STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: [Classified]
Format: Message, personal
Object: Personal effect of Joseph Maxwell (1911-1954), Sgt. 1st class.
Location (if known): [Classified]
Time (if known): Pre-global incursion, 1952
It’s been so long I really don’t know how to begin. I’m sorry I couldn’t send letters home. So much has happened in such a short period of time that I feel that the world has been turned upside down. Trust me.
You’ll find all that I know and more from the blue folder that came with this letter. It’s a lot to take in, so you might as well sit down and get comfy before you open that up. I promise you the medical report that came with this letter is gonna make a lot more sense after you read through that.
Now, one thing the blue folder won’t tell you is what’s gonna happen from now on. That’s something the General said I could tell you, but not on paper. We’ve got a plan. Now would be a good time to ask the gent who delivered this letter to you about what we’re going to do to keep you and everyone else safe. Believe me what we’ve got it’s pretty incredible, and I have a lot of faith. In the Navy. In America. We’re going to do this and make it the best thing to happen to the world.
I love you lots and I’ll always be thinking of you. Hug the girls for me, would you? Tell them that daddy’ll away for just a while longer.
Excerpt from “Some serious answers to STEC, part III”, an official press release authorized by the White House.
While much about the early days of STEC remain under lock and key, the clandestine organization is slowly taking on a mantle of mythical proportions. Even now, a few years after the first global incursion, we see a narrative forming. Ask the average passerby on the streets these days about the early days, and the story you hear is likely to be similar.
In general, it tends to be something like this:
After the destruction of the abyssal scout destroyer, Iowa met with the U.S. commanding officers and offered them a choice. The first was to forget all that had transpired and live as if nothing had happened. The second was to live with horrific nightmares, but they would begin to prepare for an abyssal invasion potentially years in the making.
Naturally, the heroic Americans chose the latter option. They risked everything – personal legacy included – and worked tirelessly to devise a counterplan. Thus, the U.S. government secretly created, funded, and grew an organization dedicated to fighting the abyssal fleet. The result of which is STEC, as people understood it today.
Like any legend, the story above is part truth and part fiction. Below, STEC would like to address a number of these points. It does so not to dismiss the legacies or the heroism of those who came before to serve, and those who serve now. Rather, a better understanding of the amazingly complex historical context based would only enhance our understanding of events that will soon pass into the distant past, and you deserve nothing but our best efforts and the truth.
The first of these is commonly known as Iowa’s dilemma. In some of the more dramatic retellings of this story, the stories suggest that Iowa could have wiped the minds of those who have seen the abyssals first hand. This betrays a fundamental excitement for storytelling, but it is inaccurate on several accounts.
Yet before we dive into the details, it is STEC’s intent to communicate, on an official level, about what is accurate about those events. In chronological order, some of the pertinent events are:
The destruction of the abyssal in question was for all intent and purposes instantaneous.
Like all abyssals encountered so far, abyssal “corpses”/”wrecks” (In light of ongoing scholarship, STEC makes no official stance here on the nature of the abyssal fleet) dissipate and become unobservable or undetectable in the order of minutes to seconds.
Iowa approached the U.S. command willingly. In fact, she was the one who brought information of the abyssal unit’s demise, prior to any USN/USMC/USAF scouting confirmation.
Proximal exposure to the abyssals is directly linked to massive psychological trauma, and at the time (1950), there was no known defense or cure short of direct intervention from a ship girl. What we know now nearly five decades later was not known at the time. What defense measures as revealed by STEC now was also not in place at the time.
With all these events in mind, it is now time to look at the “dilemma” itself. Was the option to “forget all” offered? The answer is not all in the context of all memories up to that point, but otherwise the statement is rated as true. While it is commonly believed that the Iowa sisters possess powerful abilities to influence the mind, Iowa’s powers are entirely benign in nature. She can no more erase a random memory willingly than I am capable of flight.
