The first officially publicized Federation contact with a Borg cube took place in 2365, when the USS Enterprise-D encountered a single cube in System J-25. However, civilian researchers on board the USS Raven had previously tracked a Borg cube twelve years earlier in 2353. (TNG: "Q Who"; VOY: "The Raven", "Dark Frontier")
Every Starfleet encounter with a single cube resulted in heavy casualties. At the Battle of Wolf 359 in 2367, an armada of forty Starfleet ships was assembled to stop a cube; thirty nine of those ships were lost in a matter of minutes. Dozens more were destroyed stopping another cube in the incursion of 2373. (TNG: "The Drumhead"; Star Trek: First Contact) Normally a single Borg cube was capable of assimilating all elements of civilization from an entire planet. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"; VOY: "Unity", "Dark Frontier", "Child's Play")
Millions of cubes were estimated to exist in Borg space in the Delta Quadrant; (VOY: "Dragon's Teeth", "Dark Frontier", "Unimatrix Zero", "Unimatrix Zero, Part II") the largest single grouping of cubes directly observed by Starfleet was fifteen, by the crew of the USS Voyager in late 2373. (VOY: "Scorpion") When describing the assimilation of his world, Arturis said that hundreds of cubes surrounded his homeworld before its destruction. (VOY: "Hope and Fear") Seven of Nine stated to Captain Janeway that the nebula concealing the transwarp hub contained at least 47 Borg vessels. (VOY: "Endgame")
In 2366 Commander Shelby estimated that a cube could remain functional even if 78% of it was rendered inoperable due to the decentralized and redundant nature of its key systems. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")
Borg cubes were capable of both warp and transwarp velocities, thanks partly to the Borg Collective's network of transwarp corridors and hubs. When a Borg cube enters a transwarp conduit, it projects a structural integrity field ahead of itself to compensate for the extreme gravimetric shear. (VOY: "Inside Man") To compensate for the extreme temporal stress while traveling through these corridors, and remain in temporal sync, a chroniton field was also projected through specially designed conduits. (VOY: "Shattered") Borg cubes did not present with the twin warp nacelle configuration utilized by nearly all warp-capable species, and the technology by which a Borg cube achieves warp speed is unknown. A Borg cube's maximum warp factor appeared to be greater than that of a Galaxy-class starship, as the Enterprise-D, during its first encounter with a Borg cube, was not able to maintain its distance from one such vessel when it attempted to flee. (TNG: "Q Who")
Though Borg cubes possess a multitude of energy weapon emitters and projectile launchers, initial scans of a Borg cube performed by the Enterprise-D determined that the vessel had no weapons systems of any known design.
The primary tactic employed by Borg cubes when engaging another vessel was to seize it with a tractor beam that would also drain its shields. Once locked on, the tractor beam of a cube could drain the shields of a Galaxy-class starship within seconds, and hold it immobile against the full force of its warp drive. (TNG: "Q Who") Once the target ship was defenseless, the cube could perform any action ranging from destruction to assimilation. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds"; DS9: "Emissary") The Borg could also use the tractor beam to destroy unshielded enemy vessels without the use of any additional weaponry. (Star Trek: First Contact) The standard deflector shields of Starfleet vessels could resist the tractor beam if the crew of the ship in question cycled the shields through different energy frequencies, but only for a short time. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")
If assimilation was unwarranted, the cutting beam could also be used as a weapon to destroy resisting vessels. During the Battle of Wolf 359, the Excelsior-class USS Melbourne and the Miranda-class USS Saratoga were annihilated by cutting beams. The cutting beam could either slice into a ship with pinpoint precision, or it could be used to disintegrate large portions of an enemy vessel. Additionally, it could be fired with the tractor beam as a single attack, with the cutting beam manifesting inside the area of effect of the tractor beam. As demonstrated on the USS Melbourne at Wolf 359, combining the weapons in this fashion could destroy even a shielded enemy vessel within seconds. (DS9: "Emissary")
Another tactic that could be used to disable enemy ships was to fire a type of missile weapon, the primary function of which appeared to be to drain a target's shields. These missiles appeared to be reserved for situations in which using the tractor beam was not feasible, such as an enemy vessel being out of range. Three such missiles were capable of disabling a Galaxy-class class vessel's shields. A hit from the weapon at an unshielded target could disable its warp drive without otherwise damaging it. (TNG: "Q Who")
The cubes could also use dispersal fields to disrupt the sensor and transporter function of enemy vessels. (VOY: "Collective") The Borg were capable of transporting through the active shields of both Galaxy and Intrepid-class starships. (TNG: "Q Who"; VOY: "Scorpion")
In addition, a Borg cube's weaponry also included other destructive beam and projectile weapons. During the 2366-2367 incursion, a cube obliterated three ships of the Mars Defense Perimeter with projectiles. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II") Similar projectiles were used to destroy a Steamrunner-class and a Saber-class starship during the Battle of Sector 001. (Star Trek: First Contact) The concentrated fire of three beam weapons was able to reduce USS Voyager's ablative generator-deployed armor hull integrity, a highly advanced future Starfleet defense technology, to 40%. (VOY: "Endgame")
