The Best of Both Worlds Part 2
Stardate: 44001.4
Original Airdate: Sep 24, 1990

Last time on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
PICARD: Mister Worf, dispatch a subspace message to Admiral Hanson. We have engaged the Borg.
SHELBY: Data, fluctuate phaser resonance frequencies. Random settings. Keep them changing. Don't give them time to adapt.
HANSON [on monitor]: We're coming with every available starship to assist, Captain, but the closest help is six days away.
SHELBY: All you know how to do is play it safe. If you can't make the big decisions, Commander, I suggest you make room for someone who can.
(The Borg kidnap Picard)
LAFORGE: If we can generate a concentrated burst of power at that same frequency distribution.
RIKER: How do we do that?
WESLEY: The main deflector dish.
SHELBY: Shelby to Enterprise. We've found the Captain's uniform and his communicator.
CRUSHER: Jean-Luc!
DATA: We were unable to retrieve him, sir. Sir, The Captain has been altered by the Borg.
CRUSHER: Will, he's alive. If we could get him back to the ship, I might be able to restore
RIKER: This is our only chance to destroy them. If they get back into warp, our weapon is useless.
PICARD [on viewscreen]: I am Locutus of Borg. From this time forward, you will service us.
RIKER: Mister Worf? Fire.
And now, the conclusion.

[Bridge]

LAFORGE: Deflector power approaching maximum limits. Energy discharge in six seconds.
WORF: Firing, sir.
(A massive ray of energy goes out)
WORF: The Borg ship is undamaged.
SHELBY: Impossible.
COMPUTER: Warning. Warp reactor core primary coolant failure.
LAFORGE: Can't maintain it much longer, Commander.
COMPUTER: Warning. Exceeding reaction chamber thermal limit.
RIKER: Cease fire.
LAFORGE: Shutting down warp engines.
RIKER: They couldn't have adapted that quickly.
PICARD [on viewscreen]: The knowledge and experience of the human Picard is part of us now. It has prepared us for all possible courses of action. Your resistance is hopeless, Number One.

First Officer's log, stardate 44001.4. The Borg ship has resumed its course toward Earth. We are unable to pursue pending repairs to the Enterprise.

[Observation lounge]

RIKER: As we anticipated, the blast burned out our main navigational deflector. We also have damage to our shields and our reactor core.
LAFORGE: We should be back up in eight to twelve hours, Admiral.
HANSON [on monitor]: Well, we'll miss you at the party.
RIKER: The Enterprise'll be there, sir. Maybe a little late, but we'll be there, sir.
HANSON [on monitor]: Your engagements have given us valuable time. We've mobilised a fleet of forty starships at Wolf three five nine, and that's just for starters. The Klingons are sending warships. Hell, we've even thought about opening communications with the Romulans.
SHELBY: You realise, Admiral, that with the assistance of Captain Picard, the Borg will be prepared for your defences.
HANSON [on monitor]: Lieutenant a few years ago, I watched a freshman cadet pass four upper classman on the last hill of the forty kilometre run on Danula Two. The damndest thing I ever saw. The only freshman to ever win the Academy marathon. I made it my business to get to know that young fellow. I got to know him very, very well. And I'll tell you something. I never met anyone with more drive, determination or more courage than Jean-Luc Picard. There is no way in hell that he would assist the Borg. I want that clear.
SHELBY: Of course, Admiral.
HANSON [on monitor]: He is a casualty of war.
CRUSHER: Then we have abandoned all hope of recovering him.
HANSON [on monitor]: In less than twenty four hours, this armada's going to hit that Borg vessel with everything we can muster. Either they survive or we do. As for Picard. A great man has been lost. Your Captain. My friend. Commander Riker, I hereby promote you to the field commission of Captain. The Enterprise is your ship now. Congratulations. I wish the circumstances were different.
RIKER: Likewise. Good luck, Admiral.
HANSON [on monitor]: To us all.

[Borg operating room]

(The entity originally Picard is being augmented. He gets a prosthetic forearm with attachments, and his skin turns white. A single tear rolls from his eye.)

