Hugh, formerly Third of Five, was a former Borg drone who was rescued by the USS Enterprise-D in 2368. Once again joining the Enterprise to fight against rogue Borg led by Lore in 2370, by 2399 he had come to serve a prominent position as a part of the Borg Artifact Research Institute, identifying as an xB like those aboard the Artifact.
Hugh himself was critically injured, and was brought back to the Enterprise-D for medical attention by Dr. Beverly Crusher under protest from Captain Picard. Upon arriving on the Enterprise-D, Hugh was placed in the brig and kept under guard at all times. He had trouble adapting to his new environment, having been cut off from the resources of the Collective for the first time in his life. Where there had been millions of voices in his head, there was now only his own. Dr. Crusher eventually nursed him back to health, and Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge found a way to nourish the drone similar to the regeneration alcoves on a Borg ship.
Captain Picard saw this as an opportunity to destroy the Borg once and for all. He ordered La Forge and Lieutenant Commander Data to devise a method to destroy the Collective through an implanted program or file in Hugh, much as Data had done to a Borg cube through Captain Picard (as Locutus) two years earlier. Dr. Crusher did not agree with this course of action, because they were talking about exterminating an entire race – even if it was the Borg.
As Hugh spent more time with the Enterprise-D crew, he learned many things. La Forge taught him that Humans did not want to be assimilated into the Collective, which contradicted what Hugh had been taught by the Collective. La Forge gave Hugh his name, through a mispronunciation of the word "you", and became Hugh's first ever friend. Guinan, who originally wanted nothing to do with Hugh, taught him that resistance was not futile. Guinan's homeworld had been destroyed long ago by the Borg, but the fact that Guinan was still alive was proof of her lessons to Hugh.
Picard eventually confronted Hugh. Hugh immediately recognized Picard as Locutus, and Picard took the role of Locutus while talking to Hugh, to simulate the authority that Hugh was used to. However, La Forge, Guinan, Dr. Crusher, and other members of the Enterprise-D crew had had a profound effect on Hugh. When Picard reminded him that resistance was futile, Hugh replied that resistance was not futile. When Picard told Hugh that La Forge would be assimilated, Hugh stated that La Forge did not wish to be assimilated. When Picard said that this was irrelevant, Hugh specifically said that he (as Hugh used the word "I" rather than "we"; his second use of a singular pronoun) would not assist in the assimilation of La Forge. Picard was stunned that a Borg drone would say such things.
Picard decided that he could not send Hugh back with the file that would destroy the Borg. He offered Hugh asylum on board the Enterprise-D, but Hugh said that the Collective would not stop looking for him until they found him. Hugh agreed to go back to the crash site, and to be taken back into the Collective, to protect the Enterprise-D from harm. (TNG: "I Borg")
After the Enterprise-D
Hugh's newfound sense of individuality proved to be almost as deadly to the Collective as any file stored in his memory could be. His experiences on board the Enterprise-D were spread to other drones, and eventually Hugh's cube fell into a complete state of disarray. The Borg's sense of shared identity had been disrupted, and they were no longer able to function. The Collective disconnected Hugh's ship from the hive mind and left the cube drifting in space until 2370, when it was discovered by Lore, Data's brother. Lore took advantage of the confused drones and assumed leadership of the group. He brought order to chaos, and allowed the drones to maintain their individuality but was able to control them. Lore "promised" to create the Borg crew in his image, running tests on various drones, leaving them with awful injuries.
