From Action Report #1: The History of STEC (7)

STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: Classified
Format: Message, Personal
Object: Correspondence to Harry S. Truman, from Walter B. Smith
Location (if known): Unknown
Time (if known): Unmarked.

Mr. President,

Please see attached comments in regards to recent proposal submitted by USNSTEC.

I. I concur with the proposal regarding establishing core research facilities as part of USNSTEC strategic objective.

II. To answer the feasibility question, yes. Operational costs are not of concern given the prospective nature of threat. However even with proposed enlargement of recruitment efforts OSI simply will not have enough personnel to realistically supply USNSTEC with requisite talent. Ms. Iowa’s weaponry borders that of fables and the difference between it and our current scientific understanding of it is akin to the difference between a stone axe and an aircraft carrier. Further understanding of basic scientific principles is necessary and a breakthrough may take decades if not longer.

I am overstepping my bounds by commenting on this, Mr. President, but if this threat is global in nature we may wish to contemplate discussing the matter with our friends. Loathe I am to make the recommendation, perhaps former friends, fairweather friends, and possibly foes across the Atlantic & Pacific may be worth taking into consideration as well.

III. I have already reassigned as many personnel within my agency as we can towards the appropriate objectives. I am concerned, however, that this is a futile endeavor. We are fundamentally limited by the ability of our operatives to obtain intel in a timely manner. If the ABYSSAL is empowered by destruction, then I fear we may already be too late by the time we obtain news from our ocean watchers. Ms. Iowa is faster than anything in our arsenal, but even she cannot hope to stem the tide of terror and chaos that would surely strike the globe.

IV. I concur with the strategic impetus of maintaining secrecy. The enemy is aware of our actions, but if it assumes that Ms. Iowa is acting independently as they expect, then it will act accordingly. It is my opinion that we play along for as long as possible. Ms. Iowa will be able to buy us time assuming their goal will be to strike her down. That is only sensible, and it is why (on a personal note) I remain firmly opposed to committing her to combat unless we have no choice in the matter.

V. For full details please see attached. In short, my proposal consists of minimizing the utilization and application of our conventional military forces in favor of adopting our unconventional strengths. As you are aware, Mr. President, while I am not opposed to current proposals of aerial recon via strategic bombers or CV air-groups as submitted, it will almost certainly result in diplomatic tensions. The Soviets aren’t blind and they will know we are looking for something, and they can use this as a pretext to carry out their own objectives and influence the globe.

Commercial flights are at an all-time high and will only increase in the coming decades. I can and will place a man on every flight coming in or out of the country if necessary, but with Ms. Iowa’s tiny friends even that may not be needed. In attached please find schematic for observational device prototype used to house our miniature allies on trans-oceanic flights. No one will bat an eye if a handful of wealthy customers submits an extra luggage for check-in, and our military can always fill in the rest of the gaps as necessary.

Walter Bedell Smith
Office of the Director
Central Intelligence Agency

STEC Archives, Print Document Division

Curator signature: Classified
Format: Message, Personal
Object: Correspondence to Walter B. Smith, from Harry S. Truman
Location (if known): Unknown
Time (if known): Unmarked.

Dear Bedel,

Thank you for your excellent and timely commentary as always. I have been reading the proposals and like very much No.6 (the one involving aquatic critters). I have never been one for pets but the comforting thought of having a sea full of friendly eyes freely roaming about gives me much thought and optimism for the future.

You and our other co-conspirators have our unflinching support. Please proceed as proposed.

God bless.

Harry S. Truman


STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: Classified
Format: Historical Artifact
Object: Internal Bulletin, United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Location (if known): Recovered from wall-board #14, USFWS, Woods Hole Station
Time (if known): Unmarked.


The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency just asked for up to 200,000 aquatic creatures of various sizes, “preferably big enough to strap a moderately sized box on.”


[Curator’s note: For this particular bulletin, “Two hundred thousand” appears to have been heavily scratched in with a very blunt pencil, jabbed repeatedly with small, sharp objects, and had been repeatedly underlined for emphasis.]

