Naren Shankar conceived the story for “Preemptive Strike,” and according to him (as quoted in the book “Star Trek: The Next Generation 365”), the “Next Generation” writers’ room originally wanted to have Ro Laren cross over into the next — some say, best — “Star Trek” series, “Deep Space Nine.” Excerpts from the series bible (via “The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space”) show that Commander Sisko (Avery Brooks) would have been as reluctant to have Ro aboard as Picard initially was, until she won Sisko over to become DS9’s first officer. She would have also befriended Dax (Terry Farrell) and Odo (René Auberjonois), forming an adversarial relationship with Quark (Armin Shimerman).
Alas, it was not to be. As Michelle Forbes explained at a 2008 “Star Trek” convention in Las Vegas, she wasn’t ready to commit to a TV series full-time. “I was too young to get married,” she joked. Instead, the future the writers had mapped out for Forbes — the first actress to be fitted for Bajoran nose ridges, per the “Star Trek: The Next Generation Make-Up FX Journal” — was folded into another classic character, Nana Visitor’s Kira.
“Deep Space Nine” was a year into its run when “Preemptive Strike” aired, while “Star Trek: Voyager” was on the horizon in 1995. The writers still held out hope that Ro could return in “Voyager.” She didn’t, but that was why they shifted her involvement from the Bajorans to the Maquis.
“With Ro,” Shankar said, “we’d wanted to create a character to spin off into Deep Space Nine, and give her some history with what they were going to be doing. A lot of the Maquis elements in ‘Preemptive Strike’ were like that, too. They were going to be laid into Voyager’s world.”