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In the Voyager episode 'Q2', Q screams at his son "Don't provoke the Borg!". This to me is an indication that even the Q are afraid of them.

  • Was there ever any canon discussion about the affects of the Borg assimilating a Q?

  • Is there any evidence that a Q can even be assimilated in their 'ascended' form?

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I have no idea if they even could assimilate a Q. I just took that scene as him trying to make his son a better person than himself, Q had no problem provoking them in Q Who. –  Crow T Robot Sep 4 '14 at 3:19
It's like saying, "Don't poke the anthill!" –  Adeptus Sep 4 '14 at 4:19
I'd assume the Q would need a physical body in order for them to be assimilated by and interface with the rest of the Borg. –  IQAndreas Sep 4 '14 at 12:09
What types of questions should I avoid asking? - "What if ______ happened?" –  Darth Melkor Sep 4 '14 at 12:48
I've reworded it to make it much less speculative + voted to reopen. –  Richard Sep 6 '14 at 9:40

9 Answers 9

My interpretation of

Don't provoke the Borg!

Wasn't so much that the borg were a threat to the Q but that they were a threat to other species in the galaxy.

A Q is (for the sake of argument) an omnipotent being, they could dissolve the entire collective at a whim, they could "cure" the borg attempting to assimilate them, they could simply disappear.

However the borg lust for power, by showing off in front of them they remind the borg how much there still is to learn, to assimilate. This will drive them further and further and push them harder. Not only so they're even more of a threat to other races but maybe one day to the point where they're a threat to the Q. Remember the Q although very evolved are quite a stagnant race (just look at how much controversy a child caused) and the borg "will adapt".

I don't believe the borg could assimilate a Q, however the Q don't want them to try!

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Look what happened when they discovered fluidic space. –  Tyson of the Northwest Sep 4 '14 at 16:11

There are just so many ways a Q could avoid being assimilated that I think this is an impossible scenario.

But suppose they managed it, for the sake of argument. EDIT: As O.R. Mapper points out in comments, the following relies on one of two assumptions: 1) the Q are mostly corporeal, or 2) the Borg could successfully assimilate an incorporeal being. We have no evidence either for or against 2, although it does seem unlikely. 1 is even more ambiguous, since we see Q interacting normally with the corporeal world (Q is even caught off-guard by Sisko and knocked on his butt in DS9), but we also see Q phasing through solid matter (Such as Q2, during Q's exile).

We know that the Borg incorporate biological traits from assimilated species. We're told this explicitly, and fairly frequently.

We are also led to believe that the power of the Q is biological - the result of Hollywood evolution: Quinn hints at this in "Death Wish", for instance. So the Q that is assimilated will certainly retain their powers, and will share their nearly-unlimited knowledge of the spacetime continuum with the Borg Collective. This would be bad.

Where I'm not sure is whether biological traits are somehow distributed throughout the Collective. This seems to be implied, but I don't know if it has ever been confirmed explicitly. If they are, then presumably all members of the Collective would gain the powers of the Q. This would be worse.

The only saving grace of the universe would be the much-touted "moral superiority" of the Q, which does seem to apply (just not to John de Lancie's Q, or his son); it's notable that Guinan, tas much a moral center of the Star Trek universe as Picard, considers some of the Q "almost respectable". The best we can hope for is that the Borg are also infected by the Q's apathetic attitude towards mortals, and just go into the Continuum and leave us alone.

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"avoid being assimilated" assumes that there is anything physically there to assimilate. For all we know, Q may be entirely non-corporeal beings. It's maybe a similar question to whether the Borg could assimilate an Organian, a Calamarain, or even a hologram - sure, they can pump nanoprobes into each of those, but will they have any effect? Could they even possibly find anything to "connect to"? My suspicion is a Q wouldn't even have to "avoid being assimilated", at least with the assimilation methods shown, there may be no way to assimilate a Q in the first place. –  O. R. Mapper Sep 4 '14 at 7:08
Yeah I mean I think in a way, this is like asking whether the Borg could assimilate water. –  Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 4 '14 at 19:45
@O.R.Mapper This is a very good point, and I've updated my answer to more clearly state my assumptions. –  Jason Baker Sep 4 '14 at 22:23
@O.R.Mapper: they encounter a copy of The Doctor in First Contact, and don't seem very intent on assimilating him, for what it's worth. –  Jerry Schirmer Sep 5 '14 at 15:07
I would say that Amanda Rogers falls into the category of "almost respectable," or even completely respectable. Though she may have turned evil after leaving the Enterprise with Q. –  user30592 Sep 6 '14 at 17:04

Indeed, the Q are omnipotent and their physical entity is just a representation of them, not their real self. Therefore since that is not really Q but just a representation of Q it is like the Borg trying to assimilate a hologram.

