The sound of Claude Swanson, Secretary of the Navy, stamping his foot against the worn red carpet of the House of Representatives in his black leather oxfords threatens to drown out the voice of the Honorable Carl Vinson, Chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, as it echoes through the massive room. Swanson cannot help it. He’s nervous.
“Tell me again, Roman. The story about the moon,” Tomas begs with all the might a child of seven can possess. “It’s not just about the moon, Tomas. It’s about everything,” Roman reminds him. “Oh. Well, tell me again.”“Okay.” Roman clears his throat.
The bright blue shade of the beautiful morning sky helps the rich green hues of the grass and palm trees deepen against the Taitague family's white clay house as several children ranging in ages seven to seventeen skip down the cement steps outside the building's side door. Rosa, nine years old with her long black hair in a braid down her back, merrily approaches her father Vicente as he finishes securing the cart to their carabao once more after a night's rest. "Can we ride on the cart to school, Dad?""I have to go to Agana, nen," he answers.Vicente's response causes Rosa's enthusiasm to abandon her."It's on the way," Alejo insists. "We won't slow you down."
A single plane flies into the glare of the noonday sun at cruising speed, hardly noticeable at its great distance. On the ground, young men of the Guam Insular Guard practice combat drills. In times like this, local militias are necessary to protect one's homeland. At least that's the idea. As nineteen-year-old Juan "Kenzo" Nakamura stands in the middle of the Plaza de Espana, with an antique firearm in his hands, he cannot say how reliable he would be in that regard.
The spectacled Father Jesus Baza Duenas stands at the altar preaching his sermon in Chamorro to a full congregation of men, women, and children. The Taitague family is among them in St. Joseph's Catholic Church early in the morning, as evidenced by Roman's falling head as he begins to nod off. Feeling its descent, he jerks it back up. It goes down once more despite his efforts.Alejo lowers his own head and to whisper in his little brother's ear, "If you can't stay awake, you can't go out with the nets."Roman shakes the sleep away."Did you hear me?" Alejo asks."Yes," Roman answers. "I heard you."Together, the two boys rise with the rest of the congregation for a hymn.
In her dark bedroom, Clara tries to convince herself of her conviction to rise from the mat she shares with one of her sisters, Valeria. Valeria is fourteen and would likely want to tag along - or rat. "I can do this. I can do this," she repeats silently in her mind. She has never snuck out of the house before, never intentionally broken any rules that she can recall, mostly for fear of getting in trouble but the thought does cross her mind: If Izzy and Frances can do it, why shouldn't she be able to?
The medals on his jacket from previous engagements jingle as Horii approaches his desk and pours himself a cup of tea. Before raising his cup to his lips, he adjusts a photograph of himself and his family also on the desk. He will make them proud this time, he thinks to himself as he picks up the teacup and saucer. He knows thus far whether he has or not is questionable. Word had reached mainland Japan of the despicable actions some of the men in his detachment of the South Seas Force via letters and that horrible video reel and on a visit home, he could feel the fear and disappointment radiating from his wife and children as if he gladly participated himself in such unspeakable behavior. No, this will be nothing like China.