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Arctus Baran (portrayed by Richard Lynch) was an insidious mercenary who appeared as the leader of a group of space pirates in the Star Trek: TNG episode "Gambit". He had a habit of inflicting unusual punishments on his crew and had implanted all of them with neural servos that allowed him to inflict tremendous pain on them with a remote device. He had a neural servo of his own, too, implanted by his predecessor, but had managed to kill him and take his place as leader of the mercenary band.

In 2370, Baran and his cohorts conducted multiple raids on several planets where ancient Romulan and Vulcan ruins were located. They had been hired to find a pair of artifacts that combined to form the Stone of Gol, an ancient psychic weapon of Vulcan design. Jean-Luc Picard was captured by Baran after he tracked the mercenaries to a bar on Dessica II. He became suspicious of them when they looted an archaeological site. Picard, acting under the false name "Galen", convinced Baran that he was a smuggler who was an expert on appraising relics, so Baran made him a member of his crew and implanted Picard with a neural servo.

Baran attempted to destroy a Federation outpost on Calder II to retrieve one of the artifacts, and even engaged the USS Enterprise-D in battle. Baran also captured William T. Riker, who was looking for Picard. Riker presented himself as a renegade Starfleet officer who had deserted his post. Baran planned on killing them both after they helped him acquire the last parts of the artifact he was seeking. Picard attempted to lead a mutiny, but Baran reached for the control device connected to the servo in Picard's neck and activated the device, inadvertently killing himself instead of Picard. Picard then explained that he switched the transponder codes of the servos.

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