Sometime before the events of "Collective", the neonatal Borg drone that would later be known as "First" was still developing within a Borg maturation chamber when the cube-ship he was on was disabled. A spaceborne virus had infected the adult drones aboard the ship, wiping them all out and causing numerous system failures as a result. The cube's maturation chambers also malfunctioned and opened prematurely, releasing their underdeveloped occupants.
As the only drones left alive on the cube, the five juvenile Borg soon established a chain of command. Though the First established this order claiming it to be a collective, he clearly asserted dominance among the group as he disagreed with the opinions and decisions of the others and urged them to obey only him. The juveniles attempted to repair their vessel and send a distress signal to the Borg Collective, expecting rescue.
When the juveniles captured the shuttlecraft Delta Flyer and four Voyager crewmen, they attempted to barter with Captain Janeway, exchanging their captives for Voyager's deflector dish. Seven of Nine attempted to negotiate and offered her services to help repair the cube, but the First was extremely distrustful. While aboard the cube, Seven also accessed the vessel's communication records and discovered that the Borg had received the juveniles' initial distress call, but opted to ignore it as they regarded the children as damaged and unworthy of re-assimilation.
The First attempted to seize Voyager's deflector by force, using a tractor beam to try and rip it off the ship. To discourage him, Seven told the First about the Borg's lack of response to the children's distress call, showing them the de-encrypted comm records. In response, the First became enraged and tried to kill Seven, only for the other young drones to turn against him and stand in Seven's defence. As Voyager attempted to disrupt the Borg tractor beam, Seven tried to convince the children to go back to Voyager, but the First refused to evacuate. A sudden feedback surge caused the First's console to overload and he was electrocuted. Seven was unable to help him and the First died.