No, what Iowa can do is block the abyssal fleet’s hold on people in general. This appears to be a very specific power seemingly designed to counter the effects of the abyssals by preventing the triggering influence from occurring. STEC researchers currently believe that the abyssal fleet’s “fear aura” occurs as a result of “activating” certain clustered inside the human brain associated with a number of primary psychological responses. Evidence varies, and we have competing hypotheses, but that is the best we can come up with for now.
This theory is not perfect, but it offers a very practical explanation to why the abyssals seemingly know everyone’s worst fears. In this case, as the memories accessed are highly personal in nature, it then makes sense that the abyssals, too, appear to personalize their nightmarish attacks. In other words, once a reaction is elicited, the human brain then creates the rest of the sensations on its own, using resources available to it. These resources here just happen to be the memories or ideas that you hold in your head – a literal case of your worst enemy being yourself.
Again, what Iowa is capable of doing is blocking – in a method we do not yet currently understand – those memories from accessed. The individual is left with little more than vague sensations of something wrong had happened, much like a score of other psychological effects associated with strong trauma or life events. However, the madness and insanity associated with the abyssal fleet would no longer grip that person’s mind and prevent them from carrying out daily functions. It doesn’t mean that this block is permanent, nor does it mean the individual would become impervious to future attacks. However, at the time, it offered a very solid (albeit) temporary solution to a critical problem that the medical corps were unprepared for.
In fact, that’s exactly what she did at the time, and that’s exactly what she did countless times until we came up with a more viable solution. You see that solution deployed actively. Yet even at the time, the nature of the abyssal fleet and the incursion was explained in full detail (to the best of our ability at the time) to all individuals involved. All those willing to take the option of treatment did. Some did not.
In fact, it might be a good time to discuss the follow-up. “To live with horrific nightmares.” This is most certainly true as well, though again, not quite in the same dramatic fashion as it is typically told. The truth was that many of the officers saw it as a matter of personal responsibility, and were willing to forgo treatment. Some didn’t know how bad it would get. Others saw it as penance. Only one, however, immediately grasped the significance of being able to study the effects of the abyssals on humanity as a whole.
His tale will be continued in the next press release.
STEC Archives, Audio Documentation Division
Curator signature: [Classified]
Format: Audio recording, magnetic sound recording
Object: Portion of conversation of USAF service personnel
Location (if known): [Classified]
Time (if known): [Classified]
Detailed description: Two primary speakers identified as Cmdr [Classified], USN and Lt. [Classified] of the USAF. Room appears heavily insulated with very good sound-proofing. Details such as breathing can be easily discernable.
Q: What specific duties did you perform in between June to August of 1950?
A: I was a pilot in the 162nd (Curator note: 162 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron) and flew aerial reconnaissance missions.
Q: On June 27th of 1950 were you flying a mission?
Q: Describe the nature of the mission.
A: The mission itself was typical recce with nothing out of the ordinary. What I found unusual perhaps was how many of our pilots were scouting the area – and not just us, but from the navy and marines, too.
Q: At the time of your sortie were you aware of the nature of your mission?
A: No, I was not.
Q: Were you aware of what had befallen the navy vessels at the time of your flight?
A: No, I was not, but prior to my approach we were able to pick up an unusual amount of radio chatter, and so I already had the impression that something bad had happened.
Q: Describe the nature of the radio chatter.
A: It’s … pretty heavy stuff. Incoherent gibberish, lots of screaming. A ton of references to monsters. There was one who repeatedly warn us to stay away, that it was a trap and we’re only flying to our deaths.
Q: How did you deal with this loss of spirit?
A: My radio stopped working soon after. So I suppose the demoralization took care of itself.
Q: Have you ever had equipment failures during flight?
A: Not personally, no.
Q: Did you feel anything was out of the ordinary as you approached your destination?
