Runner up – Ethical Considerations
Ethical Considerations, written by Alleran Tan from Starbase 118.
I was born on Ferenginar and, much like most Ferengi, I was raised with the principles of our species: a form of hyper-capitalist profit-seeking completely out of place with nearly every other warp-capable civilization in the Alpha Quadrant. For all of my life this was all I cared about, a numbers game. How many bars, how many strips, how many slips. Credits and debits, stock options, negative gearing and dividend reinvestment.
How small and pathetic all that seems to me now.
My assimilation and subsequent “liberation” changed me. I’m not going to lie. My family thinks that I’m ill; my father successfully sued for my power of attorney while I “recovered”, and he won because I didn’t contest the ruling. I didn’t care what happened to the small fortune I’d amassed over a lifetime.
So, as a former drone still undergoing the process of having all my implants removed and any last traces of the DNA sequencing removed it may seem strange to say, but the Borg are not evil.
They are merely amoral.
During a period of Human history called the “Second World War”, scientists who were part of one of the nation-states involved performed experiments on their fellow Humans. They immersed healthy individuals into freezing water, slowly lowering the temperature to gauge a Human’s lowest survivable temperature.
This research had a purely pragmatic, military application; to see if pilots who bailed out from their craft over freezing water would survive, to assess if a rescue was worth the effort.
Retrieving corpses was not considered a priority to this particular group.
The method used to obtain this knowledge was horrific and unethical, but it was accurate and meticulously documented. This research forms, even today, the basis of our knowledge of how hypothermia affects Humans. Yes, we have holograms and simulators and computers that can perform amazing feats, but there’s no simulation that can perfectly match reality. We use simulations, but we always check that data against the experimental evidence.
Some are unable to divorce the actor from the result when considering these things. To them the outcome ofan experiment is forever tainted with the actions of immorality and that the ends never justifies the means. I disagree, though.
Facts are not burdened with ethical considerations.
Assimilation is painful, but life in the hive is actually remarkably pleasant. The Federation squawks about equality and egalitarianism being the ideals that it strives for but that’s just a façade. People still judge. They still have greed, and ambitions, and are selfish; they still have their instincts and those instincts lead towards individualism and away from true collectivism. True community.
Yesterday I went out of the starbase’s sickbay for the first time and sat in the promenade, my body full of holes, the Borg implants not yet replaced with Federation issue prosthetics. I imagined I looked positively ghoulish, deliberately staring down passers-by and studying their reactions.
Revulsion. Fear. Pity. The irony was it was I who pitied them.
Today I went out again. The medical doctor, Vaughan, thought it best that I stay in the recovery ward, but I lied loudly and I lied proudly. I said was feeling well, I needed some air, I enjoyed the open space of the promenade. It worked.
I didn’t go straight to the promenade, though. Instead I found a public replimat and replicated a plain titanium casing, a low grade status field generator, a hypospray, a high band microwave emitter, a knife and a PADD.
With no implants, no more active nanites flowing through my veins, physical communication with the Collective wasn’t possible. The nanites in my blood had been neutralized by a high burst of gamma radiation. They were inert, unmoving and silent.
But the primary, distinguishing feature of the Borg was their resiliency. Their adaptability.
Some former drones report that the voice of the hive sometimes whispers to them in their weaker moments… that the Collective’s voice is never, truly, stifled. I think the truth is more complex. Instead, the effect is entirely psychosomatic. The Collective holds no sway over ex-drones if they choose to reject its siren song.
Yet, strangely, that subconscious voice sometimes whispers useful information. Medical information, scientific curiousities, obscure facts… suggestions.
I took my replicated items and found an unused shopfront far from prying eyes. It was unlocked. I didn’t question my good fortune, slipping into the dust covered lobby, gently laying each item out on a workbench.
The hypospray extracted a thimbleful of my blood. I used the status field generator to create a thin invisible sheen over the inside of the titanium casing, then the blood was deposited inside. I coupled the microwave emitter to the PADD and used the device as a power source, listening as it hummed and bathed my exposed blood in energy, breathing power back into the nanites. Reviving them.
With my crude device in hand, I moved back out into the promenade, took a quiet seat with a view of the crowd and used the knife to slice the tip of my finger. Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the crowd I dipped it in the vial of my blood, frothing with invisible nanites, and waited for them to come back to life. For them to swim up into my finger and into my bloodstream, to transform me back into the drone I once was.
Some might say that what I was doing was horribly unethical. I was voluntarily surrendering my will, yes, and that might be arguably my own choice but the Borg that I would become would force others to surrender theirs… and I knew that it would. That whisper in the back of my mind told me that when I turned, this station’s defenses were weak. There was no way they could stop me. This crowd of judgemental, individualistic simpletons would, in a matter of hours, all be Borg.
I knew my choice was not their choice. I accepted this fully; yes, I was doing a terrible thing and I didn’t expect that anyone to, really, understand why. Not really. I was sure in the years to come my actions would be widely analysed. Studied, in a clinical sense, to try and find out why I did what I did. They’ll come up with complex answers: Stockholm syndrome, latent neurasthenic breakdown due to the radiation treatment, oran extreme cry for help. Some would call me a monster. Sick, twisted, ill… or outright evil.
But the fact of the matter is I was helping these people unify and become something better. Move to the next level. Evolve as a society towards true harmony.
And facts are not burdened with ethical considerations.