Shaw’s been having nightmares, so I’ve been tucking her in. Mahan wants someone to help her annotate. Maury’s going to need someone to run with. I’m pretty sure O’bannon messed something up again. You know the saying, “ask me not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?” I think that’s how I feel. You can swap out country for “family” or “friends,” and that’ll work too.
Sure, it’s tiring at times. Dolphin can relate. She jokingly calls it babysitting. But you know, commander, it’s not like they couldn’t go without me. Part of the duty as a ship girl, here, is that we pick each other up and keep each other going. The very least I can do is to pitch in a bit and help wherever I can. It’s the legacy that Edsall left me with. The Asiatic sailors were some of the bravest men ever to enlist in the navy, commander, and I want to carry on their legend, to be more like them.
When the war started, commander, the odds were against us. Our opponent was well trained, well armed, technologically proficient, and united in their goals. We were well trained – that’s about it. Against the cutting edge of the IJN we had nothing more than a handful of cruisers and destroyers, most of which were WWI-era or early interwar models. But still, we fought. Camaraderie. Friendship. That’s what kept us fighting.
I may not have much, but my friends have made me who I am today. Their hearts and their love will always be with me. So long as I have my friends, I will continue to fight. For them. For us.
STEC notes that while it’s only natural that a ship girl bearing Clemson-class equipment show up, STEC did not anticipate Edsall being the first to appear. The USS Edsall was a veteran destroyer that spent much of her pre-war years in the Mediterranean and Far East. When war broke out, Edsall joined DesDiv 57. The Clemson class destroyers were old, and largely served as ASW patrols – a duty the venerable destroyer carried out with distinction, sinking I-124 with other allied ships in January of 1942.
When the ancient tender Langley was ordered to the defense of Java, USS Edsall was one of her escorts. She picked up 177 survivors when the Langley was sunk. With another destroyer, USS Whipple and the oiler USS Pecos, the battered little fleet was carrying over a thousand allied survivors. When allied high command ordered USS Edsall to continue her mission of transporting the surviving fighter pilots from the Langley to the defense of Java, the Edsall dutifully complied. After turning course at 8:30, March 1st, she was never seen again by allied forces.
Nearly sixty years later, the fate of the Edsall finally became known as evidence from many sources were pieced together. When the USS Pecos split up from what was left of the allied fleet, the oiler was soon under attack by Japanese bombers. USS Edsall picked up the distress signal, and en route to her rescue of the Pecos ran into Admiral Nagumo’s entire Kidou Butai. Already damaged previously, the Edsall nonetheless frustrated the pride of the IJN. Coming under fire by two battleships (Hiei and Kirishima) and two new cruisers (Tone and Chikuma), the Japanese spent thousands of shells and scored only a glancing hit. The normally collected Nagumo, seething with rage, ordered 26 Type 99 divebombers to launch from Kaga, Hiryu, and Soryu. The Edsall was thought to be immobilized by repeated air attacks, and some sources believe it is Lt. Kobayashi from the Hiryu who landed the critical blow. Moments later, the stubborn USS Edsall was finally sank as the rest of the Japanese surface warships closed the distance and fired on her for the last time. She had managed to lead the mighty Kidou Butai on a wild goose chase to the north, away from the survivors of the Pecos engagement. With her final action, the Edsall indirectly managed to save many lives.
While the fate of USS Edsall’s survivors (if there were any) remain largely a mystery even to today, STEC notes that the shipgirl Edsall is an altruistic young woman who values friendship above all else. She has a growing collection of photos that she frequently add to her messenger bag “so to have something to remember everyone by.”
In battle, however, she seems to be something of an anomaly. Field reports have noted a number of instances where “ghostly” fighter planes – up to thirty-two in all – piloted by fairies of an unknown origin protecting Edsall from the air. These mysterious planes do not match units available in STEC’s databases, though they could plausibly be P-40s based on visual identification.
What’s funny about Edsall’s design was that she almost didn’t make the cut in the first place. There were many brave destroyers fighting or sunk during this period, and the rather explicit nature of what happened to her survivors – in a remarkable case of brutality – could invite controversy.
That being said, however, I sat and thought about this whole thing for a bit. You know what. The story of the Edsall was kept away from the public eye for nearly seventy years. It is only thanks to an officer on the Chikuma with a conscience that we even managed to cobble together details in the first place. This story deserves to be told!
This is a case where the sources of access – should our audience members be interested in looking stuff up – becomes readily apparent. None of the Japanese sources that are easily accessible would talk about what happens after, and we still don’t know why (or by whom) the Edsall’s survivor were murdered in the first place.
