A History of the 2366 Borg Incursion and Wolf 359 Disaster by Mutara
Summary: A journal article containing the history of the 2366-2367 Borg Incursion and the Battle of Wolf 359, as well as its effects, by Starfleet Academy lecturer Himenous Delbi.

NOTE: CONTAINS STAR TREK: PICARD spoilers!
Categories: Next Generation, Crossovers Characters: Picard, Jean-Luc, Q, Riker, William
Genre: Action/Adventure, Other
Warnings: Violence
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: No Word count: 6046 Read: 109 Published: 27 Apr 2020 Updated: 19 Jan 2022
Story Notes:
CONTAINS STAR TREK: PICARD spoilers!

1. Chapter by Mutara

Chapter by Mutara
A HISTORY OF THE 2366 BORG INCURSION AND WOLF 359 DISASTER
Submitted for Review by:
HIMENOUS DELBI
LECTURER, STARFLEET ACADEMY
December 2399

This article seeks to recount the chronology and major actions of the 2366-2367 Borg incursion into United Federation of Planets space. It is perhaps not an understatement to assert, as this review endeavors to do, that this encounter, although spanning barely a week of galactic standard time, was a seminal moment in the Federation’s history, with lasting effects that stretch to the dawn of the 25th century.
* * *
I. PRELUDE

The story of the 2366 incursion begins nearly a year and a half earlier with the first official contact between the Federation and the Borg Collective, near the uncharted J-25 system, past the boundary of known space in the Beta Quadrant. The Federation flagship USS Enterprise had been flung there as a demonstration of power by the Q entity after a dispute with its then-Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Picard and his crew encountered an apparently scourged planetary system, with entire cities missing from the surface. Upon analysis the damage was similar to several destroyed outposts along the Romulan Neutral Zone that the Enterprise had previously encountered; the destruction of which had brought the Federation and Romulan vessels into close and rather tense contact, and ultimately ended the Romulan Star Empire’s long isolation from galactic affairs.

A note on those incidents: Immediately before the end of Romulan isolation, Starfleet had monitored with alarm the destruction of several of its Neutral Zone outposts, but had elected not to press the matter too closely by sending a force larger than the flagship for fear of inviting Romulan retaliation. At the time, the consensus among Starfleet Command was that Romulan special operations units were responsible. Contemporaneous reviews of sensor readings from the heavily monitored Neutral Zone showed faint readings of potential ship movements back and forth between the fringes of Romulan and Federation space, leading to later, post-J-25 encounter, theories that a Borg cube had deployed several smaller scout ships “ such as that encountered several years later in the Argolis Cluster (also, of course, by Enterprise) “ while the larger cube remained shrouded in a nebula or disturbed planetary system, hidden from sensor readings.

In any event, once the Q entity threw the Enterprise into J-25, a Borg cube intercepted the intruding Galaxy-class starship “ although it is not believed that J-25 fell into Borg space proper, it can be assumed they were in effective control of the planetary system “ and accessed physical and technical samples from the shop via a cutting beam into the saucer section, resulting in several deaths, and a boarding party in main engineering, probably compromising the main computer system. When the Enterprise disabled a restraining tractor beam by force, and then returned the boarding foray, with minimal results, it then attempted to flee upon detection of the cube’s regeneration. The cube pursued and threatened to overwhelm the starship’s defenses. The Enterprise of course returned from the J-25 encounter in media res “ again, with “help” from the Q entity (whose motivations for instigating this encounter warrant many further words, and probably an entire journal) “ and the report of the first contact was distributed to the appropriate offices within the Federation and Starfleet.

Taking a particular interest in this novel threat “ the Borg, not Q - was recently promoted Vice Admiral J.P. Hansen of Starfleet Tactical. Hansen had come up through the ranks as an operations officer, but had served his first flag stint in Starfleet Command, where part of his duties involved administering the Novel Threats Division. Novel Threats, or NT as it was widely known at the time (or, “Nothing There”, to its detractors), concerned itself with high-impact, low probability events that could destabilize the Federation, and had for some duration been aware of the rumors of a species called the ‘Borg’ operating beyond known space, largely as a result of the El Aurian refugees that had been trickling into the Beta Quadrant since the late 22nd century.

