Daren came aboard the Enterprise-D from Starbase 218 to become the head of the ship's stellar sciences department. In her new role, she was very forthright in her requests for ship resources to support her department's studies.
Soon after coming aboard the Enterprise-D, she met Captain Jean-Luc Picard. A friendship quickly formed, based on their love of music. Daren was a skilled piano player who accompanied Picard on a portable piano, while he played the Ressikan flute. Their friendship soon blossomed into a romantic relationship. The crew reacted differently to Picard and Daren's romance: Deanna Troi was happy for Picard and gave her blessing; and Will Riker felt that Daren was asking for special treatment because she was the captain's "girlfriend."
When a fire storm threatened the Bersallis III Federation outpost, Daren suggested cross-connecting several thermal deflector units to create a protective shield against the heat while the Enterprise-D evacuated the colonists. Eight crewmen lost their lives, but Daren survived. Afterward, it became obvious to Picard and Daren that it would be extremely difficult to continue their relationship while serving on the same ship. Daren requested a transfer. As they said goodbye, they promised to keep seeing each other. (TNG: "Lessons")
Nella Daren was played by Wendy Hughes.
Ronald D. Moore commented "I liked the relationship with Nella and wanted it to continue aboard the Enterprise-D, but that view was in the minority. I thought that she matched up well with Picard and that we should've just played it out over several episodes." (AOL chat, 1997)
According to the video game Star Trek: Starship Creator, Neela Daren was born on Evadne IV. She is the daughter of Aura Daren and Vernis Daren. Neela previously served aboard the USS Constellation and the USS Bellerophon. After leaving the Enterprise, she transferred to the USS Yosemite.