Boys, I repeat, this is no joke. You can see the executive order attached.

200,000. 200,000.



[Curator’s note: penned in a different hand.]



STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: Classified
Format: Message, Personal
Object: Correspondence to [Classified], from Walter B. Smith
Location (if known): Field Office #21, Central Intelligence Agency
Time (if known): Unmarked.


Tell your staff to do what they can with the giant crabs. I am personally not averse to crab cakes for the next four years but I expect we can probably recoup operational costs if we just funnel it back to the civilian markets. In either case I’m giving him a call tomorrow. With any luck maybe he’ll finally see how nutty the whole idea is – we’ve had an unprecedented string of failures for the last four months!

And get rid of that damn Manta already.

Lucky for the USFWS, the CIA was never able to seriously make headway with proposal no. 6, where some enterprising young associate director proposed to place fairies in waterproof boxes and strap them to captured sea creatures as a “passive” search strategy against the abyssal fleet. While the proposal was deemed a complete failure, a substantial (some would say excessive) amount of insight was gained in aquatic biology and would eventually contribute to the foundation of organizations such as the NMMP.

Insofar as this particular tale ends, the ending was a rather mundane one. America settled on the conventional (albeit boring) strategy of applying recon sweeps, mostly from the Strategic Air Command. For several years, special units of USAF heavy bombers swept over the world’s oceans as civilian research ships – built in increasingly large quantities – prowled the world’s oceans. Only a handful of those involved knew that their missions of observation and discovery carried an additional purpose: to watch vigilantly for any signs of the Abyssal threat.

The early days of STEC may seem a little strange to our modern day sensibilities. On one hand, it built a solid foundation of theoretical and applied knowledge, and helped to create a deep pool of talent (as well as the capacity to create that talent) that America would find herself drawing upon again and again. Yet, at the same time, some of the most outrageous ideas also arose from that transitional time period. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that despite all of its failures, in the end, STEC was able to meet most of its strategic objectives. It, like the rest of humanity, did what humans do, which is to fail and fail until it finally finds success.

(2016) Super Tuesday!


现场直播 – 超级星期二

Tennsy: You say you’re fine ♪~  I know you better than that! ~

田希(合唱中)你说你没事♪ ~,我说你撒谎!~

Okie: Hey! ♫~ What you doing picking a candidate like that? 

奥姬(合唱中)嘿!♫~ 你干嘛要投那个家伙?


Hey guys. Morgane here again. 🙂 Sorry this one surfaced two days later – the lighting and angle and everything else was way harder than we had thought. Between when we posted the end of Nevada there just weren’t enough days for us to finish it on time.

各位好。莫根又来打招呼了。抱歉,这个明显晚了 – 灯光和角度以及整个构图对我们的挑战性还是蛮大的。当我们画完内化达的时候,真的没时间在超级周二前搞完了。真的对不起啦。

Now, about the various references here…


The shipgirls should be rather obvious, so I’m not going to say anything else. All I have to say is that she was an inspiration for me in high school and college. She’s basically my age. Watching her grow up, just as I, too, grew up…


Dr. Carson’s really been neglected, so we thought we’d put him out front. That, and he’s always been a bucket of hilarity. Remember that the Republican debate allows one to respond if they’re attacked directly.



A lot of folks have been asking me why Hillary’s a witch. No, actually, it’s not because I dislike her. It’s because of the meme, #WhichHillary. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which Hillary we’re talking about, and you should be the one to figure out just why she’s got that nickname. 😉


(考虑到各位查这个可能有点难度,我稍微解释下。英文中的Witch(巫婆)和Which(哪个)是同音词。这个WhichHillary的来源是因为她刚刚登场总统竞选的时候在很多位置上摇摆不定(现在其实也一样),基本上她会说任何她认为你想听的东西。所以当她的参谋们推出了一系列的各种“真诚”“真实”以及“她跟你一样”的这类的广告时,美国人的民意反弹很强烈。许多网民跑到某FB和T上狂刷这个tag: “到底是哪个”(which)希拉里。)


Sanders? Hey. Look. Which fictional character hails from Brooklyn?


