Saint Bart's - Sample
Kenda pushes the brand new A6M2 Zero-Sen fighter plane back level. He checks his gauges. He had not even really approached stall in the vertical climb. Wow! What an engine! Amazing! Oh, yeah… this is the plane for me. No doubt about it. How could those old pilots prefer the Type 96? This thing is so much better. Power, speed… comfort… full glass canopy for visibility… better firepower… radio… range. Jeez! This is an awesome machine!
Kenda: “I’m going to throw it around a bit.”
Sogomoto: “I’m going to hang back and watch from your six.”
Kenda: “Okay.” He begins a series of quick breaks. Left, right, left, right. Then a series of rudder yaws. Left, right, left, right. Then, aileron response as he waggles the wings in an exaggerated manner; finally ending in a complete roll over.
Sogomoto: “Having fun?”
Kenda: “Oh, yeah. This is great. How do you like it?”
Sogomoto: “I could get used to this.”
Kenda: “Ha, ha. You better, I doubt if you are going to end up in one of those night fighters.”
Sogomoto: “No worries. This works for me. Hey, I want to shoot something.”
Kenda: “Okay… what?”
Sogomoto: “Let’s head back to the island and take some pot shots at one of those little rock formations offshore.”
Kenda: “You lead.”
Sogomoto takes the lead and they head back to the East in a gentle descent. Approaching the green jungle environment, he drops to 300 meters and turns on his electric gunsight. He takes aim at a rock island about a half kilometer offshore. He pulls the trigger. >Crash!< A single round burst with all guns. Then holds it for a two second burst. >Blam, blam, blam, blam!< The chatter of two cannon and four machine guns is deafening inside the glass canopy.
Kenda: “What? What’s the matter?”
Sogomoto: “Nothing. It’s loud! But… you can hardly feel the guns firing. You know, in the 96, the whole thing sort of rocks and vibrates? This one barely says a word.”
Kenda: “My turn.” He turns on his gunsight and takes aim at the next rock formation. He pulls the trigger and hears the staccato rhythm as the bigger, heavier plane stays perfectly focused on the rocks as he fires. Kenda can observe every bullet strike on the rock formation through his advanced gunsight.
Kenda: “Wow! Pretty neat.” He pulls back on the stick and checks the damage as he passes.
Sogomoto: “I just…”
Sogomoto: “Oh, I was just… I hope we don’t have to… you know.”
Kenda bites his lip. He knows. Even though the Intel says that there is not a serious aerial threat here… he knows what Sogomoto is feeling. No one wants to kill.
Kenda: “Me too, Sogo. Me too.” Kenda thinks to himself: But, if I have to fight, I want to have an airplane under me that gives me an advantage. I must defeat the enemy. I am not going to die out here. Yes… this one is the one I want.
The men continue their check flight until they notice the time factor. They head back to the airfield. After clearance, they land on the hard runway matting and taxi back to the line.
Lieutenant Commander Okami is waiting for them. Kenda dismounts his aircraft.
Okami: “What did you think?”
Kenda: “I love it. I want this one.”
Okami: “Okay, when Chief Zuno and the support guys get here, have them paint a number of your choice on the tail.”
Kenda: “Just a number? Anything else?”
Okami: “We are going to put our sentai identifier on the tail as well; and you get a white band on the rear fuselage identifying you as first flight leader. We will have brown primer colored spinners on the props to identify our sentai. 47th Sentai gets camo green. 40th gets red, and 25th gets white. Ground crew will know when the time comes.”
Sogomoto joins them. “Whew! That is one fine machine! I am impressed.”
Okami: “Glad to hear it. Masa gets his pick of number. You get second choice… any number you want to put on the tail.”
Sogomoto: “Awesome! I want a big white ‘nineteen’ on my tail.”
Kenda: “Too late. I picked nineteen.”
Sogomoto: “No way! I want nineteen.”
Kenda: “I’m first; ‘cause I’m best. I get nineteen.”
Sogomoto: “Hey, you’re just picking nineteen because you know I want nineteen. That’s not fair.”
Kenda: “I’m best. Nineteen.”
Sogomoto: “Commander, tell him to pick another number, you know I want nineteen.”
Okami: “Oh, no! Leave me out of this. All I know is that Masa gets first pick.”
Sogomoto: “Come on, Masa! Pick another number. How about eleven? You always liked eleven. What do you say? Let me have nineteen.”
Sogomoto: “You’re just being childish.”
Okami: “I’m out of here.” He turns and walks off, leaving them alone on the line.
Kenda: “I’m being childish? You are the one that’s being childish.”
Sogomoto: “Says you!”
Kenda: “Yes, says me.”
Sogomoto: “You’re always stealing my stuff.”
Kenda: “Says you!”
Sogomoto: “Says you! You’re mean! I want another number now. I want… sixty six.”
Kenda: “Good, you can have sixty six.”
Sogomoto: “Okay, fine! Take your old nineteen, see if I care.”
Okami walks away, listening to the argument growing in intensity. He can barely contain his laughter as he turns the corner and heads down the path to his tent. He thinks to himself: They really are just like children. But what wonderful children they are. I would be proud to have both of them…