Debriefings of these El Aurian refugees were complicated by their general reluctance to share the information that led to their steady retreat from their region of space, but eventually enough information regarding the Borg was pieced together that Starfleet had quietly sponsored several expeditions along the general trading routes used by the El Aurians to enter Federation space. These expeditions usually used some of NT’s contracted fleet of nominally civilian vessels to blend into commercial traffic and probe for any signs of Borg activity. At the time none was found, and in fact two ships were lost to pirate raider attacks while outside core Federation space, while another was seized by Klingon authorities on trumped up smuggling charges when it passed near one of their enclaves. The last, the S.S. Raven, was presumed to have met a similar fate to piracy until the return to contact of USS Voyager from the Delta Quadrant provided evidence that the Raven and its husband-and-wife crew, along with their daughter, a now-relatively famous ex-Borg working in the Fenris sector near the former Borg cube known as the ‘Artifact’, had in fact been assimilated while shadowing a Borg cube far outside Federation borders.

After the dismal results and loss of ships, NT cancelled the effort and relied instead on sensor packages placed on the regular deep-space exploration probes launched by the Federation Exobiology Council to take over the effort. This effort was likely hindered by debate within NT regarding the nature of the Borg; some of the confused reports from the El Aurian refugees willing to talk had misstated the nature of the species as being ‘insect-like’ and as a result the sensor packages were often misconfigured to focus on insect-based or similar life, not recognizing the unique fusion of species and machine, enabled by nanotechnology, that gave the Borg their essence.

Following the J-25 encounter, of course, the Borg issue thrust back into the mainstream and a quiet new coordinated team involving Command, Tactical, Engineering, Medical, and the Starfleet Diplomatic Corps, among others, was convened to address the issue. Vice Admiral Hansen quickly maneuvered Starfleet Tactical into the lead role of a task force created to address the potential threat of a Borg incursion into Federation space. Work proceeded slowly as the data from the Enterprise encounter was analyzed and hypotheses were floated as to when the Borg would likely reach Federation space. There was still debate about the disappearance of stations along the Romulan Neutral Zone the previous year that had led to the end of the long cold war with the Star Empire, but it was by this time generally assumed that some sort of Borg presence was already along the borders of at least those two great powers, and instructions were issued to all Starfleet vessels to immediately report any sensor contacts with ships showing profiles generated based off the Enterprise-D’s sensor data collected in J-25.

This brings us now to the first serious Borg incursion into Federation space, and the changing of history.
* * *
II. INCURSION

The New Providence colony in the Jouret system had been established in 2362 as a religious retreat for a group of Martian and other Sol system adherents of the Olympus Reawakening sect. At the time of its destruction on stardate 23989.1 it had approximately 3,500 colonists working in a largely agricultural and base terraforming world. The Jouret system was on the very edge of Federation space at the time, as part of the so-called N’Vekesh Block of colonies advocated for by the Vulcan delegation to the Federation Council, as an effort to steer development away from the increasingly factitious frontiers with the other major Alpha Quadrant powers. Although it is not strictly in-between the J-25 system and Sol, it is in the general vicinity of the vector that could be taken to most expeditiously arrive to Earth from the bearing of J-25. To this date we do not know where or when the cube entered Federation space, or if it had sister ships that had been involved with the Romulan Neutral Zone incidents two years previous. Following the incursion, a review of sensor logs did show faint indications of what may have been a cube’s movements along the edge of Federation space in an arc from the Neutral Zone to the colonial frontier, but these have never been proven with any certainty and may be regular galactic emissions’ interference with the sensors.

