RPC-532
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beta
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RPC-532 in Argentinian Navy service, circa 1976.

Item #: RPC-532

Object Class: Beta

Containment Protocols:

RPC-532 is contained within Authority Naval Station █, tied up at Dock 24-C. A full review of RPC-532's hull integrity will be conducted annually, while standard maintenance is at the discretion of the Commanding Officer of Naval Station █ and RPC-532 itself. During operational use, RPC-532 will not venture further than the 25km exclusion zone around Naval Station █ unless its route is approved by a Level-4 Protection Division maritime officer. Supervised tours of RPC-532 by on-site personnel are allowed when not in official use. Research personnel wishing to interview RPC-532 may submit a request to the Containment Liason Agency.

Description: RPC-532 is a sentient WW2 Fletcher-class destroyer constructed by Bethlehem Shipping Co. and commissioned into the US Navy in 1943 as USS Heermann (DD-532). RPC-532 served with great distinction in the Pacific Theater during the war, notably as the sole surviving surface combatant of Task Unit 77.4.3 (Taffy 3) in the famous Battle off Samar1. After a lengthy and widely-traveled postwar service, RPC-532 was decommissioned and transferred to the Argentinian Navy in 1961 as the ARA Almirante Brown (D-20). RPC-532 did not manifest any anomalous activity during its period of active service; when decommissioned from Argentinian service in a highly dilapidated state and sent to be scrapped, RPC-532 began to exert anomalous control over its systems.

RPC-532 is capable of limited control over its equipment and fittings. Examples of this autonomy include:

  • Turning its rudder by a maximum of 15 degrees at dry-dock and 7 degrees while underway.
  • Releasing superheated steam from valves in its engine room.
  • Forcing the structural failure of rusted beams and deck plates.
  • Slamming bulkheads open or closed at a recorded speed of up to 5 meters per second.

The means by which RPC-532 influences itself is not fully understood by RPC-532 or the Authority. Chains or other physical impediments are capable of holding the rudder or bulkheads in place against RPC-532's exertions.

RPC-532 is fully sentient and capable of carrying a vocal conversation in English through the voice tubes connecting the bridge to the engine room. RPC-532's voice is distorted but recognizably female; occasionally, RPC-532 will seamlessly change to a male voice identified as Cmdr. Amos T. Hathaway (USN), its captain during the Battle off Samar. RPC-532 prefers to be referred to as Heermann, its first and third name.

RPC-532 is aware of its surroundings within direct line of sight, and demonstrates a clarity of vision comparable to a human using a pair of binoculars. RPC-532 is also apparently aware of anything that happens within its hull or on its deck; this has led to several embarrassing incidents for personnel that expected privacy.

RPC-532 appears to have memory degradation similar to that of a human of the same age (75 years), and has difficulty recalling many years of its existence with the exceptions of its first shakedown cruise, the Battle off Samar, and the wedding of Prince Rainer III of Monaco. Though it is capable of a wide range of discussions, RPC-532 will rapidly lose interest with most non-maritime subjects. Conversely, RPC-532 is highly interested in modern naval technologies and the Asian-Pacific naval arms race. Interviewers are advised to familiarize themselves with those topics to make RPC-532 more amiable to their historical questions.

RPC-532 continues to maintain a stable psychological profile, as far as Authority experts are able to determine. RPC-532 has never claimed to be "trapped" in its body, or otherwise show dissatisfaction with the limits of its existence; deviations to this attitude are to be immediately reported to the Commanding Officer of Naval Station █.

Acquisition Logs: RPC-532 was noticed by the AIB2 when an Authority agent visiting family in ███████, Argentina heard rumors of a "cursed ship" laid up in the city. Investigation revealed that ARA Almirante Brown, former USS Heermann due for scrapping in the city's shipyard, was the supposed "cursed ship". Many near-fatal industrial accidents had plagued workers attempting to enter the warship to strip it of valuable equipment; beginning with structural failures, workers soon refused to enter the warship when bulkheads started closing on them, crushing hands and ankles.

RPC-532 was easily purchased from the local scrappers by an Authority front company; the establishment of a containment facility was made more difficult by the onset of the Falklands War. After a considerable delay, in June of 1982 a historian from the Research Division arrived at OL-Site 203-A. His first expedition into RPC-532 discovered its ability to speak through the bridge voice-tubes, after dodging several hostile bulkheads; that interview consisted of many shouted expletives from RPC-532. The second interview was recorded and is available below.

Current Status:

  • As of 8/5/1990, RPC-532 has been commissioned into the Authority's naval forces as the RPCAS Heermann, a training ship of the Pacific Fleet whose home port is Naval Station █.
  • Update, 9/4/1994: RPC-532 has cycled through over 1,000 Authority sailors and cadets in the course of its duties as a training ship.
  • Update, 26/8/1996: RPC-532 noted a "strange feeling of emptiness". RPC-532 ceased to communicate with Authority personnel for 4 weeks afterwards.
  • Update, 3/18/2002: RPC-532 continues to exhibit a stable psychological profile. Expresses contentedness at its current circumstances. Highly anticipates its annual post-maintenance shakedown cruise, where it is allowed to steer itself for a half an hour.
  • Update, 9/4/2005: RPC-532 has cycled through over 10,000 Authority sailors and cadets in the course of its duties as a training ship.
  • Update, 11/2/2009: RPC-532 has recently demonstrated the ability to broadcast its voice through the on-board PA system. This first occurred during a group tour of OAA/RMA9 children, when RPC-532 interrupted the tour guide to personally narrate its account of the Battle off Samar.

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