Lens of History (15)

STEC Archives, Digital Document Division
December 15th, 1988
Correspondence no. 469
Sender: Langley, Shipgirl
Recipient: Michael Yin, Commander NBA

Commander,

In recent days I’ve noticed a significant number of fairies appearing independent of attachment to any particular shipgirl. I’ve taken some notes over the last two months and drafted up something that resembles a guide. Please take a look at this first section. Thanks.


Organization – the Bureau of Fairy Management

Formally termed the Bureau of Fairy Management, STEC’s fairy “division” is a bit of a misnomer, as there is actually no formal department or division specifically in charge of fairies. Rather, it is currently operating within the jurisdiction of the Personnel Division after STEC’s decennial administrative reorganization in 1981.

Despite having the name “Bureau” in its title, it only has a handful of active personnel and is closer in size than one of STEC’s many task specific sub-divisions.

As the sub-division having more than sufficient support for its task, this report does not currently recommend an expansion of the sub-division.

Due to the (almost) entirely self-sufficient nature of fairies in question, this small sub-division requires a minimal amount of personnel, with only one officer (creatively named “Superintendent, Small Mythological Critters,” casually referred to by the fairies as “Boss”) serving three month long appointments. While the role is open to all STEC personnel, in recent years appointees have all been shipgirls displaying an affinity for interaction with fairies.

Overview, Role, & Responsibilities 

In theory, the “Boss” reports directly to Commander, NBA. Her job is to raise, train, and organize the fairies for the upcoming Abyssal War. In practice, her job is affected by a couple of unique factors.

The first is that unlike the conventional navy, there is no pool of manpower to recruit fairies from. On a daily basis, some number of fairies simply appear within proximal distance of Naval Base Avalon’s primary energy source.

The advantage of this is that STEC is able to consistently increase its available manpower. The Bureau currently account for , active fairies with an additional , fairies on “reserve” duty.  The disadvantage is that should the need arise, meeting manpower requirements would be a significant challenge unless STEC can figure out some way to increase the “rate” in which fairies appear.

The second is that unlike the conventional navy, there is no current way to “shorten” or accelerate each individual fairy’s training process. STEC fairies currently undergo a very rigorous training regimen lasting for up to sixteen weeks depending on fairy specialty.

The advantage here is that the fairies are extraordinarily able, and each fairy is formidable in his or her own right taking into account their array of (sometimes unique) powers. The disadvantage, again, is similar to #1 where there is concern that the relative inflexibility of the current fairy training program will not allow STEC to meet wartime demands.

The “Boss,” as well as her staff, are aware of these issues, and each appointment has made significant progress towards addressing these matters. In the decade since the Bureau came into existence, it has:

  • Effectively doubled the number of fairies available to STEC. Prior to the establishment of the Bureau, only “trained” fairies appeared out of the Heart. Approximately two days after its inception, the first batch of “blank” fairies appeared.
  • Steadily added additional training proficiency to STEC’s war arsenal. Notable roles include Radar & Satellite Specialist (’85), Global Intelligence Analyst (’86), Prototype Pilot (’87), Advanced Research and Development (’87), Construction Battalion (’88), and so on.
  • Shortened the aforementioned “blank” fairy training by seven weeks through the introduction of more efficient training protocols and teaching materials.
  • Made important breakthroughs in the fields of fairy communications. NOTE: at least the little guys can (sort of) understand us now!

In short, the day to day job description of the “Boss,” like almost every STEC role, is highly variable. The “Boss” may be assessing the effectiveness of any number of the fairy training facilities, drawing up plans for expansion, creating additional training objectives, overseeing personnel development, or meeting with her “Chiefs” over the results of the latest batch of recruits.


Service Record

Unlike the conventional navy, there is no formal process to commission or enlist fairies. Each fairy appears to have an intuitive understanding that he or she is here for the singular purpose of fighting the Abyssal Fleet. For the sake of organization, however, a generic fairy (without any known association or identity) is generally assigned two identifiers of note within STEC’s own personnel registry.

All fairies are given a number until such time that they establish their own personal “identity.”