In any case, the cube struck the New Providence colony on or about stardate 23989.1, scooping it from the planet’s surface. It is believed to have entered the atmosphere sometime in the evening of the previous day, and jammed all transmissions from the colony. The colony, like many others, had an automated data device, ADD, that sent a constant stream of telemetry and status information to the nearest starbase, in this case Starbase 187. Reports were also sent on a weekly basis containing highlights of the previous week’s terraforming and agricultural efforts.
Starbase 187 noted that the ADD had ceased transmittal at 1600 station time, with an automated pro forma distress signal being transmitted as a final message, but it was not logged as particularly unusual until several subspace hails over the next hour went unanswered. At that point the station commander, Captain Kleyvah, on temporary assignment from the Andorian Defense Fleet, notified Starfleet Command as well as the Colonial Council, and asked that a ship be dispatched to investigate. The transport USS Lalo was the nearest vessel, but was taking on much-needed medical supplies at Zeta Alpha II and so was unavailable. It thus fell to “ as seems to be the case through much of Starfleet history, although there has been conjecture the Borg cube attacked a colony near the flagship’s operating area “ the next closet vessel, the Enterprise. The Enterprise had been returning from a geological stabilization mission along the frontier involving the Dremans, and was diverted to contact the colony before continuing onward for a brief rest period at Starbase 182.

The Enterprise arrived in the Jouret System the next day, and rapidly ascertained that the colony had been destroyed. An initial sensor and ground survey suggested signatures of the Borg, and Starfleet Command was quickly informed. Vice Admiral Hansen and his staff, who had been at a conference on Starbase 324, rendezvoused with the Enterprise two days later aboard the Roosevelt. Reviewing the evidence that the Enterprise had gathered, and seeing for himself the destruction of the New Providence colony, Hansen left his executive support officer Elizabeth Shelby on the Enterprise to monitor any new developments, and departed a day later aboard the Roosevelt to return to 324 to brief Starfleet Command, as well as the Federation Council, by subspace. Starfleet Command concurred with his recommendation to issue a fleet-wide standing yellow alert, and starbases in the frontier were ordered to carefully monitor their sensor grids for any sign of incursion. Fearing a reprisal of the Romulan situation, neighboring powers, including the Romulans, Klingons, Tholians, First Federation, and smaller systems were warned about the potential for an unknown hostile incursion near the frontier of Federation space. The sensitivity of the Borg was such that the exact suspected nature of the intruders was not discussed with the other powers, a point which was criticized in retrospect following the lack of timely reinforcements at Wolf 359. Civilian traffic was restricted in the area, and colonies along the frontier were ordered into their shelter spaces for the next 72 hours. Four additional starships were dispatched to the area to supplement the Enterprise, Lalo, and two other ships already assigned to the sector on routine starbase support duty. However, they would not arrive for at least a day.

The Enterprise continued its examination of the New Providence colony, finding that the cube had ignored smaller outlying automated agricultural outposts on the planet in favor of destroying the main colony settlement. The lack of weapons discharge signatures “ coupled with the fact the colony had only a very small number of personal defensive weapons “ led the crew to believe the event had happened when most of the population were asleep, and smaller detachments of Borg had likely raided the smaller outposts and farms, leaving no survivors.
While the Enterprise continued its examination, Vice Admiral Hansen left Starbase 324 after only a few hours, aboard his flagship Andromeda and began returning to the Sol System to brief the Council in person and to seek a consultation with Starfleet Command on next steps. That evening, the USS Lalo completed its cargo loading and departed under the command of Captain Guvl to its destination of Sentinel Minor IV, where a plague epidemic was sweeping the newly established manufacturing colony. Approximately three hours into its journey the ship sent a general distress call saying it had encountered a “cube-shaped vessel”, a message which was received by the operations monitoring center on Starbase 157. No further transmissions were received in response to repeated hails by the starbase. Hansen was notified aboard the Andromeda, which was four days from Earth at maximum warp, and contacted the Enterprise, asking them to investigate. The starship Endeavor on frontier exploration patrol was also contacted and asked to intercept the ship, but would take another half-day to get from the other end of the region.

