Nanites, Nanoprobes and Borg Expansion

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TurboC
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Post by TurboC » Mon May 11, 2009 2:53 am

For a second I thought you were going to blame Borg nanoprobes on Wesley Crusher's science experiment. :lol:

As far as the Borg taking over -- yes, it seems the obvious conclusion from a lot of angles. Voyager - Endgame shows us that the Borg transwarp hub can put cubes right next to Sol system. If the Queen is so concerned with the Federation that she kidnapped 7 of 9 to help assimilate humanity, why only send 1 or 2 cubes in? Isn't a prize as vast as the Federation worth more than that? Wouldn't they send in more? I can think of only 3 explanations:

1.) The Writers Don't Care. Obviously the correct choice but I'll ignore it, for fun.
2.) The Borg WANT the Federation to continue to exist for a while. Why? Maybe the queen believes, despite claims to the contrary, that the Feds as a primitive individualistic "collective" will develop different and interesting technologies which she can later assimilate, so she is just letting them grow and develop a bit more before the final "harvesting."
3.) Q. Voyager told us that "If it weren't for Q (Quinn), the Borg would have assimilated the Federation." No more is said of it than that. Q (de lancie) wanted to test humanity's ability to cope early in TNG, his test was to introduce us to the Borg. Maybe the Q had been hindering the Borg for centuries, waiting for humanity or other races to get "more interesting." But I suppose other seemingly omnipotent races could also be involved, such as the Organians, the Cytherians, Nagilum, the Dowd, etc.

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Post by geon » Mon May 11, 2009 4:12 am

To Solon,

At this point in time, it is not known exactly how Borg cubes are manufactured. We know that the Borg can adapt alien ships to their technology (ENT ‘Regeneration’ and possibly TNG ‘Descent’), but whether cubes, and for that matter spheres, probes and diamonds are manufactured ‘in ship’ or solely at a uni matrix or uni complex is unknown at this time.

Your ‘brute force’ approach relies on the Borg being victorious in every encounter in order to multiply exponentially. But I hope I have shown in the article that this is not the case, and that the Borg, whether because of inferior technology and/or inefficient assimilation techniques, initially expanded at a very slow rate.

Limiting factors like dilithium may have played an early part in expansion limitation, but once new more efficient methods of travel were assimilated (gravitonic?, transwarp etc), this would not have been an obstacle.

I agree that many species with designations were not totally assimilated. Vulcans, Humans, Romulans, Cardassians etc have all become drones. Species designation is based on initial contact of the species, not total absorption into the Collective.

Limiting factors in their expansion seem to include distance (transwarp travel), initial technological inferiority with regard to target species, and inefficient assimilation techniques (early assimilation practices and then microcircuit fibers). There may be others we don’t yet know about.

I argue here that while the Borg were limited to few systems early in their history due to the above factors, the invention of tubule nanoprobe assimilation greatly speeded up both species and technology assimilation leading to a rapid Borg expansion.

But your point about the size of galaxies is well taken. Even if the Borg have 10,000 plus systems in their Collective, it’s still only a tiny fraction of the Milky Way (which makes the Federation and other empires microscopic!). Who knows, there may be other races in this galaxy that dwarf even the Borg!!!


To Turbo C:

What I an saying in the article is that the nanites may have been one of the inspirations for the Borg nanoprobes. That, together with tubule delivery produces the tubule nanoprobe assimilation which fuels the rapid Borg expansion we see in the later series and movies.

In a previous article, I attempted to show that transwarp travel was initially difficult for the Borg (more hit and miss than deliberate travel points) and that only after the development of transwarp hubs was transwarp travel a viable Borg option.

As to why the Borg, and the Queen are so interested in the Federation, one can at present only speculate (for another article).

I will say this about the 1 cube assaults on the Federation however. One reason I’ve already forwarded in a previous post is the vast distance from the Delta Quadrant to the Federation and the uncertainty of the current Borg transwap technology.

But another may have to do with the initial encounter instigated by Q in TNG ‘Q Who?’

Up until ‘First Contact’, Borg encounters are reported as following a fairly standard pattern of initial contact and technological evaluation by one ship. When this evaluation is completed, the fleet is then sent into the target area in force for assimilation. The Borg’s initial impression of the Federation ship as being ‘unable to withstand us’ is made redundant when the Enterprise breaks out of their tractor beam and travels back to Federation space.

Now, we know that it was Q who was responsible for this rescue. But the Borg have no way of knowing this. To them, this seemingly primitive race may actually be much more advanced than initial scans have indicated.

So more information gathering is required, hence another information gathering expedition by one ship. The fact that this ship is eventually destroyed may have made them even more wary.

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Post by geon » Thu May 14, 2009 11:36 pm

Further update on the nanoprobe and expansion issue.

