Silent Service: Tambor

Tautog!

Yes?

Whatcha doing?

I’m working on a site update what does it look like I’m doing?

More London Naval Treaty stuff?

Yeah. I want to finish it. Kinda wish Trout was around. She’s much better at picking out this stuff from old newspapers and moldy-looking magazines. I really want to give our readers a feel for how the people felt about this. Back in those days this treaty thing was big drama. Kind of like how our political events make headlines sometimes.

Ugh.  I haven’t gotten a sub corner out in five days. Feeling kinda antsy, to be honest. “It’s just a hobby Tautog” “No need to be so stressed out Tautog” “Why don’t you take a day off Tautog” WELL. I feel bad, OKAY? If I get behind on work it means more work for everyone and if there’s more work for everyone it means less time for fun stuff for everyone which means less happiness for everyone which means –

Alright Tautau. That settles it.

Um?

You, take it easy. Go have a beer with Scul and Sal or something or go join up with the DD girls now that they’ve finally got that softball field up and running. I’ll take care of everything tonight. 

Tambor, before you popped into the Sub Corners some of the other girls weren’t even sure you could read… Are you really sure?

Pffft. I was born to lead, not to read. Look. We’ll write about scantily-clad shipgirls tonight, alright? It’ll be great. 

Relax. I got this. 

Uh, Tambor, that’s not the right button. You’re creating a splash page rather than –

INSTRUCTIONS ARE FOR THE WEAK. A REAL SHIPGIRL PRESSES BUTTONS WITH BRAVERY!

…Can I at least stay around and help?

BRAVE! PRESS!

I mean, if you don’t mind, spending some time together sounds nice. We’ve been outside of each other’s schedules so often I barely see you or Trout or Thresher anymore…

Hah? Oh. Yeah. ‘Course. Actually Tautog HELP where’s the thing to change back font size…

sigh Here. Lemme –

DOES THIS THING SHOW UP ON SCREEN WHEN I TYPE IT? WHAT’S HTML CODE. WHERE IS EVERYTHING.

Oy! Tambor! Don’t click that –

BUTTONS ARE EVERYWHERE!


Hey.

AHH! MIKE! AREN’T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE DOING STUFF!

Uh… Jer asked me to check up on the update since the STEC servers had a strange outage. Trout told me to check on you. She said I might be able to find you hiding under your bed.

Did I do bad Mike?

Bad in what sense?

MIKE AM I DERP?      

…Kinda?

D:

Well, your heart’s in the right place. I don’t think what you did was wrong. I understand all you wanted to do was to help Tautog.

Now, almost bricking the entirety of the STEC databases… I have no idea how you managed to do that, but in a way I guess that’s impressive? It’ll definitely give the cyber-security folks quite a bit of stuff to work with.

SO TAMBOR DIDN’T DERP. 

Not particularly. Just, try not to mess with the databases again. This is going to be one hell of a story to explain to Jer…

IS TAUTAU MAD?

No. She found the whole thing funny. Don’t worry about it.

Still feeling down?

I mean, I’m here for you if you wanna talk.

Burgers or pizza…

…W-what?

MIKE. I’M HUNGRY AGAIN. CAN’T DECIDE IF I WANT BURGERS OR PIZZA. WHAT DO?

Well, wasn’t dinner an hour ago? I’m sure if you go now you can get both.

YEAH I KNOW. I ATE. I’M STILL HUNGRY. ACTUALLY, CAN I GO GET FOODINGS?

Sure. I could use a bite myself. Haven’t had anything since breakfast.

YAY! COME WITH :D!


While I’m waiting for food. Could you tell us a little about your historical counterpart? 

Wait, we cover history in these shipgirl profiles?

Yes.

REALLY. SINCE WHEN.

Since Tautog started Silent Service. Also, as a reminder, Tambor, you’re supposed to be in-universe for this portion. 

RIGHT. UH… Crap. Can we start over?

Actually I think this is kinda cute. Let’s just keep on going. I mean, I’m not going to criticize since everyone breaks the 4th wall. 

Okay.


So, Tambor, given that we’ve already had Trout and Tautog comment on the Tambor class submarines, could you tell me a little about your historical counterpart?

Sure thing!

So, first things first. The Tambor class was as a whole a very good submarine class. Averaged thirteen confirmed kills per boat. THE BEST out of the entire submarine force. You simply can’t find another class of submarine that did this well. So like I said. Very good.

How they came about is a story that I think Trout’s gonna tell. I just noticed that she actually left her introduction’s historical section empty for this reason. She gets the design and the historical context stuff better than me anyways, so I’m gonna go on.

