20th of the 8th, 1944
In our modern times, personal transfers at sea are easy, call up a chopper.
There are no Choppers in 1944, and only madness would cause a captain to halt a Capital ship in these waters to effect a boat transfer.
Okano and hirate will transfer via light line to a tanker first, yamato sucking hungrily for fuel one way, a stream of men, of orders, of 25 mm ammunition going the other.
From the tanker, to a destroyer.
And finally, from the destroyer to Hiyo, again the wet and wild journey across the gap between the ships.
It is near dusk when they finally arrive
Okano instantly realises something, zuiho was a toy to this ship. Sure, only 7000 tons or so heavier, but they have made a real difference.This ship has a proper tower, for a start.
They stand, a little lost, near the base of the tower, waiting for their kit bags to follow.
A petty officer finally comes to them
Okano views him, not with a little alarm. For a stoker, his clothing is frightingly clean and neat. His boots are polished for heavens sake!
He catches Hirates eys, indicates discreetly at the poster perfect man leading them across the flightdeck
"Whats the story?" he whispers
Hirate smiles, there is no humour in it, none at all. "Welcome to the Hiyo" he whispers back " Nothing, I see, has changed"
They go below.
There is no surprise for Hirate, this he has almost expected.
The shock, for Okano, is deep.
There are all sorts of ships in the Navy. And for those of us who have served on many, this is a truth.
You can take a dozen identical ships, and none, none, after a time, will be the same
And for those, with experience, the difference can be seen, and digested, in moments
Okano see's it immediately.
There are ships that go
There are ships that show, but don't go
And rarely, very rarely (even though all should) there are those ships that manage both.
Zuiho, was a ship that went. Never pretty, her rusty flanks, her stained innards spelt work
Hiyo, inside, gleams.
Yes, she has just finished a long repair time alongside, but, well, that was a week ago. More than enough time to take her back to the standard her Executive officer expects...............
The petty officer leads them deep inside, down a trunk, down again, down again, the stairway seemingly endless.
then, unerringly, through a door.
A long passageway, gleaming. Okano's eyes, not a little panic showing, flick for a compartment identification tag.
On zuiho, one always knew where one was............already, he is lost again.
The petty officer knocks, enters.
"Our replacement crew, sir"
A salute.............look out Okano, this is looking like a tight one.
The engineer, busy, writing, barely glances at them.........no time to judge him..........nor him them...........
"You are both assigned port boiler room, doubled up, middles watch, you have one week to get yourselves to speed, that is all"
They are led out again.
Disorientated, not a little worried, the petty officer leads them forward, deeper into the bowels of Hiyo.
< Message edited by 1275psi -- 8/5/2013 9:44:16 AM >