The Borg incursion of 2366-2367 was the first attempt by the Borg Collective to assimilate the United Federation of Planets. The incursion was instigated by a single Borg cube which left a trail of destruction on its way to its primary target, Earth. During the incursion Captain Jean-Luc Picard was assimilated and transformed into the Borg speaker Locutus. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds"; TOS novel: The Return)
Prelude[edit | edit source]
There is a possibility that the incursion was instigated as part of a temporal loop; In a later Borg incursion in 2373 the Borg launched a Borg sphere which traveled back in time to attempt to prevent Earth's first contact with the Vulcans in 2063. Fortunately the USS Enterprise-E followed the sphere back in time and stopped the Borg. While the Enterprise did destroy the sphere, some debris did crash-land in the Arctic Circle, where it remained beneath the ice for the next century. In 2153 the debris were discovered and investigated by the Arctic Archaeology Team. The team discovered two frozen Borg drones, which after being removed from the ice were able to regenerate and subsequently assimilated the team and their ship. The starship Enterprise was ordered to intercept the vessel, and recover the team if possible. After two confrontations, it was clear that the team was beyond recovery and the ship was destroyed. Dr. Phlox, who was nearly assimilated, reported that he felt a group consciousness which attempted to transmit a series of numbers. Later analysis of the numbers by T'Pol revealed that they gave Earth's coordinates, and were sent to the Delta Quadrant, though would not be of an immediate concern as the message would take two-hundred years to reach its destination. (TNG movie & novelization: First Contact; ENT episode: "Regeneration")
It is not know whether the Borg in the Delta Quadrant received the message, however by 2364 the Borg had sent at least one cube to investigate the area around the Romulan Neutral Zone. The Cube assimilated and destroyed several Federation and Romulan outposts across the Neutral Zone. The USS Enterprise found the strange damage to the planets; it seemed as though the outposts had been scooped off the face of the planet, though at the time the assailant was not identified. (TNG episode: "The Neutral Zone"; TNG comic: "Operation Assimilation")
In 2365, Q flung the Enterprise-D seven-thousand light-years out of known space to an area near system J-25. The Enterprise took the opportunity to explore the uncharted region and discovered a planet damaged in the same manner as those along the neutral zone. Shortly after the Enterprise encountered a Borg cube. Following a brief stand-off, it was clear the Enterprise was no match for the Borg and Captain Picard begged Q to return them to Federation space.
Reflecting on the events, Guinan told Picard that humanity's contact with the Borg came before it should have. Picard, however, believed that Q did "the right thing for the wrong reason"; by bringing humanity into contact, Starfleet could become aware of a new threat and prepare for it. (TNG episode: "Q Who?")
The Incursion[edit | edit source]
Early victims[edit | edit source]
On stardate 43989.1 a Borg cube entered Federation space. It destroyed the New Providence colony on Jouret IV before heading off. The Enterprise-D was called to investigate twelve hours later and determined beyond a doubt that the Borg had penetrated Federation space. Two Starfleet tactical personnel who came to investigate, Admiral J.P. Hanson and Commander Elizabeth Shelby, acknowledged that Starfleet was simply not ready for a confrontation. Admiral Hanson returned to Starbase 324 to begin a defensive plan while Commander Shelby stayed on the Enterprise-D. A Fleet-wide yellow alert was issued and all allied outposts were warned.
That evening, the USS Lalo departed Zeta Alpha II on a freight run to Sentinel Minor IV. Three hours later, it sent a distress call, reporting contact with an alien vessel described as "cube-shaped". The Lalo's signal ended abruptly and all attempts to hail it failed. With the Enterprise-D being the closest available ship, it left at maximum warp to investigate. En route, the Enterprise-D was intercepted by the Borg cube. Captain Picard ordered a subspace message to be sent to Admiral Hanson: "We have engaged the Borg". (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds")
Stand-off[edit | edit source]
When both ships dropped out of warp, the Borg hailed the Enterprise and demanded that Captain Picard be brought aboard. This puzzled the officers, as it seemed the Borg were only interested in technology. Before they had time to react, the cube engaged its tractor beam and drained the Enterprise's shields. A full barrage of phasers and photon torpedoes failed to do much damage to the ship. However, firing phasers at high EM-bands were able to destroy the tractor beam and the Enterprise fled, eventually finding haven in the Paulson Nebula. The nebula's composition was able to scatter the Borg's sensors, giving the Starfleet crew valuable time to repair and make modifications. Commander Shelby and Commander La Forge proposed channeling energy into the navigational deflector, providing a burst more powerful than any weapon on board. Shelby also proposed separating the saucer section, but Commander Riker objected, stating they may need power from the saucer's impulse engines.
