[Mail Call] 2017/06/20 – “How do I sign up?”

Okay Morgane. You’ve sold me on Pacific. I love a good underdog story and I’ll be rooting for humanity and the shipgirls all the way!

Now. I have a serious question. Let’s say I’m a 20-something white male fresh outta college with a degree in political science in the Pacific-verse. How do I get into STEC?

More specifically, how do I get Mike’s job? :DDDD

Hoo boy. This’ll be fun to answer. As you know, this whole thing did start out being a roleplay project, so I’m always entertained by these sort of questions.

Let’s split this into “pre-war” and “war” conditions. The former being Pacific’s current setting, and the latter being the Abyssals and STEC are both public knowledge.

… To begin, our man (let’s call him Jason – since you’re the one asking this question after all) won’t even know STEC exists in the pre-war situation. It’s a bit like asking “How do I join the Delta force?”

I’m going to start with the latter scenario. STEC doesn’t really need social science degrees once the war begins in earnest.  If you want in after the Abyssals show up, you MIGHT AS WELL start by joining the Navy.

As a civilian, Jason is far likely to find employment if you’re in the hard sciences or medicine and head into STEC’s research divisions, and even then due to the slim overall structure of STEC as an organization it’s pretty unlikely that STEC’ll be hiring.

Jason’s background in political science might, with some luck, find employment in the government. With a lot of luck he might join STEC’s oversight committee – that requires a senate recommendation and a presidential confirmation as well as STEC’s approval. This seat requires a minimum of three and has no upper limits, though given how the oversight committee needs to operate with unanimous consent it’s in everyone’s interests to keep this number as low as possible.

Good luck actually getting an interview from STEC.

Good luck making it past New York’s interview.

Good luck trying to get the senate and the house to overturn New York’s rejection.

Yeah. I think he might have a lot better luck if he joins a special operations unit and then see if his unit gets assigned to Avalon.

Now, pre-war.

First of all, if he manages to figure out what STEC is, that by itself is going to be a big plus.

The problem is, how? This is literally a no-name department hidden away in OPTEVFOR. Jason says, aha, well, I’ll just check financial records. Surely an organization siphoning bajillions of dollars would be suspicious!

Yeah, of course. It’s why STEC draws its operational budget from RDT&E. The data packages and experimental results it reports are all under perfectly legal channels. A few million going into the ambiguously sounding Special Task and Evaluation Command is not going to actually raise any eyebrows – especially when its purpose would be to test things like new materials.

… Which, by the way, it’s also what STEC actually does. The organization hires a very small amount of scientists and researchers to do its stated job. It’s why the organization’s been around for 40 plus years without a single leak occurring.

I hate to say this, but he’s either going to have to be exceptionally lucky or talented, or already making it up high enough to be aware of STEC’s existence. Making it as say, the Director of the CIA would definitely mean he gets to work with STEC.

Now, you might be asking, well how the hell did Mike get in? How did the others get in?

Well, out of the ones we’ve got and you’ve met so far, Andrea is literally an autistic savant and a stereotypical “scientist,”and he was approached due to his extremely unorthodox (but creative) theorycrafting involving some higher dimensional physics.

Leon is from the USMC and an “operator” in every sense of the word. He’s FORECON, tasked to gather information on the Abyssal Fleet and already lead small conventional special forces. After all, someone’s got to start thinking about how to start gearing up the conventional military as well.

Gareth received his command directly from the Queen of England after the RNSTEC reform. Also managed to survive an Abyssal attack. At the moment the Chinese hasn’t sent their guy in yet, but considering that the guy they end up sending manages to find a shipgirl simply by visiting a convenience store (disposable phone cards are serious business you know) and finds another by literally beaching his boat on her island residence past defenses that not even the Abyssals can penetrate, luck might just have something to do with it after all.

Tatsuko is the scion of a powerful clan in Japan – she was born into it and proved herself to be competent. Surviving an Abyssal attack helps a ton, too. Politically it is advantageous to about half of the NKT to have her here to negotiate with the Americans, and for the other half it’s less trouble for everyone involved if they shoved her to somewhere OUT of Japan.

Viktor’s grandfather served in the Red Navy admirably, and his father was heavily involved in a USSR-Chinese cooperative research project involving missile technology. Being a tactical genius who caught the eye of a particular naval legend as well as being unfailingly loyal to the regime, he’s as much of a diplomat (as a representative of the USSR) as much as he is here to observe and study STEC.

That leaves Mike. Who…

  • Graduated in the top 10 of his class.
  • Charismatic, but more importantly, known as a capable peacemaker.
  • Already flying through the ranks as he did his actual duties (surface warfare) well.
  • Figured out not only STEC’s true purpose by digging into old naval archive records, but saw through the Navy’s “special placement” examinations as a way of seeking out recruits.
  • For said placement exam, constructed an impressive theoretical framework themed around engaging a technologically superior foe – without tipping off anyone else that he’s managed to figure out STEC’s facade.
  • Successfully identifies key weak areas in STEC’s operations within the interview itself and provides workable solutions without having access to classified STEC information.
  • Excellent moral character.
  • Proven very capable as adjunct officer serving within STEC’s “mobile warfare” (pre-Avalon days “main” STEC hub) division.
  • Fairies like him.

Now you see how he got the job?

From a purely narrative perspective, it might be easy to dismiss any protagonist character as “sueish” due to their list of extraordinary accomplishments. That being said, think back to the setting of Pacific. Extraordinary opponents require extraordinary heroes.

Our non-shipgirl human characters aren’t perfect, but there is a high degree of working professionalism. The conflict that I’m interested in covering are less the day-to-day “teen drama” type of personality clashes, but of genuine disagreements and the cooperation that results from that.

You’ll just have to hang around to see more.