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RE: Small Ship, Big War

 
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RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/15/2009 11:43:29 PM   
SuluSea


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Been reading this for awhile now, what a great story. <thumbsup>

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Post #: 4681
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/16/2009 8:06:59 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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May 10, 1945

Location: 60 miles southeast of Kunishiri Jima
Course: North
Attached to: TF 21
Mission: Surface combat
System Damage: 2
Float Damage: 0
Fires: 0
Fuel: 229

Orders: Evade pursuit

---

As Torpedoman Kinsei noted the Kuriles are known for their dense summer fogs. To the dismay of almost everyone in the task force, however, the morning dawns bright and clear. A fresh breeze out of the northwest causes whitecaps to dance atop the waves.

The lookouts aboard Hibiki now have more than planes and periscopes to watch for. Even this late in the spring drifting ice floes can be found in these waters, pushed out of the Okhotsk Sea earlier in the year and lingering still in the southern Kuriles. This is a trivial danger, however, compared to what is behind them. The clear weather has allowed search planes out of Ominato to precisely locate the enemy carriers. They are still following and are now just 650 kilometers due south of Rear Admiral Yamamoto’s ships.

This information is duly relayed to Yamamoto, who now faces a decision. Does he head northeast and hope that the enemy turns around before he runs out of room to run? Or does he loop around Kunashiri Jima and head west into the Inland Sea? Much depends on how much the enemy knows or can guess about his location.

The Japanese have gathered what fighter protection they can over Ominato and many ships are fleeing there in hopes of avoiding attack. The activity might deceive the enemy into thinking that this is where Yamamoto has gone to ground. Does the enemy feel confident enough in his strength to challenge the defenses there? There are a lot of Japanese planes over Ominato and the enemy may not be aware that many of them are flown by pilots whose aerial expertise, at least according to more veteran pilots, is largely confined to the knowledge that the propeller belongs on the front part of the plane.

If the enemy presses on to the north Yamamoto has few good options. The force behind him is obviously faster and may have more fuel. At least, he thinks, the enemy is also faced with choices and they are making their decisions based on less information than he has. At least Yamamoto hopes they are. If they know where he is than nothing he does is likely to make much difference one way or another.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4682
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/16/2009 8:28:35 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

The clear weather has allowed search planes out of Ominato to precisely locate the enemy carriers. They are still following and are now just 650 kilometers due south of Rear Admiral Yamamoto’s ships.

This information is duly relayed to Yamamoto, who now faces a decision. Does he head northeast and hope that the enemy turns around before he runs out of room to run? Or does he loop around Kunashiri Jima and head west into the Inland Sea?


A superb job of keeping up the tension. (A thought: I wonder where the nearest IJN minelaying submarine is?)

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(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4683
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/17/2009 3:25:47 PM   
rtrapasso


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

quote:

The clear weather has allowed search planes out of Ominato to precisely locate the enemy carriers. They are still following and are now just 650 kilometers due south of Rear Admiral Yamamoto’s ships.

This information is duly relayed to Yamamoto, who now faces a decision. Does he head northeast and hope that the enemy turns around before he runs out of room to run? Or does he loop around Kunashiri Jima and head west into the Inland Sea?


A superb job of keeping up the tension. (A thought: I wonder where the nearest IJN minelaying submarine is?)

Oh, about 2800 feet directly below...

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 4684
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/17/2009 6:46:53 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: rtrapasso

quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

A superb job of keeping up the tension. (A thought: I wonder where the nearest IJN minelaying submarine is?)

Oh, about 2800 feet directly below...


Yep. The last one survived until late '44 before being sunk off the Marianas.

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Post #: 4685
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/20/2009 7:58:52 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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May 11, 1945

Location: 60 miles east of Wakkanai
Course: West
Attached to: TF 21
Mission: Surface combat
System Damage: 2
Float Damage: 0
Fires: 0
Fuel: 193

Orders: Evade pursuit

---

Cape Soya is the northernmost point in Japan. From here it is possible to gaze out across the Soya Strait and see Sakhalin Island, weather permitting. The weather often does not permit but today is a bright clear day and sunlight sparkles on the surprisingly blue waters of the strait.