During the night, Picard made a tour of the Enterprise, a tradition for naval commanders before a battle. Speaking with Guinan, Picard wondered if this would be the end of humanity and the Federation. Guinan (whose own race was nearly exterminated by the Borg) assured him that as long as a handful survived, they would survive. At that time, the Borg began firing magnetometric guided charges into the nebula in an attempt to flush out the Enterprise. Despite their attempt to escape, the Borg locked on their tractor beam and beamed three drones directly to the bridge of the Enterprise, who kidnapped Captain Picard. Leaving at warp speed, Lieutenant Worf determined that the ship had set a course directly to Sector 001, the Terran System, Earth. With the Borg heading directly for the core of the Federation, Riker ordered the ship to pursue at maximum warp. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds")
On board the Borg ship, Picard declared he would be resistant until his last ounce of strength. The Borg, however, declared his strength was irrelevant and "resistance is futile". In order to help in conquest, the Borg determined they would need a human to speak on their behalf in all communications, to be their ceremonial Speaker. Picard, being captain of the strongest ship in the Federation fleet, was chosen to be that voice. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds"; TOS novel: The Return)
Two hours later, while La Forge made final preparations for the deflector weapon, Commander Shelby led an away team aboard the cube to retrieve the captain. Shelby, Worf, Data and Dr. Crusher found the captain's uniform instead. Meanwhile, Admiral Hanson informed Riker that he was massing a fleet at Wolf 359. The away team then attacked several distribution nodes to bring the ship to impulse. Encountering resistance, they found that Picard had been altered by the Borg, before they were transported back to the Enterprise. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds")
With no chance of rescuing the captain before the Borg returned to warp, Riker decided to fire the deflector weapon. Before they did, the Borg opened a channel to the Enterprise. Picard referred to himself as "Locutus of Borg" and that the ship would now service the Borg. Riker ordered the weapon to fire, however it had absolutely no effect on the Borg cube - Q had disabled it, in the knowledge had it fired as planned it would have caused the destruction of the Enterprise; instead it merely disabled the vessel, allowing them to recover and continue to the fight. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds"; TNG - Strange New Worlds I short story: "Civil Disobedience")
Locutus stated that the knowledge of Picard had been absorbed into the Borg collective consciousness and they were able to ready a defense. With the warp engines drained of power, the Enterprise was forced to remain still while the Borg continued towards Earth. With the perceived loss of Picard, Admiral Hanson promoted Riker to the field commission of captain. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds")
Battle of Wolf 359[edit | edit source]
- See the Battle of Wolf 359 for more information on the battle.
Thanks to the Enterprise-D's interference, Starfleet was able to ready an armada of forty starships at Wolf 359. The Klingons also sent several warships and Starfleet Command was even considering asking for aid from the Romulans. Despite Shelby's warning that the Borg would be ready for a Starfleet engagement, Admiral Hanson proclaimed that he knew Picard too well and knew that he would never assist the Borg. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds"; VOY comic: "Ghosts")
Just as repairs to the Enterprise's engines were being completed, the fleet engaged the Borg at Wolf 359. Several starships were destroyed in minutes, including the USS Melbourne (a ship Riker was offered command of) and the USS Saratoga (which future-DS9 commander Benjamin Sisko served aboard). Hanson's own ship was destroyed while he was sending a message to Riker on the grim nature of the battle. During the battle the Borg assimilated numerous new individuals, and so not the drain the cube's resources sent vessel's scout sphere back to the Delta Quadrant with surplus drones. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds"; DS9 episode: "Emissary"; TNG novel: Greater Than the Sum)
During the battle there were two temporal anomalies created. One rift, in which several escape pods were caught, eventually opened in the Delta Quadrant, six years later, where it briefly caused the USS Voyager to witness the battle. Another anomaly created a link with an alternate reality inhabited by the X-Men, causing the X-Man John Proudstar to appear in the prime reality as a member of the USS Saratoga's crew. (VOY comic: "Ghosts"; TNG comic: "Second Contact")
Several hours after the battle, the Enterprise-D arrived in the Wolf system and found only a massive debris field of what was once an armada of forty starships. 11,000 Starfleet personnel and civilians were killed in the engagement. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds")
Rescue[edit | edit source]
Taking advice from Guinan, Riker decided to take an unorthodox plan to recover Picard. Transferring command to the battle bridge, Riker contacted Locutus and wished to discuss terms of ending hostilities. While Locutus stated they only wanted unconditional surrender, the Enterprise crew was able to determine his location on the Borg cube. The ship was then separated and began interfering using an anti-matter spread. Locutus, knowing Starfleet ships, completely ignored the vulnerable saucer section for the more battle-ready star drive. During this, Worf and Data used a shuttle to get within the Borg's electromagnetic field and transport aboard. They abducted Locutus and were able to transport back to the Enterprise before their shuttle was destroyed. Ignoring the vulnerability of both sections, the Borg cube resumed its course to Earth.
