From Action Report #1: The History of STEC (3)

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.