Wednesday, October 24, 2018
A Measure of Individuality
This is my entry in the Disability in Film Blogathon hosted by Pop Culture Reverie and In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.
In the 24th century, disabilities are almost non-existent (at least not in the idealistic 24th century that Gene Roddenberry envisioned...). And those that do crop up can be easily remedied. Blindness, for example, can be fixed by just attaching an instrument across the eyes that lets them see things. Thus, one of the crew of the starship USS Enterprise, is effectively a viable member of the crew, who, though blind, can see with the aid of a VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sight Organ Replacement).
Star Trek - The Next Generation: ("I Borg" episode first broadcast May 11, 1992):
On a mission in a remote solar system of the galaxy, the Enterprise detects a faint distress beacon on one of the moons within the system. Upon investigation the crew finds the remains of a crashed Borg ship.
If you are new to the Star Trek Universe, allow me to give you a brief description of the Borg. The Borg are a race that are somewhat humanoid, but are entirely driven by a central computer source. Think of robots, an entire race of which are driven by a central processor. Except the Borg are not content with existing in a multi-racial universe. They are driven by their central source to conquer other civilizations and turn them into Borg themselves. In order to understand all that follows, you really need to understand that the Borg is one, not a race, just one individual with albeit, multiple bodies. In other words, when one identifies himself, it is in the third person collective of "We are Borg."
By the 5th season of the run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the crew of the Enterprise had become well acquainted with the Borg. In fact, in an earlier episode, Capt Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) had actually been captured and "assimilated" as a Borg.
So when Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) insists that it is her duty to help save the life of the one surviving Borg, of course Picard, and the entire rest of the crew have their own uneasiness at the situation
Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) is given the task to help repair the damaged circuits of the injured Borg. But he is also given another mandate. Develop some kind of computer virus that will infect the Borg collective. (see, since all Borg or connected, if you introduce a computer virus to one, eventually all Borg would be infected by the virus.)
Of course, the moral implications of this concept of intoducing a virus that would effectively wipe out an entire race from the face of the universe HAS to come into play. And despite the adamant desires of some to exact revenge on the Borg for what they have caused to their own worlds, each of the characters in the piece must come to the same conclusion. That this Borg is no longer a faceless enemy. By this time many of the people associated with the injured Borg have began to call him(/it/??) "Hugh". And Hugh himself has demonstrated that a certain sense of individuality has started to come to the fore.
Ultimately it is decided not to introduce the computer virus to Hugh's memory banks. Hugh elects to be returned to the crash site because a rescue team of Borg is on it's way. And the Borg will seek out their survivors, no matter where they are, which means if Hugh chose to stay with his new friend, Geordi, eventually the Borg would find him. And that might not be good for the crew of the Enterprise.
Well, folks time to head home. The theater is closing. Resistance is futile. You will be ejected. Drive safely.