(written from a Production point of view)
- "Stardate 41903.2. The past. A colony world in sector 3-0 of the Federation-Romulan Neutral Zone."
A young girl is sitting and playing with a ball outside of her home when a tall female Borg approaches her. The little girl innocently asks if the creature will play with her. The Borg responds in the negative and injects her with nanoprobes.
- "Stardate 56344.5. Now. The USS Maverick."
The Maverick finds itself in a nebula. Captain Hanley is at the helm and with the subsiding of subspace distortions, he commands a course to Earth to inform Starfleet of the results of their tests, as the distortions are being detected all over the galaxy. As they go to warp, the ship explodes.
Elsewhere, aboard the USS Courageous, Captain Walia is informed of a distress signal from the Pollux. As they bring it up on screen, the ship is hit with a large blast, destroying the entire saucer section.
On the USS Enterprise-E, Commander La Forge reports that dilithium samples in an asteroid field are exhibiting molecular instability. Picard orders them to return from the asteroid and leave the samples behind. As the away team beams back, Borg injection tubules burst from their skin. In sickbay, Dr. Crusher reports that the implants seem wild and random and that La Forge is the only one to survive from the away team because he already had cybernetic implants, and the Borg implants simply adapted to match them. She suggests that since they're Federation implants, they should be able to reverse the process, but Picard turns her down, noting that La Forge is their only link to the Collective.
Data sits beside La Forge and begins talking to him, but when he uses his own name, La Forge reacts violently, as his eyes are reading the Borg hive mind as raw binary data. Picard tells him to concentrate and find out what the Borg are planning when an injection tubule bursts from La Forge's forearm and implants itself in Data's eye. Data notes that La Forge is sending him data streams of information and says "I think you are all about to die."
Admiral Janeway is giving a briefing on a time wave traveling from the future to the past and explains that it seems to be rewriting Borg history. This is what has been setting off the distortions throughout subspace. Captain Amasov questions her and she explains that the aftershocks happen ahead of the wave as it moves backward through time. Picard interrupts to note that this burst of temporal energy is rewriting history to ensure that all species are born as Borg by assimilating their DNA. This is being done because a species can only be perfect if it is perfect at the beginning and they are trying to assimilate their past.
Janeway's response is to invoke the "Locutus Protocols." Developed after the Battle of Wolf 359, and updated after the Borg's attempt to interfere with First Contact with the Vulcans, they were expanded to anticipate time waves. They involve detonating a transwarp core inside a pulsar to neutralize the tachyon wave.
In his chambers, Picard cannot sleep and, lost in thought, begins to remember a chess match with Guinan. He comments that it is no use playing with someone that can see the future. She responds by telling him that the problem is that his game is not adapting. She points out that they were never able to anticipate the Borg's assimilation due to the fact that the Borg were not pieces on the board at the time and seeing the future is about knowing where to look. As she tells him that he has lost his Queen, she morphs inside his memory into the Borg Queen. The Queen tells him that Locutus was a failed experiment, and that any event he plans is something that is history to the Borg of the future, and that since the El-Aurians were part of the Borg when he was assimilated, he can see this, and knows how it will all end. As he stares at himself in the bathroom mirror, he sees the reflection of Locutus, realizes what must be done, and contacts Janeway.
After explaining his plan to her, she turns him down. He continues to argue his case, suggesting that she let him attempt one solution that rethreads the future rather than the past, so that both the Borg and Federation survive. He questions the morality of a solution that could erase the Borg from existence. She seems surprised at this, noting that his opinion used to be different. He responds by noting that his views are adapting.
The Enterprise is allowed to attempt his plan, and enters through a whirlpool in space-time, and upon their exit encounter a Borg Hypercube. The Borg begin to board the ship, transporting through the ship's shields. The Borg from the future have assimilated Species 8472 and are beginning to take over the ship with ease. The Borg are shutting down all escape from the ship, but have left one route open. La Forge tells Picard that he can beam him through, but that there is a group of ten drones attacking an outpost. Data interrupts and tells them that the future Borg have all been in units of two, three, five, and seven, all prime numbers. Picard tells them to scan for an eleventh drone, away from the group of ten down at the outpost.
