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Entire question is spoilers for TNG novels.

I'm not into reading Star Trek novels, but I somehow stumbled upon the publisher's description for Takedown:

When renegade starships wreak destruction across the quadrant, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise are shocked to discover the mastermind behind this sudden threat: none other than Picard’s protégé and friend, Admiral William T. Riker. The newly minted admiral is on special assignment aboard the U.S.S. Aventine, helmed by Captain Ezri Dax—someone who is no stranger to breaking Starfleet regulations. Her starship is by far the faster vessel…and Riker cannot yield, even to his former mentor. It’s a battle of tactical geniuses and a race against time as Picard struggles to find answers before the quadrant’s great powers violently plunge into total war…

Question:

What occurred in this plotline (presumably in previous novels) that Riker somehow got promoted to Admiral before Picard?

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From Memory Alpha

Riker is promoted to Admiral in the Star Trek: The Fall miniseries, as Fleet Admiral Leonard James Akaar suspected a conspiracy in the upper echelons of Starfleet Command and needed someone in the admiralty that he knew he could trust. Despite his new position, Riker retains the Titan as his flagship, and attempts to go on missions in it whenever he can.

It seems his promotion was directly related to Fleet Admiral Leonard James Akaar and may not have been entirely on merit. Although he was clearly allowed to retain this rank later (Takedown). Remember that Thomas Riker stated their original goal was to obtain admiral by the age of 30. So becoming an admiral has always been an ambition of Riker's.

Picard may not want to be promoted to Admiral because of his love of commanding the Enterprise

Mere months after taking command, Picard was offered a promotion to commandant of Starfleet Academy with the rank of admiral by Admiral Gregory Quinn, but turned it down to retain command of the Enterprise.

And remember what Captain Kirk said to him:

Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you. Don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there... you can make a difference.

  • This exactly - Picard would have been an Admiral years ago, otherwise. – Omegacron Jul 9 '15 at 15:22
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    @Omegacron: I have never understood this quirk of Star Trek lore. Certainly the CO of the flagship could hold a rank of admiral and still have commanding the flagship as his primary duty. – ThePopMachine Jul 9 '15 at 15:28
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    @ThePopMachine you'd think so, but they established with TOS that Admiral pretty much equals "desk job". That's apparently still the case in the TNG/DS9 era. – Omegacron Jul 9 '15 at 15:32
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    @KeithThompson Consult Memory Beta when you have some time. – Politank-Z Jul 9 '15 at 16:18

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