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From the deepest, darkest reaches of space came the greatest threat the Federation had ever faced: the Borg. Half organic/half mechanical, the Borg are relentless and bent on conquering and "assimilating" all intelligent life; a single Borg vessel destroyed 39 Federation starships, decimating Starfleet.
Only the courage and determination of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew prevented the Borg from striking at the heart of the Federation and Earth itself in the year 2367. Picard and the USS Enterprise were able to score a stunning victory against the Borg.
But all that has changed, and the Borg are back…
Stronger and more dangerous than ever, they are ready to launch a new attack against the Federation, one that threatens its past… its present… and its future! Once again, Captain Picard, Commander Riker, Lieutenant Commander Data and the rest of the crew must face their greatest enemy in a startling confrontation that will take them across time and put them face-to-face with their relentless enemy, revealing the Borg Collective's deadliest secret… and its true face.


In early 2373, Captain Jean-Luc Picard is dreaming that he is on board a Borg cube – he wakes up with a shock and goes to wash his face, only to see horrible Borg implants coming out from his face. He wakes up again, now to reality, only to hear thatthe Borg have returned to the Alpha Quadrant and are trying once again to assimilate Earth. A single cube was dispatched, and Starfleet began mounting a defense force in the Typhon sector. Picard wishes to go to help, but the newly-commissioned USS Enterprise-E is sent to patrol the Neutral Zone in case the Romulans decide to make a move against the Federation while the Federation's fleet resources are diverted against the Borg. Starfleet thinks that Picard could be an "unstable element" in the fight against the Borg. As all attempts to stop the Borg fail before they reach Earth, Picard decides to ignore his direct orders from Starfleet and sets course to Earth.

They arrive just in time to sector 001 to witness the battle against the attacking Borg cube, which is being fought by several Starfleet ships of various types. Among the attacking vessels is the USS Defiant, commanded by Worf. The small ship has suffered heavy damage and Worf is just about to ram the cube when the Enterprise comes to save them. The crew is beamed aboard the Enterprise and the Defiant is set adrift in space, although it is later salvaged.

Starfleet forces fight off the Borg. As the battle is going badly, Picard uses his intimate knowledge of the Borg to concentrate fire on a certain point at the Borg cube's surface. Combined phaser and torpedo fire from all remaining ships destroys the cube, but just before it explodes the cube manages to eject a sphere. The smaller Borg vessel heads towards Earth and opens an energy rift – a temporal vortex. Enterprise pursues, only to be caught in the vortex's wake. Suddenly the Earth beneath them changes – the Borg have altered Earth's past, resulting at the planet being completely assimilated in the 24th century, with a population of 9 billion Borg drones and a poisonous atmosphere. Picard decides to follow the sphere to the past in order to repair the temporal damage.

Although the Enterprise-E was the most advanced ship in the fleet and should have been in any battle, Admiral Jeremiah Hayes and Starfleet Command had some concerns over Captain Picard and his past encounters with the Borg Hayes assigned the Enterprise to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone, in case the Romulans took advantage of the situation.

After hearing the the Borg had broke through the first line of defense at Typhon, and were on their way to Earth, Picard ordered the Enterprise to return to Earth. On arrival, Picard assumed command of the remaining Starfleet forces and managed to destroy the cube.

However, just before the cube was destroyed, a small Borg Sphere was ejected and created a temporal distortion that allowed the Borg vessel to travel to the past. The Enterprise managed to follow, and were soon in orbit of Earth in April 2063, just days before Zefram Cochrane's warp flight and first contact with the Vulcans.

The Enterprise managed to destroy the Borg Sphere while it was firing at a missile silo in Montana. However, the Borg were not killed, because the Borg Queen and many drones managed to beam aboard the Enterprise while its shields were down.

The Enterprise crew learned that the Borg were trying to stop Cochrane's flight and assimilate Earth in the 21st century. While Commanders Riker and La Forge remained behind on Earth to help Cochrane repair the Phoenix, Picard beamed aboard the Enterprise to stop the Borg from assimilating the ship.

