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Borg have a hard time adapting to low-tech weapons like bullets and... err... just smacking them really hard
That's not really true, but I feel like is a common misconception. We watch conventional shielding repel people and physical attacks all the time. We also see Borg shields do the same on occasion as well. When we see Borg die from more physical attacks, it's usually because the Borg aren't even anticipating it (since Borg have no creativity/imagination). Worf can switch to his mek'leth and get a few extra kills that way once his phasers have been adapted to. But I can guarantee that if he took on a horde of drones, that they'd quickly start cycling their shields at frequencies to start bouncing him off and then he'd be screwed. If Worf can jury rig a combadge to make a forcefield that can repel bullets, the Borg have to be able to do the same with their own built-in shields.
 
I'm pretty sure we've actually seen it a number of times, it's just not as memorable as Picard with a tommy gun so people jump to unreasonable conclusions. The primary example that springs to mind is the time when Picard was first discovered as being assimilated by Crusher's away team, a personal force field completely knocks Worf on his ass when he tried to go grab Locutus. But either way, it makes little to no sense that Borg tech would be inherently incapable of repelling the kinds of sustained high energy blasts from phasers, but a relatively miniscule amount of kinetic energy from a melee weapon, especially when we see considerably less advanced shielding tech in Star Trek all the time used for physical restraints or jail cells. And even if it were, it would be effortless for the Collective to analyze and adapt new defensive strategies when given a sufficiently large enough sample of data.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
Sure, but phasers are typically single shot (or sustained burst) weapons. There also has to be some theoretical limit on energy supply or protective ability for the Borg adaptive shielding, so facing an opponent whose operational doctrine is to just throw bodies and explosive rocket-bullets in large numbers at their opponents is also probably a valid tactic to just overwhelm drones.
 
I really don't think so. Again, the kinetic energy of swinging a sword, is on a completely different level from the kinetic energy used in a phaser to vaporize an entire building. The Borg can effortlessly facetank the later, the former is then comparably on the level of a horde of ants trying to topple an Elephant. And when you're fighting not just one Elephant, but a horde of Elephants, that can inject nanites that turn ants into Elephants, what sort of realistic hope do the ants have?

The Borg also have mass-assimilation tech like detonating a nanite-bomb in the upper atmosphere of a planet and then infecting the entire planet en masse. Fighting the Borg with overwhelming numbers is a fool's game. It's literally like throwing bodies at zombies. You're just feeding the zombie horde's numbers. You have to beat the Borg with creativity that they can't anticipate, and no characterization of the Imperium seems remotely capable of that. Especially when by all accounts they're losing their own similar wars of attrition against similar overwhelming and adaptive forces.
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
I'm no Trekkie, I've just watched the movies and a handful of TV eps, but seems to me that "energy" is a catchall term for many different things that come from vastly different sources, and defending against one actual type of energy doesn't mean you can protect against another. Radiation shielding in a nuclear power plant will keep all those free particles from bursting outwards, but a concrete coffin can get busted open by a missile, or eaten through by chemical reactions. So a disintegrator ray, however it works, and whatever exotic particles it uses to transform matter into (presumably) radiant or thermal energy, works on fundamentally different principles than a bulldozer.

There's also a physical limit to processing power, power supply and the hardware that brings them together, to constantly shift which type of defense you'd need from one moment to another. The same shield that they use in jail cells, or to deflect cosmic particles during space flight, needs to deal with and transform mechanical wave and elastic energy, but I don't think it can deal with radiant or magnetic or ionizing energy simultaneously. A Borg Cube probably has the resources and the collective's computational power to, say, layer multiple types of shielding to deal with a variety of energy types, and to recalibrate them on the fly, but a man-sized drone whose squishy wetware parts still use chemical energy as a power source? There has to be an upper limit as to how many types of shielding its mechanical parts can produce, and how quickly its hardware can reconfigure itself to produce them.

(Nevermind that even if a drone threw up a perfectly inelastic, impenetrable shield around itself, and the projector of this shield did not suffer any overload from redistributing mechanical energy imparted on it, it's still technically just a nice capsule you could pick up and throw. Or push over.)
 