Revived in sickbay, Locutus declared he would continue to speak for the Borg while their ship continued to Earth. Data was able to examine the subspace pathways that formed the basis of the collective consciousness and theorized that he would be able to hack into it. Meanwhile, the Borg entered the Sol system. Outposts near Jupiter attempted to slow them down, but all defenses were ineffective. As Data entered the consciousness, the Borg penetrated the Mars Defense Perimeter, Earth's final line of defense. Data managed to establish the neural link. Concerned, the Borg halted just before entering Earth orbit and moved to engage the Enterprise. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds")
Endgame[edit | edit source]
Data began attempting to interfere with the weapons and power command paths while the Borg engaged the Enterprise. With no conceivable courses of action, Riker ordered a collision course at warp power. Just before he gave the order to engage, Picard said "sleep" and Data interpreted this as a possible course of action. Data infiltrated the regenerative sub-command, an unprotected system. Once he successfully planted the command, the Borg powered down. An away team determined that the Borg were indeed in a regenerative state. Additionally, regenerating the undamaged ship caused the power system to begin to feed back on itself (either a deliberate measure, or an unintentional result). Riker ordered the away team back and the Enterprise was moved to a safe distance before the Borg cube exploded. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds")
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
Picard's recovery[edit | edit source]
In the aftermath of the attack the Enterprise docked at McKinley Station for repairs and refit. After having his implants removed Captain Picard took some time to visit his family in La Barre, France. Elsewhere on Earth Starfleet Command convened a meeting to discuss whether or not Picard could be considered fit to resume command of the Enterprise, considering making Riker's promotion permanent. Commanders Riker and Shelby argued in support of Picard and were able to persuade the panel to keep the captain in command. (TNG episodes: "The Best of Both Worlds", "Family"; TNG comic: "Loyalty")
Despite Starfleet's willingness to trust him, the incident did have a profound effect on Picard for years to come. He maintained a link with the Borg Collective which afforded him an occasional tactical advantage in future encounters with the Borg. Though Picard's emotional scarring was sometimes a weakness, with him willing to take extreme and dangerous tactics into consideration to fight back at the Borg. (TNG movie & novelization: First Contact; TNG novels: Resistance, Before Dishonor; ST - Destiny novels: Gods of Night, Mere Mortals, Lost Souls)
Starfleet reaction[edit | edit source]
Commander Shelby meanwhile took command of a special task force to rebuild Starfleet after the heavy losses. Starfleet's entire design policy was altered following the attacks, with a greater consideration towards offensive capabilities and technologies specifically developed to resist a future Borg attack. Several starship designs in the early stages of production, and new class designs, were augmented with Borg-defense in mind, with classes including the Defiant, Akira and Sovereign-class produced as a result. (TNG episode: "The Best of Both Worlds"; DS9 episode: "The Search"; ST reference: Starship Spotter)
Personal effects[edit | edit source]
Shortly after the attack a climate fear spread throughout the Federation. Julie Elliot, a woman widowed thanks to Wolf 359, made an impassioned speech know as the Borg Entreaty, which calling for the imprisonment of anyone suspected of collusion with the Borg. The speech was recorded in history as one of the most heart-breaking speeches ever made, and while it was heard by sympathetic ears Elliot's radical proposals to reduce freedoms were a step too far, and were not enacted. (VOY novel: Homecoming)
The losses also had a personal effect on many others. Irene Hansen noticed that school children would occasionally pause in their play and become distant; she speculated either in fear or the memory of fear. She herself developed a habit of closing her curtains at night, finding the twinkling stars a disturbing reminder of the dangers in depth of space, rather than poetic and beautiful as she previously saw them. (VOY - Strange New Worlds V short story: "Final Entry")
For years following the attack Benjamin Sisko bitterly mourned the death of his wife, Jennifer Sisko and resented Picard for his role in the attack. Even after reconciling with Picard, Sisko continued to dwell in the past, running the holosuite program 359, in which he attempted to play out the battle with alternate tactics, desperately trying to find a way to beat the Borg. He finally deleted the program when it was discovered by Jadzia Dax and Julian Bashir who confronted Sisko, and persuaded him to put the past behind him. (DS9 episode: "Emissary"; DS9 comic: "Program 359")
Alternate realities[edit | edit source]
Federation victories[edit | edit source]
In an alternate reality visited by Lieutenant Worf in 2370, the Federation were eventually able to defeat the Borg. However, Picard was killed during the incursion and Riker succeeded him as captain of the Enterprise-D. (TNG episode: "Parallels")
In another alternate reality where Doctor Noonien Soong more successfully began a program of android development the Borg also attacked. In this timeline however the Borg encountered starships crewed entirely by androids at Wolf 359; the android crews took heavy losses in the battle, but were eventually able to disable the Borg's cybernetic systems. Per their programming to avoid violence and maintain life as best they could the androids went to great lengths to ensure the Borg survived, and subsequently had their implants removed.
