USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Funeral For A Friend

Posted on Wed May 31st, 2017 @ 4:00pm by Rear Admiral David Hutchinson Sr & Captain Claudia Ainscow & Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Grace Ainscow

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Tolan's Peak; Nova Mercia
Timeline: Mission Day 85; 12:00

The time had come to say goodbye to a man that had become quite close to a few members of the Vindex crew. Although Tolan was far from the most popular member of the Vindex's crew Claudia and Grace had both grown to consider him a friend. With Grace holding Tolan's commbadge the small party consisting of Claudia, Grace, Martha and David had beamed up to the summit of a mountain Claudia had named in Tolan's memory - Tolan's Peak.

At the top of the peak Claudia and David took in the view. In the distance the larger structures of New Liverpool could be made out - including the makeshift headquarters. The sky was clear for miles and miles around as the sun shone - although with the height the quartet were at the temperature had dropped significantly in comparison to ground level.

David clutched a small shovel ready to dig up a small patch for the commbadge whilst Claudia held a small cross which had a plaque affixed to it - "Tolan - 2350-2388". Claudia didn't want anything too much so she settled on that when asking Lieutenant Atkinson to engrave it in the Engineering labs.

"What an amazing view. He would have loved this" Claudia commented.

Grace remained in silence - not willing to let go of her tight grip of the commbadge she had brought with her. She missed the lessons Tolan was giving her on the Gamma Quadrant and its different planets and species - and looking in the database just didn't seem the same.

"I'm sure he would have" Martha replied.

David turned around and selected a spot around a dozen feet away from the mountain's edge. Digging up a small plot around six inches across and twelve inches deep he stood up and waited for Claudia to deliver a few words.

"Today we're here to say goodbye to a man who gave his life to save my own. Tolan was the bravest man I have ever met and I was proud to have served with him for the time that I did - he became a part of the Vindex family and although he kept himself to himself and didn't have many friends he became a close friend of myself, Grace and Martha. Had it not been for the bravery and selflessness of Tolan I wouldn't be here today - and for that I will be eternally grateful to him. His name will live on with this mountain named in his memory - where it can be seen for miles and miles around in every direction" Claudia said.

Pausing to wipe a tear from her eye Claudia concluded her goodbye to Tolan.

"All it remains for me to do is say...goodbye - and thank you" Claudia concluded.

Martha wasn't one for words but she did have a friendship with Tolan and she didn't want to miss the chance to say goodbye.

"Tolan and I didn't get along at first but we soon became friends after a couple of misunderstandings. He was a kind and caring man who gave his life to protect everything Saalkan was trying to destroy. We're all still here because of his sacrifice and I will make sure everyone knows about it" Martha said.

David had listened solemnly to the words. He didn't know Tolan but from what he understood the Suliban was a brave man who had infiltrated the very depths of The Consortium to try and bring it down once and for all. He had succeeded but unfortunately he wasn't alive to see Starfleet's victory over The Consortium.

"I didn't know Tolan very well but I can imagine how much you all thought of him. His previous Commanding Officers spoke very highly of him and have sent their condolences to those affected by his loss - and you all have mine too" David replied.

Martha looked. "Perhaps we should take a minute or two to think of a memory of Tolan that we cherish? I think he'd like that"

"I think that would be a good idea" Claudia replied.

All four of those present bowed their heads for what turned out to be a bit longer than a couple of minutes. Around five minutes later they all looked up and that time had arrived - and Grace could tell. She was still reluctant to let go of the commbadge which she had been entrusted to look after since Tolan was vapourised by Saalkan's weapon.

"Grace...it's time" Claudia said.

Grace shook her head and tightened her grip further on the commbadge. She'd kept it under her pillow since Claudia had given it to her and it was hard for her to give it up just to be buried at the top of a mountain on a planet she would barely get to visit once the Vindex left.

"I can't" Grace replied.

Martha looked at Claudia and nodded to her. She asked Grace to join her a few metres away - Martha could tell Grace was the most upset by Tolan's loss and she could understand why she wanted to keep it. Martha had an idea that she was going to suggest to Grace which might hopefully allow Tolan's commbadge to be buried.

"Grace...I know this is tough. I have a load of my grandmother's things I wouldn't give up for anything - a whole crate load of it arrived when she died and it took me a while to take it all in. I know you're still mourning his loss - we all are - but Tolan wouldn't want to see you upset like this. He gave his life so you could keep your mum and...between you and I she confided in me she blames herself for his death" Martha said.

Grace hugged Martha. The woman had become like an aunt to her and now Martha and Elsie were leaving it felt like she didn't have any friends left.

"I don't have any friends left. Tolan has died and you and Elsie are leaving. This commbadge is all I have left" Grace replied.

Martha smiled. "There's more left than that. You have your mum, Rebecca and you're going to be a big sister. You'll also have all the happy memories of Tolan which nobody is ever going to take from you. I'm sure there's something in Tolan's quarters which your mum might let you keep but this is something we can use to give him the send off he deserves - I'll even keep coming back up here to make sure everything's alright. Can you do that for him Grace?"

Grace felt sad but remembered after Martha had spoken that Tolan did say that if anything ever happened to him then Grace could have his collection of Suliban literature. Although she wouldn't be able to read it straight away Grace could always try and learn the Suliban language so that she could read it.

"I'll do it...for Tolan" Grace said.

Martha nodded. "Come on - when you're ready. I'm sure your mum will let you put the commbadge in the ground"

Martha took Grace back to the site where Claudia and David were having some more time to reflect. When they noticed Martha and Grace return Claudia looked down at her daughter and smiled.

"Are you alright sweetheart?" Claudia asked.

Grace nodded. "I think so. Goodbye Tolan - I'll miss you forever and ever"

Grace kneeled down and placed the commbadge neatly inside the plot before standing back up. All four took turns at placing some of the soil back in its place before David finished the job. As a finishing touch Grace placed the cross into the ground where David tapped it in gently with the shovel.

"Shall we go back to my office and have a drink?" David suggested.

Claudia smiled. "I think that's a good idea Commodore. Are you joining us Martha?"

"I don't see why not" Martha replied.

After taking another few moments to look at Tolan's plot the quartet beamed up to the Derbyshire before beaming back down to David's office in the makeshift Starfleet headquarters. It had been an emotional time but all four were glad that they'd managed to give Tolan the send off he deserved.

 

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