Star Trek Fans Fix Frustrating Borg Plot Hole

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek borg

Though Star Trek has most certainly overused them, no foe has been quite as frightening as the Borg, the cybernetic monsters that assimilate individuals and entire worlds into their collective. For all their scariness, the Borg have a frustrating habit of only sending one ship at a time, and Starfleet’s difficulty fighting back has made it completely clear that all these soulless drones would have to do is send a second Borg cube to completely annihilate the Federation. The fact they never do seems to be a plot hole, but one tantalizing fan theory is that the Borg are deliberately farming the Federation out to gain new technology.

Best Of Both Worlds

star trek borg

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg effortlessly defeat the Enterprise D in their very first episode, and only the intervention of Q (who, admittedly, got them into this mess in the first place) saves Captain Picard and his crew. In their very next appearance, the Borg tear through 39 Starfleet ships despite all of the new technology designed to fight them. It is only by exploiting the assimilated Captain Picard’s link to the Borg that the Enterprise is able to defeat the attacking cube right before it assimilates Earth.

First Contact

star trek borg

While Star Trek: The Next Generation has a couple more memorable Borg encounters, we don’t see another full-scale attack on the Federation until the movie First Contact. Once again, the Borg sent a single cube that Starfleet very narrowly defeated, causing the Borg Queen to travel back in time and try to assimilate Earth in the past. This led to many fan questions: why, for example, did the Borg not send a second cube to completely obliterate Starfleet, and why didn’t they just travel to the past before getting their bionic butts kicked by Captain Picard?

All Federation Tech Is Borg Food


According to one Star Trek fan theory, the answer is simple: the Borg’s entire deal is that they assimilate other cultures because they lack any real creativity of their own. Therefore, the only real way to ever gain new technology and new innovation is for them to steal it from someone else. However, the Borg eventually realize that Starfleet (and humanity in particular) is just as capable as the Borg at adapting to new threats, and given time, will develop cool new technology intended to defeat their foes. 

Therefore, the reason various Star Trek episodes (and a single movie) show the Borg clearly holding back on their attacks is that they don’t actually have any real intent of assimilating Earth or otherwise destroying the Federation. Instead, they send just enough of a force to give Starfleet a bloody nose and cause the organization’s various scientists and engineers to develop new anti-Borg countermeasures. Then, when the Borg inevitably attack Earth again or simply assimilate a single ship with info on the new technology, this bionic race is able to steal that tech for themselves and become stronger.

Long story short, this Star Trek fan theory holds that the Borg have decided the Federation is more valuable alive than dead and choose to farm them for resources rather than conquer them outright. In this way, they can gain years of technological advancements for each major attack, and the only cost is a single cube–a relatively small sacrifice considering how many dozens of starships Starfleet typically loses when fighting the Borg. 

The Theory’s Biggest Weakness

wolf 359

It’s tempting to adopt this theory because it does help to explain exactly why Star Trek’s Borg, who are supposed to be so good at adapting, never got around to thinking, “hey… but what if we send two ships?” But there’s one glaring weakness.

Namely, if they really are just farming the Federation, then why in Star Trek: First Contact did the Borg bother with the trip back in time? Their goal in the film is to assimilate the Federation before it has the power or technology to resist. Had they succeeded, according to this fan theory, they would have essentially wiped out their own “crop.”

Maybe the Borg Queen thought someone was figuring out what they were up to and the entire film was just one big fake-out? Or maybe it was all pretense to find out exactly how many “techniques” Data was programmed for?

Janeway Stopped The Farming

If this fan theory is true, then the only thing preventing future Borg attacks on Earth was Captain Janeway’s successful attack on the Collective in the Voyager finale which reduced the Borg to the pathetic state we saw in the last season of Picard. Speaking of that show’s titular hero, it’s too bad Picard didn’t have time to ask the Borg Queen the question on all of our minds: did she find Worf’s “assimilate this” line from First Contact as sick of a burn as the rest of us did?