Whilst charting the Nekrit Expanse, Chakotay picks up a Federation beacon – from the surface of a planet. Upon landing, he soon finds himself in the middle of a firefight, where he is rescued by a so-called Cooperative led by a former Starfleet officer. Although they try to hide the truth from him, he soon discovers that they are former Borg drones trying to make a new life for themselves outside of the Collective.
After teasing us with the sight of the Borg at the end of Blood Fever, Voyager wastes no time in getting down to business here, with not only an intact Borg cube, but a set of ex-drones carving out a life for themselves on a new world. It all seems very happy and positive, so much so that Chakotay even lets them heal him with a mental link, but there’s a sinister motive behind their altruism. With infighting rife amongst the planet’s inhabitants, Chakotay’s new friends want to establish an order of their own – by linking with the minds of everyone on the surface and inducting them into a new collective.
It’s easy to imagine that this is how the Borg themselves started – that all they wanted was unity and peace, perhaps even a complete mental understanding of each other, not to mention swift transmission of thought. Wouldn’t it be great if we were all literally on the same wavelength, if we were so attuned to each other that racism, hatred and even misunderstandings were a thing of the past?
But of course, it’s a peace that comes at a price. Gone is any individuality of thought or feeling, both the positive as well as the destructive. Right now, the new ‘Cooperative’ might be a force for good and positivity, but it was one that the majority of its members didn’t consent to. And who knows, maybe those angrier and more aggressive feelings will begin to dominate the Cooperative in time? Or maybe they, like the Borg, will decide to impose their way of life on the entire galaxy, in the belief that it’s better for everyone to be a part of this greater whole?
As we know, over the next few seasons, Voyager is going to ruin the Borg, turning them into a run of the mill enemy who are easily foiled by Janeway time and time again. But for now, the Borg are still good, and this is a great episode; well plotted, it unfolds nicely, drawing us into the plot and leaving us with some classic Star Trek moral issues to ponder.
Points of Note
- Since Chakotay’s shuttle is dismantled in this episode, we can assume that it is well and truly lost. That makes Chakotay the pilot of both shuttlecraft which were definitively lost and not salvaged.
- Although she obviously does make it back, it’s unclear from the episode itself whether B’Elanna and her shuttle are rescued at the end, or whether anyone cares about her whereabouts.
- As I mentioned in my previous episode review, this episode touches on the Borg habit of retrieving their drones and technology where at all possible.
- Apparently the Borg mind link is powerful enough to actually heal damaged tissue and components. I can imagine how they might be able to support a fading consciousness, but actual magical healing powers? That seems a step too far for me.
- The suggestion that the Borg might have been defeated by an even more powerful enemy foreshadows the introduction of Specie 8472 in the season finale.
- Frazier and her contemporaries were apparently assimilated at Wolf 359, but were able to make it back to the Delta Quadrant even though that cube and all the Borg on it were destroyed at the end of The Best of Both Worlds.
Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 7
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 5
Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 1
Summary – Unity: In which Chakotay gets mind raped by former Borg drones.