Tautog’s pretty modest in describing the actions of the Tambor class. “Went out with the crew and did her thing,” hah. What she’s not telling you is that the submarine force was literally the ONLY thing holding the line during the clusterfraggery that’s after the Pearl Harbor attack. Six of the Tambors were around in Hawaii during the start of the war, and those subs saw some of the hardest fighting throughout the war. Out of the original six, two didn’t make it back home. Then out of the entire class… seven. Seven out of twelve were lost in total.

No guts, no glory.

I can tell you that by the end of the war, the Tambor class submariners were the absolute finest we’ve got on the fleet. Hardened veterans all, and the track record shows. But, in this business, you can’t expect to get out unscathed. Take my namesake. She was a lucky one, that’s for sure. Started out the war with one engine immediately busted. Limped back home for repairs. Had a commander who just wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing – no bravery in that one, couldn’t close with the enemy, and couldn’t do his job well.

Yeah. The Tambor could have scored a kill on at least a heavy cruiser at Midway. It just didn’t happen because of our own errors. Sure, it’s not as bad as Batfish missing Yamato, but still, at that stage in the war? The men were mad as hell. You’ve got the flyboys up there in the skies tearing the enemy fleet up and what are we doing? Dealing with messy torpedoes, bad tactics, and commander-personality-issues.

But you wanna know something else? Like the rest of the submarine force, the Tambor learned. She learned very well. The tale of the Tambor herself is an example of that. She went from missing all of her marks at Midway to scoring one, two, three, sometimes four kills on her war patrols. She went from timidly dodging every shadow and hiding from every sound to courageously picking fights on the surface, sometimes in broad daylight.

Exemplary submarine. Oh yeah. She volunteered herself for the toughest tasks, gave her hardest, took her chances, made her mistakes. The best part? She was good enough and lucky enough to learn from those and get better.

Like I said. Exemplary submarine. Yeah!


How do you feel about the coming Abyssal War?

As a whole? I think we’re doing good. After all, there’s nothing much else we could do, right? it’s not like you can just magic-up oh, I dunno, a few hundred extra shipgirls to help us fight the damn things.

Or that you can just magic-up MORE munitions. You can never go wrong with having more ammo.

Personally? Ugh. Let’s just say I’m really not looking forward to physical combat. Yeah. I know we’ve got our tactics, but the stuff the girls over in intel and history’s dredged up… Makes me kinda nervous.

See, supposedly the damned things deploy counters accordingly, right? With our focus on stealth, long-range firepower, and maximizing our range advantages, it’d only make sense for the Abyssals to try to close the gap and start fighting us up, close, and personal.

…This is totally silly, but like, you see this I’m wearing? Yeah. You can fit the entirety of this bikini in the palm of your hand. Hand. Singular. Now I know I’ve got a magic forcefield covering my ass, and I know you can’t do ANYTHING at all about what the fairies come up with in terms of our combat “uniforms” or “outfits” or whatever the latest circulation calls ’em these days.

But how come the Sargo twins get those nice-looking one-pieces while the six of us get LITERALLY the minimal coverage for public decency?

Now that you mention it, yeah…

Yeah, “yeah” me all you want. We know you’re watching us, Mike. The attention here safe at home I don’t mind. Period. You know what they say, right? If you’ve got the goods, better show’em off.

I’m talking about combat. Hello, wardrobe malfunction? We aren’t robots you know! I’d get embarrassed! Plus, you know all of our actions are recorded. I get it! Accidents happen. I just want to lessen the chances of that happening. Get me?

Oh. I see. Just wearing something else out to sea won’t solve the issue.

Yeah. It’ll get blown right off. By the way I’m not asking for like, Mary-Weavy type outfit or anything. I just want something a little more modest along the line of Narwhal and Nautilus’ bikini. Or Wahoo’s. Hers is fine too. Get my point?

Tambor, your definition of modest is uh …

Actually, y’know what. Since we’re on the subject and all. If you ever get a chance to figure out this thing, just tell them I want the same bottom as Narwhal. Make it a V-string instead, though. Those are cute!

Uh…

Yes?

Ok.

Yay! Thanks.

I mean, I don’t get the technical details behind your clothing technology. I just know that we can slowly and steadily improve the “strength” of the shielding independent of the physical appearance of the clothing. In fact, given that it’s quite literally refining a nimbus of fairy energy, it’d save a lot of time and effort if we didn’t have to focus it into a clothing-based form –

LEWD. My Gosh Mike we’ve gone over this before we AREN’T fighting naked! Only Europeans do that!

