When the Pilgrims Met the Borg: Faith, Perfection and the Assimilated Pilgrim

As written by William Bradford, 1620, original pilgrim on the Mayflower, original settler of Plymouth Plantation, after the strange ordeals on the Atlantic Ocean on the way to the New World.  This account is accurate to the best of the ability of the author, William Bradford, and notes the first instance of the Borg in Sector 001.  Though William Bradford is aboard the ship, the reader should note that his record is of the Pilgrims, and notes their struggles, their accomplishments, in a third person, collective account.  

There be no assurances in the ways and means of the Almighty God.  That He is there to keep and to guide, we may be comforted, but that His methods and ways be strange, there be only the righteous account and evidence of the men and the women of the Mayflower on her journey to the New World.

When they left yon Dutch colonies, they were bound in one ship, leaving the leaky Speedwell back in port, combining the crews of the Separatists, God’s chosen, and the non-separatists, also God’s chosen, to help in the design and building and maintaining of the new colony.  There be fifty men and women of God, and fifty merchant adventurers.  It was crowded on the ship, and the seas rose and fell with the mercy of God.  But to the blessings of God they account that none of the hundred pilgrims, for that is what they called themselves, were in pain, or in hunger, or in distress.  All worshipped the Almighty, even as they tumbled and plunged on yon sea.

On the 43rd day of their voyage, the scout above in the mast spotted a floating island, shining in the sun, and this island he claimed was land, and their ship sailed towards it.  The closer they came, the more curious the island became.  It was not land as they knew it, but shined in the sun like gold, and the merchant adventurers were vastly curious of what created composition the Lord had made it.  Others believed, however, that it was a bad sign, a false hope, a distraction from the simple quest of the new colonists, a task given to them in purity and hope and vision.

They did not know that the island was actually another ship, one perhaps capsized by the sea, whose inhabitants the good Lord had proclaimed should drown, for He saves whom He desires to save, and does not save those that are unworthy.  And yet, they sailed closer.  The ship, for now they knew it must be a ship, was twice as large as the Mayflower, capsized in the sea.  Some of the adventurers said it had been forged of strange metal, for the base of the ship, that above the water, was curved like a perfect sphere, and the rods and cross-hatches of the metal formed a metal bowl, with the doors and the windows, and other shadowy recesses.


The captain of the Mayflower sent over a small boat to see if there were survivors of what they believed to be a capsizing.  The boat returned carrying two of the strangest men they had ever seen.  Pale unto death, they were; bound by the thickest cords of metal strands; twas like redeeming the enslaved, some said.  They brought them on board the Mayflower, and the men on the boat said there were other survivors, and though they were crowded on the Mayflower, God was still in their hearts, and their compassion overwhelmed them.  And they brought the other survivors, until there were twelve new passengers in all.  Every one of their men was bound in the same metal ropes, with curious metal boxes on their faces, on their arms, like scales.  “We are here to remove the scales from men, and let them see God,” said Elder William Brewster.

It was then that some believed they might be devils, but others believed they had been redeemed from Hell itself.  The women were determined to bring new life to the passengers, and argued to care for them.  The merchants were sure that the material of the new passenger’s ship was salvageable, and it was decided that they would gather as much material from ye ship as they could.  They stayed only a few more hours on the derelict ship.  On board the Mayflower, those goode women who cared for the sickly sailors tried to speak to them, but the men could not recall from whence they came, nor recall their purpose on the sea.  No records of their voyage, no captain we could find, and they seemed so helpless in their fragile, mindless state.  Like blank slates ready for the chalk of the Elders and the Pilgrims.  The women told them of their own voyage, their own purpose, that they were to be a City shining on the Hill for all to understand and know about God.  There were hopes, that though not many of the merchant adventurers had been converted, that some of these redeemed slaves could be converted to the service of God.