However, by mentioning the fate of her survivors being an unknown (which – in Pacific’s timeline, is still true. Details only begun to emerge sometimes around 2000s our time, and Pacific takes place in the early 90s), it is my hope that more people would go look up the story of this heroic ship. Maybe folks will get curious. Maybe folks will wonder, hey, what happened to the survivors?
And then they’ll know.
Now, as for the actual shipgirl herself, I’ve made a string of Gundam analogies before. If Maury’s an ace pilot in a prototype mech and O’bannon’s an ace pilot in a mass produced, but powerful mech, Edsall’s the Ramba Ral of our setting. Her torpedoes are markedly worse in performance, her gun is archaic by comparison (though still pretty high tech by every other standard), but she makes up for it by her skill, the experience of her fairies, and of course, sheer heroism.
Yes. Heroism. You’ll find that as a whole, the Pacific girls are well-adjusted, mature, and generally someone you’d want to bring home to meet your parents with. This is intentional given the theme of our work and the lore behind our ship girls in the first place.
The photos that she hangs on her bag are all “real” historical photos from what we know of the Edsall’s crewmen. You should be able to distinguish most of their sources with a tiny bit of googling, and I’ve posted an example in our forums.
The detail on her sword reads “Si vis pacem, para bellum”. This is the motto of her historical destroyer division. “If you want peace, prepare for war.” While this has been used by a number of countries and leaders, the context here is closer to Roosevelt’s “speak softly and carry a big stick” than any of its more aggressive interpretations.
Given the Clemson classes’ unusually large rudders in contrast to their previous counterparts, you can see that Edsall’s “speed” attachments on her shoe is different from the other DD girls.
32 USAAF pilots from the Langey transferred over to the Edsall when the Edsall split up with the Whipple and the Pecos.
USS Nevada, sir! First super-dreadnought of the U.S. Navy, sir!
The equipment? Yeah, it’s old. So what? If it works, it means I can fight.
To begin, I was the first of many things. First in the USN to use fuel oil. First to use “all or nothing” styled armor, and my turret scheme will become the standard for all future American battleships years to come. The navy learned a lot from me. We had both successes and failures, and I entered service in 1916. Nothing much else need to be said.
Nearly thirty years later, that day. I remembered it pretty well. Yeah, I took a couple of bombs and torpedoes, but I stll fought. I only got beached because they thought I was going to block the strait. As if! I may be old, but I’m no pensioner. When they fixed me up, I went right back to fighting. Was at Normandy. I fought the Nazis at Toulon. Shelled the Japanese at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Those guys didn’t scare me one bit, so let’s see how tough the Abyssals really are.
STEC notes that the historical Nevada was a ship that performed admirably in her supporting roles. On D-day, USS Nevada was capable of suppressing German strongpoints up to 31 kilometers away, yet she fired with an accuracy that was capable of distinguishing friend from foe within a mere 600 yards. This accuracy remains a consistent hallmark of her shooting, and is demonstrated repeatedly across all her engagements wth the abyssal fleet to date. Small wonder that the other ship girls go to her for shooting advice.
Humble, tough, brave, STEC recommends Nevada to receive modernization at the earliest convenience. Her shelling accuracy is absolutely devastating – especially in context of her outdated equipment – and deserves immediate priority for modernization.
________________________________________ Excerpts from the Admiral’s office.
I see that your equipment is mentioned as “outdated”. Could you clarify for us what this assessment is?
It is exactly what it says on the tin, sir. The fairies down at the shop are working hard, but much like my historical counterpart, these “older” 14”/45s have a tendency to throw off each other’s aim when they fire together. Now, they ain’t too bad against the abyssals, being such huge targets and all. But it’s something that’s been noticed, and we’re hoping to correct the flaw very soon.
Thank you. You don’t need to call me “Sir” at this point. Would you say then that what you carry is “historical” in nature, then? Can we pin your equipment down to a specific date or instance?
You know that’s just chasing after semantics. You want stats, go ask someone like Mahan. Even if this thing end up becoming a perfect copy of the Mk X mod Y of gun Z, it sure as hell ain’t acting the same way as a real gun. Do I look like the type to be carrying thousand-plus pound munitions in my pockets?
Speaking of munitions, how do your turrets work? Are they … real?
What do you mean “real”? Have I taken one apart myself and see how the fairies themselves operate the thing? Yes. Is this exactly how a real battleship turret operates? Kinda. Can I manually adjust my own weapons and fire them personally? Yes. That detailed enough?