[Turbolift]

RIKER: Mister Crusher suggests we might design a chip that would automatically retune the phasers to a random setting after each discharge. Engineering.
WORF: That would be a great advantage.
RIKER: We should also see if there's some way that we can neutralise their forcefields. We've got to let them know that we can adapt too, Mister Worf. We're no longer just fighting the Borg, we're fighting the life experience they've stolen from Captain Picard. Now how the hell do we defeat an enemy that knows us better than we know ourselves?
WORF: The Borg have neither honour nor courage. That is our greatest advantage.
RIKER: I hope it's enough.

[Engineering]

SHELBY: Accelerator coils are responding normally.
LAFORGE: Excellent. Forward shields at fifty eight percent. Aft shields sensors must be down
SHELBY: Checking. Sensors are fine. No. Aft shields have completely failed. Damn it. Auxiliary generators are out again.
LAFORGE: Just the man I need. We're having some problems with the aft shields. Generators going on and offline. I could really use your help, Worf
RIKER: How soon do we get underway, Geordi?
LAFORGE: Still a couple hours. Commander Shelby can fill you in.
SHELBY: The main navigational deflector is functional again. Sherbourne and Barclay are running through the final testing sequence now.
RIKER: The warp reactor core?
SHELBY: Reconstruction is proceeding normally. It's slow work. If we can nail down this shield generator problem, I agree with La Forge. We should be at operating capacity in two to three hours.
RIKER: Good.
SHELBY: Anything else, sir?
RIKER: Yes. You did a good job on the Borg ship.
SHELBY: I didn't get Picard.
RIKER: You stopped them. You gave us our shot.
SHELBY: Sir, I
RIKER: Commander, we don't have to like each other to work well together. As a fact of fact, I'd like you to continue to keep me on my toes.
SHELBY: Some might define that as the role of a first officer.
RIKER: Damn, you are ambitious, aren't you, Shelby.
SHELBY: Captain Riker, based on our past relationship, there's no reason for me to expect to become your first officer except you need me. I know how to get things done, and I have the expertise in the Borg.
RIKER: And you have a lot to learn, Commander.
SHELBY: Yes, sir.
RIKER: Almost as much as I had to learn when I came aboard as Captain Picard's first officer. A fact he reminded me of when I commented on what a pain in the neck you are.
SHELBY: Yes, sir.
DATA [OC]: Data to Riker. Message from Starfleet, Captain.
RIKER: Go ahead, Data.
DATA [OC]: Starfleet reports

[Bridge]

DATA: It has engaged the Borg at Wolf three fifty nine, sir.
(Riker enters)
DATA: Admiral Hanson on subspace, Captain.
RIKER: On screen. Admiral?
(The image is very broken up. He's bouncing around a lot)
HANSON [on viewscreen]: The fight does not go well, Enterprise. We're attempting to withdraw and regroup. Rendezvous with fleet
(transmission lost)

Captain's Log, stardate 44002.3. Repairs are complete, and the Enterprise is warping to rendezvous with Starfleet at Wolf three five nine. Communications from the site of battle have been cut off, possibly by Borg interference.

[Observation lounge]

RIKER: Lieutenant Worf, everyone in this room shares my respect for your service to this ship. But right now, I need your experience at tactical. Commander Data, I realise your very nature omits ambition. Nevertheless, I want you to know I seriously considered you first officer.
DATA: Thank you, sir.
RIKER: But this is not the time for change. I need you all where you are, where Captain Picard always relied on you. I have been, reluctantly, forced to conclude that Commander Shelby, our expert on the Borg, is an ideal choice at this time for first officer. Based on our latest communication, we can assume that the Borg survived the fleet's attack. Your thoughts on our next encounter?
SHELBY: What about the heavy graviton beam we were talking about?
LAFORGE: I've gone over it four times. The local field distortion just wouldn't be strong enough to incapacitate them.
DATA: Doctor Crusher and I have been working on an interesting premise.
CRUSHER: With our recent experience in nanotechnology, we might be able to introduce a destructive breed of nanites into the Borg.
SHELBY: Nanites?
DATA: Robots small enough to enter living cells.
RIKER: How long would it take to execute that?
CRUSHER: That's the problem. Two to three weeks.
TROI: In two or three weeks, nanites may be all that's left of the Federation.
WORF: We have the new phaser adapters.
LAFORGE: maybe in concert with photon torpedoes we can slow them down.
RIKER: I'm sure Captain Picard would have something meaningful and inspirational to say right now. To tell you the truth, I wish he were here, because I'd like to hear it too. I know how difficult this transition has been for all of you. I can take over for him, but I could never replace Captain Picard. Nor would I ever try. Whatever the outcome, I'm sure our efforts in the coming battle will justify his faith in all of us. Dismissed.