On board the Enterprise, Picard became obsessed with defeating the Borg, and was compared to Captain Ahab, by Lily Sloane, Cochrane's partner. Realizing that he was sacrificing everything, he ordered his crew to abandon ship, but remained behind to rescue Data from the clutches of the Queen.

With Riker and La Forge's help, Cochrane's warp flight was successful and Picard and Data managed to defeat the Borg and kill the Queen. Picard and crew discreetly remained on Earth, to observe first contact, and then returned to the 24th century.

The story cuts down to the Earth's surface in a shack village where Lily Sloane drags the drunken Zefram Cochrane out from a bar. They spot the Borg sphere moving in the sky, and as the vessel fires, they believe that it is some sort of an orbital weapons platform left over from World War III. Lily goes to see the experimental warp ship Phoenix they've been constructing, but Cochrane doesn't care.

The Enterprise arrives in the past and Data deduces that they arrived some ten years after World War III. Riker thinks that it was a logical choice, as the Earth was in ruins after the (presumably) nuclear war. The Borg sphere is destroyed with quantum torpedoes. Riker identifies the sphere's target as a missile silo, and Picard realizes the Borg's agenda – they have prevented the Earth's first warp flight and resulting contact with the Vulcans. Data tells that it is April the fourth, one day before the First Contact.

Picard decides to beam down to check the warp ship, accompanied by Beverly Crusher, Data and assorted officers. They find the missile complex in shambles with most of the staff dead. Picard and Data locate the warp ship, damaged but repairable. Lily Sloane attacks them with a sub-machine gun, only to be subdued by the bullet-proof Data. Lily collapses from shock and exposure to theta radiation. They all need inoculations against radiation. Crusher beams onboard the Enterprise with the unconscious Lily. Picard orders Geordi La Forge down to the planet. La Forge departs with Reginald Barclay and assorted officers, leaving engineer Paul Porter in charge. He wants Porter to check the environmental controls, as the room temperature is rising.

Down on Earth, Picard gets very nostalgic with the Phoenix, a thing which Data can't understand, despite trying. Troi is amused by Data's attempt and informs that they have been unable to find Cochrane.

Back on board the Enterprise, the engineers try to locate the reason for the sudden change in the room temperature. Engineer Porter disappears into the Jefferies tube, along with the female engineer who goes to search for him. Something is definitely going on on board the Enterprise, a fact also sensed by Picard down in Earth. He immediately contacts the Enterprise and after Worf’s explanation about the environmental conditions, he decides to return to the Enterprise. In sickbay Beverly has just finished treating Lily along with Nurse Ogawa when the power suddenly goes off. Her attempt to contact engineering is cut abruptly when someone bashes at the sickbay door. Up on the bridge Worf explains to Captain Picard that all contact with Deck 16 has been lost. Picard orders the entire deck sealed down. Picard soon realizes that the Borg have beamed on board and started to assimilate the ship. Suddenly external communications and all command systems fail. Data encrypts the ship's computer so that the Borg can't access it.

In sickbay Crusher is evacuating the personnel, along with a bewildered Lily. She brings up the Emergency Medical Hologram in order to distract the incoming Borg as the crew escapes via the Jeffries tube. The hologram begins to lecture to the incoming drones. As Beverly leads her staff to safety Lily escapes.

Picard assembles security and other available personnel to (presumably) the ship's armory and gives them details on their attempt to re-take engineering from the Borg and expose them to the warp core's coolant, dissolving their organic parts. They all arm themselves with phaser rifles, although the Borg will adapt quickly despite varying modulation. Picard orders his troops not to hesitate if attacked by former Enterprise crewmembers already assimilated – in shooting them they would be doing them a favor. They depart to battle.

Down on Earth, Troi has finally located Cochrane dancing around in a bar. Riker shows up to discover Troi is highly intoxicated, much to his amusement. Troi introduces the two men and tells Riker that they probably have to reveal the truth to Cochrane.

