Last time on Star Trek The Next Generation: "We have engaged the Borg."
Worst. Engagement Party. Ever. 'We registered at Dytallix and instead you infiltrated our minds and bodies with controlling mechanisms!'
Back to our story, already in progress: the deflector dish attack is a fizzle before it began. The Borg know everything Picard knows. Shakespeare, caviar, personal relaxation lights. All irrelevant.
The Enterprise blew out its navigational deflector for nothing and can't move until it's fixed. They miss out on the party at Wolf 359 where the Borg under Locutus destroy Hansen's Armada of 40 starships. The dead sparking husks include the one Riker might have been on. Again, terrible, terrible party.
Riker and Shelby get a single new collar pip each, while in the midst of sterile mechanical horror, Picard cries a single tear. Hey, it's his party, and he'll cry if he wants to.
Data and Dr. Crusher have a plan to introduce destructive nanites into the Borg, but it will take 2 to 3 weeks. As Troi points out: "In 2 to 3 weeks nanites may be all that's left of the Federation."
Guinan advises Captain Riker that his crew like him a lot, but are beyond demoralized.
"When a man is convinced he's going to die tomorrow he'll probably find a way to make it happen." She believes Riker must throw away the book Picard wrote and be a totally different Captain. "If he'd died this would be easier... they took him from us a piece at a time... Our relationship is beyond friendship, beyond family. And I will let him go... It's the only way to beat him. The only way to save him."
Riker calls Locutus to discuss terms for surrender. The Borg don't have any. Which is fine, Riker only wanted to ascertain his position. Shelby commands the saucer section while Riker darts around in the drive section. Shelby's antimatter attack is also a diversion so Worf and Data can sneak aboard from a shuttle and kidnap Locutus. O'Brien gets them out by transporter just ahead of the explosion.
Most fortunately, the Borg abandon their interest in Locutus as easily as they dreamed him up. They even remain linked to him, allowing the crew to make examinations. Whatever "multimodal reflection sorting" is, Data used it to discover a complex set of subspace frequencies on which the Borg group consciousness operates. While active, the Borg implants rewrite DNA and will resist Beverly's microsurgery. Yay, technobabble!
Worf assures Locutus the Klingons will never yield.
Locutus sounds disappointed in them. "Why do you resist? We only wish to raise quality of life for all species."
Worf expresses it nicely. "I like my species the way it is."
The cube slices through the Martian defence perimeter and zeros in on Earth.
Locutus thinks of Data as primitive and obsolete, but this doesn't stop the android from hacking the Borg. Picard's phenomenal will allows him to get a verbal message to Data: "Sleep"
Data sneaks a command through Locutus that causes all Borg on the cube to go nappy-nap. About time, too. Riker was about to ram them and end Season Four somewhat early.
When the cube recognizes it has been tricked, it explodes. Yay for our side! Did that seem too easy? Well, screw you then.
It's gonna take six weeks to fix the Enterprise in Station McKinley. Many thousands died. It will take a year to rebuild Starfleet. And Picard is haunted with a clear memory of every horrible moment of his ordeal.
"The Best of Both Worlds Part II" is amazing. I used to own the Galoob Die-Cast model of the Enterprise-D and I wore it out separating and reattaching that saucer section. Paint wore down, screws stripped so the engineering section clacked. Man, I loved that ship. Didn't make me want to BE a mechanism, though. We need nightmares like the Borg to make us think about the future. What do we REALLY want to become?