If you guys haven’t noticed from the last outfit, Ted Cruz is uh, wearing a … one of these. Yes, we checked. He’s eligible to run for President, but we thought the fairies could use a little more color, and it works for him.

啊,对了。说起来Ted Cruz(抱歉这位我真没找到我感觉合适的中文翻译。)的梗。他穿的那一套…怎么说呢,我查了。这家伙可以选美国总统(虽然他确实是加拿大出生的)。总之精灵可以多用些颜色啦,所以这个设定我感觉给他也不错。

Rubio? When we first conceptualized this piece, he was definitely on a mission to TERMINATE someone. Especially now, looking at the political situation, the GOP establishment definitely seems to be establishing him.


In as neutral of a way as possible, I am personally shocked at how quickly his message changed. That is all I’m going to comment on the matter. 🙂


Kasich? Google no more. He’s fun to draw. Occasionally says very odd and funny things, but overall he’s pretty much the first thing we assign since he’s pretty consistent.


Okay, now the two guys in front. The left is my state’s governor. He showed up because of Friday. The endorsement drop after the Thursday GOP debate came at a point that was just thematically perfect. On top of that, while I was doing research on the candidate, I stumbled upon the guy’s rally at Oklahoma.


(Special shout-out to the super high-energy pastor (Mark Burns?) – just listen to him! Whether or not you agree with his words, I have never seen ANOTHER candidate being introduced with such fervor and passion and feeling.)

(尼玛这太high energy了。我不知道这个视频里面那黑人牧师到底是谁(Mark Burns?)但你们听听听听听听这家伙的热度。燃起来了吗?我的妈呀我宅政治宅这么多年没听过一个家伙能拿出来这种力气来给自己候选人创造热度的。)

Yeah, if it isn’t obvious now, Trump’s design is definitely 40k inspired. I realize we’re crossing two settings here, but look at what he’s doing to the GOP right now. Look at how he’s viewed by his supporters. Or his enemy. Look at the memes.


This man does not need the Sword of Chang.


And what more fitting weapon do we give to a mere mortal who, for all intent and purposes, is splitting not only the GOP, but long-unchallenged traditions in politics, in media, in everything else we know about the election cycle?


(I wonder how kinpika feels about Trump putting his name on that, though. But it’s just not TRUMP otherwise…)


See you next time.


Nevada Episode IV: A New Hope ◇ TIME LINESuper Tuesday II >

Present Day: The Legend of Penglai Island (3)

Character concept, Mike Yin. Commander of Avalon base.


“Yo, Mike. What’s the ETA on what’s-his-face?”

Across the ocean, inside the Special Task and Evaluation Command’s mobile island base Avalon, a US naval officer stood before an array of screens, databases, and holographic images. Here and there, a tiny spark of light can be briefly seen as little fairies – enigmatic allies of humanity – coalescence in and out of sight.

“No time, Leon. This was pretty sudden. We’ll reconvene in Shanghai instead. Did you see this yet?”

Like the Combat Information Center on a warship, Avalon‘s primary purpose is to direct and command as necessary in both peace and wartime. Much of its design goals take this into consideration, and the resultant communication interface – slim, lean, efficient – would seem like something out of fiction to the casual bystander.

“See what?”


Mike waved his hand. As if reading his thoughts, a nearby screen lit up, and an enlarged image of a scanned letter appeared on screen. A moment later, a second image – what appears to be an annotated translation of the document – appeared as an overlay.

“You were asking about our host, right? Well, turns out Commander Ma’s nephew just joined the PLAN.”

“What’s this got to do with us?”

“I think it gives us a pretty big hint as to why State’s sending us rather than the usual diplomats over.”

Leon squinted.

May our great Chairman, whose light illuminates like that great red sun in heaven, be ever in good health! May his vigor be endless, and may his infinite, limitless wisdom be ever-present as we all tirelessly labor for the good of the people.