Hibiki and the other Japanese ships have looped volcanic Kunashiri Jima and are now approaching the strait from the east, hoping to transit it and escape into the Sea of Japan. Admiral Yamamoto has decided that his odds are better there than in the Kuriles. He has not received an updated report on the position of the enemy carriers, to his enormous frustration, but he has to figure they are somewhere nearby.

Pursuit aside it is just another day aboard Hibiki, like so many other days in this long war. Watches are stood, letters are written, endless games of cards are played. Two sailors, perhaps feeling the tension of the chase, get into a fistfight over whether eels taste better than fish. There is a brief flurry of excitement and activity over what proves to be a large floating log.

The sailors speculate whether they will put in at Wakkanai, the Japanese base on the Soya Strait. One sailor boasts of a woman there he once romanced and is widely derided as a liar because of the widespread rumor that all the women in that remote place are nothing but frostbitten hags. A man in the number three boiler room gashes the side of his hand and has to see medic Nakagawa to have it sewn up.

There is boredom and tension, mediocre food but lots of it, friendly laughter and grim silence. It is just another day for two hundred men crammed aboard a 371’ steel ship, a ship that slices gracefully through the water while somewhere not too far away there follow other ships, ships flying a different flag, ships whose own crews are also both tense and bored and who are trying to find and kill them.

---

A photograph of Wakkanai. The photo is circa 1960 but it is likely the place had changed little from 1945.






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RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/20/2009 8:07:25 PM   
Admiral DadMan


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cuttlefish

Two sailors, perhaps feeling the tension of the chase, get into a fistfight over whether eels taste better than fish.



Not unlike the scene from "Crimson Tide" when the two guys get in the fight about comic books.

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Post #: 4687
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/20/2009 8:41:55 PM   
Cribtop


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It is fashionable to make comments to this AAR that a post sounds ominous. So far, these predictions of doom have all been wrong. Still, CF's latest post sounds ominous.

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Post #: 4688
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/20/2009 11:21:49 PM   
kaleun

 

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Benzaiten will come through!

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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 4689
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/21/2009 1:29:48 AM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cuttlefish
That is high praise, sir, especially for something that I am often pressed for time to write. Thank you. As far as C.S.S. Shenandoah, I will see what I can do. At the least you now have that old, old song running through my head:

Oh Shenandoah,
I long to hear you,
Away you rolling river,
Oh Shenandoah,
I long to hear you,
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri...



IIRC that's a mariners' song; a sea-chanty sung in the 1800's to help the sailors keep time as they hauled on ropes to unfurl or furl the sails.

. . . and a beautiful song, to boot.


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Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4690
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/23/2009 6:38:37 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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May 12, 1945

Location: 40 miles north of Hakodate
Course: Southwest
Attached to: TF 21
Mission: Surface combat
System Damage: 3
Float Damage: 0
Fires: 0
Fuel: 158

Orders: Evade pursuit

---

Seaman Shoji stands at the port rail amidships and gazes down at the water streaming past the ship. It is actually the other way around, he knows, the ship moving through the water, but the illusion Is persistent. Shoji is off duty and is looking at the water because there isn’t actually much else to look at. There is the ship, of course, and the other ships in the task force, but there is nothing there that is new. The ocean is at least always moving, always changing.

Shoji is thinking deep thoughts about nothing in particular when a head emerges from the water right below him, not ten meters from the ship. Surely, he thinks in astonishment, this is the head of a dragon. It is fantastically ugly and topped by an amazing reddish crest. The head loops out of and back into the water and he is sure it is a sea serpent, for the body that follows goes on and on and on. A dorsal crest runs the length of the body. The creature is huge and it seems to Shoji’s stunned gaze that the thing must be almost as long as Hibiki, though he only sees a few meters of it at a time.

