At last week’s Star Trek Las Vegas convention, Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios announced at their fan panel that Star Trek: The Next Generation actor LeVar Burton — also known as Geordi La Forge — will return to his role in Star Trek Online this September, along with a host of Galaxy-class ship adventures.

Players will join Captain La Forge and his crew as they investigate a distress call from a Galaxy-class ship whose crew is being mind-controlled by a mysterious energy source when the newest STO episode — “Beyond the Nexus” — arrives on September 12.

The STO team also gleefully revealed that the TNG Season 1 “skant” uniforms would be arriving as optional character attire, along with the Next Generation Type-7 shuttlecraft, in the upcoming expansions.

Hallmarks of the early days of TNG: the unisex ‘skant’ uniform, and the curvy Type-7 shuttle.

Adventures with Captain Geordi La Forge continue into Season 14: Emergence in the new featured episode “Melting Pot,” which launches on the PC version of Star Trek Online this October.

Later, the panel which was joined by Deep Space Nine actor J.G. Hertzler on stage, who contributed his voice as Martok for the recent episode “Brushfire.”

We had a chance to chat briefly with Star Trek Online executive producer Stephen Ricossa and Cryptic Studios artist Al Rivera.

The STAR TREK ONLINE team – executive producer Stephen Ricossa; lead producer Maria Rosseau, and lead artist Michael Panov on stage in Las Vegas.

TREKCORE: Story and mission are an important part of the game. What about exploration?

STEPHEN RICOSSA : It’s something that we’ve talked about doing for a long time, doing a big, exploration-themed revamp. We’re well beyond the white board stage on it. We just have to find the time to pull it together. We have a plan in place, we just have to find the time to pull it together.

TREKCORE: Since players go on various patrols and engage with other species, are there missions that will involve dealing with the Prime Directive?

RICOSSA: It comes up from time to time. In fact, it came up with the Tzenkethi-era episodes when we saw that some Original Series-era Federation officers had beamed down to a primitive planet, and the primitive planet had worshiped them; you see hieroglyphics on their walls.

It was kind of a black eye for the Federation. So, fortunately the Tzenkethi proto-bombed the entire planet! [Laughs] That would’ve been so embarrassing…there was a whole planet that thought they were gods!

TREKCORE: Now that Geordi La Forge is coming to Star Trek Online, will we see any other familiar faces as part of his crew?

RICOSSA: No, but Kumaarke will be in the episode. So she’s been coming through and doing stuff.

AL RIVERA: For those of you who don’t remember, Kumaarke, played by Kipleigh Brown, is a recurring character from a species called that we’ve never explored before. She’s seeing all of these things for the first time. She’s kind of a reflective mirror for the player.

Finally, the Star Trek Online team debuted their trailer for the upcoming game expansion, revealing a surprise headed to the game next summer: fleet of Dominion ships emerging from the Bajoran wormhole towards station Deep Space 9.

Will the Dominion execute a plan to finally take over DS9… and will your fleet be able to stop them?

Find out next summer when the Dominion storyline arrives!