Lens of History (54): Fault Tolerance

STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: Tautog
Format: Message, Personal Object, Hand-written
Object: Collection, Personal Correspondences of Tautog, [ID redacted]
Enclosures: Additional supporting documentation re: [ID redacted] currently housed in STEC Archives
Location (if known): STEC Archives
Time (if known): REDACTED

Curator’s note: I think this is actually one of the first things I sent out when I moved up the ranks… Kind of nostalgic, really!

Editor’s note: Exhibit Display [Redacted], Section I

While STEC’s doctrine in counter-Abyssal operations is already considered unusual relative to the other nations, its force deployment strategy, in particular, stands out with its emphasis on strategic reserves and reinforcing units.

The previous exhibit showed you, dear visitor, some common and simple numbers in terms of how our American shipgirls are sent out to the field. A standard surface battle formation of STEC shipgirls can expected to have dedicated support units from recon, air, undersea, and roving elements, in addition to the shipgirls present in the strategic reserve – typically a mirrored deployment in kind, albeit not necessarily in number of the formation in question. 

Given the very nature of the Abyssal War, NKT strategists, ARC tacticians, and even some RNSTEC theorists often describe it in less than flattering terms, with a prominent Japanese shipgirl & leader calling it “intentionally fighting with one hand tied.” 

Whatever their opinion may be, the results speak for themselves. Admiral Yin’s emphasis on mutually supporting elements and the subsequent organization of the typical STEC shipgirl battle group is widely considered to be instrumental in the vastly minimized losses America took during the Abyssal War. In this exhibit and onward, we hope to show you a little bit of the thoughts within the minds of STEC leadership, and why we ultimately elected to fight the Abyssals in this manner.

Editor’s note: Exhibit Display [Redacted], Section II – Major Shipgirl Forces 

Hindsight would indicate that the forces of humanity met the Abyssals with the best decisions, strategies, and the preparations they could have made at the time. While it’s too early to mark the war concluded given the unusual nature of the Abyssal invasion, enough time have passed for us to examine the strategies in which each nation applied in our collective defense. 

STEC is not in the business to try to convince you, dear visitor, whether or not we waged the Abyssal War that resulted in an optimal outcome. That lies in the realm of speculation and alternative history. We believe, however, that the person most suitable for that decision is you. Thus, as with all our work here, we would like for you to learn as much as you wish about how we fought so that you can decide for yourself. 

Part of that learning process involves understanding the critical and often instrumental role the other shipgirl services played in the Abyssal War. While we have entire floors dedicated to this very subject matter, insofar as the current section, we believe it is reasonable to give you an overview of how the other shipgirl services intercepted the Abyssal invaders.

In a simplified discussion, the US and UK’s shipgirl forces placed higher emphasis on mobility, quick-strike capabilities, and maneuver warfare, while the shipgirl forces of other countries, particularly Japan and the USSR, placed higher emphasis on force concentration. The circumstances that led to these strategic decisions can be largely traced to the geographical situation each shipgirl service found itself embedded in.

Americana – United States Strategic Task & Evaluation Command
For the United States, STEC has been formulating defense strategies since her inception in the 1950s. The United States is blessed with a relatively low comparative population density, making it less attractive to the Abyssals relative to other areas. The challenge for STEC lies primarily on the enormous, heavily populated coastlines of the continental US and how to adequately protect these areas – often vital to America at large in every manner. As such, one key demand placed on STEC is how to handle the worst case scenario – for instance, in a crisis situation where the US West or East Coast is considered unsalvageable militarily and evacuation to safer havens are in order. 

Much of STEC’s technological developments on a strategic level, ironically, were initially made with this objective – the preservation of American society – in mind. The enormous scientific efforts poured into these projects provided STEC with a significant edge in technology, which in turn formulated American counter-Abyssal strategy. Rapid deployment and extraction systems were in place and being tested as early as the 1970s; the iconic mobile bases of STEC were water-borne by the early ’80s, and the network of MERLIN satellites provided unprecedented global coverage by 1988. All the while fairy arsenals – such as the one on Naval Base Avalon – cranked out an enormous amount of materiel and supplies toward the war effort.

It’s important to recognize that while the luxury of choice that these critical developments provided STEC strategists and leadership indeed affected decision-making, STEC’s core philosophy regarding the Abyssal War has not deviated from its founding days. In contrary to our larger-than-life perception around the world, emphasis is placed on force sustainability, personnel preservation, and the precise, economic application of force. Indeed, this low-key attitude permeates STEC’s [redacted]-year long history of fighting the Abyssals, from advisories on optimal engagement distance to critical, life-preserving technologies for injured personnel to the focus of this exhibit – STEC’s elite strategic reserve units.