By the time the tail breaks the water and then vanishes Shoji is gazing astern. He finally finds his voice and yells, pointing. Instantly there is a hue and cry as lookouts swivel binoculars astern and feet come pounding along the deck towards him.

“What?” snaps Petty Officer Okubo. “What is it? Talk, you idiot!”

“Is it a submarine?” asks someone in concern.

Shoji can only stammer. “U…Umi-kaibutsu!” he blurts out. “It was right there! A dragon from the depths of the sea!”

“A sea monster?” says Okubo in disgust. “A tuna or a floating shoe, you mean. What few brains you had left have finally leaked out your ears, Shoji.”

There is conversation and laughter from the men gathered around as word spreads that Shoji saw a sea monster.

“Hey Shoji!” calls one sailor. “Was it Ushi-oni?” Japan, like all seafaring nations, has many legends and tales of sea monsters and Ushi-oni, a thing with the head of a bull and the body of a crab, is one of the most famous.

“No, it looked more like a dragon,” says Shoji. There are more comments and laughter at Shoji’s expense but then the men fall silent as Chief Shun approaches. The men part automatically to let Shun through. The big man looks out at the water and then at Shoji.

“Describe it,” he says in his gruff voice. Shoji does so and Shun nods.

“You have been favored,” he says. “It was ryuguno-tsukai*. A sea monster in truth. A man might spend his entire life in ships and never see one. I have seen one only once, long ago and far from here. But I have never forgotten it.” He looks out at the water again and then sweeps his stern gaze at the assembled men.

“Well?” he barks. “Have the rest of you nothing to do?” The assembled men disperse as if wafted away by a magic breeze. Shun grunts and starts to leave as well.

“Um, Chief Shun?” says Shoji in a tentative tone. Shun stops and turns.

“Did anyone believe you?” Shoji says. “When you saw the ryuguno-tsukai, I mean?” Shun shakes his head.

“Not a soul,” he says. Then he smiles grimly. “Not that anyone dared say so to my face. But I could tell no one really believed it.” He leaves. Shoji turns and gazes out once again at the ocean, seeing it with new eyes and wondering what else might dwell down in the depths.

---

*An oarfish. They were almost unknown prior to WWII and even today relatively few specimens have ever been found. They are known to reach a length of 11 meters but some species may reach 15 meters, or more. It is possible that oarfish sightings were responsible for many legends and tales of sea serpents.






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Post #: 4691
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/23/2009 7:09:49 AM   
kaleun

 

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From: Colorado
Status: offline
Excellent!

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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 4692
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/23/2009 5:32:58 PM   
T Rav

 

Posts: 78
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CF,

OK, now you're teaching us obscure pelagic biology.  I had to look up the Oarfish on google.

Great story,
T Rav

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Post #: 4693
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/23/2009 6:20:14 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9776
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From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cuttlefish
“Not a soul,” he says. Then he smiles grimly. “Not that anyone dared say so to my face. But I could tell no one really believed it.” He leaves. Shoji turns and gazes out once again at the ocean, seeing it with new eyes and wondering what else might dwell down in the depths.


Were Hibiki to suddenly undergo attack and go down, this would be a shameless example of foreshadowing...telegraphing that Shoji was about to find out for himself.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4694
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/23/2009 6:53:59 PM   
John 3rd


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AIN'T Gonna happen! 

BANZAI Hibiki!
 

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RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/23/2009 9:56:44 PM   
kaleun

 

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Banzai Benzaiten!

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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
Sun Tzu

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Post #: 4696
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/23/2009 10:26:57 PM   
ecwgcx


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I guess with AE coming out on monday we'll have to start the Hibiki saga all over again. Who would've guessed Hibiki would still be afloat when AE was announced all those many months ago

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Post #: 4697
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/24/2009 3:27:03 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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May 13, 1945

Location: Hakodate
Course: None
Attached to: TF 21
Mission: Surface combat
System Damage: 3
Float Damage: 0
Fires: 0
Fuel: 475

Orders: Evade pursuit

---

As the Japanese dock at Hakodate to refuel the four American carriers and their escorts, the ships that have relentlessly pursued them for the last eight days, finally give up the chase. Their quarry remains unlocated and the American commander is unwilling to either test the defenses of northern Japan or proceed into the Kuriles on a wild goose chase. The carriers turn around and head back to the Mariainas.