The boat went to yon ship to salvage supplies, metal that could be forged for other purposes, plows, tools, and they were but gone a few hours.  But it was only a few hours that was needed to takeover the pilgrims.  Only now, years after the event, do I understand what caused the conversion of the Pilgrims going to the New World.  The weak and dying Borg, for this was their name–“the City”, and perhaps it was the city we were trying to escape, had found us, and engulfed us once again–the Borg, threatened and dying, did what they could to survive.  One of the metal-bound men must have spoken, as they did again and again, saying, “We are the Borg.  You will be assimilated.  We will add your abilities and experience to our own.  Resistance is futile.”  By the time the small boat of men came back to the Mayflower, the whole of the crew was created into the image, not of God, but of the City, the Borg.  Their flesh had paled, their bodies had been bound by ropes of metal, their eyes glowed now with sometimes a red, sometimes a green light.  They did not know us.  And would not again.  Even my wife, Dorothy, fell prey to these Borg, the City.  Their greatest fear had been realized–that of the complete overwhelming of the outside world upon their beliefs, upon their very lives.  What they had been taught as children, the fear of the World coming in and stealing them, corrupting them, had been realized here.  And  yet, it would not prove their undoing, but instead would strengthen both Borg and Pilgrim.

We, only five men who had not been converted, knew of the change only when yon Mayflower came in close to the metal ship and proceeded to pull the sphere alongside the Mayflower’s hull.  In a matter of hours, the sphere, the size of a small planet fallen from Heaven, was broken into smaller pieces by the hundred Pilgrims, and stored in the hull of the ship.  With their ship on board ye Mayflower, the Borg, and the Pilgrims, as now they were nearly indistinguishable, would soon resume their course for the New World, faster, more efficiently, and with greater purpose.

In fear, ye five men sailed around the Mayflower while the Borg Pilgrims were distracted with dismantling yon ship.  They were afraid that the ship had been demonized, but they were also afraid of the open water in a small boat–twas truly a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.  So it was decided that they would sail around the ship, climb up on board and fight our way to control the ship.  At this time, ye five men did not know that every man, woman and child had become bound in these metal cables, these ropes, their life drained from their bodies.  They believed that the women and children were being kept somewhere safe, for they did not understand the Borg, as they do now.  The five men climbed aboard the Mayflower on the port side, and were not seen, but were too frightened to take on the Borg at that time, huddling as they did in the deepest bowels of the Mayflower.  There they hid for a number of days as they watched the new Pilgrims sail for ye new world.

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Chapter 2

In a sort of prayerful silence and reverence, the Mayflower made for the New World.  The Pilgrims had a renewed vigor.  Even as the Borg had converted their bodies, the Pilgrims seemed to have converted the Borg to their purpose.  Both man and demon now spoke the praises of our Lord and Saviour, but every man and woman now knew how to create that City on the Hill.  Collectively, they were builders. Collectively, they understood how to protect one another.  Collectively, they sang, even on key, the hymns we had learned as children.  Were they demons?  Or were they still those Pilgrims we knew?  Could our quest be so appropriated by other travelers as to supersede and consume them–could this marriage between strangers look so similar to the Will of God and yet look so much like demonic work?

The Borg who needed a mission, and the Pilgrims who needed survival expertise–their common purpose already conversion–merged in the perfectness of thought and deed as these new breed of demons, who spoke of God.

The five men hidden in the ship could only watch in a sort of soul horror as the Borg spoke to one another about the glories of God, even as they saw their loved ones in a trance, speaking of God, but not feeling or being human in any way.

The Borg Pilgrims made record time and arrived in Massachusetts.  Immediately they went ashore with the parts of the Borg ship from the hull of the Mayflower.  The five men stayed aboard, trying to plot what the Lord would have them do.  Would it better to stop these Pilgrims at the outset?  Or since their goal was the same–the glory and honor of God–and their skills so advanced–would it be better to allow their work to continue and therefore the better to prosper in the New World?  Twas a horrible dilemma.  Each of us had lost someone, a wife, children, friends–faces we saw every day under the masks of metal covering their grey, punctured bodies and their blank expressions.  We heard their voices singing the hymns, and wanted to join in, but feared that now even the Devil was praising God….

It was the third day past our landing when we decided to look from the ship.  We saw an amazing sight.  Four complete metallic buildings standing tall as towers, side by side not far from the shore.  The pilgrims walked among the buildings with purpose.  Another building to the left was being constructed, and what looked like an altar to the right of the larger group of buildings.

At one point, one of the men was seen, but no one reacted.  The Borg did not try to convert him.  And we realized at that time that God had allowed us to walk safely–He was protecting us from the Borg.  We could walk among the Borg, completely unnoticed, unharmed.  Praise God.  For we had nearly lost hope believing that, ultimately, we would be salvaged like wreckage and re-created for the same purpose we had come to do, yes, but at the loss of our very lives.  Only Elder Michael reached the extent of the care of God when he tried to rescue his daughter, picking her up and bringing her to us.  He was caught on his way and converted to the Borg.  And then our number was four.

