Published Feb 19, 2021
Star Trek's Exceptional ex-Borg
Resistance was not futile for these characters.
By Jay Stobie
Former Borg drones, also known as “xBs” in Star Trek: Picard’s first season, initially appeared to be a rarity in our galaxy, but Star Trek has since presented us with a range of interesting characters who escaped the Borg Collective. Each xB endured unique situations that led to their freedom, and many made significant contributions once they became separated from the Collective. Although Picard depicted an entire cube filled with xBs, we will limit our examination to the most notable individuals who have demonstrated that resistance is not futile.
9. Riley Frazier and Orum, Star Trek: Voyager’s “Unity”
A human assimilated at the Battle of Wolf 359, Riley Frazier saw her tenure as a Borg end when a storm disabled her cube in the Delta Quadrant. With their connection to the Collective severed, Frazier and the other drones regained their memories and departed their vessel for a nearby planet. While Frazier, her new Romulan friend Orum, and many other xBs opted to live in harmony, a sizable portion of the population began raiding their peaceful counterparts.
Upon Voyager’s arrival at the planet, Frazier requested help with reactivating a device on their cube so that their neural link could be established once again. The xBs would still be free of the Collective, but they’d be able to live in one harmonious cooperative. Janeway denied the request, but Frazier and Orum compelled Chakotay to assist them against his will. Despite their questionable actions, Frazier and the cooperative did destroy the cube and allowed Voyager to leave.
8. Axum, Star Trek: Voyager’s “Unimatrix Zero” and “Unimatrix Zero, Part II”
A member of Unimatrix Zero, Axum had a recessive mutation that permitted him and others like him to exist as individuals in a simulated environment during their regeneration cycles. When the Borg Queen sought to destroy this “sickness,” Axum convinced Captain Janeway to aid him in the struggle against the Collective. Rather than protecting the sanctuary, Janeway proposed a plan for these drones to awaken from regeneration with their memories intact.
Aiming to spark a resistance movement spearheaded by the soon-to-be xBs, Janeway and Seven successfully liberated the drones. Unfortunately, Axum learned that his Borg vessel patrolled the edge of fluidic space on the other side of the galaxy. We never found out Axum’s fate, but the xB did intend to reach out to Species 8472 as a potential ally.
7. Mezoti, Star Trek: Voyager
A neonatal drone who emerged early from her maturation chamber, Mezoti was one of a small group to survive when a spaceborne virus killed her cube’s entire complement of adult Borg. The Collective classified Mezoti and her comrades as irrelevant, cutting their link to the hive mind and leaving them adrift. After a tense first impression, Seven and Janeway saved Mezoti and all but one of the other young Borg by inviting them to live on Voyager. The Norcadian thrived aboard the Federation starship, but chose to accompany two of her xB friends when they returned to their own people. Mezoti’s residency on Voyager proved brief, yet her studies and interpersonal skills flourished in the safe environment.
6. Korok, Star Trek: Voyager’s “Unimatrix Zero” and “Unimatrix Zero, Part II”
Another citizen of Unimatrix Zero, General Korok commandeered his Borg sphere and coordinated with Voyager in the effort to destroy the sanctuary and prevent the Queen from tracking the freshly disconnected xBs. Korok’s ship also stood alongside Voyager in a battle against a cube, but the Klingon xB soon left to regroup with another Borg vessel that had been overtaken by Unimatrix Zero’s former inhabitants. Korok clearly intended to continue fighting against the Collective, but we never discovered how his efforts turned out.
5. Icheb, Star Trek: Voyager & Star Trek: Picard
Rescued by Voyager at the same time as Mezoti, Icheb formed a very close bond with Seven of Nine. When Seven’s cortical node began to fail, the young xB risked his life and donated his own node to save her. The Brunali expressed an interest in applying to Starfleet Academy and accompanied Voyager back to Earth. Years later, Icheb served aboard the Federation starship U.S.S. Coleman, though he also dedicated some of his leave to the Fenris Rangers. Lured into a trap by Bjayzl’s forces, a mortally wounded Icheb asked Seven to put him out of his misery. The deed traumatized Seven, who had come to see the former drone as an adopted son.