The Enterprise was approximately an hour and a half away from the Lalo’s position, and moved to intercept. VADM Hansen at this point was activating contingency plans to rally a fleet of vessels to, if necessary, engage the ship in a decisive battle that Starfleet Tactical strategists hoped would deter further Borg aggression. It was estimated it would take approximately four days to assemble a strong enough force “ at a minimum 25 vessels “ to meet the requirement. At the time, Starfleet was not organized into large standing numbered fleets as they would be a decade later during the Dominion War, partly as a result of the experiences during this incursion, as, with few exceptions such as neutral zone patrols, individual starships were often parceled out on piecemeal missions and assignments under the authority of sector commodores and specific Starfleet bureaus.

Hansen received a subspace message from the Enterprise at midday shipboard time informing him that the ship had sighted the Borg and was moving to engage the vessel. Starfleet Command immediately ordered the sector patrol ships to return to Starbase 187, which was placed on security lockdown, and vectored three other nearby starships to assist Enterprise. Colonies in the area were ordered to open emergency defensive kits and simultaneously prepare for rapid evacuation if necessary. Civilian ships were ordered to either clear the sector or make planetfall at the earliest feasible time.

The Enterprise sustained significant engineering system damage in the brief encounter and was forced to retreat to the nearby MacAllister Nebula. The Enterprise was able to stay in the sensor-masking nebula for approximately twelve hours and conduct repairs before the Borg assembled magnitometric-guided charges and forced the vessel to depart the safety of the gas and dust cloud. The Borg ship then defeated the Enterprise’s shield and abducted Captain Picard from the bridge, entering high warp shortly thereafter. Attempting to stop the Borg ship with a modified deflector blast along the lines of a weapon system development proposal previously studied by NT, the Enterprise severely damaged its propulsion system and was forced to drop the pursuit.

The question of why Picard was abducted was largely resolved several years later during the Battle of Sector 001 and the temporal causality loop that may have initiated this entire sequence of events. It is believed Picard was viewed as having critical knowledge of the Federation’s defensive systems and larger cultural context, and could lend assistance to the Borg in this manner as linked into their systems. The Collective’s compromise of the Enterprise computer no doubt provided an personnel history of Picard, bolstering their knowledge of his position and respected status within Starfleet as captain of the fleet starship. He was therefore an information well for the Collective to gain a clear picture on how to defeat and incorporate the Federation.

By this time a fleet was beginning to assemble around Sector 001. There was still some confusion as to where the Borg would actually proceed, so ships were spread through several surrounding sectors. Following the Enterprise’s flight from the nebula and abduction of Captain Picard, the Enterprise’s repair time was estimated at 8 to 12 hours. It was initially stopped in a station-keeping position and then pursued the cube at slow speed, having long lost the cube from sensors it was forced to use Starfleet common operating picture sensor feed.
Additionally, long-distance scanners “ including the hurriedly reconfigured Argus Array - were tracking the Borg cube, and projections, noting that the cube appeared to ‘skip’ between sensor nets “ probably due to the then unknown transwarp drive system - indicated the cube was en route to Sector 001. Extrapolation of its path suggested it would arrive in just about two days in the Sol System, with the only system of note that it would pass through being Wolf 359. It was here that Hansen chose to intercept the cube, and starships began to converge on the system in response to emergency orders from Starfleet Command.

The Melbourne, a veteran of Starfleet Tactical now slated for decommissioning in three months, had been conducting personnel and equipment transfers at Starbase 3, while simultaneously serving as the Tactical ready ship for Sector 001, where no serious threat was anticipated. With the news that the cube had engaged the Enterprise and was likely headed to the Sol System, Melbourne ceased its decommissioning efforts and began taking on personnel from all branches of Starfleet and the Federation Diplomatic Corps, eventually loading in excess of 100 passengers before departing Starbase 3 to the Wolf system.

