When great opportunities come along, you take them. When we heard that Admiral Beckett Brass was going to make a stop at a coastal city convenient to a major airport, we jumped at the chance to meet up with her. As we normally do, we sent crack reporter Zanzibar Jones to do the interview. Here is his report.
When someone says he can get out of the city and head to a warm spot, Zanzibar Jones does not hesitate. He packs his Hawaiian shirts and flip flops, leaves the snow behind, and gets busy. He also refers to himself in the third person, because there's too much awesome to be contained in one person.
The Admiral had us meet her at one of those beachfront bars with the swaying palm trees and tropical breezes. The sand was whiter than snow, and the rum was darker than space. Even on vacation, she was a no-nonsense person. We got right to business, which first involved us having to pay for her bar tab from the previous night. It seems there was a misunderstanding regarding a wager of some kind and she had left her treasure chest on the ship. Zanzibar is nothing if not understanding of a brother or sister being a little short.
The Admiral is a physically imposing woman, with broad shoulders and strong eyes that grab onto a brother and don't let go. She has that kind of magnetism that makes you both a little intrigued and a little scared—but Zanzibar doesn't scare all that easy. Her voice was unexpected; instead of being rich and booming like you would think a fleet officer and someone of her physicality would have, it was strangely normal. It wasn't Mike Tyson weird, it just kind of average. Like a PTA mom or something. An extremely dangerous PTA mom. She smiled a lot, and just seemed to be enjoying her vacation. Unlike other subjects, she was the one who got things started.
Admiral Beckett Brass (ABB): Aren't you something?
Zanzibar Jones (ZJ): Zanzibar has some game.
ABB: Let me get us some drinks.
ZJ: Sure, but this is all business. Zanzibar is on a deadline.
ABB: Suit yourself.
ZJ: We're going to get this out of the way right away. There's a story about you and Captain Morgan…
ABB: Captain Morgan is just a colleague. No, you know what, he's not even a colleague. He's just someone whose name somehow got hooked to mine.
ZJ: That's not what the tabloids say.
ABB: Who reads that garbage? Seriously, if you're reading it and you think it's real, you're an idiot. If you think you're reading it ironically, then you don't know what that word means, and you're still an idiot. As far as Captain Morgan goes? Well, first of all, he's too young to be a captain, which makes him too young for me. What is he, like, fourteen? Admiral Beckett Brass is many things, but she's not a cougar. I think he won his ship in a card game and just started calling himself a captain. Second, he doesn't take his business seriously. Being a pirate isn't easy; he wants it to be all fun and games. He loves all the yo-ho-ho'ing, but he doesn't want to do the difficult work.
ZJ: So the rumors aren't true, then.
ABB: I seriously doubt the boy could keep up. Now, that Dack Fayden, on the other hand. . .
ZJ: The greatest thief in the Multiverse?
ABB: That's the one. We've spent quite some time together; the man has great hands, if you know what I mean. I look forward to a long, mutually beneficial relationship. Just not an exclusive one. There are lots of fish in the sea. . .
ZJ: . . .if I know what you mean.
ABB: Yeah, I've already gone to that well too often, haven't I? I should let it go.
ZJ: Probably for the best. What got you into pirating in the first place?
ABB: Okay, let's get this straight. There are acceptable kinds of pirating. Don't illegally download music or movies. That's just wrong. Also, don't share Netflix passwords. Seriously, you're only hurting the people who make the art. If it's sailing across the high seas, however, it's fair game. You find the best stuff out there. Anyway, I started sailing with the Kukemssa Pirates way back in the day, and the life spoke to me.
ZJ: What part?
ABB: Lots of folks think that pirating is about sailing up to other peoples' ships, boarding them, fighting, and stealing their stuff, all the while looking great while doing it. Really great, with the jewels and the bandanas and the cool boots and all. But it's not about that; I'd say it's more about finding inadequately protected things lying around. I mean, if there's a ship only loosely tied to a pier or chest of treasure just buried somewhere, who's to say that it's not mine? If I dig it up, it sure is. Doesn't matter how I got the map.
ZJ: That's a long way from being an Admiral.
ABB: Sure. Leadership is about being both ruthless and compassionate. You have to know when to attack and when to dole out the goodies—to share the wealth, as it were. I mean, being an admiral still involves keeping lots of it for yourself, but only when you know you can get away with it. You have the accountants funnel it all into "fleet maintenance" or whatever.
ZJ: How do you feel about being a woman in what's been historically a man's line of work?
ABB: Lots of stuff has been historically men's lines of work. Women are fighting our way in, and it's about damn time. Sometimes, it really means fighting, which I'm not opposed to. When it comes down to it, I like fighting, and I think that I make all my crews better at it, from the proudest captain to the lowest sailor. And that's not because I'm a woman, that's because I'm just good at what I do.