Following the battle the liberated former-drones were settled on a previously uninhabited Federation planet; and with the assistance of Starfleet instructors and medical personal helped to develop their individuality and form a society. (TNG - Myriad Universes novel: Brave New World)
In another reality, where the Federation had grown to include the Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Tzenkethi and Breen, Benjamin Sisko (who was by 2377 an admiral), was described as a "hero of Wolf 359." (DS9 novel: Fearful Symmetry)
- Exactly what Sisko did to achieve hero status is not explained, but the implication in it as his defining action would seem to be he led a Federation victory against the Borg. The novel also describes an assimilated Sisko from a reality where the Borg had conquered the Federation; it is not clear whether this Borg victory was at this incursion, or a later incident.
Borg victories[edit | edit source]
In one timeline, the Enterprise was destroyed in an overload caused by the deflector pulse weapon. The attack caused massive damage to the Borg cube too, however it was able to regenerate, and then continue its attack, and eventually successfully assimilate Earth. As Earth underwent assimilation Q decided he could not let these events play out, and went back in time to disable the weapon, stopping it from damaging the cube, but allowing the Enterprise to survive and stop the Borg later. (TNG - Strange New Worlds I short story: "Civil Disobedience")
In another alternate reality, Data was destroyed before he could successfully link with Locutus, and as a result the Borg went on to successfully assimilate Earth. For years Picard quietly resisted from within Locutus, and was able to manipulate Borg apparatus to generate rifts through space and time, seeking out alternate universes where the Borg had not won. He eventually located the primary universe and pulled in the Enterprise. The regular and alternate universe Enterprises worked together to finally launch a successful resistance against the Borg and rescued the alternate Picard to bring an end to the Borg occupation. (TNG comics: "The Worst of Both Worlds", "The Belly of the Beast", "The Armies of the Night", "And Death Shall Have No Dominion")
Another parallel universe also had the Federation losing the defense of Earth, with the Enterprise fighting on for years following the incursion. That Enterprise found itself dragged across universes to a meeting of thousands of parallel versions of the same ship. In order to prevent their return to the Borg-infested universe they came from, the Enterprise fired wildly at its counterparts, and was destroyed by an energy overload from return fire. (TNG episode: "Parallels")
In another alternate reality, the Federation fell; by 2371, the Borg occupation had spread as far as the Bajor system. When the USS Defiant of another alternate universe was traveling between universes, it found that Deep Space 9 had been occupied by the Borg and was fired upon by a Borg cube before escaping into another alternate reality. (DS9 comic: "The Looking Glass War")
Mirror universe[edit | edit source]
In the mirror universe, the equivalent events to the Borg incursion did not occur until 2371. In that year, Noonien Soong convinced Jean-Luc Picard to join him in a search for the Borg, hoping to gain them as an ally with the Terran Rebellion in their fight against the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. The two tracked evidence of Borg activity to the Romulan-Alliance Neutral Zone, where several worlds had been attacked. They eventually located a Borg diamond over Carraya IV, and boarded it to investigate. Soong was assimilated and transformed into Locutus of Borg while Picard escaped, formulating a plan to stop the Borg. The diamond then headed for the Klingon homeworld, Qo'noS. A massive fleet of Klingon, Cardassian, Bajoran and Ferengi starships attacked the diamond in the Kowletz system. Picard arrived in the midst of the battle; numerous ships had already been destroyed and all seemed lost. Then Picard played his card: releasing an Iconian computer virus, which the diamond promptly tried to assimilate, and subsequently fell victim to. (TNG novel: The Worst of Both Worlds)
Appendices[edit | edit source]
|Major Borg attacks on the Federation|
|2366-2367 Incursion • Battle of Sector 001 • 2376 Invasion • 2377 Invasion • Supercube Crisis • 2381 Invasion|
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