[Ready room]

RIKER: (to the empty chair) What would you do?
(doorbell)
RIKER: Come.
GUINAN: May I speak to you, Captain?
RIKER: Actually, Guinan, I
GUINAN: You know, Picard and I used to talk every now and again, when one of us needed to. I guess I'm just used to having the Captain's ear.
(She sits in Picard's chair)
RIKER: What's on your mind?
GUINAN: I've heard a lot of people talking down in Ten Forward. They expect to be dead in the next day or so. They trust you. They like you. But they don't believe anyone can save them.
RIKER: I'm not sure anyone can.
GUINAN: When a man is convinced he's going to die tomorrow, he'll probably find a way to make it happen. The only one who can turn is around is you.
RIKER: I'll do the best I can.
GUINAN: You're going have to do something you don't want to do. You have to let go of Picard.
RIKER: Maybe you haven't heard. I tried to kill him yesterday.
GUINAN: You tried to kill whatever that is on the Borg ship. Not Picard. Picard is still here with us in this room. If he had died, it would be easier. But he didn't They took him from us a piece at a time. Did he ever tell you why we're so close?
RIKER: No.
GUINAN: Well, then let me just our relationship is beyond friendship, beyond family. And I will let him go. And you must do the same. There can only be one Captain.
RIKER: It's not that simple. This was his crew. He wrote the book on this ship.
GUINAN: And the Borg know everything he knows. It's time to throw that book away. You must let him go, Riker. It's the only way to beat him. The only way to save him. And that is now you chair. Captain.
(Riker sits)
WESLEY: We're approaching the Wolf system, Captain.
RIKER: On my way.

[Bridge]

RIKER: Slow to impulse. Take us to the battle coordinates, Mister Crusher. Yellow alert.
WORF: Sensors are picking up several vessels, Captain.
RIKER: The fleet?
DATA: No active subspace fields. Negligible power readings.
RIKER: Life signs?
DATA: Negative, sir.
WORF: Visual contact.
RIKER: On screen.
(Fragments of starships, some with flashes of fires still burning)
SHELBY: The Tolstoy, the Kyushu, the Melbourne.
(Riker bows his head briefly for the crew that might have been his)
WORF: Sir, sensors are picking up unusually strong eddy currents, bearing two zero zero, mark two one one.
RIKER: Data, analysis?
DATA: It could indicate the course of the Borg ship, sir.
RIKER: Ensign Crusher, set in a course that follows those currents. Commander Shelby, prepare to initiate your plan to separate the saucer section when we find the Borg.
SHELBY: Sir. I must remind you that Captain Picard was briefed on that plan. The Borg will be prepared for it
RIKER: I'm aware of that, Commander. In fact, I'm counting on it.
SHELBY: Crusher, Cartaino, Gleason. Report to the Battle Bridge.
RIKER: Mister Data, Mister Worf? I have a special mission for you.

[Borg ship]

(The Borg ship drops out of warp. A fully Borgified Picard looks at the Enterprise approaching)
RIKER [on viewscreen]: Locutus of Borg, this is Captain William T. Riker of the USS Enterprise.
PICARD: You may speak.

[Battle bridge]

RIKER: We wish to end the hostilities.
PICARD [on viewscreen]: Then you must unconditionally surrender.
RIKER: We are prepared to meet to discuss your terms.
PICARD [on viewscreen]: It is unlikely you are prepared to discuss terms. It is more likely that this is an attempt at deception.
RIKER: Come now, Locutus. If Picard's knowledge and experience is part of you, then you know I've never lied to him. You should also implicitly trust me, is that not so?
PICARD [on viewscreen]: Picard implicitly trusted you.
RIKER: Then trust me now. Meet to discuss terms.
PICARD [on viewscreen]: Discussion is irrelevant. There are no terms. You will disarm all your weapons and escort us to Sector zero zero one where we will begin assimilating your culture and technology.
(mute)
RIKER: Mister Gleason, can you pinpoint the source of the Borg transmission?
GLEASON: I can put you within thirty meters of it, sir.
RIKER: O'Brien, report.

