``The Best of Both Worlds''
Stardate: 43989.1
Rating: *****

Edited Length: 45:29
U.S. Airdate: July 1, 1990
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [10.1/3]

This Episode was Nominated for Emmy(s)!

Guest Star
Elizabeth Dennehy: [Lt. Commander Shelby]
George Murdock: [Admiral J.P. Hanson]
Colm Meaney: [O'Brien]

and Special Guest Star
Whoopi Goldberg: Guinan

Line Producer: David Livingston
Co-Producers: Hans Beimler & Richard Manning
Producer: Ira Steven Behr
Co-Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Written By: Michael Piller
Directed By: Cliff Bole

[end credit]
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry

[closing credits]
Co-Producer: Peter Lauritson
Story Editor: Ronald D. Moore


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Extended Synopsis (by Tim Lynch) ------------------------------------

Stardate 43989.1: The Enterprise comes to take a look at the Jure Four colony, one of the outermost colonies of the Federation, with about 900 residents- all contact was recently lost. Riker takes an away team down to the "middle o' town," as O'Brien tells them, but finds himself on the edge of a crater. The entire town has been scooped away.

Stardate 43992.6: Admiral Hansen and Lt. Cmdr. Shelby have come to view the evidence, very worried that this might be the beginning of the Borg invasion. Shelby has been in charge of Borg tactical analysis over the last six months, and although she's done her job well, no defenses are as yet beyond the drawing board. After Shelby accepts Riker's invitation to the poker game that night, the two leave Picard and Hansen alone to talk.

Hansen tells Picard that Shelby really knows her stuff, and says she'd "make one hell of a first officer." When Picard replies that he already has one hell of a first officer, he's informed that Riker was offered the U.S.S. Melbourne (his third chance at command) recently, but hasn't yet responded. He urges Picard to kick Riker in the pants a little "for his own good," and get his career moving again.

Meanwhile, Riker and Shelby discuss traces the Borg leave behind- special magnetic resonances that were found both on the Enterprise after the slice of hull was taken out, and from the Neutral Zone outposts- a Borg "footprint," if you will. Shelby starts trying to co-opt the away team authority, but Riker quickly reasserts command before the two leave. She tells Riker that, since she thought he was leaving, she's after his job. Later, at the poker game (in attendance: Riker, Shelby, Data, Geordi, Troi, and Wesley), Wes falls for Riker's bluff, but Shelby doesn't- and wins handily.

The next morning (the away team was scheduled to leave at dawn), Riker and Geordi go to the transporter room, only to have O'Brien inform him that Shelby and Data have already been down on the surface for an hour. The two beam down, and an exceedingly annoyed Riker pulls Shelby aside to talk. She tells him that she got word a storm system was moving in, and wanted to get her readings before it hit. After Riker tells her to notify him before changing his orders, he hears her report: she found the footprint. It is the Borg.

Stardate 43993.5: Hansen is now back with Starfleet Command to plan, and Shelby has remained on board. Riker tells Picard what he's done so far (ordered a standing Yellow Alert, and warned all ships & outposts on the perimeter), and the conversation turns to Shelby. After hearing a few of Riker's gripes, Picard points out that her ambition reminds him of how Riker was when he first came on board. He then asks, suddenly, "Will- what the hell are you still doing here?", and when he hears Will has turned down the U.S.S. Melbourne because he feels he's needed here, "particularly now," says, "Starfleet needs good captains- particularly now," asks him to look at his career objectively, and reassures him he's ready to "work without a net." Riker talks to Troi in 10-Forward, concerned that he's lost something in coming on board. Troi says she thinks he's just older and wiser, and says he's happier here than she's ever known him. She tells him it all comes down to one question: "What do you want, Will Riker?"

