You know what? I’m bored.

No, like, really. I’m bored. I don’t see the Abyssal book anywhere in this year or next year’s line-up, so here’s what I’m going to do. I’m switching sides.

Before you ask, the horns do come off. It’s kind of like the shipgirl clothing thing, only that we manifest our own extra bits and bobs like tails and horns. 

Why?

What kind of a stupid question is that? Why do you wear blue jeans and not red? Why are you wearing a shirt and not a blouse today? Why do humans even wear pants?

You know what else is a stupid question? The one you’re thinking of right now that contains the words “my waifu.” 

But I’m not here to talk about what’s a stupid or a not-stupid question. The reason why I made that offhand, possibly attention-seeking or coquettish comment is because I want to identify one particular thing STEC does exceptionally well, which is controlling and refining information. 

I’ve actually watched this in action, and have concluded that the Fleet is unintentionally handing its opponent with the proverbial rope in which it’s going to hang itself on. Let me show you an example and walk through it. 

[Redacted Date]

[Redacted No. Encounter]

From: Tautog
To: Commander-in-Chief, Naval Base Avalon

Subject: [Report of Action, Counter-Abyssal Activities, Redacted Date]

Enclosures: 

(A) Encounter report
(B) Situational report
(C) Recommendations
(D) Shipgirl communication logs, Tautog
(E) Shipgirl track charts
(F) Expenditures and experimental test logs
(G) Abyssal classification & report

I think one thing many humans simply do not comprehend is that STEC works with a significant amount of data. Most shipgirls have exceptional memory and are able to recall events with great clarity, but part of the doctrine developed by Admiral Yin is the focus on information gathering. STEC shipgirls enter battle with an array of information at their back – the famous MERLIN satellite system being a well-known example, but they also engage with a large amount of equipment, compressed and consolidated inside the shipgirl’s kit, that allows them to gather information. 

Excerpt from (A), refined & redacted (short ver.)

[Time Stamp]: Dispatch received from Task Force Commander in ordinary command cipher.
[Time Stamp]: Indication of possible intrusion and location of enemy force at [coordinate, coordinate], T-minus [hours].
[Time Stamp]: NARWHAL acknowledge & commence high-speed tactical relocation (HSTR) to engage threat.
[Time Stamp]: TAUTOG acknowledge & commence HSTR.
[Time Stamp]: TUNA acknowledge & commence HSTR. 
[Time Stamp]: Confirmation of intrusion and location of enemy force at [coordinate, coordinate] revised to [coordinate, coordinate]. Estimated intrusion arrival remain T-minus [hours]. 
[Time Stamp]: TAUTOG arrive on station & standby.
[Time Stamp]: NARWHAL arrive on station & standby++.
[Time Stamp]: Confirmation of intrusion and location of enemy force further revised at [coordinate, coordinate]. Estimated intrusion arrival revised to T-minus [hours].
[Time Stamp]: TUNA arrive on station, primary adjust.
[Time Stamp]: Confirmation of intrusion revised to FINAL at [coordinate, coordinate, coordinate]. Incursion time revised to FINAL at [Time Stamp].
[Time Stamp]: TAUTOG primary adjust. 
[Time Stamp]: TUNA ++
[Time Stamp]: TAUTOG ++
[Time Stamp]: TAUTOG arrive on station. 
[Time Stamp]: Incursion. Enemy force is of unknown type as described in (G).
[Time Stamp]: NARWHAL move to support TAUTOG.
[Time Stamp]: TUNA move to support TAUTOG.
[Time Stamp]: Incursion complete with enemy force at [coordinate, coordinate, coordinate], [distance], [speed], [bearing].
[Time Stamp]: Cmdr. Yin order TAUTOG, NARWHAL, TUNA to general quarters.

This looks pretty boring, and it is. It’s basically shipgirls-moving-in-response to Abyssal appearance. But, have you thought about why this information might be important? Let me redact the log a bit and present it to you. 

