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Battle of Sector 001
Borg cube engaged at Sector 001.jpg
Date: 2373
Location: Sector 001
Result: Federation victory
Belligerents
United Federation of Planets Borg Collective
Notable commanders
Vice Admiral Hayes
Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Borg Queen
Strength
Unknown; at least 30 ships One Borg cube
Casualties and losses
At least 20 ships destroyed Borg cube destroyed

The Battle of Sector 001 was a confrontation between the United Federation of Planets and the Borg Collective in 2373, when a Borg cube attempted to assimilate Earth. The battle resulted in significant casualties for the Starfleet forces, as they were outgunned. The fleet ultimately managed to successfully destroy the cube, though, partially due to Captain Jean-Luc Picard having intimate tactical knowledge of the Borg. (Star Trek: First Contact)

Prelude Edit

The Battle of Sector 001 was preceded by the Battle of Wolf 359, which took place six years before. In this infamous engagement, Starfleet proved to be less prepared to fight the Borg than in the future conflict, opposed by a single Borg cube in both incidents. The earlier battle represented a devastating defeat for Starfleet, orchestrated by Locutus of Borg, a personality forced upon Captain Jean-Luc Picard while he endured assimilation into the Borg Collective. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"; DS9: "Emissary") The cube he was aboard was able to come extremely close to Earth, but was eventually thwarted due to efforts by the crew of Picard's command at the time, the USS Enterprise-D. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")

The writers of Star Trek: First Contact assumed that, just prior to the Borg's arrival in Federation space preceding the Battle of Sector 001, they used a form of Borg transwarp conduit (a technology established in "Descent"), imagining also that the Borg had used the same technology before the Battle of Wolf 359. (AOL chat, 1997)

The second major Borg incursion into Federation space began one morning, shortly before stardate 50893.5, when a colony on Ivor Prime was destroyed. News or evidence of the attack reached nearby Deep Space 5, and long-range sensors detected a single Borg vessel. Vice Admiral Hayes was immediately informed when it was determined the cube was on a direct course for Earth.

Later the same day as the colony's annihilation, Hayes contacted Captain Picard aboard the USS Enterprise-E, who was already instinctively aware of the Borg presence in Federation space and felt he should be part of the response force. However, Hayes believed that Picard's previous experience with the Borg, in particular his time as Locutus, would add an "unstable element to a critical situation." Despite Picard's protests to Starfleet Command, the Enterprise was ordered to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone, while a Federation fleet mobilized in the Typhon sector to intercept the Borg cube before it reached Earth. Following his ascertainment that the Borg were returning, Picard recorded a log entry in which he reported, "The moment I have dreaded for nearly six years has finally arrived. The Borg, our most lethal enemy, have begun an invasion of the Federation, and this time, there may be no stopping them."

Picard briefed his senior officers about the situation less than an hour before the cube was due to cross the Federation border. At this point, it would have taken the Enterprise, traveling at maximum warp, three hours and twenty-five minutes to rendezvous with the fleet. Though the crew strongly agreed with Picard's belief that they should join the Starfleet armada, the Enterprise adhered to Hayes' instructions, remaining separate from the group. (Star Trek: First Contact)

The Battle Edit

Borg cube approaches Earth

The Borg cube approaches Earth

The cube engaged the fleet soon after. The conflict was broadcast on Starfleet frequency 1486, and was monitored by the Enterprise-E. Tactical orders regarding placements in the defense perimeter were issued to the USS Endeavour, USS Defiant and USS Bozeman, with Hayes' flagship advising the Endeavour to prepare to engage the cube whereas the latter two vessels were given instructions to reverse to a particular defensive position. Approaching at speeds exceeding warp nine, the cube broadcast its familiar litany:

"We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."file info
USS Defiant, First Contact

The Defiant fights the Borg

The fleet opened fire, but to minimal effect. The defense perimeter was quickly shattered. The cube thereafter made a minute alteration in its course, all the while unrelentingly continuing towards Earth. Just after the Defiant was given an order to persist with its attack, the flagship requested reinforcements from Starfleet Command. Casualty reports began to be submitted, including many dead and wounded aboard the USS Lexington. Realizing that the battle was not progressing well, Picard ordered the Enterprise-E back to Earth, in violation of his orders but with the full support of his bridge crew. Several of the other ships, including the Defiant and Bozeman, assaulted the cube all the way to the Sol system.

