Published Mar 16, 2023
Everything You Need to Know About Ro Laren
The Bajoran Starfleet officer made several key relationships before defecting to the Maquis.
By Jay Stobie
Despite a loner’s mentality, a bad reputation, and a tense transfer to the U.S.S. Enterprise-D, Ensign Ro Laren eventually found friendships among the starship’s complement, and it all started with…
Always the listener, the El Aurian bartender made the effort to break through Ro Laren’s icy facade and offered the Bajoran officer her friendship at a time when the Enterprise-D’s crew would not. After Captain Picard confined Ro to her quarters, Guinan paid her a visit and encouraged Ro to talk about her troubles. Guinan vouched for Ro in front of Picard, convincing the captain to put aside his preconceptions so that the ensign could tell him about an illegal plot that a Starfleet admiral had initiated.
Ro and Guinan’s bond continued to grow, particularly during the brief time they were transformed into children by a transporter accident. Guinan recognized that Ro’s frustration about becoming a child again reflected the Bajoran’s rough childhood, so the El Aurian rallied Ro’s spirits, ultimately getting the ensign to express herself by jumping on her bed and drawing a portrait of her mother with crayons.
As the Enterprise-D’s first officer, Commander Riker was one of the staunchest opponents to Ro Laren's transfer onto the starship. The two regularly clashed over Starfleet regulations and shipboard procedures. A Satarran operative’s plan to infiltrate the flagship and wipe the crew’s memories had an intriguing side effect, as it permitted Riker and Ro to socialize without the baggage associated with their past conflicts. The pair found common ground, and they were even romantically involved before their memories were restored.
Upon Ro’s promotion to lieutenant, the Bajoran undertook a mission to infiltrate the Maquis. When Picard suspected Ro’s loyalties were wavering, he assigned Riker to pose as her relative and accompany her on the journey to spring a trap on the Maquis. Ro finally made her choice, siding with the Maquis and pointing a phaser at Riker before expressing her regrets and fleeing with her new comrades. Despite their tumultuous history, Riker genuinely appeared sad over Ro’s departure, though he did wish her well.
Another officer who resisted Ro Laren’s presence on the Enterprise-D, Geordi La Forge gradually found respect for his colleague, particularly during the incident which saw the disembodied presences of alien prisoners assert control over Counselor Troi, Data, and Chief O’Brien’s bodies. La Forge and Ro collaborated on what turned out to be a failed project to remove the entities by initiating a plasma shock on the affected crew members.
On a mission where a Romulan experiment caused Ro and La Forge to become cloaked, the two worked closely to figure out precisely what had happened to them. Ro believed they had actually died, at least until the chief engineer uncovered the Romulans had been trying to develop a phased cloaking device. The duo successfully alerted Captain Picard to their presence, foiled a Romulan scheme to sabotage the Enterprise-D, and learned they had more in common than they had originally thought.
Following Guinan’s declaration that Ro was her friend, Captain Picard chose to trust in the Bajoran, ultimately recognizing her potential and offering her a permanent place on the Federation flagship. This act of confidence meant a lot to Ro, who expressed her gratitude to the captain when she was cloaked and out of phase, even though Picard could not actually hear her say the words. Picard’s faith in Ro flourished, as he was the one who recommended her entry into Starfleet’s advanced tactical training program.
After returning to the Enterprise-D, Ro honored Picard’s support by accepting Starfleet’s request that she infiltrate the Maquis. As Ro’s sympathies toward the Maquis intensified, Picard worried about the path the Bajoran was taking. The captain’s concerns proved accurate, and he was discouraged by Ro’s decision to expose Starfleet’s trap and leave with the Maquis. Ro asked Riker to convey how sorry she was for betraying Picard, and the incident clearly caused the captain much sorrow.
A leader in the Maquis group that Ro infiltrated, Macias quickly endeared himself to the Bajoran with his kind demeanor, a resilience against Cardassian tyranny, and their shared love for hasperat. Macias reminded Ro of her father, but the friendship was short-lived. Tragically, a Cardassian team attacked the Maquis camp, killing Macias in the process. With his dying breath, Macias told Ro that someone would step forward to take his place. Macias’ death turned out to be the catalyst which propelled Ro to take a stand and join the Maquis, thus ending her Starfleet career and causing the rift between Ro and Picard.
Jay Stobie (he/him) is a freelance writer and consultant who has contributed articles to StarTrek.com, Star Trek Explorer, and Star Trek Magazine, as well as to Star Wars Insider and StarWars.com. Jay can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @StobiesGalaxy.