December 4, 1941 2300 Singapore Time USS Houston led her compatriots into the bastion of British power in the Pacific. Two modern light cruisers, USS Boise and USS Norfolk had been shanghaied from the Pacific Fleet over the past month. Admiral Hart had stopped these ships and their four modern escorting destroyer from returning to Pearl Harbor after the last two convoys from San Francisco arrived. The older and smaller USS Marblehead took up the rear as she followed the clearly marked and swept channel to the inner harbor. A pair of tenders followed the cruisers and then four refurbished four-stackers entered the harbor last. These twelve combatants formed the core of the Asiatic Fleet's striking power and it would be a powerful force in a secondary theatre but against the full might of Japan, the four cruisers would be target practice without air cover. Instead of being a sacrificial pawn in the coming storm, Admiral Hart had the moral courage to order his prime units south to join with the British Force Z at Singapore so that if they were to die, they could die being useful. Refueling and provisioning commenced as soon as the heavy hawsers wrapped around the pier bits. This operation was speedy as the Asiatic Fleet had been cooperating and training with British forces for the past six months in Hong Kong, Brunei and the bastion of Singapore itself.