A little later, Shelby starts discussing redundancies in the Borg systems, and includes the unnerving statistic that the ship could probably still function with up to 78% of the ship completely inoperable. Any new weapons systems will take at least 18 months to develop, and modifications here may be possible, but right now Geordi and Wes are too tired to think about it. Riker breaks up the meeting until the next morning, and when Shelby asks to continue working with Data (who doesn't, after all, need rest), Riker points out that SHE does, and sends her packing.

The next day, Hansen calls- the ship Lalo sent a distress call, describing an encounter with a "cubical" ship (clearly the Borg), and have not been heard from since. All help other than the Enterprise is still 6 days away, but the Enterprise is only 77 minutes away at Warp 9, and they head there, as Geordi starts working with his plan to retune shield harmonics and phasers to better bands in the EM spectrum to confuse the Borg ("just a shot in the dark." he says). About 77 minutes later, they find the ship, and Picard tells Data, "send a message to Admiral Hansen- we have engaged the Borg."

The Borg, amazingly, hail Picard specifically. (It appears that it may well be the same ship they encountered before.) When the Enterprise answers, the Borg (again, speaking only as the collective- throughout the entire episode, we never see one single Borg speak, only the entire ship) demand he beam over to them, and say that if he resists, the Enterprise will be destroyed. Picard, of course, refuses, and bluffs about the strength of their "new defenses." The Borg start probing, and Geordi retunes the shields- miraculously, the tractor beam does not manage to lock on. The Enterprise locks weapons, but the Borg quickly adapt to the new shields, drain them, and lock on the tractor beam. After initial shots fail and they still can't move, a beam from the Borg slices into the Enterprise at Engineering, which Geordi is forced to evacuate. Shelby orders Data to fire while continually modulating the phasers, not giving the Borg time to adapt. This proves successful, and the tractor beam is broken. Picard orders Warp 9 away from the beast (no conference this time!!), and the Borg pursue.

The Enterprise enters the Paulson Nebula and drop to impulse- the nebula, they hope, will confuse the Borg sensors. When Worf reports that they cannot be located, but that the Borg are still trying, Picard says, "Good. As long as they're looking for us, they won't chase anyone else." As repairs of the hull breach in Engineering continue, Shelby and company analyze the earlier battle. They find that the Borg appear slightly vulnerable to one particular frequency band, and realize that they might manage to cripple or even destroy the ship in that band- but they need far more power than they can channel through phasers or photon torpedoes to do it. The only thing they can use to channel that much power is the deflection dish, and unless they can increase its range, the explosion would take out the Enterprise as well. Geordi and Wes get to work on that (and on retuning all the phasers, even hand phasers, to that band), and Shelby makes the additional recommendation to separate the saucer, to give the Borg two targets to worry about. Riker says they may need the saucer, and dismisses the plan as too risky, but assures Shelby that he will present all options to Picard.

Unfortunately, when he goes into Picard's ready room to talk to him a few minutes later, Shelby's already there. While Picard agrees with Riker that the plan is too risky to try now, he orders Riker to prepare for it as a fallback option. Both Riker and Shelby leave, but Riker holds the lift long enough to tell Shelby, "you do an end run around me again, and I'll snap you back so hard you'll think you're a first-year cadet again." Not mincing words, she tells Riker that he's in her way, and that the only thing he knows how to do is play it safe.

Stardate 43996.2: They're still hiding in the dust cloud, and Picard is mulling over the possibility that none of their defenses will be adequate. He talks to Guinan in 10-Forward, concerned that this may be the end of his civilization's page in history, and Guinan assures him that humanity will prevail, even if it takes a millenium. Suddenly, a Red Alert is sounded- the Borg are sending magnetic charges into the nebula, essentially mining it. Shields are only back up to 48%, but with no other options, Picard orders the ship out (at half-impulse, with a sudden jump up to Warp 9 once they're out).

