Star Trek: First Contact (Paramount Pictures, 1996; see also 1996 in film), is the eighth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. In it, the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation again encounter their adversaries, the Borg, and this time attempt to prevent the Borg from changing history by conquering the Earth of the 21st century through the use of time travel. The film is directed by Jonathan Frakes from a script by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore, with music composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
Following the destruction of the Enterprise-D in Star Trek: Generations, the bridge crew, with the exception of Worf, was transferred to a new Sovereign class starship, the USS Enterprise-E. Shortly before the beginning of the film, a Borg cube ship has entered Federation space on a course for Earth; the Enterprise has been assigned to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone during this. Due to Captain Picard's past experience with the Borg, administration considered him too unstable to lead a ship into battle against them.
At the beginning of the storyline, Picard chooses to disobey his orders and takes the ship to Earth, where the Starfleet contingent has met the Borg (see Battle of Sector 001). Upon arriving, the Enterprise takes part in the fighting and transports aboard survivors from the heavily damaged USS Defiant, including its commanding officer, Cmdr. Worf. The cube ship is defeated by the fleet, but shortly before its destruction ejects a sphere ship, which the Enterprise pursues. The sphere heads toward Earth and opens and travels through a tunnel through time, through which the ship follows. The two arrive in 2063, and the Borg ship begins to fire on a camp in the northwest region of the former United States. The Enterprise destroys the sphere; however, unknown at this time, a number of Borg drones, including the Borg Queen, managed to transport into Jeffries tubes in the ship's engineering section.
Picard, realizing that the Borg were attempting to destroy the Phoenix, Earth's first warp-capable vessel, has an away team, including himself, transport in civilian clothes to the missile silo housing it. La Forge and an engineering team work on the damaged vessel while Riker attempts to convince Zefram Cochrane, designer and pilot of the ship, to go through with the flight tomorrow, knowing that the time of his warp test is imperative to establishing first contact with the Vulcans. At the same time, Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher return to the Enterprise with Lily Sloane, Cochrane's assistant, who was severely injured in the attack.
Meanwhile, the Borg begin to assimilate the equipment and crewmembers that they come upon, taking over main engineering and moving upward through the decks. Realizing their presence, Picard leads the remaining officers against the Borg, during which Data is taken by the Borg and Picard encounters Lily in a Jeffries tube, whom he informs as to what's happening. The two flee from a group of drones and take refuge in a holodeck, which Picard loads with a scene from a Dixon Hill holonovel in a crowded nightclub and configures with all safeties off. He then obtains a Tommy gun and kills the Borg with it; his manner indicates to us and Lily his great hatred for the Borg. He takes a chip from within a drone which stores the matters on the collective's schedule.
The two return to the rest of the crew and find that the Borg are building a communications antenna on the Enterprise's navigational deflector to call for assistance from the Borg of this time. Picard, Worf, and a Lieutenant Hawk don spacesuits and magnetic boots and venture out on to the hull armed with phaser rifles. They make their way to the deflector dish and begin to switch on the three manual controls that release the central part of the dish. During this, the drones building the antenna begin to move against the three. They manage to assimilate Hawk. Picard moves over to Hawk's control and activates it while Worf kills Hawk. The released plate, carrying several Borg and the antenna, begins to move away from the Enterprise and is destroyed with a rifle when a safe distance away.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix has been repaired and Cochrane convinced to make the attempt. The vessel is launched on April 5, 2063 as it is supposed to be and exits Earth's gravity well without incident.
On the Enterprise, the Borg have continued to climb upward. Worf advocates setting the ship's self-destruct function and leaving in lifeboats. Picard refuses to allow the Borg to cause the loss of the Enterprise. The two argue this heatedly until Lily convinces Picard that his hate of the Borg is clouding his reasoning. He agrees to destroying the ship. As the crew are abandoning the ship, he doesn't join them, instead going down into engineering to recover Data.
Meanwhile, Data has been taken to the Borg queen, who has been attempting to entice him to join her through replacing pieces of his skin with human skin and connecting them to his nervous system, literally helping him in his goal of becoming human. When Picard enters main engineering, the Borg queen says that Data may leave with him if he wishes; Data refuses. The queen then has Data deactivate the self-destruct program, which he does, and fire on the Phoenix; he fires, deliberately missing the Phoenix, however, and then kills the queen by breaking open a tube carrying a coolant that dissolves organic tissue on contact. The death of the queen causes the collective onboard the ship to fail. Picard saves himself by climbing up on tubes dangling from the ceiling until the gas has drained from the room. Data, his patches of real skin gone, reveals that he had not long considered her offer.
The Phoenix test is a success. Shortly after Cochrane returns, the Vulcan survey ship T'plana'hath lands in the camp to make first contact with humans, having detected the warp signature from the Phoenix. The Enterprise crew returns to the ship, and it returns to its own time using the means that the sphere ship did.
In an ironic twist, Captain Picard is unfavorably compared to Captain Ahab from the novel Moby Dick by Lily during his tirade against the invading Borg; Patrick Stewart would go on to play Captain Ahab in a made-for-television adaptation of the novel in 1998.
"First Contact" is also the name of an episode from the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Official Star Trek: First Contact web site (http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/series/MOV/008/index.html)
- Star Trek: First Contact (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117731/) at the Internet Movie Database
- "Star Trek: First Contact (http://www.memory-alpha.org/en/index.php/Star_Trek:_First_Contact)" article at Memory Alpha, a Star Trek wiki
- Star Trek: First Contact information at TREKPULSE.com (http://movies.trekpulse.com/firstcontact/)