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Treva was formerly a primitive and developing world, with its society divided into a class system, from peasants to noble families. Their rule was hereditary and a council of warlords dominated the world, described as something of a benevolent tyranny, though supported by military power. Despite its low level of technology, which would have placed it under a Prime Directive–prohibition, Treva was contacted by a number of alien, non-Federation cultures, such as the Ferengi. Trade was opened, and the Trevans desired the advanced technology, medicine, and luxuries on offer. Rather than simply sell off their natural resources for money, the planet's leaders wisely chose to undergo industrialization.
This triggered a major change in their culture over the course of only two generations, as increasing technology required increased education for the workers, and discontent with the class system followed. The workers gained new economic and political power, class distinctions blurred and customs evolved. Trevan government began a transition to an elected parliamentary democracy, and the old council of warlords gave way to the Legislative Council. However, the nobles lost little of their position; those who accepted the change, warlords like Rikan's father, were elected to the new Council. A few warlords resented it nonetheless and began a civil war against the others for their supposed betrayal, all in an effort to restore the old ways. They were defeated in battle.
At some point, Treva began contact with the United Federation of Planets, and made a preliminary petition for membership to the Federation Council in 2349. A Federation Survey Team made a preliminary survey of the world and approved a full-scale investigation that would allow it make a proper membership application. However, Treva never submitted the follow-up request for the investigation, leaving the matter undecided. It was speculated that this was to maintain their non-Federation trade.
In this period, Treva developed the ability to transmit and broadcast images by radio, in addition to sound, producing television. They used a Ferengi broadcasting technique, suggesting that they gained the technology from Ferengi traders. However, although Orions began trading heavily across the sector from around 2354, they curiously avoided Treva. (TNG novel: Survivors)
Nalavia was elected to the Legislative Council circa 2355 and proved to be a popular leader. She was soon elected president, a position she would held for the next five Trevan years. Once elected, she began tightening her grip over the Trevan people and consolidating her power. Nalavia seduced and bribed the other councilors to follow her wishes. Those who voted for Nalavia's proposals were rewarded with wealth and power, and thus had a vested interest in supporting her, rather than genuine loyalty. The four remaining warlords on the Council stood firm, and three were murdered; suspicions were placed on the last surviving warlord, Rikan. He and others who opposed Nalavia were forced out of office at the next election.
Nalavia and several members of her cabinet were the majority shareholders in companies manufacturing the drug Riatine, which they labeled a water purifier and distributed to the water supplies of Treva's four major cities. The drug suppressed Trevans' emotions, reduced their independence, and made them suggestible to government propaganda. Television entertainment and widely available intoxicating drugs filled their emotional voids. City-dwelling Trevans were "happy" with Nalavia's rule and their modern, luxury society. Country-dwelling Trevans, who still took their water from wells and streams, were less content and only they protested the following measures. Some attempted a rebellion against Nalavia.
In response, two Trevan years in, Nalavia began deconstructing Trevan democracy, suspending civil rights and free elections. She also suspended the constitution and legal processes; it was said that Nalavia acted as judge, jury, and executioner. The rebellion was crushed and captured rebels went without trial to a public execution. Others who spoke out became political prisoners. Nalavia controlled Treva's military and journalists, turning news into propaganda. She also attempted to confiscate weapons from the people, but the country folk disassembled and hid their weapons from the soldiers.
In the early 2360s, Lord Rikan attempted to contact the Federation for help, but was hindered by bureaucracy and was ultimately refused. When he returned, 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, which they accepted after investigating the situation.
From his well-defended castle of Warrior's Rest, Rikan launched a new 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. Dareau's group attempted to infiltrate and turn the Legislative Council against itself, when Aurora pretended to be a free trader and flirted with the councilors. Nalavia quickly implemented trade restrictions to drive off the competition.
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. Nalavia had surveillance cameras installed throughout the capital city to enable a swift military response, which would drove away the attackers though fail to kill or capture any. 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. Treva was due for a general election circa 2364, but Nalavia postponed this too, due to the so-called planetary emergency. Meetings of the Legislative Council were also cancelled, before amendments to the constitution could be discussed.
Although Nalavia had previously told the Trevans that the Federation was a cruel empire that would gut Treva, in 2364 she contacted the USS Enterprise, begging military aid to put a stop to the insurrection so that it could join the Federation. However, as this was not standard Federation practice, Lieutenant Commander Data and Lieutenant Tasha Yar were sent to investigate affairs on Treva while the Enterprise finished a mission to Brentis VI. On the way, they discovered local news painting Starfleet and themselves as a military power, promising their aid in putting down the rebellion. After landing, they were met by Trevan soldiers in clothing that resembled Starfleet uniforms to give the impression, from a distance, of a great army. They 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. Again, she begged Starfleet's assistance, an attack from space on Warrior's Rest, in exchange for their membership of the Federation. She secretly planned to hold Data and Yar hostage to force Starfleet to act.
