Borg Assault on the Federation at Wolf 359
In late 2366, on stardate 43989.1, the USS Enterprise-D arrived at Jouret IV, twelve hours after contact with the New Providence colony was lost. The colony was found to have been completely destroyed, literally scooped from the planet’s surface.
Admiral J.P. Hanson and Lieutenant Commander Shelby of Starfleet Tactical arrived to investigate the disappearance. An away team determined that the colony had been wiped away by weapons similar to those found on a Borg cube encountered by the Enterprise in System J-25. While investigating a planet within that system, the Enterprise had found corresponding devastation as that on Jouret IV. Likewise, devastation of this kind had been found even earlier, in 2364, on several Federation and Romulan outposts along the Romulan Neutral Zone, and, in 2365, on the sixth planet of System J-25.
Starfleet immediately began preparations for a possible Borg invasion. Admiral Hanson returned to Starbase 324 to discuss strategy with Starfleet Command. Starfleet imposed a fleet-wide standing yellow alert, and warned all Federation and allied outposts. That evening at 1900 hours, the USS Lalo departed Zeta Alpha II on a freight run to Sentinel Minor IV. At 2212 hours, Starbase 157 received a signal from the Lalo, reporting contact with a cubical object. The signal was cut off mid-transmission, and no response was received to further hails.
Upon receiving this information from Admiral Hanson, the Enterprise set a course for the Lalo’s last known location. With Starfleet reinforcements at least six days away, the Enterprise was on its own. En route to the coordinates, contact was made with the unknown vessel: a Borg cube. News was relayed to Admiral Hanson, who had begun to assemble a fleet to combat the invasion. The Borg demanded that the Enterprise captain, Jean-Luc Picard, beam himself aboard their vessel for an unspecified purpose. After a brief exchange of fire, the Enterprise retreated into the Paulson Nebula, with the Borg vessel close behind.
Hiding in the dust cloud, the Enterprise and her crew prepared for the inevitable resumption of conflict. Attempting to force the starship out, the Borg launched magnetometric guided charges into the nebula, causing minor damage to the Enterprise. Picard ordered the ship out of hiding, and in the ensuing attack, he was captured by the Borg, who then left at high warp, en route to Sector 001 and the core of the Federation.
The cube maintained its course, with the Enterprise in hot pursuit. First officer Commander William T. Riker, as acting captain, planned to force the cube out of warp in order to attack it, using the Enterprise’s deflector dish. An away team led by Lieutenant Commander Shelby was sent over to the vessel, and succeeded in taking the Borg cube out of warp. In the process, it was discovered that Captain Picard had been assimilated by the Collective – he had been transformed into a Borg drone with the designation Locutus of Borg. Having temporarily disabled the cube, the Enterprise launched its deflector weapon.
The cube easily shrugged off the Enterprise’s assault with the unwilling aid of Picard’s knowledge, and resumed its course to the Sol system. The Enterprise was forced to stay behind, having suffered extensive damage to its deflector array and warp core. In the meantime, Admiral Hanson and Starfleet Command had hastily assembled a fleet of forty starships, with more on the way. The Klingon Empire was in the process of dispatching warships of its own to assist in the defense, and the possibility of requesting support from the Romulan Star Empire was even considered.