In early 2367, around stardate 44002.3, the cube entered the Wolf system. Locutus hailed the assembled fleet, ordering the ships therein to disarm and escort the cube to the Sol system. Immediately thereafter, the fleet engaged the Borg.
The Excelsior-class USS Melbourne was among the first ships destroyed, with its saucer section partially vaporized while approaching. The Miranda-class USS Saratoga was quickly neutralized thereafter. When the Ambassador-class USS Yamaguchi and the Nebula-class USS Bellerophon rushed to rescue the disabled ships, they too were destroyed, along with numerous other starships entering the combat zone. Their valiant efforts notwithstanding did not prevent the eventual destruction of the USS Saratoga and the USS Bonestell.
Locutus, armed with the assimilated tactical knowledge of Picard, directed the battle from the Borg side. After bare minutes of combat, the fleet was faced with utter defeat. Admiral Hanson attempted to rally the remaining ships to launch a last-ditch assault, but his ship was destroyed shortly thereafter.
Ultimately, thirty-nine starships were lost, with a total loss of nearly eleven thousand lives. Many people were assimilated. By the time that the Enterprise arrived, there were no life signs or power readings from the remaining hulks.
At least one civilian transport craft was caught in the battle. The ship was heavily damaged and had to evacuate its crew and passengers via their escape pods. The mother of one Starfleet officer was on board. The rest of the craft’s passengers were most likely assimilated, though it is unknown if Locutus’ ship did this, or if they were assimilated at a later date.
Following the battle, the cube resumed course towards Earth, completely undamaged. The Enterprise, having finally completed repairs, raced to catch up to the Borg. In preparation for a Borg invasion of Earth, a state of emergency was declared on the planet. Brushing aside the last line of defense by easily destroying a flotilla of Mars Defense Perimeter sentry pods, the Borg cube took up position in Earth orbit. However, using the recaptured Locutus and his link to the collective mind of the Borg, the Enterprise crew managed to plant subversive commands to deactivate and destroy the Borg ship.
Although the outcome of the invasion could have been much worse, the result of the battle was nothing short of disaster. The loss of such a large number of starships left the Federation unprepared for any new sustained conflict. Commander Shelby took command of a special task force to rebuild Starfleet, but returning the fleet to previous deployment levels was expected to take up to a year.