That night, however, Yar was kidnapped and brought to Warrior's Rest, where she met with Rikan and Dareau—in truth her former lover Darryl Adin. They explained their side of events on Treva and Nalavia's crimes, and attempted to enlist her aid, though she was still held captive there for several days. She was allowed to send a message to the Enterprise as brief update on the situation. Nalavia covered for Yar's disappearance by claiming she was on an agricultural tour of the Trevan dairy industry. Data, meanwhile, in between being taken on tours of the city to meet with survivors of the terrorist attacks and visiting schools, infiltrated the Presidential Palace's computers, analyzed the data he found, and searched for Yar. Finally he escaped the palace and headed to Warrior's Rest in a stolen flyer to rescue Yar, but he too was captured.
There, Data and Yar shared what they'd learned about Nalavia’s Riatine water treatments and the fake terrorists. They, Dareau's team and Rikan hatched a plan to substitute Riatine deliveries with a placebo. The plan was successful and the effects of drug on populace wore off. The Trevan people began to recover their emotions. 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. The rebels, Dareau's team, Data and Yar defended the castle until the soldiers were forced to disengage. They 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.
The Enterprise, now returned, broadcast evidence of Nalavia's crimes and the revelation that she was an Orion agent across Treva, swinging attitudes against her while her corrupt councilors abandoned her. Trevan people marched on the Presidential Palace and seized it. Nalavia surrendered to Starfleet and was imprisoned on board the Enterprise for extradition to the Orions.
Though the Trevans were willing to make Rikan their president, or even 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. (TNG novel: Survivors)
Treva had a democratically elected representative government run by a parliament, the Legislative Council, and headed by a President. In the early 2360s, it was led by Madame President Nalavia, who eroded many democratic practices and instituted a dictatorship. After 2364, President Rikan began restoring the government to its former state. The symbol of the Presidency was a golden badge worn on a ribbon around the neck.
It had a constitution for several years prior to 2364, still called the "new" constitution, which was still undergoing testing and amendments. Among other things, it required a trial prior to conviction or punishment and the holding of elections for government positions.
The planet was formerly ruled by a number of warlords, who remained dominant through the transition to democracy, though all bar Rikan had gone by 2364. They held their own territory with people loyal to them. (TNG novel: Survivors)
Treva was inhabited by a humanoid culture whose origins remained undetermined to the Federation. They had a small population, with only three major cities in addition to the capital. Not all of the planet was settled, and they still had a frontier to their developed territory by the mid-24th century. Trevan culture was described as fairly primitive by 24th century Federation standards.
- The text of the TNG novel: Survivors describes Treva as inhabited by a "humanoid culture of undetermined origin". The back-cover blurb, however, states that it was an isolated human colony, likely confusing it with the novel's lost human colony of New Paris (Turkana IV). This does not necessarily contradict the depiction of Treva or its people, however. Their undetermined origins, human appearance, low population, and limited development of the planet all suggest a colonial origin. It is likely that they lost their history, heritage and technology at some early point.
Trevan society had a deeply embedded class system, ranging from a peasant class to noble families. Although class distinctions blurred and faded with the democratic transition, prejudice against the lower classes remained in some arrogant members of the upper class: they were considered to be foolish, weak, and lazy. Some Trevans gave loyal service to their warlords, and passed this on through generations.
Intoxicating drugs were widespread and accepted. Their forms ranging from beverages to inhalants and tablets and even topical creams. All promised quick happiness and joy in life; one advertising slogan said they were "a well-earned pleasure after a job well done." These were sold freely, but strictly regulated by the government. These drugs served as a substitute to emotions suppressed by the Riatine deposited in the drinking water during Nalavia's reign.
They had a technology level similar to that of Earth in the mid-20th century, prior to the invention of atomic energy, and lacked space travel. Transport was via groundcars and flyers. However, they'd gained a variety of more advanced technologies through trade with aliens, such as Ferengi-style computers that dated back to before the mid-2250s. In addition to their existing percussion cap guns, phasers and disruptors were also in use. Treva apparently did not have a patent system.
In the field of communications, the radio transmission of sound was well-established, while transmission of images was newly developed by the mid-2360s, using Ferengi broadcasting, producing the local equivalent of television. This displayed a variety of Trevan entertainment, showing dance, sports, dramas, and regular advertising and sponsoring. In addition to the usual items, weapons and drugs were openly advertised.
The countryside was much less developed, and people there still took untreated drinking water from wells and streams. This also kept them free of the effects of Riatine.
Local news services were highly biased and produced government propaganda that could change tone from day-to-day to suit government purposes. Though they claimed to have a free press, they were likely controlled by President Nalavia. The propaganda programmed people made susceptible to hypnotic suggestion by the Riatine. (TNG novel: Survivors)
Warrior's Rest was a castle belonging to Lord Rikan, last of the Trevan warlords, and the center of the last rebellion. It lay to the east of the capital city, resting on a plateau by a cliff beside a steep chasm.