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Edited Length: 45:27
U.S. Airdate: May 24, 1992
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [12.8/1]
Jonathan Del Arco: [Hugh Borg]
And Special Guest Star
Whoopi Goldberg: "Guinan"
Co-Producer: Joe Menosky
Co-Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Co-Producer: Peter Lauritson
Producer: David Livingston
Supervising Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Written by: René Echevarria
Directed by: Robert Lederman
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Associate Producer: Wendy Neuss
Executive Script Consultant: Peter Allan Fields
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As the Enterprise begins exploring a system that is a possible site for colonization, it comes across a signal of unknown origins. Reasoning that it might be a distress call, and seeing that it comes from a habitable moon, Picard sends an away team down, consisting of Riker, Dr. Crusher, and Worf. They find a crashed ship, and under the debris: an alive, but still functioning, Borg.
Riker informs Picard of the situation, who stiffens and prepares to bring the team back at once. Bev, however, demurs; the Borg is badly injured, and would not survive to rejoin its superiors if left unattended. Although the danger would be great, and Worf quickly suggests simply killing it at once, Picard agrees to bring it on board for a short time. A detention cell is prepared and a subspace damping field placed around it (to prevent the Borg from sending any signals out to its fellows). As the team and the Borg are transported up, Picard retires to his ready room. Troi follows, concerned that Picard is reliving old feelings from his capture by the Borg, but Picard reassures her that he's doing just fine, and that he is perfectly comfortable with the decision he's made.
Back in the cell, Beverly tends to the unconscious Borg. Some of the implants in his brain are damaged, but Geordi says he'll be able to replace them without major difficulties. Picard asks Geordi if he might be able to access the root commands of the Borg with the new implants; if so, then they could introduce an invasive program that would act as a slow-acting virus, killing the entire Borg collective from within. "Infect it? You make sound like it's a disease," queries Bev. "Quite right, doctor," answers Picard. "If all goes well...a terminal one."
Studies show that it would only be a matter of months from the introduction of the program to the complete destruction of the Borg race. Bev is very unsettled by this, though, as it appears to be pure genocide. Picard agrees that normally it would be unacceptable, but claims that the Borg have left them no other options, and that they must do whatever is necessary to survive the Borg "war". Shortly thereafter, the Borg regains consciousness and explores its small cell. It searches for a terminal with which to access the collective, but cannot-and Beverly also theorizes that it's hungry for energy. As Geordi begins preparations to provide it with a power conduit to feed from, Bev observes that the Borg almost seems scared to be so alone.
Picard and Guinan fence, both physically and verbally. While Picard rationalizes that having the Borg on board is not too great a risk, Guinan suggests the danger is greater than he knows; and when Picard refers to humanitarian reasons, Guinan demonstrates the danger in that by suckering Picard into an easy defeat. "You felt sorry for me. Look what it got you."
Worf and Geordi enter the cell and provide the Borg with the power conduit. The Borg (designated "Third of Five"), however, shows no real gratitude or humanity whatsoever, merely repeating over and over that they will all be assimilated and that "resistance is futile." Geordi and Worf finish their work and leave the Borg to its aloneness.
Some time later, Geordi and Beverly are preparing for the perception tests they'll be giving the Borg, but Beverly still voices a great dislike for the proceedings. The Borg is beamed directly into their lab and introduced to Beverly. After a brief discussion of how and why she saved its life, and a mention of the upcoming tests, the conversation turns to names. Beverly explains that she and Geordi have names, not designations; and when the Borg asks if it has a name, Bev and Geordi eventually settle on "Hugh".
Hugh passes the spatial relations portion of the test with ease, and Geordi realizes the prosthetic eye has a great deal to do with it. Hugh quite placidly hands over the prosthetic for examination, and listens to Beverly explain that humanity doesn't want to be assimilated. Hugh is puzzled, because here he no longer hears the "voices" of the other Borg that permeate his existence under normal circumstances. Bev explains that he's lonely, and Geordi tells him that after the tests are done, Hugh can be returned to the collective-a statement that seems almost to make him pleased.
