“Does STEC hold other properties other than Avalon base? What roles does land bases play, if any?”
- Yes. In the same way as military organizations owning or occupying certain areas, STEC holds a number of (mostly research) sites scattered around mostly sparsely occupied or unoccupied areas.
- I’m interpreting this question as more “what does land-based military forces do in terms of STEC’s own planning.”
The same as what land-based forces do in today’s militaries, of course.
STEC is a bit unusual in the sense that its primary strike capabilities are literally a handful of human-sized troops. A shipgirl by herself carries a disproportionately (and indeed, hilariously large) amount of firepower, and STEC doesn’t have to send them out on their own. By now Avalon has its own recovery and transportation system built, MERLIN is up and running, so STEC really doesn’t need to commandeer navy or airforce aircraft to do recon or airdrop at this point.
A shipgirl “taskforce” or “fireteam” or whatever you want to call it would of course benefit from additional support, but you have to seriously weigh the costs and benefits. One huge and indisputable draw is that STEC is self-sufficient. Its fairies construct its own arsenal, it has specialized counter-Abyssal weapons, and the amount of “supply” a fairy needs is minuscule. Not to mention, fairies are naturally self-sufficient. STEC has observed that the fairies will literally start building things that facilitates their work and improves their quality of life once there’s enough of them hanging around a spot. From miniature orchards and victory gardens to tiny supply-depots to even mines.
(That last one STEC still hasn’t quite figured out how or what the fairies are actually doing, only that once in a while fairies would cart out what looks to be perfectly fine fairy-quality steel directly out of the (admittedly cartoonish-looking) “mine.“ The operational theory right now is that it’s some kind of advanced conversion facility, since the fairies has been observed to scavenge loose bits of metals (mostly things like buttons and paper clips) from abandoned offices, and this behavior stopped after someone tossed them a box of steel shavings.)
Given that fairies are self-sufficient, how useful is it to sortie out say, an F16 screen? Considering that you need to maintain operational secrecy, the cost of maintenance, and the cost of the operation…
Put it this way, a single air to surface missile launched at an Abyssal can probably be enough to keep Avalon operational for a year. So, I think STEC probably needs to have good reasons to call in additional support. Not that they won’t get it, but the culture is as a whole averse to waste.