Daren, Nella

Scientist who headed the Stellar Sciences department on the Enterprise-D for a brief time in 2369. Lieutenant Commander Daren came aboard from Starbase 218 and immediately made an impression on the rest of the ship. She was very forthright in her requests to use ship resources to support her department's studies, which included a mathematical model of an emerging star system that would predict its configuration two million years hence. She was also quite an accomplished musician, playing piano in an ensemble that included Data on violin, which performed Chopin in Ten-Forward to a very moved audience. She had acquired a flat, scrollable keyboard from planet Mataline II, which she used to start playing duets with Captain Picard, who was practicing the Ressikan flute. So refined was her ear for music, she was able to located the most acoustically perfect spot on the ship — the fourth intersect of Jefferies Tube 25. She brought Picard to this spot to play one of their duets, and it was here that they fell in love. Their subsequent relationship created some awkwardness in the ship's daily operations; Picard worried that it might compromise his objectivity, and that some might perceive that she was receiving preferential treatment in resource and staff allocations.

When a fierce firestorm threatened a Federation outpost on planet Bersallis III, Daren came up with the idea to cross-connect several thermal deflector units to create a protective shield against the heat. She was thus chosen by First Officer Riker to coordinate the deployment of those units on the surface. Daren and several other crew members risked their lives to operate the deflectors manually so that all colonists could be safely transported to the ship. Eight crewmen lost their lives, but Daren survived. After the incident, it became obvious to Picard and Daren that it would be extremely difficult to continue their relationship because Picard would hesitate to place her in danger again. They concluded they could not serve on the same ship, so Daren requested a transfer off the Enterprise-D.

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