Back on board the orbiting Enterprise, Picard’s assault team advances thru the dark ship towards the already assimilated areas. They enter though a floor hatch to the dangerous Deck 16 and begin their search. They find the corridors already partially assimilated. Even Data is afraid, and at Picard's suggestion he deactivates his emotions chip. The assault team led by Worf runs into Beverly who tells him that Lily is missing. On another part of the deck, Picard’s team encounters their first Borg drones. On their approach to engineering they find Borg alcoves and more and more drones around. They attempt to enter main engineering but the drones attack. A phaser fight results, with the Borg taking heavy hits until they adapt. Several crewmembers are assimilated in the desperate hand-to-hand fighting. Data is captured by the Borg and Picard orders general retreat to Deck 15. During his escape, Picard is attacked by Lily, who takes control of his hand phaser. Down in the gloomy main engineering, Data is being inspected by a group of Borg drones. The disembodied voice of the Borg Queen speaks to him, mocking his imperfection.

Cochrane has a hard time believing what the Enterprise crew has to say about the Borg and Cochrane's role in history. La Forge and Riker decide to prove their origin by showing the orbiting Enterprise on an optical telescope. The crew tries to talk Cochrane into making the warp flight, as he is not that thrilled about it. He finally agrees.

On board the Enterprise, it is a losing battle against the Borg. More and more crew get assimilated and receive full cybernetic implants. One half of the ship is already under Borg control as they halt on Deck 11. We cut to Picard and Lily who still believes that Picard is a member of a former enemy faction. Picard shocks her once again by showing her the Earth from space. They finally "make peace" and she hands over the phaser, already set to full intensity. It was her first ray gun.

The Borg Queen descends to the engineering and connects with her mechanical body. She circles Data, apparently very intrigued by the android. She gives him unique sensations by activating his emotion chip. It is revealed that the Borg have attached a piece of human skin to Data's body. He gives an almost orgasmic response when the Borg Queen blows on the piece of skin, causing goose bumps. She dryly remarks: "Was it good for you?"

Picard tells Lily about the Federation as they move around the ship. Lily panics after seeing the Borg, but Picard reassures her. He provokes the drones to follow them to the holodeck. They enter the holodeck and a Dixon Hill holonovel. Picard locates a sub-machine gun from a Mafia thug and strafes the Borg drones – he had disengaged the security protocols when they entered. He searches for a drone's neuroprocessor in order to find out what they are planning to do.

The Dixon Hill holonovel. As an interesting note, Picard uses the holodeck control arc to provide them with suitable clothing for the simulation, something we haven't seen before. Down on Earth, the Starfleet crew is busy repairing the warp ship. Cochrane is getting increasingly drunk and unsure about the whole flight. Barclay gets an unique chance to meet with his idol and La Forge reveals that in the future there will be a huge statue of Cochrane, and he himself went to Zefram Cochrane High School. Cochrane excuses himself and runs away.

Picard and Lily reach the bridge. Picard tells Worf that the Borg are building an interplexing beacon from the ship's main deflector, which they are planning to use to contact the 21st century Borg still living in the Delta Quadrant. Picard goes EVA with Worf and Lt. Hawk in order to destroy the transmitter. Down on Earth La Forge and Riker try to track the escaping Cochrane. Picard, Worf and Lt. Hawk make their way on the ship's hull.

In the Borg lair, the drones are attaching more Human skin to Data's arm. Data's babbling irritates even the Borg Queen, who keeps tempting Data with the opportunity to become more Human. Data gets free from his bindings and proceeds to kill several Borg drones before the new skin on his arms gets hurt. The Queen bids him to tear the skin away, but Data is unable to do so. The Queen proceeds to question Data about his sexual experiences and after Data's bragging about his "multiple techniques", the Queen kisses him.

The EVA team reaches the deflector dish and find it swarming with drones building the beacon. Lt. Hawk suggests that they phaser the entire beacon but Picard disagrees, as the resulting explosion could destroy the ship. Down on Earth, the Starfleet people catch Cochrane. Riker stuns him as he tries to flee again.