ZJ: There was a good deal of resistance for you at first.
ABB: Yeah, lots of it. Yet I persisted. Not like Puppeteer Clique or Glen Elendra Archmage (who I really wish were Pirates), I just kept on, doing the right thing. Those dudes weren't going to push me out or keep me from getting there. Ramirez DiPietro in particular was a giant [censored]. He thought that he was going to be the only Pirate leader running a crew. His problem was his outlook; he wanted to take on a Dimir Guild mentality, all shadows and misdirection, but I showed him you have to add some aggression and a little chaos to be more effective. We've been successful, and he's just a cartoon.
Right now I have two main captains: Captain Lannery Storm and the Fathom Fleet Captain whose name escapes me at the moment. I try to think about his name and all I see are the muscles. It might be Brad; I seriously don't remember. They bring two different approaches with their ships—Lannery is great at finding the kind of treasure that we need to keep the fleet running. The Fathom Fleet guy (Barry, maybe?) is outstanding at recruiting more Pirates to our cause. More people mean bigger ships and more attacking, which mean more loot.
ZJ: Speaking of loot, there's a rumor that you found a Treasure Map.
ZJ: So you're going to keep it close to the vest?
ABB: Oh, what the hell. We eventually found all the landmarks and got to the Treasure Cove. Now Lannery's treasures are worth way more. Truth be known, it's made us pretty dangerous, especially since we've added the Dire Fleet to our numbers. That Treasure Map, however, isn't my favorite artifact. That would be the Staff of Nin.
ZJ: Seems only mildly impressive.
ABB: You'd be surprised at how good it is.
ZJ: From what's going around, you have more than just Pirates working for you. Care to confirm?
ABB: Sure. It's kind of cool that we've conquered a Conquering Manticore. Zealous Conscripts aren't Pirates at all, but they've sure gotten behind the cause. We're also happy to have the Hellkite Tyrant on the team—helps us win battles and wars. Pretty scary stuff when it's flying around above the fleet. Speaking of which, look out there; it's soaring above the fleet as we speak.
ZJ: I don't see anything. Hey, what happened to my drink?
ABB: Um, I thought you didn't want it anymore. It was just sitting there unprotected.
ZJ: You're the worst.
ABB: Yeah, but I'm the best at it. Anyway, back to some of our non-Pirate friends, during some kind of bad weather we discovered the Roil Elemental, who is a great recruiter, as is Dominus of Fealty. Of course, we're extra happy that King Macar, the Gold-Cursed was, um, impressed by us. Then of course there's Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. I don't know what it is, but I know it makes my life better.
ZJ: It's a Goblin.
ABB: If you say so. Dude's more than a little creepy, but whatever floats your boat—see what I did there?
ZJ: Maybe leave the comedy to, you know, the funny people.
ABB: Yeah, I suspect you're right. I think I want to revise my answer on favorite artifact that we've found. It's the Conjurer's Closet. The details of how it actually works escape me, but I know that it does good things all the time. See, that's part of being a good admiral; you don't have to know how stuff works, you know that it does (and know when to use it).
ZJ: If something were to happen to you, who would you want running the fleet?
ABB: Let's not think about that just yet. I'm still a relatively young person. But if I wanted to retire and revel in my riches, I don't think the team would be the same. They certainly wouldn't be as good at pirating. Maybe we're at the right place and it's the right time for Pirates. We're a hot commodity. I thank the Disney Corp. And Johnny Depp. Man, that Johnny Depp.
If you force me to pick someone, it's probably Marchesa, the Black Rose. Like me, she makes everybody better; she just does it in a different way. We'd lose some of the Pirates and gain some people who bring different things to the team. Hey, I bet Glen Elendra Archmage and Puppeteer Clique would be great for that lineup! In the end, I'd like to think we'd keep the core mission and values of the Brass Admiralty.
ZJ: Which is what, exactly?
ABB: Engage in glorious battles while looking cool doing it. By the way, some people think that there's some technical advantage to the cutlass that we use, like the curved blade does this or that. It does—it makes us look more awesome when we're hacking stuff. The rest is all made-up nonsense. You can't really put a gold basket hilt on a longsword, now, can you? When you're an admiral, you have to think about these things. So back to what I was saying, while people are recovering from those battles, you just pick up all the unprotected stuff. Plus, you would be surprised as the number of folks who come along for the ride and decide that they love what we're doing so they stay around. Like I said earlier, the Dominus of Fealty is good at picking up stray help; then we send them through the Conjurer's Closet, get them a new outfit, and they become one of us.
ZJ: Who's not with you that you'd like to be?
