[Mail Call] 2017/10/19 – Morgane’s Fireside Chat #7

Got home super late. This should be titled “on reader responses.”

Sune was super excited and pinged me a pretty long write-up of one of our long time reader’s conjecture on what he’s observed so far. I took a look and I concur.

“whoever created the shipgirls”. Oh…. I do remember hints that there was some vague “god” being involved but I also remember not entirely taking those hints seriously. Looking back on it it does make sense.

If there was some intelligence behind their creation it would neatly answer many questions about why shipgirls appear in the way that they do. Why are they based on ships? because the intelligence wants it to be that way. Why are they mostly from WWII? Also because the intelligence wants it to be that way. Why are there papershipgirls? Perhaps the intelligence simply asked why not? The questions then start centering around why exactly the intelligence would choose to make these decisions and what is the nature of the intelligence.

You have actually stumbled upon a rather interesting philosophical, sometimes borderline religious query. Why does “God” do what he does? While it frequently takes form in the question of “why does God permit suffering,” you can generally apply the same reasoning and rationale here as well.

From an in-universe perspective, I’d have left it at that. From an out-of-universe perspective, as the creator of the intelligence, my answer is: watch and see. Just do remember that as author I do have creative intent behind pretty much everything we do. It wouldn’t be Pacific otherwise.

I’ll make a guess. The Abyssals are “technological” in nature, or at least they appear so to me. There’s absolutely no indication that they’re any kind of mystical beings like they are in so many other KC fanworks, hellbent on “revenge” or whatnot.

The Abyssals serve several thematic purposes as the antagonist or villain of Pacific. Let’s work with that observation you’ve made. They are largely technological and mechanic in nature. Why is that? What makes a machine particularly terrifying or particularly “hostile” towards humanity?

Simple. Any living being, no matter how different from you and I, will at a base minimum be limited by some actual biological parameters. Note. Living is NOT the same as intelligent, or sentient.

As a casual example; in order to be alive, you need to be able to die. You need to be able to be born. You’re going to need to have some semblance of identity, to know who you are, or have a sense for what you are.

The very intelligent reader will immediately ask: but these definitions don’t match up to everything perfectly. A brain-dead individual, for instance, have no sense of identity. Are you saying that said person is inhuman?

No. That’s not the argument that I’m making. Your role as reader is to make those connections and interpretations to you. My role as writer, creator, is to create something that could conceivably fit all of these roles and communicate that in some fashion.

So let’s step back for a moment. Imagine you’re one of these Abyssal “creatures.” I say creature because that’s really putting it kindly. What is your experience even going to be like? I can’t describe it. I lack the intelligence to be able to operate autonomously. Their behavior appears to be mostly instinctual or animal-like (terms that I repeatedly use) but at the same time, I describe them as being far more intelligent than capable than you’d think.

This appears to be a logical contradiction at first. It isn’t. The key term once again comes from perception. STEC perceives the Abyssals as intelligent because they perform actions that are associated with intelligence. Creating ambushes. Adjusting their reactions. Things that you wouldn’t expect a dumb drone to do.

Well, what if the controller is smart? What if the controller is really the one pulling those moves? But that doesn’t matter nearly as much if you think about it. Your “life” as a semi-autonomous extension of the Abyssal Fleet means you might have been given just enough “tools” to react to certain stimuli. You might experience pain so you can cease certain behaviors or avoid certain things. However, your ability to react to said stimuli does not mean you understand what those stimuli are. It does not mean you have control over those actions.

You simply are. You exist. And your body is not your own. You are just perceptive enough to understand that something is “being done” or is in the state of doing. You have no idea what it is.

Your ability to receive and process information? Only the materials that are relevant. I doubt you know what color is. I certainly don’t think you understand just what “taste” is – after all, you may be able to distinguish different molecules through some organ-equivalent of yours, but you have no concept of smell. You can’t express the fact that you’ve smelled delicious appie pie, the scent of perfumes, or shipgirls, or blood or whatever. Those things have no meaning to you.

What’s worse, you are incapable of obtaining meaning. That’s how you were created. A thing with just enough functionality to carry out a task. A task that you don’t understand.

In edgier works, you know, I would add some line about how you hate. You hate humanity, then, for what it is. “They hate us for our way of life.” How quaint. Because you can’t even use hate to quantify that term. Hate is a concept. It requires the identification of a target, an emotion of extreme envy or dislike, and a comparative understanding of the relative states of being in which you and the thing or target you hate are.

You lack the ability to hate, because you literally lack all three of those components. In essence you “survive” in a state of perpetual limbo where your perception of reality flashes in and out of existence. You can’t die, because the Fleet might simply bring you in again. With no ability to retain memories your existence is essentially boiled down to a never-ending state of death and rebirth, only that there is no release because every SECOND brings in a new discomfort because you would be experiencing the utterly alien things (to you) all over again.

Again.

Again.

and Again.

Forever.

Rather they seem interested in fairly mundane things like resources. They’re PHYSCIAL entities, more like Sci-Fi aliens than Fantasy spirits or whatever. If that assumption is correct then maybe the shipgirls are the same way

Well, sure. This isn’t a bad guess.