By the time the Enterprise arrived in Earth orbit, a large portion of the fleet had already been lost, including Hayes' flagship. However, by this point in the battle, the fleet had succeeded in dealing heavy damage to the cube's outer hull, causing fluctuations in the cube's power grid. The Defiant, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Worf, had been heavily damaged and was preparing to ram the cube when the Enterprise arrived, distracting the Borg long enough to transport the Defiant crew off their stricken ship as its life support failed.

USS Enterprise-E engages Borg at 001

Enterprise targets the weak spot

Borg Sphere emerges

A Borg sphere emerges from the Borg cube, as the latter vessel explodes

Akira escapes exploding cube

The immediate aftermath of the cube's destruction

Picard, taking advantage of his residual link to the Collective, took command of the fleet and ordered all weapons to be targeted on a seemingly non-critical point on the cube. As a last resort, the cube launched a small spherical craft from its interior – a type of Borg vessel not seen before. The barrage from the fleet's weaponry destroyed the cube, though the explosion also claimed several nearby Starfleet ships. (Star Trek: First Contact)

Ronald D. Moore once jokingly purported that the vulnerable area which Starfleet targeted to win the battle was actually waste extraction. (AOL chat, 1998)

Aftermath Edit

After heading straight for Earth with the Enterprise in hot pursuit, the sphere launched from the Borg cube began generating chronometric particles, forming a temporal vortex. The sphere disappeared inside the vortex near the boundary of Earth's atmosphere, traveling back in time to 2063 and disrupting First Contact. As the Enterprise was caught in the temporal wake of the vortex, its crew saw an assimilated Earth with a drone population of approximately nine billion. The Enterprise followed the sphere into the past, and was able to restore the normal version of history before safely returning to the 24th century. (Star Trek: First Contact) This time travel event was described by Seven of Nine as an example of the pogo paradox. (VOY: "Relativity")

The USS Defiant was deemed "adrift, but salvageable" and was soon returned to service at Deep Space 9. (DS9: "The Darkness and the Light") Starfleet's losses in the battle were comparable to the earlier fleet action at Wolf 359, despite the fact that the organization was much more thoroughly prepared since its last encounter with the Borg – the duration of the battle being a testament to this fact. The destruction of so many ships left the remaining fleet stretched thin across the quadrant, as was later rued by Captain Benjamin Sisko shortly before Dominion forces passed through the Bajoran wormhole into Cardassia, and went on to prove of even greater significance following a later outbreak of hostilities with the Dominion. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow")

In addition to the losses inflicted by the Dominion, the casualties due to the Borg also caused a policy change within the Federation Council and the admission of new members was accelerated, as with the Evora, whose homeworld was declared a protectorate in 2375, one year after they achieved warp drive. First and foremost, however, the Council tended to act more questionably ethically, even compromising – during the Ba'ku incident – the principles upon which the Federation had been founded. (Star Trek: Insurrection)

Starships at the Battle of Sector 001 Edit

The following is a partial list of Federation starships that fought in the battle.

Ship Name Registry Class
USS Appalachia NCC-52136 Steamrunner-class
USS Bozeman NCC-1941 Soyuz-class
USS Budapest NCC-64923 Norway-class
USS Defiant NX-74205 Defiant-class
USS Endeavour NCC-71805 Nebula-class
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E  Sovereign-class
USS Lexington NCC-61832 Nebula-class
USS Madison Unknown Unknown
USS Thunderchild NCC-63549 Akira-class
USS Yeager NCC-61947 Saber-class

And at least:

Appendices Edit

Background information Edit

Conception Edit

The Battle of Sector 001 was inspired by the makers of Star Trek: First Contact being interested in presenting elements in the movie that Star Trek fans always enjoyed seeing in a Star Trek film; fans had increasingly approved of battle sequences similar to those found in Star Wars. The likelihood that audiences would enjoy the battle sequence not only provided its genesis but was also why it was positioned near the start of the film. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 237)

The battle was originally envisioned as being massive, much larger than how it wound up appearing on screen. Ronald D. Moore described the final version of the battle as "like, a quarter of the size of what we envisioned when we were writing the sequence and what we were hoping to get on the budget that we had." (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray)

According to the official reference book Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies (pp. 203 & 208), the battle was originally to have incorporated the USS Endeavour "being gloriously destroyed" and the film's script originally presented the attacking Borg vessel not as a cube but as a tetragon, an odd-shaped rectangle. However, as written in the first draft script for First Contact, the Endeavor survives the engagement and no mention of the Borg tetragon is made. [1] Variations on that shape of Borg vessel were nevertheless definitely considered at some point, being planned as the mothership for a Borg sphere. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, pp. 208-211) Throughout the design process, the sizes of the sphere and its mother ship kept changing while remaining consistent with one another. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 54)

Borg cube design variant

A version of the confrontation involving a Borg obelisk

Ricardo Delgado suggested that the large Borg vessel be an obelisk with the sphere set into its top. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 53) This concept took inspiration from ancient Egyptian architecture. "I felt the obelisk was a natural geometric progression away from the cube," Delgado offered, "while the obvious reference to Egyptology would also make the audience wonder if this was the Borg's first visit to Earth." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 292) However, this idea was eventually scrapped after it was discovered that the shape had an inherent lack of visual impact and excitement, particularly when shown from low angles.

An alternative notion involved a squadron of Borg ships able to amass into a single vessel. "It was like a Borg latticework that worked as one and moved as one," recalled ILM Associate Visual Effects Supervisor George Murphy. "It would have made for a really nice visual – but it diminished the Borg villains to suggest they needed this many ships to beat Starfleet." (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 106)

Although one of the tetragons was liked by everyone involved and was nearly approved, the writing staff finally decided to revive the concept of the Borg cube. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 56) Illustrator John Eaves concluded, "As time went on, Rick Berman, Ron Moore and Brannon Braga rewrote the scenes, returning to the original cube style of the Borg ship." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 208)

The Borg crafts in the first draft script for First Contact are comprised of multiple cubes as well as the single sphere. In the same document, the conflict is described as "involving dozens of Starfleet and Borg vessels, engaged in a fierce firefight as far as the eye can see. Ships turning, twisting, firing, exploding. Lots of movement. It's a spectacular sight." The named Starfleet ships in this version of the conflict are not only the Endeavor and Enterprise-E but also the USS Intrepid. [2]

The first script draft of First Contact begins during the battle, on board a Borg sphere in which Human history was being studied. The sphere was locked in combat with a Federation ship that it quickly destroyed, all the while progressing away from the fracas. A Borg cube attacking a smaller Federation vessel, the Endeavor, was defeated by phaser fire from the Enterprise, which thereby successfully defended the Endeavor. After another cube was seen to have adapted to the Enterprise's phasers, the Enterprise brought about its obliteration via deployment of a single quantum torpedo. The same weapons were helping Starfleet win the battle, a situation which Admiral Hayes reported to the Enterprise from the Intrepid. In fact, the battle had so far resulted in the destruction of forty-seven Borg ships but merely fifteen Federation vessels. The Enterprise then pursued the Borg sphere out of the battle, on a heading to Earth. [3]

In common with many of the other elements in First Contact, the depiction of the battle had to be scaled down. (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray) Ron Moore later characterized himself as having supported this plan, noting, "I wasn't willing to make significant cuts elsewhere in the film for the extra bang-bang at the beginning." (AOL chat, 1997)

The numerous Borg cubes became one ship of that form. "We [...] decided that a single cube was more in keeping with the way the Borg had been established before," recalled Ron Moore. (AOL chat, 1997)

The script writers opted to replace the Endeavor with the USS Defiant, so that they could have Worf join the Enterprise crew amid the battle. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 203) Ron Moore felt the writers needed such incentive before adding a Defiant-class of any sort. "I doubt that we would've put a Defiant-class ship in the b.g. solely as eye-candy," he speculated. (AOL chat, 1998) Dialog referring to the Endeavor can still be heard during the incident.