[Transporter room]

O'BRIEN: The Borg have adapted their electromagnetic field to prevent main transporter functions, sir.
RIKER [OC]: As expected. Mister Data, Mister Worf, proceed as we discussed.
DATA: Aye, Captain.
(They switch on devices on their arms)

[Battle bridge]

CREWMAN: Channel open, sir.
RIKER: We would like time to prepare our people for assimilation.
PICARD [on viewscreen]: Preparation is irrelevant. Your people will be assimilated as easily as Picard has been. Your attempt at a delay will not be successful, Number One. We will proceed to Earth, and if you attempt to intervene, we will destroy you.
RIKER: Then take your best shot, Locutus, because we're about to intervene.
CREWMAN: Channel closed.
RIKER: Reset subspace communications. Scrambler code, Riker One
GLEASON: Scrambler code, Riker One. Acknowledged.
RIKER: Shelby, report.

[Bridge]

SHELBY: Ready for separation.
RIKER [OC]: Make it so.
SHELBY: Auto-sep sequence initiated.

[Engineering]

LAFORGE: Docking latches clear, separation complete.

[Battle bridge]

WESLEY: Saucer velocity one hundred metres per second and increasing, sir.
RIKER: Open fire, all weapons.

[Bridge]

SHELBY: Fire.

[Battle bridge]

WESLEY: Borg tractor beam attempting to lock on, sir.
RIKER: Evasive manoeuvres, pattern Riker Alpha.
WESLEY: Riker Alpha confirmed. They're ignoring the saucer section completely.
RIKER: Just as you should, Captain. Ensign, evasive pattern, Riker Beta.
WESLEY: Riker Beta confirmed.
RIKER: Proceed to second phase, Commander Shelby.

[Bridge]

SHELBY: Acknowledged. Fire antimatter spread.

(Picard watches the lovely fireworks display, trying to figure it out)

[Shuttlecraft]

DATA: Shuttle launch sequence confirmed. Departing Enterprise in exactly three seconds.

[Borg ship]

[Battle bridge]

WESLEY: The Borg tractor beam has moved toward the antimatter spread.
GLEASON: They might be picking up engine ionisation from the shuttle
RIKER: Data, cut your engines. Take her in unpowered.

[Shuttlecraft]

WORF: Shuttle has penetrated the Borg electromagnetic field.
RIKER [OC]: Understood.
DATA: The shuttle escape transporter should provide enough power to beam us

[Battle bridge]

DATA [OC]: Onto the Borg ship from here, sir
RIKER: Proceed.

[Borg ship]

(Worf and Data materialise, and head towards Picard the Borg. They each shoot two drones before Worf goes hand to hand with Picard. Data shoots a third drone)
WORF: Data!
(Borg Picard is easily as strong as Worf. Data does something to the back of Picard's neck to knock him out, then all three beam back aboard the shuttlecraft)

[Shuttlecraft]

WORF: Mission accomplished. We have him.
DATA: Firing shuttle thrusters.
(The shuttlecraft goes back out through the Borg shield)

[Battle bridge]

WESLEY: They're clear of the Borg field, sir.
RIKER: Beam them out of there, Mister O'Brien.

[Transporter room]

O'BRIEN: Locked in
(The Borg destroy the shuttlecraft)
O'BRIEN: Transport successful, sir.

[Bridge]

(Both sections of the Enterprise, and the Borg ship, hang quietly together in space)
SHELBY: Captain, we've sustained damage to the impulse drive.

[Battle bridge]

SHELBY [OC]: The saucer section is disabled.
GLEASON: Reading subspace field fluctuations from the Borg ship. Looks like they're getting ready to increase power.
RIKER: Stand by, Mister La Forge.
LAFORGE [OC]: Aye, sir.
WESLEY: The saucer section's a sitting duck.
RIKER: Prepare to draw their fire.
WESLEY: Captain, the Borg ship is moving away. It's resuming its course to Earth, sir.
RIKER: Rendezvous with the saucer section. Lay in a course of pursuit.

