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How Universal Access Law Stopped The Borg And Saved The Universe

By Victor Schwartzman
September 28, 2015

The starship Enterprise settled into orbit around Altair 4. Captain
Jean-Luc Picard relaxed, sitting in his command chair, sipping Earl Grey
tea. Checking on a distant planet’s progress was routine. For once, all
would be easy.

“Captain, there is a problem.” Commander Data, sitting at the scanning
console, told him, “This planet is .confused.”

“Confused?” Commander Riker asked, walking over. “That doesn’t make sense.”

“Sensors show the Government is more confused than normal,” Data replied.
“Worse, I see several Borg on the surface.”

Picard sighed. “Is there any sign of a Borg spacecraft?”

“No, all the Borg are on the surface,” Data said. “Most appear concentrated
in the Government buildings in the capital.”

The Borg were a threat in the universe, assimilating other beings and
destroying any who resisted. Immediately Captain Picard ordered a red alert
and assembled an armed away team to beam down to the surface. Any Borg had
to be confronted, but he wondered why there was no Borg cube hovering over
the planet. That was a mystery.

The away team materialized at the Legislature. Captain Picard was shocked
to see several Borg calmly walk past, ignoring him. He saw the planet’s
humanoids stop the Borg and talk with them, but afterwards the people were
confused and stumbled off and walked into walls. Dr. Crusher had to perform
first aid several times before the team went inside the Legislature.

They found the current Prime Minister, who explained that the Borg had
arrived five years ago and demanded assimilation. He explained to the Borg
how Altair 4’s society worked, illustrating with its universal access law,
designed to overcome all access problems related to a disability. On
hearing of the law, the Borg agreed it was good and adopted it themselves.

However, the Prime Minister then told them the history of the law. He
described how the Government encouraged extensive community involvement in
creating the law. It proclaimed the law and raised hopes. Then the law
remained on the books for ten years. Why did you not implement your law?,
the Borg asked. He told them the politicians realized it would take a lot
of work and also the law was politically difficult to even start
implementing, so it was better not to implement it at all. The Borg asked
what happened to the people with disabilities, and the Prime Minister said
he replied “Nothing. Why?”

The Borg decided not to assimilate Altair 4 but to quarantine it. It was
the first planet they refused to assimilate. Changing these humanoids, the
Borg decided, was not only futile, but the inhabitants might be contagious.
Altair 4 was not destroyed, however. A few Borg were left to record a
culture unique in the universe.

Over the following years, many of the planet’s politicians became Borg-lite.
While they were not real Borg, they liked the team approach and the ability
to ignore anything not a threat, for example voters. More and more
politicians became Borg-lites. Now, however, the Enterprise had arrived
during an election. The politicians were finally forced to talk with
voters, which left the citizens confused.

The Borg-lite influence led the politicians to act in unusual ways during
the election campaign. The left wing opposition party moved to the middle
to acquire new voters, even though no one believed the party wasn’t still
left wing. The moderate party moved to the left of the left wing party to
acquire new voters, even though no one believed the party wasn’t still
moderate. The ruling Conservative party moved nowhere. Although no one
liked their Leader, the Prime Minister, the Conservatives were doing well in
the polls because voters worried about changing the Government, even though
polls also said voters desperately wanted to change the Government.

The away team learned from the Prime Minister that the universal access law
and disabilities were ignored during the election, and he said that was okay
because access was also ignored the rest of the time. Captain Picard
scratched his head, which tended to leave marks because he was bald,
muttering, “No wonder the planet’s citizens are walking into walls.”

Normally the Prime Directive prevented Captain Picard from altering the
situation. However, after checking with Star Fleet, it was confirmed that
this planet was one case where the Prime Directive really needed to be
violated. Captain Picard had Doctor Crusher remove the Borg-lite look from
the politicians and they were sent to rehabilitation planets. The new
Government immediately implemented the access legislation. The Borg were
contacted and replied that if Star Fleet was infected by this planet, it
would forever leave that entire part of the Universe alone.

Back on the bridge of the Enterprise, sitting again in his command chair,
Captain Picard looked at the planet on the view screen. “I hope violating
the Prime Directive was worth it.”

Commander Riker leaned forward. “It saved us from the Borg. Do we
quarantine the planet, as they did?”

“Oh absolutely,” Captain Picard replied. “They were right. What is on this
planet may be infectious.”

Next: The Designer Of AODA Became Number Six From The Prisoner!

Victor Schwartzman has contributed this weekly satirical column to Accessibility News and the AODA Alliance since May 13, 2013. Check out the first nine chapters of his current satirical fantasy novel, King Of The Planet, for .99 on Kindle at, or for free on Facebook. The unpolished first nine chapters got a 4 out of 5 star review! He is currently polishing the novel. His graphic novel The Winnipeg Weakly Herald (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great lit site, He has poetry and short fiction published, and has edited novels. His email is