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Riva was a famed mediator from the planet Ramatis III. He was a member of the ruling family on Ramatis, all of whom shared a genetic condition that rendered them deaf and mute. To communicate, Riva used a chorus of telepathic aides who spoke for him. The trio of telepaths represented different aspects of Riva: the "Scholar/Artist", the "Warrior/Adonis", and "Balance" who held the other two together. Riva was well known for mediating several treaties between the Federation and Klingon Empire; in fact, before Riva, there was no Klingon word for "peace-maker".
In 2365, he was to negotiate an end to hostilities on Solais V. During the first meeting his Chorus was killed by those who did not wish peace. With his normal means of communication gone, Riva felt he could not complete his mission. However, after some convincing by Deanna Troi, and with the help of the USS Enterprise-D, he decided to bring the warring sides together and teach them sign language, which would help bond the factions. He stayed on Solais V to begin the process of peace. (TNG: "Loud As A Whisper")