ASSIMILATION: The Borg Quest for Perfection
By Rubris Xxe Gonn, Chief, Alien Life Sciences section, Outpost 070
By all accounts, the entire process for varied species humanoid assimilation, as practiced by the Borg is a shining example of extreme efficiency. Considering the fact that the Borg employ no scientists, no designers, no researchers in their work is testament to how advanced they have become through the assimilation of thousands of alien cultures.
Borg drones are equipped with a number of dual composite tubules, although it is the two that extend from the favored hand that appear t be used most often. Apparently the tubules can penetrate almost all known personnel armor alloys, energy fields and biological material. Upon puncturing the epidermis of the humanoid host victim, they inject approximately 3.6 to 3.8 million Borg nanoprobes into the bloodstream of the drone.
The nanoprobes attach themselves to individual cells, altering them on a sub microscopic level. The parent nanoprobes focus primarily on cells involved in the production of red blood cells, and the red blood cells themselves. The bone marrow is quickly infiltrated and the victims own DNA is used to bring more and more nanoprobes to "life", quickly altering and in many cases assuming some or all of the functions of that cell. Within two minutes of the initial nanoprobe injection, there are 15 to 25 billion nanoprobes working throughout the victims body.
Nanoprobe concentration in the key areas of neurological function is extremely high, especially in the key structures of the brains limbic system. This is no doubt responsible for the sedated state the subject enters within seconds of nanoprobe primary infiltration. In fact, the color of the victims skin turns a pale gray and the blood vessels immediately under the epidermal layer turn a darker gray as billion of nanoprobes take their place along side the Borg modified blood cells.
At this time the hives newest drone is usually escorted to a assimilation pod by two other drones, where additional physiological and surgical alterations are made. The victim is scanned by a variety of sensors for a determination to quickly determine the drones most effective role within the collective. Borg devices, synthetic glands, neural processors and other modifications are now made on the drone to build him/her into their hive assigned role.
Each Borg has a neuro-transceiver surgically implanted in the upper spinal column, usually in the vicinity of T11, T12 (human). This subspace device links every drone to the collective, to the hive mind. From this time on, the drone is connected directly to the Borgs subspace communications network, and the drone literally hears the collective voices of others in the hive. Recovered Borg have stated that the effect is almost hypnotic, and quite overwhelming.
The neuro-transceiver also serves another more or less medical function, by having the ability to act as a receiver for combined neural energy pooled by the collective to heal a wounded or disabled drone. This technique is by no means infallible however. If the drone is simply too damaged to be restored to normal function, other drones will remove key technology from the drone and then they will switch on a device that simply disintegrates the drones corpse (it is now dead due to the removal of key technology) into nothingness.
Interestingly, there is also a variety of technologies imbedded in the drone, especially in the neural sub-processing matrix, that point to a number of capabilities to undergo the stresses of active temporal phenomenon, and apparently to adapt to that reality quite quickly as well. While most Borg contain these devices, many older design drone do not have a trace of these apparently newer technologies. It has been surmised that these drones are especially well equipped to withstand the stress of time travel via transwarp conduits, a methodology assimilated by the Borg.
Initially it was surmised that these drones were being transported back to the Borg craft. That was shown to be inaccurate when the Federation sponsored a number of high profile studies of the Borg and several showed that the corpse was in fact disintegrating into subatomic particles which quickly spread out into the environment away from the dead drone.
Just below the rib cage of most Borg, there exists a neuroprocessor that contains a mass storage memory chip that records all data and directives received from the collective. There is another neuroprocessor located within the back of the skull, within the cerebral neocortex. This processor is responsible for tying together all of the information coming from the Borg drones multiple sensory devices, from the cybernetic eyepiece to the energy beam detector in the chest piece (which actuates the individual drones multi-phase adaptive shield system).
Of course, the modifications mentioned above are just the beginning, since a number of additional alterations are made on both the macro and microscopic systems. Modifications that continue on the cellular and sub-cellular level include such diverse effects as the partial re-writing of the victims DNA, the installation of micro-circuit fibers and synthetic glands of varying types throughout the drones body.
