The tanker rides low and fat in the water, its crude blunt bow shovelling the black sea away.
Zuiho rides 50, maybe 60 measly feet away, connected by the fat snaking fuelling hose.
Black seas, black night. rain, heavy, heavy rain, whipped into the faces of the men huddled about the fuelling point, on Zuiho's bridge wing, on the tankers oil deck.
60 feet....or 600........in this inky darkness it could almost be anything.
Takeji stands, statue like, on his bridge wing, the water pouring of him.
A steady stream of orders, of steering and revolution changes flow from him.........and his voice holds more than an edge of anger.
It is not going well.........the Tanker is not, damnation to hell, not holding a steady course. And this bloody wind, whipping in on his forward quarter, keeps pushing his bow into her bloody path......
"Port 5 degrees helmsman!", down 2 revolutions!..........
damnation to hell.this is not going well.
In the Port engine room, it is not going well...........
The steady stream of revolution changes , those tiny, inconsequential changes........
'he's chasing his bloody tail" thinks the charge.
The bells ring again
He reaches across to the ahead throttle, and grabs it hard.
The throttle watch keeper looks startled..........
"Just wait a moment.........I see the problem"
Charge bends to his voice pipe......... "Starboard engine, Charge..........if you do not match my revolutions exactly in the next 30 seconds, you will be able to pass pineapples by the time I am finished with you............"
It is not going well down stairs
On the fuelling point, it is not going very well, very well at all.
Hindered by the darkness, deafened by the whipping wind, the pounding rain, the hissing sea, and drowned to boot, communications are breaking down.
Minobe stands behind the fuelling party, trying to shelter the fuelling board -the small board marked with the tank capacities and the valve/pipe layouts.
The rain runs across it, , and what ever marks he tries to make on it are blurring away, running away.........as his temper
The chippee is cursing...mixed in the rain, a small, but potent jet of the black oil is pissing from the coupling.
A steady stream of curses issues from him as he hammers at the spanner, the clanging swallowed by the canalopy of noise about them.
It is not going well.
"Say again 99?"
Lurch places both hands to his head phones.."say again99?
"Thirteen feet 4 inches in 99 sir!'
'Minobe looks up sharply........'ARE YOU SURE!?"
Fear flashes across Lurches face '"repeat level 99 please"
With a growl, Minobe advances on Lurch.
The blow he aims should have taken his head of........but for the slick deck of water, of oil.
With a smack, he slams arse first onto the deck.
The men stand still
In a rage, he stands, oil stained.......
'"Give me those TRUKING Head phones!"
It is not going well on Zuiho tonight.