Writing the Worlds of the Delta Quadrant
By Jack Geiger
I’ve been a Star Trek fan almost all my life, and from their first appearance, and then their overwhelming presence in the two-part episode “Best of Both Worlds”, the Borg have been my favorite Star Trek villain. Being given the opportunity to really detail and present the Borg in Star Trek Adventures for the newly-released Delta Quadrant Sourcebook was one of the most personally exciting opportunities I’ve had has a writer.
The Borg represent the worst possible enemy for our Starfleet (or Star Trek) heroes, possessing an absolute supremacy of technological power, a complete lack of interest or willingness for discussion, and a ‘cultural’ compulsion to assimilate or destroy anything they encounter. Stripping away and erasing an individual’s very essence, stands as a narrative opposite to what we see from the Starfleet characters we’ve come to love. But also, knowing that – if the Borg really wanted to – there is nothing that any power could do to stop them, must be utterly terrifying, and the Borg allow us to see (and tell) horror movie-style stories within the Star Trek universe – and that’s awesome.
I already considered myself to have a comprehensive understanding of the Borg and their various appearances, but preparing for this project gave me an excuse to re-watch hours of Star Trek. I went back and watched every appearance of the Borg (from Star Trek Enterprise through to Star Trek: First Contact) twice; once in the order it originally aired (starting with “Q Who”) – and then again in the chronological order of the Star Trek timeline (starting with the Enterprise episode “Regeneration”). I took extensive notes, focusing on the key points that were introduced about the Borg in each appearance and what questions the episode raised but did not answer. I discovered that each watch-order provided me an entirely different perspective for the Borg.
As you might imagine, I ended up with far more content than I could reasonably fit into limited word-count…and found what to focus on, and how, challenging. I decided to order things in the way I felt they would be most commonly used or seen in a game – starting with the Collective’s motivations and methodologies, moving then into their ships and tactics, before then discussing drones and using that as a bridge into life in the Collective (a dark fate for any player character).
But also important to me were all the things that were hinted at or never really explained that I wanted to touch on. Some of these could be introduced within the main text and provide new information or reinforce things at were very briefly touched on (like the reasoning for small drone groupings or how the Vinculum works) – while others represented theories or conclusions (especially with the Queen) without any direct connection to something in the shows, but which made reasonable sense.
In the end, I am very happy with the balance struck between recounting what we already know and expanding that with new detail and possible implications. I hope you agree, and find resisting the desire to use this book to introduce these terrifying opponents into your games to be…futile.