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[2009: JAN-FEB] V'Ger's Children *Not for consideration*

Marine Captain Llewelyn

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V’GER’s Children

Iolo Madoc Llewelyn

Stardate 238509.25, Sector 001, Earth, San Francisco, Starfleet Command

Linus Trafalgar, Lt.(jg) cursed himself for not stopping for a double raktajino on his way to Starfleet Command’s Borg Task Force briefing. He’d been up most of the night checking and cross checking his data, and was sure that today he would rewrite history; so much so that he had been unable to get more than an hour or so worth of fitful sleep prior to his presentation this morning. His topic was titled “The Socio-economics of the Borg Collective”; an inquiry borne out of a crucial need to understand the nefarious enemy’s motivations and cultural underpinnings. Linus had done his due diligence, but in the process he’d uncovered a secret so dark and explosive that, if true, was certain to rock not only the Starfleet, but the Federation to its core. The idea both invigorated him and terrified him at the same time.

Arriving at the conference room he found an aide was waiting to take him in. His hands sweated as he made his way past some of the most powerful officers in the Starfleet. Reaching the dais, he took a sip of water and began.

“At first blush, the concept of economics in relation to the Borg Collective might seem ludicrous.” Gauging from the reactions of the assembled, Linus concluded that they probably agreed with his opening statement. He forced a smile, and continued.

“It must be noted, however, that economics is not merely the transference of monies from one segment of society to another, but rather an exercise in resource re-distribution and allocation. In some respects then, it can be postulated that the Borg and the Federation systems are similar in many respects. Both are truly “socio-economic” in nature.”

Linus could hear murmurs amongst the audience, and they were sounding less than supportive.

“Take for example the very nature of Borg society.”, he rejoined quickly. “It is a collective. The individual counts for nothing other than to serve as a conduit to promote the greater good of the Borg. This concept is not so different from the communitarian ideal espoused by the Federation. In fact, it could be viewed as a logical extension of it, taken to tragic extremes. On the one hand, if viewed from the context of morality as it is practiced throughout the Federation, the Borg are as exploitative and ruthless as any civilization we have encountered to this present day. On the other hand, if viewed dispassionately, as the Borg are wont to do, the Borg ideal is perversely the most self sacrificing and communalistic society ever created. For all of the Federation’s attempts to create a cohesive culture, its attempts are hampered by its very nature. The Federation’s heterogeneous make up demands that consensus rather than convergence be the vehicle for formulating a stable society. This should not be seen as an apologetic in favor of the Borg, but rather as an observation of what they have accomplished through their single mindedness.”

The murmurs continued, however at this assertion Linus sensed that he’d scored some points. Taking another sip of water, he pressed the concept.

“While it can be argued that the masses of assimilated drones that make up the collective are not what we in the Federation would consider to be ‘happy’, neither can it be said that they are ‘unhappy’. In fact, one of the greatest accomplishments of any society is inclusiveness. Before the current system came into being within the Federation, there were times of great despair following the Third World War on Earth. Millions of people were displaced, forced to eke out meager existences seemingly devoid of purpose and meaning. Following First Contact with the Vulcans, the human race was introduced to a larger view of their place in the cosmos, and this in turn fueled great optimism and hope for the future. This coming together of the human race, truly united for the first time in history as “Earthlings”, sparked a renaissance of ingenuity that gave birth to the Federation itself.

The Borg, on the other hand, arrived at our celestial shores with an already established homogeneity and purposeful existence. For a Borg, there is no higher purpose than being useful. There is no impediment of ego to hamper the greater good; no end to the amount of selfless servitude that they are willing to render to the collective. And although it can be argued that the Borg are not truly happy, as we have come to understand the concept, it is a fact that the few drones that have been ‘liberated’ from the collective have often undergone extreme discomfiture, even depression and despair after being severed from the ‘hive-mind’ that connects each drone to the larger whole that is Borg society. The reason for this is understandable, since one of the ‘meta-needs’ that seems to be crucial to the psychological well being of virtually all humanoid species is that of affiliation.”

Linus paused, and took a deep breath, knowing that the next few minutes would make or break his career. He fought the urge to stop there, knowing that he was about to walk a razor’s edge. He glanced at his PADD for a minute, but only as a delaying tactic. Having come this far, he decided to go for it.

“One could therefore make the point that the Borg ‘economic model’ is far superior to our own.”

The room erupted in outrage for several minutes until order could be restored.

“Please, distinguished officers, hear me out.”, Linus implored.

“Each drone is a worker. Each worker is infused, literally and figuratively, with a purpose. Each drone knows that whatever their purpose, it is important with regard to maintaining and promoting the greater good of the Collective. Each drone is equipped, literally, for their particular task. No expense is spared, and yet, in the absence of need, none is wasted either. The Borg are perfectly in sync with each other, and need neither thanks nor the inducement of punishment in order to elicit the most efficient performance of their given tasks. Thus, in a very real sense, apart from the Q Continuum, the Borg are the most efficient economy in the galaxy. While it is true that their habit of forcibly taking what they want is abhorrent to Federation sensibilities, in a perverse way, they are the most inclusive society that we know of in existence.

