To many Star Trek fans, Star Trek The Next Generation holds a particularly special place in their hearts (right behind where their Starfleet badge would be). The series was the first foray into the adventures of the Enterprise and its crew since 1966, when Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Co. began their five-year exploratory mission. In 1987, Next Gen introduced us to a new crew led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and for seven seasons we became invested in the trials and tribulations of Lieutenant Data, Commander Riker, and the others.
Sometimes the love of a fandom is so intense, permanent recognition of it seems like the best way to celebrate its significance in your life. From picture-perfect realism with a Worf portrait to an adorable side-profile of Data’s pet cat, Spot, these Next Gen tattoos are an amazing way to commemorate a show that promoted Star Trek’s greatest ideas of discovery, friendship, and tolerance.
10 MAKE IT SO
In this tattoo by Ravi Lassi, Captain Picard stares out with eyes so often seen full of compassion and resolve in Next Generation. Though he was initially regarded as a strict captain in the show’s first season, his ability to perceive the best in others and make them see their own potential soon endeared him to everyone, and cemented his legacy as one of the best captains in the Star Trek franchise.
Patrick Stewart has said that when he joined the cast, he had his own self-doubt. He wondered how Star Trek fans would take to a middle-aged man who wasn’t the “space cowboy” they were used to with Captain Kirk. It turns out he had nothing to worry about, as Trekkies will be debating “Kirk vs. Picard” forever!
9 SHUT UP, WESLEY!
From the minute Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher appeared in The Next Generation, it was clear that his character would divide fans of the series. The son of Doctor Beverly Crusher, an old friend of Captain Picard’s, it was clear that he had two roles; to be a thorn in Picard’s side, and to attract a younger demographic.
Picard notoriously didn’t like children -and notably asked Commander Riker to help him curb his temper with them- yet rarely lost his cool. Yet he could scarcely hold back his irritation with the “boy wonder” Wes when he was always piping up with relevant information at the wrong time. This adorable tattoo captures the retro sweater Wes often wore, and Picard’s infamous phrase, “Shut up, Wesley!”
8 BORG DESIGNATION CODE
Since the Borg tended to assimilate the collected knowledge of the lifeforms they turned into part of the Collective, they didn’t have a language. What they did have was an alphanumeric code that served as a written language. This was primarily used to encode any transmissions they sent through the Collective or interspace.
The written code appeared as circular symbols with small geometric shapes cut out from them, like the ones that appear on this back tattoo. This represents a borg’s designation, such as with Star Trek: Voyager’s character “Seven of Nine”. The symbols also appeared on control panels and throughout Borg structures, and was written horizontally, or vertically, as shown here.
7 THE BORG QUEEN
Though the Borg were known as a Collective, they had one central nexus - the Borg Queen. She did not speak of herself as a singular entity, but rather, as “the beginning, the end, [and] the one who is many”. She was the Borg and the Borg was her. Her name was given to her by Magnus and Erin Hansen, two Federation scientists who first discovered her.
This Borg Queen is stylized in a pinup pose, on what appears to be a digital flower, with the infamous words, “Resistance is Futile” surrounding her. Fun fact: only the Borg Queen's head and upper torso were still organic material, and she had several clones.
One of the most memorable and beloved characters on Next Gen, Data was a Soong-type android that manned Ops on the USS Enterprise-D under the command of Captain Picard. His continued search for what it meant to be human, and his commitment to being more than a series of circuits, mirrored the quest for new life and new civilizations of the starship he served on.
This photo-realistic, yet slightly pulpy tattoo of the quirky android makes it a point to contrast the gold of his uniform and the yellow of his eyes against his characteristically pale blue-green skin. Though he was far superior to humans in his abilities, the fact that he wanted to be one, despite their failings, made him seem much more a part of mankind than a machine.
5 GEORDI LA FORGE
Even though Geordi can’t see things the way most beings do, he’d be incredibly impressed with this picture-perfect tattoo of his face. Every detail is immaculately and authentically captured about the chief engineer of the Enterprise-D, right down to the sheen on his VISOR, which gave him one of the most recognizable aesthetics on Next Gen.
Geordi was born to a Starfleet Captain mother and an exozoologist father and was often shuttled around from starbase to starbase or planet to planet. He graduated from Starfleet Academy with a specialist in antimatter power and served on several starships before being hand selected by Captain Picard to serve aboard the Enterprise-D.
4 TEA, EARL GREY, HOT!
The responsibilities of captaincy often went hand in hand with contemplative moments while Captain Picard enjoyed a nice cup of Earl Grey tea, produced piping hot from his ready room’s replicator. A private and thoughtful leader, he knew that it was the little things, like a simple cup of tea, that was necessary to balance the burden of command.
This cute tattoo shows Captain Picard’s favorite beverage on Next Gen, served in a teacup that somewhat resembles Chip from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The words, “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot!” are written in a scroll across the top, and a small Enterprise appears as the china pattern.
3 DATA BEARS HIS SOUL
Though Data wanted more than anything to be more human, his appearance already gave him the impression of one thanks to his design and construction by Dr. Soong. The only aspects that gave away his potentially ulterior origins were his bright yellow eyes and pale skin that looked yellow, green, or even blue in different lights.
This tattoo depicts the exoskeleton that resides beneath Data’s milky epidermis, against a silhouette of the Starfleet insignia. Try as he might to deny it, it is the truth of his existence, and whenever he is injured, his silver circuits shine through to remind him. And yet, it never meant he’d stop risking life and limb for any member of the USS Enterprise-D.
It was the custom of seafaring ships of the 18th and 19th century to keep cats aboard to keep the rodent population from eating the food stores. While starship cats didn’t have to worry about that vocation, they still made for good companions to the crew. One notable feline friend was Spot, Data’s pet while he served on the USS Enterprise-D.
Spot lived in Data’s quarters for at least a decade and followed him when he served on the Enterprise-D and the Enterprise-E. This adorable tattoo depicts Spot in profile, against the silhouette of the ship he served on with Data. No doubt if Data could have gotten a tattoo, he’d have gotten this one rather than write “Ode to Spot”.
Commander Worf not only had the distinction of being one of the most highly-recognizable members of Starfleet, but he was also the first Klingon ever to join it. Though he was born in the Klingon Empire to a great house, his parents were killed on the Khitomer colony by Romulans and it was a chief petty officer in Starfleet that found him and adopted him into his family. He later joined Starfleet and proved to be one of its bravest graduates.
This striking portrait of Worf shows him in the Starfleet uniform he would have worn in the Next Generation movies and during his time on Deep Space 9. It captures all of his regal bearing and his defiance. No doubt he would be honored at the sight of it.