He beams down to that location, near the little girl playing with her ball. The Borg female seems surprised to see Locutus, but tells him that the wave was created by the Omega molecule and is unstoppable, despite their counter wave. Picard counters with a calm attitude, agreeing that the Borg will achieve perfection – it is inevitable. Despite this, the Borg continue to assimilate, and will assimilate the young girl. The drone tells him that the girl will become the Borg Queen that conceives of the time wave. Picard asks why she must be assimilated if the wave cannot be stopped. Soon enough, history will have been rewritten, and she will be born into the Collective. He tells them that they can see into the future without an issue, but that the more history they rewrite, the harder it becomes for them to see the past.
The Borg female attacks, telling him that he will be assimilated. He stands and takes the nanoprobe injections, stating that the Queen can hear him and that the Borg's desires to rewrite their past are irrelevant, that the universe has its own momentum that cannot be stopped and that resistance to it is futile. The Borg's attempt it not efficient or logical and the Borg must adapt.
The Borg drone withdraws her injections and tells Picard that he can keep the young girl, as her plan is flawed. The drone tells him that the Borg will yet add him to their Collective when he has transcended imperfection. She beams away, and the young girl asks if Picard will play with her. He picks up her ball and simply says "yes."
"That's the trick about seeing the future. You still need to know where to look."
- - Guinan, explaining how she predicts the future
"You are losing your past, because you are acting against your nature. It is not in the Borg's nature to alter the universe around it."
- - Picard, to the Borg
"To attempt to change your history is not efficient. It is not logical. You know what the Borg must do. It is what you always have done. You… must… adapt."
- - Picard, figuring out the true nature of the problem with the Borg
"You may keep the girl. Her plan is flawed."
"And my ship?"
"We will return it to you. As captain, you have unique qualities that we will add to our distinctiveness when they have transcended their imperfection. You are not yet Locutus. But you will be."
- - Female Borg drone and Picard, after the situation is resolved
- The subtitle of this story is "Past Imperfect".
- This issue was originally to be written by Steve Niles.
- A limited retailer incentive photo cover was also released for this issue.
- The main timeline of the story takes place after the events of Star Trek: Insurrection, and after the return of USS Voyager from the Delta Quadrant. The "past" segment of the story takes place between TNG: "Conspiracy" and "The Neutral Zone".
- The IDW online store lists this issue as being released 18 January 2008.
- The issue sold an estimated 8,412 copies in comic specialty stores in January 2008.  These figures do not cover copies sold outside the direct market (such as in bookstores, etc.).
- Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
- Special thanks to Paula Block of CBS Consumer Products for her invaluable assistance.
- Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in IDW TNG characters.
- Jean-Luc Picard
- Captain of the USS Enterprise-E.
- Beverly Crusher
- Doctor aboard the USS Enterprise-E.
- William T. Riker
- First officer aboard the USS Enterprise-E.
- Deanna Troi
- Councilor on the USS Enterprise-E.
- Android officer on the USS Enterprise-E.
- Geordi La Forge
- Engineer aboard the USS Enterprise-E.
- Guest/bartender aboard the USS Enterprise-E.
- Kathryn Janeway
- Admiral in Starfleet.
- Captain in Starfleet.
- Borg Queen
- The Borg Queen encountered by Locutus of Borg.
- Young girl
- Future Borg Queen.
- 11 of 11
- Borg drone from the future.
- Captain of the USS Maverick.
- Captain of the USS Courageous.
- Security officer on the USS Enterprise-E. Assimilated.
|Previous issue:||Series||Next issue:|
|#4: "Alien Spotlight: Orions"||Alien Spotlight volume 1||#6: "Alien Spotlight: Romulans"|