Arctus Baran was a humanoid mercenary who commanded a mercenary ship during the late 2360s into 2370. He was noted for his ruthless tactics and lethal punishments. He was fond of using neural servos, which he implanted in all of the people who served in his crew.
In mid-2370, Baran was hired by members of a Vulcan isolationist movement to retrieve fragments of the fabled Stone of Gol. 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, posing as 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 capable of inflicting great pain.
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. (TNG: "Gambit, Part I") 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. (TNG: "Gambit, Part II")