A: Yeah. Now that you mention it, it’s pretty messed up. I think the Soviets must be using some kinda chemical weapons or something to affect the senses, because the air became heavy and hard to breathe the closer we got to our marks. For the first time in years I felt nauseous, and I almost threw up a few times.
Q: Why do you think it’s the Soviets?
A: Who else could it be?
Q: Was nausea the only unusual sensation you felt on that mission? A: (a very long pause)
A: It’s not something I want to admit, but my mind was increasingly drifting towards depressing and often grim topics. The urge to turn back and flee from the area became a powerful, almost overwhelming sensation in the back of my mind. I was afraid.
(the sound of a chair squeaking)
Q: Have you ever felt like the latter during your previous missions?
A: I have been flying with the Air Force for twelve years, and while I have had times where I was fearful of a mission, I never felt the same kind of feeling as I did then. I can’t describe it, but it wasn’t natural fear.
Q: Did this feeling stay with you during the entire mission?
A: No, strangely enough. The nausea and the forbidding thoughts disappeared right about when I approached the target destination.
Q: Did your flight path take you anywhere close to the scene of disaster?
A: No, it did not. As far as I know I did not see any of our wrecks or what happened to our men.
Q: During your flight, did you see the enemy?
A: I saw something, but I’m not sure if that’s the enemy we’re talking about. I have submitted the photos to my CO and left it at that.
Q: How many photos did you take?
A: The requisite amounts as per USAF regulations. But because I saw something unusual, I loitered above the destination and took a few more photos. In fact, I was told that this interview stems largely from the result of those photos.
(The chair’s squeaking stopped)
Q: Describe what you saw.
A: Visibility wasn’t very good, but I saw a very large dark trail that I thought at first was an oil slick. As I followed the trail, thought I saw a very large submarine. It did not look like any of our subs, being made out of some kind of black metal.
Q: Describe the “submarine.”
A: Well, it doesn’t look like any of our submarines. The surface of the submarine was not glossy, but rather of some sort of black metal that absorbed light, so it’s this pitch black thing that really stands out even in the open seas. It was huge, too. Must be a thousand feet at least from what I could see, but much of it looks like it was submerged in the water. I think what I saw was probably the head of a submarine, because it had this smoothed domed appearance with what looked like viewing ports, and some kind of stabilizers that look like fish fins.
Q: What was the submarine doing?
A: That’s the thing. It wasn’t doing anything. I had thought that the oil slick meant that it was damaged and had to surface, but by the time I swung back, the submarine was burning up.
Q: Describe “burning up.”
A: Burning up isn’t the right word. The best way I can explain it is that it’s crumbling into powder, like really old books or paper falling apart when touched. As I flew back, I noticed that the oil trail’s gone, too. That was why I turned to look. I thought that the situation was very strange, since fuel oil don’t just disappear in the span of minutes.
Q: What did you see then?
A: Well, I saw her.
A: Yes. Uh, she was basically walking on water.
Q: Walking on water?
A: Not trending water, but standing on top of water, like what you’d read in a Bible story. The waves and uh, it just doesn’t affect her. It’s like, it’s like she’s in command of the ocean or something. She’s walking around on water as if it’s me walking on land.
Q: Describe her appearance.
A: Very pretty with long black hair. A nice looking Sunday hat, blue dress. If it weren’t for the floating thingies around her you’d thought that she was one of your neighbors. I had a sketch of her included with my photographs.
Q: Describe the floating “thingies.”
A: To be honest I wasn’t even sure if I actually saw those either. I’ve included it in my sketch, but none of my photos captured the thingies. They looked like some kind of mechanical contraption, but it was smooth and not at all like any design that I’ve seen. The contraptions glimmer with this warm light but sometimes seem to “blink,” and when they do they go invisible and you can’t see them. There look to be metal boxes with what I think are gun barrels sticking out of them, and she wore it like a schoolboy would wear a pack to class.
Q: Back to the young woman that you claim you saw walking on water. What was she doing?
A: I honestly don’t know. If it helps, she saw me, and waved.