[Sickbay]

CRUSHER: There is extensive infiltration of microcircuit fibers into the surrounding tissue. His DNA is being rewritten.
RIKER: Can you revive him?
CRUSHER: I'd like more time to study the structural changes in the motor pathways.
RIKER: We don't have more time, Doctor. Once he was wired into the Borg, they knew everything that he knew. I just hope it goes both ways. If we're lucky, he had access to everything we need to know about them, especially their vulnerabilities.
CRUSHER: Jean Luc? It's Beverly. can you hear me?
PICARD: Beverly. Crusher. Doctor.
CRUSHER: Yes. Don't try to move.
PICARD: I am on board the Enterprise.
RIKER: That's right.
(Picard sits up slowly)
PICARD:: A futile manoeuvre. Incorrect strategy, Number One. To risk your ship and crew to retrieve only one man. Picard would never have approved. You underestimate us if you believe this abduction is any concern. There is no need for apprehension. I intend no harm. No harm. I will continue, aboard this ship, to speak for the Borg, while they continue without further diversion to Sector zero zero one, where they will force your unconditional surrender.

[Bridge]

DATA: Using multimodal reflection sorting, I have been able to detect a complex series of subspace signals between Locutus and the Borg ship.
CRUSHER: That's how they're controlling him?
DATA: It is not just a matter of control, Doctor. The signals are interactive across a subspace domain similar to that of a Transporter beam. I would hypothesise that these frequencies form the basis of the Borg's collective consciousness.
RIKER: Can't we block them?
DATA: Possibly. But as you may recall on several occasions, we have witnessed the Borg removing key circuits from injured comrades, no doubt separating them from the group consciousness.
RIKER: The injured Borg immediately self-destructed.
DATA: That is correct, sir.
CRUSHER: Cutting the link to Locutus might be fatal to the Captain.
RIKER: We have to find a way to reach him. We must know what he knows
CRUSHER: Without these interactive signals, it would only be a matter of microsurgery. I could do it. But as long as those Borg implants are functioning, there's no way I can separate the man from the machine.
DATA: Then perhaps there is a way I can access the machine, Doctor.

[Sickbay]

PICARD: Worf. Klingon species. A warrior race. You too will be assimilated.
WORF: The Klingon Empire will never yield.
PICARD: Why do you resist? We only wish to raise quality of life for all species.
WORF: I like my species the way it is.
PICARD: A narrow vision. You will become one with the Borg. You will all become one with the Borg. The android, Data. Primitive artificial organism. You will be obsolete in the new order.
(Crusher gives him a hypospray and knocks him out)
RIKER: Take him to your lab, Data.
SHELBY [OC]: Shelby to Riker.
RIKER: Go ahead.

[Bridge]

SHELBY: Captain, the Borg have entered Sector zero zero one.
(A little later, Riker and Worf enter)
SHELBY: The Borg have dropped out of warp, sir. Jupiter outpost nine two reported visual contact at twelve hundred hours, thirteen minutes.
RIKER: Planetary defences?
SHELBY: Responding. No reports on effectiveness but I can't believe that against the Borg
RIKER: Ensign Crusher, at their current speed, when will they reach Earth?
WESLEY: Twenty seven minutes.
RIKER: The soonest we could intercept?
WESLEY: Forty two minutes, sir.
RIKER: Riker to Data.

[Data's lab]

RIKER [OC]: What's your status?
DATA: The initial cybernetic connection into Captain Picard's neural net pathways has been established. Mister O'Brien is ready to process the Borg signal through the transport pattern buffer.
RIKER [OC]: Make it so. With dispatch, Mister Data.
DATA: Proceeding immediately, sir. Data out.
(Data has part of his hair removed to show various ports and flashing lights in his head. Picard is on the same platform Lal used. He is naked except for some tubes and implants)
DATA: The neural link will be established in three stages. Doctor, I suggest you closely observe Captain Picard's lifesigns, while at each stage Chief O'Brien monitors my positronic matrix activity. Counsellor, hopefully, you will be able to determine whether I am reaching Captain Picard.
O'BRIEN: At what point should I shut it down if there's a problem?
DATA: I do not know. I have never done this before. Initiating first neural link.
CRUSHER: The Captain's vital signs are stable.
O'BRIEN: Positronic activity unchanged.
DATA: First neural connection is confirmed. I cannot report any significant access to the Borg consciousness.
(And Troi shakes her head)

[Bridge]

(The cube is met by three ships, which are immediately destroyed)
WORF: It is confirmed. The Borg have broken through the Mars defence perimeter.
WESLEY: Enterprise now approaching Terran system, sir.
RIKER: Slow to impulse. Time to intercept?
WESLEY: Twenty-three minutes, fourteen seconds, sir.

