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The USS Enterprise's most deadly foe returns!


The Borg—half organic and half machine, they are the most feared race in the known galaxy. In their relentless quest for technological perfection, they have destroyed entire star systems, enslaved countless peoples, and, in a single brutal attack, decimated Starfleet's mightiest vessels. Only a final desperate gambit by Captain Picard and the USS Enterprise crew stopped the Borg from conquering the entire Federation. And now they have returned.


Young Picard.


At Starfleet Academy, Cadet Jean-Luc Picard and his class (including rival Morgan Korsmo) attend a lecture on Starfleet history by Professor Talbot. A topic discussed is the doomsday machine encountered by the USS Constellation and USS Enterprise. Picard speculates that the planet killer could not have come from far outside the galaxy, because its low speed and requirement of planetary masses for fuel would make it incapable of traveling from another galaxy. Before and during the lecture, Picard repeatedly sees a mysterious woman, who disappears quickly and whom no other person is able to see. Later that night, Picard is alone in his quarters when he sees her again. She speaks to him, thanking him for his insight into the origins of the planet killer. She says that it was built to combat the soulless ones who destroyed her kind, and that she would stop them. Puzzled by her words, Picard tries to find out everything he can about the planet killer and its origins, but is unable to answer the questions the woman's appearance left with him.

Act one

On the planet Penzatti, the family of Dantar the 8th is engaged in a family ritual, when klaxons sound. A Borg ship is approaching. The planetary defense system, completely controlled by computers, analyzes the threat and recognizes the attackers as the Borg. Still, the Penzatti are not worried, because the defense system has always saved them, even from an attack by the Romulans twenty years earlier. However, the defense computers actually welcome the Borg, recognizing their way of life as superior, and the defense systems are deactivated. The Borg begin carving up large portions of the planet, transporting them to their ship with tractor beams. Meanwhile, the Penzatti try to defend themselves on the ground. Dantar the 8th is able to kill a Borg soldier with his energy weapon, but the others quickly adapt with force fields. Dantar is knocked unconscious, and a Borg drone enters Dantar's house. Trying to interact with a computer terminal, the Borg is attacked by Dantar's wife, who is able to stick a knife into the Borg's circuitry. The Borg defends itself, killing one of Dantar's daughters and his eldest son. The piece of Penzatti where Dantar's house stands is the last to be cut up by the Borg. While it is being dragged up, the house collapses, killing the whole family, with Dantar as the last witness. Meanwhile, another ship approaches the Borg cube in orbit and quickly begins an attack. Heavily damaged, the Borg stop transporting the last piece of the planet up, which begins to fall back to the surface. The Borg are able to send a warning to the Borg Collective before their ship is destroyed. The ship that destroyed them moves on.


Act two

Grand finale



USS Enterprise-D crew

BoyajianTom ChafinBeverly CrusherDataGuinanGeordi La ForgeMeyerMiles O'BrienJean-Luc PicardWilliam RikerSelarDeanna TroiWorfunnamed USS Enterprise-D personnel
Referenced only
Jack CrusherWesley Crusher

USS Repulse crew

ArgyleKatherine PulaskiSethAriel Taggert

USS Chekov crew

GoodmanHobsonMorgan KorsmoPolly ParkePeelElizabeth ShelbyToomey

Other Starfleet personnel

Leah SappTalbotTerman
Referenced only
Matthew DeckerHansonJames T. Kirk

Fictional characters

DulcineaSancho PanzaDon Quixote

Other characters

Borg dronesReannon BonaventureDantar the 8thDantar the 9thDarrDelcaraLojeneLoskeneThe ManyMartokTurane (Vastator) • unnamed Penzatti
Referenced only
Miguel de CervantesDantar the 6thDantar the 7thLocutus

Starships and vehicles

Borg cube (unnamed Borg cubes) • USS Chekov (Excelsior-class) • USS Curie (hospital ship) • USS Enterprise-DTurane's ship (unnamed Ferengi starships) • Doomsday machineUSS Repulse (Excelsior-class)
Referenced only
Phantom CruiserUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • USS Constellation (Constitution-class)


Interior locations

Starfleet Academy
USS Chekov
bridgeready room
USS Enterprise-D
bridgeconference roomcorridorholodecksickbayten forward
USS Repulse

Planetary locations and landmarks

Golden Gate BridgeLa ManchaSpainSan Francisco

Planets and planetoids

Referenced only
Tri Epsilon Delta


Howell 320KalishSol systemWolf 359Beta Quadrantsector 001Andromeda Galaxy

Races and cultures

Referenced only

States and organizations

FederationFederation CouncilFerengi AllianceKlingon EmpireRomulan Star EmpireStarfleetTholian AssemblyUnited Federation of Planets

Technology and weapons

androidantiproton beambiobedblastercommunicatorcomputerforce fieldhologramKeldin blasterknifelancenanitestarshiptractor beamtransportertricorderVISORwarp nacellewindmill

Other references

antiprotoncastrodiniumcancercivil warcommunicationsDappleenergygalaxyGodgovernmenthairhistoryhomeworldhorsehyperspaceklaxonlight-yearmoneymoonplanetphilosophyPicard ManeuverrankRozinanteStarfleet Academyweaponzinator


Picard's Academy days.
The Romulans attack Penzatti.
The Borg begin their approach to sector 001.
After the Borg are defeated at the Battle of Wolf 359, Starfleet begins rebuilding. The next Borg incursion is at Penzatti.



  • This novel originated at a time when the producers of the Star Trek franchise did not tend to collaborate with the authors and editors of licensed works, but a number of concepts from this book ended up being used in later productions, ostensibly by coincidence and not by design:
  • This book was translated for a German language edition by Heyne-Verlag as the 20th book in their TNG series. When the translation rights for new TNG material moved to Cross Cult, Heyne issued eBook versions of all their previously translated material, including this novel.
  • Of the book's origins, author Peter David stated that editor Kevin Ryan said, "I want a giant book about the Borg and I want you to write it fast." David said, "I was very pleased that I had the opportunity to do a sequel, of sorts, to one of my favorite episodes, "The Doomsday Machine". I think it's this kind of cross referencing, the doomsday machine tying into the Borg, that people get really excited over." (The Official Fan Club Magazine Issue 80: "Where No Man...")




published order
Previous novel:
TNG unnumbered novels Next novel:
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Dark Mirror
Pocket Next Adventure:
Of Cabbages and Kings
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2367.
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in one other timeframe:
Previous Adventure:
An Easy Fast
Section 2
Chapter 1
Next Adventure:
Enter the Wolves

External link