Star Trek: Borg is an interactive movie/computer game and audiobook set in the Star Trek universe. It was written by Hilary Bader, was directed by James L. Conway, and featured an original score by Dennis McCarthy. It was released in 1996 by Simon and Schuster for Mac OS and Windows 95.
Plot and Gameplay
In the midst of a new Borg incursion 10 years after the Battle of Wolf 359, Starfleet Cadet Qaylan Furlong is given an opportunity by Q (John de Lancie) to go back in time and prevent his father's death in the historic battle.
Q sends Qaylan to the USS Righteous, his father's Excelsior-class starship, just before the Battle of Wolf 359. Originally, the ship's security officer Coris Sprint was killed by a Borg intruder over four hours before the battle. Q gives Qaylan control of Sprint's body at this point, allowing him to change history. Since Sprint is Bijani (a heretofore unseen alien race) he has the ability to go into a "Bijani Pain Trance" which allows him to complete jobs even when feeling immense pain. This later becomes an important plot point in allowing the character to complete the game.
Meanwhile, Q takes over the role of Dr. Thaddeus Quint, whose personality is similar to Q's.
At several points throughout the game, the player [Qaylan] is given multiple choices about what actions should be taken in various situations. The results vary based on whatever actions are chosen. If the player chooses poorly, Q will reset time and allow him to try again. If the player makes too many mistakes, however, Q becomes bored and the game ends.
- Cadet Qaylan Furlong / Lt. Coris Sprint: The game's player character. Because the story is seen through this character's point of view, he never appears on camera. It is implied that he is male, is approximately 19 years old, and bears a physical resemblance to his father. Q gives Qaylan control of Bijani security officer Coris Sprint (briefly portrayed by Tarik Ergin), which allows him to interact with the crew of the Righteous.
- Q / Doctor Thaddeus Quint (John de Lancie): A seemingly-omnipotent being who has taken an interest in the welfare of Cadet Qaylan Furlong. Q gives the cadet a special hand phaser and tricorder to aid him on his mission. Occasionally he will also mock the player if he's not succeeding. For purposes of the story, he takes the body and role of the ship's chief medical officer, Dr. Thaddeus Quint (also played by Murray Rubinstein), but Qaylan continues to see Q in his true form.
- Lt. Ralph Furlong (Jeff Allin): Conn officer and father of Qaylan. He has an easy-going personality which contrasts greatly to that of Captain Andropov.
- Captain Nikolai Andropov (Barry Lynch): Commanding officer of the USS Righteous. He's stern and gruff, he's also very professional and by-the-book. But he's not without a reasonable and understanding side.
- Ensign Anastasia Targus (Marnie McPhail): Operations officer. She has an outgoing personality and deep-seated emotional issues stemming from her time as a Cardassian prisoner of war. She has a cybernetic implant on her forehead to counteract the effects of the torture she endured at their hands.
- Commander Bennington Biraka (John Cothran Jr.): Ship's counselor. Biraka likes everyone and does his best to keep the crew together. He offers both encouragement and pearls of wisdom during difficult situations.
Star Trek: Borg provides examples of the following tropes:
- And the Adventure Continues: After Q transports the Righteous ten years in the future to avoid rewriting history, another Borg ship appears on sensors. Captain Andropov orders an intercept course.
- Black Comedy: Q often tells jokes when someone is about to, or has just died.
- "If Lieutenant Sprint were still alive he might be able to save the ship. But he's been dead for four hours! No wonder they don't want him on the bridge.""This is Lieutenant Sprint. Do you think he knows he's gonna die? I don't think so. Don't bother saying hello, just makes saying goodbye that much harder.""I'm sorry... he's just too stupid to live."
- Dr. Quint has the same dark sense of humor, even before Q takes his role.
- Dr. Quint: (scans a dead ensign) Death in battle...if he were a Klingon he'd be ecstatic.Q: Oooh! I like this guy!
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted. In fact, the only bad ending where Biraka dies is the one where the Borgified player and another drone assassinate the entire bridge crew.
- Body Snatcher: Q transfers Cadet Furlong into Lt. Sprint's body while he takes over Dr. Quint's. The cadet still sees him as Q in a blue uniform.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: One of the "wrong choice" endings has Q, in full Borg makeup and prosthetics, drop character, walk offstage (while the camera follows him), and complain about how you're not taking it seriously to the production crew, who grumble along with him.
- Chewing the Scenery: Q, occasionally. As (almost) always, de Lancie's performance sells what might easily instead have come across as Narm.
- Dead All Along: For some bizarre reason, Sprint is treated this way when it's time for Q to reveal that you're really Cadet Furlong (though at least the real Dr. Quint gets to live).
- Deadpan Snarker: It's a Star Trek game featuring Q.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: At different points in the game, you can punch Q in the face or kick him in the joy department.
- Dr. Jerk: What little we see of the real Doctor Quint is not endearing. That Q can take over his body and act like his usual pompous ass self without anyone thinking Quint is acting oddly speaks volumes.
- Fission Mailed: The first time the player goes into the "Bijani Pain Trance" it looks like it's sending him to the typical white death screen, before Q explains what's really going on.
- For Want of a Nail: Q invokes it by name. The nail is Lt. Sprint. If he had lived during the initial attack, the Righteous would not have been destroyed and the player character's father would have lived.
- Functional Addict: The Cardassians addicted Targus to neural stimulation as a form of torture. She's a functional officer now thanks to her implant, but interfering with its normal operation can bring her addiction roaring back.
