[Mail Call] 10/04/2017 Site-stuff & more history edition

Hi all,

Phoenix still have the website to herself at the moment. Zero’s looking into it now, but we’re as puzzled as you are. We’re neither sure of how the bug got there, nor are we entirely positive on how it should be removed.

All books are still going according to plan. So that’s that.

And now, for some lore-related matters…

In regards to the beginnings of Pacific history… Were the other nations all contacted together at once or on a separate basis?
Which countries were given this information, and why? To whom was this information given to?
On a separate basis. Truman immediately arranged for contact with the Prime Minister of Britain (yes, it’s still Churchill in Pacific’s timeline) to speak privately on the matter. Contact to the USSR occurred sometimes after.
In the 1950s knowledge of the Abyssals were limited strictly to the heads of state of the non-US countries. It is unclear whether or not Stalin disclosed this information to a handful of trusted generals and advisors, but STEC’s own opinion is that if any of the “old guard” knew about it, they certainly kept it a secret. Soviet counter-Abyssal operations did not take off until Petr appeared, at any rate.
Truman’s decision was pretty simple. After conversing with Iowa, he had reached the conclusion that the “shipgirls” are likely to originate from countries with strong naval traditions. Britain was the logical choice – it’s a US ally and have the most to lose from an Abyssal invasion. At the time, Truman did not think to ask if Iowa had recalled meeting any non-Allied shipgirls. While no harm was caused in the context of this erroneous assumption (though, hilariously enough, the Japanese were in for a nasty shock when they realized that Japan wasn’t the only country with shipgirls sometimes later in the 60s) the US seriously pondered the possibility of well, applying shipgirls to contemporary politics. The temptation of having Iowa go public and shock the Soviets was very strong, after all.
It was for this reason that Stalin was not informed until around the end of the Truman presidency. The first was that Truman had to balance the benefits to the US to the world at large. The second was that the Korean War was in full-swing, and Stalin – while curious about this particular matter – did not seem at all interested in communicating with the US directly. Given that the USSR does not have a strong naval tradition (and again, Iowa did not recall meeting any Soviet shipgirls, but she remembers plenty of American and at least a few British and other Allied ones), Truman didn’t really push, either.
(I should note, from a creator’s purpose, that choosing for Pacific’s timeline to begin during the Truman presidency is very, very intentional. Specifically, many shipgirl works or shipgirl type works like to take their tales towards the route of high fantasy-super hero fiction. Shipgirls – if they are in possession of innate powers or even very high tech equipment – tend to play the role of something like the Justice League. They become the drivers of world politics and the entire world’s spotlight is on them. Through that, I often see the creation of some remarkably idealized societies, where the existence of shipgirls seem to solve a lot of problems as if by magic. The alternative, and you see this quite a bit as well, is that shipgirls become something like a type of doomsday weapon. Politics are decided by shipgirls. World events are influenced by shipgirls to a gigantic degree. In some works I’ve even seen shipgirls “dueling” each other, and resolving thousand-year long ethnic or national conflicts with a simple trial by combat.
I am not particularly interested in that particular type of world-building. To me, the interesting thing is thinking about how historical figures may have responded to changes (thanks to the Abyssals), and my shipgirls and other characters only play a role in it. I also feel like simply using shipgirls to solve all international disputes or national problems is … too simple of a solution. It undervalues the extremely difficult questions leaders have to ask themselves, and reduce any potential complexity down to a JRPG-esque “who has more power” or “who has a higher power level.”
So, towards that end, Pacific’s atmosphere is strictly one where shipgirls are behind the scenes. Spy-flick. X-COM. Intrigue. I’ve heard all of these terms used to describe Pacific, and they aren’t wrong. However, in order to achieve something like this, I need to create a credible precedent. After all, much like the above situation, the readers (and I) are likely to ask ourselves: why set the story in this way?
Enter Truman.
From Truman’s perspective, the atomic bomb played an integral role in the development of his worldview. The newfound power of matters nuclear really, really gave him a perspective on leadership that no other US president to date has had to face. Quote below, from a State of the Union.

We have no reason to think that the stage we have now reached in the release of atomic energy will be the last. Indeed, the speed of our scientific and technical progress over the last seven years shows no signs of abating. We are being hurried forward, in our mastery of the atom, from one discovery to another, toward yet unforeseeable peaks of destructive power.

Inevitably, until we can reach international agreement, this is the path we must follow. And we must realize that no advance we make is unattainable by others, that no advantage in this race can be more than temporary.

The war of the future would be one in which man could extinguish millions of lives at one blow, demolish the great cities of the world, wipe out the cultural achievements of the past–and destroy the very structure of a civilization that has been slowly and painfully built up through hundreds of generations.

Such a war is not a possible policy for rational men. We know this, but we dare not assume that others would not yield to the temptation science is now placing in their hands.

To Truman, the Abyssal threat represents something very similar to the powers unleashed by the atomic bomb. He is acutely aware that he is a man of an era past, and he is living to see the end of his era – the era of himself and Lenin (in the same speech he comments to Stalin that Lenin wrote before the nuclear bomb) – and the beginning of a new one.

The solution to new problems and new threats that arise will not be through technology or superior force of arms. Rather, as Truman stated…

Our ultimate strength lies, not alone in arms, but in the sense of moral values and moral truths that give meaning and vitality to the purposes of free people. These values are our faith, our inspiration, the source of our strength and our indomitable determination.

We face hard tasks, great dangers. But we are Americans and we have faced hardships and uncertainty before, we have adjusted before to changing circumstances. Our whole history has been a steady training for the work it is now ours to do.

No one can lose heart for the task, none can lose faith in our free ways, who stops to remember where we began, what we have sought, and what accomplished, all together as Americans.

I have lived a long time and seen much happen in our country. And I know out of my own experience, that we can do what must be done.

When I think back to the country I grew up in–and then look at what our country has become–I am quite certain that having done so much, we can do more.

Much like how a nuclear bomb will not and cannot solve all of America’s problems, Truman believes that shipgirls cannot be the one-stop solution to America’s problems either. If America is to survive, then, we must come together.