Assimilation is the term used in the 24th Century to refer to the process of the Borg Collective taking other lifeforms, technology, vessels and even entire planets by force and enslaving them. In doing so all of the species relevant (useful) knowledge and experience is retained and absorbed in-to the Hive Mind and redistributed to every single member of the Borg Collective where as the irrelevant information is simply disregarded and erased.
Not all species qualify for assimilation, the first aspect of their culture the Borg seek to attain is increasingly advanced technology, vessels, stations or orbital devices which possess significantly high power signatures, warp signatures also the possession of noteworthy weapons or defense systems will be considered sufficient grounds to warrant assimilation. However demonstrating the possession of standard warp technology and particle weapons are by themselves insufficient grounds for assimilation, when the species displays poor technological capabilities they must then possess beneficial or unique biological traits such as a display of extremely high intelligence, physical strength or mental prowess.
Early 24th Century Assimilation Process (2366-2373)
The initial method of the assimilation process in the 24th century involved significant psychological trauma to the victim primarily due to the extensive biological augmentation being carried out whilst the victim is still conscious. Firstly, drilling through the eye pupil for the implantation of the cortical array and neural transceiver directly into the brain - which enhances all higher brain functions for language, memory recall and processing power in preparation for uplinking to the Collective consciousness. Secondly, replacement of the eye entirely with an occipital implant designed to allow the attachment of ocular implants. Next the individual's body is refitted with synthetic organs which produce all of the nutrients which the biological systems require, including oxygen for the blood; their only requirement being regularly recharged via the alcove. Following those steps, the drone is then outfitted with an exoskeleton and a multitude of additional technological devices designed to fulfill multiple functions and maintain their uplink to the Hive Mind. Then a very long automated arm, which could presumably only be mounted within a Borg vessel, would inject the individual, altering the victim's body's physiology with a retrovirus, re-writing the lifeforms genetic code to more closely resemble the Borg's. In addition to the physical mutilation that occurs, being assimilated as a Borg Drone robs a person of their individuality, enslaving them to the will of the Collective.
Partial AssimilationDrones whom have been newly assimilated and have not yet under-gone complete biological augmentation require additional time to progress through the assimilation process and are only able to be enhanced as far as nanoprobes can take them. Certain functions compared to the completed drones such as: regeneration in an alcove are not yet possible nor required.
Firstly upon injection the nanoprobes immediately latch on-to and utilizing a retrovirus, attack the cells by re-writing their DNA coding and altering the victims biology, preventing the body from rejecting foreign objects and the plethora of synthetic devices to follow. When the process is completed the life signs do not read as human anymore (Ent - Regeneration.) This first step paves the way for all other major biological changes which follow. Some minutes in-to the assimilation process the nanoprobes which have infiltrated the brain begin inducing a temporary coma to protect the brain from psychological and physical damage as the nanoprobes being reconfiguring the neural pathways, allowing the brain to tune in-to the frequency of the hive mind and hear the voices of near-by drones at close range without any technological aid (Voy - Dark Frontier, First Contact, ENT - Regeneration). While the brain is undergoing the continuing process of restructuring the entire autonomic and renal system in the body are all being augmented and replaced by devices.
Organs such as the heart, spinal chord, blood vessels, salivary glands, pancreas, hair and sweat glands are all replaced and controlled by Borg devices which allow their bodies to synthesize the nutrients their biological systems require and remove the need for ingestion. The lungs under-go a similar transformation - a device is constructed by the nanoprobes which allows oxygenation of the blood and removed the drones need to inhale gasses. The musculature is also greatly enhanced throughout the entire body granting the partially assimilated drones strength at least two times greater than that of humans.