The first is a fairy’s “Date of appearance.” This is equivalent to a birthday, and is simply the date in which STEC has first made contact with the fairy in question.

The second is the fairy’s “Graduation date.” This is the date to which the fairy question has finished his or her specialized training. The “veteran” fairies that appear already competent in certain proficiency have this date the same as their first one.

By STEC’s current estimates, the veteran fairies appear at a constant rate relative to the number of shipgirls currently in STEC’s service. Ordinary fairies, on the other hand, tend to have significantly more variation in their “class size.” The largest batch so far numbered over 8,000 new fairies on December 7th of 1987. On other days this number is closer to 10-20.

Arrival

Currently, MERLIN offers advanced notification to when a new fairy is slated to “arrive” through judicial application of energy signatures. Newly arrived fairies are frequently somewhat disoriented, with many clad in little more than a nimbus of light. Observers will likely see signs of confusion and rare occasions, agitation. The fairy may show visible signs of fear and seek cover behind a number of specially deployed objects. Others who are “braver” will actively try to make contact with the shipgirls on duty or the “Chief” – an officer fairy in charge of all local fairy affiliates and units for the day.

The Chief

Internally referred to as “Chiefs” by other fairies, these fairies are frequently slightly larger in physical size than their small compatriots and can be easily identified by the extraordinary degree of care they place on uniform maintenance (there is actually a slight visible glow). They are, exactly as expected from their names, the equivalent of some combination of warrant officers, technical specialists, or otherwise senior enlisted personnel when compared to the conventional military structure.

Chiefs act as leaders to the other fairies on the field. They are quite good at the particular task in which they’re qualified for, and will gladly (and proudly) display their qualifications to a passerby STEC personnel or shipgirl. Organizationally, the Chiefs perform much of the day to day training and certification for the fairy force. Importantly, however, Chiefs are largely capable of limited communication. They are able to understand verbal commands from shipgirls and STEC personnel, and are able to communicate back using a combination of simple words and drawings.

STEC is currently working on methods to improve the literacy rate of the Chiefs currently in STEC’s service, with an immediate goal of achieving at least a 6th grade reading comprehension level by Q4 of 1990.

First Days

Typically, the Chief and a small “welcoming party” will move to interact with the newcomer fairy. Some time will pass for communication, at which the new fairy will be given a small set of personal belongings (some of which will be immediately “worn” – though the more apt description is that they simply appear on the fairy in question). From current observation, it appears that each fairy is given a uniform, a set of skivvies, multiple pairs of socks, shoes, a handkerchief, two blankets, a hammock, a sea bag, a ditty bag, and what can only be assumed to be some sort of equivalent to the Blue Jacket Manual the modern navy distributes to her men. The Chief will in fact provide basic instructions, ranging from packing to apparent marching with the items in question.

The “sharper” fairies will tend to understand within seconds. Slightly less intelligent ones may need a couple of tries to get it right. At this point, the new fairies will enter formation and they will be led to one of the many housing facilities nearby.

In a direct equivalent to boot camp, it appears that fairies are immediately placed on a grueling personal training regimen. In addition to basics such as marching or military courtesy, however, the fairies also practice a number of drills unique to their mischievous nature.

For instance, despite repeated warnings to the contrary, many Chiefs prefer to have the “hopscotch” drill (a drill where blank ordinance is fired at fairies walking a small thin rail; the fairies in question are meant to disappear into the ether temporarily to avoid the projectiles) performed above Sculpin’s fish tank. STEC sees no practical reason for the choice of locale, but suspect that like any military organization, hazing is a part of the culture. After all, that the fairies are entertained by the failure of a new recruit’s ability to maintain balance is a confirmed observation.

This first phase, where the basics of what STEC assumes to be equivalent to fairy seamanship, takes approximately eight weeks. During this time, the fairies may also be ordered physical labor (a task in which many do not appear to relish) as part of their training. At the end of the training process, the fairies are given a sort of examination, though the examination is less one of assessment (no fairy has ever been observed to fail the examination) and more of placement for advanced or specialty training.

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