ABB: Snap call is Thassa, God of the Sea. It's right there in her name. God. Of. The. Sea. I know she has her own thing going and might not be able to commit, but she'd offer us marvelous intel and do a great job of putting the hurt on people. Not that I like to hurt people, it's just a necessary condition of the work. In fact, I'd rather not hurt people; if I had my way, they'd all just come work for us. I've been pretty good at convincing many of them. I'm told I have a certain kind of charm.
ZJ: I cannot lie. Who else?
ABB: From the time they're a young sailor, everyone on the high seas learns to fear Krakens. Wouldn't it be great to tame them? Bring Shipbreaker Kraken or Deep-Sea Kraken into the fold, and we'd crush our enemies and drive them before us. We would not, however, want to hear the lamentations of their women. It seems cruel, and who needs that anyway? Like I said earlier, I don't relish hurting people. "Better an ally with a sword than an enemy in a grave," I once heard someone say. Breaching Leviathan would also be pretty sweet. We might be drifting too far from the Pirates, though. Pirates are the best.
ZJ: So who's your all-time favorite Pirate?
ABB: Roberto Clemente, obv. How can you even ask that question?
ZJ: What's next for Admiral Beckett Brass?
ABB: Oh, you know, just doing what we do. Living the high life on the high seas. Coming to a port near you to help you with your problem of having too much rum and too much gold.
ZJ: Solid. Thanks for talking with us.
ABB: Always my pleasure. And with that, I'm back to the fleet. We're sailing off right away.
ZJ: Why's that?
ABB: Has nothing to do with the fact that the check's coming, I swear.
This week's Deck Without Comment is Borrowing Stuff at Cutlass Point.
- 1 Metallic Mimic
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Treasure Keeper
- 1 Brazen Buccaneers
- 1 Captivating Crew
- 1 Conquering Manticore
- 1 Deadeye Navigator
- 1 Deadeye Plunderers
- 1 Deadeye Tracker
- 1 Dire Fleet Hoarder
- 1 Dire Fleet Interloper
- 1 Dire Fleet Ravager
- 1 Dominus of Fealty
- 1 Fathom Fleet Captain
- 1 Fathom Fleet Cutthroat
- 1 Hellkite Tyrant
- 1 Hostage Taker
- 1 Kukemssa Pirates
- 1 Pirate Ship
- 1 Prosperous Pirates
- 1 Roil Elemental
- 1 Rowdy Crew
- 1 Ruthless Knave
- 1 Sailor of Means
- 1 Siren Lookout
- 1 Siren Stormtamer
- 1 Skyship Plunderer
- 1 Sower of Temptation
- 1 Talas Warrior
- 1 Wily Goblin
- 1 Zealous Conscripts
- 1 Captain Lannery Storm
- 1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
- 1 King Macar, the Gold-Cursed
- 1 Commander's Sphere
- 1 Conjurer's Closet
- 1 Door of Destinies
- 1 Herald's Horn
- 1 Pillar of Origins
- 1 Prying Blade
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Staff of Nin
- 1 Treasure Map
- 1 Urza's Incubator
- 1 Vanquisher's Banner
- 1 Arcane Adaptation
- 1 Curse of Opulence
- 1 Goblin Bombardment
- 1 Kindred Discovery
- 1 Revel in Riches
- 1 Cyclonic Rift
- 1 Depths of Desire
- 1 Reins of Power
- 1 Spell Swindle
- 1 Expropriate
- 1 Gild
- 1 Hijack
- 1 Insurrection
- 1 Kindred Dominance
- 1 Patriarch's Bidding
- 1 Pirate's Prize
Lavinia Blinks; Obzedat, Ghost Killer; Aurelia Goes to War; Trostani and Her Angels; Lazav, Shapeshifting Mastermind; Zegana and a Dice Bag; Rakdos Reimagined; Glissa, Glissa; Ruric Thar and His Beastly Fight Club; Gisa and Geralf Together Forever.
Shards and Wedges
Adun's Toolbox; Angry, Angry Dinos; Animar's Swarm; Borrowing Stuff at Cutlass Point; Ikra and Kydele; Karrthus, Who Rains Fire From The Sky; Demons of Kaalia; Merieke's Esper Dragons; Nath of the Value Leaf; Rith's Tokens; The Mill-Meoplasm; The Altar of Thraximundar; The Threat of Yasova; Zombies of Tresserhorn.
Animar Do-Over; Glissa Do-Over; Karador Do-Over; Karador Version 3; Karrthus Do-Over; Kresh Do-Over; Steam-Powered Merieke Do-Over; Lord of Tresserhorn Do-Over; Mimeoplasm Do-Over; Phelddagrif Do-Over; Rith Do-Over; Ruhan Do-Over.
If you'd like to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that's been alive since 1987) which is just beginning the saga The Lost Cities of Nevinor, ask for an invitation to the Facebook group "Sheldon Menery's Monday Night Gamers."