The comments about the fact Q could just make the entire Borg vanish with a single gesture also make it very unlikely the Borg are somehow any threat to the Q. In some episodes you see the Q manipulating space, time and other dimensions like reducing the enterprise to a sub-atomic level.

Based on this, it is most likely the Q does not want to interfere with the natural development of things regarding the Borg but also other species as this is their principle.

There is one episode where the Q was messing with some other life forms and he was also told not to mess with them by the Q continuum, I think he lost his powers because of that.

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Naw in the books the Q are a cosmic entity the result of evolution on the matter creating continuum called Q which happens by error of ancient aliens to be connected to our continuum. They are not subject to the biological principles required for assimilation typically.

The reason Q would not want the Borg so antagonized is that in many things the fait of their and our continuum depend on the Janeway timeline ending with her early death which happens in all the multiverse. It is the Star Trek equivalent of a fixed point from doctor who. Going so far as In one universe she is said to have slipped and drown in the tub despite the far advancement of the trek universes. This is because in the main trek universe she destroys all the Q accidentally by severing their link to time and therefore destroying their ability to grow into life. This was done in an attempt to save the multiverse from destruction at the hands of the equally sentient Omega continuum.

The Q though cosmic in origin could become a humanoid or otherwise bound species like Q did that one time or Quinn. The knowledge which they posses would give the Borg such great advantage that they would surely assimilate the universe if other Q did not intervene. Also the supernatural powers which Q have accesses to outside of their continuum would so allow the enlightened Borg to resist cosmic entities.

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Within the main TV canon, there are no visible attempts to assimilate an ascended Q, nor any indication that such an attempt would be anything other than a dismal failure. The human (Jon de Lancie) form that Q takes when communicating with Picard and Janeway appears to be little more than a meat puppet that he, as a totally non-corporeal entity controls from elsewhere.

The only time that Q was theoretically vulnerable to assimilation was in Deja Q where his powers are removed by other members of the Q:

Q smiles to Picard... Picard's look says it all. Data aims a tricorder at Q.

DATA : He is reading as fully human.

and even then, he is assigned a minder (in the form of another Q) to ensure that no real harm comes to him. This would presumably also include an attack by the Borg.

Within the wider EU canon, there have been a few encounters between the Borg and the Q.

In the Strange New Worlds IV anthology story 'Iridium-7-Tetrahydroxate Crystals Are a Girl's Best Friend' we learn that the Borg are aware of the Q and have a directive that specifically forbids any contact with "species 1732" (the Q).

The collective pondered Q’s unusual statement. Borg directive 201 prohibited any contact with the Q. They were to be avoided or ignored at all costs.

We also see that Q isn't subject to the same assimilation profile as a normal human. Despite the lack of obvious defensive measures, attempts to assimilate his body prove useless.

“Is this going to take much longer?” said the man as the Borg repeatedly injected nanoprobes into his upper arm. He was lying on the assimilation gurney as Borg bioengineering drones looked him over. There were no oddities in his DNA, no antibodies that would halt nanoprobe activities, nothing out of the ordinary.

The door to the assimilation chamber irised open and the Borg queen entered. She was medium height, about five and a half feet. Before assimilation she must have been quite striking. Now she was a hideous monstrosity. Her remaining eye was a sparkling brown color. The other eye socket had an optical reader jutting out of it.

“Resistance is futile,” she said.
“I’m not resisting!”

And although it's pretty irrelevant to the question, how could I possibly resist including this lovely picture from the DVD Game, Star Trek : Borg?

enter image description here

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I think that you have to take into account, at least slightly, the evolution of Q as a character. Initially, he was the all-powered Watcher character which often sounds a death knell in series (Odyssey 5)- although the rare one (like Star Trek, Fringe, and partially sorta-subverted in Highlander) which integrates the character and explores their back stories and such will often succeed.