Under the tutelage of our great leader, teacher, and helmsman, our province’s revolutionary progress is going splendidly. Our city’s revolutionary progress is exceptional. Our district’s revolutionary progress and fervor to the people is beyond comparison. It is a great honor and privilege for us to serve the people in the heart of the revolution, work for the people in the birthplace of the workers and peasants, and learn at the center and base of the world’s revolution for all who are downtrodden! Be proud, but be humble at our splendid opportunity!

It is only through endless revolution and introspection do we now know the values of hard work, the steadfastness of our party, and the care in which our great chairman pay to all the people of China. As a mentor of the downtrodden people, and your teacher in the ways of classless struggles, I hereby bequeath you this letter as a final reminder of the joys of all the tribulations that we have overcome. I hope that as you leave the People’s Daoguan in high spirits and become a pillar in service to your country, that you will bear in mind all that you have learned. Never forget that you serve the people, and that the revolution is still on-going. I am sure that your uncle, who is a clear-headed and passionate revolutionary like all of us, will be a better mentor than I as you enter the glorious people’s workforce. May you find your path in our great journey together, as all of China labors towards a greater and brighter future!

As I conclude, may our great leader, the honorable Chairman Mao, live for ten thousand, ten thousand, and ten of ten thousand years!


A humble Teacher of the Revolution, Guardian of culture, and Servant to the Proletariat

(Aka, Shifu)

“What do you think, Leon?”

The marine rubbed his head and thoughtfully paused for a second. He made a face.

“My head hurts from reading that. But yeah, I see what you’re getting at. I thought something’s up when I was thumbing through our intel on their latest batch of recruits. There’s gotta be a reason and it’s not the CCP having a sudden change of heart and decided to embrace Taoism en masse.”

Mike nodded. He waved a second time and a number of portraits appeared on a second screen. With another gesture, the portraits arranged themselves into a neat web, and thin, translucent lines connected one face to another with captions like “Brother,” “Son of investment partner,” or “Former commanding officer, 1985-1988.”

Sure enough, there was a thin line connecting Peiying to Commander Ma Yunde. Leon pointed at the annotation that read: “Nephew.”

Nephew by kinship of Ma Yunde, Commander, PLAN. Ma Yunde was forced into a name change in accordance to historical policies. For more information see entry, Sima Yunde.

“And who’s this guy?”

Leon pointed at another link that linked Peiying with a portrait that simply had a “?” in place of a face. Mike shrugged.

“That’s Peiying’s master. Remember that he was sent to a Taoist temple – the ones that haven’t been closed down, anyways. His parents wanted him to get a decent education, and that was the best place to get one given the turmoil that the country was going through.”


“That’s it. We don’t have much on him. We just know that he’s an old Taoist monk who enjoys wandering around China. Nobody knows quite what he looks like, but this picture -”

Mike pointed as a half-transparent image floated onto the “?” on the web that they’re studying. The image was grainy and poor quality, and the colors seemed to have faded with age. The picture showed what appeared to be a collapsed building in the middle of a busy city intersection. From the haphazard postures of some of the people, some of the injuries looked quite serious.

“- makes me think that he looks every inch the stereotypical old master. Yes, the movie stereotype.”

Highlighted in the picture, hidden away in a corner, was a frail-looking old man with bushy eyebrows and a long, pointed beard. He was effortlessly carrying a grown man on his shoulders, and he seemed to be grinning at someone or something.

“This photo was in the People’s Daily, and he was referenced as one of the “heroic bystanders” who assisted in the first-aid process. That’s the only photographic evidence we’ve got of him. You ask the locals and he’s something closer to a folk hero. Magic healing powers. Leaping over buildings. Super strength. Whispers of being immortal. You get the idea.”

Leon rubbed his chin as he pointed at another newspaper clipping. It’s all making sense now.

“So lemme think about this out-loud for a bit. If I was PLAN brass and trying to figure out the island thing, and I know from us that it’s probably magic, until I know it’s not-magic magic’s fair game, right?”