Fredde

Let me rock you Chaugnar Faugn
What would be really interesting is if the Borg went into the Eye of Terror and took on the forces of Chaos. If we assume that their adaptive shielding can adapt to magic-infused weapons and creatures, and that their nanites could somehow infect daemons, I imagine they'd be able to put up a good fight against the forces of Khorne. They might have some trouble with the plagues of Nurgle, but again, if we assume that those diseases work like "regular" infections I'm sure the nanites would eventually be able to deal with them, even if I imagine that the diseases in turn would adapt quickly to the nanites, being magical and all. As for Tzeentch, I think he'd be able to outsmart them with his ability to play extremely long cons somehow, even when up against an enormous collective of minds. I get the impression that the Borg aren't usually much for subtle plans and deception. Now, Slaanesh... Would their cosmically powerful seductiveness and hedonism be able to overcome the extremely strong collective bonds of the Borg? Would Slaanesh be able to reawaken the passions and lusts of the drones? How would the collective adapt to that?
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
The Borg also have mass-assimilation tech like detonating a nanite-bomb in the upper atmosphere of a planet and then infecting the entire planet en masse.
Why didn't they do this in First Contact instead of silly time travelling?*

How many different energy weapons can the Borg "remember" at a time? One or two always die to the first phaser shot, which implies they can't just "learn" all possible variants or they would have done already. I'm also guessing that because Star Trek pretends to care for physics that they can't shield anything above their reactor's power output. Also, "they can shield energy weapons" is a very different thing to shielding kinetic impact. If they "learn" physical weapons too, what if we switch to a different knife? A mace? How does that even work?

*of course time travelling is a stupid power that breaks any and all stories and the reason that both the Doctor and the Daleks would handily beat everyone
 
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Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
We've seen Borg ships destroyed by solar flares, planetary explosions, and sustained energy fire against certain parts of their structure. A spacefaring species as old as the Borg has to have encountered phenomena like those in their history, but it's obvious, by what we've seen, that they don't have defenses against them.
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
Alternatively, they may have defenses, but you can only convert and/or redistribute energy up until a certain threshold and then you run out of power, the shield generation mechanism overloads because it can't convert quickly enough, or the projector crumples from the feedback.

And now I'm wondering what happens to a steel spring if you compress it with one of those science video machines that squash various materials.

EDIT: Seems about right:

First experiment is misleading because the alignment of the spring.makes it fold sideways Second one seems much more applicable to anything that projects a free-standing mechanical energy shield.
 
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Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Alternatively, they may have defenses, but you can only convert and/or redistribute energy up until a certain threshold and then you run out of power, the shield generation mechanism overloads because it can't convert quickly enough, or the projector crumples from the feedback.

And now I'm wondering what happens to a steel spring if you compress it with one of those science video machines that squash various materials.

EDIT: Seems about right:

First experiment is misleading because the alignment of the spring.makes it fold sideways Second one seems much more applicable to anything that projects a free-standing mechanical energy shield.
Yeah, for a spring once it goes beyond the elastic limit it goes into plastic behaviour and it won't return to its original shape. The mechanical energy in the system will decrease as a result. While they can't be directly applied to theoretical energy shields I'd imagine equal and opposite energy would have to be supplied to deflect things and that would effectively be the equivalent of mechanical energy. If the impact exceeds what the reactor can supply either in total or in a spike, the shields would fail. So saying "they have shields" shouldn't be a magical "nothing can stop me now" thing.
 

Trar

Grilling
(I am a man)
My big problem with the 40k setting is that most of the time, for all its talk of being a satire, the Imperium is portrayed as a "necessary evil". I mean, in a universe where actual demons can break through into reality and cause planetary-wide destruction if a single human mutant loses concenration for a moment, and where there are secret cults that physically alters its members to be fanatically devoted to summoning planet-devouring alien insects, a certain paranoia and surveliance seems necessary for humanity's survival. And since there are several very prolific alien species who apparently exist only for warfare, who can't be negotiated with in any way, there is a need for a pretty sizeable standing army, and a focus on producing weapons over peactime necessities. And since apparently most of the galaxy's non-human population, aside from the Tau and maybe the craftworld Eldar, are huge assholes, it's understandable why humanity has become quite xenophobic.

It also seems very rare that the fiction suggests that the Imperium is somehow the cause of any of these threats (most of the things that caused the universe to be such a hellhole happened thousands or millions of years before the Imperium even existed), or that there is any better solution than what it's currently doing (you can't negotiate or create any long-term peaceful situation with Orks, Tyranids or Chaos, as far as I can tell). So Games Workshop has basically set up a universe where humanity can only survive through a fascist, xenophobic and religiously fanatic necrocracy, and anyone who tries anything else inevitably ends up getting eaten by demons.

Well, I guess the tech-priests are the exception. They really do seem like humans that could make the universe a better place if they'd start doing things differently. But even they often get eaten by demons when they try to invent new stuff instead of just churning out more of the same old stuff.

Late reply but...while you're basically right, that's the entire point. It's grimdark, baby.

Also there was this YouTube video that speculated the Borg would have a fairly easy time assimilating stuff in the 40k verse, but there was the implication that Chaos would exploit their fanatical desire for perfection.
 

Destil

DestilG
(he/him)
Staff member
The entire Milky Way Galaxy in 40k is just living (well, not Necrons) on borrowed time until the Hive Fleets fully arrive. Have fun assimilating that.

Also it’s a lot to assume Hyperspace or Warp drive don’t suffer perlis of the warp if they fight there.
 
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