A: Yes. She raised her arms, and moved them up and down. I’m fairly sure she saw my plane and I think we made eye contact, too. Her eyes were brown.
Q: What did you do then?
A: Well, I wiggled my wings in acknowledgment. I snapped more photos. I then flew back. Figure that HQ wanted to see it all.
Q: Did you see or experience anything unusual on your return trip?
A: No. In fact, the return trip was so ordinary that I wonder if I had imagined the whole thing.
Q: What did you do after you returned to base?
A: I delivered my photos, wrote up my after-action report and kept my mouth shut. I figure if this was something important, I shouldn’t blather on about it.
Q: Have you spoken to anyone else about what you had seen?
A: No, I have not.
Q: Have you heard anything unusual about what you had seen, either about the war or this particular incident?
A: Some. At first there were rumors that the Soviets were planning a massive pre-emptive attack on us. But when things deescalated, those rumors went away. I’ve heard a few crazier theories ranging from communist 5th columns blowing up our own ships to alien invasion, but I don’t put much stock into those, and you shouldn’t, either.
Q: What do you think happened?
A: What I think? I don’t know. I mean, a young woman walking on water? Self-erasing submarine wrecks? I don’t know, sir. I really don’t know.
Q: Let me rephrase the question. What do you think happened to our fleet?
A: I think, if I were to be honest, it was a bunch of unfortunate incidents rolled into one. Never trusted carriers to begin with – those things always felt like floating munitions piles to me anyways. My personal theory is much along the lines of what the Pentagon’s telling us. An accident, or several accidents occurred right as a Soviet wolfpack approached our ships and torpedoed what was remaining.
Q: And what do you think of the young woman you saw?
A: I am inclined to believe that it was a trick of the mind. Perhaps combat stress.
Q: What was the role of the Soviet Union in this attack?
A: Given the thoroughness of the attack, I’m convinced that it’s the Soviets throwing their weight behind their communist allies. They need to one-up us to show that they are relevant, and with their provocations everywhere, Soviet planners must have risked a lot knowing that this could result in open war against us, but they were good, and we got caught with our pants down.
Q: How do you think we could avoid further tragedies like this one?
A: You can’t. Accidents happen. I think we did the best we could under confused circumstances.
*sound of a loud click*
Alright, that’s all the information I need for this preliminary report. Thank you, Lieutenant. Your testimony will be a valuable addition to what we know already.
Proud to be of service, sir.
Have you any questions for me, Lieutenant?
We’re off the record.
I want your opinion, and I’d like you to be frank and honest with me. It’s the least you deserve after what you’ve gone through.
In that case, permission to speak?
I’ve heard that the incident was a massive cover-up. What’s your take on it?
Lieutenant, that’s an unusual question. Why do you ask?
Because it doesn’t make sense.
What doesn’t make sense?
Everything. I’m not the one putting it all together. From my commanding officer’s commanding officer’s commanding officer who approached us privately like you are doing now. Too many pieces don’t measure up. We know roughly exactly where the Leyte was lost but no one attempted to survey the wreck? We knew where the survivors were and were on the scene instantly by our standards, yet only a handful survived? The attack was so sudden that there was nothing we could have done, sure, but where are the bodies? How is it that when our aerial rescue teams went in there was nobody left to save?
Lieutenant, I …
For that matter, why did the Navy get every single plane out in the area when the path we flew over was basically open sea? The Koreans, Chinese, Soviets … Which one of them have a navy that’s actually worth a damn? What were we looking for? And how did we lose half our planes in the area anyways when there is no record, whatsoever, of Soviet Air Force activity on that day?
It’s just odd. The Soviets are downplaying the whole thing and pretending that they don’t even know something like this happened. Maybe the Soviets are lying to our faces, but the general showed us intel straight from the CIA’s own cells in the USSR and they’re also deathly silent. It’s almost as if they don’t know what’s going on, and I hate to say it, sir, but what if they’re telling the truth? What if they don’t know what’s going on?
