Although the invading Borg cube was eventually destroyed by a fleet of Starfleet vessels, one Borg sphere managed to escape on a direct heading towards Earth. Hawk piloted the Enterprise in pursuit of the sphere which subsequently created a temporal vortex through the controlled emission of chronometric particles. On the instruction of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Hawk piloted the ship into the vortex where it emerged in the year 2063.
The Enterprise was able to destroy the sphere but not before a group of Borg drones were able to transport aboard and begin efforts to take over the ship. Along with Captain Picard and Lieutenant Commander Worf, Hawk attempted to prevent the Borg from transforming the Enterprise's deflector dish into an interplexing beacon which would have allowed them to make contact with the 21st century Borg living in the Delta Quadrant.
As the three of them attempted to release all three maglocks in order to disengage the dish from the ship, they came under attack from drones, the first drone he was able to nullify with his phaser rifle, however, the second drone was able to subdue Hawk by dragging him over the side of the ship's hull before he could release his maglock. Hawk was subsequently assimilated into a drone and set about trying to stop Picard from releasing the last maglock.
During his attempt to shatter the faceplate of Picard's EV suit, he was shot and killed by the phaser rifle wielded by Lieutenant Commander Worf. His body then drifted off the hull and into space. (Star Trek: First Contact)
Rumors circulated during production of First Contact, and even reported in main stream publications, that the character of Hawk was gay. No reference is made to this in the finished film and the producers have since denied the rumors. The character was, however, later shown to be gay in a number of non-canon novels.     
A fan of Star Trek, McDonough always wanted to play a role in the series, even if it was only a small one. "I’ve always wanted to be in Star Trek in some way. I’m such a big fan that I would just stand in the background for one of the movies if they asked me." he said. "They had been searching and searching for somebody to play Hawk. I was shooting a movie in Arizona and when I went in to audition for the role I had just arrived back in town and hadn’t slept in almost twenty-four hours. I got in there and I just nailed it." The casting staff were so impressed by McDonough's performance that they offered him the role there and then. 
McDonough was so excited about getting the role that he turned up to the set early before everyone else had arrived. "I got dressed in my Starfleet uniform and walked on the set. There I was standing alone and thinking, ‘Wow!’ Not only was it film history but I was going to be on Star Trek, something I’ve really enjoyed all my life." 
As a newcomer to the franchise, the regular cast made McDonough go through an initiation ritual. "Because I was the only one with the tight-fitting suit - everybody else wore these baggy suits - and this Greco-Roman haircut kind of thing going on, they called me Studbuck on the set." he recalled, "Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and all the other guys never hesitated to belittle me in front of everybody. It was the, ‘Oh, it’s young Studbuck,’ kind of thing. This started on the first day, so I knew that since these guys were making fun of me right from the start they must have really liked me." 
For the zero-gravity "space walk" scene on the ship's hull, the actors were made to put lead weights in the bottom of their footwear to make their performance look more realistic. "I remember turning to Patrick and saying, ‘We’re actors. Do they realize that we can fake it?" McDonough recalled. "Instead, we walked around for two weeks with all these weights in our boots." Despite being uncomfortable during the scene, McDonough admitted he had a "lot of fun". 
Originally, a stunt man was to be used in the scene where Hawk (as a drone) is thrown off the hull of the Enterprise but McDonough couldn't resist doing it himself. "I grab Patrick, punch him and then throw him on the floor." he recalled. "I’m just about to take my foot and plant it in his face when Worf blows me into outer space. They had stunt men all over the place and I said, ‘No, I’m doing this. I am the Star Trek man now. There’s no way that anyone else but me is going to fly through the air wearing this flying harness.’ I had such a great time." 
In the first draft script of First Contact, Hawk is a young and inexperienced ensign and part of the security team lead by Worf to investigate the Borg's foothold on Deck 47. Nervous, he steps on a piece of Borg technology, causing it to make a sound. As the team progress down the corridor, Hawk takes up the rear but as he becomes momentarily distracted by something in the darkness, a "bio-mechanistic cable" creeps out of the wall and wraps itself around his neck, pulling him backwards into a bed of Borg circuitry. He is not mentioned again, suggesting he either died or was assimilated. 
Hawk has featured in a number of non-canon works.
