3 Reasons Why the Borg Didn’t Go Further Back in Time to Assimilate Humanity

Okay. Let’s get on with this debate. First, we need to review the plot of Star Trek: First Contact. Then you can all start throwing stuff.

First_Contact_posterThe Plot: Six years have passed since Captain Jean-Luc Picard was captured and assimilated by the Borg. Now, the Borg make a second attempt to conquer the Federation. Starfleet believes that Picard’s experience makes him an “unstable element to a critical situation” and orders him to stay behind. But, when Starfleet’s fight does not go well, Picard and the crew of the new USS Enterprise disobey orders to join the fight, following the Borg three hundred years into the past just as Zefram Cochrane prepares to launch Humanity’s first warp-capable engine, the Phoenix, and make first contact with an alien race.

For more detail on how it turned out, you can always check out the write-up at Memory Alpha.

Spoiler alert: the Borg lost.

This made some fans flip, questioning the Borg’s lame strategy, and asking the simple question: If the Borg could travel through time, why didn’t they just pop up during the 2019 Senate Impeachment Hearings and get the job done?

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Captain Picard says, “Stop looking at me like that. I didn’t make up this lame plot.”

This question was posed on the Star Trek Adventures Facebook group page. One of our connaisseurs of canon, Nathan Dowdell, chimed in with some great answers to start this brouhaha.

Nathan lovingly listed three reasons why the Borg didn’t go farther back in time to assimilate humanity:

  1. It’s Not Worth it to Assimilate a Cave-Man—Traveling back in time to assimilate all species before they could oppose the Borg doesn’t work: the Borg declare that they “will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own”, so assimilating primitive cultures increases their range of biological forms, but leaves them technologically stagnant.
  2. Humanity’s Not the Problem—It’s the Federation that Makes Their Nanites Tremble—The Battle of Sector 001 and the attempted temporal invasion of Earth isn’t strictly about assimilating humanity. Rather, it’s about destabilizing and establishing a foothold within the Alpha and Beta quadrants to assimilate all the other advanced cultures in the region without the opposition of the Federation (who had proven to be an obstacle to the Borg). Human efforts helped bring the Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites together into the Federation, so removing humans from the equation prevents the Federation. However…
    star trek first3
    “We’re Andorians. We never heard of the Borg, unless that’s a new derogatory term for Vulcans. Then yeah. We hate them.”
  3. Earth Makes a Swell Launching Pad for Assimilating Other Races—An assimilated Earth in 2063 puts the Borg within a short distance of Vulcan, Andor, Tellar Prime, Betazed, Trill, Qo’noS, Romulus, Cardassia Prime, Bajor, Ferenginar, and the territories of the Xindi, the Orions, the Nausicaans, the Gorn, the Breen, the Tzenkethi, and (though the Borg may not know it) positions them to discover the Bajoran wormhole and gain access to the Gamma quadrant too. Sacrificing the technological assets of the Federation by assimilating a pre-Warp Earth is still a huge net gain for the Borg.

Okay, start hurling the insults, counterarguments, and claims about my maternal origins. Either way, the good guys won, so we are still alive to fight about this. Thank you, Enterprise crew.

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“The Borg may add our technological distinctiveness to their own, however, they will also have to assimilate our plethora of near-debilitating skin disorders.”



  1. I think this has a lot to do with the mentality of the Collective in general their drives for perfection and efficiency. So the question of why the Borg didn’t travel further back in time is related to why they send one Cube to invade the Alpha Quadrant as opposed to say… 7,461 Cubes.
    The Collective believes that one Cube is sufficient… therefore sending anything in excess of a single Cube is wasteful and inefficient. By a similar estimation, when traveling back in time, the most efficient period to go back and assimilate humanity is right after the have the technology for warp drive, but before they have made contact with other space faring civilizations.
    If the Time Sphere further back in time then humanity actually detracts from the Collective’s quest for perfection, rather than adding to it, and we already know that not everyone is deemed worthy of assimilation (i.e. pre-warp civilizations, or even the space-faring yet still fairly primitive Kazon). You go further forward in time, and you risk making the Vulcans, Andorians, Klingons, etc. aware of your presence before you have had a chance to establish a foothold in the time period, and ironically, possibly bringing about the very Federation you are trying to prevent.

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