Now, Lieutenant, that’s absurd. You yourself in the testimony mentioned that the USSR are likely the only country in the world with the technology to launch an attack like this. The CIA’s not infallible either, so –
I know, sir, but you asked for honesty, and what I saw again don’t measure up. Oil slick don’t just disappear. Submarines never just stay “floating” like I saw and crumple like the way it did. The Soviets are good, but there’s no way their weapons just make objects disappear, which is exactly what’s happening in this case. No wrecks. No bodies. No trace.
(Faint ambient noise)
I guess I’m spooked. All of this sounds like a giant conspiracy belonging to some third-rate dime tabloid or pulp piece, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder. And the more I wonder the scarier the conclusion becomes. And there’s always … the things about what I saw. The submarine is one thing, but who was that young woman? I mean, maybe a better question would be what was that young woman that I saw? A ghost? An illusion? Some kind of sea-trick?
(Sound of a door opening)
All of that, see, that’s why I wanted to ask for your thoughts on this. You’re on the case. I don’t know how much you can tell me, but you said you wanted an honest opinion. Maybe I’m nuts, commander. You asked me to be honest with you. Can you be honest with me?
(Sound of a door closing)
As a matter of fact, Lieutenant. I believe –
Hot. diggity. dog.
(New Voice identified as [Classified])
Damn. Commander, I –
Sit down, Lieutenant. If you’re going to learn about the truth, you might as well get it from her.
Much like the resilient prey in which they seek to hunt and ultimately exterminate, the abyssals are just as capable of adaptation, evolution, and growth.
It is fortuitous that humanity discovered that last trait at the moment of the initial abyssal incursion – for if there is one valuable lesson to take away from this disaster, it is the simple fact that given enough time and materiel to consume, even a single abyssal might be sufficient to eradicate every living thing on the planet.
By the time the U.S. had assembled what recon elements it had to better understand its enemy on the morning of 27th, the lone abyssal destroyer had already grew to substantial size. It was already two to three times larger than the largest vessels that the USN could have fielded at the time, and much more dangerous than what scattered reports leaked through mere days earlier. “Fighting that thing was like gazing upon the abyss. Whatever elements we threw at it simply disappeared, never to be seen again.”
This quotation from Commodore Cole Davis, one of the commanders of the 7th fleet, summed up the abyssal fleet perfectly. Commodore Davis’ words would prove to be prophetic, and the abyssal fleet has its name in part thanks to him.
As STEC would learn later, the beings that made up the abyssal fleet were no simple monsters. They are purposefully crafted war machines, and their sole goal appears to be causing human extinction. With an arsenal of weapons or powers designed to eat away at humanity’s advantages, virtually all abyssal units exploits humanity’s own fragility. Common to all abyssal unit types is psychological manipulation, often of fear, where defenders could be driven to helpless panic or suicidal anguish even before the abyssal come within visual range. Nearly impenetrable defenses aside, the abyssals seen so far has the unnerving ability to cannibalize fallen foes and enact in what appears to be self-repair. This functionally renders attrition-style warfare worthless, as to win in such a fashion requires humanity to take no losses in the process.
While the abyssals as a whole possess plenty of other powers, just the combination of the two above in its simplest scouting unit plunged American military strategists in deep despair. Even the Imperial Japanese Navy bled and could be wounded during its heydays of ’41-’42, but this thing was invincible. It effortlessly tore through a small fleet as if they were nothing more than toys. Whatever its skin was made out of, it was impervious to naval gunfire, bombs, and rockets. As abyssal gunfire or its deadly fear aura drop plane after plane out of the sky, it was found that no amount of steel plate or reinforced concrete could offer any refuge against its own attack. In sum, it was growing stronger with every ship, plane, or man it destroys, and the U.S. was rapidly left with the nuclear bomb as the only possible answer to this extra-dimensional threat.