Of course, the practice of rotating highly experienced, battle-hardened veterans to a supporting or guidance role is not a practice encouraged by all shipgirl services. The emphasis on weaving in less experienced shipgirls with an experienced core to gain valuable frontline combat experience caused consternation within allied shipgirl forces, particularly in the early days of the Abyssal War, due to the perception that America isn’t sending their “best” or that STEC is being unnecessarily careless. These concerns were largely alleviated by the judicial deployment of the shipgirls in STEC’s strategic reserves, with several resultant battles becoming iconic to the Abyssal War.

 Heart of Oaks – the Royal Navy Special Test and Evaluation Command

The British Commonwealth’s major shipgirl service, RNSTEC, is one of the largest shipgirl services in the world. Eclipsed in size only by its prestige, RNSTEC and Britain found herself facing the daunting necessity of covering an enormous amount of territory given the reach and the influence of the Commonwealth. International, inter-service coordination and joint command is tradition to RNSTEC, and given the geographically, climactically, and strategically distinctive areas that RNSTEC must cover this would in time led to specialization of RNSTEC fleets – of which is presented in greater detail in Floor [redacted].

Typically, however, RNSTEC doctrine is characterized as highly adaptive and flexible. Anticipating a reactionary war where RNSTEC will be hard-pressed in terms of personnel, RNSTEC’s intent is to maximize the tactical value of each shipgirl within their immediate theater of operation. While RNSTEC shipgirls are often appointed to a specialized fleet based on aptitude or natural talent, by the start of the Abyssal War, all RNSTEC shipgirls are trained and graded to a high degree of interservice exchangeability – up to and including the strategies and tactics of allied shipgirl services for better inter-service cooperation. 

This preference for a “generalist” specialization can be seen in the hallmark RNSTEC strategy, aptly summarized in the words prefacing the cover of the RNSTEC Codex, “Retreat, Reinforce, Re-engage.” Formally termed “Elastic defense,” this doctrine aims to delay and distract the Abyssal force until such that an appropriate strategic decision can be made. Outside of a handful of heavily fortified, “keystone” areas integral to the Commonwealth, RNSTEC strategists generally consider “loss” of open ocean control to be of secondary importance. The natural tendency of the Abyssal to berserk at the sight of shipgirls is a valuable and exploitable trait, as RNSTEC merely trades away the temporary control of unoccupied waters in exchange for precious time in which RNSTEC Central Command is able to direct reinforcements to the area for a proper counter-offensive. 

Thus, supplementing technological intelligence with a significant number of active patrols, RNSTEC shipgirls are expected to retreat on encounter to any Abyssal force larger in size than the most trivial attacks, or else fight a delaying action to “pin” the Abyssal strikeforce in place so that superior coalition – RNSTEC, possibly with friends in tow – forces can be brought to bear. This policy thus far has proven remarkably effective, particularly in the hands of gifted commanders such as Admiral Fairbrooks. 


Editor’s note: Exhibit Display [Redacted], Section III – a letter written by Tautog

Hey there.

If you’re reading this, it means you ended up in my little corner of STEC. It also means you should feel free to call me Tog or Tautau or Tautog instead of Miss XO or whatever else. Most of the time it might just be a number though – you’ll see soon enough.

I’ll skip the introduction. Welcome to the Cavalry.

We don’t do that whole elite royal tennou unit here in STEC, but if you’re into that kinda thing or want to save your wallet a few bucks for those social outings with the foreign shipgirls who do seem to care…

I’m not going to stop ya, so long as you remember why we created this force to start with. 

With the successes we’ve enjoyed on the field recently, I think it’s safe to say that there’s an overall mood of positivity. The more we fight these things, the more we understand them. The more we understand them, the faster we make key breakthroughs that’ll ultimately result in us winning this war. 

I’m certain of it. Admiral Yin – Mike – is certain of it. We’re all certain of it. That’s why we’re here.

And it’s because we’re certain of victory that we must never be careless. The nature of this war is such that the stakes are impossibly high. A single mistake made could mean not only the loss of your life or our lives, but the war and humanity as a whole. 

That’s where we come in. For the vast majority of us, our time spent here are going to be on a limited, segment by segment basis. However, it goes without saying that the fact of you being here means that, as of now, you’ve achieved the pinnacle of STEC shipgirl fighting capability. 

You’ve earned it – via a combination of hard accomplishments like kill count and soft “accomplishments” like the fact that entrance to this unit is purely and 100% democratic. Only Mike gets to see the secret ballot and only if it’s unanimous do you receive this notice.

Best case scenario, as we maintain a close eye on the sorties, we learn from those who’ll take our place in this very unit by their acts of valor and feats and skill. Worst case scenario, we are here to ensure the success of the mission and that everyone come home in one piece. 

It’s a win – win situation for everyone, wouldn’t you say?

Welcome aboard.