Title: Lunch Break
Author: Kim Q
Summary: working at N.I.M.R. does have its perks
Author's Notes: This piece of hormonal fluff was inspired by an old Diet Coke
commercial which is linked below the story. Set in April
of 1978. Slightly modified from its
original posting on the Sub Pen
"...and this is the main Institute dining hall," Miss Katie Doyle, former ONI
operative and Director of Administration and Special Projects for N.I.M.R.,
brushed an errant strand of honey blonde hair from her forehead and waved her
hand around the bright, airy space. "There is also a smaller, upscale
restaurant, The Grey Lady
, that's open in the evenings or for special events."
She gestured to one side where velvet ropes and a "Closed" sign indicated an
entrance to a darkened room. "The food here is much better than many fancy
restaurants. Admiral Nelson believes in taking good care of his employees." She
smiled at the tall, dark-haired woman walking beside her.
"It's easy to see that he has an eye for the dramatic as well!" replied Lt.
Commander Kaia Winters, newly hired head of N.I.M.R.'s Computer Systems
department. "The view is breathtaking!" The officer's blue eyes were wide with
amazement. A huge, curved bank of floor to ceiling windows graced one side of
the hall, providing a panoramic overview of a verdant lawn, crisscrossed with
paths leading to various parts of the Institute, ending in a short bluff past
which one could see the majestic submarine Seaview rocking peacefully at her
main dock below. A multitude of Institute personnel were scattered around the
room, enjoying their lunch break. Their cheerful chatter added a busy hum to the
soft background music playing through the hall's speakers.
Turning her attention back to her patiently waiting guide, Dr. Winters
continued, "I really appreciate your giving me the grand tour, Katie!"
"It's my pleasure to help you get settled in, Kaia. I'm just glad to have
another female in a leadership position here at the Institute. Despite Admiral
Nelson's egalitarian hiring practices, we're still in the minority," she said
with a wry grin.
Kaia's crystal blue eyes sparkled. "Believe me, Katie, after nine years as an
Engineering Duty Officer in the Navy, I am quite used to being outnumbered by
"I can imagine!" Katie responded as she quirked an eyebrow towards the gold
engineering dolphins* Kaia wore on her khaki uniform. The two women traded grins
as they crossed through the sunlit room.
Their attention was caught by a sudden flurry of activity towards one end of the
windows, in the area where the secretarial staff usually congregated. Kaia was
puzzled at the sight of several women getting up from their seats and staring
fixedly out the window. "What's going on?"
The blonde director just grinned wickedly. "Kaia, it looks like you're about to
experience one of the many perks of working at the Institute."
"Perks?" Kaia was completely confused as her guide grabbed one of her arms,
hurrying her over to the little group of entranced women. As they approached the
gathering, the dark-haired officer could see two forms engaged in some sort of
activity on the other side of the windows. Her eyes widened in shock as the
forms turned out to be Commanders Morton and Crane engaged in an intense game of
All of the ladies' eyes were focused on a tiny concrete court that had been
carved out the green grass of the lawn towards one end of the building that
housed the dining hall. A single basket was being viciously fought over by the
two command officers who had traded their usual sharp-creased khakis for shorts
and t-shirts. Kaia quickly understood why the men had the total attention of the
The raven-haired captain wore crisp white tennis shorts that
gleamed above his long, slim legs. His GO NAVY t-shirt was also white, stretched
tight over broad shoulders, providing an exquisite contrast to his dark good
looks, winning complete approval from the bevy of ladies that watched his every
move with avid interest. From the smug, proprietary look on Katie's face, Kaia
thought that there might just be some substance to the scuttlebutt she'd heard
regarding an on-again, off-again relationship between the
Director and the Captain.
While Kaia could easily appreciate the many sterling qualities of the handsome
Crane, she found her own eyes kept wandering towards the captain's executive
officer - and current basketball nemesis - Lt. Commander Morton. She struggled
to keep a professional veneer despite the delicious vision of snug, dark blue
gym shorts that clung in such spectacular fashion to the commander's noteworthy
posterior. It just wouldn't do for her to be seen openly drooling over a fellow
officer! Even if that officer's blond hair gleamed bright gold in the light of
the noonday sun while a blue, form-fitting "Property of NIMR" t-shirt perfectly
highlighted a well-defined chest and precisely matched stunning cerulean eyes...
No, no, NO! Kaia shook her head, ruthlessly pushing such disturbing thoughts
from her mind. She'd promised herself that she'd never fall for another Navy man
after she lost Tom. Last month's mission aboard Seaview
had forged a comfortable
friendship between her and Chip that was fueled by a common interest in
computers, nothing more. Momentarily closing her eyes and taking a deep breath,
Kaia turned her attention to the quietly whispered comments of the other ladies,
hoping desperately that they would distract her from the tantalizing sight
outside the windows. But the ladies were not being very helpful.
"Oh my... look at those legs!"
"You can have the legs, honey; I'm looking at those broad shoulders..."
"Hah! It's those arms and chest..."
"Look at them move....!"
