[Mail call] 2017/02/07

“Are the Pacific books sold out at this point? I can’t find it anywhere in any of the places you’ve linked.”

To the best of my knowledge, the Japanese copies are all sold out. (They’ve been sold out for the last month or so and no current plans for reprints)

The Chinese copies are also all sold out. What is available for purchase are on our site’s side bar, and we’ll be selling physical copies of volume 1 (in English) at Boston in a few months.

Usually I take this time to round up sketches from the team and to update everyone on what’s going on. As we’re switching out image hosts, however, we’ll have a lot of administrative shuffling.

There’s a lot of stuff that I’ve never posted publicly. For instance…

[Mail call] 2017/02/07

You can see that something like this was made and uploaded more than a year ago. Sometimes I hold stuff back because I want to write a bigger post. Other stuff will be shown when it’s time for them to be shown.

Now, why Tennsy? I think that’s because from our own internal polling, there are certain shipgirls of ours that are a lot more popular (within the team) than others. Cal, for instance, is frequently used as a companion for Jer or Flora or Norknork. Tennsy, on the other hand…

Oh. That Tennsy. She’s, like, got her head up in the clouds half the time. Don’t get me wrong! She knows how to have a good time. Buuuuut, you know which gal God gave the fun parts? Like, the really fun parts?

Me, of course! Haha!

I’m learning how to create characters, and the way I’ve envisioned Tennsy is that I think she’d be a gentle and quiet girl. Now, would she really be the type to be talking about herself…

Probably not. So, here, rather than having her talk about herself, I wrote a simple line from the perspective of Cal. Now the reader learned two new things. Tennsy’s got her head “up in the clouds” (well, we did say that she’s a daydreamer in vol. 2 so that’s just confirming something you’d have already known), but, perhaps more than anything else, Cal’s bragging about herself again.

That’s a part of Cal’s personality, too. 🙂

See you guys next time.

[Mail call] 2017/02/06

(K9’s color is navy, and Morgane’s is black. )

“So if a submarine is sunk or is lost, would should she be labeled MIA instead of KIA?”

STEC normally knows what happens to subgirls on sortie thanks to MERLIN, so if one was to be lost, they’d know almost immediately if she was KIA and mark her as such.

No. WRONG. They do not get sunk or lost. They go on ETERNAL PATROL.

Luckily though, the subgirls on base are some of the most skilled shipgirls available. In combat, they have high autonomy – a commander doesn’t have to constantly give them orders. They know when to bug out if need be.

That girl that just yelled at you? She would much rather stay and fight.

“You’ve mentioned that the United States Navy maintains a series of floating island bases such as the Avalon mentioned in the book. My question is how big are they, and what do they do, exactly?

If it’s a research facility, I can’t imagine it being very big. If it’s something bigger, then how does the Navy keep it a secret?”

STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: [Classified]
Format: Photograph, Personal
Object: Photo #[Classified]
Location (if known): Unknown
Time (if known): Unknown

[Mail call] 2017/02/06

Photograph of Avalon base in Configuration R4 (Replenishment, Semi-submerged) with Main Aerial Component active in preparation for exercises.

First of all, just to be clear, the official explanation the Navy offers to the general public at large is that Avalon is a naval research facility located on an island somewhere in the Pacific. Speculation generally tends to place it somewhere maybe around California, as the official “projects” that are worked on involve areas such as metallurgy and materials. Most people that are directly involved in military research knows enough to not poke too much, and those that do, well, Avalon has fed a steady stream of new data and materials to its superiors.

In other words, Avalon is kept a secret because it’s doing a good job. In fact, it does a great job, which means a lot less attention would be drawn to it.

What about inspection, you ask? Wouldn’t the representatives touring the base know something’s up the instant they see piers meant to harbor warships or like the big air strips in the photo above?

Of course, but that’s assuming Avalon can’t choose what it wants to show. No, I’m not talking about the shields or the mist mechanism that’s discussed in OCEAN in greater detail. I’m talking about simple physics.

Those piers and air strips and walls and countless other facilities are only visible (in the conventional sense) if it’s above water, which it doesn’t have to be. The picture below is a pretty good example of the “tiered” nature of Avalon base.

STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: [Classified]
Format: Photograph, Personal
Object: Photo #[Classified]
Location (if known): Unknown
Time (if known): Unknown

[Mail call] 2017/02/06

Photograph of a corner of Avalon base. Note “unusual” reflection/sky glimmer indicative of active shielding/interference in place. Stress test?

