From: Oregon, USA
March 25, 1945
Attached to: None
Mission: Disbanded in port
System Damage: 0
Float Damage: 0
Orders: Await further orders
Shiro Kuramata stumbles back into his hammock after yet another air raid alert. He has gotten to the point where he can make it to his combat station in the forward 25mm gun tub without really waking up. More than once, in fact, he has found himself in position, checking the ready ammunition, without remembering how he got there.
So far all the alerts have been false ones. The Americans seem intent on attacking targets on the open sea and have not yet sent any scouting missions over Inch’on. Right now Shiro does not really care if they attack or not. Let them come, he thinks muzzily, as long as they do it after he has had some more sleep.
But it seems as though he has only just dropped off again when he is awakened by an insistent hand shaking his shoulder.
“Wake up, Great-Grandfather,” says Riku, shaking him again. “Please wake up, it is time to eat.”
“What?” says Shiro, opening his eyes. “What is it, Ariga?”
Standing in front of him is his great-grandson, Jomei. Jomei is a good boy, but what is he doing aboard Hibiki? Shiro blinks in confusion.
Jomei smiles. “Mother says to tell you that she has made octopus dumplings, your favorite,” he says. He speaks loudly and clearly. He knows that Shiro does not hear very well, not any more, and since reading the book Shiro wrote long ago he knows why; the roar of the 25mm gun his great-grandfather manned was excessively loud, even by the standards of the time.
“She says that if you do not come to dinner soon she will feed your share to the koi,” continues Jomei. Shiro blinks. Ah, yes, this is not Hibiki, this is his house in Tendo. The threat about the koi is a jest but he knows that as the eldest member of the family no one will eat until he has been served. Best to get a move on, then, and not keep everyone waiting.
Jomei assists him out of the rocking chair. Shiro smiles gratefully at him.
“Were you dreaming about the war again, Great-Grandfather?” Jomei asks. Shiro nods.
“Yes,” he says. “I…I was back at Inch’on, I think. Yes, it was Inch’on.”
“I remember reading that part in your book,” says Jomei. “It must have been very exciting!”
“Exciting?” says Shiro. He halts his shuffling pace and looks up at Jomei. Up? When did the boy get so tall, he wonders. “Perhaps it seems that way, if you were not there. I think that before I tell you any more war stories you and I need to take a trip, Jomei-san.”
“A trip, sir?” says Jomei, his eyes alight with interest.
Shiro nods. “Yes indeed,” he says. “I will speak with your mother about it after dinner. I have not been there in too long myself.”
“Where?” says Jomei, somehow managing to bounce in place while standing still. “Where are we going?”
“Yasukuni,” says Shiro to his great-grandson. “We will go to Yasukuni Shrine.”