Yet humanity has yet to test the efficiency of nuclear warheads on the abyssal fleet. No. Humanity didn’t have to.
Gunshots of a type previously unheard of in this world sang out, and in a few seconds, the threat of this first abyssal disappeared as rapidly as it had appeared.
Humanity’s unlikely savior was none other than the first of the ship girls to appear in the world.
Detailed description: Jilted, uneven spacing & shaky hand suggests that note was written under significant duress. Tool of question appears to be small undefined writing implement (likely jury-rigged from small detritus or debris). Composition analysis of surface material definitively declare approximately 65cm (length) & 42cm (width) coarse wrapping paper, (Originating from Washington Navy Yard, DC. Circa. 1930s). Pigment material appear to be combination of heavy fuel oil & rust from heavy metallic erosion.
Handwriting analysis matches [Classified], who was serving aboard [Classified] at the time of [INCIDENT I]. Item was recovered from [redacted], [Classified], near [Classified] inside a watertight container.
Partial text transcription below. Complete transcription of text impossible due to significant water damage to much of text.
Cmms eqpmnt dwn 20 mn bfr we saw thng. Hd pwr bt no sgnl cmng or going nywhr. Chief Brock worrd & wnt to fnd Capt. All of flt lst contct [ ]
IMPACT at 013(?) [ ] drct hit whch mde lrge hle in [ ] Ripped through [ ] lk it ws papr.
[ ] no vsbl mrking. Ddn’t get gd look. Maybe cn’t – frghtfl & feeling lke thrwng up & lghtheaded. Ppl screaming terribly. Thnk it look monster whale bt glows around parts [ ]
[ ] no good. Bmbs CANNOT GO THROUGH ITS SKIN shells DN’T WRK TORPS DN’T WRK NTHNG WRKS sme of our plts trd to ram the thng bt [ ]
[Curator’s note: significant portions of text missing]
0157 Dead in wtr w/ hvy lst. blck goo flowng frm ocean & crwlng up & arnd shp frme. Dn’t knw if goo is prt of it or sm chem rxtion b/c smell [ ]
0201 Gunshots above deck.
The Abyssal Fleet first made its move on June 25, 1950.
In a stroke of accidental or intentional genius, North Korea launched its attack across the 38th parallel minutes before humanity encountered this terrifying foe. Confusion reigned for the first eleven hours of the incursion as the lone abyssal “destroyer” devoured Korean and American troops stationed around the coast. Hampered by mysterious and intermittent radio interference, the US 7th Fleet’s response can only be described as chaotic and ineffectual.
American commanders, not realizing the nature of the opponent they now faced, were soon faced with a painful awakening. A task force hurriedly scrambled with the intention of being a stop-gap measure to slow North Korean advances met its ultimate fate with predictable results. Within hours, the USS Leyte (CV 32) and its escorts would became the first navy ships to fall victim to the abyssal fleet.
The early hypothesis that this new enemy was some kind of Soviet weapon was quickly squashed when the USN soon learned that this was beyond anything they’ve ever dreamed of encountering before. Technology simply failed in its presence. Confused and contradictory eyewitness transmissions, voices often laced with terror and helplessness, suggested that conventional arms were useless against whatever “armor” or “skin” this thing seemed to possess. A few precious frames of delivered recon footage showed that it moved with a predatory agility that should by all means be physically impossible for its colossal size, and as the USN – and the soon to be formed STEC – will learn later, its most potent weapon was one that played its deadly influence on the human mind.
For a few tense hours, chaos reigned. President Truman was adamant in his position that the atomic bomb should not be used, and blocked all efforts to launch a pre-emptive strike against America’s greatest rival. It was fortuitous that he did. Had America unleashed her nuclear arsenal in desperation against the abyssal fleet, the world may have been brought to a premature end regardless of further abyssal incursions.
Yet the world did not end in 1950. No, as the world would soon find out, 1950 was only the beginning.