Avalon is a fusion of technological development and fairy magic. Many, many hours went into its design, and it was something that was built from the ground-up as something that’s meant to build up on over time. STEC’s planners had anticipated something akin to a very long war if the Abyssals were initially beaten back, and since humanity will likely not get a respite once the Abyssals come in force, it was important that STEC takes advantage of the current peace and, of course, their fairy allies’ penchant for taking the initiative to build and create on their own.

Remember that (perhaps even more important than the shipgirls themselves) Avalon is home to countless numbers of fairies. It’s part of the reason why it requires so little staff – the fairies perform all of the functions necessary for the operation of such a base, which includes maintenance (barnacles really aren’t an issue when magic is involved), build-up (particularly munitions and spare parts for shipgirls), construction (If Mike wants a new shooting range, make the labs bigger, or a new set of simulation targets, he’ll get it. Generally within days), and “research.”

… Yeah, that last bit is a bit of a misnomer. See, fairies tend to have a single-mindedness approach to a particular idea or concept. Once an idea enters their little heads (e.g. “It’d be really nice if we could get faster flying planes” or “Wouldn’t eggs for breakfast be nice?”), they’ll try to make it happen with laser-like focus. What passes for fairy research is less the fulfillment of hypotheses and directed experimentation of theories and more of fairies literally making random stuff on a whim.

It’s already difficult enough to figure out what the fairies are thinking to begin with, since communication with the little ones are a little … challenging. It also goes without saying that not every idea that the fairies come up with is practical (as of today, there’s still a group of fairies stubbornly trying to figure out ways to make Avalon fly), but that’s the simple of life of a fairy of Pacific.

They live to create.  It excites them, it makes them happy, and they’ve got a lot of creative ways to try to make it work. It doesn’t mean that it’ll be the result STEC wants, but sometimes great things are born entirely of accidents – and in all honesty, Avalon base, actually, is one of these. But that’s a tale better saved for another time.

[Mail call] 2017/02/05

“So, something I don’t get. If the Abyssals are so powerful, then why NOT tell everyone about the threat? Surely humanity will band together if that’s the case? After all, the Allies and the Soviet Union were not friends, but they came together to fight Hitler all the same.”

First of all, the Soviets were a part of the Allies. 🙂

Secondly, this is a proposition that’s been brought up by many, many, many STEC officers, advisors, and operatives, and each and every time it’s been shot down for a wide number of reasons.

The first is that, well, what good does it do, exactly? The Abyssals are functionally immune to conventional weaponry and neither the US nor the USSR is in the business of throwing tactical nuclear weapons (or bigger things) at the Abyssals.

Or, to put it another way. Imagine you’re an average trooper in the services of any military. Your commanding officer tells you that the bottom line is that you can’t kill it, it can kill you (very easily), and that there’s nothing we’ve figured out so far outside of a very few exceptional circumstances.

What’s that going to do to morale?

More importantly, how does that help STEC or any other organization in the fighting against the Abyssals?

Secondly, the world’s governments are already funneling in what resources they can to support the shipgirl services to the utmost of their ability. The limitation here isn’t manpower or computational power or for the lack of people working on projects. They’re actually a bit more mundane than that.

Commander, Sal here. I’ve got some good news and bad news.

The good news is that they really did figure out an alternative formulation that could, theoretically, have practical applications. I say theoretical, because the stuff is quite good. We’ve tested the material and it’s estimated to be on par with Comall-Mk. IV. (4000 Mpa to our 4200 Mpa) and far more resistant to corrosion.

The bad news? This thing uses Rhodium rather than Rhenium. The cost is on par with that of Mk. II’s (waste ratio of approximately 97% to our ~93%) and the power cost is immense. Good luck convincing anyone to divert enough power towards this thing for mass production even if materials can be secured – by my calculations, we’d need enough power plants to cover all of Tianjin or Nagano to make this happen.

Rather, STEC’s technological development is hampered by issues of an ideological nature (it’s awfully hard to come up with innovative ways to try to kill something if that something doesn’t seem to obey the laws of physics), a logistical nature (developing weapons that are dedicated anti-Abyssal require resources that are difficult to collect or are far too expensive for us), or a practical nature (shipgirls are easy to work with but fairies aren’t).

Thus, again, revealing this to the public won’t help in any way. In fact, it might do the opposite. This brings me to point three. The Abyssals are crafty.

