Re: riker's choices
How fast, though? He was a captain by at least 2354, but that may have been the first year he was captain. We really know very little about Picard's career.
Picard himself said that he was captain of the Stargazer
for more than twenty years.
"I've sworn an oath to serve and protect the United Federation of Planets- an oath I will fulfill with my dying breath- for in my heart, I remain a creature of duty. I am Romulan." --Captain Sran, USS Naptown