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Ensign Ro Laren
Prisoner on Jaros II
USS Enterprise-D helmsman
Lieutenant junior grade,
|Portrayed by||Michelle Forbes
Megan Parlen (child)
Ro Laren was also planned to be a main character in the following Star Trek television show, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The creators of Deep Space Nine wanted a strong-willed Bajoran character who would engender interpersonal conflict with the station's commander, Benjamin Sisko. However, Michelle Forbes turned down the role, so another Bajoran character named Kira Nerys was created instead.
Ro Laren appears as a recurring character in six episodes of The Next Generation's fifth season, and also appears in one episode of both season six and seven:
- "Ensign Ro" (Season Five)
- "Power Play"
- "Cause and Effect"
- "The Next Phase"
- "Rascals" (Season Six)
- "Preemptive Strike" (Season Seven)
Fictional character biography 
According to Bajoran tradition, her family name precedes her personal name. When she first joins the crew of the Enterprise-D, Picard addresses her as "Ensign Laren". She corrects him, saying that Laren is her given name and Ro is her family name. She is then referred to as "Ensign Ro."
Ro joins the crew as a troubled young Bajoran officer who had been court-martialled while serving on the USS Wellington, for disobeying orders on an away mission, resulting in eight deaths. She was imprisoned on Jaros II, but Admiral Kennelly gives her a second chance by assigning her to a mission alongside Picard and the Enterprise crew.
Once past her initial hostility, Ro forms friendships with several Enterprise crew members, including Ten Forward bar manager Guinan, Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge and Commander William Riker. As a Bajoran, she has a great dislike for Cardassians, as she was forced to watch them torture her father to death when she was a child. In the first episode in which she appears, entitled "Ensign Ro", she is given a full pardon in exchange for going on a secret mission to help stop dissident raids, in order to protect a treaty with Cardassia.
In "The Next Phase", Ro and La Forge are presumed dead after a transporter malfunction while returning from rescue operations on a disabled Romulan ship. Upon regaining consciousness, they discover they have become invisible and intangible to everyone but each other. At first, Ro believes they are dead, converted to a ghostlike existence, which awakens a number of Bajoran spiritual beliefs she thought she had abandoned decades earlier. By invisibly observing the crew of the Romulan vessel, Ro and La Forge soon discover that the accident, as well as the damage to the Romulan ship, is the result of a Romulan weapons test, and that the Romulans are now performing a subtle act of sabotage that will destroy the Enterprise-D the moment that ship accelerates to warp drive. After discovering and defeating a similarly-cloaked Romulan operative, Ro and La Forge find a way to alert the crew and return to normal, warning Picard and averting disaster.
In the episode "Rascals", Ro, Picard, Guinan, and Keiko O'Brien are transformed into adolescent versions of themselves, while retaining their adult intelligence. As children, they foil a Ferengi plot to steal the captured Enterprise and sell the crew as slave labor. During this episode, some of the unpleasant backstory of Ro's original childhood is revealed. The adolescent Ro is portrayed by Megan Parlen.
As Executive Officer, Commander Riker is a strict taskmaster toward the former convict while she struggles to earn his trust and respect. Their mutual animosity is forgotten, however, when they and the entire crew suffer forced amnesia in "Conundrum". Ro concludes the feelings she has toward Riker are those of passion and sexual familiarity, and invites herself to his quarters. "I have this funny feeling that I spend most of my off hours here," Ro explains to Riker before seducing him. When their memories are restored, Counselor (LtCmdr) Troi explains that the pair likely always had sexual attraction toward each other.
In her final episode, entitled "Preemptive Strike", the newly-promoted Lieutenant Ro is asked by Starfleet to infiltrate the rebel Maquis, who are undermining the Federation treaty with Cardassia. During the mission she finds her loyalties in conflict with her duties as she becomes increasingly sympathetic to the plight of the Maquis. Despite Picard's effort to force her to do her duty, in the end, she betrays Starfleet and joins the rebel group. Riker says she seemed pretty sure she was doing the right thing, though she regretted disappointing Picard. Ro's life after leaving Starfleet for the Maquis is a subject for some novels (which the copyright holder Paramount has treated as less canonical than the series and films). Within Star Trek canon, the Dominion help Cardassia exterminate the majority of the Maquis, but Ro's specific fate is unknown. However, in Star Trek Nemesis, The Next Generation cast's final movie, Ro is seen in full-dress Starfleet uniform at the beginning of the movie during Riker and Troi's wedding ceremony, thus indicating that at some point between then and her leaving Starfleet, Ro has a change of heart and rejoins Starfleet.
In many of the Star Trek books deemed non-canonical by Paramount, Ro Laren becomes a security officer aboard Deep Space Nine (DS9). It is implied in the most recent stories that Ro Laren has been promoted to Captain of the DS9 space station.
Novel appearances 
The character of Ro Laren is further developed in the novels. They agree that Ro continued to fight for the Maquis until its destruction. According to Abyss, during this time she crashed on Sindorin and was rescued by Ingavi colonists.
After the demise of the Maquis the novels diverge. In Behind Enemy Lines, Ro comes to Picard as a refugee on the Bajoran vessel "Orb of Peace". However this account, and her relationship with Picard in general, is contradicted in the "relaunch" series. According to Avatar, after the Dominion's destruction of the Maquis, Ro continued to fight in resistance cells until the Dominion's retreat to Cardassia, and had no contact with Picard. The "relaunch" has been the basis for DS9's publishing line as of Avatar in 2001.
After Sisko's disappearance, Ro returns to Bajor where she is given a commission in the Bajoran militia. Not finding a place there, she is reassigned to DS9 as Chief of Security. When Bajor finally joins the Federation, Ro intends to leave her post to escape punishment for crimes she committed with the Maquis, but is convinced by Picard to accept a pardon and rejoin Starfleet. She is granted the rank of lieutenant and remains on DS9 as station's Chief of Security. She and Quark develop mild romantic feelings for each other.
As of the Typhon Pact series of novels, Ro has been promoted to Captain and serves as the commanding officer of DS9 and its successor station following DS9's destruction by the Typhon Pact.