[Data's lab]

DATA: Second neural connection is confirmed. I still cannot report any significant access. Proceeding with the final link.
CRUSHER: Significant increase in premotor area and hypothalamus activity. His heartbeat is accelerating rapidly.
O'BRIEN: Sir, your submicron matrix activity is increasing exponentially.
DATA: Neural connections complete. I have access to the Borg subspace signals. Processing. Processing.
TROI: Data!
DATA: Stand by. Processing. Processing. Fascinating. The Borg group consciousness is divided into subcommands necessary to carry out all functions. Defence, communication, navigation. They are all controlled by a root command implanted into each
(Picard wakes up and tries to get out. Data restrains the mechanical arm, then pulls off the working 'hand' component.) CRUSHER: Data, I'm picking up increased neural activity in Captain Picard, localised in the prefrontal and parietal lobes.
O'BRIEN: The Borg might be trying to terminate their link with him.
DATA: Negative. The subspace signal configuration is unchanged. What is causing the increased neural activity is unclear.
TROI: No, it's not. It's him. It's Picard.
(Picard reaches out with his organic arm and takes hold of Data, gently)
TROI: Troi to Bridge.

[Bridge]

TROI [OC]: Data has made first contact with Captain Picard.
RIKER: Can you communicate with him, Data?

[Data's lab]

DATA [OC]: I have been unable to create a neural path around the Borg implants, sir. It is Captain Picard himself who has somehow managed to initiate contact.

[Bridge]

WORF: Sir, the Borg have halted their approach to Earth.
SHELBY: I think we got their attention.
RIKER: Time to intercept?
WESLEY: Two minutes, four seconds, sir.
RIKER: They're worried. They're worried because we've got access to Picard. Mister Data, we have two minutes to figure out what we can do with it.

[Data's lab]

DATA: Sir, it is clear the Borg are either unwilling or unable to terminate their subspace links.
CRUSHER: That may be their Achilles heel, Captain. Their interdependency.

[Bridge]

RIKER: What do you mean, Doctor?
CRUSHER [OC]: He's

[Data's lab]

CRUSHER: Part of their collective consciousness now. Cutting him off would like asking one of us to disconnect an arm or a foot

[Bridge]

CRUSHER [OC]: We can't do it.
SHELBY: They operate as a single mind.
RIKER: One jumps off a cliff, they all jump off? Data, is it possible to plant a command into the Borg collective consciousness?

[Data's lab]

DATA: It is conceivable, sir, but it would require altering the pathway from the root command

[Bridge]

DATA [OC]: To affect all iterative branch points in the
RIKER: Make every effort, Mister Data.
DATA [OC]: Sir

[Data's lab]

DATA: What command shall I try to plant?

[Bridge]

RIKER: Something straightforward, like disarm your weapons systems.
WORF: Visual contact with the Borg.
SHELBY: On screen.
RIKER: Magnify.
WORF: Sensors reading increased power generation from the Borg.
RIKER: Red alert. Load all torpedo bays. Ready phasers.
WORF: Aye, Captain.
RIKER: Status of Borg weapons?
WORF: Their weapon systems are fully charged.
RIKER: Data?

[Data's lab]

DATA: Attempting to re-route subcommand paths, Captain. Defence systems are protected by access barriers.

[Bridge]

WORF: Borg attempting to lock on tractor beam.
RIKER: Rotate shield frequencies. Data, report?

[Data's lab]

DATA: I am unable to penetrate defence systems command structure

[Bridge]

DATA [OC]: Captain.
SHELBY: Try the power systems, Data. See if you can get them to power down.
DATA [OC]: Acknowledged.

[Data's lab]

DATA: Attempting new power subcommand path.

[Engineering]

LAFORGE: Shields have failed. They've

[Bridge]

LAFORGE [OC]: Locked on, sir. They're pulling us in.
RIKER: Fire all weapons.

[Data's lab]

DATA: I cannot penetrate Borg power subcommand structure, sir.

[Bridge]

DATA [OC]: All critical subcommands are protected, Captain.
SHELBY: Then it's over.
RIKER: Mister Crusher, ready a collision course with the Borg ship. You heard me. A collision course.
WESLEY: Yes, sir.
RIKER: Mister La Forge, prepare to go to warp power.
LAFORGE [OC]: Aye, sir.

