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A Borg Hive Vessel is a massive ship of unique design operated by the Borg, both in their earliest years and the late 24th century. (Star Trek: Abandoned)
The First HivesEdit
The first Hive vessels operated by the Borg were constructed in the 24th millennium BCE, at the height of their war with the Inc'Radi empire. At least a hundred such vessels existed in the galaxy at that time, possibly more. ("Lost and Found")
Three Hives were among the armada that prompted the evacuation of the Motherworld. Major Enriss Temaga fought a valiant battle against them to give her people time to escape, but eventually every ship in her fleet was destroyed, with the exception of her own fighter craft. She charged back to her homeworld with a warning of the approaching Hives, but found the planet was already deserted. ("The Calm Before the Storm")
With the fragmentation of the Collective in 2378, the Borg returned to their old ways, individual ships forging alliances with those they deemed best able to insure their survival. These alliances quickly grew into collectives of their own, though each was far different from the others, and the designs of their respective Hives reflected that. These new Hive ships were either elements of the Unicomplex that survived the effects of Kathryn Janeway's neurolytic pathogen and converted into crude ships, or else built from scratch. The diversity in Hive ship design was such that it was possible to identify which Collective operated the vessel just by looking. ("Solitude")
Given their unique nature, the specifications and abilities of the vessels inherently vary from one ship to the next. There are, however, several commonalities across the entire range. The most obvious of these is their size, dwarfing even the most formidable Cube, thus making them some of the largest vessels in the known universe, potentially able to carry millions of drones. Secondly, the ability to act as a carrier ship for smaller vessels is common to many Hive ships, though several have been observed as merely being solid structures, with escort vessels flying alongside. ("Lost and Found", "Under Siege, part I") Thirdly, each Hive is equipped with an impressive array of external and internal defenses that can cripple most normal ships within seconds.
As stated above, perhaps the greatest advantage of any Hive ship is it's size. However, as noted by Professor T'Sora, there are many logistical problems with operating such huge vessels, so this strength also becomes their biggest weakness. ("Second Strike")
The very origin of several Hives also provides potential aggressors with windows of attack not readily available on smaller Borg ships. For example, the Hive used to lure the warship Olympus into an ambush had a very obvious external weakness - many primary conduits along the port side just beneath the hull, relatively unprotected by the armour plating common across the rest of the ship. It was theorised that this Hive had been part of the Unicomplex station at some stage, and these conduits represented points of connection with other modules. Several direct hits at this point caused power distribution across much of the vessel to fail, effectively disabling it. ("Second Strike")
In the two (and counting) years of the Inc'Radi mission, the expedition has come up against a number of Hive ships, with varying measures of success. These are, in chronological order:
- Primary Hive - by far the largest of all Borg ships, this vessel was used as the command ship for the most powerful alliance following the Fragmentation. More than a hundred kilometres in length and escorted by dozens of Cubes, this vessel was destroyed in a chain reaction of sabotage and a kamikaze run by the USS Beltane. ("Lost and Found")
- Alliance of Three - the first attempt by the Borg to take L'Vehris for themselves. ("Solitude", "Realisation") The lead ship was destroyed by the Olympus with the assistance of an Inc'Ranas task force. The two remaining Hives retreated, but quickly dispatched the Ranas when they pursued them. Some quick thinking by Ensign Kira Rhiohr caused the Hives to attack each other, resulting in their mutual destruction. ("Under Siege, part II")
- A force of Borg ships was defeated by a Federation battle fleet in early 2386, but it is unknown if any Hives were among them. ("Declaration")
- A Hive ship was successfully taken out by a Starfleet strike force that same year. ("Guerilla")
- The assimilated form of Captain Temaga, after escaping the city, encountered a Borg fleet under attack by the Federation. Several vessels were damaged, but the Hive managed to escape intact after capturing Temaga's shuttle. ("The Calm Before the Storm")
- The Six travel to Temaga's Hive, under the pretense of wishing to join her alliance. It is actually part of a plot between the Six and the expedition to sabotage her control. ("Freedom of Tyranny")
- A strike team is killed by Temaga aboard a Hive they are attempting to sabotage. The vessel attacks the Olympus, which manages to escape in time. ("Second Strike")
- The Olympus manages to destroy a Hive based on information given to them by the Six. Two more Hives ambush her as she attempts to leave, and only just manages to escape in time. ("Second Strike")
- Alliance of Seven - the first wave of Temaga's assault on the expedition. The warship Olympus, while generating a transwarp conduit, successfully used her tractor beams to push the attacking Hive into the matter stream of a binary star system. The Hive was not destroyed, but the damage was so extreme it was abandoned by the alliance. ("Time's Up") A second Hive from this fleet was destroyed by a kamikaze run by the USS Adelphi.