Cr:01.05- Chakotay was impressed with what Ayala had shown him on Carenza’s two science decks, but it seemed he’d saved the best till last. The area was well equipped with the latest equipment for exploration of archaeological digs and other known historical sites, plus up-to-date scanners for searching for new sites. He ran his hands over the consoles as he checked over their functions. The color scheme was somewhat bright and eccentric but tasteful; it just puzzled him, as it was so far removed form the usual Starfleet utilitarian grey.
“Like it?” asked a gentle female voice softly from the main entrance way.
“Impressive!” he acknowledged her, feeling dazed as the place housed all the necessary equipment he could ask for in the pursuit of the past. “This feels like all my requests – to the Quartermaster – all rolled into one place,” he admitted. “A one Lieutenant Dyani wouldn’t have had something to do with that, would she?”
“She might!” she acknowledged, joining him to stand in the middle of the Aston Labs. His gaze looked round the area again feeling like a small boy whose best dream had just come true and yet feeling sad that it wasn’t his. He turned to look at his companion to find her green eyes smiling at him.
“I was wondering,” turning away from her penetrating gaze. “Why the crazy color scheme?” Instead of answering him verbally she took his hand and led him to the small office and pointed to a picture that hung on the wall behind the main desk chair. A typical stereotype male professor stared out at him, with white hair spraying out in all directions, metal rimmed glasses perched on his nose, a big pleasing smile and wide trusting eyes gazed out of the weathered face; but it was the male’s sweater that gave him the clue about the color scheme of the labs, it was striped in every color possible, with no two colors of the same hue together. The short chubby male stood in a field with an equally small dark haired male beside him and smiling into the camera.
“Two comrades in arms!” he whispered, moving closer to read the inscription under the photo. “Time Team’s Professor Michael Anthony ‘Mike’ Aston and presenter/actor Tony Robinson; Alyxx?” he read softly.
“Time Team was a program that entertained people about archaeology in the late twentieth century. It ran for some twenty years, I believe. These two popularized the subject making it accessible and enjoyable for all.”
“I forget sometimes that history is one of your favourite subjects,” he said grinning at her, recalling something of their first introduction to each other. “Aston,” he pondered looking again at the photo-image. “You’ve named these labs after him!” She nodded confirmation. “And Carenza?”
“Carenza Lewis foremost British archaeologist; She also worked on Time Team. I would have named the ship after one of Jupiter’s many moons especially Amalthea, but that had already been taken and Cmdr. Rademaker didn’t think it a good idea to have two ships with the same name at the same time in the fleet.”
“I’m surprised you were given such leeway,” he said sounding distracted as he leaned on the desk and looked out over the well equipped labs and all that it represented in his chosen field.
“That’s a story for another time,” she responded, watching him carefully noting the changing emotions that crossed his face and his dark sad eyes; thus she said his name in a questioning manner.
“I’ll envy the person who gets to run this lab,” he said not looking at her; therefore he didn’t see her knowing smile.
“It’s yours if you want it,” her voice firm.
“WHAT!?” startled by her words, suddenly turning his head to stare at her. “I thought Starfleet had vetoed my becoming a part of your crew; or so Ayala informed me!”
“Part of my command team yes. They said nothing about a civilian position within that crew.”
“Alyxx!” his tone sounding a note of caution.
“What they don’t know won’t hurt them. And don’t say it!” she admonished him before he could open his mouth, his eyes twinkled with mischief, but he kept his own counsel on that thought. “Besides it was Starfleet Command who put that condition forward before I’d even mentioned my command team. I was more concerned about all the hardware rather than the software!” she quipped making him grin.
“Hardware! being the ship as a whole, I take it?” She nodded. “Software!?”
“The crew of course!”
“Of course!” he agreed with her.
“So; do you want it?” bringing his mind back round to her startling offer.
“To be part of Carenza’s software?!” he queried, his dark eyes bright as he again looked round the labs.
“If that’s what you really want, Chakotay.”
He was silent still gazing out of the office at something only he could see; he slowly turned to face her.
“When do I report in for duty – Captain.” startling her with the firm conviction in his voice.
“You really are restless aren’t you,” before he could respond to her observation she added; “As soon as you’re able, have cleared your codes with Ayala, and seen Dr. Hoon for a medical.”
“In that case I’ll get the station Quartermaster to beam my packed belongings over. Er, where am I to be quartered?” She laughed at his eager schoolboy expression and enthusiasm and led him out of the office and labs to choose one in the group of crew quarters nearby.
“Welcome aboard, Professor,” grinning at him once they both stood in his suitably chosen quarters looking out the view-ports over at the station; realizing he’d picked one near the ship’s bow a deck or two below his old quarters on Voyager.