The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion: Revised Edition : The Next Generation Companion
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
January 06, 2003
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Excerpt from The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion: Revised Edition by Larry Nemecek
Star Trek:First Contact In February 1995, word arrived from the studio to ready a newStar Trekfeature for a 1996 holiday release. "We were standing outside on the Hart Building steps," Moore recalls. "Rick had just come back from that studio meeting, and Brannon and I were on our way out and Rick stopped us and he said, 'I really want you guys to think about it -- you don't have to -- I want to do a time-travel piece.' Brannon and I added, 'We want to do something with the Borg.' And right on the spot, we said maybe we can do both, the Borg and time travel."Why the Borg? Moore felt that the Borg deserved the scope a feature-film budget would allow. "The Borg were really liked by the fans, and we liked them. They were fearsome. They were unstoppable. Perfect foils for a feature story."Immediately it became clear that the time-travel element could play out as the Borg try to prevent humanity from ever reaching space. But when? Berman suggested the Renaissance: the Borg would prevent the dawning of modern European civilization.In a story draft calledStar Trek: Renaissance,the Borg are tracked by our crew to a castle basement and their colonizing hive. Moore explains, "And you would have sword fights and phaser fights mixed together, in fifteenth-century Europe." The Data story would have him signing on as the apprentice to Leonardo da Vinci. Of Renaissance Moore said, "It risked becoming really campy and over-the-top.""The one image that I brought to the table," recalled Braga, "is the image of the Vulcans coming out of the ship. I wanted to see the birth ofStar Trek.We ended up coming back to that moment. That, to me, is what made the time-travel story fresh. We get to see what happened, when humans shook hands with their first aliens."AsStar Trek: Resurrectiontook form it told the story of time travel, provided an encounter with the Borg, and centered around the discovery of warp drive by Dr. Zefram Cochrane. Taking cues from several TNG stories, it was decided to place Cochrane in the mid-twenty-first century, in a non-urban site. Montana fit with continuity, and happens to be Braga's home state. This first script has the Borg attacking Cochrane's lab, which leaves the scientist comatose; that forces Picard to assume Cochrane's place and launch the warp shipPhoenix.A local photographer and X-ray tech named Ruby becomes the key to rebuilding a destroyed warp component. Dr. Crusher battles to save Cochrane, while admiration blossoms into romance between Ruby and Picard. However, it is Riker who leads the defense of theEnterpriseagainst the Borg.To underline the ever-increasing horror of how fast the Borg were assimilating theEnterpriseand its crew, the writers added a new insidious step to the process. Borg drones would inject a captured crew member, instantly making them part of the collective. However, early attempts to keep the collective faceless proved frustrating. "It always sounded better in concept than it was in trying to execute it dramatically," Moore recalled. After struggling to represent the Borg as a true collective, the writers knew they needed a single Borg character -- the hive needed a queen -- to serve as the focal point for dramatic interaction.Taking an objective look, the trio knew their story required work. "The things that worked through both drafts were the Borg action stuff, Cochrane, the Vulcan landing, Data and the queen," Braga recalled. "It just didn't make sense to us," Moore said, "that Picard, the one guy who has a history with the Borg, never meets them. He was on the surface during this whole thing while the Borg are upstairs fighting Riker, et al." A simple swap of the two heroes was called for; Picard's story moved to the ship, and the planet-based story was trimmed and told with a different tone. "Let's get simple. Bring Cochrane into the story," Moore explained. "Let's make him an i