There is another reason for giving up the chase, as well. While revenge on the ships that sank their tankers would be very satisfying there are larger considerations. With mainland Japan now isolated from the rest of the Empire the Allies are giving thought to how to bring about the end of the war. They have a plan in mind, and that plan will require every ship and every plane available.

The final phase of the war is about to begin.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4698
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/24/2009 3:30:20 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
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quote:

ORIGINAL: ecwgcx

I guess with AE coming out on monday we'll have to start the Hibiki saga all over again. Who would've guessed Hibiki would still be afloat when AE was announced all those many months ago


I haven’t posted anything in the AE forum but I’ve been waiting for it as eagerly as anybody. In acknowledgement of its impending release I present the following special behind-the-scenes look at “Small Ship, Big War.”

---

Riku walks into the Green Room.

“Hey, everyone,” he says. “I’ve seen today’s script. Nobody has any lines, so you can all relax.”

“Another narrative day,” says Ishii. “Good. I don’t suppose he dropped any hints about what’s going to happen?”

“Just an ominous note about entering the last phase of the war,” Riku says. He goes over to the Coke machine. “Hey, we’re out of Diet Coke!”

“It would be nice to know if we are going to live or going to die,” says Sugiyura. “I mean, it’s been two and half years and we still don’t know.”

“Except for Shiro,” says Sakati. “Everyone has known for a long time that he makes it.” They all look at Shiro, who spreads his hands apologetically.

“Don’t blame me,” he says. “I don’t write this stuff!”

“Hey, what do any of you know about this AE thing?" asks Yoshitake. “What’s that all about?”

“It’s a new version of the game,” Taiki tells him. “Bigger, better, more realistic, more complicated. It comes out in a few days.”

“Does that mean we’re…we’re obsolete?” says Yoshitake nervously. Taiki laughs.

“Not at all,” he says. “People are still going to want to know how it all turns out for us.”

“I know I do!” says Sugiyura.

“I wonder, though,” says Lieutenant Miharu thoughtfully. “Will we be back for an AE version?”

Captain Ishii stretches and groans. “Oh god,” he says, “I hope not, at least not right away. I’m tired and my stomach hurts most of the time. I need a rest. We’ve been fighting this war for a long time.”

“Still, it’s been fun, hasn’t it?’ says Izu. “And how many Hibiki crews can say they’ve survived a PBEM until the summer of ’45? Hell, how many PBEMs go that far? I think we’ve done pretty well.”

“We have,” says Riku.

“What’s a PBEM?” says Yoshitake.

“You know, Yoshitake,” says Riku, “if we do an AE version and it’s as realistic as they say I’ll bet you anything you’ll be an officer.”



(in reply to ecwgcx)
Post #: 4699
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/24/2009 3:55:33 AM   
rjopel

 

Posts: 585
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From: Peterborough, UK
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That was awesome.

Thanks for that Cuttlefish.

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Post #: 4700
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/24/2009 4:00:29 AM   
SierraJuliet


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From: Brisbane, Australia
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CF

you keep lifting the bar higher and higher.  Fantastic diversion and very amusing.   Surely the AE version of Hibiki and her world is anticipated just as much as the long awaited AE.

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Post #: 4701
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/24/2009 4:59:43 AM   
bradfordkay

 

Posts: 8251
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From: Olympia, WA
Status: offline
I can see it now:

USS Cuttlefish
commander: w/o Yoshitake




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fair winds,
Brad

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Post #: 4702
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/24/2009 5:15:53 AM   
BigDuke66


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This "behind-the-scenes look" was wonderful.



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(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4703
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/24/2009 5:01:16 PM   
ecwgcx


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I knew it!! Something told me this wasn't real. Great story! Just don't end it like "St Elsewhere"

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4704
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/24/2009 8:32:27 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4287
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From: Los Angeles
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quote:

“What’s a PBEM?” says Yoshitake.