The decision that the conflict would culminate in the Earth-bound Borg sphere emerging from the single attacking Borg cube was made late in the writing process. ("Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation", Star Trek: First Contact (Blu-ray))

Despite the onslaught undergoing multiple conceptual alterations, Director Jonathan Frakes once commented that the resulting sequence still bears a "sort of Star Wars vibe, [...] with the shuttles [sic] against the size and scope of the Borg ship." (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray)

Visualization Edit

Akira and Millennium Falcon

The in-joke addition of Star Wars' Millennium Falcon

Visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic, which has done much work on the Star Wars films, was appointed to help depict the Battle of Sector 001. In fact, Jonathan Frakes suggested that the sequence's resemblance to Star Wars might be additionally due to the involvement of ILM. (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray) More specifically, American Cinematographer (Vol. 77, No. 12, p. 70) has claimed that the visual effects shots of the battle are "Return of the Jedi-style." As an in-joke, ILM Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll even inserted a small digital model of Star Wars' Millennium Falcon into the battle, which can be seen fleetingly flying near the Borg cube.

John Knoll considered the creation of this extensive battle sequence as being "kind of a fun challenge." ("Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation", Star Trek: First Contact (Blu-ray)) To initiate the design process, Knoll had ILM Art Director Alex Jaeger start work on a series of animatics showing the confrontation. (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 101) Jaeger also created a concept illustration of the battle. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, pp. 124-125)

The relatively high quantity of starships involved in the conflict necessitated usage of CGI for the sequence. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 6, p. 23) Explained John Knoll, "We intended for all the background action to be done with computer graphics." This choice was influential in determining the configurations of the required spacecraft. (The Making of Star Trek: First Contact, p. 116)

Designing the Starfleet armada Edit

The ships to be shown with CGI were mostly new designs, as an instruction from Paramount sparked their creation. "Paramount wanted us to expand on the Star Trek universe," remembered Alex Jaeger, "presenting kinds of starships no one had seen before." (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 101) The producers and ILM deemed the existing variety of Starfleet types too familiar and small for the battle. They not only preferred to add to this assortment but also wanted to make the depiction of the conflict something they could be proud of. (Star Trek Monthly issue 53,  p. 38) Those who concurred with Paramount included John Knoll. "I didn't look forward to trying to do the space battle with these same four ships we've already seen a hundred times," said Knoll. "I thought it would be nice to expand the Starfleet universe a little bit, to see some ships that we haven't seen before." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 6, p. 23) Several other considerations also impacted on the decision to invent some new vessel designs. Knoll reckoned, "Starfleet would probably throw everything it could at the Borg, including ships we've never seen before. And since we figured a lot of the background action in the space battle would be built from scratch anyway, I realized that there was no reason not to do some new designs." (American Cinematographer, Vol. 77, No. 12, p. 70)

Alex Jaeger was assigned to design all of the new ship classes. (The Making of Star Trek: First Contact, p. 116) "Initially, [Paramount] wanted a dozen new starships, so I did about eighteen designs," he said. "But once they realized what it would cost to build and texture all of these different CG models, they whittled it down to four ships really fast." (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 101) John Knoll noted that, when he set Jaeger the task of designing the new vessels, it was important that they "kind of obey the aesthetic of Star Trek." In essence, most of the vessels included in the battle were at first designed to have a saucer-type primary section and a pair of long, outboard warp engines. However, the team at ILM then began to veer away from this concept, instead trying to create crafts that would each have a distinctive silhouette that wouldn't be mistaken for the outline of the Enterprise. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 6, p. 23) Making the new ships fairly easy to distinguish from that vessel was largely because First Contact was to be the first film to feature the Sovereign-class Enterprise, so the creative team didn't want the new "hero" ship to become lost among the others. ("Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation", Star Trek: First Contact (Blu-ray)) Noted Jaeger, "They had to look quite distinct, which meant that I was allowed to vary the designs quite a bit." (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 101)

