Title: Dress Blues (a.k.a. Because Rita Asked)
Author: Kim Q
Author's Notes: This is a companion piece to "Anticipation" but is best read after that
story. Edited photo that inspired this is at the bottom of the page, but it's
really Rita's fault. <g> Very slightly edited from the posting on the Sub
"Are you sure this is really necessary, Katie?" Lt. Commander Chip Morton, XO of
the fantastic submarine Seaview
, grumbled as he struggled with the
unruly strip of white fabric. His normally nimble fingers seemed to have lost
the capacity to tie a simple knot! Giving up the fight he glowered at the
smirking honey blonde who had talked him into this blasted monkey suit.
Fortunately, Katie Doyle, N.I.M.R.'s Director of Administration and head of
Special Projects, was completely impervious to the laser blue glare. Reaching up
with a steady hand to tame the stubborn silk, she carefully settled the bowtie
neatly into place above the crisp white shirt. "You said you wanted to make this
"Yes, but I feel stupid! Why can't I just wear my dress whites? They're fancy
The former ONI agent suppressed a smile at the plaintive note in Chip's voice.
Though the man was a battle-tested naval officer of unquestioned skill and
courage, at the moment he sounded like a ten year old. "Chip, you were going to
take Kaia out to dinner at La Chanteuse
followed by the Woman's League
Valentines Gala before the new mission threw off your plans, right?"
"Well, yes, but..."
"Dinner dress blues would have been perfectly appropriate for such an elegant
evening and you know it!" Katie brushed a minute speck of dust off an otherwise
pristine dark blue lapel and tweaked Chip's rebellious collar into submission.
"But you and Angie are supposed to make sure she gets this recorded proposal
during the morning of the 14th! Not the evening! What if Admiral Nelson sees me?
Or worse..." Chip's voice dropped to a horrified whisper. "...Lee! Do you know
how he'd rag on me?"
"You know very well that Admiral Nelson is at a briefing in Washington," Katie
said, raising one elegant eyebrow at Chip's uncharacteristic worrying. "And Lee
is using his rare day off to work on his Cobra with Commander Montgomery. Once
Lee and Jimmy* get to talking cars they'll be occupied for hours! You've got
plenty of time to record this, change back into your khakis and hide the
"I suppose you're right." Chip sighed in resignation, nervously adjusting the
miniature medals that hung on the breast of the formal jacket.
Katie smiled indulgently at the fretting man. Only close friends ever got a
glimpse of the very human man hiding behind the mask of extreme efficiency worn
exec and she considered herself very fortunate to be in
that select circle. That friendship had been an unexpected but very welcome side
benefit of her growing romantic relationship with Lee. Chip had ended up
becoming a surrogate older brother, complete with teasing and the occasional
insight into the proper care and feeding of one Lee Benjamin Crane.
Just as Chip was finally starting to relax, fiddling around with the recording
equipment set up in the conference room and adjusting the microphone, a knock at
the door made him nearly jump out of his perfectly polished black dress shoes.
"Who could that be? No one is supposed to know about this!"
"Settle down, Chip. That's just Angie. I know by her knock."
"You have secret knocks?!" The bewildered look on Chip's face almost caused
Katie to lose it completely.
Fortunately for Katie's composure, Admiral Nelson's raven haired executive
secretary stepped into the room, quickly closing the door. Catching sight of the
exquisitely elegant exec in full dinner dress blues, Angie froze for a long
moment. "Oh my...!"
Seeing the most peculiar look on Angie's face, Chip began to panic. "I knew it!
I look stupid! I should change..."
Angie picked her jaw back up off the floor and took a deep calming breath. The
poor man was so nervous! "Chip, you look anything but stupid. Trust me." She
grinned impishly up at the tall exec. "Stunning, handsome beyond all reason,
perhaps, but not stupid." Turning her attention to the memo pad in her hand, she
graciously gave the blushing blond a moment to recover.
"Now, I've got the name and number of the florist...you wanted a dozen red
roses, right?" At his confirming nod she continued down her checklist. "Okay.
The conference room has been booked for the entire morning...Katie will be
setting up the video and TV...the ring box and your letter are locked in my
secure drawer. I just need to know when you want everything delivered."
"Oh nine hundred should be fine, Angie."
"Oh nine hundred it is then!" With an air of satisfaction, Angie jotted one last
note then tucked her pen into the spiral of her memo pad.
"Ladies..." Chip said earnestly, his expressive blue eyes reflecting his deep
gratitude. "I don't know how I can ever thank..."
Katie held up a hand to forestall any more words. "No thanks necessary, Chip.
That's what friends are for. Besides..." Her eyes sparkled with mischief. "It's
not that often we get a mission on behalf of Cupid instead of the ONI!" At his
amused snort, she reached out and gently poked his arm. "Just don't forget to
change back into your khakis. If you go out of this room looking like that, the
productivity levels of the steno pool may never recover!"
Another charming flood of red crept up the neck of the fair haired exec, causing
the two women to exchange wicked smiles as they headed out of the conference
room. Just as they were about to quietly shut the door, their smiles turned
sentimental as they heard Chip begin to speak, his voice warmer and deeper than
they had ever heard before. "Hello, Kaia..."
With happy grins, the co-conspirators left him to his future.
*Susan Flannery played the fake Edith Nelson in "Traitor" and was referred to as
an 'intelligence operative'. She also played Katie No-Last-Name in "Time Bomb"
and seemed to have an inordinate knowledge of espionage so I've made Katie the
Director of Special Projects at NIMR and gave her the last name of Doyle from my
*Commander James Montgomery, USN (ret), head of N.I.M.R.'s Marine Support &
Repair Facilities, is my little tribute to James Doohan who played Lt. Cmdr.
Montgomery Scott on Star Trek.
© 2008 Kim Q. All Rights Reserved