Running the Andromeda at maximum warp, Admiral Hansen arrived at Wolf 359 shortly after the ships began to assemble, and, in consultation with Starfleet Tactical tacticians, laid out an initial plan to confront the Borg. He divided the ships into three groups, a Contact Group that would confront the cube as it entered the system, with Hansen counting on his assessment that the Borg ship would drop out of warp when it detected the starships in its path. The Contact Group would transmit pre-recorded messages to the cube expressing a peaceful intent and asking the cube to withdraw. Tactical did not seriously believe the messages would be effective, however, the Federation Council had mandated that a peaceful solution be found if possible. The Melbourne would lead the Contact Group, and, if successful, the small group of ships would escort the cube out of Federation space while keeping space traffic at a distance. However, the Primary Group “ led by Admiral Hansen and the Andromeda “ were the main hammer to the Contact Group’s anvil. The Primary Group would be waiting just outside of the cube’s estimated path of entry into Wolf 359, using the star itself to screen the force from the Borg’s sensors. A Reserve Group of several older starships was on the other side of the Wolf system, standing by to assist damaged ships and retrieve any escape pods while steering clear of the main battle.

Alongside Melbourne, Hansen assigned the survey starship Saratoga to serve as the fleet’s eyes and ears. It was a controversial decision. The aged Saratoga was conducting a planetary system survey in support of a potential new core colony in Sector 006, and had a cadre of Federation Science Council civilians, as well as families of crewmembers, onboard. The Saratoga, of course, was also crewed by the to-be-revealed Emissary of the Prophets of Bajor, Lt. Commander Benjamin Sisko, who was serving as executive officer for the ship. In a decision that would spark recriminations afterward, as well as an official investigation by Judge Advocate Norah Satie, the Saratoga was assigned to follow the much-more capable Melbourne at the tip of spear of the Contact Group, using its powerful sensor pods to feed extremely high-resolution data of the Borg vessel to the fleet. This put the Saratoga in a dangerous tactical position, with, which only light phasers and a small store of photon torpedoes, it was ill-equipped to deal.

Rounding out the Contact Group was the Starfleet Tactical vessel Bonestell, a former light science vessel converted to special operations purposes, and the Bellerophon and Yamaguchi. The Bonestell carried a special team of Starfleet special operatives, and proceeded to linger some distance below the Contact Group’s operating y-axis plane. The Bonestell intended to deposit the operatives onboard the cube to “ in the case of conflict, sabotage it from inside, as had been proven as an apparent possibility by the Enterprise “ or, in the case of a peaceful withdrawal by the collective, to surreptitiously board the cube in search of further information on the relatively unknown species. To do this, the small Oberth-class ship needed to get close enough to the Borg to drop its shield and enable the personnel to beam over to the vessel, likely while dodging the chaos of battle.

Bellerophon and Yamaguchi received much more straightforward assignments. They, like the Roosevelt on the opposite side, were to screen the Melbourne and Saratoga in the likely case of a battle. Should the cube open fire on either starship, these three starships were to provide the immediate strikes on the cube while the Primary Group was an estimated two minutes away by high impulse. The Contact Group was to fall back deeper into the system and join with the Primary Group.

Admiral Hanson received word that the Enterprise had been disabled and that Captain Picard had been captured by the Borg while he was beginning to assemble the fleet at Wolf 359. There was high-level concern that the Borg now had access to Starfleet capabilities and intentions with regards to the defense that Tactical had been developing against the collective, and a vocal faction of the planners advocated for meeting the cube en route in a series of running engagements. Hanson and his senior advisors discounted this course of action “ the cube was already almost to the core systems, and it had proven more than capable of dealing with individual Federation starships. A decisive show of force was needed to prevent the Borg incursion from proceeding any further.