During the process of devising the ships to be used in the battle, some designs were intentionally left out. For instance, John Eaves created a few concept sketches of the Endeavor before it was established that it would not actually appear. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 203) A pencil sketch of a similar starship was illustrated by ILM Digital Model Artist John Goodson and given the registry number "NCC-7105". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 118) Another ship that was proposed but did not appear in First Contact was named USS Criterion and had two massive nacelles. ("The Art of First Contact", Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray) Yet another eliminated starship design had four nacelles and was christened USS Zandura. [4] According to some reports, Alex Jaeger has said that he meant for this type of ship to be named "the Zandura-class" and be "a prototype science ship (like the Grissom) with separation capabilities for atmospheric flight conditions." [5] The name Zandura was inspired by the band Fold Zandura. [X]wbm As a similar homage to historic pilot Chuck Yeager, Alex Jaeger was highly interested in christening one of the ships with the name "USS Yeager" and did so with another unsuccessful ship design, though the name was kept for a Saber-class vessel. [X]wbm (A selection of concept artwork showing Starfleet ships designed for the battle but eventually excised can be found here.)

The specific new Starfleet ship designs eventually selected for the battle were comprised of not only the Saber-class but also the Akira-, Norway-, and Steamrunner-classes, all of which were ultimately given the go-ahead by Producer Rick Berman. (The Making of Star Trek: First Contact, p. 116) Alex Jaeger deemed the approved designs as having "very radical layouts" while "still keeping true to the basics of starship design, such as [the requirement that] the deflector dish and Nacelle Bussard collectors must have a clear view to open space in the front view, etc." [X]wbm The four classes were modeled as three-dimensional wireframes, painted and textured in the computer. (American Cinematographer, Vol. 77, No. 12, p. 70) Extremely low resolution CGI was used. [X]wbm The Sabre-, Norway- and Steamrunner-class vessels were all detailed at lower resolution than the Akira-class. (Star Trek Monthly issue 53,  p. 38) Jaeger noted, "Actually ILM was using Electric Image for animation and Form Z for the models of these ships back then." [X]wbm Additionally, at least two of the four vessel configurations (the Akira- and Saber-classes) were each also sculpted into a small study model, both of which were to scale with one another. ("Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation", Star Trek: First Contact (Blu-ray))

Designing the Borg mother-ship Edit

Like the Starfleet armada, the massive Borg mothership also evolved in concept illustrations. Ricardo Delgado, for example, drew a picture of the Borg obelisk he proposed. Additional to openings through which the Borg sphere could be clearly viewed, the obelisk had an opening at the top which, according to Delgado, was purely decorative. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 54)

Meanwhile, John Eaves concentrated on producing multiple conceptual versions of the Borg tetragon. He later recollected, "I did three or four passes in the rectangular shape." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 208)

John Eaves originally illustrated the Borg tetragon as a reflective block that was extremely large and almost totally smooth but with many inset passageways. The producers, though, deemed the design insufficiently textured, as Eaves related; "They said, 'OK, that's kind of cool. Let's carry that a little bit further, but not so smooth; we need that Borg detail.'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 53)

John Eaves' second drawing of the tetragon showed it as an extremely uniform shape that suggested more paneling and featured larger recessed areas. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 53) As well as having these deep canyons throughout, the tetragon had beveled edges. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 208) Eaves commented, "They liked the idea of the detailing on it; it had ribbon-shaped canyons. They liked the feel of that, but they felt that the pattern was too mathematical." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 53)

Therefore, John Eaves imbued his third pass with random detailing. This time, the rectangular Borg vessel had many irregular, deep valleys and a round escape hatch for the Borg sphere to exit from. The third pass was the tetragon design that was almost approved and used. "That one they really liked; they said 'Let's go with that,'" stated Eaves. The producers considered the design over a period of one week or thereabouts, before making their eventual choice of reverting to the cube design. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 53)