[Time Stamp]: Dispatch received from Task Force Commander in ordinary command cipher.
[Time Stamp]: Indication of possible intrusion and location of enemy force at [coordinate, coordinate], T-minus [hours].
[Time Stamp]: Confirmation of intrusion and location of enemy force at [coordinate, coordinate] revised to [coordinate, coordinate]. Estimated intrusion arrival remain T-minus [hours]. 
[Time Stamp]: Confirmation of intrusion and location of enemy force further revised at [coordinate, coordinate]. Estimated intrusion arrival revised to T-minus [hours].
[Time Stamp]: Confirmation of intrusion revised to FINAL at [coordinate, coordinate, coordinate]. Incursion time revised to FINAL at [Time Stamp].
[Time Stamp]: Incursion. Enemy force is of unknown type as described in (G).
[Time Stamp]: Incursion complete with enemy force at [coordinate, coordinate, coordinate], [distance], [speed], [bearing].

This information is exactly the same as before, but now there is no more “human factor.” A STEC analyst reading this would not know who responded first, or how the shipgirls may work out how to respond to the threat on the field based on what they see. Naturally, he wouldn’t be able to make concrete recommendations or assess the shipgirl’s performance to the fullest extent. Is Tuna slow, or are Narwhal and Tautog just fast? Why does Tautog adjust her gear en route, while Tuna does it once she arrives at the designated battle zone? What’s Narwhal doing that’s letting her do things faster than the other girls?

Let’s take a look at another segment.

Excerpt from (A), refined & redacted (short ver.)

Battle Narrative (Part 2 of 3)

1. TAUTOG received indication of possible location of enemy force at [Time Stamp]. Approximately a minute later enemy position is confirmed, and TAUTOG orders tubes 2 & 4 to switch to SEEKER.

2. About the time of [Time Stamp] enemy force is identified to be a single Abyssal of [size]. After approximately 20 seconds, the Abyssal breaks to surface, with a number of vents expelling water from its “compartments.” 

3. TAUTOG maintains maximum engagement distance as Abyssal begins movement [course, speed]. Communication is maintained with shipgirls TUNA and NARWHAL to ensure standard tactical encirclement.

4. A brief discussion ensue and TAUTOG elect to apply coordinated non-direct, non-guided attack against enemy force. Target acquisition by TAUTOG was complete by [Time Stamp], with solution calculated by [Time Stamp]. Details of which are attached in (F). 

5. At [Time Stamp], TAUTOG fires Seeker 2, Seeker 4, HHT 6, HHT 8. Results are described in greater detail in (F). 

6. The Abyssal begins disintegration at [Time Stamp]. Results are described in greater detail in (G). 

From this we can see that this particular event was very by-the-books. What’s more valuable, of course, is the information presented here alongside the next section. 

By creating a semi-automated process where it becomes easy for shipgirls to document information, it also allows for greater degrees of introspection. The “Situational Report” in Part (B) is more like a shipgirl’s own notes, where she provides as much or as little information as she wish. 

Coupled with C, where the shipgirl provides direct feedback, and you can quickly see what I mean by refining information. Many great things of war, be it inventions or strategies, are born from experience. 

Excerpts from (C)

  • Torpedo switching was complete within 180 seconds. The preparation time is ample, but in a heated battle it is always desirable to decrease this time. 
  • Yikes on the armor. Did you get to (G) yet? I seriously don’t want to be dealing with a swarm of these things with just my pea-shooter. Don’t really fancy a tangle with the thing’s “drones” either. The torpedoes I know I can dodge. I don’t fancy those things beelining me underwater. 
  • Honestly, this one’s really the other girls doing a great job. I miscalculated slightly and had #4 approach in a flawed way (which might explain the effect on armor). I mean, for this it didn’t matter since Tuna and Narwhal both hit the thing too, but I think that’s something we might want to keep in mind. 
  • My guess is that this thing’s a surface unit kind of like the one Villy ran into before. Reason why it didn’t match what we had before was that Villy blew it up with a full frontal torpedo barrage which consumed everything else, drones included. 
  • Can we get this thing from the air? From what I’m seeing in (G), its entire topside is like, unprotected. That looks like a prime candidate for some CV girl bombardment, and I don’t think it even has any AA. Handy for the case where we ever need to fight hand to hand.