The video game Star Trek: Starship Creator gives Hawk's first name as "Neal" and reveals that he was born in 2346 in Sunnyvale, California to parents Gwyneth and Ethan who are residents of Risa. He has a brother named Kamey. His biography goes onto say that he graduated from Starfleet Academy in the 88th percentile in 2368 with his first posting as security officer on the USS Lancaster. He is described as having volunteered for nearly every away mission requiring a security officer, always the first to request hazardous duty and the last to request beam-out. According to the game, he was severely wounded by a disruptor blast he sustained while shielding Federation Ambassador Louis Caggiano during an assassination attempt on Kasperia Prime, in 2369, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. In 2370, he was assigned to the USS Enterprise-D as relief conn officer with promotion to lieutenant junior grade. Two years later, after the destruction of the Enterprise-D, Hawk was made senior conn officer on the Enterprise-E where he was promoted to lieutenant on the recommendation of Commander William Riker. His biography also reveals that Hawk was awarded seven citations for bravery between 2368 and 2373.
Hawk is also featured heavily in the Star Trek: Section 31 novel Rogue which gives his full name as Sean Liam Hawk and reveals that he was born in Bradbury City, Mars as the third son of Camille (β) and Rhyst Hawk (β). His brothers were named Darey (β) and Jason Hawk (β). Hawk entered Starfleet Academy as soon as he was old enough, excelling academically, leading his instructors to believe he had a photographic memory. During his time at the Academy, Hawk was recognized for his athletic and interpersonal skills. It goes on to show a romantic relationship between Hawk and a fellow cadet named Logan (β) with whom he has a year long relationship. However, after their graduation, they are separated after being assigned to different vessels. Not long after, Logan perishes when his ship, the USS Barbados (β), is destroyed in a fight with Cardassian forces. According to Rogue, Hawk's first assignment is aboard the USS Yorktown (β) under the command of Captain Kentrav (β). In 2371, while on shore leave on Risa, Hawk decides to explore a crystal cave. While climbing, he loses his footing and falls. After breaking a leg, he is noticed by fellow Starfleet officer Ranul Keru (β) who carries Hawk to a medic. The two of them later go to dinner, beginning a romantic relationship. Hawk later becomes embroiled in a Section 31 plot involving the Romulan Star Empire and comes to the conclusion that the secretive organization is willing to cross too many lines to achieve their goals and reveals them to Captain Picard. The novel states Hawk earned twenty-three separate commendations from his superiors.
The Slings and Arrows eBook A Sea of Troubles documents Hawk's attendance at the advanced training flight school on Jupiter Station, where he finishes first in his class. One of his classmates is Dan Duvall (β) with whom he forms a friendly but competitive relationship. Following this, Hawk transfers to San Francisco Fleet Yards where he works on the construction of a Sovereign-class starship that would later be named Enterprise. Later in the story, Hawk is reunited with an old friend Linda Addison (β) who is assigned to the Enterprise-E as chief of security however he discovers she is actually a Changeling infiltrator who murdered the real Addison and hid her body on Vulcan. Captain Picard makes Hawk the ship's acting chief of security, placing him in charge of capturing the Changeling.
In the sequel titled The Oppressor's Wrong Hawk pilots a shuttlecraft through an asteroid field with Lieutenant Padraig Daniels (β) in order to apprehend Captain Ishmael Snowden (β) who is responsible for the murder of an Admiral Eric Hahn (β) and the bombing of Starbase 375 in support of the attempted coup instigated by Admiral James Leyton, in 2372.
In Enterprises of Great Pitch and Moment, Hawk and Keru attend a theater performance directed by Doctor Beverly Crusher. After a great deal of badgering during their dinner, Keru manages to talk Hawk into trying out for a role in the next performance. The following day, Hawk expertly navigates the Enterprise through the Badlands to rescue Captains Jean-Luc Picard and Benjamin Sisko from a trap set by rogue members of the Klingon High Council.
The Strange New Worlds short-story A Private Victory recounts Hawk's assimilation by the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact. Though the assimilation isn't completed, Hawk falls under the control of the collective which gives him the designation "1701-E 587M". Unable to resist their instructions, Hawk tries to kill Captain Picard, but he is shot by Lieutenant Commander Worf before he can. The pain from the injury momentarily disrupts his connection to the Collective and he is able to regain enough control to deactivate his mag-boots, thereby allowing his body to drift away from the ship. With the growing distance, Hawk is disconnected from the Collective and he is able to take one final look at the Enterprise before dying with a free mind.
In the Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel Unjoined, Hawk's partner Ranul Keru still has not fully accepted his death, feeling that Hawk could have been saved. Hawk returns to him in the form of dreams to comfort his coping loved one. This is picked up again in the Star Trek: Titan novel Taking Wing.
According to the short story "Seeing Forever" Hawk's first name is Ren, he grew up in Utah and he is the son of archaeologist Abram Hawk.