See, the important thing to remember is that while the Abyssals have made contact, they haven’t invaded just yet. Like what’s been noted in vol. 1, they seem content to simply throw scouts into the world’s oceans. Whether or not the Abyssals are actually capable of invading (there’s more than one officer that thinks that the Abyssals can’t bring their troops in great force yet) or wants to invade are irrelevant because STEC cares more about the costs of introducing this knowledge to the public.

War is hell. It takes a toll on the psyche of people involved. The pessimist would say that since humanity does not fully understand the capabilities of the Abyssal fleet, any and all preparations would fundamentally be pointless. They could, after all, maybe just nuke the planet from orbit and there wouldn’t be any way to resist. But even the best of the optimists would recognize that this places a great strain on the peoples of the world. Take rationing, for starters.

Let’s say that America begins to ration its resources and create policies of austerity. Well, when is this going to end? The answer is that it won’t end – because the Abyssals haven’t even attacked yet. You don’t think that the opposition party’ll instantly turn this into a matter of political partisanship?

“We’re spending money on a currently nonexistent threat when we could be doing X!”

“Party Y does not have your interests at heart. To fight off the Abyssals, we should do Z!”

Think about how much a nightmare trying to govern would be. Then think about the chaos it would bring to the population at large. Think about what this will do to the spirit of the people as a whole.

Even in governmental systems where things are more authoritarian (efficient, as the Soviets or the Chinese would prefer to call it), these policies would be difficult to enact on a larger scale. Are you going to set aside a strategic food reserve for an event that may or not come, when you need to solve practical issues this very moment?

How do you know if the policies you’re setting up is going to work against these things?

See, the world taciturnly agrees to keep the Abyssals a secret from all but those needing to shoulder the burden. Believe me, this isn’t because of author FIAT or plot armor or storytelling. Rather, in the context of Pacific at large, each of the world’s governments and their leaders came to realize this very same conclusion independently. For now, it is better to keep that knowledge bottled up. Let those that are destined (and capable) of doing so take up the mantle of defending humanity.

War will come. The recent “signs” in vol. 1 shows that it’s really more of a question of how rather than when. The rest of the world will be dragged in very soon. What reason does STEC or any other organization have in disturbing the already fragile peace?

[Mail call] 2017/02/04

Quiet day today, so I’ve got time to answer a couple of questions. Though, at this point, my backlog’s back with a vengeance. x)

“If the USSR is “resurgent,” then how bad is the Cold War in Pacific? Does the Cold War ever heat up?”

Good question, and this is one that I get more often than I’d have predicted. The answer is that it is more intense in certain areas, and less intense in certain others. Let me give you a few examples.

The USSR has excellent heavy industry. As such, US steelmakers – to take a simple example – will be facing stiff competition. The US is still a steel/iron importer in Pacific, after all, and our free market system naturally encourages businesses to purchase from the best source. Given that the war is less “cold” because of a tacit permissiveness to allow the other to co-exist, however, the competition is positive in nature, as it spurs both countries to seek better solutions.

Remember that Pacific’s USSR and US are both considerably less interventionist (albeit for different reasons), and there will be differences in the balance of power (at least in terms of state to state alignments).

As for how “bad,” well, “bad” is difficult to quantify. The USSR is doing fine and the US is doing great as of “modern” time Pacific (1990), so in that sense, whatever the Cold War might have done, it ultimately turned things out better than our own timeline.

Actual military conflicts are considerably less as well. The Korean War was much costlier to the US in Pacific’s timeline due to several factors (Abyssal interference, poor intelligence gathering, unusual decision making, luck, China, politics, and more), and the bloodiness of that conflict left a very deep impression in the psyche of America. America, as I’ve noted in the AR books, is less willing to intervene in matters that are not absolutely necessary. Military adventures such as the Bay of Pigs incident would likely not have happened, though we’ll set things in stone as we get to that point.

Part of the challenge here in terms of creating Pacific’s own timeline is that a balance is necessary. I want people to read a particular event and go, “aha, I knew that one,” and I am, first and foremost, an adherent of suspension of disbelief. Thus, it is necessary from my perspective to keep as close to our real-life timeline as possible, as it would be a disservice to this work and a purely selfish “fixit” exercise otherwise.

However, there is the matter of Abyssals. At this stage in the story, even one is a force of nature capable of upsetting fragile geopolitical balances or status quos. We aren’t taking a carbon copy of history either. So you’ll just have to watch and see. 🙂

“Do shipgirls eat?”

Do people eat?