Psst. She’s kind of right on that. Typically, the Abyssal units are designed with two main components in mind. Individually, it must be able to hold its own and become a terror unto itself. This is how you humans say it? On a broader level, however, it must play the role in which it is designed to do.

Let me use an analogy. 

If alone, that Abyssal is the most valuable unit and will do whatever it takes for it to achieve the goal. 

The instant there is another Abyssal, the hierarchical protocol is automatically activated, which adjusts their behavior accordingly. That idiot eyepatch girl’s right about shooting the big ones. 

D is boring. I mean who would want to listen on a bunch of bikini-clad girls talking to each other about girly things? Skip.

You’re just jealous because you don’t get to do it officially yet!

You’re supposed to be on vacation. Shoo. Anyways we’re skipping it. 

E is boring. Dots on a map do not entertain me. Unless it is about me. Then I am slightly entertained because it is about me. Skip. 

Ah. Something interesting. As it has been brought up before, STEC is in the business of research. Here is again where I reiterate my initial observation. The Fleet is handing STEC the rope in which it’ll be strangled with. 

Excerpt from (F)

Seeker 4
[Ordinance no.]
[Trajectory data attached] 

Fired with [setting] immediately preceding Seeker 2, the Abyssal noted its presence and attempted to reposition. Seeker 4 adjusted it course in response to this reposition and impacted at [position], [angle], [speed] along with Seeker 2. The resultant detonation produced [kinetics data] and “staggered” the Abyssal, taking out significant chunks of its “thickened” frontal end. 

However, unlike Seeker 2, Seeker 4 did not appear to trigger any internal detonations within the Abyssal, nor did it cause systematic or structural damage on the surface (see attached). 

You may ask, how is this different from what the conventional navy does? Does conventional naval forces not test their equipment, too?

The principle is not different. The practical results are. The conventional navies in Pacific will not have access to the same level of technology, nor would it be able to record much less process so many additional parameters. Its analysts lack the single-minded dedication of the little fairy critters, and it definitely lack the computational power to make sense of the data produced. Then there are certain things where STEC can quantify and qualify that everyone else simply cannot.

With the observations on hand, STEC is able to make a few deductions about what the new Abyssal they’ve just encountered is. I am pleased (?) or entertained to note that most of these are correct. The closest human analogy to this would be a sort of “torpedo cruiser” equivalent. Its merits lie in the overwhelmingly large number of torpedoes it can sling at a target, as it is heavily armored from the front, generally mobile, very, very fast, and each in possession of six torpedo carrying “drones” which can be used for scouting or assault purposes. 

The Fleet is aware of its shortcomings, but in the grand scheme of things, considered them to be acceptable. The reality is that some of these shortcomings cannot be addressed. For instance, there is no way to decrease the resources that are needed for the application of larger, more powerful units. The application of certain weaponry require support structures which are not native to humanity and cannot be simply called into existence. The creation process takes time which cannot be accelerated.

Worse, for something so explicitly inhuman, the Fleet is remarkably “human” in an attitude I can only describe as arrogance. For reasons that are not known to me, the Fleet puts in nowhere the same degree of effort as STEC does to try to learn about it.

Why?

… This, I actually do not know, though I have a guess.

Imagine a petulant child out to smash every sandcastle she sees on the beaches. What motivates the child is the pure, unbridled joy of wanton destruction. Tears of other small children. Despair at the sight of hours of hardwork, gone in a singular moment.

Now, imagine all of a sudden, as the child approaches a new castle, a wave from the oceans destroyed that castle before the child could take a swing at it. Or, worse, maybe another child dove in front of it, and prevented the child from destroying it. Maybe that sandcastle is now missing a few towers, but try as she might, the child can no longer break it apart on her terms.

Do you understand now?

Good. I’m bored again. Time to nap.