As the cube entered the system, shadowed at some distance by the Endeavor, which had intercepted the cube after the Enterprise was disabled and had been ‘running silent’ with limited emissions and coordinating its sensor picture with the increasingly dense network of starbases, relay stations, civilian traffic, and sensor buoys in the heart of Federation space, the Contact Group was in position to block the cube’s advance. As expected, the cube dropped out of warp at the edge of the system, and proceeded toward the waiting Starfleet ships. The Melbourne transmitted the pre-recorded messages, prompting a reply from the Borg ship and the person of Captain Picard, now an entity described as the Locutus of Borg. At some point during this Borg transmission the Melbourne apparently lost primary power and defensive systems. It has never been confirmed exactly how this occurred, but has been conjectured that thanks to Picard’s assimilation the Borg were able to transmit the Melbourne’s prefix codes embedded in their transmissions, and direct the ship to disable its master systems.

As the Saratoga engaged the Borg and rapidly advanced on the drifting Melbourne, a cutting beam destroyed half of the latter ship’s hull, likely killing most personnel in the saucer section. The rest of the ship, including the engineering hull and battle bridge that many of the recently onboarded personnel were monitoring the progress of battle, drifted into the side of the cube and was destroyed. The Saratoga attempted to rapidly retrace its course and join the Primary Group following its attack run, but was gripped by a Borg tractor beam. At this point, Bellerophon and Yamaguchi engaged their attack run, attempting to target the tractor beam holding Saratoga. Roosevelt engaged the cube from the other side of attack, and, as we now know from information recovered by the starship Voyager in the Delta Quadrant, was apparently boarded by Borg once it was disabled by heavy fire.
As Saratoga suffered a critical warp core failure as a result of a Borg cutting beam, the ship began launching escape pods. Bonestell attempted to use this diversion in Borg focus to approach from behind Saratoga in order to lower its shields and transport its operatives on to the cube, but the Borg fired at the ship as soon as its shields had lowered, sending it into an uncontrolled spin and ultimately destroying the ship with the loss of all hands.

The Primary Group, upon receiving the first word that the engagement had begun, raced from behind the star and toward the cube, arriving in under five minutes. Admiral Hanson, in order to deconflict the battlespace, had directed that ships were to attack in set groupings of up to four starships each, with the 26 ships in the Primary Group attacking in waves, passing the cube, and then circling back for further attack runs while the larger starships held a screening line to block the cube’s advance. This piecemeal approach, which was savagely criticized and explicitly rejected 10 years later in the Dominion War, probably spelled the doom of the fleet. Repeated strafing attacks by starships allowed the cube to inflict heavy damage as the fleet parceled out its firepower, and numbers rapidly dwindled.

At this point, the six-member Reserve Group ceased to be spectators and rear-support ships, and began to be actively engaged by the Borg. This included the Sol System’s Constitution-class training ship, largely manned by reduced numbers of Academy instructors, which had left the system for the first time in nearly 20 years in order to serve as a collection point for escape pods. The ship was disassembled by a single high-powered Borg blast, killing all hands. The Melbourne’s replacement ship, a Nebula-class vessel being purpose-built for Starfleet Engineering warp system trials, and rushed out of Utopia Planitia before commissioning and completion, was also destroyed.

The battle lasted for only about 20 minutes, before the cube cleared the system and resumed its course to earth. The Endeavor, which had been providing a constant feed to Starfleet Command, moved quickly to pick up survivors from the escape pods and shuttles that had escaped the doomed starships “ filling the ship past its rated evacuation capacity - and, in the absence of communications with Earth, probably due to Borg jamming, proceeded to Vulcan in order to disembark survivors and see if the Vulcan defense forces could be mustered to proceed to Earth.
The Enterprise arrived at the scene of battle almost three hours later, finding the system occupied by only floating wreckage. The Borg cube had slowed considerably since leaving Wolf 359, apparently running deep scans on the heart of Federation space as it approached the Sol System. General pandemonium raged, as the disintegration of the fleet had not been anticipated by even the most pessimistic strategists.

