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This species had a natural ability to learn any new language almost instantly. Its members often became fluent in a language after hearing only a few phrases. This ability extended to computer languages, allowing them to decipher cryptographic patterns quickly as well. They were also at least partially immune to phasers, as one of their race was shot in the chest without experiencing any apparent major effects. Their level of technology was very advanced; they employed a sophisticated form of faster-than-light propulsion unknown to Starfleet called the quantum slipstream drive which allowed travel at far greater velocities than the Federation's warp technology. They also had particle synthesis technology, an extremely advanced form of holographic replication technology.
Their abilities and technological prowess made the species an extremely attractive target for the Borg to assimilate. For centuries the Borg attempted to do so and failed, the species always managing to stay one step ahead of the Borg. Eventually, however, the Borg began gaining ground, until they were on the brink of succeeding. The species' last hope rested on the much-anticipated destruction of the Borg by Species 8472. Much to their civilization's dismay, due to intervention by the Federation starship USS Voyager in 2374, the Borg defeated Species 8472. (VOY: "Scorpion", "Scorpion, Part II") The Borg then returned their attention to Species 116 and succeeded in assimilating it. Only an estimated ten to twenty thousand managed to escape.
Voyager encountered a surviving member of the species named Arturis in 2374. He tried to lure Voyager into Borg space for her and her crew to be assimilated in revenge, but his plan backfired and he was presumed to have been assimilated instead. (VOY: "Hope and Fear")