I've just noticed that in Voyager 'Infinite Regress' (52188.7 â€" 2375 AD), Seven of Nine remarks:

SEVEN: Species 6339, Humanoid. Warp-capable. Origin, grid one two four, octant twenty two theta. They first encountered the Borg approximately four years ago. Since that time, eleven billion individuals have been assimilated. Three days ago, the Collective detected one of their last surviving shuttlecraft. A Cube was sent to intercept it.

Four years from this date is 2371 AD (2375 - 4).

BUT as we have previously noted, the Hansons in 2356 AD encounter Species 6921 Ktarian! (Damn these writers inconsistencies!!!!!) How can they have Species 6921 EARLIER than Species 6339?

I can think of only two ways around this problem.

a) Either Seven of Nine was mistaken and mean't to say forty instead of four years. In that case, Species 6339 would have been encountered in 2331 AD (2371 - 40)

Our assimilation table then looks like this:

1476 AD â€" 12 Species
2145 AD â€" 263 Species (251 species in 669 years: average 2.6 species a year)
2331 AD - 6339 species (6076 species in 186 years: average 32.6 species a year)
2356 AD â€" 6961 Species (622 species in 25 years: average 24.8 species a year)
2373 AD â€" 8472 Species (1511 species in 17 years: average 88.8 species a year)
2374 AD â€" 10000 Species (1528 species in 1 year: average 1528 species -a year)
2375 AD â€" 10026 Species

The lower assimilation rate between 2331 and 2356 might reflect meeting greater species resistance.

b) Species 6339 was not physically encountered until 2371 AD but the knowledge of this race was acquired from another assimilated species (earlier than 2356 AD).A species designation was then given to this knowledge. In this case our assimilation chart remains unchanged.


On the further examination of nanoprobes, Voyager 'Unimatrix Zero part 2' (54014.4 â€" 2377 AD), states:

Chief medical officer's log, Stardate 54014.4. It's been forty eight hours since the away team returned to Voyager. Thanks to the neural suppressant I've been able to extract most of their Borg technology. The Captain and B'Elanna are on the mend but Tuvok will need a little more time to recover.

This may mean that by 2377 AD, a way to remove nanoprobes from the body may have been found. However, since the Borg already are able to alter the viral programme for this neural suppressant (they did so in the episode), it's just as likely that they've found a way to block its effects, in which case nanoprobes are again practically impossible to stop once in the body.

Regards

Geon

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Post by eber3 » Fri May 15, 2009 1:52 am

But do we really know that the number system the Borg uses is a straight forward way of counting species? I don't recall the numbering system ever being explained. I mean it could represent something other then the order they encountered a species.

For example, 6339. How do we know that each number might not represent a different variable? One of the digits could be tech level, species type (mammal, reptile, etc), quadrant they were first encountered in etc, etc, etc. If that is the case then 6554 could have been encountered long before 2478.

Has there ever been an explanation that lays the numbering out as simple counting of species?

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Post by geon » Fri May 15, 2009 3:24 am

Damn, did it again!! The first entry should read...

2145 AD - 263 Species (251 species in 669 years: average 0.375 species a year - beginnings of assimilation process)

Hi eber3,

Yes, nothing specific from the producerrs of the show has been put forward to clarify the Borg designation sequence. However, given that the numbers increase over time, it seems logical to assume that they are given in a numerical sequence as species are encountered. This assumption seems to have been taken by other sites as well.

'The Borg species designations seem to follow a roughly chronological order and are obviously given to any species encountered by them, not only after total assimilation'.

Ex Astris Scientia http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/datab ... pecies.htm

and again,

It is not explicitly stated how these designations are assigned, though it is generally assumed that they are simply incremental, each newly encountered species getting a number one higher than the previous

Memory Alpha http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Borg_sp ... signations

So, until an official statement is made, it seems that this idea is the most logical choice.

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Post by KrazeeXXL » Fri May 15, 2009 9:59 am

eber3 wrote:But do we really know that the number system the Borg uses is a straight forward way of counting species?
geon wrote:each newly encountered species getting a number one higher than the previous
I've never thought that the Borg are bureaucrats ;)

This wouldn't be efficient and we all know how the Borg would like to be perfect.

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Post by Osk » Fri May 15, 2009 5:15 pm

interesting point, but do not forget, the borg evolved. They once had weaker, smaller cubes, slow methods of assimilation, etc. The exponentional expansion theory does not take that into account. for example, the big expansion could be because they assimilated remodulating shields after strong resistance, then gained improved nano technologies to spead up assimilation and finally gained more efficient ways to construct, maintain and power starships. Also, not all borg vessels are cubes, for a good reason

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Post by Samite » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:13 pm

Your method for measuring expansion is very flawed.