Hugh disapproved of Lore's leadership, finally realizing that Lore had no clue how to keep his promise to the drone crew, and while Lore had acquired a ship and had built a base on a remote planet, Hugh took a group of drones underground and became a leader himself. Hugh and the drones loyal to him assisted the Enterprise-D crew in rescuing Picard, La Forge, and Troi and recapturing Data from Lore. (TNG: "Descent", "Descent, Part II")
Working with the Romulans
By 2399, he had been named executive director of the Borg Reclamation Project based at "the Artifact", a derelict Borg cube controlled by the Romulan Free State. While serving the project, Hugh became disturbed by the dismissive treatment of his fellow xBs after they were severed from the Collective. He clarified to Soji Asha that xBs had by now become the most despised people in the galaxy, seen either as property to be exploited or hazards to be warehoused - – or both, in the case of the Romulans. However, it was also Soji who impressed him with her empathy toward a recently severed xB, when she spoke to him in his native tongue even though he was still unconscious. Soji stated that she was merely putting Hugh's own ideas on the treatment of xBs into practice. Soji's act of respect netted her Hugh's permission to interview the xB Ramdha, which he had previously denied her because of Ramdha's fragile state of mind. Although initially pleased with Soji's progress, Hugh's concerns were ultimately validated when the mentally disordered Ramdha became hysterical and attempted suicide, which was only narrowly averted thanks to Soji. (PIC: "The End is the Beginning", "The Impossible Box")
Jean-Luc Picard arrived at the Artifact sometime later looking for Soji, meeting Hugh again for the first time in nearly thirty years. Hugh showed Picard the facilities in which he helped the xBs attempt to reclaim their lives after the removal of their implants, believing that as an xB himself, Picard would be an advocate for better treatment for former Borg.
Hugh knew that a Romulan spy, Narek, had arrived at the Artifact two weeks before Picard, trying to find out about Soji, and offered Picard his help without hesitation. When Soji's android abilities were activated and she fled from Narek and the Zhat Vash, Hugh took Picard and Soji into the old cube's queencell and used its spatial trajector to teleport them to Nepenthe, while Picard's sworn protector, a young Romulan named Elnor, remained behind with Hugh to cover their escape. (PIC: "The Impossible Box")
Hugh was interrogated by Narek's sister, Narissa, who coldly had the xBs executed when he refused to give up Picard's location; she only refrained from killing Hugh himself because of the treaty with the Federation. Hugh felt that he had failed the xBs, and ultimately decided to deny the Romulans the cube by activating the queencell. However, as this was a treaty violation as well as an act of insurrection, Narissa now felt justified in killing him, and mortally wounded him with a knife thrown into his neck.
Hugh was played by actor Jonathan Del Arco. Hugh's designation used the ordinal "Third," while the Star Trek: Voyager character Seven of Nine used the cardinal "Seven." The concept behind Hugh was used by the creative staff of Voyager in the form of One.
The name "Hugh" is a pun, as it sounds like the English word "you," conveying the message of individuality. In the original German TV frame, this pun was only partially transferred, as he was consistently called "Du" ("You" in English). In repeated airings, as well as on the DVD, the name was changed to "Hugh." In the Italian version the pun was transferred: the Borg was called Thug, as it sounds similar the Italian word "tu" (you). In the Japanese version, the you/Hugh pun did not make sense and he is instead given the name "Blue." In the Czech version, the pun was transferred by calling him "Tim" which is very similar in pronunciation to the Czech word "ty" meaning "you". In the French version, Hugh is called "Lou".
As Hugh's character was written before the expanded information about the Borg revealed in Star Trek: Voyager, which states that all Borg are assimilated and do not reproduce as suggested in the episode TNG: "Q Who", there is no canon mention of who Hugh was before he was assimilated, nor any attempts to reassert this identity after he was freed from the collective as is seen in all Borg characters who are liberated from the hive mind. In keeping with this, he continues to be known simply as Hugh even as long after his liberation from the Collective as of 2399.
Hugh appears in the Shatnerverse novel Avenger, where his group of Borg are able to save the resurrected Captain James T. Kirk by removing the Borg nanites that were damaging his system after his rebirth.
Hugh meets the crew of the USS Enterprise-E in the novel Greater than the Sum, where he sacrifices himself to help the Enterprise stop a new group of Borg created by the evolution of a Borg cube and the assimilation of Admiral Kathryn Janeway.
Hugh appears in the Star Trek Online (STO) expansion "Delta Rising" as a leader of the Cooperative. The Cooperative is a faction of liberated Borg drones whose mission is primarily to free more drones from the Collective. While the Cooperative shares the Collective's goal of achieving perfection, they do not force it upon anyone and any Borg they liberate is free to choose what they want to do afterwards, including returning to the Collective. As Icheb was removed from the game following his death in Star Trek: Picard, it remains to be seen if Hugh will be removed as well.
- Hugh at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- Hugh at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
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