Borg Queen

The mysterious Borg Queen lives at the center of the Borg collective, in an area designated Unimatrix 01. Her exact role within the collective remains unclear and her nature, which appeared to combine a form of individuality with the Borg’s collective consciousness, often seemed contradictory. The Borg Queen had a sense of individuality and personality that Borg drones lacked. She was extremely intelligent and perceptive, and was very adept at manipulating individuals. Only Locutus—the assimilated Captain Jean-Luc Picard—ever demonstrated this kind of self-awareness and understanding of a non-collective existence. When the Borg communicated with other races, thousands of voices were normally heard speaking in unison. But the Borg Queen had been known to contact individuals, “speaking” with her own “individual” voice. Although the Queen may have appeared to be an individual, she maintained that she was just as much a part of the Borg’s collective consciousness as any drone. For the Borg Queen, the concepts “I” and “we” seemed interchangeable. In her own words, she was “the one who [was] many.” Her dual individual/collective nature could seem confusing, and the Borg dismissed humanity’s thinking as “too linear” to fully understand her existence. It may be appropriate to think of her as the “single” manifestation of the Borg’s collective identity.[1]

The Queen’s function is not immediately clear; it has been theorized that she serves the same role as the queen in an insect colony. On initial contact, the Borg seemed to act as an equal collective without a central commanding presence, but on further investigation it appeared that the Queen may have brought a degree of order to the Borg, unifying their thoughts and giving them a common direction. She certainly seemed to control the Borg drones, directing their operations by using the Borg’s network of neural transcievers. The Queen received a constant stream of information from the drones around her and was instantly aware of everything that they saw. The Queen used a command interface to send instructions to Borg drones and ships. If this was disrupted, she lost her ability to communicate with the rest of the collective.[1]

Borg drones seemed to be dependent on the Queen, and if she was destroyed, the drones in her immediate vicinity ceased to function.[1] The Queen also appeared to posess some form of telekinetic abilities, though these may only have been related to cybernetic devices. For example, she was able to activate the android Data‘s emotion chip simply by focusing her thoughts on it, and several conduits disengaged from their mounting points and moved in her direction.[1]

The Borg Queen’s body was almost entirely artificial, which she could literally assemble from separate components with a single thought;[2] the arms, legs, and torso appeared to be entirely synthetic, while the head and shoulders seemed to be organic, with a large number of cybernetic components implanted beneath the surface, as well as a completely synthetic skull and spinal column.[1] The Queen did not make use of a recognizable humanoid body at all times; she seemed to spend the majority of the time detached from the artificial body, with her head and spinal column inserted into a specialized alcove.[2]

Some of the earliest Federation data on the Borg was collected by Magnus and Erin Hansen, two Federation exobiologists who spent several years studying the Borg in the 2350s. The Hansens spent three years tracking a Borg cube, although they were only able to gather a relatively small amount of data about the Queen. This information was never transmitted to Starfleet, however, because the Hansens were assimilated before they had the opportunity to communicate their findings.[2]

Starfleet eventually learned about the existence of the Borg Queen in 2373, when the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E encountered the Queen, who had transported aboard their ship while attempting to travel back in time and alter Earth‘s history.[1] Since then the U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656 encountered other incarnations of the Borg Queen in the Delta Quadrant on several occasions,[2, 34, 5, 6] as well as after the ship’s return to the Alpha Quadrant.[7]

The Borg Queen appeared to have been destroyed several occasions,[1, 3, 6, 7] but another body seems to be constructed to hold her consciousness and take her place almost immediately thereafter. It is not clear if multiple bodies for the Queen exist simultaneously, or if new body is created when the previous one is destroyed.[4]

Each incarnation of the Queen appears to be subtly different, but they all bear remarkable similarities to one another. The Borg’s collective nature makes it seem likely that each Borg Queen has all her counterparts/predecessors’ memories and knowledge. The Queen that Picard encountered on the Enterprise-E recognized him, and recalled their previous encounter on the Borg cube in 2366, even though that vessel was destroyed; this implied that the extent of the Borg’s collective consciousness and their ability to communicate across vast regions of space is even more extensive than Starfleet had previously believed.[1]

There appeared to have been a Borg Queen for hundreds, or even thousands of years, and she was involved in the assimilation of thousands of species and worlds. In certain circumstances, the Queen could leave the Borg Unicomplex so that she could be physically present at the assimilation of a race; she seemed to become “personally” involved when the Borg wished to assimilate someone “special.”[1, 3]

Conventional assimilation techniques could absorb all of a person’s knowledge, but they were not capable of adding certain kinds of qualities to the Borg’s collective nature. In order for the Borg to absorb these qualities, a person had to willingly give themselves to the Borg. The person in question then assumed a higher position than a normal drone, and retained a high degree of their individuality. The Queen seemed to become involved in this kind of assimilation; during the Borg’s first attack on the Federation, she tried to persuade Captain Picard to submit voluntarily. The Queen’s understanding of individuality and her unique powers of persuasion made her far more suitable for this kind of “seduction” than any Borg drone. For example, the Borg Queen that boarded the Enterprise-E was clearly well aware of the effect sensual experiences could have, and attempted to seduce Data by offering him the experience of possessing human flesh.[1]

After repeated failed attacks on Earth, the Borg became convinced that they were not ready to assimilate humanity, and that they would not succeed until they understood the nature of humanity’s resistance. At this point, they seemed to have developed a plan that involved placing Seven of Nine aboard the Starship Voyager. When the Queen encountered Seven in 2374, the Queen maintained that she had deliberately let Seven live among humans so that she could gain experience of human individuality. The Queen hoped that she could convince Seven to rejoin the collective and add her own unique experiences to the Borg’s “perfection.” Seven’s experiences were particularly valuable to the Borg; as a former drone, Seven had a unique understanding of humanity and would be able to improve the Borg’s understanding of a race that had resisted them so successfully. The Queen did not plan to assimilate Seven in the conventional manner—she was more valuable to the collective with her individuality intact. It seemed that she intended to offer her a position very similar to the one that the Borg offered Picard. The Queen played on Seven’s emotional suffering and feelings about her parents and crewmates to try to persuade her to rejoin the collective. Ultimately, the Queen failed and her ship was destroyed during an attempt to pursue Seven, who had been rescued by her crewmates,[3] but another incarnation of the Queen arose to take her place at the center of the collective…[4] Portrayed by Alice Krige[1, 6, 7] and Suzanna Thompson[2, 3, 4, 5].


Saturday, June 26th, 2010 Library, Next Generation, Personnel, Voyager

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