Species discovered does not mean they expanded, I could assimilate a Federation database and suddenly I know about thousands of species I didn't previously know about without expanding my empire at all.


Another good example why it just doesn't work is the VOY episode - Hope and Fear:

Arturis said his race (Species 116) had completely avoided assimilation (confirmed by Seven) for centuries, for all we know the Borg have encountered thousands of species they either can't or won't assimilate (we know they didn't even want to assimilate the Kazon from Seven).

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Post by geon » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:20 am

Hi Samite,

I don't think my method for measuring Borg expansion is flawed at all. I realise that it isn't a totally accurate system, since we don't know specifically when a species was encountered/assimilated. But as a general indicator of the rate of the Collective's growth, I think it gives a reasonably accurate picture.

Your arguement that the Borg could know of a large number of new species from assimilating a Federation database is valid only if the species they encountered in their expansion all had vast amounts of information on hitherto unknown races. If such was the case, then yes, the Borg numbering system would be going up in hundreds of numbers for each single encounter, and the length of time between encounters would not give an accurate rate of yearly assimilation.

But as far as we have seen in Voyager, each species so far encountered is primarily a single homogeneous entity eg: the Voth, The Kazon, The Hirogen etc. Yes, there a some examples of coalitions of races (the music loving one, I forget their name at the moment but even this seemed to be only a handful of different species and so would not overly unbalance the assimilation rate), but these seem to be very few and far between.

Even, as you say, the Borg were to assimilate a Federation database and start numbering new species on that basis, the Federation (with only about 150 members, is not going to significantly lower the assimilation rate that much.

As I've already said in the article, my calculations are for a very general look at the rate of growth (since that is all we can do based on the current on screen information, vague though it sometimes is).

As to Arturis' people and the Kazon, those questions has already been dealt with in the article.

I'd also like to note that in VOY 'Dark Frontier, we have a new development in the assimilation process.

QUEEN: I have a task for you. We're planning to deploy a new mode of assimilation designed for highly resistant species. I want you to programme the nanoprobes.
SEVEN: Your technology has changed since I left the Collective. My knowledge is insufficient.
QUEEN: Your knowledge for the target species is invaluable. Species five six one eight. Human. Warp capable. Origin, grid three two five. Physiology inefficient, below average cranial capacity, minimal redundant systems, limited regenerative abilities. Our previous attempts to assimilate them were all direct assaults. They failed, so we've created a more surreptitious strategy.
SEVEN: You intend to detonate a biogenic charge in Earth's atmosphere.
QUEEN: It would infect all life forms with nanoprobe viruses. Assimilation would be gradual. By the time they realised what was happening, half their population would be drones.
SEVEN: Inefficient. The virus would take years to proliferate.
QUEEN: We've waited this long. Interface with the central alcove. Begin programming the nanoprobes. Be sure to enhance the viral sequencers. You've been involved in hundreds of assimilations. This is no different.

VOY ‘Dark Frontier’ Stardate: 52619.2 (2375)

Nanoprobe viruses delivered via biogenic charges. Asiimilation now on a planetary scale. I can't begin to think how this will affect assimilation rates!

So, as a general look at assimilation evolution we could theorise the following:

1476AD - Early and primitive assimilation techniques
up circa 2356 AD - microcircuit fibre technique
up circa 2370 AD - tubule nanoprobe assimilation development
circa 2375 AD - Biogenic nanovirus technique being developed

As already stated, this is a general calculation of assimilation and growth.

Regards

Geon

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Pakleds to become the next Borg?

Post by pennyandrusty » Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:28 pm

Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but have you ever wondered if the Borg started out like the Pakled. They both have a desire to obtain new technology by taking it from other species.

Could you imagine what would happen if the Pakled stole some Borg assimilation technology?

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Post by marhawkman » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:50 pm

Ouch, that is a nasty idea. :)

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Post by KrazeeXXL » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:45 pm

:lol: imagine this episode:

these guys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lxIL1WlxSQ

meet those one here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BTH4RVZDY0

I assume that the Borg will ignore the Pakled completely. ;)
The Feds will bravely fight the Borg and after the "lightshow" the Pakleds enjoyed so much, they will loot the wrecks for what is left and valuable.

but to come back to your question
pennyandrusty wrote:Could you imagine what would happen if the Pakled stole some Borg assimilation technology?
I'd say that something similiar would happen to the Pakled like to the scientists in ENT on the Northpole.

But Borg Technology could be the holy grail for the Pakled. (if they survive it as individuals)

they seem to be stupid but the episode (Samaritan Snare) showed their potential a bit.

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Post by marhawkman » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:21 pm

Yeah, if anyone could get it to work the pakleds could.

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