From: The Eastern Sierras
Scuttlebutt was faster than the speed of light on most Japanese warships. The light cruiser Oi, just out from Nagasaki, was no different.
“We’re going where?” Asked Isamu with a look of incredulity scrunched on his face. Obviously he had not heard his shipmate Juro correctly.
“Amami Oshima.” It was delivered almost as a grunt.
“And why are we going to Amami Oshima?” Isamu was trying hard not to let his impatience show. Juro loved to share scuttlebutt but one had to pull information from him in a slow and painful process that much resembled a tooth extraction.
“We are joining a new task force named Suzume Bachi.”
Isamu pondered on this news. When it came to news and information, Juro was almost always the most reliable source on the ship. But why would someone name the task force after a… The pieces of the puzzle came together with an almost audible snap in Isamu’s mind and he smiled in almost fiendish delight. The Oi carried twenty torpedo tubes on each flank; a total of 40 Long Lance launchers that should put the fear of Owatatsumi, the great dragon god of the sea, in the heart of any worthy opponent the Oi would face. Yes – to be named after such a wasp was great praise indeed!
“Do you know any of the other ships that will be in our task force?”
(sigh) “Would you be so kind as to enlighten a humble sailor so dim as I?” asked Isamu. He could feel his jaw tightening and it was almost more than he could bear to keep his tone of voice anything close to neutral.
“Well, the cruiser Maya is coming from Takao…” Juro let his voice trail off.
“And?” Isamu asked again, not daring to look at Juro, so great was his desire to throttle his thrice-damned shipmate.
“I here they are sending three destroyers from Oite that will serve as our escorts…” Again his voice trailed off. Juro could no longer keep the smug look off of his face. He did so enjoy forcing people to work at extracting anything from him. It was a game, and one that Juro thoroughly enjoyed.
“And?” Isamu scrunched up his toes within his shoes and his fingers were near white, so hard was he gripping the railing of the mighty Oi.
“Oh, yes. I also hear that our brother ship, the Kitakami, will join us from Yokohama. But hey – look at the time,” Juro exclaimed as he looked towards Isamu. “My shift starts soon and I need to get below deck. But later tonight – maybe after supper – come hunt me up again and I’ll share with you what I know about our first war patrol.” And with that Juro strolled away, eyes twinkling.
Which left Isamu fuming quietly to himself at the thought of having to put himself through such trials again directly after supper. Still, he mused to himself, as he thought over what he had learned. The Oi and the Kitakami in the same task force with the Maya! Isamu thumped the rail with a fisted hand, such was the intensity of his thoughts. Those damned Americans and Brits were going to hate the Suzume Bachi task force!
< Message edited by 1EyedJacks -- 10/19/2011 11:33:28 PM >