Filming Edit

In most cases, ships in the background of the battle were computer-generated, as planned by ILM, whereas ships appearing in closeup footage were rendered with studio models. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 6, p. 23) John Knoll commented, "We used miniatures for the Borg cube and the Enterprise, but everything else was computer generated." ("Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation", Star Trek: First Contact (Blu-ray)) On the other hand, depicting the exterior of the USS Defiant involved using both a practical model as well as computer graphics, and a digital version of the Enterprise was shown in close-up during the battle. John Eaves remarked, "I think one of the first big shots [wherein] you see the CG model [of the Enterprise] is when you have the Defiant being attacked, and the Enterprise flies over. I think that was one of their [ILM's] very first CG shots [in the film]." ("The Art of First Contact", Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray) The reason the Norway-, Sabre- and Steamrunner-class ships were all lower-resolution CG models than the Akira-class was that the latter became the producers' favorite of the four classes and, unlike the other three, was detailed for foreground use. (Star Trek Monthly issue 53,  p. 38)

John Knoll was interested in making the Borg cube look particularly foreboding. "So wherever possible, we were looking up at it," he clarified. "We shot it fairly close with relatively wide lenses, and tried to make it break frame in many shots, as if it's too big to photograph completely [....] I also turned the Cube 45 degrees so that one edge of it would come toward the camera like the prow of a ship." Visual Effects Cinematographer Marty Rosenberg additionally wanted to enhance the threatening and intricately alien facets of the cube's appearance, which he tried to do with lighting techniques. Rosenberg observed about the cube, "We always had the camera dutched to it; we never had it coming straight at us [....] We gave it a slow, determined movement; we never see real speed." (American Cinematographer, Vol. 77, No. 12, pp. 69 & 70)

Speed is something that was reserved for the Starfleet vessels intercepting the Borg cube. (American Cinematographer, Vol. 77, No. 12, p. 70) The complex, simultaneous maneuvers of so many ships contained within the sequence were devised by Stu Maschwitz, an animator at ILM who had found it fairly easy to tackle aerial maneuvering in helicopter sequences for the film Mission: Impossible. "Those same kinds of dynamics and motions were needed for this scene," George Murphy observed, "so we relied on Stu to tackle the battle choreography. He also came up with some nicely finessed bits of business for the background ships. The dogfight turned out to be a little bit Star Wars, a little bit Top Gun; and it was much faster than the battles in the earlier Star Trek features." (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 109)

The look of battle damage on the CG Starfleet vessels was a concern to John Knoll. He explained, "I had Alex Jaeger start with practical materials in order to create those elements. He took sheet metal and blasted it with a torch; then he tried all kinds of other materials to get a variety of detailed and realistic burn marks that we could use as textures on the CG models." (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 109)

Explosions shown to occur amid the battle were simulated via the laying of miniature pyrotechnic elements, work achieved by ILM's pyrotechnics crew. "They blew up several black cubes packed with debris," stated Alex Jaeger, "and we were able to match up those blast elements to our model photography." As part of the compositing, explosions on the Borg cube's hull were colored green, to match the ship's interior and exterior color motif. (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 109)

Damage to the Borg cube was portrayed with the removal of particular model sections, then the addition of a burn which was airbrushed around the supposedly damaged area. (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 109) John Goodson recollected of the cube, "We had about six pieces on it. They were held in with tiny... [...] little machine screws, really tiny, like what you'd use in your glasses, and these sections would unscrew and come off. And so you'd have these gaping rips in the thing, and then we would take an airbrush with a little bit of gray paint and do kind of a blast mark on it, and you had instant damage. And to repair it, a can of black spray paint, blast the hole [with the paint], do a little bit of touch-up with some color, screw the piece back in, and it was fully restored. It took minutes to change." ("Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation", Star Trek: First Contact (Blu-ray))

