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Rikan's father was a warlord, one of the upper-class rulers of Trevan society. But when the Trevans began industrialization and a transition to a democratic government, Rikan's father accepted the change, stating "You cannot fight the future." Instead of hereditary rule, such progressive warlords were instead elected to the new Legislative Council. A few others, however, resented the growing power of the common people and their own loss of status and began a civil war against the other warlords for their supposed betrayal, all in an effort to restore the old ways. Rikan's father was forced to fight old friends and allies, until they were defeated in battle.
As a young man, Rikan was a soldier and fought in a number of battles. But after his father died, Rikan followed him into the Legislative Council. There he was one of four progressive warlords, but also the last four warlords of Treva. He was on the Council when Treva applied to join the United Federation of Planets in 2349, and visited four worlds of the Federation as part of their research. However, Treva didn't follow up on the application.
After Nalavia was elected to the Legislative Council circa 2355 and soon became president, she began consolidating her power in the council and tightening her grip over the Trevan people. The four warlords on the Council stood firm against her, but three were murdered, leaving Rikan as the last surviving warlord. Suspicions were placed on him, and he was forced out of office at the next election, while Nalavia's tyranny continued to grow.
In the early 2360s, Rikan attempted to contact the Federation for help, but was hindered by bureaucracy and ultimately refused. When he returned to Treva, his passport was revoked and he was charged with interfering with government activities. He spent two months in jail before his supporters rescued him and a number of political prisoners. They were aided by Barb, a Human mercenary who worked with the famous mercenary Adrian Dareau, the "Silver Paladin".
After learning of Dareau and his group's good deeds, Rikan invited them to aid his rebellion against President Nalavia. From his well-defended castle of Warrior's Rest, Rikan launched his rebellion, bolstered by freed political prisoners and those country folk loyal to him. Dareau's group provided expert training, tactics, and technology to the rebel forces.
Unfortunately, terrorist attacks began soon after, in which armed thugs assaulted public places, such as markets, schools and buses, and slaughtered civilians, including children, as well as elected officials. These crimes were blamed on Rikan's rebels, which cost him a great deal of support. In fact, the terrorists were Nalavia's own soldiers in disguise, carrying out the attacks to discredit Rikan's rebellion.
Although Nalavia had previously told the Trevans that the Federation was a cruel empire that would gut Treva, which made even Rikan come to doubt them, in 2364 she contacted the USS Enterprise, begging military aid to put a stop to Rikan's insurrection so that it could join the Federation. Lieutenant Commander Data and Lieutenant Tasha Yar were sent to investigate affairs on Treva and met with Nalavia at the Presidential Palace, where she described Rikan like one of the warlords from the much earlier civil war, ruling by military power and fear, and showed them images of the terrorist attacks attributed to him. She begged Starfleet's assistance for an attack from space on Warrior's Rest, in exchange for their membership of the Federation.
That night, however, Yar was kidnapped and brought to Warrior's Rest, where she met with Rikan and Dareau, while Data followed and captured a few days later. They revealed what they knew, Rikan and Dareau explained their side of events on Treva and Nalavia's crimes, and attempted to enlist their aid. Eventually, Rikan, the mercenaries, and the Starfleet officers put together a plan to free the Trevan people of the Riatine drug that been deposited in their water supply. Rikan's people assisted the professional mercenaries in the effort.
But believing that the Starfleet officers had gone over to Rikan's side, Nalavia ordered a major military assault on Warrior's Rest, going all out to kill them in the effort. Rikan led his rebels to defend the castle, still able to fight and kill with his dagger at his age. He later led an aerial battle in his flagship flyer, but this was shot down and Trell, Rikan's loyal servant, was killed. The defenders held out until the soldiers were recalled to the cities to help quell uprisings of people now free of the effects of Riatine. A full-scale civil war broke out, and when the Enterprise broadcast evidence of Nalavia's crimes and the revelation that she was an Orion agent across Treva, attitudes swung against her and Nalavia was deposed.
Though the Trevans were willing to make Rikan their next president, or even their king, he encouraged proper elections in accordance with the constition. Rikan publically thanked Starfleet and the Silver Paladin for their aid. Rikan was later elected president, and Dareau remained to assist in setting up the new government. Rikan's family crest was predicted to become a symbol of Treva's new freedom, and the planet was expected to complete its Federation membership application.
Rikan was an elderly man, appearing over 80 years old if he was a Human, though he was still willing to fight in battle. He was very formal and well-mannered, and old-fashioned despite being one of Treva's progressive warlords.