"Man, what a great butt...!"
As the hushed hormonal babble continued, Kaia slowly gathered her composure and
carefully opened her eyes. The traitorous orbs immediately turned back towards
the windows and the athletic competition framed therein. Struck by a truly
horrific thought, Kaia asked, "They can't they see us...can they?"
"No," was Katie's smug reply. "For security reasons, the admiral put one way
tinting on all the modified herculite windows used throughout the Institute. We
can see out, but no one outside can see in."
"Thank you, Admiral Nelson!" was the heartfelt reply from a blonde C.P.A. from
"Amen, sister!" giggled a brunette R. N. from the Med Bay.
"I'm just glad it's been unseasonably hot this month," chortled a redhead Ph.D.
from Marine Biology.
"Yes, we might get lucky today." laughed Katie, sky blue eyes gleaming with
"Lucky?" wondered the confused Kaia.
Before Katie could explain her comment, its meaning was made quite clear by the
sight of both gentlemen halting their game long enough to gulp some water and
shuck their sweat-soaked t-shirts. The simultaneous cessation of breath by the
watchers was thunderous in its silence. Not a single woman moved...as if afraid
the wondrous sight before them would vanish away like a delicious daydream ended
too soon by the harsh light of reality.
While both men were tall and broad of shoulder, the physical differences between
the two were now more evident. Crane was slimmer than his fair-haired friend,
with wiry strength, quicksilver speed and amazing agility providing a
challenging combination for his worthy opponent. His sweat-slicked olive skin
shone with a warm, honeyed glow, while disheveled black curls, a wicked grin and
laughing hazel eyes provided a challenging combination to the hormone levels of
the watching women.
Morton's lithe, lean build showcased sleek muscles that rippled smoothly beneath
fair, peach-toned skin glistening from his exertion. Hair burnished to a
shimmering gold by the unusually sultry spring sun, his striking blue eyes
reflected the deep azure sky above while his predatory smirk promised trouble on
the concrete arena below. Strong and bold with incredibly accurate shooting, his
explosive power and supple grace attracted his own share of the ladies' rapt
attention, including one completely captivated computer engineer.
Kaia mentally chastised herself. Where was her professionalism? She'd seen these
men strip down to swim trunks for a dive aboard Seaview
and never had a problem!
Why in the name of the fire goddess Pele should this be any different?
The look of total abandon on the officers' faces gave her the necessary clue.
Unlike a mission aboard the boat where absolute commitment and focus was
required, this was one place where Seaview's
command team could briefly lay
aside the demands of duty and behave with the unrestrained enthusiasm of a
couple of teenagers. There was no rank. No responsibilities. Nothing critical
depending on the outcome of this conflict except for perhaps a beer. Their
controlled military façade had given way to the teasing antics of very good
friends. To the watching women the officers were quite simply two gorgeous,
athletically gifted young men fighting gleefully over a bright orange ball on a
clear spring day.
Puffy white clouds pulled a soft cover over the glare of the sun as flagging
energy finally called a halt to the men's impromptu competition. Sighs of regret
filled the corner of the dining hall as the laughing men pulled on their shirts,
gathered up their gear and headed off to shower and change back into their
sober, restrained khakis. The gathering of women reluctantly dispersed, though
head back to work with a new level of enthusiasm.
Kaia grinned at her new friend. "You know, Katie. I think I'm really going to
enjoy working here at the Institute."
"Yes, the perks are unbeatable!" Laughing, the two lovely ladies headed out of
the dining hall to finish their tour.
Neither of them saw a certain auburn-haired figure lurking in the darkened
interior of The Grey Lady
. Sapphire blue eyes sparkled with mischievous mirth as
they watched the ladies head back to work. While he occasionally felt a
twinge of guilt at using his friends as unwitting morale boosters by putting the
small basketball court directly outside the dining hall, the benefits of having
a happy Institute staff were undeniable. Besides, the exercise did insure that
skipper would eat more than his usual cookies-and-coffee for lunch,
and gave the controlled and proper exec an acceptable way to blow off some
Yes, Admiral Harriman Nelson prided himself on taking very good care of all his
*Engineering Duty Officer, Qualified in Submarines insignia.
The wearer is qualified to repair and refit nuclear submarines, having
demonstrated engineering knowledge in submarine design, operations, and
maintenance. They are NOT qualified to serve as part of a boat's regular crew,
though part of their requirements is completion of Diving Officer of the Watch
Qualification while serving 13 weeks aboard a boat.
Kaia Winters was inspired by Capt. Mary Townsend-Manning, USN, the first woman
to graduate from the Submarine School at Groton, the first female Engineering
Duty Officer to be qualified in submarines, and the first woman to serve as
repair officer on a submarine tender. However, I have NOT made Kaia *first* at
any of these, out of respect for the real women who earned the honors. I do have
Kaia as the daughter of a widowed Ava Winters, the naval architect from "Death
Ship" who helped Nelson design Seaview,
so love of submarines is in her
Here is the commercial that inspired this story.
© 2007 Kim Q. All Rights Reserved