For the explosions involved in the Borg cube's eventual destruction, Marty Rosenberg filmed ten miniatures of the cube over several nights. Each of these miniatures was smaller than the main cube model and had a lightweight skin packed with explosives. The cubes were suspended from pipes towering sixty feet above a high-speed anamorphic camera, which was on the ground pointing straight up at the models. Rosenberg shot the exploding cubes at 300 frames per second (fps). Several precautions were taken to guard against damage. For instance, safety glass was positioned to shield the lens and the camera was further protected by a piece of plywood with a hole cut out to accommodate the matte box. Grinning, Rosenberg noted, "At the end of each take, the matte box was maybe 4 [inches] deep in plastic! We knew the shot was finished when we couldn't see anything!" (American Cinematographer, Vol. 77, No. 12, p. 70)

Though concept sketches that John Eaves created for the movie's Borg cube mostly presented the escape hatch for the sphere as being easily identifiable, it was decided – while the main cube model was under construction – that the sphere would be shown to emerge from a concealed hangar, keeping the hatch unseen until the sphere's launch. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 58) To shoot footage of this conclusion to the battle, the miniature used for the sphere and its equivalent for the cube (which were built at two different scales) were filmed separately. After the model of the sphere was shot on a motion control stage, that motion control photography was composited into footage of the cube, made to seem as if the sphere was rising out of a passageway that was actually constructed into the cube model. (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 109)

Trivia Edit

Although some fans claim to hear Captain Morgan Bateson and Uhura in the comm chatter during the battle, Ronald D. Moore has stated, "As far as I know there are NO 'voice cameos' in this sequence." (AOL chat, 1997)

Voyager in First Contact trailer

USS Voyager attacking the Borg cube in the teaser trailer

The first teaser trailer that was released to promote First Contact includes shots from the Battle of Wolf 359, the Enterprise-D (destroyed in the previous film, Star Trek Generations) and a single view of the USS Voyager (stranded in the Delta Quadrant at the time). The shot of Voyager shows the vessel firing multiple phaser beams at a Borg cube. [6] In a similar reuse, footage from the Battle of Sector 001 is incorporated into the teaser trailer for Star Trek: Insurrection.

Brannon Braga, who co-wrote First Contact with Ron Moore and (to a lesser extent) Rick Berman, was highly satisfied with the final version of the battle. He not only gleefully described the sequence as containing "great" and "spectacular" battle material but also cited the view of the Borg sphere ejecting from the Borg cube as a highlight of the sequence, referring to it as "a great shot." (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray) However, Ron Moore has criticized the battle sequence, commenting, "I [...] wish we could've had a longer and more spectacular space battle up front." (AOL chat, 1997) In 2002, readers of Star Trek Magazine voted the battle sequence as their eighth favorite all-time moment in Star Trek. (Star Trek Monthly issue 101, p. 48)

Remarks made by Captain Sisko in "In Purgatory's Shadow" place a continuity error on the dating of this event. "By Inferno's Light", the following episode, takes place on stardate 50564.2, supposedly several months before the 24th century events depicted in Star Trek: First Contact, which are set on stardate 50893.5.

Apocrypha Edit

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Mission Gamma novel Lesser Evil details events aboard the USS Budapest during the battle. According to the book, Borg drones began beaming onto the ship and started adapting to the phaser frequencies used by the crew. Many of the officers were assimilated, including the vessel's commanding officer, Captain sh'Rzaan. The Borg were eliminated from the craft thanks to the Budapest being one of five test-based starships for TR-116 rifles, which the Starfleet officers used to finally gain victory.

A story in the Star Trek: New Frontier anthology No Limits featuring the Ambassador-class USS Excalibur stated that ship was also at the battle.

In the novel Watching the Clock, the Department of Temporal Investigations speculate that the Borg's use of time travel on this occasion could have been aided by a renegade faction in the Temporal Cold War providing them with the ability, Lucsly noting that such an attack was out-of-character for the Borg and it was ridiculous to assume that they would have never had the opportunity to assimilate time machines before now, speculating that various agencies took action to prevent the Borg acquiring time travel normally.

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