Geordi begins to have second thoughts about their plan, and voices them to Guinan. Unlike most occasions, however, Guinan is closed to him; she merely warns him of what the other Borg would do and dismisses his soul-searching. When Geordi suggests she go talk to Hugh, she refuses. "Then just listen; that is what you do best, isn't it?" Meanwhile, long-range sensors pick up a Borg scoutship about 31 hours away...
Guinan reluctantly visits Hugh, now back in his cell, and angrily informs him that resistance is not futile. She describes her people's struggle against the Borg onslaught, and bitterly recounts how there are now very few of them left. "What you are saying," responds Hugh haltingly, "is that you are lonely. So is Hugh." Guinan, for one of the first times in her life, is left speechless.
He responds to Geordi's explanation (that they want to learn about other species) by pointing out that assimilation allows the Borg to learn everything about a species. When he becomes confused about why humans don't wish to be assimilated, Geordi talks of individuality, and of a sense of self. Even now, he points out, Hugh always refers to himself as "we", never "I". When Geordi responds to the issue of loneliness by bringing up and defining friends, Hugh responds to the definition with "Like Geordi...and Hugh."
Geordi and Data present the invasive program to Picard, who is impressed. As Data continues work on it, Geordi voices doubt to Picard about their plans. He tells Picard that Hugh doesn't seem...well...very Borglike any more, and that it doesn't feel right to use him as an instrument of genocide. Picard, however, will have none of it; he likens Geordi's attitude to that of twentieth- century scientists growing attached to laboratory animals, and tells Geordi to "unattach" himself from Hugh.
That evening, Guinan visits Picard in his quarters. After some small talk, she brings up Hugh. After her visit, she has doubts about the rightness of Picard's plan, and wants him to convince her. She suggests that at the very least, Picard should talk to him before committing to this. "If you're gonna use this person-" "It's not a PERSON, damn it, it's a Borg!" "If you are gonna use this person to destroy his race, you should at least look him in the eye once before you do it...because I am not sure it is still a Borg."
Picard is apparently unmoved, but later has Worf and Hugh beam to his ready room. Worf leaves, and Hugh addresses Picard-as Locutus. Picard plays along as Locutus, attempting to bring out Hugh's full Borglike nature. However, this attempt fails, and actually brings out Hugh's full individuality instead. Picard's reference to Geordi causes Hugh to personally refuse to help. "I will not assist you." "You said `I'. But you are Borg." "No. I am Hugh."
Picard is shocked, and hastily calls a conference to get other options. Riker suggests returning him with his memory wiped, but both Geordi and Bev demur at that. Picard eventually comes to the hopeful conclusion that although the Borg would almost certainly erase Hugh's memory of these events, there might be a short time in which Hugh's "singularity" would impact on the entire Borg collective consciousness, perhaps altering them forever. However, Bev quickly asks what happens if Hugh doesn't want to leave.
Picard and Geordi give Hugh the choice, which confuses Hugh. He decides that he truly wishes to stay, but that it's too dangerous for him to do; he asks to be taken back. As the Borg ship nears the system, Hugh is beamed down-but so is Geordi, who asked to be allowed to go down to the planet and who rightly expects to be ignored. As the Enterprise hides in the system's star's chromosphere, the Borg ship arrives and two Borg beam down to the moon. As Geordi watches, they link up to Hugh and are briefed. The three quickly reclaim the circuits of their dead comrades and return to their ship; but as the beam whisks them away, Hugh ever so slightly turns his head to nod a farewell to Geordi...
Technical design, graphic design, interactive features, HTML & CGI programming by Andrew Tong. || All materials Copyright © 1987-1995 by their respective authors. || Document created: January 28, 1995 || Last Modified: July 12, 1999