Reading your comments above, what do you mean when you say, “I”?
Let me guess. This is the million dollar “are you a ship or are you a girl” question, ain’t it? Well, every girl’s going to have a different take. Here’s mine. When I say “I”, I mean it. It’s like I was there myself. But who “I” am is a very complicated thing to explain. Let me use my memories of D-Day as an example.
When I say I was there, I mean it. I remember plotting projectile trajectories and seeing the flashes and explosions on shore. That memory’s holistic. It’s as if I was the ship. I remember pacing the decks and relaying orders furiously, because the fate of the European theater may very well depend on it. That memory’s as if I was the XO of the ship. Then, you know, I remember the adrenaline. I remember the heat and the sweat at those turrets as the USS Nevada belched out round after round of fire. That perspective? The loader and artillery-men of the USS Nevada’s turrets. Even now I can tell you everything there is to know about them as if that’s who I am. That make enough sense to you?
Do you think your fairies have something to do with your “history”, if we want to call it that?
I mean, specifically, *those* fairies?
Whichever ones that shot at me when I came into your room.
You didn’t knock.
But the door was open!
You still gotta knock, sir. Besides. You know this part of the base seldom get visitors in the first place. They’re not the smartest thing on the planet, you know? Not only do fairies tend to keep to themselves, but between easily startled, stranger danger, and simple-mindedness, I’m surprised you didn’t earn yourself a trip to the med bay.
Either that or they’re getting bored at shooting mosquitoes. There’s only so much maintenance they can do on equipment, after all.
Are you saying you’d prefer the abyssals hit base so they have something bigger to shoot?
No, er, not at all!
Look. You want a real answer? I think you’re right with the part about being bored. Thing is, admiral, remember. Ivy division. Screaming eagles. Both are highly disciplined troops. They were, and still is, some of our best. You think the fairies here – and I think they’re what they think they are – don’t know what to do? With the exception of duty I haven’t seen a single one of them even take a step out of the little shoebox “home” that I’ve made ’em.
Of course they’re messing with you. They’re fairies.
But why place them on top of the dresser?
Overwatch. You see that keg in the corner of my room? As a responsible adult I need to make sure that thing stay out of the hands of minors. I’m pretty sure all the Kazes are underage.
Wait, Nevada, how old are you?
Admiral, you do NOT ask a girl how old she is.
No, no, no. I mean, you look really young –
You calling me a kid?
No, uh, I – uh, well, see, if we JUST met, I’d –
You do realize that there is no standardized biological marker for age, right?
Sir, do you even read half the stuff the STEC biological and biomedical sciences division throw your way?
Good. I don’t either. C’mon. It’s dinner time. I think Langley’s cooking popcorn shrimp.
Hey! Hey! Commander! Hey! Hi Commander! I’m here! Fletcher class destroyer USS O’Bannon has arrived!
You look… Am I too early?
Whoops. Well, I hope you don’t mind Commander.
You know, sometimes I feel like I was just born to mess with people. Not that I mean to go around ruining people’s day, but there’s some odd form of satisfaction with annoying the hell out of certain people.
I guess you can say it’s a skill I’ve honed through my experiences. Come on. Running circles around a battleship while she couldn’t even bring her guns down low enough to hit me? Throwing potatoes at a submarine? Hell, looking at the awards I’ve got, in the Navy it’s a GOOD thing to be annoying! Haha.
Guess I should apologize when I get the chance.
See, the important part of messing with people is that in the end no one actually gets hurt. You hurt someone? That’s just being mean. I get no satisfaction from being mean.
It’s why your perfect target is someone like Pennsylvania. She’s full of herself, generally disregards the opinions of others, and so argumentative to the point where I can’t say anything to her without pissing her off for some reason. She’s practically asking for someone to go and annoy her for kicks. Most importantly, though, she doesn’t take what you say or anything you do personally. She just gets all shouty for a bit. Important thing is that at the end of the day, she’s calmed down, some of the other girls get a kick out of it, and life goes on. See, no one gets hurt.
Someone you don’t want to target is Oklahoma. Poor girl’s just too unsure of herself that she’d be hurt by anything you’d do, even if it’s all in good fun.
Point is, you mess with people who either can take it, or just outright deserve it. Japan back during the war? They deserved it. These Abyssals, well, I’d say they deserve it too. Let’s give it to them, Commander.