4. Ramdha, Star Trek: Picard
Driven mad by the Admonition, Ramdha was on the Tal Shiar starship Shaenor at the moment the Borg intercepted and assimilated it. The strife within Ramdha’s mind was enough to initiate a submatrix collapse that resulted in the Collective detaching itself from her cube. The Romulans took possession of the disabled vessel, later referred to as the Artifact, and began reclaiming the drones. Now an xB, Ramdha continued to weather mental troubles and emotional difficulties. Last seen on the cube, the Romulan woman’s fate remains undetermined.
3. Hugh, Star Trek: The Next Generation & Star Trek: Picard
Injured during a crash, the unnamed drone received treatment from Dr. Crusher and Geordi La Forge aboard the Enterprise-D, but Captain Picard saw an opportunity to use the patient to introduce an invasive program into the Collective. However, the captive progressively exhibited signs of individuality, befriended La Forge, and received the nickname “Hugh.” The developments convinced Picard to avoid weaponizing Hugh, who decided to return to the hive in order to safeguard the Starfleet crew. Hugh’s individuality spread throughout his cube, which caused disarray and left the dysfunctioning drones vulnerable to Lore’s duplicitousness.
When Lore imprisoned Picard, La Forge, and Troi, Hugh fought to free the Starfleet officers and conveyed an interest in adapting to life outside the Collective. As the years passed, Hugh rose to prominence as the executive director of the Borg Reclamation Project. This joint venture with the Romulans involved harvesting Borg technology from Ramdha’s cube and helping other xBs remove their implants. Sadly, Hugh lost his life as he prepared to organize a coup to overthrow Narissa and her Tal Shiar compatriots.
2. Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation & Star Trek: Picard
Assimilated to act as a conduit between humanity and the Borg, Picard supplied the Collective with vital intelligence that resulted in the loss of over 11,000 Starfleet officers at Wolf 359. Even though the Enterprise-D’s crew recovered their captain, Picard dealt with traumatic thoughts and invasive visions related to his experience as Locutus for decades. Additionally, Picard occasionally suffered through disdainful comments from certain colleagues, including Commander Sisko and Admiral Satie.
Locutus’s short existence aside, Picard called upon the information he inherited from the Collective to defeat the Borg at the Battle of Sector 001 and foil the Borg Queen’s goal of assimilating humanity in the 21st Century. Picard’s role as a diplomat and peacekeeper held repercussions for numerous civilizations, and he was instrumental in reversing the Federation’s ban on synthetic lifeforms. For as much damage as he caused at Wolf 359, the captain’s list of post-Borg exploits stands as an impressive accomplishment.
1. Seven of Nine, Star Trek: Voyager & Star Trek: Picard
Originally assigned to collaborate with Janeway on the captain’s strategy to overcome Species 8472, Seven of Nine became Voyager’s latest wayward passenger once the invading aliens retreated to fluidic space. The journey proved difficult, and numerous personal setbacks took place as the starship made its way through the Delta Quadrant, but Seven gradually acclimated to her surroundings and befriended the crew. Seven upgraded Voyager with advanced Borg technology, much of which was deployed on the Delta Flyer.
Back in the Alpha Quadrant for the first time since her childhood, Seven joined the Fenris Rangers to protect the former Romulan Neutral Zone in the wake of Romulus’s destruction. Disillusioned after Icheb’s death, Seven located a path toward a better existence once she linked up with Jean-Luc Picard and the La Sirena crew in 2399. With the crisis at Coppelius averted, Seven appeared to settle in on the ship with her potential new partner, Raffi Musiker.
Star Trek Ships of the Line — The Borg Cube
Jay Stobie (he/him) is a freelance writer who has contributed articles to the official Star Trek website and Star Trek Magazine, as well as to Star Wars Insider and the official Star Wars website. Jay also serves as a part-time assistant and consultant advising many actors and creatives who work on his favorite sci-fi shows and films. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @StobiesGalaxy.
Star Trek: Picard streams on CBS All Access in the United States, in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave, and on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories.