[Mail Call] 2019/01/26 – Morgane’s Fireside Chat #16

Or what should probably be titled, more Abyssals?

Since I’m feeling a bit better these days from my medical operation, I thought to write a little about a few questions that we’ve actually talked about a lot in private with some of the long-term readers.

Are the humanoid Abyssals “human” in any way? What I mean to say is that could it be that they were once humans, but corrupted to serve the Abyssal Fleet?

This is something that I’ve seen other works do, but no, it’s not what we do here in Pacific.

STEC, in-universe, have some who theorize that the Abyssals were some remnant of humanity or that they have some origin or link with humanity. This sort of thinking is natural, since we have natural tendencies to rationalize away something shocking or horrifying. Some people are naturally more kindhearted and even when wronged, their instinct is to reach out and look within. Our Canadians, for instance, lives up to that “sorry” stereotype quite well. 😛

However, from a purely design perspective, we (the creators) intentionally close off this avenue of thought. One reason is that I’ve been saying this for years, that we would like to have a consistent and definitive contrast between “humanity” and “the Abyssals.” The Abyssals are inhuman in every sense of the word. They cannot be human. Some of our Abyssal characters may be interested in humanity in some not-particularly comprehensible way. Some may even wonder about, well, aspects of humanity.

But, by some miraculous intervention, if/where an Abyssal does manage to reach an understanding to that sort of an extent… Then I think it’s safe to say that said Abyssal character is no longer an Abyssal.

Which brings us to that sketch I’ve posted.

Do Abyssals have “civilization?” They seem to have some sort of society. They obviously have leaders and followers. Some are intelligent. Some aren’t. You get the idea.

Well, you can argue that the Abyssals perceive, interact, supersede, and ultimately their environment (by stripping it bare of life). You can even argue that there is a sort of “societal” aspect of the Abyssals where the more intelligent ones “rule” over the lesser ones.

However, there are some parts of it that are just missing. I think it’s fair to say that the Abyssals lack one key aspect of civilization, which is urban development. The Abyssals don’t really build anything unless it facilitates their destructive goal. To say that they’re like a spacefaring, nomadic civilization like say, Craftworld Eldar from Warhammer 40k is also not accurate either.

I mean, the Abyssals don’t have culture. There’s no expression of Abyssal values other than “destroy human.” The Abyssals don’t make, like, I dunno, void-based tapestries of human suffering and planetary destruction to celebrate their victories. There’s no statues made out of children’s tears, no monuments to glorious annihilation. They just do and move onto the next target. The Abyssals also don’t really develop new ideas or philosophical theories. They don’t have heroes, or legends, or creation myths or anything of the sort.

If this sounds like “yeah that’s because you made them totally inhuman Morgane,” then yes, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. 😛

(Translated) You mentioned that some Abyssals behave similarly to humans. Are there any tactical advantages that one can confer from doing so? I’m having trouble understanding why. If I’m a giant sea monster why do I need to bother with other silly stuff?

See post image as an example. Part of our own creative design is that we want to emphasize the Abyssal cruelty. Sure, they don’t have to take on aspects of things that we (the readers) would recognize, but really, what is the fun of fighting a bunch of metal boxes? It’s not visually interesting (or, at least, I think it’s less visually interesting).

To continue with this line of thought, the in-universe justification is simple malice and cruelty. Abyssals imitates both the best and the worst of humanity, and applies it in turn to their own “military” units. What’s worse than seeing your village slaughtered? Seeing your village slaughtered and your loved ones skewered on a – you get the idea.

In any case, the humanoid Abyssals, or Abyssals doing this sort of thing specifically… I tend to selectively apply to the world/storyline/setting at large. After all, if you use it too often, the value of shock is lost on the reader. That, and we’re still at the end of the day a fairly “noble” (some can quibble on whether it’s bright or dark) work, so we’ll focus on the sort of generally-humanity-wins-yay sort of things that we’ve been slowly building –

Morgane.

…Woah. Hey. What are you doing out of the sketchbook?

Why can’t I be a shipgirl?

Er.

Why do I have to be the bad guy all the time?

Well, someone has to be the bad guy. You know. Plus, you know, we’ve already gone over your role in the story. It’s done. We just need to sort out the others –

I was one of your first designs, going back all the way to 2015.

You had a story for me. You brought me to life with Sima and Sune. You promised me that I’d have a satisfactory, even happy ending to my personal tale. You also promised that some day, after the War is over, I’d get to enjoy all the things that I had wanted.

Then you put the Abyssal book on hold. I waited through Ocean and 2016. I’m watching Silence Silent –

Silent Service.

Silence Service. I’m watching it being put together and wondering, when are we going to show people our story? You put out cookbook after cookbook, even non-Pacific related books. You sink a hilarious amount of text on slice-of-life episodes. When do I get to be in one?

Well…

I know your health took a turn for the worse earlier and things aren’t getting done as fast as they were before. But, I want to ask. Am I still going to get my happy ending?

Well. That. You know we don’t retcon anything. So what we had planned originally is still in effect.

In that case then I want the readers to have an idea as to what I look like.

Oh. I thought we did post a chibi of you at some point.

Sure. Now, you know, full body stuff we tend to save for larger updates where we put things on Pixiv and the like.

I’m fine with that.

In fact, I’m fine with just the, non-destructive stuff. You literally keep us Abyssals in that box and only take us out when you need to test a plot idea. It’s dark. The others might not care but I do. I have feelings too! You gave me those. You made sure that I wouldn’t turn into a complete monster.

Well, it’s why I have to be very careful as to how we introduce you into the actual storyline, right? In a sense, you are special.

I know I haven’t done anything to earn anyone’s interest just yet, but I want a chance. People love our shipgirls for what they are. I want to see if anyone would love me. Give me an update sometimes in the next four years. Let me tell my story.

Oh?

Let me tell my story, not as who I am now, or soon will be, but as a flashback. Let me show everyone a fragment of how things turned out. You’ve already buried leads all over. The way how our world is built, that information, it’s given to people in pieces without regard for chronology or order, isn’t it? You like it when people piece things together on their own.

So give me a chance. Let me tell a story, too. Give me a chance to share.

I have to say, fireside chats usually don’t end up like this.

But, alright. You’ll get a chance. I’ll go ward off Surcouf.

Thank you.

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