Battle of Sector 001
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 loss of life for the Starfleet forces, it is still considered a victory for the Federation. Unlike the infamous Battle of Wolf 359 some six years before, Starfleet proved to be more prepared to fight the Borg. The fleet, though outgunned, ultimately managed to successfully destroy the Cube.
The second major Borg incursion into Federation space began shortly before stardate 50893, 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.
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 Romulan Neutral Zone, whilst a Federation fleet mobilized in the Typhon Sector to intercept the Borg cube before it reached 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 9, 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."
The fleet opened fire, but to minimal effect. The defense perimeter was quickly shattered, with numerous ships being lost, as the cube continued on unrelentingly 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.
By the time the fleet arrived in Earth orbit, a vast proportion of ships had already been lost, including Hayes' flagship. However, the fleet had succeeded in dealing heavy damage to the cube's outer hull, causing fluctuations in their 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.
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. However, shortly before its destruction the cube launched a small spherical vessel from its interior -- a type of Borg vessel not seen before. The sphere headed 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, travelling back to 2063 and disrupting First Contact. As the Enterprise was caught in the vortex's temporal wake, its crew saw an assimilated Earth with a drone population of 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.
Starfleet's losses in the battle were comparable to the earlier fleet action at Wolf 359. The destruction of so many ships left the remaining fleet stretched thin across the quadrant, as would later be rued by Captain Benjamin Sisko shortly before Dominion forces passed through the Bajoran wormhole into Cardassia, and would prove of even greater significance following the later outbreak of hostilities.