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Chapter 3

We lived in a small hut we constructed ourselves a ways from the Borg Pilgrims.  We let a scout go every day to watch them, to find out what they were doing.  In three weeks, they had a church completely of metal, constructed from the Borg ship.  They never built more than the four living quarters, the church, and a large altar outside the church that glowed at night, a light circulating and pulsing.  We could hear it from our hut.

We visited their buildings at night to see them sleep standing up against a greenish light, bunked in tight quarters.  “It is like a hive,” Bernard the Smith told me.  His wife, a beekeeper, had been converted.  It was an unholy place, despite the church only a stone’s throw away.

The arrival of the inhabitants of the New World to the Borg city was curious.  It would be the first meeting between the Pilgrims and the Natives.  They were brown-skinned, their clothing sparse, a primitive culture.  They held spears and they wanted to see the light that pulsed in the night.  They came at night.   Would the Borg convert the natives as they had converted the Pilgrims?  We watched from a distance, passing the spyglass between us. At night the natives wandered around, walking in and out of the buildings.  At one point, someone dragged a body from the sleeping quarters…they dragged his body into the woods.  It seemed they were bemused that they could not wake the Borg.

In the daylight they came back, with spears pointing and confronted the Borg.  They could not get the Borg’s attention until one native man thrust his spear into one of the Pilgrims.  Every Borg turned his or her head at the same moment, like a collective gasp.  And they all started walking towards the natives, slowly, but with purpose, the sunlight gleaming off their metal clothes.  There was another spear thrown, but this one bounced off the Pilgrim, and the natives rushed them with small axes in their hands.  This too bounced off the Borg Pilgrims, and the natives, in a matter of minutes were converted.  Some natives escaped into the woods, but twenty or more were dragged into the main building.  When they emerged, they too wore the metal ropes of the Borg’s unique enslavement.

They had no master, and yet they were slaves.  I did not understand.  But I would watch over the next few weeks as different native tribes were “assimilated” and converted to the Pilgrim’s vision.

Soon, there were hundreds of Pilgrims.  They now planted crops, but we never saw them eat the crops.  They built more buildings, larger ones, and truly they were a City on the Hill…converting everyone and everything to their cause.  On Sundays, the voices, a collective, four-part harmony choir of songs of Praise to God emanated from the Church.

The four of us prayed solemnly–that if this were God’s vision for the Pilgrims that could it be his vision for us?  We argued about whether or not we should also be converted to this Second Blessing, this singleness of vision.  In only a few short weeks, the Borg had created a small city, completely self-sufficient, and busy.  We did not know what they were doing, but we did know they seemed content.  There was never any strife in the city, never any problems.  The sick were made well, presumably with the knowledge of the native healers.  Should we be part of this City?  One of us decided to convert, offer himself to the City–he did not want to be left out of the Will of God.  “Surely,” he said, “we are being asked to sacrifice our wants for the good of the church.  Why do we resist?  Can you truly resist the power and will of God?”  And he was gone by morning, though we begged him to stay.

When I went into their City the next day, I saw him at the church, pleading with a Borg to convert him as well.  But they ignored him, and walked on by.  He wailed after them.  And they didn’t see him.

We met on the square in the center of the city.   I tried to call to him, beg him to come back to our camp.  But he cried out that he felt left out of the Love of God.  That God’s work was being done without him.  He prostrated himself on the city’s square, and the Borg who passed stepped over his body.  He cried, and prayed.  Surely, he told me as I knelt beside him, they would have mercy on him.  “Is this what it’s like to be a sinner, fallen?  To be ignored by the saints as they pass?  I just want to be useful again,” he said.

I picked up a stone and handed it to him.  I pitied him.  He took the stone and stood up.  He walked to the nearest Borg and hit him several times on the head, screaming, “Take me back, O Lord and Savior.  Take me back into your fold!”  And within minutes, the Borg had converted him.  I did not get to see his face at that moment. I am hoping that he smiled.

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Chapter 4

We three survived our first winter in a cabin that Bernard, Elder Thomas and I built from trees we felled in the woods.  The Natives would not speak to us, nor come around us because they saw us as more of the same pale-skinned Borg from the City on the Hill.  So, in a strange sense, the Borg’s nearness protected us.

