- Lt. Cmdr. Dr. Amadeus O'Reilly
The Reclamation Project | Consultation Division
An Introduction to The Reclamation Project's psychiatric branch
While I have sung praises of the Reclamation Project's Consultation Division and commend its specified staff that try to help improve the mental health of fellow former Borg, I will remind the reader that this division, as is any in the Reclamation Project, is not without its hardships. The following entry will contain mentions of various mental traumas, PTSD, dysphoria and bodily dysmorphia, and other mental illnesses that the reader may find triggering and/or personally unsavory to consume.
Not unlike therapy sessions of varying calibers and mental evaluations regarding patient profiles, the Consultation Division provides counseling and mental health support for all xBs, alongside psychiatric analysis with possible treatment avenues for every former drone the Reclamation Project encounters. While not all Reclamation Project personnel are required to work directly within the Consultation Division, each staffer is at least required to be certified in de-escalation training, basic levels of counseling, and emergency methods of safely handling a patient to avoid the possible dangers of Borg-augmented/Hivemind-influenced conflict. Consultation staffers can be assigned long-term to a specific xB in order to better acclimate the patient to life outside the Collective (depending on their specific mental health/behavioral diagnoses), chosen by ways of personal relatability, similar assimilation circumstances, or even same-species cultural relations to help process their lives as a "cybernetic diaspora."
I have been told (and seen for myself) that the Consultation Division is rigorous work rooted in patience, requiring empathy working with sympathy in the highest levels of understanding. When working with minds that have been submerged within the great Borg Hivemind, extracting severed xBs from dormancy (or any other type of Reprisal-based occurrence), Nameless or not, is often traumatic, harrowing, and confusing for the first fleeting moments of individuality. While all Reclamation Project members can extend that sympathy in their hearts, they must also know how to realistically employ it in order to better service their fellow former Borg into this new chapter of their lives.
The Orpheus Investigation of 2384
To help illustrate and highlight the significance of the Consultation Division, I will recount an event from 2384 I discovered during my research in Cooperation archives, regarding a layered diplomacy incident between Starfleet and the Liberated Borg of Ohniaka III.
Author's Note: All involved and/or interviewed parties will remain anonymous and referenced to only by title to preserve privacy, with specific pronouns used in permission (or if the recounted figures and their records are available by general Starfleet archival access).
Salvaged from a severed Borg "unit storage" by a Cooperation scout vessel scavenging wreckage of previous Borg conflicts, an unearthed human was discovered to be a Lieutenant from the USS Melbourne: the officer originally declared dead/MIA at the Battle of Wolf 359. Ferried back to Ohniaka III, the Lieutenant began to adjust to life as an xB, spending a great amount of time trying to find peace within the Consultation Division. Frozen in time at the age of 26, he did not seek to rejoin Starfleet, and instead began to study music as a way of hopefully processing his Collective-inflicted trauma. Tampering with synths and various instruments led him to eventually create soundscapes and orchestral pieces, allowing the Lieutenant to channel his complex emotions regarding assimilation, his former career in Starfleet, and personal life into beautifully haunting sounds that even surprised his assigned Consultation staffers. Paradoxically enough, the hobby he'd apparently wanted to pursue since childhood was now greatly assisted by his Borg-instilled knowledge (considering the thousands of species' musical styles and their corresponding instruments that were instilled in his cybernetic matrices), with that hobby encouraged in a supportive manner by a place and people he was beginning to call home.
As was typical protocol between the Federation and Cooperation, information regarding this xB was sent to Starfleet for updating personnel records to disclaim his altered POW/MIA status, and then forwarded to the Federation to let next-of-kin know of his survival. While the Lieutenant's family was elated that he was alive, they were horrified and disgusted to learn he was living on Ohniaka III in the company of xBs, unable to understand why he would want to choose such a life when he had parents and extended family still on Earth after 18 years of absence. The Lieutenant's father, a Commodore that led a homeland Starfleet administrative department (and was descended from an even longer line of military family members from pre-WWIII Great Britain), personally intervened in negotiations.