“You know, Yoshitake,” says Riku, “if we do an AE version and it’s as realistic as they say I’ll bet you anything you’ll be an officer.”


Hilarious!

"Final Phase", eh? It sounds like Okinawa has fallen faster than historically. And Wolffpack isn't waiting for nukes . . .

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4705
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/24/2009 10:48:27 PM   
Hornblower


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Outstanding

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 4706
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/26/2009 3:37:50 PM   
rjopel

 

Posts: 585
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From: Peterborough, UK
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Small Ship, Big War

So good you'll even read it while your in church.

Right?

(in reply to Hornblower)
Post #: 4707
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/26/2009 11:43:39 PM   
nashvillen


Posts: 2828
Joined: 7/3/2006
From: Christiana, TN
Status: offline
Yup, busted... I run the sound board and have internet access...

edit: I am also worthless at work... up to page 97...

edit: I have now gotten to here... Thanks CF for ruining a week of my life

< Message edited by nashvillen -- 7/30/2009 3:43:57 PM >

(in reply to rjopel)
Post #: 4708
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/28/2009 7:08:46 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
May 14, 1945

Location: Hakodate
Course: None
Attached to: TF 21
Mission: Surface combat
System Damage: 3
Float Damage: 0
Fires: 0
Fuel: 475

Orders: Await further orders

---

Lieutenant Sugiyura walks into the small officer’s wardroom. The only other occupant, Lieutenant Kuwaki, is seated at the table drinking tea and reading a manual on gunnery. Sugiyura joins him.

“No new orders,” he says. Kuwaki looks up.

“I am not surprised,” he says. “We need rest and opportunities like our last action will be hard to find now.” He returns to his manual. Sugiyura sits for a moment, his fingertips restlessly drumming on the table.

The ship’s two weapon’s officers are quite different. Kuwaki is on the short side, solidly built and stoic in temperament, while Sugiyura is lean and full of restless energy. The two are not close friends but have developed a good working relationship over the years, each appreciating the other’s competence.

“The Captain and Lieutenant Miharu were talking this morning,” Sugiyura says after a moment. Kuwaki once again looks up. “About what happens next. Miharu thought we would remain here ‘until the heat is off,’ as they say in the American gangster movies.” All Japanese men of their generation are familiar with American gangsters as portrayed by actors such as Edward G. Robinson. Most assume that such people are to be found on most street corners in a typical American city, carrying violin cases and leaning against street lamps while idly flipping a coin.

“Then we are in a good place,” says Kuwaki. “It never gets too hot here in Hokkaido.” Sugiyura is not sure if Kuwaki is being literal or making a joke. It is hard to tell with him, sometimes.

“He also said the Americans would stand off and try to bomb us until we surrendered,” Sugiyura continues. “The Captain disagreed. He said that he thinks they know that will never work and will try to invade. Miharu disagreed because he thought the Americans know how bloody and terrible such an invasion would be.”

“It is hard to read the enemy’s intentions from a dock here in Hakodate,” says Kuwaki. “But while Lieutenant Miharu knows the Americans well Captain Ishii has a warrior’s understanding of them after fighting them for so long. If he says they might try it then it is possible.”

“It would mean a final, glorious battle,” says Sugiyura. Kuwaki looks at him for a moment. Though a man of limited imagination he may be trying to picture such an invasion, its carnage and its terrible consequences.

“Hm,” is all he says, however. After a moment he returns to his manual. Sugiyura drums his fingers on the tabletop for a moment longer and then gets up to pour himself some tea.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4709
RE: Small Ship, Big War - 7/28/2009 8:26:20 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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quote:

Kuwaki is on the short side, solidly built and stoic in temperament, while Sugiyura is lean and full of restless energy. The two are not close friends but have developed a good working relationship over the years, each appreciating the other’s competence.


I remember Kuwaki wasn't so stoic when they took away the middle 5-inch turret. But apparently even he has recognized the value of AAA.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4710
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