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This group of Borg were separated from the Borg Collective in 2368 when a Borg cube was damaged by an electrokinetic storm while traveling through the Nekrit Expanse. The encounter with the storm resulted in the separation of the Borg drones from the Collective, allowing the survivors to regain their individuality and settle on an isolated planet. (VOY episode: "Unity"; ST video game: Star Trek Online)
Unfortunately, the sudden return of their individuality resulted in the many survivors fighting one another as hatred, as well as other war-like characteristics, consumed the survivors. One faction urged for peaceful co-existence and was to become known as the Borg Cooperative. They attempted to recreate the subspace link to form a sub-Collective and end the fighting, but faced constant attacks from the other Borg survivor factions and eventually sent a distress call which was answered by Commander Chakotay of the USS Voyager on stardate 50614.2 (August 13, 2373). However, Chakotay's shuttle was damaged, Ensign Marie Kaplan died and the commander was injured. The Cooperative cared for him and used a Borg linking technique to heal his wounds. They used this tactic to force Chakotay into re-establishing the Borg link by using the technology on the damaged cube that remained in space. This re-established a sub-Collective and ended the fighting with the resulting creation of a faction of peaceful Borg. Once established, they destroyed the Cube and were determined to live on their own planet in peace. (VOY episode: "Unity")
Following the absorption of all Borg into the Caeliar gestalt in February 2381, the Tarkan moved in and claimed Riley's Planet. Only 48 of the 80,000 Cooperative people remained - those who chose to remain behind to stay with their fully biological children which could not join the gestalt. They fled underground to hide from the Tarkan and lived in destitute until Voyager returned as part of Project Full Circle to investigate their fate. The Cooperative was rescued by Voyager and USS Achilles. The impoverished survivors received medical treatment and counselling sessions, and their children mingled with Miral Paris. Captain Chakotay granted Doctor Frazier's request to resettle the Cooperative on Arehaz, the first world assimilated by the Collective thousands of years ago. (VOY novel: The Eternal Tide)
The USS Viminal retrieved the colonists and returned them to Starfleet Medical in San Francisco. They were put in stasis, and Doctor Frazier's Starfleet commission was forcibly reactivated. (VOY novel: Acts of Contrition)
In a timeline where the Borg weren't absorbed into the Caeliar gestalt, the Cooperative stayed on Riley's Planet and began to actively liberate drones from the Collective with the intention of adding them to their collective consciousness. Not every liberated Borg wanted to remain tied to a collective mind.
In early 2410, Klingon Imperial Intelligence operative Galera shared Intelligence File 318-Cooperative 3A with Klingon Defense Force commanders as part of Operation Delta Rising. The file regarded the Cooperative as posing little tactical threat to the Klingon Empire due to their small numbers. The Cooperative maintained technological superiority in the region but were inexperienced fighters. She warned that the Cooperative could be molded into a weapon given time, direction and intent. (ST video game: Star Trek Online)
The Cooperative is first encountered in the Jarleth sector when a damaged Borg Cube captured a member of the Alpha Quadrant Alliance upon arrival. To their surprise, they were rescued by another Borg ship, with its captain being revealed as the Cooperative's leader, the first liberated Borg known as Hugh. Hugh then gave the ship a special weapon that would disconnect the other Borg ships from the Collective, though he requested it back after the mission was complete. (STO mission: "Friends in Unlikely Places")
In an alternate timeline where Voyager was forced to stay in the Delta Quadrant and stay in the Vostigye Union, Chakotay learned of the re-assimilation of the Cooperative at the hands of the Collective by November 2374. Earlier that year, Species 8472 had attempted to exterminate the Cooperative in their quest to kill all Borg but the Cooperative developed an effective nanoprobe-based defense. Unfortunately, that earned them the attention of the Borg Collective, which assimilated the Cooperative and its innovative weapon. Six months later, Chakotay regretted Riley's society didn't have the chance to flourish. (VOY - Myriad Universes novel: Places of Exile)
- liberated Borg drones:
- non-cybernetic offspring