Consider the fact that the Borg neither hate nor love, but rather seek to assimilate as much knowledge and technology as possible. In an odd way, they seek to liberate us from our own inefficiencies and lack of a cohesive existence. In assimilating the various races they come in contact with they are seeking to better the races that they conquer, according to their own philosophy. They take what they find and re-allocate it in the most efficient and single-minded way possible.”

“Maybe you think we should just let them assimilate us then? You sound like you admire the butchers!” an Admiral interrupted.

“N-no, no sir.”, Linus stammered. “I’m simply pointing out one of their motivations. The first rule of warfare is to understand your enemy. Thus far we’ve described their tactics, conjectured over their hive mind, but we have demonized them to such a degree that we’ve completely missed the point of who and what they are. They strive for perfection. They are innovative. They assimilate other technologies and adapt them to their own. They study other cultures and seek to better their efficiency by utilizing information gained from diverse approaches to a given task. They are united in purpose. They are totally selfless. They are more communitarian than the most strident communitarian advocates the Federation has ever produced, more logical than the most logical of Vulcans, more fearless than the Klingon Empire’s greatest warriors, and more resourceful than the shrewdest Ferengi. And why is this the case? Can anyone here in this room hazard a guess to that most fundamental question? With all due respect, can you answer that question Admiral?”

The entire conference room sat in stunned silence, unable to answer the suddenly brash lieutenant who just minutes before had been simply regarded as nothing more than another milquetoast analyst by most. A Vulcan ambassador broke the tension.

“While the young lieutenant may be faulted somewhat on his manners, I find his line of reasoning to be logical, to a point. I trust, lieutenant that you have an explanation? I for one am interested in hearing it. Please continue….”

Vulcans never threatened, bullied or intimidated, but something in the ambassador’s intonation of the word “trust” made it clear that his explanation had better be spectacular.

“Thank you, Ambassador… Sulat, is it? And to the Admiral I mean no disrespect…”

“Get on with it, lieutenant…”, the Admiral growled.

“Ummm, yes sir. There are two explanations, actually. One based in fact, and one based in conjecture.

The first explanation as to why they represent a superior socio-economic model is straight forward: because they are the ultimate expression of what we can become. Now, before we get upset again, please note that I said can become, not should become. But the fact remains that their infinite diversity in infinite combinations, put to a singular purpose is the ultimate expression of resource management that the Federation has ever encountered. At best, the Federation is an example of what the 20th Century Earth astrophysicist Nicolai Kardashev would have called a Type II civilization. 21st Century Earth theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku postulated that a Type II civilization would be characterized by the use of anti-matter propulsion, the ability to harness the energy output equivalent of a star, and the colonization of a tiny fraction of the near-by stars relative to their galactic location. In comparison, the Borg seem to fit Dr. Kaku’s definition of a Type III civilization, in that their assimilation and subsequent colonization efforts span the Milky Way Galaxy, making them capable of extracting the energy output of hundreds of billions of stars, and allowing them to utilize Planck energy propulsion. By definition, Type III civilizations are thought to be at least a hundred thousand years more advanced than Type II civilizations. This may explain why the Borg are so indifferent to the pain and suffering that they inflict upon those they come into contact with. To a Type III civilization, all lesser civilizations are about as significant as an insect would be to a sentient humanoid.”

“So now the Federation is as insignificant as a nest of ants?” the blustery Admiral scoffed. Again the Vulcan ambassador intervened.

“What he is saying, Admiral, is logical. Although it may be injurious to the egos of some of the Federation’s more emotional elements, I believe the comparison to be accurate. Please continue, lieutenant.”

“Thank you, Ambassador. Perhaps the Admiral will feel better when I explain that it is my belief that the reason for their success, and Admiral this ties directly into the second explanation of why they are more communitarian, more logical, more brave and more resourceful than we are in comparison… the reason for this success lies in the truth that the Borg, in assimilating persons from virtually every species in the alpha quadrant and beyond have literally become more of ‘us’ than we are ourselves.”

Linus was on a roll now, and he could tell that this last point had shifted the momentum towards his end of the table. Glancing at his PADD, he decided that now that he had made a connection with his audience, he could go “off script” and speak from his deepest understanding, rather than relying on cold statistics and well constructed sentences.

“Consider the facts. They have incorporated our mindsets and our various philosophies and boiled them down into a cohesive and extremely pragmatic extension of all of them.”

He paused for a moment to let that sink in, and to ask himself if he really wanted to let the other shoe drop. Sensing his hesitation, the Vulcan ambassador prompted him.