“So I go looking for a few magic men. I don’t know how you’d start, Mike, but if I was running the show, I’d be listening real hard at the word out on the street. I dunno what the equivalent is, but I’d guess that if this is back home we’d be looking out for rumors of faith-healing, curing of the blind, laying of hands, that kinda stuff…”

Leon tapped his hand deliberately, continuing at a brisk pace as he ticked off the examples he mentioned one by ones. He’s seen first-hand the strength of some of these small, closely knit communities, and in a world with shipgirls and fairies and giant sea monsters? The idea that there might be greater powers at work isn’t that far-fetched.

“So obviously, this guy would be high on their shortlist. I’m guessing they recruited folks like Peiying when they realized that the old guy’s nowhere to be found, heh. That sound about right?”

Mike nodded.

“Astute as always. I’m also thinking along similar lines, but there are a few holes in it that I guess we’ll just have to find out when we arrive. For one thing, this is a matter of national, if not global importance. I find it hard to believe that someone with a reputation of being a “folk hero” would just sit idly and ignore the matter at hand.”

“Maybe he’s a sham. I’d be hightailing it outta there too. If I weren’t legit? I can coast easy on my reputation as a magical old man who, I dunno, has to go meditate underneath waterfalls or something like that.”

“Yes, but how would he know? The Chinese are nothing if not good at keeping secrets. How would he know that the PLAN is recruiting individuals with special experiences if his monastery is in the middle of nowhere? I mean they just got a phone installed in the town nearby two months ago.”

Leon gave a comically huge shrug as he chuckled.

“Hey, maybe the guy really is magic, so he just knew. Why does it matter?”

“He’s a curiosity and an unknown factor. I just have a nagging feeling that it’s more than a curiosity, though. Something about this whole thing is too improbable. Peiying, for instance, wasn’t even formally enrolled in the temple. He’s certainly intelligent, but he was basically a less of a full disciple and more along the lines of a lay affiliate or a cook.”

Mike made a scrolling gesture as he brought up a datafile on assorted Chinese recruits sent on the mission at hand.

“And he scored pretty well on the aptitude exams the PLAN uses to select their officer candidates. Not stellar like some of the other ones sent on the trip, here, for instance, but I’d say that he’s the anomaly rather than the norm. All the rest of these guys are a few standard deviations above the mean…”

He waved again, and the list rearranged itself.

“Whether it’s political acumen, familial wealth, or other soft parameters, you can see he’s easily one of the least advantageous candidates to push forward. The only connection of note is his uncle’s extraordinarily long service, and even so, his uncle is just a field officer with a checked background at best and undesirable history at worst. Admiral Qu’s not known to be a nepotistic man, either, and he’s got a legacy to consider given his advanced age. So what exactly is going on here?”

“I dunno. Guess we’ll find out in a day? I mean it’s not like you or I were anything terribly exceptional either, heh. STEC’s got one genius and it’s not us, that’s for sure. ”

Mike wryly grinned in response. Leon’s self-depreciating humor was always appreciated.

“Yup. Until then, us non-geniuses just have to work a little harder to figure it out.”

2016: Nevada Episode IV: A New Hope (内华达:新的希望)

Close one, guys. Real close on the left side. Bernie was losing by twenty points the week before and I think he did good. 47.3% to 52.6%.

Now, the right side?


“What happened, —–? You were supposed to be the chosen one! You were to unite the base, not fracture it even further! Half of them are going for —- or —– now!”
“怎么会这样,- – -? 你本来应当是被拣选者,是救世主!你本当统一我们的选民,而不是让他们四分五裂!现在他们一半都去投 – – – 或者 – – 啦!”

“你-太-低-能-量-了,- – 大-师!给-我-让-开。我-会-打-败-民-主-党,因-为-我-在-普-选-中-的-机-率-是-最-大-的。这-场-初-选-结-束-后,我-会-给-所-有-共-和-党-人-民-带-来-和-平,正-义,自-由,以-及-安-全。

“The GOP? —–, our allegiance is to America, to the people, to democracy!”
“共和党?- – -,我们的任务以及忠诚是对美国,对美国人民,以及民主啊!”