It is at this time that it is believed the cube disgorged a smaller, sphere-shaped vessel. Following the Battle of Sector 001 and the discovery of the temporal causality loop employed by the Borg, it is believed a Borg “queen” was present on the cube and departed from it, taking along several hundred assimilated Starfleet officers and fragments from the destroyed fleet, and exited Federation space through a transwarp corridor. Sensor logs for this period are fragmentary, but one candidate signature has been identified, departing from the galactic plane before disappearing near Rigel. Temporal Investigations remain tight-lipped on the exact nature of the causality loop.

As it entered the system, a sense of near-panic gripped the core worlds once the cube was sighted by Jupiter Station. The Wolf 359 battle had not been fed live to Federation sources, such as FNN, and the apparent jamming utilized by the Borg cube prevented a clear understanding of what had occurred until Endeavors’ emergency transmissions to Starfleet Command began to filter out. Civilian ships abandoned the system, fleeing to Alpha Centauri, and Starfleet’s fleet status screens showed a huge number of Starfleet ships abandoning their assigned patrol routes and other missions with courses plotted to Earth. Some 185 Starfleet starships would have arrived in the system in the following three days alone, had the Enterprise not succeeded in destroying the cube. Starfleet and planetary guards “ not activated in almost 100 years, since the Probe incident “ were deployed on their respective systems, and for the first time since the Xindi attack two hundred years prior there were armed forces in the streets of major cities. Starbases were ordered to go to maximum alert, and it was even considered that Spacedock’s orbit should be adjusted to strike the Borg cube if a worse-case scenario came to pass.
The Mars Defense Perimeter droneships “ which had not been substantially updated in almost 50 years - engaged the Borg, and were decisively defeated. Half-built starships were prepared to launch from Utopia Planitia, their warp cores set to breach if they could get close to the ship, but none was able to reach Earth before the engagement concluded. Several civilian starships attempted to intercept the cube, perhaps not having fully comprehended the Wolf 359 disaster, and were destroyed. In all, metropolitan centers, large and yielding, made a significant stand as Starfleet and civilian alike prepared for invasion. Provisions were being made to relocated the Federation Council, President, and Starfleet command into underground and underwater refuges on Earth in the hopes they could be rescued by relieving starships. Preparations were made to pass Starfleet operational command and political leadership to Vulcan. Billions of Terrans looked anxiously to the skies.
But the Borg cube seemed to pause until the Enterprise arrived several minutes later.

The rest of the story, is, of course, among the most famous moments in Federation history, even as it would remain the most severe breach of Federation space until the Golden Gate raid during the Dominion War, and the Battle of Sector 001. The Enterprise was able to use the recovered Captain Picard to self-destruct the Borg cube in orbit, averting an almost certain disaster, and ending the incursion.

* * *
III. EFFECTS

The Borg incursion has resonated through the balance of the century. The Borg’s actions brought the Romulan Star Empire out of seclusion, a fact which ultimately proved decisive in the Dominion War. The decimation of the Wolf 359 fleet spurred a dramatic shipbuilding and recruitment drive, enlarging Starfleet substantially and leading to the creation of large numbered fleets that later formed the core of the Federation’s strategy against the Dominion a decade later. The shortage of men and material, and the pressing need for more starships, led to the creation of synthetic construction workers through the pioneering work of the Daystrom Institute, most infamously at Utopia Planitia, that were able to churn out starships in near-record time. This fact allowed the Federation to keep pace with the Dominion and their allies near the end of that war, and to attempt the relocation of a substantial number of Romulans when their sun when supernova two decades after Wolf 359, before the Mars disaster. Development of new classes, including the first purpose-built warship (euphemistically termed an “escort”), the USS Defiant, was a direct result, as was an expanding number of large-production run classes.

