‘Captain! Sail off the starboard! Looks like a three master!’ Came the cry from the tops. Otis Carter held the spyglass to his eye before calling down, ‘Captain! Looks like she’s riding low!’
‘Excellent!’ Captain Rannigan ran his hand through his thick beard, a classic Captain Birdseye look. Except, of course, for the two sabres that hung by his sides in jewelled scabbards, the pistol sitting by the small of his back and the treasure hungry glint in his cold, grey eye. ‘Mr Ingram. Set the flags for a gasbag leak, but don’t run them up yet. Mr Carter, I want timekeeping and three minute reports.’ His redneck American accent boomed across the deck. ‘I want all watches ready to move in six minutes. Ragnar, Boondock, all Round Table to the boardroom.’ He grinned and his gold tooth gleamed in the morning sunlight.
‘Aye Captain!’ Came the chorus from the deck and the cabins. Scurrying like mice as they rushed about their tasks, drawing weapons from the arms lockers, buckling on mismatches of armour. Only very light armour mind, as on ship movement is king. A pair of armoured boots here, a set of plate gloves there. Nothing fancy, but enough to show that this group of people had teeth.
‘Good. I feel like it’s gonna be a wonderful day!’
Notes on the Argent Siren
The Argent Siren has three watches, one for each of its masts. There is the Flash Watch, the lowest ranking members, their training battalion as it were. This is led by Astrid Barnes, the youngest member of Rannigan’s Round Table. A classically dashing, vaguely stubbly rogue, six feet tall and a terror with any kind of blade. He’s never been seen anything less than impeccably dressed, sharp double breasted waistcoat, a shirt with lightly rolled up sleeves. A man who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, but would rather not. He is a man who has sworn to die with a smile on his lips.
Then there’s the Flame Watch, the Siren’s rank and file. The largest watch had to be run by the largest man, which is where Boondock comes in. Boondock is touching on seven feet tall, and is almost as wide. The running joke amongst the crew is that he’s as tall as a mast and pretty much as thick, but he’s a damn good leader. Men would follow him anywhere, especially as long as he’s buying the beers. He isn’t known for carrying a weapon, he simply wears thick, plated gloves that can crash a man’s skull. He is gruff, but can often be found with a bright smile crossing his face.
Finally, we have the Ash Watch, the elite of the Siren, and their fearless leader Ragnar. Ragnar is a 5 foot man with a ten foot reputation, a compact parcel of fury. A long, red braid falls down his back, never having been cut for as long as he has been alive and fighting. The day a man beats the axe from his hand, he will cut the braid. So far, he has many scars, but the braid remains uncut.
Also on Rannigan’s Round Table are the helmsmen, Roscoe and Mulligan, the cook Doshka and the Pusser. These are the men that Rannigan trusts to help guide him. But when it comes to making decisions there can be none but Rannigan himself.
He is a man who has been learning piratecraft since he was in diapers, a man who’s first words were ‘Mast ahoy!’. He learnt his trade aboard Caliban’s Stone Pixie, growing from a young cabin boy through to Caliban’s first mate, before taking the Siren.
The world has come a long way. The new world is ever growing, ever expanding. Pirates fly. Metal thunders across the landscape at terrifying speed. We ride the winds, we ride the waves and we rule the land with rings of iron.
Welcome to the future.
Oscar Belinsky, The Daily Chronicle, 17th December 1852
‘Captain. If it’s a three master, it’s probably going to be heavily armed.’ Ragnar drawled, hunched over the table. ‘Could be time to cry off. Especially if it’s Navy. He leaned his axe between his legs, resting his calloused hand on the head.
‘Or could be time to take everything. Everyone, Flash through Ash.’ Boondock replied, slamming a meaty fist onto the table. ‘C’mon captain! It’s been weeks since we had a good prize! Let’s take that cheeky little ship and be on our way? Hell, I reckon Flash Watch alone could take that lil frigate!’
Rannigan stood at the edge of the room, pouring himself a glass of brandy from a crystal decanter. The decanter had been poached from a Merchanter heading for Virginia, a terrified man holding it out in front of him and begging for his life and the life of his family. He raised a hand to scratch at his eye socket beneath the soft cloth patch he wore, before turning to the group, speaking over the rising hubbub. Roscoe and Mulligan were arguing as always, Doshka was drinking from a flask, the Pusser was counting away happily.
‘Gentlemen.’ He flipped up his eye patch to expose the angry socket. ‘This is what happens when we make rash decisions. And as they say, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Roscoe, send out two of Flash on flyers. See what they can tell us about the state of the ship. Get them to spread rumours about our leak as well. Let’s hoist up our skirts and see if we can’t convince them to take a tumble? Just make sure we stay protected, eh?’ The room grumbled to a stop.
‘Alright, you bastards, let’s go get filthy fucking rich!’
The Idiot in Tin Foil