IIRC shipgirls have fought many seperate wars with Abyssals across many different worlds and Alt-Timelines. Perhaps they originate from one of these worlds that was home to a particularely advanced version of mankind, who were responsible for creating the shipgirls as a means to fight off Abyssals. Taking the “best of humanity” as models for the individuals meant to defend it against an opponent that utterly lacks even the slightest trace of what makes us human

The last statement is absolutely spot-on correct. That’s what shipgirls are. They fight against the Abyssal fleet.

Everything else, well, I have a question.

You say advanced humanity. How advanced do you think humanity has to be to create something like a shipgirl – an exemplary being, in short, that can basically last against an opponent like the Abyssals?

If you’ve gotten to a point where you’ve basically mastered energy and matter manipulation (that’s PRETTY MUCH what fairies can do) are you still even human?

And how the hell did you lose in the first place?

If you lost, what hope does this have for the humans of Pacific’s world? You know, ordinary folks like you and I?

Think about it. Think very deep. Then you’ll realize why I, in particular, love creating Pacific.

Because I know this story. I know its beginning. I know its middle. I know the paths in which my girls will take as they live within these very words and very pages.

I also know how it ends.

And as they traveled from world to world, they sometimes created new shipgirls, based on designs that weren’t built in their original world. Giving birth to our Zaos and Lousiannas.

Maybe. However, that would imply that the concept of the Zao or the Louisiana is somehow universally connected…

Maybe when they were first created, shipgirls weren’t really shipgirls. As in, they were just “blank” weapons with little personality and not much to distinguish themselves from each other as individuals.

I’ve actually seen this in other fanworks. It’s a very commonly used trope – the carte blanche.

At this point they’d lack even the references to their “ship selves” since the original civilization that created them did not really have a WWII equivalent or they considered it unimportant. But as their weapons hopped from world to world and evolved through countless wars with the Abyssals, some of that humanity rubbed off on them and they developed an affinity for WWII warships as they found the stories and ideas behind those warships to be inspiring to them and their budding humanity.

There are two discrete observations within this paragraph that is correct.

gah, alright I’m probably very wrong

Some of these are excellent ideas. You’re clearly thinking. Good. It’s the kind of responses I like to see.

But the fact that there is an intelligence behind the shipgirls is interesting in and of itself. You wonder why it would bother with trying to defend mankind.

Why not?

If I was an STEC researcher I’d probably want to draft a long list of questions for the shipgirls and try to see how far their memories can take them.

Someone get a note to Andrea and hire this man (?).

Or if they feel any “inclination” to behave a certain way.

No different than any other human. You can’t get Sculpin to be un-lazy or Pennsy to be un-angry. It’s just kinda who they are.

Like if they have any “built in” objectives. Or even more basic questions like why they even want to defend mankind in the first place.

No different than any other human. The answer to this varies quite a bit. Some like New Jersey takes the whole defender of humanity thing probably very seriously. Others are just acting on their human inclinations. Some fight for friends and family. Some fight for ideals and values. Some fight because it’s fun (that’s the answer given on the survey so take it as seriously or as unseriously as you will).

Their answers could be a clue as to what exactly this entity wants and why it wants these things.

Yes.

Unless it’s some super-meta thing where Morgane herself is literally a character in Pacific. And is basically god. (Though that’s probably unlikely….)

I’m not very meta. My creative techniques are very antiquated and old-fashioned.

So yeah, thinking again on “why warships” as opposed to other human things. Abyssals have no ideals, no “loved ones”, no human or humanlike attachments (that we can see at least). An abyssal unit is built to conquer and destroy and nothing else. But a Warship, while also built with these things in mind, is also built to defend nations, peoples, and ideals. There’re very human emotions that go into the creations of these Warships. Hopes and dreams by their builders, sailors, and even the politicans that comissioned them. So while in some ways they are superficially similar to the Abyssal’s own combatants, they are also fundamentally different as many of the things that went behind their creation are things that the Abyssals completely lack and cannot understand.

Grade A analysis. Very good.

hey’re also some of the most powerful combat units humans have ever constructed. So, if you’re willing to stretch things just a wee a bit and look at it from a certain point of view, a warship could be summed up as a compact symbol of Mankind’s technical and martial might as well as a symbol of our humanity and how it motivates us to do great things. A good counter, both in physical terms and in “theme”, for the inhuman Abyssals.

You might have stolen that straight out of my notes. Haha.

Yes. Absolutely. More so than the airplane or the tank, a warship is a microcosm of human civilization. There’s an old saying that you can build an army in a year, an airforce in ten, but a navy in a hundred. They aren’t exactly wrong. To maintain a ship takes more than just money and industrial power. It also require purpose.

Furthermore, humanity has a unique relationship with the ocean. Life, it is said, originated from the oceans themselves. The sea is the first non-native habitat in which we begin our journey as humanity. It is both hostile and friendly, full of dangers but also bounty (after all, you couldn’t live off the air or the atmosphere alone, could you? The sea on the other hand you could). It occupies a unique position in humanity’s history. I challenge you to find me one great civilization like Greece or Rome or China or Egypt that had nothing to do with the oceans.

The ocean allowed for the first rapid exchange of goods and ideas. It also allowed for some of the most catastrophic events in human history. It facilitated the rise of the Hellenic city-states and in the very same breath was likely the source of their ruin a few hundred years prior during the Bronze Age collapse. It doesn’t discriminate – both liberators and slavers traveled on its waves. It simply is.

I don’t know why the other shipgirl games, creative works, or whatever else is doing warships. But I think I definitely know mine. After seeing all that, are we on the same page? 🙂

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