Lens of History (50): Civil Liberties During Alien Invasion

STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: Tautog
Format: [Item classification declassification pending]
Object: [Classified – item declassification pending]
Location (if known): STEC Archives
Time (if known): [Classified – item declassification pending]

Editor’s note: One “hallowed” tradition, odd as it may be, is STEC’s internal efforts to document, describe, and ultimately record the decisions made at the time. The intent, as always, is to allow future generations to better understand the circumstances under which these decisions were originally made. 

While the item here remains classified in its entirety, portions of it has been unredacted for your viewings and consideration. It is our hope that the reader walks away with a better understanding of the types of decision-making that came with the Abyssal War.

Thanks for taking the time to take my call. I appreciate it. Really.

I’ll admit, I don’t really like the idea of dealing with these kind of finicky, potentially politically charged issues. Especially because there’s so much that we don’t know anything about. How the war’ll turn out, I mean. Yeah. I’ve been thinking about the briefs that the girls organized pertaining to historical “precedence,” and it’s what I’ve decided for now.

We remain as is, at least for now. No significant deviations, no attempts to escalate or offer plans for tightened regulation or “wartime control” unless necessary. I think it’s good to plan for extreme measures, but at the same time, I think more so than anyone else, we’re burdened with the defense of, well, how’d you put it? “Americana?” Our values, our way of life?

… Read my mind, huh? Heh. 

Yeah. this is the gist of what we’re going to submit in the coming weeks. I’m aware that MERLIN has recorded a significant uptick in Abyssal activity. But, I’ve been pondering about this, and I think it’s a complicated affair. We’re STEC, we fight the Abyssals and protect America. It’s not exactly our job – not saying you or Pennsy or Sanny or the others won’t do a good job at governance, but it’s not really our job to dictate to the letter how the country is ran. 

In fact, as we’ve often discussed, our ability to fight the Abyssals is entirely separate from whether or not the United States survives. Scary thought, but we’ve seen enough fragments off of the Heart to realize this is indeed one prospective possibility. Humanity extinct, or on the verge of extinction, while the shipgirls fight on. In fact, isn’t Sh –

Sorry. Sorry. Thanks, like I said, thanks for taking the call. This is the first time where I’m actually going to be signing off on this specific recommendation. I’m not nervous so much as I feel like I’m now, more than ever, “burdened” with the task of preserving our country. 

I think, historically where important civil liberties has been restricted, they’re all in direct response to some crisis. From the earlier days of the Sedition Act to Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus to the two World Wars. I do think when the Abyssals hit us, it’s gonna be, well, big. Bigger than anything we’ve ever seen. It’s why I think contrary to what we think we ought to do, I’ll be recommending that we move very cautiously, carefully, and more importantly, slowly towards the restrictions and limitations typically placed during wartime. In other words, STEC shall remain explicit in its purposeful lack of support for any such plans, all the same being aware and have recommendations in place should such plans be necessary. While we don’t anticipate changes in our views, we nonetheless concur that circumstances may change. 

What a plan, it borders on the absurd, doesn’t it? Almost feel like we’re going in circles and talking a whole lot of nothing. 

But, it’s as we’ve discussed. The government ought to carry out its governance on the merits of the scenario at hand, which has little to do with the Abyssal invasion itself. There are certain things that the government can do and should do, but the rationale applied ought to be again, under whatever the “ordinary circumstance” is. 

For instance, rationing and restrictions. Is it a sensible strategy to ration materials and prioritize supplies to the military? Yes. Is that necessary to fight against the Abyssals? That’s a tall assumption, since we have little confidence if any that our conventional forces will last beyond a week if they sortie alongside STEC. Which is better for our country and the war effort, then?

To feed our brave men and women in uniform into the maws of the Abyssal fleet while the rest of America suffers, or for them to take a seat back and let us do our jobs? 

Take for another instance, restrictions on speech – should we limit what sort of viewpoints are permissible, and which points aren’t?

First of all, who’s we? It’s certainly not STEC, since we already have plans in place detailing this specific issue. Is it the government? Well, here’s a question. The Abyssals can’t read, so if a major newspaper wants to publish doom and gloom, is it really necessary for the war effort to stop them?