Lemme tell ya I’d never vote for either of ’em. But the bit that Jeb said as Jeb left? I can see why people liked the guy.




*Vvvvvvv -*

“This isn’t winning, —–. If you strike me down and remove me from this race I shall become more powerful than you could ever imagine!”
“这不是胜利,- – -。如果你将我击倒,让我退出这场选举,我将变的比你想象的还要强大!”

Okay, breaking the fourth wall for a second. I shouldn’t hafta say this, but it’s PARODY. Like Iowa said, vote who you like. We ain’t endorsing anyone or telling you who you should be voting for.

Got that? Good. Hey! Tennsy! Okie! You two are up!

Hey guys. A not-so-quick note here from Morgane.

I’ve received a lot of positive feedback – far more so than I was expecting, and I really want to say thank you. The folks that are offended by how we’re choosing to depict your candidates, we’re sorry, but that’s how we (Sima and I) decided to depict them. I’m sure that “we mean no offense” won’t make you less offended, but I really do mean that. We mean no offense.

Now, this update’s commentary.

You guys may have noticed that the focus here was really on Rubio and Bush. That’s because I was seriously afraid that one of them would drop – and they did. Personally, I’m extremely upset at Bush’s departure. Not because I supported any of his policies (when NJ rolls around I’m definitely NOT going to write him in xD), but because he has so many funny quirks that makes him a fun, fun fairy to draw.

Given that this’ll be the last time you see of Fairy!Jeb for a while, we thought to give him a sending-off that would be appropriate. Hence the focus here, and the conclusion we now see.

See, the NH primary gave me some downtime to seriously research the candidates, but I’ve always had an idea about how Bush vs Rubio might have turned out. They’ve been attacking each other in the media a whole lot, but it hadn’t always been that way.


No, in fact? Bush handed Rubio the Sword of Chang, a legendary artifact that’s basically the Republican Caliburn/Excalibur. Yes, it’s the sword of conservatism, meant to represent the enduring light of republicanism (whatever that actually means). Here’s a story explaining it (from the HuffPo.) Here’s the interview where Rubio talks about it. Yes. It’s also what lies broken at the feet of the two Floridans. I’ll leave it to you to interpret the symbolism.




I know that this is real life, and obviously Bush and Rubio weren’t exactly straight-up mentor-mentee like Obi-Wan and Anakin. There are plenty of articles commenting on the nuances and the subtleties, plenty of opinions writing about ambitions, old blood, and politics.

But isn’t it just deliciously ironic that the GOP favorite was undone by the upstart freshman senator that they’ve carefully groomed, trained, and cultivated? Am I the only one that sees similarities in Anakin’s actions during the prequels and Rubio’s circumvention of GOP norms and “rules” and choosing to run for president? Could Bush plausibly feel a hint of the same kind of mixture of emotions as Obi-wan return in Episode IV to fight Darth Vader?

We had to do it. It was far too good to pass up. And you know what? I honestly think Fairy!Jeb is partly right. Yes, Rubio took him down. It’s everything the GOP strategists are supposed to do. Winnow the field. Bring the crown home. Win.

It’s what he should do. All the pundits say it. All the strategists say it. Ted Cruz and Ben Carson and John Kasich knows it.

But you know what? When Fairy!Jeb went out I don’t think it made him stronger. At least, not directly. He certainly left a good impression on the media, but … not analogous to Obi-Wan.


In theory, the idea of the winnowing is basically this. For every candidate that leaves, their voters will go vote for someone – the “savior” or “chosen one” selected by the party elites. Looks like at the moment that chosen one is Marco Rubio, so the goal is to simply get all these unwashed masses to vote for him.

What makes you think Jeb’s voters are just going to fall into line and vote Rubio?

I mean, let’s be honest here, who the hell do you think Cruz is jetpacking towards, anyways?

That’s right.

That’s right. Him.

The Nevada Primary with Nevada ◇ TIME LINESuper Tuesday! >