T-that’s not what I was getting at. I was just pointing out the technical –

LEEWWWWWWDDDDDDDDD.

sigh Alright, Tambor. I’ll see what I can do. I already met with the girls in charge of the Materials Research and Assembly Facility yesterday but I suppose I can get Missouri to leave a note to Oversight. 

Can you just call a meeting again?

Tambor. People hate meetings.

I don’t!

Yeah. That’s because you don’t usually go to them. 

Of course I don’t. I don’t need to sit for an hour and a half to get two lines of new instructions! Besides, for the details? I’ve got Triton and Trout for that.

Also, Mike, I think I ate your food. Sorry.

It’s fine. See, I ordered a second one just in case. Looks like Langley’s bringing it out right now…


Silent Service: Dracha

Saturday. Yay. I like Saturdays. Generally it means there’s mail.

Are you going to add foreign submarine shipgirls to Silent Service?

Why.

After all, the most famous weapon of war is not anything made from the Allies. When you think World War II you think of the mighty Tiger tank or the U-boat or the Me 262 Jet fighter!

So it only makes sense that you should have a U-boat girl since the U-boats were the best submarines the world has ever seen!

DRAAAAAACHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

T-Tautog! That’s not me I swear that’s not me oh no …


MORGANE HALP

Did you get in trouble with Tautog again, Dracha?

… Yeah. This time it wasn’t actually my!. I swear on the soul of Fregattenkapitän Erich Topp I didn’t do anything of the sort. Definitely not that one!

That one?

Well, I do spam her with JOJO videos sometimes. You know the one about GERMAN SCIENCE?

Wait, how would you know about an anime published in 1987 when I’ve made it so that West Germany is literally under complete informational lockdown in Pacific?

Scheibenhonig

Can we redo this? 

Sure. 


Okay.

You are probably wondering about why Avalon seems to be crawling with shipgirls.

The answer to that is simple. We are the best.

Yes.

… Okay, so, in more detail. Avalon have the proper facilities to support a shipgirl as she need. The capabilities of fairies are exponentially increased. Fairies also appear far more regularly. We have excellent production and supplies. Plenty of spare parts around. Lots of chances for upgrades. Also, Mike & co’s expertise at carrying out counter-Abyssal operations means that it’s a very good place if you want to get better at what you do.

If you need to get to anywhere fast, we’ve got you covered, too. We literally have everything you could want. Plus, we’re a friendly bunch. Everyone’s friends here!

So, naturally, it would make sense for shipgirls from other countries to visit. Sometimes they stay for very short durations if they’re doing something very specific. Other times, they basically stay here for good. Mike runs a pretty flexible island! Any shipgirl’s always welcome on Avalon and they can stay for as long as they’d like.

Though, because of our location (we are somewhere in the Pacific ocean, usually!) we rarely get European shipgirls. Great Britain has taken the reins on the defense of the Atlantic. RN-STEC operates at an nominal equal, but in reality they are the de-facto leader of the European shipgirls’ anti-abyssal efforts.

So, generally, we don’t get visited by the European shipgirls nearly as often as say, the Japanese (and Russian) ones. But there are exceptions.

Like that one. She wanted to be with her sister. So, she’s here instead.


How was your day, Dracha?

Good! I finished work.

Well, thanks for your hard work today. 

Y-you’re welcome, sir! Always a pleasure to be of service.

GaaaahhhhhhDrachaquicklythinkofsomethingtosaytoCommander –

…Are you alright? 

N-no! I mean, yes! Yes sir. I’m alright. Mist, thinkingofsomethingtosay –

Commander! The stars are pretty right now! W-want to go see them with me?

It’s 1600, Dracha. The sun’s not down yet.

Auh.

But we can go see the stars tonight if you’d like. They’ve put me on recreational leave for the next four days. 

R-really? Yay. That’s great. Can I bring Lori and Ulla too?

Sure?

Yay! I, I’m gonna go stand watch or something now. Security’s very important, you know! HAVE A GREAT DAY COMMANDER I’LL SEE YOU AFTER DINNER –


Phew.

Uuh, I totally messed that one up. “Just be natural,” Lori says. “You don’t need to feel nervous at all” she says. WELL. EASY FOR HER TO SAY. Hard NOT to like a guy when the first question he asks is “Are you okay” instead of “Wow, Nazi!”

GrantedItotallytrippedovermyownfeetbut – but! Nobody said Kriegmarine shipgirls have to be graceful! We just have to, uuh! Be the best we could be.

… And of course. Who’s the one who successfully got the “date”? Ha. Joke’s on you, Ulla! I can totally do this socializing thing –

Dracha?

EEEEEEEEEEK! HOW DID YOU DO THAT WERE YOU BACK THERE THIS ENTIRE TIME –

Yeah. You dropped your hat.

