In Star Trek: Picard, one of the main locations is the Artifact, a derelict Borg Cube located in Romulan Space, which is the site of a joint project between Romulans and the Federation aimed at reclaiming Borg drones from the Collective.

While I can understand the humanitarian goals on Federation part in trying to reclaim the so called xBs,

(even if it sounds rather hypocritical to play the role of the do-gooders with ex Borg drones while on the other hand acting as racist xenophobes with both Romulans and Synths, respectively after the Romulus and Mars incidents)

I do not fully understand what are the Romulan real motivations behind this Borg Reclamation Project, especially since they seem to be in charge of both the site and the project, while the Federation seems to be just barely tolerated and allowed on the Artifact only due to a previous treaty, and presumably also because of the balance of power between the two states.

They also have to deal with the unresolved problem of their refugees, so it seems unlikely that an effort to reclaim xBs in to new citizens could be put into place before addressing the precarious situation and needs of the already "free" citizens, if there were not other motivations.

Romulans, and specifically the Tal Shiar, which de facto runs the site, are not known as putting humanitarian issues very high in their scale of values, also considering that given the opportunity,

they did not hesitate one second to eject the drones in to open space, when it made sense from a strategical but certainly not from an humanitarian point of view,

so the whole "let's help the poor drones" seems to be a rather feeble and unconvincing motivation on their part.

At first I was thinking that the research on the Artifact could be related to

the strong hate that the Zhat Vash, the secret Romulan cult, bears towards synthetic life (at least in anthropomorphic form) and in some way to their ultimate goal of exterminate it.

But in the end, while I admit that this is not entirely clear to me, it appears that these two things were unrelated.

Please note that I'm explicitly referring to the drone reclamation here, not to the broader research of Borg technology, which could be accomplished also without the effort in helping the drones and which is a credible goal also for a militaristic secret police?

So, what are the real motivations of the Romulans in the Borg Reclamation Project? Is this related to that other thing?

  • Without re-watching all the scenes with the artefact, were there any non-Romulan XBs? Commented May 2, 2020 at 13:31
  • @SpacePhoenix Arguably, Hugh... as the project co-ordinator (or whatever his title was), he was probably already an "XB" outside of the reclamation project.
    – Anthony X
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 13:43
  • Very likely yes. IIRC it is said that the last ship to be assimilated was Romulan, but this does not imply that the previous drones were all Romulans. Especially since the cube, in the first place, must have been arrived in Romulan space from outside, hence with a "crew" made of races from other places.
    – Sekhemty
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


Although the Borg are not synthetic life, they are arguably along a spectrum where natural life falls at one end and Data pretty much represents the other end. The Borg might be on an evolutionary/developmental path toward synthetic life... even if that is not their goal, they could be seen as such. The Romulans would therefore want to know all they can about the Borg just in case. There is also the potential threat of a Borg resurgence, and the progressive "let's help the poor drones", so motivations on multiple fronts.

Let's not forget also, that the "Artifact" was where they "reclaimed" one of their Zhat Vash (Ramdha)

  • This explain the research on them, not the reclamation part. The site is run by Tal Shiar, a militaristic secret police, they surely have interest in acquiring Borg technology, but I have a hard time seeing them in the reclamation role without something else going on.
    – Sekhemty
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 8:21
  • Possibly part of the bargain they had to make with the Federation: "We'll help you research your cube, but we want the drones freed." There's also a strategic value: the more drones they study in the process of reclaiming them, the more they learn about the Borg. Commented May 6, 2020 at 4:42

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