- Fun Personified: Hit the wrong code into the turbolift manual control, and you might get treated to Q's idea of fun while you're running around doing boring things; Turning deck eleven into his own personal party deck. Complete with Nice Hat.Q: Why? Because I can! Nya ha ha ha ha ha hah!
- Heroic Mime: Sprint never speaks beyond grunts and groans, but his fellow crewmembers don't seem to expect him to. This being the Star Trek universe, it could be a characteristic of the Bijani culture or species.
- Hollywood Psych: Averted. Counselor Biraka's reasonably accurate Phenomenological analysis of Quint and, by extension, Q himself, is so bang on that it shuts him up completely.Q: Spare me the psychology, counselor. You don't have the tools to analyze me!
Biraka: Your problem is very straightforward, doctor. You desperately want to be... liked.
Q: If I wanted to be liked, all I'd have to do is snap my fingers, and I'd be liked! I'm an omnipotent being masquerading as Dr. Quint. Whatever I want to happen, happens.
Biraka: (laughs) Interesting fantasy... Alright, let's play that through. Then why don't you?
Q: Why don't I what?
Biraka: Make everyone like you.
Q: Because I don't want to!
Biraka: No! Because you want them to like you of their own free will and, phenomenologically speaking, you can't force them to do something of their own free will!
Q: Sophistry, Biraka.
Biraka: Truth, Quint. Let me give you some free advice: If you want to be liked, try making yourself likable. (pats Q on the shoulder, walking away)
Q: Ahhh! (makes a strangling motion with his hands in frustration before dropping them, suddenly at a loss for words as a contemplative look crosses his face)
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Subverted in that it's used to describe someone else. When Thaddeus Quint is introduced, Q describes how he tried (and failed) to save the life of Lt. Sprint, and adds, "Well, what do you expect? He's a doctor, not a security officer!"
- In Spite of a Nail: Q doesn't seem that concerned about potentially rewriting his history. At the end, he admits that he didn't think you'd actually manage it, and he invokes a Time Travel Escape to preserve the course of events.
- It's Up to You: Initially averted. Your ship is about to face the Borg, but as you're a new, low-ranking member of the crew, you're going to be sent out of danger. Then Q appears, and everything else is on your watch.
- Irony: If you let your dad get Borgified, you have to kill him yourself, where Q will comment:Q: Well, didn't you want to kill Borg?
- Large Ham: Q, in spades.
- Non-Standard Game Over: The first choice in the game. If you choose the bag of the Sprint's belongings twice, Q will make the game program close without letting you save. This forces you to watch the opening cutscenes again, which also serves as a lesson to the player to save often.
- No OSHA Compliance: An early puzzle requires the player to reconfigure a console. This involves interacting with a selection of four configuration nodules. The nodules are all identical. Three of them will shock anyone who touches it. One of those three will fatally shock anyone who touches it. Absolutely no warning labels are visible. (Note that this isn't Trial-and-Error Gameplay; you can use your tricorder to figure out which one is which.)
- What makes it funnier is that there's an almost identical scene later with a piece of captured Borg tech, and the correct answer is Don't Touch It, You Idiot!.
- One-Letter Name: Q mentions that his name is "short for Q."
- Our Time Travel Is Different: All it takes is the snap of Q's fingers. It helps that he is Q.
- Percussive Prevention: This is the only way to keep Lt. Furlong from being assimilated.
- Postmodernism: Making a particular mistake late in the game (using the wrong hypospray setting on yourself) causes Q to groan that he needs to take a break in an alternate reality; "Come on everybody, let's go. He's such an amateur!" The soundtrack stops abruptly, and the Starfleet officers and Borg wander off, chatting together like actors taking five.
- Reality Warper: As Q says himself, whatever he wants to happen happens.
- Refusal of the Call: At the start, you can refuse Q's offer to go back to the Righteous and fight the Borg. He takes a bit of convincing and expresses his disappointment in you, but you can turn him down. Of course, that means it's game over.
- Save Scumming / Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Many of the "puzzles" rely on doing something fatal, then letting Q bring you back to the decision point so you can try again. In a creative twist, one "puzzle" calls for the player to deliberately become Borgified so he can learn their access codes, then get killed and have Q bring him back to where he would have needed those access codes.
- Series Continuity Error: The uniforms, tricorders, and phasers; during Wolf 359 everybody should be have TNG-style ones but instead have Voyager-style versions. The Borg however still maintain their TNG appearance as opposed to their First Contact makeover.
- Take Our Word for It: Using the tricorder on Lt. Counselor Biraka informs you that, among other things as a general badass, he won a silver medal for low-gravity Equestrian jumping at the Federation Olympics.
- Too Dumb to Live
- Grab the wrong power module towards the beginning and Q pretty much says this.
- Some of the choices you need to proceed are the dumbest possible options you could take (such as starting a fight on a Borg cube or knocking out your own father) that result in either your death or assimilated by the borg to get pieces of information you couldn't get otherwise. The fact Q keeps bringing you back to life by turning back time makes things a lot more clever.
- Time Travel Escape: Used at the end when the Righteous is saved when it should have been destroyed by the Borg.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When your character returns to the Righteous after being partially assimilated, the crew almost kills you until your teammates assure them that you are still yourself, after which nobody seems even slightly uncomfortable about the situation, even when you punch or kick the nads of your ship's chief medical officer.