Borg cubes did not appear to utilize traditional energy shields. Instead, they seemed to employ a subspace electromagnetic field that could be altered to adapt to enemy weaponry. This made destroying Borg vessels exceedingly difficult, as most weapons employed against them tended to either not work at all, or to become completely useless after a few shots. (TNG: "Q Who") This problem could be overcome to a degree by varying the frequency and modulation of the energy of the weapons in question, but even this tended to fail after a short time. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")
Borg could also adapt to explosives, such as photon torpedoes, with ease. The Borg could similarly adapt their weapons to the technology of their opponent's defenses. During their second encounter with a Borg cube, the crew of the Enterprise-D was able to prevent a Borg tractor beam from locking onto them by rapidly modulating the energy frequency of their shields. However, less than half a minute later, the Borg adapted the energy of the tractor beam to compensate for the rapidly shifting energy of the shields, and all further attempts to use this tactic failed within seconds. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")
The drones on board a Borg ship, through unknown means, could essentially will it to repair itself. During the Enterprise-D's first encounter with a Borg cube, it inflicted damage to approximately 20% of the Borg vessel, only for the ship to repair virtually all of that damage within 20 minutes. This process could occur even while the ship was at warp speed or while it was engaged in combat. (TNG: "Q Who")
Starfleet's two engagements with Borg cubes were extremely costly. In the first case, at the Battle of Wolf 359, the Borg had assimilated Jean-Luc Picard mere hours before and had gained access to his vast knowledge of Starfleet tactics and operations. As such, the battle saw 39 out of 40 ships destroyed with virtually negligible damage to a Borg vessel. The Borg vessel then continued nearly unimpeded to Earth, and was stopped only by the ingenuity of the Enterprise-D's crew. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
However, a similar engagement several years later saw a similarly large Federation fleet perform considerably better against another Borg cube. Though it suffered heavy casualties, the fleet managed to inflict heavy damage to the cube's outer hull and cause the vessel's power grid to begin fluctuating. The vessel was eventually destroyed primarily due the intervention of Captain Picard, whose residual telepathic link to the Collective furbished him with knowledge of a (presumably) battle-induced weak spot on the Borg vessel, which was subsequently targeted by the entire fleet. (Star Trek: First Contact)
Due to the adaptive qualities of the Borg electromagnetic field, the only quasi-reliable way of destroying a Borg cube was to use a weapon so powerful that just one or two shots would destroy it. Such weapons included the modified deflector weapon of a Galaxy-class starship, transphasic torpedoes, and the energy beam weapons of Species 8472. (VOY: "Endgame") However even weapons such as these could be adapted to. Another tactic that appeared to have at least some measure of success in combatting the Borg was to utilize unfamiliar evasive maneuvering sequences in order to keep the Borg tractor beams in particular from draining a ship's shields. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"; Star Trek: First Contact)
Ships up to the size of a Borg sphere were able to be docked inside a Borg cube for assimilation, supplies or escape purposes.
At least one Borg cube, and possibly others of its class, contained a Borg sphere. The only known recorded purpose of a sphere disengaged from a Borg cube was for escape. The sphere was the only documented support vehicle a Borg cube possessed. (Star Trek: First Contact)
Borg cubes were highly decentralized in structure with no specific bridge, living quarters or engineering sections. All vital systems were spread throughout the ship, which, along with the presence of a regenerative hull, made it highly resistant to damage and system failures. (TNG: "Q Who")
Information and Collective communication were routed through power waveguide conduits and distribution nodes. Its exterior design consisted of perpendicular and diagonal grids, struts, and weaponry, allowing a characteristic green light to emanate from within. (TNG: "Q Who", "The Best of Both Worlds", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
The internal pressure aboard a Borg cube was two kilopascals above what would be normal on a Federation starship. The humidity was on average 92%, and the temperature was at 39.1 °C. (Star Trek: First Contact) The atmosphere contained traces of tetryon particles. (VOY: "Infinite Regress")
Ships of the class
- Star Trek: First Contact
- DS9: "Emissary"
- "Scorpion, Part II"
- "Hope and Fear"
- "Drone" (on astrometrics screen)
- "Dark Frontier"
- "The Voyager Conspiracy" (on astrometrics screen)
- "Child's Play" (on astrometrics screen)
- "Unimatrix Zero"
- "Unimatrix Zero, Part II"
- "Inside Man" (on astrometrics screen)
Although no Borg cubes appear in ENT: "Regeneration", the cube design of Borg vessel was referred to in the final draft script of that episode, which commented that a corridor aboard the transport Arctic One was to be "almost indistinguishable from one on a Borg cube."
- See Borg cube model.
Borg cubes make appearances in the Star Trek: Armada and Star Trek: Armada II games. In the second game, a "fusion cube" and "tactical fusion cube" are seen, and used by those playing as the Borg. The first consists of eight regular cubes connected to each other and is the size of a planetoid, such as Pluto. The second is composed of 8 tactical cubes connected to each other and is the size of a planet, such as Mars. Both are designated battleships and hold the assimilator beam device and three "captured" special weapons taken from an enemy race.
In Star Trek: Starfleet Command III, Borg cubes are the Borg's battleship-type vessel and the most powerful playable Borg ship.