Roddenbury decided to make yet another campy villain, this time with the powers of a god. After Roddenbury passed away, however, it allowed them to play with the idea that maybe he wasn't a villain after all. What if he was a good guy (or maybe simply grew up into one) who was trying to help, using somewhat questionable methods and an abrasive personality? By that point in Voyager, this was very firmly in place. I don't think that this is a case like What If The Doctor Was Turned Into A Dalek (the closest similar premise I can think of) as much as Q trying to get his kid to stop screwing with the lesser beings.

Further (and my memory on this could be off) Q was assigned by the Q Continuum to watch over his kid to prevent him from growing into a menace. One could certainly argue that screwing with the Borg is pretty much a perfect example of that. From the Wikipedia page on Q: "Q asks Janeway to mentor his son, and the two adults agree that the boy will remain on Voyager, without his powers, and either learn how to be a responsible, productive inhabitant of the cosmos, or spend eternity as an amoeba. Eventually the young Q comes around, but the Continuum is not entirely convinced, so in negotiation with Q, they come to an agreement. Q must eternally guard, observe, and accompany the boy to ensure his proper behavior."

One could argue that Q knew that this would happen, and tried to protect Little Q from being in trouble, or alternately that he knew Little Q's powers would be removed which WOULD make him susceptible to Borg assimilation. That, then, calls up a slightly different question: do the memories and knowledge of the individual become spread into the collective? We know it happened with Locutus (or kinda-sorta) but he was a special case which was planned ahead of time. For the typical capture and assimilate though, it may not be the case. The knowledge of a Q given to the Borg would be devastating. However, ultimately, I don't see how Q himself would ever allow that to happen to his son, so it's all likely a moot point.

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The newly assimilated information is processed by the collective, which only keeps useful information and discards the rest (7of9 explains it in one episode) –  Alex Sep 4 '14 at 11:32
Thanks for the clarification- I confess to having never gotten too deep into Voyager as opposed to TNG. –  Broklynite Sep 19 '14 at 9:57

The Q can survive the big bang and Q himself was willing to sit on DS9's space station while it was torn apart by the wormhole. Does it therefore stand to reason that Borg nanoprobes could do anything whatever against a Q?

The Q are effectively immortal. They can only be affected, at least in my opinion, by members of their own kind. The Crystalline Entity, Gomtuu, even Organians and Metrons would be unable to hurt a Q. The Q are outside of time and space, and thus, "cannot be touched," unless they will it. It's like the episode, "Journey's End," in which The Traveler (in another form) and Wesley Crusher effectively "freeze" the individuals on the planet; the two step out of time. How in the world, then, can races stuck in time, such as the Borg, deal with the Q? Only if the Q allow it, and only on the Q's terms, of course.

Q's message about not provoking the Borg can possibly be understood in light of the episode, "Deja Q." Q2 comes to the rescue of Q as he sits in the shuttle, awaiting destruction by the Calamarain. Q2 tells Q that he is "tired" of fixing all of the havoc and chaos that Q has created, and that is the reason that Q was kicked out of the Continuum to begin with. Then, in "Q2," Q tells Janeway that he's had to fix all of the damage that his son has caused. This suggests that the members of the Q, though apparently superior to all other forms of life in the universe, still want to have some semblance of order, if at all possible. Certainly they don't want their own kind to be causing the damage, which explains Q's banishment and Junior Q's punishment.

That said, if the Borg are provoked, then the Borg start to destroy things, and that's something the Q don't want to have to deal with (at least, seemingly so).

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Borg are most likely the second most intelligent beings (as a collecitve) - just behind Q. You don't want to mess with them, and at best don't want them to know of existence of omnipotent Q.

Even Q can be tricked, as they sometimes adapt lesser lifeforms' way of thinking. They also can be interacted with, indirectly, through other species.

So Q are right to be afraid of the Borg, even though, at worst, they would only have to destroy a whole race from the universe.

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I think back to the episode when Q became mortal due to his mischief.

If the assimilation took place at that point in time, would Q retain any of his infinite knowledge? If so, and as previously mentioned, would the borg hive mind have the capacity to store and interpret this infinity?

As it stands, Q is not a physical entity (although he chooses form to be accepted by his peers) and borg, as far as the TNG/DS9/VOY series have shown, can only assimilate physical matter.

Perhaps at some point, the collective intelligence of all species assimilated could allow the borg to evolve to assimilate non-physical matter.... Possibility poses more questions....?

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