The cycle of antipathy that led to the rebellion of synthetics on Mars and the downfall of Admiral Picard “ whom several Federation and Starfleet notables still distrusted for his (unwilling) role at Wolf 359 (and whom Temporal Investigations has pointedly criticized) “ has similarly altered our history at the turn of the new century. New laws restricting synthetics and synthetic derivatives, often based on the prohibitons on genetic enhancements that had been in place in one form or another “ usually as a legacy of earth’s Eugenics Wars “ since the 2100s - have been seen by boosters as a way to prevent the “Borigification” of the Federation citizenry, and Starfleet only grudgingly participated in study of the ‘Artifact’ found in Romulan space after the fateful supernova, outsourcing most of its representation to civilian contractors.

The Romulan Empire, vehemently anti-synthetic life and brought out of isolation by the Borg, probably viewed Wolf 359 as a wakeup call for the Alpha and Beta Quadrant powers. Ever shrewd, it is believed by some outside historians of the Empire that Romulus deliberately maintained its neutrality during the Dominion War in an initial effort to allow the Dominion to become the dominant hegemonic power in the Quadrants so as to balance an expected wholesale Borg invasion. The Klingon attempt to send several starships “ they were permitted to cross the Neutral Zone but did not see action “ also bolstered the bilateral good will between the Empire and the Federation, a partnership that would fully bloom during the war against the Dominion.

Admiral Picard of course, and his crew, and the Enterprise itself, never fully recovered from these events. The later ignominy of the admiral and his sympathy for the ex-Borgs and synthetic lifeforms earned the celebrated officer much ire throughout a Federation that had been confronted with dramatic security threats and repeated efforts to extinguish its very existence over the span of just thirty years. Celebrated officers as diverse as Admiral Amisov, Admiral Janeway, Admiral Ross, Captain Riker, and Captain Sisko were profoundly shaped by these events and the events the incursion set into motion, as were billions of Federation citizens from all walks of life. There are even those scholars that assert that the disgraced Captain Maxwell was driven by a profound sense of insecurity following the incursion, which drove him to instigate a defensive confrontation with the Cardassian Union, while it was weakened from the long-running and just-ended piecemeal conflict with the Federation, so as to spare Starfleet another pitched battle with a resurgent enemy.

The damage incurred by the Enterprise during its initial intercept of the Borg cube has been implicated in its structural integrity latching system failure in 2371 that ultimately led to the destruction of the vessel. Analysis of the critical system failure following Enterprise’s destruction showed that the rogue Klingon bird of prey’s shield-penetrating fires damaged systems that had been critically stressed during the 2366 battle, and which probably contributed to the structural integrity system failure in the primary hull section, leading to a warp core breach. The post-incursion maintenance period conducted at Earth Station McKinley had mitigated most of the damage, but found several of the components in the engineering section around the warp core too difficult to replace without a long-period overhaul at Utopia Planitia’s Galaxy Maintenance Facility, which would have taken the ship offline for more than a year. It was ultimately decided to defer this maintenance for the first long-period overhaul in the following decade, with a structural failure deemed unlikely. Unfortunately, the events over Veridian III belied that assumption.

Starfleet Tactical was ruined as an institutional power after the debacle at Wolf 359 and death of its entire senior staff; its remaining offices were absorbed into other portions of Starfleet, and it remains today as a small headquarters unit at Starfleet Command headed by a commander. Its remit is limited to development and assessment of individual starship tactics and tactical situations, usually gleaned from field reports. The large, coordinated movements of fleets are now delegated to vice admirals overseeing numbered fleets, usually centered around a commanding starbase.

In this sense, then, the pre-incursion Federation was inevitably altered by those final few, terrifying days in 2366, and the first few in 2367 that would show that the course of the future was no longer one of far-flung exploration and minimal provisions for defensive measures. The Federation’s collective heart had to harden against this threat, one that would prove to be the first of many to emerge from the shadows through the end of the century.
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