Danke sehr.

Um, how much of that did you hear?

As Narwhal always say, as much as you’d like me to have heard. *wink*


Well, Dracha. Why don’t you introduce yourself?

Yes sir! Deutsches Flotten-Mädchen U-552, German shipgirl U-552 reporting for duty. I have been here for six months participating in the underwater anti-Abyssal sweeps, but as of now I am stationed permanently in the Pacific on Avalon base until the Fatherland sees otherwise.

Our mission so far has been very successful. With no loss of submarine shipgirl on our side, each day we lessen the Abyssal Fleet’s ability to pinpoint a strike on the planet. I am certain of our eventual victory over these heinous monsters!

The training’s been tough, as expected, but we have all made good progress.

I, uh, really like it here. The food’s been great and I don’t have to wait sixteen months to see the newest movie…

(Mike halp I’m running out of things to say…)

Hmm, well, how about your name? 

Oh! That I can do, yes.

Before I arrived I was simply U-552. Just a number. However, that booby lady told me that we use real names here, so I had to pick something. Could be U-552 if I want, but I can’t just be a number.

So I thought, well, I do remember something. You know the “Red Devil” wasn’t an actual name for me, right? Back then, when they first sent the historical counterpart of me into the water, the nice pretty lady said “may she be like a mighty serpent beneath the waves as she gallantly performs her duty.”

Then I thought back to the U-boat crew and how they called me Drachen. Of course it wasn’t a nice thing at all, but you know, that’s what a VIIC boat was…

So, yeah. I know it’s got a weird connotation, but Dracha. Listen to it! It’s got a nice ring to it. It sounds sharp. Decisive. Confident. Everything I want to be.

I mean, if I can grow wings and breath fire, that’d be great, too. But instead, well! Look at me now. I am peak Ubermens –

… er, that’s not right … technically Nietzsche’s definition of Übermensch excludes women, children, and …

Hey, Dracha. 

… I’m actually sure there is a word for it. Überfrau? Should I like, start wearing a mask or something ….

Could you tell us a little about your historical counterpart?

Oh? Oh! Yes. Yes sir! Hah. Okay. U-552 was a Type VIIC U-boat that fought in Germany’s service in World War II. The VIIC boats were definitely the best that the Germans had, and they fought everywhere in the war and caused great damage and took the brunt of the losses, too!

As for the U-552 specifically? She was known as the “Roter Teufel,” named after the Red Devil painted on her as a badge or marking to set her apart from all other boats. She fought for three years straight, sinking or damaging over 30 Allied ships and accounting for more than 160,000 tons sunk!

Most of these were accomplished under the command of one of the best U-boat aces of the Kriegsmarine, Erich Topp.

She was one of the most successful U-boats the Nazis had, commander. Survived to the end of the war, too.

…The crew scuttled her to prevent her capture.

I, uh. There’s some other stuff I want to say, too.

The first is that the U-552 attacked a neutral vessel. She sank the Reuben James. It – it was an American destroyer. The first USN ship to be sank in the European theater during World War II. The Americans were neutral at the time. It was before Hitler declared war. Before Pearl Harbor, even.

The second is SS David H. Atwater. That one…

“93 shots 8.8 cm, ran off at high speed.”

They found the lifeboats and bodies riddled with holes. Most did not survive. Topp was never charged. Some think he was just doing his job. Others thought it was a deliberate case.

…Those are the facts. It would be a shame not to mention them.


By now, you must be wondering. “Why is this Nazi even here?”

I, I’m not a Nazi. I’ll never be a Nazi! Never, never, never. ‘d rather die!

But, my historical counterpart. The underlying basis for who I am today. The powers I have. The links are clear.

I used to not think about it. Trying to, you know, put it out of my mind. Then, Vergangenheitsbewältigung. I sought to apologize and to make amends. I wanted no part of it. I wanted to wipe it away.

But how could I? Shall I pretend that none of it happened? Shall I discard every aspect of my historical counterpart, which forms so much of this exquisite set of weapons that gives me the opportunity to fulfill my destiny? Shall I cast away my German identity?

There is only one answer that is right. I cannot.

Look at what I wear today. Look to my little ones – the ones who spend all this time making sure I can go out and fight and win.

I can no more wipe away the past than I could wipe away myself.

What a waste would that be if I did.

I cannot change the past. I cannot predict the future. I can only act in the present. There is nothing I can do about past atrocities other than to be a living testament. I will do what is right, and I will pass the story on so that others know of what we did. May such things never happen again.


