Re: Can Data only receive order from Riker (& up) ?
I saw Picard and Riker as more or less on equal footing. Picard was in charge, of course, but it was Riker's duty to agree with Picard's decision and carry them out.
No way, they are not on an equal footing and it doesn't matter if the F/O agrees with the captain or not. Things were usually smooth between Picard and Riker, but the F/O's relationship to the captain was put into clear perspective when Jellicoe came aboard. See also Data's experience on Sutherland
And Colonel Tigh from nuBSG: "If the crew doesn't hate the XO, he's not doing his job".
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