Up on the Enterprise, Picard and crew proceed to disengage the maglocks keeping the deflector's particle emitter in place. As they work on the AE-35 units, the Borg drones begin to take interest in them. Lt. Hawk is attacked by the drones and he has to shoot one with his phaser. Now Worf is attacked, but his weapon is already ineffective against the drones. The situation heats up and Worf is forced to fight a drone with his mek'leth, slicing the drone. Worf’s space suit is badly damaged and begins to lose air. Meanwhile, Lt. Hawk works on the control and doesn't see the drones approaching. He is carried away, leaving Picard alone. A drone menacingly approaches Picard who backs away to the edge of the dish and disengages his magnetic boots, hovering across the dish. As he releases the final maglock the central part of the deflector sets free. He is then attacked by an already assimilated Hawk, only to be rescued by Worf, who has repaired his suit with a piece of a Borg drone. Picard shoots at the thick cable holding the dish in place, enabling it to fly away. Worf disintegrates it with an angry "Assimilate THIS!"

On Earth, Cochrane is preparing his ship for launch. The missile silo is opened and Riker marvels at the Moon visible through the ship's windshield. He talks about Cochrane's wonderful vision, and Cochrane admits that his vision was dollar signs – he only wanted money so that he could retire to a tropical island filled with naked women. He doesn’t even like to fly! Riker quotes future Cochrane, much to his own amusement.

On the Enterprise, the situation is even worse. Decks 5 and 6 have just fallen and the weapons are completely ineffective, but Picard orders everyone to stand their ground. Worf suggests using the auto-destruct, supported by Crusher, but Picard declines. Picard insults Worf in the worst way possible for a Klingon by saying that he’s a coward – Worf answers that he would kill any other man. Picard throws Worf out from the bridge and goes to brood in the observation lounge. Lily argues with Crusher who is left in command and enters the observation lounge to get some sense to Picard. He has become obsessed with destroying the Borg and delivers a long monologue to Lily about his experience with being assimilated to the Collective. Picard's feelings heat up when Lily claims that he enjoys killing the Borg and compares him to Captain Ahab of Moby Dick. As Lily tells him to blow up the ship, Picard angrily destroys his ship models. He vows payback for the Borg and begins to recite Moby Dick. Lily doesn’t know it's from the book because she never read it. Picard comes to a decision and enters the bridge again, only to order evacuation of the ship.

Back to Earth where final preparations for the Phoenix's launch continue. The vessel is manned by Cochrane, Riker and La Forge. On board the Enterprise, Picard, Crusher and Worf initiate the self-destruct on a 15-minute silent countdown. Crusher says farewell to the ship and wonders whether there will be another ship. Picard comments that there are still many letters left in the alphabet. He then apologizes to Worf and says that in fact he is the bravest man he has ever known. Worf leaves, leaving Picard alone on the empty bridge of the Enterprise. Suddenly, he hears Data's voice inside his head.

Down on Earth, Troi acts as an announcer for the flight preparations. Cochrane thinks that he has forgot something, but it's probably nothing. He suddenly realizes what it was and Riker almost cancels the launch until it's realized that the missing thing was a recording of the song Magic Carpet Ride, which plays on as the missile-built-into-warp-ship takes off from the silo. Cochrane deals with a problem by hitting the display console and they separate the booster stage of the rocket. The warp engines are deployed and the systems prepared for Earth's first warp flight. Cochrane is thrilled to see Earth from space.

Up on the Enterprise the evacuation continues. Picard says farewell to Lily who understands that he is not coming with them. Picard tells that he must help a friend in need. The escape pods are ejected and they head towards Earth. Picard goes down to main engineering and he is able to enter unharmed. The Borg Queen makes an entrance and mocks Picard. Data also appears, having received human skin to one half of his face. Picard tries to make an exchange of himself for Data. Picard confronts the Queen, claiming that he was supposed to be the Queen's counterpart in the Collective. Picard tells Data to leave, but he refuses. Under orders from the Queen, Data deactivates the self-destruct at android speed. He also decrypts the computer core, giving full control to the Queen. Picard is seized by drones.