“You mentioned two explanations lieutenant. Pray tell what is the second?”

“Yes, Ambassador. I hesitate to put it forth, as I’m sure its going to be even more controversial, but it is my belief, based upon three years of research that the most profound reason why they are more ‘us’ than we are ourselves is because they may very well be our children. Figuratively and literally.”

The room erupted in disagreement once more and the Admiral looked absolutely apoplectic. Linus had reached the crux of his argument and now committed himself fully to driving the point home, regardless of the cost.

“It would be much more comforting to think of the Borg as monsters, just another rogue humanoid species from some far flung part of the galaxy. I understand the comfort in that, but what if the very core of who they are had its genesis in who we are. What if they represent literally the evolutionary and historical legacy and inheritance of our very own societies? This is a very unsettling notion I understand. I ask only for your consideration in hearing what I’ve gleaned from several recently de-classified Starfleet documents.”

The room settled down, and Linus took a large sip of water to soothe his dry mouth and throat. Picking up his PADD again, he laid the evidence for his assertion before the stunned crowd.

“In the late 23rd century, an enormous probe entered the Alpha quadrant from parts unknown. It made its way through the galaxy, coming to our attention only after destroying first a squadron of Klingon warships, then a Federation outpost. It was quickly determined to be on an intercept course straight for Sector 001, Earth. The Starship Enterprise, scheduled for a retrofit shakedown, and manned with a crew made up primarily of cadets from Starfleet Academy was called into active duty under the command of the famous Admiral James T. Kirk. When the Enterprise made contact with the probe an energy beam from the probe materialized on the bridge and, by means unknown, proceeded to scan a Deltan crew member, Ilea, out of existence, killing her. The probe then later re-manifested itself by taking the form of Ilea’s physical likeness, and through that representation identified the probe as V’ger. V’ger was, she reported, on a quest to find its maker. I take it you are all familiar with this part of the story?”

The crowd nodded and some indicated their familiarity through verbal acknowledgement.

“Very well then. A Vulcan science officer by the name of Commander Spock, a name familiar to many owing to his diplomatic work with the Romulans, is reported to have taken a space walk in an attempt to “mind meld” with V’ger. According to our reports the attempt nearly killed him. He did survive, however, and reported that he had been shown a vast array of worlds the probe had visited; worlds consisting of thinking machines. This is a crucial point to understand, imagine an entirely cybernetic civilization that we have even yet to encounter. And what do we know about V’ger? In the end, it was discovered that V’ger was in fact one of the Voyager spacecraft launched from Earth in the late 20th century. Incredibly, it had drifted through space and by means unknown traveled in a few hundred years to the far reaches of the galaxy. Upon its arrival it had apparently been discovered by a race of machines who repaired it and sent it on a return voyage to Earth. The fact that V’ger was able to return to Sector 001 in such a short amount of time indicates the probability that the civilization it encountered on the other side of the galaxy was most likely of the Type III variety. Upon arriving at Earth V’ger desperately wanted to merge with its maker, a human, and Commander William Decker, who had been romantically linked with Ilea, volunteered to undergo the procedure. It appears that Commander Decker’s body was assimilated by V’ger in a manner similar to that which had taken Ilea, and the probe departed, never to be seen again. Conclusions? Perhaps more questions are in order. Is it a coincidence that the Borg, like V’ger, make a habit of assimilating entire worlds for the purposes of gaining knowledge? Is it a coincidence that the Borg possess Type III civilization capabilities fused with a social structure that is the logical extension of not only Federation communitarianism, but of Vulcan logic, and a dedication to infinite diversity in infinite combinations within its society? Is it a coincidence that the Borg seek to continue the merging of life with machine in the hopes of attaining perfection? And lastly, though the Borg were accelerated into the Alpha Quadrant by a capricious act of the mysterious entity known as Q, is it a coincidence that they were already headed our direction on a direct path towards Sector 001? Perhaps. But, paradoxical as it might appear at first glance, there is evidence to suggest that the reason that the Borg socio-economic model resembles the Federation’s taken to the “Nth” degree is because it originated with us in the first place. It is my contention that V’ger, upon returning to whatever corner of the galaxy it had resided in for so many years fundamentally changed the society that had repaired it, prompting the development of a hybridized civilization combining biological and cybernetic components into the progenitors of what we call the Borg. Even the name Borg is a hyphenation of the word cyborg.”

The hall was silent. For a few tense moments not a word was said. Then, surprisingly, Linus’ greatest critic, the gruff Admiral rose to his feet.

“Thank you lieutenant. I don’t know about the rest, but you’ve convinced me. Now, since you seem to be the expert, how the hell can we use this information?”

Linus smiled, “Admiral, I’m glad you asked…”

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Just to note: Llewlleyn is going to be assisting with the judging, so he didn't want his story considered.

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