Welcome to the final March installment of Tuesdays at Quark’s, a column here on Continuing Mission dedicated to bringing you NPCs to use in your home campaign. This month we’ve been looking at memorable characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and few are more memorable than Geordi’s love interest and stalker target, Dr. Leah Brahms of the Daystrom Institute.
Leah Brahms first entered the show in the episode “Booby Trap,” when Geordi created a holodeck version of the doctor to help him find a solution to an energy trap that has the Enterprise-D stuck in place. Since Dr. Brahms helped to design the Enterprise‘s engines it’s a logical choice but then Geordi starts flirting with this woman he’s created and kisses the holoprogram before deactivating it. Not the sort of plot you’d expect to see on TV these days…
This all comes back up in the next season’s episode “Galaxy’s Child” when the real Dr. Brahms comes aboard to see what modifications Geordi’s team has done to her engine design. She’s brusque and dismissive, brushing off any chance that the engineers have improved on her design at all. This sort of interaction on another ship is a great way to put the crew on their guard: if they are acting like any other on-screen Federation crew then they have pulled all sorts of tricks with their ship and probably would cause a technical engineer to pull her hair out.
Still, Dr. Brahms is a nice enough person and, after her initially bad (in person) meeting with Geordi LaForge the two become good pen pals. They even get married in a potential future timeline. This means Dr. Brahms can go either way in your campaign. She might be a rude and pushy engineer who comes in to “restore order” on a bunch of spacefaring cowboys, or she might be an interested colleague who wants to see what a crew out in space is doing with her designs in the face of real-life challenges. By the time of Voyager‘s launch (that is, by the time of the default year for Star Trek Adventures) Leah Brahms has left the Daystrom Institute and is heading up the Zefram Cochrane Institute for Advanced Theoretical Physics, which might signal a more open-minded and adventurous turn for the engineer.
There are plenty of plot hooks for Dr. Brahms but here are a few to get you started…
- After a dangerous mission when the Player Character’s ship suffered one or more Breaches to their warp engines, they undergo repairs at a starbase. Some of the data from those repairs are duly sent around to various engineering experts according to normal protocol, but the crew is surprised and alarmed when Dr. Brahms contacts them to say that she sees evidence that a dangerous subspace phenomenon is locked into the ship’s warp core. They can’t go to warp safely until they figure out what is going on and how to fix it.
- When the ship is stuck in a dangerous situation with multiple power failures, they activate the experimental Emergency Engineering Hologram. The EEH, like the new EMH, is based on Dr. Zimmerman’s work but it uses Geordi LaForge’s program as a template. The kinks become apparent, however, when “Dr. Brahms” becomes convinced that she’s been stolen from the Enterprise and needs to find a way back.
- The Cochrane Institute is hosting a ceremony to bestow a Medal of Achievement to a promising Romulan designer who’s work has benefitted warp field design throughout the quadrant. Starfleet Intelligence warns against hosting a Romulan contingent (even if the honoree is an open-minded and friendly Romulan) but the Institute is a civilian organization and is moving forward anyways. The crew is called in to provide oversight and aid in case things go south.