USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Gamma Quadrant 101

Posted on Thu Feb 9th, 2017 @ 1:06am by Commander Tolan & Grace Ainscow

Mission: S1E3.5 - Interlude
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission Day 32; 11:30

Tolan had been asked by Claudia to look after Grace for a few hours while she went down to the surface to help co-ordinate the repairs to the communications array on Gavara IV. Tolan had never really liked having any company while he was working but in this case the Suliban decided it would be doing Claudia a favour if he agreed to look after Grace for her. With Claudia away from the ship Tolan had decided to look after Grace and do his work in the Observation Lounge away from the bland and minimalist surroundings of his office.

Grace had brought along a large PADD to play games on - however after finishing one of them she decided to have a go at having a conversation with the Suliban man - the first member of his species Grace had ever met. All she knew about Tolan was that he had arranged for her to be given passage on the Endurance to reach the Vindex.

"What's your job on the ship Mr Tolan?" Grace asked.

Tolan replied. "I'm a Mission Advisor combined with a relief Operations Officer. I basically advise your mother on various areas of the region because she hasn't been out here before now and isn't as familiar with this part of space as I am"

"Is it nice?" Grace responded.

Tolan shrugged. "Some parts are. It's just a good thing the conflict is over so at least we can get on with what we're out here to do - explore. At least that's what I think your mother wants to do but whether she gets to is a different story. It all depends on if anything comes up before we're finished here"

"I hope we get to go to some really nice places. My mum said it's very far from home here though - do you know how far it is away from Earth?" Grace asked.

Tolan decided to pause doing his work for now and give Grace a bit of a lesson on the Gamma Quadrant. He placed his PADD down to one side and got up to use the console mounted on the nearest bulkhead.

"Computer - what is the distance between the Vindex's current location and Earth?" Tolan asked.

"Via the wormhole Earth is 90.5 light years away from the current position of the USS Vindex. At Warp 9 this journey would take 21 days, 19 hours and 12 minutes"

Grace smiled. "Thank you"

"You're welcome Grace. Now - seeing as there's not much else to do today I might as well give you a brief lesson on the Gamma Quadrant. Where would you like to start?" Tolan asked.

Grace shrugged. "I'm not sure. How many different people are in this part of space?"

"From my experience there are many. I know of at least 21 - the major species are the Dosi, The Founders, Jem'Hadar, Karemma, Maran, Mawasii, Vorta and Wadi. And then there's obviously all of the species serving aboard Federation starships in the region too. The Dominion - an alliance your mother and I once fought against before you were born - is formed of The Founders, Jem'Hadar, Karemma and Vorta. Now however the Federation are friends with The Dominion so we don't have to worry about them" Tolan said.

Grace was really interested in what Tolan had to say. She wanted to be in Starfleet herself when she was older but that was a very long time away yet - at least ten years.

"What about the others? Are we friends with them too?" Grace asked.

Tolan continued. "Not all of them no - there are some we are on neutral terms with - which means we are neither friends or enemies. There are a lot of other species in the area who aren't from this part of space that are on similar terms"

"Where does your species come from?" Grace replied.

Tolan was enjoying the lesson he was giving to Grace - even if he usually preferred to be alone. At least she was actually interested in what he had to say.

"My species has been nomadic for over 500 years. Our homeworld is uninhabitable and we have settled wherever we can ever since - I was born on Tandar Prime and I lived there until I left to join Starfleet" Tolan replied.

Grace listened and decided to let him carry on talking about the Gamma Quadrant.

"What else do you know about the Gamma Quadrant?" Grace asked.

Tolan thought for a moment before moving onto the next subject.

"Well the Federation haven't been exploring it for very long. This particular area of space is called the Idran Region and the Task Force we are assigned to has a designated operating area of 95 square light years. Compare that to the Dominion's territory which is around 2,200 square light years" Tolan replied.

Grace nodded. "Is the Federation bigger than the Dominion?"

"Yes. The Federation's territory covers over 24,000 light years which is a lot bigger than the Dominion. Don't underestimate them though - although we're on friendly terms with them the Dominion are extremely powerful and influential. Smaller size doesn't always mean lesser capabilities" Tolan said.

Grace wasn't really sure how to take that - but she understood what Tolan was saying. The Gamma Quadrant sounded interesting but Grace did want to see her grandparents sometimes - but that sounded like it was going to be difficult. It didn't mean she wished she hadn't moved to the Vindex though.

"Are we going to stay here for a long time?" Grace asked.

Tolan shrugged. "Honestly I don't know. It depends how long the Vindex is assigned out here - and whether your mother is offered a different assignment in another area. Me though...I'll probably spend the rest of my days out here. It's away from everything and I can see myself opening a bar or a restaurant on New Bajor when I retire"

"I can come and work for you" Grace giggled.

Tolan rarely smiled but this was an occasion that he chose to.

"I don't see why not. It won't be for another 20 or 30 years yet but I'll be sure to keep in touch - although I'll be surprised if you want to leave Starfleet to come and work in a bar or restaurant in the Gamma Quadrant" Tolan replied.

Grace smiled. "I don't mind waiting. I don't think my mum would mind"

"By the time you're in your 20s or 30s I'd imagine your mother won't really mind what you do - as long as you're happy and safe. My parents though...well I don't remember them. Or my family" Tolan responded.

Grace was sad to hear Tolan didn't really know his family. It made her feel upset for the Suliban as she knew most of her family except for her late father.

"That's really sad. My dad died before I was born so I never got to meet him" Grace said.

Tolan shrugged. "I suppose it is. They died in a shuttle accident when I was a couple of years old - I was the only survivor because I was in my bunk in the rear of the craft - so I was well away from the damaged area. I was cared for by another Suliban family on Tandar Prime...I go and see them every six months or so if I can. I guess although my real family are dead I've still got them"

"At least you have them - and you have my mum too. She likes you" Grace replied.

Tolan nodded. "Thanks. I like your mother too - she's...understanding"

"She's the best mum in the universe" Grace said.

Tolan was touched by Grace's understanding about his personal circumstances and was glad to hear that his positive feelings towards Claudia were reciprocated. Deciding to go and get an early lunch before the queues started he looked over at Grace.

"Shall we go and get some lunch Grace?" Tolan asked.

Grace nodded. "I'd like to. I'm hungry now"

"Come on then. We can carry on with learning about the Gamma Quadrant afterwards if you like?" Tolan replied.

Grace smiled. "I'd like that"

Tolan was pleased with the positive response. Leading the way down to the officers' mess the Suliban was pleased that Grace had enjoyed learning about the different species in the Gamma Quadrant and was glad that somebody understood him - or had at least tried to anyway.

 

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