On board the Phoenix, everything is looking good for the warp flight. Cochrane engages the engines and the ship accelerates rapidly. Cochrane suddenly spots the Enterprise approaching. The ship fires quantum torpedoes at the Phoenix, but they miss the small warp ship. The Queen realizes that Data isn't really under her control. Data breaks the warp core coolant tank, releasing coolant gas into the room. Picard climbs up a tube to save himself. The Queen grabs his leg and tries to pull Picard down, but Data grabs her and pulls her into the coolant before it's too late. The Queen’s body disintegrates, along with the other drones. Meanwhile, the Phoenix's warp flight is over.

Back on the Enterprise, Picard vents the gas and sees dead Borg drones everywhere. He finds the skeletal cybernetic remains of the Queen, still twitching. He breaks the apparently mechanical spine, killing the Queen. He also finds Data, who had parts of his inner structure revealed after his Human skin was destroyed. They discuss the nature of the Borg Queen and Data confesses that he was tempted to accept the Queen's offer, albeit for less than a second.

We cut some time forward and down to Earth, where the Vulcan ship lands to the launch site of the Phoenix. Cochrane makes historical first contact and the Enterprise crew departs after witnessing the event. They proceed to leave back to the future with Picard’s "Make it so" command. The ship's departure is seen on Earth by Lily. At the same time, Cochrane introduces the Vulcans to Earth rock music. The camera pans up to the night sky as the signature tune plays on…



Movie characters

ArmstrongLisa AzarReginald BarclayBorg QueenZefram CochraneBeverly CrusherPadraig DanielsDataDysonEddieEddyInge EigerEight of NineteenEighteen of NineteenEleven of NineteenEleven of SeventeenEmergency Medical Hologram (Enterprise-E)Fifteen of SeventeenFive of ElevenSean HawkJeremiah HayesJaeJonesKaplanKelloggGeordi La ForgeLightnerLopezTimothy LynchMartinezNicky the NoseNine of SeventeenObarakehAlyssa OgawaJean-Luc Picard/LocutusPaul PorterWilliam T. RikerRoyse/One of ElevenRubySevekSix of ElevenSix of NineteenSix of SeventeenSixteen of NineteenLily SloaneSolkarT'ShonraTen of NineteenThree of NineteenKathleen TonellJoseph TravisDeanna TroiTwo of ElevenTwo of NineteenTwo of SeventeenRichard WilkinsWorfWyatt
Referenced only
AhabHector BerliozGeorges Bizet

Novelization characters

Reginald BarclayBorg QueenCharlieZefram CochraneBeverly CrusherPadraig DanielsDataDysonEddieInge EigerEmergency Medical Hologram (Enterprise-E)Sean HawkJeremiah HayesKaplanKizilbashGeordi La ForgeLopezTimothy LynchNicky the NoseAlyssa OgawaJean-Luc Picard/LocutusPaul PorterWilliam T. RikerRubyLily SloaneSolkarDeanna TroiTutuWorf
Referenced only
AhabHector BerliozAl CaponeDeniseMarcus LeeMaxfield ParrishLionel SloaneSpockRichard WagnerGrace Weir-QuintanaJohn Weir-QuintanaNatasha Yar

Junior novelization characters

Reginald BarclayBorg QueenZefram CochraneBeverly CrusherDataEddieAlice EigerEmergency Medical Hologram (Enterprise-E)Sean HawkJeremiah HayesGeordi La ForgeTimothy LynchNicky the NoseAlyssa OgawaJean-Luc Picard/LocutusPaul PorterWilliam T. RikerLily SloaneSolkarDeanna TroiWorf
Referenced only
AhabHector BerliozRichard Wagner

Comic adaptation characters

Reginald BarclayBorg QueenZefram CochraneBeverly CrusherDataEddieInge EigerEmergency Medical Hologram (Enterprise-E)Sean HawkJeremiah HayesGeordi La ForgeNicky the NoseAlyssa OgawaJean-Luc Picard/LocutusPaul PorterWilliam T. RikerLily SloaneSolkarDeanna TroiWorf


