During the movie, Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg were assimilating as many crew members as they could, as they took over the Enterprise-E.

Picard watches a Borg drone lead a crew member away to be assimilated.

Picard: Lower your weapons. They'll ignore us 'til they consider us a threat.

Two of the Borg drones walk right past Picard and several armed Enterprise crew members.

If the Borg want to assimilate as many as possible on the ship, why ignore several people?

  • 10
    "If the Borg want to assimilate as many as possible" citation needed.
    – Hans Olo
    Mar 24, 2019 at 20:15
  • 1
    It's likely they only initially created enough drones to carry out their mission. Anything more would be ... inefficient?
    – Radhil
    Mar 24, 2019 at 20:37
  • @Rebel-Scum Could you imagine a Borg drone saying "Assimilate ensign Lynch, but skip the Klingon"? Nah, if they are intent on assimilating everyone, I just don't see them leaving somebody behind.
    – RichS
    Mar 24, 2019 at 20:40
  • 2
    I think their goal at the moment was to assimilate the ship rather than its crew. The redshirts could always be assimilated later...
    – Hans Olo
    Mar 24, 2019 at 20:50
  • 4
    @Rebel-Scum You know that in the 24th Century the redshirts are in command?
    – RichS
    Mar 24, 2019 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


In general: That was not what they were doing

As stated in the answer to the question How does the borg hive-mind work:

Think of the Borg Queen (or any 'lead' Borg) as the brain, specifically, the Super-ego. It's the part that does the 'conscious' thinking, and decides on major courses of action. The individual borgs, on the other hand, have very little volition (in that they have no overreaching goals), but they do control individual details. Much the way you don't usually THINK about breathing, the Borg Queen doesn't have to think about the mini tasks required to keep the ship running; in your case, your brain (and spinal cord, hypothalamus.. gah.. not going to get into the biology here...) keeps it running on 'automatic' without your conscious intervention. Need to increase the o2 level due to a heavy work out? It happens. Need to contract vessels and keep heat in the body? No problem.

Many (although not all) of those functions you can consciously override (and the ones you can't, you can often influence by other behaviors), but you don't normally bother. Think of the Borg collective as a body (or, rather, the shared parts of their brains -- think 'distributed computing')... And it functions much the way a human body does.

It simply wasn't their task. They were on their way to regenerate. If nothing "special" happens like being attacked, they follow this "order". Only when they are attacked (Data tries to open the door to the queen), they get orders to attack.

Furthermore, it's not enough to assimilate people, you also need enough alcoves for the drones to regenrate. That's probably not really a problem when they assimilate a planet, as they've planned for that. However, if they have to assimilate on the fly as in First Contact, that could indeed be a problem. And why assimilate if they pose no threat and you can't use them (yet)?!

  • So would the answer be "it's a question of bandwidth"? The goal IS assimilation, but since there's so many people they can assimilate at once, they prioritize some of them, and others not deemed an immediate threat are left for later?
    – Andres F.
    Mar 4 at 16:14

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