Silent Service: Lori

Alright. I got tired of the Roman numerals so this one’s just Silent Service. I’ll go back and edit the titles and stuff later… *yawn*

Hey. Trout. You ever notice how everyone is in a Bikini?

Yes. What about it?

Don’t you think that’s a little weird?

How so?

It’s like, 40 degrees out? I mean, that’s not freezing but I wouldn’t call it warm out either.

Your point being?

Are people here incapable of wearing a jacket?

Tog, the girls can wear whatever they want. If it’s a bikini then it’s a bikini.

But why is “bikini” the iconic representation of a subgirl?

Plenty of subgirls don’t wear bikinis. Bats don’t. Pam doesn’t either. Neither does Lori –

HEY GUYS. HOW DO YOU LIKE MY NEW LOOK?

I… see what you mean, Tog.


‘Sup guys! K9 here. Tonight’s been pretty hectic with delays and uncertainty, so I decided to poke some fun at Silent Service. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to laugh at your own creation. As any team member will tell you, at the end of it all, we just want to enjoy creating and sharing ideas. Pacific doesn’t have to be WORK WORK WORK.

Yes, that goes for you too, Je – I mean, Morgane. Anyways! Here’s Lori. Don’t worry. She still have her catsuit too. 😉


How’s your day going, Lori?

Great! Can I have the keys?

The keys to?

Ammo dumps #2-18.

Uh, okay…

Yay! *twirls*

Today was a great day! It’s my day off so I had a lot of fun slacking off. I got up by dawn’s early light, did 300 pushups, then headed to the kitchen and made myself breakfast. There is something intensely patriotic about frying a dozen eggs while fending off Colbert’s hungry talons, but he’s getting too fat to steal bacon and sausage from me these days since Chester kept on trying to feed him that FREEDOM powder Cusk rigged up. I tried it myself and it was bleh. Tasted like fish paste. Definitely not for American consumption.

Then I cleaned up, did the dishes, and headed out for range day with Trout & Tambor & Tautog. Well, more like two hours, and as usual Dolphin was yelling at all of us. I like it better when Narwhal’s teaching. She’s nice! She doesn’t yell! I get nervous when people look at me! Then I ate like, eight double cheeseburgers and drank a gallon of coca-cola for lunch. Took a nap. Woke up. Went for a swim. Didn’t find any sharks to punch today but I did end up suplexing a blue whale that got too curious at Hata’s fishing lines. Can’t have critters stealing our dinner, you know!

Then I came home, tuned into my favorite afternoon talk radio, and started working on my all-new leather outfit. I think if I do this properly I just might be able to imbue that thing with the same quality of powers that my current outfit holds! Stars and stripes are nice and all, but a girl’s gonna want a change in wardrobe at some point. The way I think about it, if I worked on it for an hour every day, in ten years I’m definitely gonna become an expert if the war doesn’t start up.

But, even if it did? Well, I’m just going to pick it right back up once the whole thing boils over. We shipgirls are gonna have to fight, but what are we gonna do once the Abyssal War’s over? Just disappear? I wouldn’t like that.

Oh. Also! You are coming to the dance tonight, Mike, right? Better hope you can swing!

Lori, it’s a busy time around now, can’t I –

You really think an excuse involving work is going to fool a German-American shipgirl? Ha! Look here. You’re free. See? I’ve even helpfully blocked off the next day so you could recuperate.

Wait a minute. My schedule is generated and maintained strictly using the highest classification protocols, how did you –

Chester said if I sleep on an ENIGMA machine every night I’ll be able to break any encryption if I stared at hard enough.

… Seriously?

She also said that you can learn Japanese by watching those silly cartoons, so, yeah. Do you want one too? I think we rigged up a spare the other day.

Thanks, but I like my pillow just fine…


This is an emergency message insertion from Tautog.

Sleeping on top of an ENIGMA machine will not magically cause the commander’s schedules to become decrypted. At most it may give you a very mild headache for the next day. STEC also does not condone the harm of species protected under International law. As the unofficial spokesperson of this organization I am obliged to comment in order to minimize any potential misunderstanding or misinterpretation of STEC’s activities.


Tell me a bit about your namesake?

Sure thing, sir! The Type XXI U-boats were highly advanced for their era. They were definitely the best German submarines the Kriegsmarine had to offer. Tautog’ll probably have a sub corner on this, so I really don’t think I need to say more.