STEC notes that O’bannon was the second of the Fletcher class destroyers to be commissioned. Named after Presley O’bannon, the Marine hero who led the successful attack during the Battle of Derna in the first Barbary War, O’bannon shares a similar fighting spirit. The historical USS O’bannon held the honor of being the most decorated destroyer of the war, with seventeen battle stars and a presidential unit citation Participating in the battles of Kula Gulf, Kolombangara, and Vella Lavella, it comes as a surprise to many that the USS O’bannon suffered no crew casualties to enemy fire.
While her combat accomplishments are vast, two particular events stand out:
During the naval battle of Guadalcanal, O’bannon lauched an attack on the Japanese battleship Hiei, getting close enough that Hiei could not depress her guns low enough to hit O’bannon. O’bannon fired two torpedos, although both were duds. Hiei would be heavily damaged in the battle, and later sunk by american air power the next day.
More humorously, on April 5th, 1943, O’bannon sighted the Japanese submarine RO-34 on the surface. Closing to engage, O’bannon found itself sailing alongside the submarine. Being too close to use the guns and fire at the submarine, the crew of the O’bannon ended up grabbing potatoes and throwing them at the Japanese submarine. The crew of the Japanese submarine -thinking that the potatoes were hand grenades- were too preoccupied dealing with the potatoes to man their deck gun. This gave the O’bannon time to gain distance and sink the submarine with her guns.(STEC also notes that while potatoes aren’t STEC standard issue equipment, the shipgirl O’bannon does seem fond of carrying potatoes into battle.)
The shipgirl O’bannon is an active girl, good at heart but at the same time a chronic troublemaker. She maintains a strong friendship with Maury, although Maury does stay away from any and all of O’bannon’s antics. O’bannon is commonly seen pulling practical jokes, though she is quick to apologize or fix things if she senses that things have gone too far. In combat she has the remarkable ability to turn anything into a weapon, and is an effective fighter in practically all combat conditons. STEC recomends she be used as a part of a quick reaction force, being able to strike quickly and take down any threat. Pairing her with USS Maury is also recommended.
Those of us familiar with vol. 1’s Chester know her to be something of a prankster. The ship girl I’m about to introduce to you, however, is just as prone to practical jokes. Meet O’bannon. She’s mostly designed by K9, who alongside me also dictates US policy and story structure.
One funny thing, though, is that O’bannon’s hairstyle went through a lot of revisions. Those of you who saw her sketch know that she first had the double-odongo/sailor moon type hair. We ended up choosing something else because we didn’t want her to be typecasted or shoehorned into one particular character interpretation. Not to mention, I personally think that with how she’s written and her relationships, giving her short hair makes a lot of sense.Originally she’s not scheduled to show up until much later, but she managed to make it into this book because we wanted to give San Francisco – another star of our book – a good friend. Not to mention this happens to be the historical ship that – out of all things – contributed to the sinking of a sub by throwing potatoes. This Fletcher-class DD not only trolled Hiei (likely to her demise) because the venerable Japanese battleship could not depress her main guns well enough to hit it, but happens to be one of the few ships that saw as much as action as the USS Maury.
A lot of folks have suggested that she carries something to symbolize the original marine, O’bannon, who is still to today regarded as a hero of the UMSC. The mameluke sword was an idea that K9 had when we first decided to draw her. A few other things of note include, in no particular order:
Unlike Maury, whose equipment isn’t at all visible, O’bannon’s ship girl “gear” is clearly something closer to standardized equipment. This is to highlight an aspect of her characterization – as a nod to history, USS O’bannon was one of the many Fletchers produced during WWII. We want to set her apart from Maury, who’s closer to a mecha prototype if we’re talking anime-like inspirations.
Her red hair speaks to her personality but also to history. The historical O’bannon had – depending on artistic depiction – reddish brown to brown hair. Considering that O’bannon was of Irish descent, the ginger-ness fits. Plus, it fits her personality.
Her hair-pin says “CAN DO”, which is a triple reference. Her ship’s emblem, of course, is a green four-leafed clover with the phrase “Can do” written on it. Her crew’s unofficial motto was also that, and it just so happens that the can-do attitude is prevalent across USN destroyers as a whole.
Given that we make it a point of pride to make our ship girls unique (let’s just say that if we ever make an RPG-TBS hybrid, we gotta give the players a reason to use them), we chose to focus on O’bannon’s fighting style. If Maury’s Captain America (complete with acrobatics), O’bannon’s a classic comedy brawler. Think Jackie Chan in Rush Hour. Anything O’bannon can get her hands on she can weaponize. In fact, the abyssal learned that the the worst thing they could do when running into her is causing environmental damage. O’bannon’s plenty deadly already. Trust me, the abyssals really don’t want to see what happens when she picks up a ladder or a towel or half a coconut…