***** (5 stars out of 5)
The New Providence Colony on Jouret IV is a smoking crater without the smoke. 'As though some great force had just scooped it off the planet.' And I think we know whose catch-phrase that is...
Tacticians Admiral Hansen and Lt. Commander Shelby show up to describe Starfleet's Borg preparedness procedures. They amount to: We Ain't. A year of great ideas for weapons are still on the drawing board. Earth's pants are very much still around its ankles.
Riker has been offered the Captaincy of the Melbourne and Shelby is gunning for his first officer chair. She's a real go-getter and Riker literally would have to get up pretty early in the morning to out-do her. (I said OUT-do. They're not bumping uglies.)
Riker barks at her for being an eager beaver, then wonders what happened to the ambitious, risk-taking guy HE used to be. He already turned the Melbourne down and wonders aloud to Troi what he's become. Troi tells him.
"'Seasoned?' That's a horrible thing to say to a man." But better than extra-crispy, like everyone else who runs across the Borg.
While Riker is making Shelby rest and take a Ritalin hypospray, the starship Lalo reports seeing a cube and disappears.
Enterprise is next to hear the hellish choir of the Borg. Their best new phaser and shield frequencies are to no avail, unless you count good enough to allow them to escape into the Paulson Nebula with only a dozen dead.
Guinan and Picard discuss hopeless battles. How Nelson died at Trafalgar but the battle was won. How the Roman Empire fell to the Visigoths. How Guinan's people were scattered, but survive as long as a few lived to keep their spirit alive.
The Borg start shelling the nebula and drive the starship out. Drones infiltrate the bridge and steal the Captain. Riker chases the cube toward Sector 001, The Terran System. Maybe you've heard of it.
"I will resist you with my last ounce of strength."
"Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own."
Oh, freedom, self-determination, and death are irrelevant, too.
Picard was chosen as the voice of the Borg because of his archaic authority driven culture. And because he drives a Pontiac.
Hansen is moving a fleet to Wolf 359 in an attempt to head the cube off at the pass.
Geordi, Wes, and Data are modifying the deflector dish into a weapon. Shelby leads an away team into the cube to grab Picard back. He has been transformed into a Borg called Locutus.
"From this time forward, you will service us."
Riker takes the risk after all and points the deflector Captain-wards. "Mr. Worf- Fire."
"The Best of Both Worlds Part I" led into the longest wait of my young life. A whole summer wondering what, what, WHAT could possibly happen next! It also led to the first 'Star Trek' story I ever wrote, as I tried to envision Part II. As I recall, the deflector shot hulled the Borg and Riker flew the whole ship inside the cube to beam the Captain out. Crusher worked to restore Picard while Shelby died in command of the battle section for victory with the fleet.
My version had the benefit of brevity, a lax attitude toward grammar, an unlimited budget, and very little dramatic tension in returning everything to the status quo. Still, it's true what they say. You never forget your first time.