March 1st, 2002

andromeda

Captain, I do not want to forget that I am Hugh.

This is less a journal entry than a, um, feature? Oh well.

Last week, TNN showed my all-time favorite episode of Star Trek: TNG. I'm not posting this because it carries any current relevance, just because I figure people read my journal to get to know me, and my favorite Star Trek episode can be filed away with the other factoids that make up the Girl Behind the Spacefem (TM).

"I, Borg"
Episode 223 (Season 5)

Basically, the crew adopts a Borg because he's injured in a crash and they want to fix him up and (later) give him a virus to screw up the other Borg (a crazy race of bot-people who fly around in giant cube assimilating entire races for fun, easily my favorite villians). There's a lot of hate for The Borg on the Enterprise for good reason, they've been through a lot of crap with them. Picard himself became one once (not by choice, mind you) and almost didn't come back, his bitterness is a major theme throughout the episode.

Slowly, when separated from the other Borg, their new pet discovers that he may have an identity for himself after all. When he realizes that none of the others around him refer to themselves in the plural form ("we are borg"), Geordi names him "Hugh" and he slowly learns what it's like to live in the quiet that is human life, without his mind being controlled by a million other minds. He also learns for the first time what it's like to be lonely and scared, but as the members of the Enterprise explain to him, being lonely and scared is a big part of being human, and the only way to rid ourselves of this is to give up our individuality, which for many (Geordi LaForge being one of these), there's nothing more precious. He would "rather die" than lose the gift of thinking for himself.

It's my favorite episode for two reasons. First, it leaves us with the notion that experiencing new ideas and sharing concepts can change the Universe. Hugh's memory will be erased with he is returned to the Borg, but after linking back for the first time after being returned he still looks back at Geordi and we know that something is still there and will be for at least some small amount of time, the sense of what he gained. In fact, the sense of individuality gained does corrupt a good section of the Borg collective. Sources vary on exactly what happened between then and the time Data's evil twin (yeah, i know) re-led them into battle, but we can assume Hugh's mentality put a big landmine into things for a long time.

Second, you realize that everything we go through makes us who we are, individuals, worth something. I dunno, it comforts me. Call Star Trek geeky, call me a dork, but both these ideas give me a lot of hope for life in this place--we are valuable in ourselves and can't forget that, even during times when it feels like we can't do anything or go anywhere, we can add to ourselves and be that tiny part of the universe that nobody else is.

I, too, would rather die than have that taken away.