Additionally, other gross surgical modifications are made which include the implantation of the Borg specialized cybernetic eyepiece, and the replacement of one forearm with a specialized prosthetic limb that is far more durable and strong than the original humanoid arm and hand. Depending on the drones designated role and designation within the collective, some organic tissue may or may not be maintained beneath the Borg structures. However, in many cases, all traces of organic tissue are removed from underneath such cybernetic add-ons.
We have seen numerous cases where one drones eyepiece was fitted with the normal eye left intact, while in many other cases the eyeball is simply removed to provide direct access to the optic nerve. These differences have existed among drones who are designated for the same role essentially, yet there is no indication as to what makes one approach different or superior to the other.
The eyepiece has a number of devices contained within it, again the configuration being dependent upon the designated role of the drone and the physiology of the species from which the drone was assimilated. Studies here at Outpost 070 have shown that there are numerous forms of multi-role standardized eyepieces, yet there are some elements common to every drones eyepiece regardless of role. This includes the recently decoded and fully reversed engineered EVISA device, a key component of the drones advanced imaging capabilities. These eyepieces provide the Borg drone with a level of visual acuity never before seen in humanoids.
The prosthetic arm is the platform for a wide variety of very important and functional tools installed on the drones forearm. Again, the configuration and application of these tools varies depending on the specific task(s) the drone may be charged with. The forearm often includes a variety of cutting tools, sensory devices, weaponry, and power interface ports.
When the assimilation process is complete, the once humanoid life form is now completely supported by the installed Borg technology of the drone. There is no longer any need for nutrition, this is simply eliminated by the direct power conversion process that takes place in the Borg regeneration alcove. The newly implanted cybernetic technologies of the drone give it the ability to withstand environments that would destroy most organic life forms, from the vacuum of space to the wide variation in planetary conditions encountered in galactic space.
Psychologically, the victim looses all sense of individuality very early in the assimilation process. The super ego is completely submerged as is the id, keeping the drone in a very sedated physical state, even during the most violent of confrontations. The only time drones show any sign of discomfort is once a very critical injury has been inflicted, usually moments before the expire. The effect of the nanoprobes on the brain, combined with the powerful hypnotic effect of the collective consciousness leaves the once individual identity deeply submerged within the drone.
As expected, such a denatured humanoid becomes completely dependent on the collective consciousness and the neural link that keeps the drones connected to each other and the hive mind. If a healthy drones link with the collective is cut, within a matter of hours the original immune system begins to reactivate and a rejection syndrome develops as the body attempts to reject the Borg artificial implants. While this in itself often proves fatal, some Borg have managed to successfully break away from the collective and return to something akin to their former self. Some implants remain in any recovered Borg, for some reason not falling under the realm of the bodys defensive measures.
While the humanoid immune system can often eliminate the Borg bio-technology on a cellular level, surgical intervention is required to remove many of the prosthetic and cybernetic devices. However, the neuro-transceiver in the spinal column is exceedingly difficult to remove, although its removal is required if the drone is to ever completely severe its link to the collective. Interestingly, several recovered Borg state that they can still hear the collective voice years after the neuro-transceiver has been removed.
There also appears to be something of an addictive quality to the non-anxious, supremely nurtured experience of the collective consciousness. Former drones that clearly wanted to remain individualized have repeatedly made attempts to re-establish some form of neural link to other individual or the collective itself.
The Borg also assimilate environment and technologies, making them capable of refitting an entire starship with a matter of hours after assimilation of the crew. Recently weve seen evidence of new Borg technologies that allows some areas of their technology regenerate with extreme speed, making it very difficult for defenders to remove the Borg component structures and modifications in order to regain control of their vessel.
As mentioned early in this abstract, the Borg only means of gathering information is via assimilation techniques. This results in a high degree of vulnerability if the Borg encounter a species that successfully resists or cannot be assimilated. The prime example of this is the Borg conflict with species 8472, which resulted in the death of millions of Borg drones.
It is difficult to imagine a force as benignly malevolent as the Borg. Marching through the galaxy, they assimilate every species that they can, digest its technology and go on to the next unfortunate planetary system.. Thousands of worlds have been wiped clean by these cybernetic automatons. However, the line has been drawn and the line has been drawn here. The Federation and its allies will stand up to the Borg and prove once and for all that for humanoids as well as species 8472, resistance is not an exercise in futility.