- "In their collective state, the Borg are utterly without mercy; driven by one will alone: the will to conquer. They are beyond redemption, beyond reason."
The Borg Collective, also known as the Borg Hive or the Great Borg Empire, was the term used to define the collective intelligence comprising all members linked together into a hive mind via subspace transceivers and calling themselves the Borg. It was the de facto governing power, as the term was considered by individuals, over all Borg civilization in the Delta Quadrant.
Society and government
The Collective made decisions as a single entity. However, the Borg Queen played an as yet not totally understood role in ordering the chaos of the Collective and the information flowing in from its trillions of drones.
The collective form of organization allowed for tremendous efficiency in action and deliberation. With each drone functioning separately according to its instructions, it could at any time be processing information, performing physical actions, or focusing its energy toward other collective goals. The vast resources thus presented to the collective organization allowed for simultaneous execution of a nearly infinite number of tasks as well as nearly limitless calculations. This in turn allowed the Borg to consider multiple courses of action before committing to any one course. The best example of this was the Borg ability to "adapt" nearly instantaneously to any type of attack or threat. By focusing its resources on the threat at hand all possible outcomes and responses could be explored within an extremely short period of time. The result was that the Borg were able to bring a tremendous amount of force, or computational power, to bear on any single problem and overwhelm any opposition by sheer volume of numbers. The collective state of organization also greatly decreased the chance of error that exists with the decision making of individuals or the conflicts of opinion that are a factor in hierarchical organizations. (TNG: "Q Who")
One consequence of the collective state, noted by Jean-Luc Picard who had more dealings with the Borg than anyone in the Federation except Kathryn Janeway, was that the Borg were utterly without mercy or compassion. In this totalitarian existence, only the needs of the collective as a whole are considered, and in this utilitarian calculation the needs of the unrivaled number of Borg would nearly always override any other considerations. (VOY: "Scorpion")
The Collective was subdivided organizationally. The Borg Queen could act as a central processor or nexus for the Collective; information or instructions disseminated throughout the Collective flowed toward the subdivisions. The "unimatrix" was the highest level of collective organization; the Queen herself resided within Unimatrix 01. Unimatrices could be broken into several "trimatrices". Drones within an unimatrix or trimatrix were designated in groups known as "adjuncts", with the individual drone's identification serving to designate their position within the adjunct. (VOY: "Dark Frontier", "Unimatrix Zero", "Endgame")
Linking to the Collective
A drone's link to the Collective could be severed many ways, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Intentional termination by the Borg Queen (VOY: "Dark Frontier", "Unimatrix Zero")
- Disruptive natural phenomenon (electrical storm) (VOY: "Unity")
- Physical/traumatic damage (TNG: "I Borg")
- Separation by time (24th century Borg were unable to contact 21st century Borg) (Star Trek: First Contact)
- Security force field, dampening field (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", "I Borg"; VOY: "Scorpion, Part II")
- In Denobulan physiology, high doses of omicron particles (ENT: "Regeneration")
- Submatrix collapse (PIC: "Maps and Legends")
The Borg Queen could also re-establish a drone's connection to the rest of the Collective at will, however, this only happened when the drone is in close proximity. (VOY: "Unity") However, if a link was severed to the Collective, drones also had "secondary objectives" listed to their command structure to command the drones' actions for quite a long time. (VOY: "Survival Instinct")
The Borg Collective could also be cracked and invaded via subspace by using an existing drone's connection as a conduit for uploading benign and potentially destructive data as well as transmitting a command to the local vinculum. Such data could also be configured into and tagged with a level of priority as to be a paradoxical process-consuming puzzle to be solved. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", "I Borg")
The collective link not only allowed the Borg to share thoughts and communicate but also provided neurogenic healing powers across the Collective. According to Riley Frazier, this was akin to a neurogenic transfusion across subspace, only with the ability to have thousands of simultaneous donors. (VOY: "Unity")
Subsidiary or ad hoc collectives between several individual drones could also be established with and without need for a vinculum or other repeater-type device so long as the drones' subspace transceivers were strong enough to reach the other drones or substitute vinculum. (VOY: "Unity", "Survival Instinct"; TNG: "Descent", "Descent, Part II")