Roughly twenty minutes following infection, the nanoprobes complete the neural transceiver which will connect the victims mind to the Collective consciousness once the restructuring of the neural pathways are complete. As more and more technology is completed and the drone is able to function as a low-class drone and is supported entirely by its technology. Around 25 minutes following infection the nanoprobe injection tubules are constructed, enabling the drone to assimilate other lifeforms immediately upon activation. Half an hour following infection and almost total transformation of the body, the restructuring of the neural pathways is nearing completion, in order for the brain to finally be connected with the hive mind the technology must restart the victims brain - resulting frequently in a loss of the victims short term memory (Ent - Regeneration) and leading to the subject regaining consciousness. Once the brain pathways are sufficiently active and the subject regains a state of high awareness the connection to the hive mind is finally established allowing the drone to receive its instructions and begin carrying them out. Upon achieving an uplink to the Collective and activation of the drone most of the nanoprobes receive instructions to lay dormant in the victims blood stream as most biological regeneration will now be influenced by the Collective uplink. Already possessing weaponry in the form of enhanced strength and injection tubules, the nanoprobes immediately begin construction of the drones personal force field, due to the drones completion and most of the nanoprobes now laying dormant, the construction proceeds significantly slower and is completed circa 45 minutes after infection. One of the final modifications before completion of the partially-assimilated drones technology is the spinal clamp - a form of technology housing the spinal chord which speeds up neural transmission activity, protects the spine from damage, regenerates the spine when broken or damaged and strengthens the spine, allowing drones to fall or leap from great heights without trouble or spinal damage.
- Skin pigmentation and alteration via DNA manipulation
- Neural Pathway restructuring resulting in loss of consciousness
- Complete biological regeneration
- Musculature and skeletal enhancement - super strength
- Interlink node
- Injection tubules
- Group Consciousness
- Personal force field
- Spinal clamp
Late 23rd Century Assimilation Process (2373+)
Sometime between 2366 (TNG - "Best of Both Worlds") and 2373 (VOY - "Unity") the method of assimilation by the Borg had drastically altered, presumably due to the Borg assimilating nanoprobe technology.
Inside of or attached to the victims head are a: Vocal subprocessor, Ocular implant, Cortical implant, Cortical array plus Cortical Node,Cranial transceiver, Interlink node, Neural processor, Neuro-processing adjunct, Neural transceiver, Sensory node
Inside of or attached to the victims chest are Designator interface circuits, a Microconnector, a Regenerative shield, a Thoracic assembly.
However following the eventual assimilation of nanoprobe technology the Borg drones abilities and technology drastically improved. The link between the technological and the biological was finally truly achieved and the entire assimilation process was retro-fitted with the implementation of injection tubules and nanites. A process which once took hours could now be achieved within a matter of minutes due to the nanites ability to quickly assimilate the subject and even construct essential devices in such as a Neural Transceiver.
The assimilation of the Nanoprobe technology firstly granted the drone astounding inherent regenerative abilities, withstanding being frozen for hundreds of years then regenerating and returning to a fully-functional state ENT - Regeneration. Nanoprobes in conjunction with the Ocular Implant also allowed the Borg Drone to alter their bio-electric field to any frequency they require by scanning the holographic fields frequency with the Ocular Implant (Star Trek: First Contact), and sending that information to the nanoprobes which then proceed to alter the drone's bio-elecric field within a matter of seconds.(VOY - Hope and Fear). In addition to the regenerative shield possessed by all Borg Drones they became a truly unstoppable force, passing freely through forcefields and adapting to particle weapons fire.
- Super-human strength via the prosthetic limbs and exoskeleton.
- Discharge protection of up-to 5 million gigawatts.
- Enhanced vision, capable of detecting irregularities in space-time.
- Enhanced mental capabilities as a result of the neural processor.
- Infinite knowledge allowing the completion of any task whether it be medical, scientific or engineering due to the drone's uplink to the Collective.
- Particle weapon defense via the personal regenerative shielding.
- Constant transporter lock via the cranial transceiver.
- Enhanced regenerative capabilities and drastically improved immune response via the nanoprobes.