Lens of History (38): Factories Q&A

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The United States was undoubtedly the largest producer of aircraft the world has ever seen, and the experiences gleaned from World War II was instrumental in STEC’s own coordination plans. Here, we present a series of short communiques on the subject matter, written primarily by St. Louis (Lou) in response to informal Congressional queries during the Abyssal War.

Aircraft inventory and maintenance has been a matter of historical and military significance for the DoD at large. What is STEC’s view on this matter, and how does this differ from conventional military aircraft?

To answer the second part, very. Due to the self-storage potential and ease of maintenance of fairy-crafted equipment, STEC does not formally maintain a limit on inventory. 

A bi-annual organization wide assessment of inventories, alongside any ad-hoc investigations generally answer the question of “are we content with the current status of our inventory.”

How does STEC determine how much of each aircraft to order? 

Internally, the shipgirls that use aircraft as their primary mode of combat coordinate two major committees (CV Doctrine & CV Assessment), which meets with engineering and acquisitions before approval from Admiral Yin. “Doctrine” is responsible for the creation of appropriate strategies and tactics involving aircraft, while “Assessment” examines hardware and fairy combat performance.

I should emphasize that STEC’s main industrial strategy is not building equipment. This is a frequently misunderstood issue. STEC’s main industrial strategy lies in creating industrial capacity. We make plans with the assumption that the Abyssals may throw something at us that requires a focused response, and therefore significant quantities of STEC facilities are ready to build something rather than being in the process of building something. A historical analogue would be that the US Army Airforces allocated significant quantities of industrial potential to scouts, even though the aircraft type was seldom used during the war. 

Strategic materials such as steel, copper, or rubber are often in short supply during wartime. How does STEC manage these resources, and from where is STEC obtaining them?

To the extent to which we understand fairy production, the answer to the latter is that STEC obtains them via DoD contracts like any other production facility. However, it is well known that fairies require very little source material in question. For instance, STEC ordered two tons of MIL-A 12560 to Avalon base in 1971. Even after the extensive reinforcement schemes carried out on Avalon and other facilities, we are still left with roughly a ton and a half of material. 

If anything, the fairies themselves are arguably the most significant and limiting resource. That’s straight up a job for the Bureau of Fairy management

I’ve heard that anecdotally it can be challenging to work with fairies. Can you elaborate on this?

I think the answer to this question is applicable to humanity in general and not just fairies *laughs.*

Individually, fairies are often whimsical and easily distracted. They have their own mode of communication and their own preferences for how tasks should be carried out. In my view, the most important factor is familiarization. There’s a real difference in efficiency between a veteran fairy crew that’s been around since the 60s or 70s and a newly formed working group from last week. 

What happens to older or obsolete equipment that’s produced?  

In theory, we can have the fairies re-tool or re-engineer them into something else, but STEC is currently reluctant to commit precious manpower into the task. Instead, due to the very specific alignment of fairy equipment and their historical counterparts, it is possible to automate a sort of “conversion” process. I won’t go into too much details here other than that it is possible, but fairly slow. However, the advantage is that the process is essentially “free,” as once the initial conversion blueprints are created, the process itself requires zero input other than surplus aircraft.

A good example of this is that while the NKT are still running with a mixture of inter-war and early WW2 aircraft,  our inter-war aircraft are now relegated to curios and relics and are no longer frontlined.

To what extent do production facilities mirror that of their historical, and/or real life counterparts? Is a fairy production line in effect something we would expect to see say, in a Boeing plant?

Production facilities are largely analogous to their real-life counterparts, but there are certain key distinctions. I’ll be using some terminology that’s common to STEC, so stop me if any of these don’t make sense. For one thing, fairies are mostly capable of low-level “flight” and short-ranged “movement”. This means that when fairies organizes their workspace, the vertical dimension becomes a significantly utilized space. The ability to “phase” parts in and out of realspace means that space requirements are far less substantial.

Using your example, representative, of a Boeing plant. If I were to create a scaled model, it would be perhaps the size of a shoebox. If I leave it to the fairies, it’d be more of the size of a rubix cube, but the way they work would mystify the vast majority of us. 

What safety precautions do STEC have to take when it comes to managing their fairy factories? How vulnerable are they say, to fire or other forms of accidental mishap?

Senator, that is not something I am permitted to discuss in detail in its current stage.

What I can say with confidence is that we have tested extensively the side effects of fairy-based equipment. Each individual entity is functionally inert, and it is extremely difficult, if not downright impossible to destroy something via conventional means. 

In the rare cases in which accidents do occur, they can be categorized into three types of events. Most of the time we write things up as a loss, in which the damaged goods simply dematerialize and go sparkle, poof. This includes items you would typically associate with significant destructive potential such as AV gas or munitions. On rare occasions you get an entertaining wreck of a creation – I think my favorite is a vaguely plane shaped thing made entirely out of torpedoes and depth charges. Think someone might have actually shot it at an Abyssal sometimes last year, so we definitely put that one to use.

On very rare occasions, you get something genuinely useful. Sometimes it’s a part, other times a component to help us with some part of the pipeline. Sometimes you get what you ordered, but its performance is exceptionally superior relative to the baseline. These we tend to send off to R&D for further analysis, since these can be compared directly to their control counterparts.