Devinoni Ral was a human born in 2325 in Brussels, European Alliance, on Earth. His mother was half-Betazoid, and he was the only one of five children who was empathic. Ral was never comfortable sensing emotions and left Earth in 2344, moving to Hurkos III. He eventually learned to live with his ability and used it to become a skilled negotiator, often working as a "hired gun". In 2366, Ral represented the Chrysalians during the negotiations for the Barzan wormhole aboard the USS Enterprise-D.
During the negotiations, Ral became involved with Deanna Troi, creating a conflict of interest for the counselor when she realized he was hiding his empathic abilities in order to strengthen his negotiating position. Ral secured the rights to the wormhole through a combination of maneuvers including buying out the Caldonian bid and securing a secret deal with DaiMon Goss of the Ferengi delegation. However, the Chrysalians recalled Ral when the wormhole proved unstable and therefore unsuitable for interstellar transport. Before leaving he asked Troi to go with him, but she declined because of her uncertainty over Ral's conduct. (TNG: "The Price")