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Cutting beam

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Borg cutting beam

The Borg cube cutting beam slicing a hole in the USS Enterprise-D hull

A cutting beam was a beam of directed laser energy which was used to perform a cutting function.

Borg starships were known to have the ability to generate cutting beams of great power, strong enough to slice sections of a starship, or even a planet, open with great precision. In conjunction with the Borg tractor beam, their cutting beams were used to "scoop" pieces of starships or cities for assimilation by Borg drones and collectives. (ENT: "Regeneration"; TNG: "Q Who", "The Best of Both Worlds", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")

The Borg used a cutting beam during their attack on the Tarkalean freighter but were attacked by Enterprise NX-01. Later, they also tried to perform the cutting beam on the hull of Enterprise until the ship was able to destroy the assimilated and upgraded Arctic One-type transport Arctic One. (ENT: "Regeneration")

In the final draft script of "Regeneration", this type of beam was referred to as a "particle beam". However, it is given no name in the episode.
According to writer Mike Sussman, the visual effect of the cutting beam was scripted to be like the effect in "The Best of Both Worlds" but cutting out the core was too expensive. ("Regeneration" audio commentary, ENT Season 2 Blu-ray special features)

The USS Melbourne's saucer section was destroyed by a Borg cutting beam at the Battle of Wolf 359. The USS Saratoga was also hit by a cutting beam, suffering severe damage resulting in a warp core breach. During the battle, it was demonstrated that the cutting beam could also disintegrate large portions of enemy vessels rather than simply cutting into them, as occurred with the saucer section of the Melbourne. (DS9: "Emissary")

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