To the Cooperation's chagrin, the Commodore instigated a heated debate on what was considered "true autonomy" after an individual with pre-Collective memories re-emerged from the Borg, and the individual now supposedly went against their own behaviors in contrast to their pre-xB life. In return, the Consultation specialists brought up the questionable, recently-developed "Borg Encounter" Starfleet simulations that, while successful in teaching Starfleet officers how to navigate Borg conflicts, was concerning to xBs across the Cooperation for a plethora of reasons. These xB ambassadors advocated for the reports of poor mental states from those who failed the simulation and were "mock assimilated" by a holographic drone, compared to those genuinely affected by the Collective (and if "failure" successfully taught the officer empathy towards xBs, or was merely another limited-perspective, morally-repulsive tool based on Admiral Picard's experiences to hardly accurately simulate such harrowing circumstances assimilation entails). After much political delineation that bordered on stalling (and from what I am told by xBs close to said Lieutenant, a very demeaning visit from the parents to Ohniaka III), the Lieutenant was forced to return to Earth: their compromises being that he could continue Consultation sessions on Earth over subspace transmission, and that he would have a Reclamation Project Cybernetics Specialist service his augments once every six Earthen months.
I hope I do not have to describe to you, reader, how jarring life would be for a man pulled back by force to Earth: away from an environment he was medically, mentally, and socially cared for, wholly understood in his former trauma and societal solidarity as an xB.
I hope this also explains why, three months after returning to Earth, the Lieutenant stole a Starfleet shuttle from his family's estate, and made desperate haste back to Ohniaka III despite pursuit.
Much to the family's outrage (and inciting the panic of Starfleet scout gunners nearly having a conflict with Cooperation vessels over Ohniaka III thanks to the immediate confusion), the Commodore was unable to utilize much of his Starfleet-grandfathered bureaucracy to return the Lieutenant to Earth. Due to the acute crisis this spawned between the two governments (and the Lieutenant's obviously poor mental health that resulted in his immediate hospitalization on Ohniaka III), this incited an investigation into the Commodore's service record, regarding how he interacted with other Starfleet service members outside of family and other close/high-ranking administrative officials if his own son was in this dire of straits after three months on Earth. When the probe was complete, the Commodore was revealed to have had a long, sordid list of bigotry and foul documented conduct against not only xBs, but also other non-human Federation/Federation-aligned species, as well as a laundry list of other offences towards other Starfleet staffers that I can only succinctly describe as "ghoulish." After a decisive, department-wide Court Martial in Cornwall, the Commodore was stripped of title and rank (alongside the 24 administrative board members that enabled his position within Starfleet), and all involved parties were prosecuted, barred, and banned from any further Starfleet-related service: without honorable discharges.
Today, the xB in question composes the most beautiful, soul-stirring piano solos to compliment his striking voice: aided by no other than a small orchestral group of eight, and one that he was formerly "Six of."
While I would typically write here "you must understand," I am afraid that, unless you yourself are an xB, there will never be any proper level of "understanding" with regards to the Consultation Division's importance.
Unless you are an xB, you will never directly understand the horror of watching others like yourself being under suicide/self-induced deactivation watch, simply because the idea of personhood is too immense a concept to grasp. Unless you are an xB, you will never understand the anxiety attacks at the realization you have thought- the fact you have agency, and the vastness of a thing we all take for granted called a "will" and a "voice" was forcibly removed from your body, both physically and mentally. Their unit's voice, formerly a fleeting part of billions, now forced to live once again as a single voice? Grappling the reality of what was taken from you, versus the reality of what is outside of the Collective?
This section, admittedly, would grow rather long if I steeped myself further in the ideas of xB philosophy. Instead, I will encourage you to ponder on your own identity, and carry respect towards these people who have built or remembered who they are or want to be.