Downsides? They were pretty badly engineered in the sense that they weren’t really mass-producible. Dracha always say that if Admiral Donitz had his way and swarmed the Atlantic with A MILLION U-BOOTS the war would have been won before 1941, but I, um, somehow doubt that’d be the case. The Kriegsmarine, while professional, had very little actual naval combat or design experience prior to the invasion of Poland. Germany were simply outmatched by the Allies at every turn. Nevermind the fact that they were up against the British Empire who had been doing this “seapower” thing for the last several hundred years on the high seas. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

To put things into perspective, Hitler didn’t think to seriously seize the U-boat as an offensive weapon until the Sixth Army fell at Stalingrad. There’s a reason why the Type XXI were so different from the other U-boats. It was basically wunderwaffen, like the Toi-ga, the V-2 rockets, or the Me 262.

How do you feel about the Abyssal War?

Courage is the thing that keeps us free! Hella yeah! Something freedom something fighting for the rights of every man!

Eagles?


Hey, Lori here!

If my daily life sounds awesome, that’s because it totally is. As you may or not have been aware in the Action Report series, I’m an immigrant in every sense of the word. Much like the actual Type XXI U-boats that joined USN service, I willingly choose to become American after escaping from a very hostile situation that was developing between West and East Germany in Pacific’s universe.

Morgane likes to say this is for thematic reasons, but for someone like me? Of course America is the greatest planet on earth – er, I mean, the greatest country on the planet. I naturally seek out things that are “American” in nature, and I love everything there is about it! Be it going fast or riding horses or pro-wrestling or outdoor sports or shooting stuff, I want to experience everything there is that the country who had adopted me could offer. Sure, I might not be the most mature of the girls we have here in Pacific, but they say I’ve got a big heart!

Don’t let the team’s optimism fool you. The world isn’t automatically made a better place because we’re here. If anything, the tensions have receded somewhat, but they’re replaced by very concrete matters that the various countries of the world has to ask themselves if they are to survive. What happened to my country of origin – Germany – is one such example.

Do you really want to hear it? Well, okay… Here I go. It’s not a happy story, but it does have the happiest of endings.

Fractured after World War II, the two halves never truly evolved as they did in the “real world.” Even today, East Germany has very little reason to want to be whole again – while poor in comparison to the West, the USSR is prosperous enough and its rule functional enough that many of those in the East consider themselves to be citizens of the Soviet Union first, and Germans second.

Meanwhile, the … situation that resulted in my escape to America? Let’s just say, unlike your world, the shadows of Nazi Germany and the Vier Mächte never departed from West Germany. I couldn’t blame them, either. There is a growing sense that many German politicians did not truly have the interests of the German people at heart. Decades of stagnant economic polices coupled with scandal after scandal, alongside pressures coming from France and the United Kingdom created a hotbed of civil unrest. Germany was growing. She was alive. Yet she wasn’t healthy.

For years, I wandered alone. I had no friends or family to count on. I survived not because of dumb luck, but because I was one out of billions of individuals who were gifted supernaturally. Street hooligan or gopniki, I had to deal with them myself. I thought I’d be cursed to wander forever, like the heroes of those old stories, until one day governmental people tracked me down.

I played dumb, of course. I didn’t trust them one bit, and sure enough, they wanted me not because of who I am, but because of the strategic benefits that would come with having someone like me on their side. They were interested in a machine that could do their bidding. At no point did they ever consider if I even wanted to go along with their plans.

I just wanted a warm meal and a safe place to sleep. Maybe a real bed. I wasn’t interested in spy-rings or meeting politicians from East Germany. But the latter was exactly what they had me do. Someone higher up wanted to stir up rebellion in East Germany, and they needed someone like me to be the focal point for the rebellion.

“For Germany,” they told me. To them, it meant unifying with the East. With war if necessary. They know full well the weight of the Soviet Union stands alongside a heavily fortified battle line, ready to move – and respond – at a minute’s provocation. Naturally I was to balance the odds. The Soviets had no shipgirls (that was a lie, as I learned from STEC much later), so I would have been a decisive factor that would bring them victory.

How many would die? How many Germans would die in the crossfire? I was sent here to protect humanity. How many millions would die in a conflict between the West and the East?

For disagreeing with such a plan, they threw me in prison. Laughable. You know? I could have broken out at any moment I had wanted, but I was so shocked at the betrayal that I just cried in that tiny dark cell for days on end. I’m a good German – until I’m not. I’m a good girl – until they say I’m not. One minute I was destined to be a hero, and the next I’m now a Soviet spy.

Then the Soviets came, and I was buried beneath fifteen tons of rubble. They had heard news that West Germany might have a shipgirl of their own, and decided to take matters into their own hands.

“She is probably a Nazi, if she is indeed a German shipgirl.”

The Soviets knew of my existence, but that was what they had concluded based on what their own agents – some of those politicians I had met – told them. I, I said nothing during any of those meetings at all! I was silent because they told me I should say nothing. Am I a Nazi just because I’m German? I-is this what all German shipgirls have to d-deal with?

