The Star Trek Next Generation Story That Connects the Borg to The Original Series Crew

The Borg may be villains from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but a 1991 novel posits a surprising connection between the assimilating aliens and The Original Series.

The Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation
Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

“Con permiso, Capitan,” the godlike being Q tells Captain Picard. “The hall is rented, the orchestra engaged. It’s now time to see if you can dance.” 

Part warning and part explanation, Q’s statement tests Picard’s insistence that the Enterprise does not need his help, that humanity is fully prepared for whatever difficulties they encounter while exploring deep space. Yes, they can deal with Romulans, Klingons, and even that fishhead alien that Mick Fleetwood played in “Manhunt.” But were they prepared for the new enemy that Q sent them to meet? Were they prepared for the Borg?

The excellent season two episode “Q Who?” effectively introduces the Borg as the defining villain of Star Trek: The Next Generation, whose influence continues in later series, especially Voyager and Picard. The conquering hivemind represents everything that Starfleet is not, a demand for sameness and no respect for other cultures or variety. They’re all about safety and domination through homogenization. With their zombie-esque attacks and their resistance to Starfleet weapons, the Borg become a major threat to the entire universe. 

But despite Q’s taunts in The Next Generation, Starfleet may have actually been more prepared for the Borg than he, or even the crew of the Enterprise-D, first thought. In fact, according to one TNG novel, the Federation unknowingly encountered a deterrent to the race back in the days of James T. Kirk and the original Enterprise. 


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