21

Some dialogue in VOY: Dragon's Teeth suggests that as of the 15th Century AD, the Borg had only assimilated a few dozen systems. Seven mentions that the Borg's memories of this period are extremely fragmented.

GEDRIN: You're Borg.

SEVEN: How do you know that?

GEDRIN: Don't you recognise my people? The Vaadwaur?

SEVEN: The Collective's memory from nine hundred years ago is fragmentary.

GEDRIN: I've had many encounters with your kind.

Why are the Borg unable to remember that far back very well?

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    Their data storage and distribution methods weren't as developed and some stuff just got lost or damaged and no one could find a proper backup? – Jon Clements Oct 19 '17 at 18:00
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    There's computer data from the 1970's we are now near unable to read because computers are designed completely differently from then. Perhaps the Borg have similar backwards compatibility problems. – Kai Oct 19 '17 at 18:04
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    History is irrelevant. – Harry Johnston Oct 19 '17 at 21:13
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    Not every Borg cube has a working punch card reader any more. – Spencer Oct 20 '17 at 19:19
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    This may be apocryphal (or I may be hallucinating) but I seem to recall a mention of the Borg suffering some sort of civil war or other cataclysm. – Brian Ortiz Oct 22 '17 at 0:46
7

Maybe they just don't want to remember the Vaadwaur. I posit that the Borg, being a particularly unsentimental folk, intentionally purge some memory files as part of bringing order to chaos.

The Borg are interested in things that are biologically or technologically "distinctive." The Vaadwaur were pretty much destroyed by the Turei 900 years ago. At the time, the Borg only controlled "a few systems." The Turei then took over the "Underspace" corridors.

Cut to today: We know the Borg didn't take over the Vaadwaur homeworld. If the Borg encountered any Vaadwaur or Turei in the last 900 years they would know about the subspace corridors. Yet, the Turei confidently lay claim to the entire network and don't seem worried about the Borg (though this could be sheer bravado). In other words: the Borg are not interested in the Underspace or the Turei and certainly not interested in the Vaadwaur.

If you want to bringing order to chaos, it probably helps not to spend time thinking about the Vaadwaur, just like you and I don't spend a lot of time thinking about Milli Vanilli. In fact, when a Milli Vanilli earworm pops up it's really quite distracting. If I could flip a switch and erase my memories of Milli Vanilli, I probably would. And I think the Borg Queen agrees with me. Girl, you know it's true.

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    This answer was going OK until you wandered off down a weird milli-vanilli hate-fest – Valorum Oct 22 '17 at 17:44
  • @Valorum Ha! You are totally correct, as usual, King Friday. Let me amend my answer... – Xplodotron Oct 22 '17 at 18:00
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The early days of the Collective are shrouded in mystery and largely contradictory. What we do know is that at some point in the Collective's life, a species was discovered that had a special ability to "bring order" to the chaotic thoughts of the various lifeforms that made up the Borg hive-mind.

Given that the species designation of the Borg Queen is relatively low (Species 125), it's certainly plausible that during the early chaotic portion of the Borg's existence, records were patchy and not shared across the Collective in an orderly fashion until her/their assimilation took place.

BORG QUEEN: You imply disparity where none exists. I am the collective.

DATA: Perhaps I should rephrase the question. I wish to understand the organisational relationship. Are you their leader?

BORG QUEEN: I bring order to chaos.

First Contact: Transcript

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    Do you have anything to back that up? It seems very unlikely the Borg could have survived that early phase if they were so disorganised. Seems much more likely the Queen we know was the latest in a line. It may be that her species was better at coordinating the collective than the previous Queens, but that doesn't mean they were chaotic before then. – Tim Oct 19 '17 at 21:22
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    @Tim - Nope. Pure guesswork. If they valued a species because of its ability to bring "order to chaos", that at least implies an earlier state of chaos. Given the wildly inconsistent backstories that we have for the Borg, I think that's probably the best we're going to get. – Valorum Oct 19 '17 at 21:26
  • "What we do know is that at some point in the Collective's life, a species was discovered that had a special ability to 'bring order' to the chaotic thoughts" - if the only hint to that is from a videogame, we do not even "know" that. – O. R. Mapper Oct 22 '17 at 20:55
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    @O.R.Mapper - Alas, the genesis of the Borg is (intentionally, I would imagine) shrouded in mystery. One of the more compelling theories I've seen is that because they're able to travel in time, the Borg have been purposefully dicking with their own history. – Valorum Oct 22 '17 at 21:04
0

If I remember correctly, Seven stated that only relevant memories were retained by the collective, not everything. As time goes by, things that may have appeared relevant once get overwritten by something more relevant. A simple example would be anyone's childhood memories. They are typically fragmented and become even more so as people get older. So, after 900 years, most information would no longer be relevant or of much value. Especially since Vaadwaur got almost completely wiped out during their battle with Turei, and the survivors were stuck in the hibernation pods! What was the meaning of word vaadwaur in the old Tongue, according to Neelix? Foolish with a notion of bad behavior (some tale about the boy who lost his head). So, if I were Borg, I think I would not remember them either! Not my most favorite episode... :)

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One reason is because so many Borg died. If you kill enough Borg theoretically you could give the Borg fragmentary memory.

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    Do you have a source for this information? – amflare Oct 31 '17 at 20:12
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    This assumes that the data storage system are the drones themselves. I would find this difficult to believe considering the vast size of their ships and infrastructure we see in TNG and Voyager. – Ellesedil Oct 31 '17 at 23:04
  • it's worth noting that thoose ships and infrastructure where probably much smaller in the early days, I doubt they started with millions of massive cubes. – Ummdustry Oct 16 '18 at 17:23

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