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I was watching some episodes of Star Trek TNG recently, and I was wondering exactly what would happen if the Borg (specifically a single cube) was cut off from the hive mind. Would it have rendered the collective's ability to adapt to some threat (say phaser frequency) useless? If so, would it have been a viable tactic that could've been used against the Borg?

I've tried to look at the memory alpha wiki for an answer, but I was unable to find out anything other than the fact that severing the hive mind connection can happen.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

We see the linkage to the hivemind severed in a number of different episodes, notably in the TNG episode "I Borg" and the Voyager episode "Collective"

In "I, Borg" a single drone is removed from the collective and his linkage broken using a subspace field. After a brief period of confusion his personality begins to reassert itself to the point that he is ultimately willing to sacrifice his life to allow his newfound friends to escape.

hugh Drone

In "Collective" we see a group of borgified children removed from the Collective. Despite the efforts of their leader ('First') to establish order and reconnect to the Collective, they ultimately become individuals again, remembering their names and individual personalities.

Borg Children

It's fair to assume that any weapon capable of severing an individual cube's connection to the hivemind would be largely ineffective in the short term. It appears to take several days for the borg to start to become individuals again, and even longer when there are more than one.

Unless any hivemind blocking technology was backed up with further action to prevent the cube from reestablishing the link (and thus providing the occupants with sufficient time to begin the process of regaining their individuality) they would simply repair their cube, adapt to the blocking technology, reconnect to the collective and continue with their original mission.

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More directly related to the question would be the Voyager episode Survival Instinct. In that case, individuality seems to reassert itself within a few hours. –  Compro01 Feb 3 at 14:30
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It changes from series to series. When seven encounters unimatrix zero, it's instantaneous. .. –  Richard Feb 3 at 14:33

I think the OP's question was not so much related to the effects of being severed on individual drones. My interpretation was that he was asking whether it was a viable tactic to negatively impact the Borg Collective (as a whole) by destroying or severing a cube of drones.

For example, if the Borg assimilated Einstein, he would undoubtedly add great analytical capabilities to the Borg Collective. If he was severed, they would no longer have his abilities.

They would still have his personal knowledge, even after he was severed. This was discussed in ST:VOY episode S04E12 (Mortal Coil), where Seven of Nine discussed the fact that she was immortal (in a sense) due to the fact that drones' memories continue to exist within the Borg Collective, even after their death.

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Cutting a Borg off from the Collective leads to their individuality reasserting itself. A side effect would be that if the Borg can't communicate they wouldn't be able to adapt because they wouldn't be getting the energy signatures of what's destroying them.

However, cutting the Borg off from the Collective individually may be fairly simple once you get the Borg away from the Collective but cutting an entire Cube off would require damaging it enough to where it's no longer a viable threat anyway so as a tactic I would have to say "no".

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