Dusk was settling in as Kenta led his bike-riding squad down University Avenue and then right on Kapi‘olani Boulevard. As he approached Washington Place, it occurred to him that he had not waited for instructions. But he worried for nothing. On the mansion’s front lawn another sergeant with a khaki sleeve full of chevrons stood astride a machine gun and three bulky canvas bags, each the size and color of a baby elephant.
Kenta’s squad dropped their bikes on the lawn and formed up. “Corporal Takayama reporting as directed…SIR!”
Stubble covered the sergeant’s square jaw, testimony that he had been awakened by the early morning bombing. A scar on his skull that ran behind his ear suggested a grazing bullet. Kenta guessed he had seen action in France during the Great War.

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