Better question, even if the Abyssals could read, and you could plausibly charge said newspaper as Abyssal collaborators, and we apply the proper due process to the whole thing – would that really solve the problem? 

Why would that paper put out a piece like that in the first place? Banning it solves the problem on the surface. A better way to do it is to understand and why they chose to present that perspective. An even better way, which is what we’re planning to do, is to do that, as well as offer a measured response from our own side. 

Unlike say, the FDR administration, we have the ability to project our voice on an unprecedented scale.

Unlike the opponents we faced in America’s past wars, the Abyssals aren’t even human. I’m aware that people can be weird in terms of their beliefs, but I find it difficult to believe that anyone would argue on behalf of the Abyssals once they’ve experienced their devastation first-hand. 

…Do you think some years down in the future, in clown world somewhere, I, we’d be accused of being human supremacists? 

Haha, yeah, that’s … kind of what I’m talking about. If the Abyssals act in accordance to some sort of principle, if we can negotiate, I imagine someone would have tried somewhere, right? They’re called the Abyssals because we can’t. How do you reason with something that’s only interested in making you suffer and then killing you?  

Or, for instance, curfews and travel restrictions. The Abyssal War will undoubtedly disrupt international trade as we know it. People living in coastal states will likely attempt to flee inward. Gasoline prices are going to skyrocket at least temporarily until we can get the reserves through to the market. 

Do we tell people to stay put, it’s safer at home, stay where you are? That’s what we’d like to do and what we think would work the best. Is it possible where the Abyssals disgorge an entire fleet of shore-oriented combat units and overwhelms STEC forces in the region? Absolutely. That’s why we have different contingency plans. We may win the war, or we may be crushed in its opening. We simply don’t know, and will have to play by ear when that time comes. 

I’m thumbing through some of the earlier compilations we sent in, and it’s like, wow. We’ve came a long way. In the 60s evacuation simply isn’t prudent – we estimated outside of the direst scenarios, that more people would lose their lives and livelihoods due to non-direct Abyssal factors such as weather and civil unrest. How to coordinate the various unorganized agencies? How to best apply principles of traffic control? Who’s running public communication, what, if any is providing shelter or mass care? 

It’s remarkable to see how much we’ve evolved over the years. But, the bigger question here. Should we be telling everyone to get out of the coasts, now, at this very moment? Is this necessary for the war effort now? As I read the words of my predecessors detailing why they made the decisions that they did, I can’t help but to feel somber. At least at first. You know what I’m talking about, right? We’re on such a grim topic, but at the same time, I feel … 

Here. Let me read it to you. This is before I was even born. People have been fighting and planning since before I was alive. Remarkable. 

“The overarching theme enclosed within, and serves as our advice to anyone fortunate enough to share this burden with us, is that governmental authority’s primary goal ought to be the preservation of normalcy and civil (social) order. The Abyssals care not for power, territory, or wealth. It is only here to destroy. The speed and ferocity of which they implement their destructive impulses renders most forms of governmental control purposeless, and common wartime policies are likely to achieve little in light of their extraordinarily capabilities.

This project deals with the most common scenario in which the Abyssals attempt a two-pronged attack on the continental US concurrently, with STEC acting as the planet’s sole remaining anti-Abyssal force. It is a part of a series of STEC research/policy initiatives specifically dealing with the “worst-case” scenarios. Enclosed within is an assessment of STEC’s strength today, and a projected, best case situation given key assumptions of technological development and USS (United States Shipgirl) in the next five years. 

Reality is reality. If the Abyssals overwhelm our forces and render the US coasts unfit for inhabitation, we believe it is a foregone conclusion that the rest of the US, and soon, the world shall follow. 

As such, we draft this contingency plan – the first of its kind, here dated in 1957 – for two purposes.

One, should the necessity arises to implement said plan in motion, to increase the duration of which America can be sustained, until such time that we cannot. 

Two, to the future leaders of STEC taking up our mantle, we leave you our work – finished and unfinished – with all our hopes within. We are of a generation that saw the impossible became possible, where humanity took to the skies and soon, the stars itself. The Abyssals are, for all intent and purposes, an impossible obstacle until they are not.”

… It’s stuff like this, that really convinces me we’re on the right track.