Unless I missed something key during Descent 1/2, how is it that the Borg are once again a collective?

3 Answers 3


Only a small (very, very small) group of Borg separated from the Collective and regained individuality.

The Collective itself was never broken.

  • So the ship Hugh rejoined was just a small subset of the entire Borg collective and only they regained individuality? Just clarifying, thanks again. Jun 15, 2013 at 3:41
  • 2
    @AlexGinsberg Yes, the Borg Collective spans nearly the entire galaxy, with ships numbering at least in the thousands
    – Izkata
    Jun 15, 2013 at 3:53
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    I'd add that during Voyager it's shown that knowledge within the collective (or "misbehavior") doesn't spread instantly. With the introduction of Unimatrix 0 they showed several instances of the queen isolating or destroying vessels where just a few or even one drone regained individuality.
    – Mario
    Jun 15, 2013 at 9:09
  • This sounds correct, but a cite would be welcome :) Jun 16, 2013 at 12:04
  • You could also use the example of the ST:VOY episode where there is an entire colony of individual borgs...
    – Arammil
    Jul 12, 2013 at 11:08

It seems pretty clear from the script for TNG : Descent part 2 that although Picard's plan to infect the Borg with "individuality" did work, It only spread as far as Hugh's ship and no farther.

There are a couple of canon quotes from that episode that are worth mentioning;

LORE: No, you did that. You and your friends. All I did was clean up the mess you made when that Borg you befriended returned to his ship.

DATA: Hugh interfaced with the others and transferred his sense of individuality to them. It nearly destroyed them.

LORE: When I stumbled on their ship, they were lost, disoriented, they had no idea how to function as individuals. They couldn't even navigate their own vessel. They had lost their sense of purpose. I gave them their purpose. And they gave me mine.


PICARD: What will you do now?

HUGH: I don't know. We can't go back to the Borg Collective, and we no longer have a leader here.

PICARD: I'm not sure that's true.

HUGH: Perhaps in time, we will learn to function as individuals and work together as a group.

As far as "First Contact" is concerned, there's no evidence to show that Hugh's small group of ex-Borg drones (probably numbering less than a few hundred) had any further influence on the trillions of drones that made up the greater Borg Collective, any more than did the ex-Borg drones seen in the Voyager episode "Unity" who also experienced a similar awakening.


"Descent" makes it very clear that they are just renegade Borg. Not the Collective itself. The Collective were still scary as Hell. Part of what this episode so creepy is that the crew don't know what they're dealing with this time. Borg who murder and wanna destroy inferior lifeforms? It's what makes part 1 so creepy. So when people criticize the episode for weakening the Borg. They were not. Because it had nothing to do with the Collective. "I Hugh" was about a member of the Collective, but the individual Borg was separated.

EDIT: I must admit though that destroying other cultures isn't as alien to the Borg though. It was mentioned, by Guinan, in "Q Who" that that's what the Borg did to her people.

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