The chase lasts only seconds, and the Borg immediately knock the Enterprise dead in the water. One Borg beams aboard and is shot down by Worf, then two more appear. Both have shields, and while the first effortlessly tosses Riker and Worf around the bridge, the second affixes some sort of device to Picard- and then the two beam back with him (leaving the first one to disintegrate). The Borg disengage, and leave at warp 9, quickly moving to 9.4, then 9.6. While the Enterprise pursues, Worf tells Riker the Borg's course will take them to "Sector 001- the Terran system." Yep...they're coming straight for Earth.

Meanwhile, Picard is taken to a central area of the Borg ship, where he is told that humanity will be assimilated, biologically and technologically, into the Borg culture, and will be adapted to "service" the Borg. When Picard says it's impossible, because his culture is based on freedom and self-determination, the Borg reply, "Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply." When he says they'd rather die, the reply is "Death is irrelevant." (Brr...) They then tell him that, to more easily begin the assimilation, they require a human voice to speak for them in all communications: and Picard's the only candidate.

Some time later (I'm assuming a couple of days, due to the stardate given in a later scene), the Enterprise can only maintain pursuit at that speed for another 2 hours 40 minutes- and with the deflector burst not yet ready (Geordi thinks he might have it in 2 hours), they realize they must get the Borg out of warp. Riker orders an away team to beam over to the Borg ship for some sabotage, and plans to lead it, but is forced to relinquish it to Shelby when Troi reminds him that, as Acting Captain in a wartime situation, his place is most assuredly the bridge.

Stardate 43998.5: Shelby, Data, Worf, and Beverly (there in case Picard needs medical help) prepare to beam over. Each phaser is tuned to a different frequency, but Shelby warns them that they still will probably only get 1-2 shots apiece before the Borg adapt. They beam over, and are ignored just as they were more than a year before. Signs of human life are inconclusive, and they begin searching for Picard. Bev finds a power conduit, and although it's obvious they'll never be able to take out enough equipment to force the Borg out of warp, Bev suggests the mosquito analogy- sting them in a tender spot, and perhaps they'll stop to scratch. They decide to take out several distribution nodes, but before they do so, Worf picks up Picard's communicator signal and the team heads for it.

With 22 minutes of pursuit left, Riker talks to Admiral Hansen, strongly urging that all ships be redeployed to defend sector 001. Hansen says they're regrouping to make their stand at Wolf- 359. Meanwhile, the away team enters what looks like the Borg nursery, and finds only Picard's uniform, with communicator still attached. They continue the search, as Geordi and Wes tell Riker that the deflector burst is in business- but it will completely burn out the main deflector, and they will need to evacuate the entire forward half of the secondary hull and the lower three decks of the saucer due to radiation threats.

With 17 minutes left, and Picard not yet found, the team has no choice but to start taking out the distribution nodes. They take out three, and as the ship drops out of warp (allowing the Enterprise to begin channeling that power to the dish and arming it), the Borg converge. Six Borg are taken out before they adapt to the new phasers, and the team prepares to beam back.

Suddenly, Beverly sees Picard in profile (the right half of his face, as you'd see if you were facing him) and says, "Jean-Luc!" He slowly turns, and the team sees with horror that he has been altered- into a Borg himself. Worf tries to grab him, but is repelled by a force-field. The team is forced to beam back empty-handed.

They tell Riker what's happened, and Geordi says the Borg ship is already beginning to regenerate. Riker tells them to prepare to fire. When Bev objects, saying that Picard is alive, and she might be able to reverse the process, he says there's no time. Finally, the Borg hail the Enterprise. We (and the bridge) see Picard slowly walking up to the screen, and he says, "I am Locutus, of Borg. Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over. From this time forward, you will service...US." After several stunned reaction shots, the camera closes in on Riker as he says, "Mister Worf- fire." Fade out, and the screen says:


Highlight Listing:
"The Best of Both Worlds." The evil Borg capture Picard in an attempt to conquer the human race.
Advertising Headline:
SEASON FINALE! Will the evil Borg use Picard to conquer the human race?
TV log listing:
The evil Borg capture Picard on Season Finale!/ STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION

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Andrew Tong

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