Hidaka and Uto are doing what pilots on Zuiho do frequently, striding her flight deck.
Its a daily thing (weather permitting!) to stroll her stubby length, to study her worn flight deck timbers, to revist the holes, the patches, the new planks that speak of past adventures.
Common rates are, of course, usually banned from the deck, only her eagles attendants, her pilots, may take this walk.
They reach the flight deck end, the curve that falls to the bow, the gun pits below.
Both men pause, and contemplate the new carrier before them, the Amagi, swinging on her mooring.
On her stern, a full strike is loaded, and her eagles throb.
There will be no strike, of course, not from here, not while anchored. But Amagi's captain, his crew, have a long, long way to go to reach Zuiho's efficiency.
There is much work to do.
"A fine ship ney Uto?"
"Hiryu like, yes?"
"Yes, as fast as a leapord too, I would think. I hear Katsaguri joins the fleet within the month as well"
Uto nods. The fleet is growing, growing in numbers, confidence again.
But being the herbiesans Son, allows one to say certain things that others would not dare say.........
"Ahh yes, but have you noticed what I notice Hidaka?"
"The planes on her"
"Aircraft, you dolt, her aircraft. What about them?"
"yes, they are still zeros"
Hidaka does not turn to Uto. There is no need.
he is so right, you know. Still zeros. And the Americans, hellcats, corsairs, this new P51, improved wildcats...........
And we still fly new zeros, that are really just old zeros..........
"yes" his voice is low, and full of regret "Yes, you are right Uto. We will have to be at our very best to prevail when the battle comes.............."