale. In short, this mine was apparently designed to hurl its payload outward at superluminal speeds in order to quickly saturate a large area. Its destructive power in normal space would presumably be poor (just as it was for the Praxis blast), since all of its energy is going into "subspace".

VOY Season 3, Ep# 69: "Scorpion Part II"

BORG V.O.: Species 8472 has penetrated Matrix 010, Grid 19. 8 planets destroyed. 312 vessels disabled. Four milion six hundred twenty one Borg eliminated. We must seize control of the Alpha Quadrant vessel and take it into the alien realm.

The Borg: This indicates that Borg losses from the latest attack are 8 planets, 312 ships, and 4 million drones. The extremely low ratio of drones to ships and planets indicates almost deserted planets; probably outposts.

There is some controversy surrounding this quote; it can easily be interpreted to describe total Borg losses (frankly, if the situations were reversed, the Trekkies would undoubtedly interpret it that way, just as they typically assume that the ROTJ fleet was the entirety of the Empire's forces).

However, if we assume that it only refers to their latest offensive, we can multiply by roughly 15 to estimate total casualties, based on the total number of major incursions in the stolen data from the Borg tactical database (let's say 20 just to be generous). That would imply total casualties of 160 planets, 6240 ships, and 80 million drones.

VOY Season 3, Ep# 69: "Scorpion Part II"

CHAKOTAY: I'm willing to let you stay on board, and we'll continue to work with you on the weapon. Once we're safely out of your territory, we'll give you the nanoprobes, shake hands and part company.

7 OF 9: Insufficient. Out latest tactical projections indicate that the war will be lost by then. The nearest Borg vessel is 40 light years away. You will reverse course and take us to it.

CHAKOTAY: Even at maximum warp, that's a five day journey, in the wrong direction. We're supposed to be heading out of Borg space, not deeper into it.

The Borg: Why can't the Borg simply intercept Voyager with their vaunted transwarp drive or better yet, their transwarp conduits? It's crawling along at 3000c; why should they have to ask it to turn around and fly backwards for 5 days? Are there limitations on where transwarp drive can be used? Were their conduits in this region of space all damaged or destroyed by Species 8472?

VOY Season 3, Ep# 69: "Scorpion Part II"

CHAKOTAY: Mister Paris, in your estimation, how long before we clear Borg space?

PARIS: According to long-range sensors, the concentration of Borg star systems is decreasing. I'd say another week ... ten days.

The Borg: After 6 months and 12 attacks from Species 8472, the Borg are in such dire straits that they won't last another 10 days (that's how long it would take to get out of their space, and 7 of 9 said the war would be over by then). This gives us an idea of how badly weakened they were.

VOY Season 3, Ep# 69: "Scorpion Part II"

SCREENPLAY: Moving slowly. A large section of Voyager's hull has been fortified with Borg technology- it resembles the hull of a Borg cube. The Borg technology suddenly activates, lighting up with power. Voyager is now part-Borg, part-Starfleet; muscular, aggressive, war-bound.

KIM: Torpedo launch tubes active, hull armour engaged, shield enhancements stable.

The Borg: Interesting. Borg hull armour must be "engaged" in order to work, which suggests that it is an active system rather than simple physical armour. One would hope so for their sake, since their armour appears to be physically flimsy (when we saw it on Voyager, it provided only porous surface coverage at best), so it would stand to reason that it requires active reinforcement.

VOY Season 4, Ep# 74: "The Raven"

7 OF 9: You are Talaxian.

NEELIX: Guilty as charged.

7 OF 9: Species 218.

NEELIX: I suppose so.

7 OF 9: Your biological and technological distinctiveness was added to our own.

NEELIX: I hadn't realized that.

7 OF 9: A small freighter containing a crew of 39. Taken in the Dalmine Sector. They were easily assimilated. Their dense musculature made them excellent drones.

The Borg: The Talaxians were just the 218th species encountered by the Borg. Interestingly enough, their natural musculature proved useful to the Borg, which confirms the suspicion that the strength of a Borg drone is due to its biological characteristics, rather than mechanical strength due to exoskeletal systems. Many Trekkies have tried to use Data's slow and seemingly difficult physical contest with Locutus as proof that Borg exoskeletons grant superhuman strength, but it is clear now that Data was merely moving slowly and holding back in order to avoid injuring Picard.

VOY Season 4, Ep# 74: "The Raven"

SCREENPLAY: 7 of 9 reacts, closes in on them. A guard takes aim and fires at her, grazing her shoulder with the beam. 7 of 9 spins around reacting in pain. She whirls on them. One of the security N.D.'s takes a step back and fires again. This time the beam activates 7 of 9's Borg shielding. She keeps on moving down the hall.

The Borg: If I recall correctly, the initial grazing shot did not take place in the televised version, and she simply used her Borg shielding to ignore all opposition. 7 of 9's ability to use her Borg shield despite the removal of her exoskeletal equipment means that Borg shielding is definitely generated by in-body miniaturized implants, not exoskeletal equipment.

This, in turn, explains why it would be pointless to modify the shield generators to deflect physical impacts, since the reaction forces would merely transmit to the tiny implants, which would be promptly torn loose inside the body, causing serious internal injuries (probably fatal for a heavy hit).

VOY Season 4, Ep# 74: "The Raven"

7 OF 9: We lived here for a long time. My father did experiments. They were very important, so we had to travel a long way. I had my birthday here. My cake had six candles, and one more to grow on. And then the men came. Papa tried to fight them, but they were too strong. I tried to hide ... maybe they wouldn't find me, because I was little ... but they did.

The Borg: the writers spit on plot continuity again. When we first encountered the Borg in "Q Who", Q was supposedly introducing humanity to the Borg for the very first time. The Borg were supposedly so excited by this brief encounter that they rushed straight to the Federation to assimilate them in "Best of Both Worlds", bypassing huge numbers of inhabited worlds between their space and ours.

But now, we discover that a pair of Federation scientists and their child were assimilated twenty years ago! Surely they learned a great deal about the Federation when they assimilated the memories of two scientists; why the rush to assimilate Earth when they "discovered" the Federation in "Q Who"?

The obvious explanation is that the writers are incompetent and careless. If we suspend disbelief, we might try to imagine that perhaps the Borg were surprised by the Enterprise's sudden high-speed disappearance in "Q Who", not realizing that it was actually Q's doing (although this wouldn't explain their continued interest after numerous encounters and assimilations).

VOY Season 4, Ep# 89: "The Omega Directive"

KIM: "I was Borg". That's what you always say, but what does it mean? You've got the knowledge of ten thousand species in your head?

7 OF 9: Not exactly. Each drone's experiences are processed by the collective. Only useful information is retained.

The Borg: apparently, the Borg Collective uses its vast intelligence (the same intelligence which left them clueless about new tactics after five months of fighting Species 8472 even tough Voyager's Holo-Doc figures it out in a few hours) to determine what knowledge is useful. In other words, it's probably pretty much random :)

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