I'm scratching this out in the Admiral's wardroom right now, waiting to hear what's to come of me. Mr. Tay, I guess I should say, Commander C_, is going to make sure this gets to you. You've got to make sure it gets to Queenie. You choose what to tell Mom and Dad about Queenie and me... I know that's an awful lot to ask of you, but . . .there's a bun in the oven. I can't believe I went and wrote that. To my Little Sis, too! But we was going to make it honest in Sydney next month, anyway, before she starts to show, and it's not like everyone wouldn't figure what's what from that! Now I have to worry that it won't happen if ....
If I go up on charges, I mean. I don't think I will, Honest Injun. Just call it night effect, and let it go. It's just this waiting's got me down. Stumpy's a good man, but you could say I near got his whole squadron sunk, and if you buy that, maybe I had something to do with the awful pounding Taffy 3 took. It's --I should explain. Here's the Japs, pagoda masts and all, steaming over the horizon, and not one of our battlewagons in sight. I thought I could maybe scare them off by broadcasting my recording of New Jersey's Talk Between Ships chatter. That's high frequency stuff, so short-ranged, so if the Japs had their ears on, I thought, they'd figure Third Fleet was just over the horizon and hightail it. So much for that idea! They started to chase Taffy 3, instead. Well, I...There was a whole amphibious fleet in the anchorage, and I had to think about them, too. That's what wearing this uniform means, Suzie. We're just a bunch of tin cans and freighters with flight decks built over them. Every Jap shell we took, the G.I.s wouldn't. Turned out okay --I Anyway, if I'm in the stockade over this, I want Mom and Dad to take care of Queenie and the baby. If I'm not, I guess this is the official announcement? Congrats, Suzie. You're going to be an aunt.
Your brother, Tommy.
Wing Commander R_. C_. RCAFVR, DFC (Bar)
Isle of Axholme,
I attach a fair copy of a most interesting letter which I have received through private channels in Honolulu. I suspect, given the trouble you took to arrange Miss Leung's posting ("indispensable language skills," indeed!), that you are not going to be surprised that there were consequences. Please allow me to assist in any way I can when you field her parents' complaints. Whatever their other concerns (am I being a bad daughter-in-law, imagining you smirking and raising a glass?), they will certainly not be able to travel to Australia for the wedding!
Nor is this at all the final word on excitements resulting from the recent fighting in the Philippines. You will recall that we travelled to Honolulu with the ill-formed intention of confronting Lieutenant A_., and, I don't know, knocking him over the head or some such, and then making off with the briefcase in which he was reportedly carrying the Hudson Bay Company indenture book which the Engineer has promised to Uncle George's friend's employer, they of the ridiculous "morals" clause.
And, yes, I did have a somewhat more concrete plan, but one which did not survive contact with --not the enemy, but the wayward heart of a teenage girl. Here I had an assurance from "Miss V.C." that she would wield her feminine charms in our service. Lieutenant A. could see her again --if he gave up the book. I mean, look at the photos you have of the young lady! How far could the bonds of old family loyalties stand up to such strains?
Then, the night before the embargo was lifted, I got a flat refusal! She was conflicted. Things were "complicated." Complications my matronly d-r-e, pardon my French. So, a day or two not much to be lost, as much as I longed to be back with my darlings, I cut "Miss V.C." out from the crowd to take a moment to commune with ancestors via some horrible old air inter-island service. Or, alleged ancestors, given that, one, Paao never existed, two, if he existed, he came out of Kahiki in the distant past, not 1745, and, three, that even if one stipulates the first two, oh, never mind, I am digressing again. Still, alleged ancestors are alleged ancestors, and the great whale temple is real enough, picturesque in its bloody way, and perfect to pump out the girl's real concern. Which, not surprisingly in a nineteen year-old, is that she is romantically torn and doesn't want to make promises to the Lieutenant that would hurt this oh-so mysterious other swain.
So there we were, in a lounge in Chester's headquarters, with no better plan in mind than taking Lieutenant A_. by the ear and boxing some sense into him. Fortunately, he fairly dripped anxiety (rancid anxiety in the Hawaiian heat, because he is a twenty-one year old), and who should come to the rescue by our housekeeper, who cozens the cause out of him --a message just sent to the Admiral.
A glance at the message (la, we are in violating security --someone tell Congress!) shows that Lieutenant A. had abused his position to slant the message as a very public insult to the Admiral. Shamefacedly, he admitted to doing it at the Engineer's behest.
Now, if this were a pulp novel of the kind that Mr. Rohmer loves to write, it would all come together. Of course, it is not a novel. (If anything, it is one of those overly prolix newspaper comic strips that go on and on.) The Engineer, I do not doubt, thought that he was procuring a nasty little setback to the Fleet that would redound on the President's re-election chances. Had the Admiral not already arranged that on his own, the Engineer's plotting might even have had that effect. Not likely, though, as he is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. (You can say that to the Earl!). Instead, we soon discovered, the Japanese were even more inept than the Admiral, so that all is well. As for our matters, a single arched eyebrow served for a threat of discovery, and the briefcase, precious old indenture book and all, were handed over. No more evidence that Uncle George's friend has contracted a marriage across race lines, no more fear of a counter-action when he breaks his contract. Not that he would have proceeded, anyway, had he been threatened with such publicity.