The day begins for the majority of Zuihos crews at 0200 hours
They are roused from their hammocks, tumbling into the narrow areas between them, feet landing onto trembling decks. Minds will automatically register that Zuiho is pressing on at full speed, that the attack then, is still "on'.
It is a strange time this, this hour between midnight and dawn, the body and mind seems to dissocciate themselves from each other.
The body, almost automatically, will struggle through the motions of dressing in this crowd of bodies, of making its way to breakfast, wolfing down the seafood rolls, the sweet buns, the tea, then joining the straggle of others to the hanger decks, or the gun pits, damage control centres, or any one of the 700 odd places that must soon be manned for battle.
The mind, the mind does its own thing. It contemplates mortality, life, death, but above all the one thing that all Japanese carry as an impossible crushing invisible load.
Their duty. Their obedience.
They will not let Zuiho, her captain, japan, her emperor down.
They will not.
By 0230, the hanger deck is alive with work.
The 12 Jills today are parked in the lower hanger deck. The work today then, will be a lot easier.
In turn, each zero is fuelled, hoses snaking through out the hanger, the sickly smell of aviation gas , despite the blast of the great ventilation fans, permeates the air.
Fuelled, the snakes of cannon shells and machine gun bullets loaded, each in turn is pushed to the forward elevator.
By 0300, the bells are tinkling, and it lowers, and a blast of cold, and wet, very wet air sweeps through the deck
It is raining.
Heavily, but not consistantly. Scattered showers of heavily blown rain, cold for the tropics, are scuddering across the ocean, obscuring many of the carriers.
It does not matter though, no messages are being sent, nor are they expected. The fleet is going to strike , on time.
Each fighter, gleaming, the water beading on polished canopies, are manhandled aft, chocked.
By 0400, they are ready
It is now that Zuiho's life again takes purpose. Her pilots are called from their beds.