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Some passages in The Romulan Way describe the Earth-Romulan War as a conflict that involved the Federation, as opposed to the United Earth's Starfleet which did not yet serve the combined worlds of the UFP. Later canon sources call this nascent version of the Federation with the name "Coalition of Planets". Since the Coalition certainly was involved in the war, one could presume references to the Federation pertain to this early "pre-Federation". This article supposes Dini was in this Earth Starfleet service.
Many characters in the novels of Diane Duane were named after writers that Duane and her husband Peter Morwood had worked with on other projects. In particular, Captain Dini would seem to be a reference to Paul Dini, a writer of comic books and screen animation who worked alongside Duane on Transformers and Batman: The Animated Series.