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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. Although the battle resulted in significant casualties for the Starfleet forces, the fleet was able to destroy the cube. Unlike the infamous Battle of Wolf 359 six years before, Starfleet proved to be more prepared to fight the Borg. The fleet, though outgunned, ultimately managed to successfully destroy the cube, partially due to Captain Jean-Luc Picard's tactical knowledge of the Borg. (Star Trek: First Contact)

Prelude

The second major Borg incursion into Federation space began shortly before stardate 50893.5, when the colony on Ivor Prime was destroyed. Nearby Deep Space 5 detected the attack, 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.

Hayes contacted Captain Jean-Luc Picard aboard the USS Enterprise-E, who was already 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 assimilation into the Collective 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. (Star Trek: First Contact)

The battle

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. 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, with numerous ships being lost, as the cube unrelentingly continued on towards Earth. The surviving ships, including the USS Defiant and the USS Bozeman, assaulted the cube all the way to the Sol system. Realizing that the battle was not progressing well, Picard ordered the Enterprise-E back to Earth in violation of his orders. It has been noted that, from the point of the initial Borg attack to a distress call being sent, the attack lasted just over forty seconds.

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-E 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

Akira escapes exploding cube

The cube explodes

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. The resulting barrage destroyed the cube, though the explosion also claimed several nearby starships. (Star Trek: First Contact)

Aftermath

Shortly before its destruction, the cube launched a small spherical vessel from its interior – a type of Borg vessel not seen before. After heading straight for Earth with the Enterprise in hot pursuit, the sphere 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")

Starfleet's losses in the battle were comparable to the earlier fleet action at Wolf 359, despite the fact that they were much more thoroughly prepared since their 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 the later outbreak of hostilities. (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

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

Background information

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. In common with many of the other elements in First Contact, the depiction of the battle had to be scaled down. Ronald D. Moore, a co-writer of the film, 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 (p. 203), the battle was originally to have incorporated the "glorious" destruction of the USS Endeavour. However, the same starship survives the engagement as narrated in the account of the battle from the first draft script for First Contact. 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. [1]

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 battle. 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 away from the battle, on a heading to Earth. [2]

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) Dialog referring to the Endeavor can be heard in the film, though. The decision that the conflict would culminate in the Earth-bound Borg sphere emerging from a single attacking Borg cube was also made late in the writing process. ("Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation", Star Trek: First Contact (Blu-ray))

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. ILM Visual Effects Supervisor 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)) A concept illustration of the battle was created by ILM Visual Effects Art Director Alex Jaeger. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, pp. 124-125)

The relatively high quantity of starships involved in the battle meant that CGI had to be used for the sequence. In most cases, ships in the background were consequently computer-generated whereas ships appearing in closeup footage were rendered with studio models. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 6, p. 23) ILM was responsible for all these visual effects. 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. Illustrator 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 ships shown with CGI were mostly new designs, as John Knoll wanted to avoid reusing ship designs that had already been featured many times on Star Trek. "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) The fact that the battle necessitated the building of some ships exclusively in CGI also impacted on the decision to invent some new vessel designs. Explained Knoll, "Since we intended for all the background action to be done with computer graphics anyway, and we needed to build them, why not build new stuff rather than old ones?"

Alex Jaeger was assigned to design all of the new ship classes. (The Making of Star Trek: First Contact, p. 116) John Knoll related, "I had my art director design a half a dozen new Starfleet ships that kind of obey the aesthetic of Star Trek." In essence, most of the vessels included in the battle were 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. ("Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation", Star Trek: First Contact (Blu-ray)) The new Starfleet ship designs created for the battle were specifically the Akira-, Norway-, Saber-, and Steamrunner-classes, all of which were ultimately approved by Producer Rick Berman. (The Making of Star Trek: First Contact, p. 116) Even though these classes of starship were built with computer graphics, 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))

During the refinement process of devising the look of 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. [3] 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." [4] The name Zandura was inspired by the band Fold Zandura. (citation needededit) (A selection of concept artwork showing ships designed for the battle but eventually excised can be found here.)

Akira and Millennium Falcon

The in-joke addition of Star Wars' Millennium Falcon

As an in-joke, John Knoll inserted a small digital model of Star Wars' Millennium Falcon into the battle, which can be seen fleetingly flying near the Borg cube. Director Jonathan Frakes once commented that the battle itself bears a "sort of Star Wars vibe, [...] with the shuttles [sic] against the size and scope of the Borg ship." He also suggested that the sequence's resemblance to Star Wars might be due to the involvement of ILM. (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray)

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. [5]

Brannon Braga, who co-wrote First Contact with Ron Moore, 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)

Continuity

Sisko's remarks in "In Purgatory's Shadow" places 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 events depicted in Star Trek: First Contact on stardate 50893.5.

Apocrypha

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.

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