Charge is bent over his books in damage central when Minobe enters. It is late, possibly past midnight, the small room hot, humid, dark, lit by just the charges small lamp. In the shadows, the damage central watch keeper sleeps on top of the drawing cabinet, taking advantage of the Charges presence
About them, Zuiho carries on, the whine of the fans, the rumble of the gearbox (a new noise this? or just our imagination, he really must take another weardown reading), the higher whine of the turbines.
The ventilation fans, as noisy as they are, are not winning. Charge works, stripped to just his smalls, sweat glistening from his wrinkled frame.
Minobe enters ( a reminder, my friend, this evening, that your Charge really is an old man, a man too old for war).
"Working late again Chief?'
Charge nods, then looks him in the eye. Going through the hours sir,.............. ( and what form are you in tonight?........are you sober?.........why, I think he might be) ....and, well, they worry me sir"
"1A boiler, 5200 hours, 1Bboiler, 5300, 2A, 4900, 2B 5960............... "
"yes, I know, all well due for another internal..........."
Silence fills the space between them. There are many things that seperate these two men, but one thing that binds them together, Zuihos machinery, Engineering, boilers, steam...................
"And there are those tubes sir"
Minobe stands in the door. For the moment, just this one perhaps, the Engineer that might have been surfaces. "I have not forgotten them Charge........' a self depreciating grin splits the moon face " and you wonder why I drink ney?"
'I will bring it to Takeji's notice again, somehow I think though, we will just have to .............."
"ha!, leave that to me Charge, you we need sober"
And with that, Minobe vanishes,.
Charge hesitates over his books...........how many years of Minobe now?. And still, he does not understand him.