[Data's lab]

PICARD: Sleep.
CRUSHER: He's regaining consciousness.
PICARD: Sleep.
TROI: It is Captain Picard speaking, not Locutus.
PICARD: Sleep, Data.
CRUSHER: He's exhausted.
DATA: Yes, Doctor, but if I may make a supposition, I do not believe his message was intended to express fatigue but to suggest a course of action.

[Bridge]

WORF: Borg cutting beam activated.
RIKER: Mister Crusher? Engage.
DATA [OC]: Data to Bridge. Stand by.
RIKER: Stand by, all stations.

[Data's lab]

DATA: I am attempting to penetrate the Borg regenerative subcommand path. It is a low priority system and may be accessible.
COMPUTER: Warning. Outer hull breach.
WORF: Sir, shall I execute evacuation sequence?
RIKER: Negative, Mister Worf. Mister Data, your final report.
DATA [OC]: Stand by.
RIKER: I can't, Mister Data.
COMPUTER: Warning. Inner hull failure imminent on decks twenty three, twenty four, and twenty five. Decompression danger.
(Then suddenly it all goes quiet. No shaking, no cutting)
RIKER: Mister Data, what the hell happened?

[Data's lab]

DATA: I successfully planted a command into the Borg collective consciousness, sir. It misdirected them to believe it was time to regenerate. In effect, I put them all to sleep.

[Bridge]

RIKER: To sleep?
DATA [OC]: Yes, sir.
RIKER: Status of Borg power drive?
WORF: Minimal power.
RIKER: Electromagnetic field?
WORF: Nonexistent.
RIKER: Commander Shelby, take an away team and confirm that the Borg are asleep.
SHELBY: Delighted, sir. Mister Worf.

[Borg ship]

(She arrives with Worf and a security guard)
SHELBY: Shelby to Enterprise. It's true. They're all in a regeneration mode.

[Corridor]

SHELBY [OC]: They're dormant, sir.
RIKER: Any indication to how long we can keep them like this?

[Borg ship]

SHELBY: Checking.
WORF: Tricorder readings are fluctuating rapidly, Commander.
SHELBY: Shelby to Enterprise. There are indications here that their entire power net's about to feed back on itself. I'd say we're looking at a self-destruct sequence activated by the Borg's malfunction. Do you want us to attempt to disarm it?

[Data's lab]

RIKER: Stand by.
CRUSHER: There's no way to know what the destruction of the Borg ship will do to him.
DATA: We should also consider the advantages of further examination of the Borg and their vessel, sir.
RIKER: I don't think so. Data, separate yourself from Captain Picard. Away Team, get yourselves home. Mister Crusher, upon their return move us to a safe position.
WESLEY [OC]: Aye, sir.
(and Enterprise whizzes away as the cube starts to spark and fizz. Picard staggers. Then - Ka-BOOM!!!
CRUSHER: Life signs are stable. The DNA around the microcircuit fibre implants is returning to normal.
TROI: How do you feel?
PICARD: Almost human. With just a bit of a headache.
CRUSHER: We'll get you to Sickbay. We won't have any trouble getting these implants out now.
RIKER: How much do you remember?
PICARD: Everything. Including some brilliantly unorthodox strategy from a former first officer of mine.

[Ready room]

(Picard is back in uniform, with just a few implants on this side of his head. Riker still has four pips on his collar)
RIKER: And Earth Station McKinley has advised they're ready to begin refitting the Enterprise.
PICARD: Have they estimated time for repairs?
RIKER: Five or six weeks.
(doorbell)
PICARD + RIKER: Come.
SHELBY: Request permission to disembark, sir.
PICARD: Permission granted. They've picked a fine officer for the task force, Commander.
SHELBY: We'll have the fleet back up in less than a year. I imagine you'll get your choice of any Starfleet command, sir.
RIKER: Everyone is so concerned about my next job. With all due respect, Commander, sir, my career plans are my own business, and no one else's. But it's nice to know I'll have a few options.
SHELBY: I hope I have the fortune of serving with you again, sir. Captain.
(Shelby leaves)
RIKER: Course to Station McKinley ready and laid in, sir.
PICARD: Make it so, Number One.
(Picard picks up his tea, then stiffens and puts the cup down again. He goes to the window and stands looking out)

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