The Battle of Wolf 359 is a devastating conflict that takes place in the Star Trek universe. It marks the first of many conflicts between the Borg and the United Federation of Planets. Not much of the actual battle is seen on-screen, but the battle occurs during the events of The Next Generation episode "The Best of Both Worlds Part Two" and in a flashback sequence in the Deep Space Nine pilot episode "Emissary".
Prelude to the battleEdit
A year after their first contact with the USS Enterprise-D, the Borg launch their first incursion into Federation space. They arrive at the planet Jouret IV and destroy the Federation colony of New Providence, killing or assimilating its entire population of 900. A distress signal is sent out prior to the colony's destruction and the Enterprise-D investigates with the assistance of Starfleet Tactical. They confirm that the Borg are indeed responsible for the attack but are not ready to repel an invasion; the Enterprise had considerable difficulty defending itself against the Borg cube it encountered at System J-25 and only escaped because of the intervention of the entity called "Q". With only a year of preparation, Starfleet have yet to devise an effective strategy against the Borg's sheer brute force.
The crew of the Enterprise continued to make preparations for the inevitable confrontation, but were called into action following the disappearance of a Starfleet freighter. A distress signal recieved by a Federation starbase described a "cube-shaped alien vessel" that intercepted the freighter. The Enterprise investigated the area and found the Borg waiting for them, who hailed the Enterprise and demanded the surrender of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. A brief confrontation ensued when Picard refused to surrender and the Enterprise's weaponry had little to no effect against the Borg ship, which inflicted serious damage on the Starfleet vessel. The Enterprise managed to escape the Borg's tractor beam by rotating the frequencies of their phaser banks, then fled toward a nebula and hid within it to elude the Borg. The Borg were relentless, however, and flushed the Enterprise out of the nebula with a barrage of magnetically-guided charges. When they locked on to the Enterprise again, they beamed drones onto the bridge who managed to stun Captain Picard and capture him.
When Captain Picard is brought aboard the Borg cube, the collective allow him the chance to speak on behalf of the Federation. The defiant captain refuses to talk except to tell the Borg that he will resist them however he can. The Borg state that they intend to conquer Earth and assimilate humanity into the collective, using Picard as their representative in order to ensure a swift incorporation. And so, Picard is forcefully assimilated: his body is augmented with cybernetic implants and his consciousness becomes part of the Borg's hive-mind. By the time the Enterprise catches up to the Borg cube, the assimilation process is already complete and the Starfleet away team is unable to save him.
After the away team returns, Commander Riker orders the deployment of an experimental particle beam fired from the Enterprise's main deflector dish. When the beam is fired, the Borg ship is undamaged as they have already adapted to the weapon after utilizing Captain Picard's knowledge of it. With the Enterprise damaged and powered down, the Borg continue their flight to Earth.
As the Borg continue on their course toward Earth, Starfleet has mobilized a taskforce of 40 starships at the Wolf 359 star system, with additional reinforcements expected from the Klingon Empire. The Enterprise warns Admiral J.P. Hansen, commander of the fleet, that the Borg have assimilated Captain Picard and have access to all of his tactical knowledge and expertise. This changes nothing, however, as Starfleet have no time left to formulate a new strategy.
When the Borg arrive at Wolf 359, Picard - now known as Locutus of Borg - demands that the fleet surrender and escort the Borg cube to Sector 001, threatening to destroy them all if they resist. Resist is exactly what the fleet does and engages the cube with all their firepower, but the Borg vessel has no distinct weakspots that the fleet can take advantage of and their shielding has completely adapted to all of Starfleet's weaponry. The battle is brutal and swift: the Starfleet taskforce is almost completely wiped out with 39 out of 40 ships destroyed and 11,000 lives lost. The Borg, however, receive no damage whatsoever and even gain resources by capturing and assimilating Starfleet personnel. The only Starfleet ship to survive the slaughter is the USS Endeavour, which retreats in order to warn Earth that the Borg are on their way.
When the Enterprise-D is repaired and resumes its course, it arrives at Wolf 359 to find a starship cemetery. The wrecks of several ships drift through the blackness of space, some of them still burning and all of their crews lost. The Borg are still nearby and Captain William Riker orders the execution of a daring plan to slow the Borg's advance and rescue Captain Picard. The Enterprise keeps Locutus distracted by separating its saucer section and commanding the stardrive section to fire on the cube whilst the saucer releases a volley of anti-matter flares. The anti-matter spread disrupts Borg sensors while an Enterprise shuttle penetrates the cube's EM field, allowing Lt. Worf and Lt. Commander Data to beam onto the cube and capture Locutus. The operation is successful and Data and Worf return to the Enterprise with Picard in tow. The Borg continue onward towards Earth without Locutus.
The last standEdit
Even without Locutus aboard, the Borg are able to call upon Picard's experience and knowledge to overcome all of Starfleet's defenses surrounding the Sol System. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew are working out how to tap into Picard's connection to the collective in hopes of finding a weakness to exploit in the Borg cube's defenses. Data succeeds in establishing a connection and Picard's consciousness resurfaces just as the Enterprise engages the Borg in Earth orbit. With their weaponry unable to affect the Borg's defenses, Riker is ready to order a collision course with the cube in order to stop them.
Before Riker gives the order to ram the Borg cube, Picard - not Locutus - conveys a simple message to Data: "Sleep". Data realises that the captain is suggesting a course of action and attempts to plant a command into the Borg's collective consciousness. The plan works and Data commands the drones aboard the cubeship to cease all other activities and enter their regeneration cycle. When the cube powers down, an away team quickly establishes that the command worked but also that it caused a feedback error throughout the cube's power systems, initiating a self-destruct sequence. The away team have no time to disarm the self-destruct or study the Borg more closely and are forced to return to the Enterprise. The Borg ship then violently detonates, severing Captain Picard's link to the collective as a result.
Though the Borg were defeated, they had quickly established themselves as the Federation's most powerful and relentless enemy. Their homeworld was located in the Delta Quadrant, 70,000 light years from Earth, making distance humanity's only reprieve against another Borg attack. The Borg would invade again six years later, during which time the Federation would develop new weapons and strategies to fight them, but even these new defenses would only be so effective.