I, I’m sorry. *sniff* It’s just not fair. It’s not right. This isn’t supposed – this wasn’t …

*sniff*

T-they asked me if I wanted to retaliate. Surely I now understand the evils of communism now, right?

They didn’t ask me, hey, are you okay? Are you hurt?

They just wanted to use me as an object to further their ends.

Was this what it is to be German? Then I wanted no parts of it. I could not and did not want to be German anymore. I speak the language. I know the culture. I love our traditions. But to be German meant also to be the citizen of a particular state, and I could not support the actions of that country.

I, I just had to get away. But, where?

I had nowhere to go. I could not go to East Germany. They just tried to kill me. I could not stay in West Germany. They just wanted to use me.

They brought me to a new cell and told me to think about it seriously. So I sat in the darkness and cried. My cell had no windows, you know? You didn’t think the U.S. Embassy out of all places would have a concrete windowless bunker in the basement, but thank God they decided to lock me up there. Never did figure out why they did it either.

Anyways, I sat there. By now, I was used to hearing the footsteps of the patrolling guards. My old guards did theirs methodically without a break, always in double-time and rotating every four minutes. Here, in my new prison, I heard something different. These new sounds were loud, heavy, and uncoordinated. They were so very different. They were singing, too, and it wasn’t German.

At first, I wondered if I was hearing things. But, the next day – roughly an hour or so after they drop food in my cell, the footsteps would come back. With it came the song, too. Slowly, over the course of a week, I figured out what the lyrics were. It took me a while to realize that they were singing along to stuff playing on the radio.

I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land

God bless the U.S.A.

I was taught that the Americans are a bunch of fools, and that they were dim, arrogant, and undisciplined. Yet, at the same time, there was one thing above all else they valued.

They yearned to be free.

And you know what else?

They believed in something greater.

… The rest of my story, I’ll tell you some other time. It’s no good for any of us if I just dwelled on the bad things that happened in the past.

But, I will tell you, at last, I found a place where I belonged.

I found home.


Silent Service XIII: Argonaut

First of all website was down yesterday. Sorry about that.

Hmph! First Dolphin, then Prisse… About time I get my sub corners back –

Wait. I’m not on for today?

Riiiiiight. Shipgirl profiles interspersed with design sections. Not to mention we’ve just fixed the website anyways…

*sigh* Another day, then. I was really looking forward to tell you about the V-boats too…

Well, it’s fine… I’m just going to go back to my room and read a book or something. It’s not like I’m lonely or anything!


How’s your day been?

Good, good. And you, commander? Gotta say I’m not used to dinner being this early, but hey, stomach’s growling and I smell something nice. So here’s hoping that a “good” day turns into a “great” day, haha.

What’s a good day? I slept in late. Soaked in the tub for an hour and got a great brunch. Then Sculpin and I built that fish tank expansion we always talked about and I got her Argonauts a few new Argonaut buddies (though I think one might have been a Nautilus… I’m not that good with sea critters). Went shooting with some of the girls from the Design Board – didn’t peg Lulu or Raleigh as a crack shot but they sure did better than me on the discs.

… It’s my day off. Hey, only workaholics like Pennsy spend every moment thinking about how to defend humanity, alright? Besides, I just got back yesterday. I’m gonna have to go out there again tomorrow. Sooner, if the little guys finish cooking up the next batch of mines.

Yeah… I think I’ve seen enough of the sea for a while. Yes, laugh if you want, but it gets awfully lonely in the depths. The submariners at least have each other for company, but us subgirls? It’s not like the little guys can talk or anything…

My, that’s not what I’m getting at. You don’t have to call me. I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself *snickers.* Besides, what are we going to talk about? I’m pretty boring compared to the colorful bunch we’ve got back home. It’d be a pretty one-sided conversation unless you want to hear me count the fishies that pass by or something.

… I’m really much better if you just talk instead. Yeah. Better listener than talker. I know any relationship’s give and take, but I just, y’know, don’t know how to start a conversation sometimes. I mean, hmm. What would my handsome commander want to hear about today? Golly gee, current events? Yeah, the four girls in the Intel division consumes enough media that I bet they can run the New York Times and the National Review outta business at the same time if they wanted to. I don’t follow sports. I really don’t play all that much either. Nautilus keeps on egging me on to find a “non-productive” hobby but I’m just not entirely sure which one I’d really enjoy.

I mean, I’m pretty happy, really. I don’t want more excitement in my life. Heck, you know what I want? I kinda miss the old days. Before Avalon. Before the fairies took care of all the grunt work. Before tech & fairy magic smoothed out all the kinks and turned STEC from a ragtag bunch of plucky ad-hoc elements into this beautifully sleek machine of counter-abyssal operations today.