They grew in number almost every month, and not by birth, but by conversion.  It started to become comical that a tribe would come to raid the Borg camp and the Borg with one voice would say, “We are the Borg.  Resistance is futile.” Those that weren’t killed were recruited, joining the one, pure Holy Vision.

I feared our faith had gotten out of hand, though this was the culmination of all we prayed for.

We prayed for the ability to survive, to thrive in the New World; we prayed to convert thousands for the cause of Christ; we wanted to be a shining beacon for others to see.  All of this was made possible by the Borg.  Who is to say they did not come from God?  And yet, I can’t imagine God draining the life out of us.  While we all said mass together, in one voice, it had never seemed so sinister as it did now–with the one voice, one mind, of the congregation speaking and singing together.   My faith scared me.

Or maybe what my faith had become.  Bernard, Thomas and I discussed matters of faith, theology, and the City on the Hill over the winter.  We ate wild game, had a fireplace in the cabin, and we discussed the Will of God.

Meanwhile, the City expanded.  When winter was over–and there were days we dared not go outside–we found the city had been domed.  A beautiful architectural dome—metallic–had been placed over the city.  The woods had been cut down, and by spring, they were planting on hundreds of acres–vegetables.  The various tribes came, fought and lost, and the city grew.  Now populated by several different tribes, we could barely find the original Pilgrims in the inhabitants.

We traveled to the City to get vegetables from their kitchens, where they broke the food into such small mushy bits that I didn’t know if they were actually eating anymore.  I noticed Borg children helping out.

The City moved like a creature through the forest, hewing down trees, and taking captives.  Still the city grew.  Even when ships came from England and from Spain, they too were converted.  And the churches sang like never before.

I fear that they will not be stopped–and yet, part of me hopes they will not be stopped–for aren’t they spreading the good news??

That Christ has set the captives free?

If this is the good news still–why does it make me shudder?  My faith, it scares me.  Its efficient, courageous march across the landscape of the New World, taking Pilgrims, Natives, Quakers, Fishermen and turning them into Borg–seems to match our purpose, but not our aim.  Do we seek to create only those who agree?  I miss the days of kindness–times when we disagreed but did not speak about such matters.  We forgave one another.  The Borg do not forgive.  They just don’t notice.  And therefore there is no act of kindness, only an act.  The end is the same–this conversion, this goal of building a city for God–but where is the joy?  And the individual?  If God had wanted us to be Borg, would he have made us so different?  Or would he have wanted something like this?  Is this, then, his final act of Perfection?

Once we saw them all in a room with a table, English across from Native across from Quaker, all blinking their one eyes in perfect rhythm.   Were they having a meal together?  They stood around the table, small tubes hanging from their stomachs, attached to small cubes filled with pumpkin mush.  The tubes pulled the mush into their bodies as they stared at one another with blank eyes, saying, “Father, for what we are about to eat, we thank you.”

____________________________________________

Happy Thanksgiving.

6 thoughts on “When the Pilgrims Met the Borg: Faith, Perfection and the Assimilated Pilgrim

  1. Elizabeth E October 24, 2010 / 9:59

    Note to self: remember author is science fiction writer before assuming column to be true. I’m ashamed to admit I got a good way through before it was the writing style, not the content, that really gave me pause. See, this isn’t actually too far off some of the travel diaries and books I read for a class on Utopian Lit while in Germany…some of the stuff the “saw” was fantastic. Anyhow, thanks for the read!

  2. Elizabeth E October 24, 2010 / 9:59

    *they

  3. jstueart October 24, 2010 / 9:59

    Thanks Elizabeth! Yeah, I read over William Bradford’s original before I wrote this–and there were waaaay to many [ye] and [yon] words for me to copy and have a reader stay in it… but it’s cool that it nearly matched early German writing too. Yes, early explorers saw a lot of interesting things on their travels–people with faces on their stomachs…. the early accounts of Brendan the Navigator, the Irish monk who went traveling were really interesting too! Anyway, thanks for your comments! It’s always good to know people are reading.

  4. Laurie November 24, 2012 / 9:59

    Hi Jerome,
    That was wonderfully creepy. The perfect Star Trek fix for a cozy Saturday evening at home. Keep writing! Your fan. Laurie

    • jstueart November 24, 2012 / 9:59

      Thanks, Laurie! I’m so glad you liked it. I had a lot of fun writing it.

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