AustraliaBozemanCrash & BurnEarthLunaMontanaNew GuineaNorth AmericaRomulan Neutral ZoneSolSolomon Islands
Referenced only
Deep Space 5Deep Space 9Delta QuadrantFort KnoxGravett IslandIndonesiaIvor PrimeLake ArmstrongNew BerlinPacific OceanParisPoughkeepsieTycho CityWashington, DCWolf 359Zefram Cochrane High School

Starships and vehicles

USS Appalachia (Steamrunner-class) • Borg cubeBorg sphereUSS Bozeman-A (destroyer) • USS Budapest (Norway-class) • USS Defiant (Defiant-class) • USS Endeavour (Nebula-class) • USS Enterprise-E (Sovereign-class) • escape podUSS Lexington (Nebula-class) • USS Madison (Galaxy-class) • Miranda-class vesselsOberth-class vesselsPhoenix (Titan V launched warp ship) • USS Thunderchild (Akira-class) • T'Plana-HathUSS Yeager (Saber-class)
Referenced only
USS Enterprise-AUSS Enterprise-DUSS GageUSS MelbourneUSS Saratogatrain

Races and cultures

androidBetazoidBolianBorgHuman (IndonesianSwedish) • KlingonVulcan
Referenced only

States and organizations

Borg CollectiveStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only
Eastern CoalitionIndonesian Space AgencyMobSmithsonian Institution

Science and technology

antiprotonarteriosclerosisassimilationassimilation tubuleBorg dronebulletcyborgdeflector dishEmergency Medical Hologramemotion chipenvironmental suitgeiger counterholodeckhologramhyperspaceintercontinental ballistic missileinterplexing beaconisolinear spirejukeboxocular implantparticle emitterphaserphaser rifleplasma coolantpositronic brainquantum torpedosatellitetachyontemporal vortextimetime travelVISORwarp drive

Ranks and titles

captaincommandercrewmandoctorengineerlieutenanttactical officer

Other references

21st centurybat'lethbattle bridgeBattle of Sector 001Battle of Wolf 359cigaretteDixon Hilldollarfirst contactGötterdämmerungJefferies tubeMoby DickNuclear Dark AgeplanetPrime DirectiveWorld War IIIyearzombie


Related media

First Contact is essentially a sequel to The Best of Both Worlds building on the Borg and Picard's time as Locutus.
Rogue expands upon the character of Sean Hawk and also features an appearance from the USS Thunderchild, both were established in First Contact
Features Flint and Christopher Brynner in Bozeman during the Vulcan first contact.


Writer Ronald D. Moore commented: It was a conscious decision to plunge into action immediately and set a different tone from the previous movies. The character lead-ins were nice and I always liked them, but we wanted FC to be a departure for the film series and we wanted to make that statement from the opening shot."

  • The novel contains an eight page display of color photos taken from the film.
  • The novel also contains A First Look at Star Trek First Contact, a behind the scenes report by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens.
  • A young adult novelization by Teresa Reed divided the story into two adaptations, The Borg and Breaking the Barrier.


Film images

Adaptation images


published order
Previous novelization:
Star Trek Generations
TNG novelizations Next novelization:
Star Trek: Insurrection
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
The Q and the Grey
Pocket Next Adventure:
Ship of the Line
Chapter 26
Previous Adventure:
Enterprises of Great Pitch and Moment
Voyages of the
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-E)
Next Adventure:
Second Contact
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2373.
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in three other timeframes:
Previous Adventure:
The Sundered
Chapters 7-8
Chapters 4-10
Next Adventure:
The Sundered
Chapter 12
Previous Adventure:
The Sundered
Chapter 12
Chapters 11-12
Next Adventure:
A Private Victory
Previous Adventure:
A Private Victory
Chapters 13-15
Next Adventure:
The Immortality Blues
Section 4

External links