… You ever need a personal maid, sir? Honestly. Don’t send me state-side for my next extended vacation. Just let me … I dunno, dust the shelves or sweep the floors or peel potatoes or something. Alright?

Aw, you’re a dear too. Thanks. I feel a little embarassed now…


What do you think of our preparation for the incoming Abyssal War?

I don’t have anything to complain about, actually. I think we’re doing all the right things. Just gotta ramp up the production.

Actually, now that you mention it. You know when they hit we’re going to be the first thing they try to take out. I’m not entirely sure if the direction we’re taking Avalon’s own design is necessarily what I’d pick. Not too fond of stealth if you get my drift. It relies on the bad guys not finding us, but I’m not sure if it’s gonna work well for us if they figure out how to crack our concealment tech.

I’d like it much better if we shifted additional manpower into developing area denial or purely defensive countermeasures instead. Concealment and intelligence and rapid deployment is good and all, but nothing beats an old fashioned beating in my opinion. Plus, we’ve got a lot of eggs in this basket and I think we absolutely need to start spread it out. Those planned Battle Platforms’ll help. So do the other stuff we’ve got rolling down the pipeline. Then there’s stuff like Project Trinity. Hoo, wow.

Like I said, I don’t have anything to complain about. Besides, that’s the nature of leadership. It’s your job to make the big calls, not me, heh.


Does your gun work under water?

Believe it or not, sir, it does!

However, it makes far more sense to use it on the surface as a close-quarters combat weapon. Honestly while my equipment appears suitable for surface warfare it still makes more sense for me to remain under water. After all, a lot of the problems that plagued the actual submarines don’t completely transfer over to us shipgirls.


Tell me a bit about your namesake.

Tautau’s done a pretty good job covering the design of the Argonaut in one of her sub corners. As far as the actual Argonaut goes, I think we need to be fair in our assessment of her performance.

“If a fleet boat were stripped of one battery, two engines, six torpedo tubes, and could use no more than 15 degrees of rudder, she would still have greater torpedo attack and evasion ability than Argonaut.”

Hey, don’t look at me. Richard O’Kane said that, not me.

Purely, objectively, statistically, mathematically, she was at best a mediocre ship. The seaworthiness of that ship was never that great, and if my memories – or should I say, the memories of the crew of the Argonaut – is correct, the ship simply wasn’t a good working environment. Her outdated construction and outdated weaponry gave her no conceivable advantages in battle, and even the refits didn’t really do much for her. Having that TDC might have helped a ton during her initial patrol, but that’s if – and that’s a big if – she could get herself into position to begin with.

I mean, she was supposed to be a minelayer, right? Well, she never laid a mine. All that gear was taken out right before the Makin Raid and she wasn’t even much of a transport submarine. Conditions were just downright nasty with all that humidity and most of the Marine Raiders got violently seasick.

Yeah. The Argo was not a Wahoo or a Tautog or a Flasher or Rasher. She had three war patrols. A maiden voyage that yielded no damage whatsoever to the enemy. A transportation mission the effects of which historians still debate to today. Her last journey was basically a valiant last stand against five Japanese ships that caught her as she tried to do her duty.

… and to think that her torpedoes prematurely detonated before reaching the Japanese destroyers. The poor Argonaut didn’t even get a good hit in because of faulty equipment, commander, and a hundred and two men died on that day. It would be the worst loss of life any single US submarine ever suffered during the war.

Those are the facts of the submarine Argonaut. An ordinary reader would stop here. To them, the Argonaut was nothing more than a machine of war. A weapon. A means to an end.

But, commander. The Silent Service was an entirely voluntary force. Consider this for a second. You were not eligible for the submarine service unless you passed with excellent qualifications. It was – and still is – extraordinarily hard to become a submariner. The emphasis is on doing right and doing well is far more important than your rank. Wearing the Dolphin is no joking matter, sir. To have that on you uniform meant that you belonged to a brotherhood of the Navy’s finest. It means that everyone else on that submarine trusts you well enough to leave the fate of their lives in your hands – if it have to come to that.

The men of the Argonaut could have been assigned to any other submarine and I bet you they would have thrived. But, fortune brought them to the Argonaut.

War is war, commander. Not everyone get to come home.

But war is what they signed up to do, and her men fought on to the end. Would you call a firefighter who died putting out fires a wasted life? How about police officers who died responding to an active threat?

No? Then I think you have your answer.

To the men of the Argonaut we simply say, they remain on eternal patrol.