4/2/45 (yes, 45!)
They cannot help themselves. Nearly 100 young men are crowded into the hall, ciggarette smoke thick in the air. The conversation level is loud, the laughter even louder, frequent.
Talking flying, of course.
A great many old aquaintances, friendships are being renewed, with all the attendant back slapping, hand shaking, joking that goes with comradship, forged in battle, renewed.
Diogowa has already met Lt Oda, fellow Zuiho refugee, and can see about the room several others.
"Where is Ogano?" shouts Oda, over the din
"the little sneak has wrangled a weeks leave, apparently, he is meant to be here today though"
'Oh.......there's an awful lot of talent in here isn't there?"
Diogowa looks about him again.
3 full Sentai of pilots..and so many, many Aces amongst them, so many veterans.......100 plus brand new NK2's ready to go outside. No wonder the atmosphere was so good.....
"yes, another unit at Clarke apparently.......almost makes one think we can........."
"ATTENTION!".............a voice barks, hidden in the far corner......."Commanding officer entering!"
Silence crashes, men come rigidly to attention.........a hundred faces stern, still, expectant
The Commander, a new half ring on his shoulder passes into the hall. A chair drags across the floor, he climbs it
A face, near the back, breaks into a deep, deep smile
LCDR Ogowa, newly promoted commander of not only the 402nd, but of all these men, all these planes, takes his new command in
Its a long, long way, from the day he joined Zuiho, joined thinking, fearing he was a coward.
That was 5 kills, 763 missions ago.
A different time, a different life
Now, all is pared away
Only Bushido remains.
He speaks, clearly, carefully. Confident.
"S401, S402, 210 Sentai are declared operational. We depart for Okiwana in one hour. Those not prepared to fly, to fight, get to stay behind and clean up this crap fight..........any questions?"
There are none
When the days are dark, send your very, very, best.