Welcome to Beat to Quarters, a Play-by-Post Text Roleplay set in 1741. It's the Age of Sail, and also the Age of Piracy here in the West Indies. Will you fight for King and Country and uphold the law here at the edge of colonial civilization? Or will you pillage and plunder to your black heart's content? The wind's a-blowin' and the sea awaits, so prepare for adventure...

The Tale So Far

September, 1741:

Madre de Dios, a Spanish galleon loaded with gold, is on her way back to Europe with her convoy. But an ambush lies in wait for her in the Inaguas – the Sea Hound is planning a bold assault on the larger ship, her pirate crew willing to risk it all for gold and glory. But Sea Hound is both predator and prey, as the HMS Steadfast closes in for another encounter with her quarry. The deadly showdown between the three forces is fast approaching...

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After "Beat to Quarters" closed, "Before the Mast" is the site leading the stories in the West Indies... but in 1720. Active since August 2010.

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The Ship's Documents

Officers on Deck
You may contact the staff through the private message link in their profiles.

(Lei, Lioe)

(Ian, Nyell)

Ship Captains:
Jonathan Silas Thorne
Captain of the Steadfast
Rodrigo Sol Valera
Captain of the Sea Hound

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Featured Player:
Daniel Hedge, Annette Williams

Liz's enthusiasm, dedication, and talent all make her an invaluable member of the BtQ community! Her recent character, Dr. Daniel Hedge has proved to be a fine addition to Steadfast's crew, and a source of brilliant posting. Her commitment to character development makes each of her posts a joy to read.


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 Cooke, Benjamin, Pirate
Benjamin Cooke
Posted: Oct 10 2010, 02:28 PM

Group: Members
Posts: 5
Member No.: 136
Joined: 10-October 10

- Player Info -

Name/nickname: Ian, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, no wait that’s not right…

AIM/e-mail/whatnot: you know…

Substitute players: Nyell

- Character info -

Name: Benjamin Cooke

Nickname/Alias: Ben

Age: 24

Gender: Male

Rank/Occupation:Sailor on the ”Sea Hound”

Appearance: The first thing one might notice about Ben is his height. Even by eighteenth century standards he is considered to be quite short. His diminutive stature is what earned him the nickname Mouse when he was a powder boy, as he was frequently found scurrying about the lower decks. His hair, which he keeps short for convenience, is charcoal-black. He has soft boyish features which only ever boast the faintest of stubble. Ben tries to keep his face clean shaven because when he does allow the hair to grow it comes in all patchy, making him look quite ridiculous, and earning the jives of his crewmates. Although Ben does not look it, he is actually quite strong for his size. He couldn’t quite be described as muscular, but sinewy, rather.

Where clothing is concerned, Ben generally just wears a white linen shirt and breeches, occasionally donning a bandana when he needs to keep the sweat out of his eyes. In addition to this, Ben owns a cotton waistcoat and an old wool overcoat which he rarely wears.

Personality: Ben is a rather timid fellow. He generally sticks to himself, although he does have a select group of friends aboard the ”Sea Hound”. This shyness must not be confused with cowardice however. Ben works the tops just as well as any other sailor, and though he may not be the first to board an enemy ship, he’s never far behind. Having spent most of his life being a loner, Ben learned to be self-reliant. He considers it a mark against his honor should he have to ask anyone for help, so he rarely does. When all is said and done, Ben makes for a competent sailor who is generally pleasant to be around, that is, if one even notices his presence.

Bio: Ben was literally born at sea. It was a calm, early-summer day when Ben’s mother went into labor on board the ”Vernon” bound for Grand Bahama. ”Vernon” had set sail from Liverpool nearly two months earlier. Amongst the passengers were Ben’s parents Nathan and Elizabeth, and his older brother Jonathan, having left their home in Coalbrookdale in search of a new life in the new world. At the time of departure Elizabeth had already been pregnant with Ben for some time, however he wasn’t expected to arrive until after they had reached their destination. Such predictions would turn out to be wrong however, as Ben was brought screaming into a world of wood and water.

Ben and his family did not stay long in Grand Bahama, first moving to St. Mary’s, then to Georgetown, and finally ending up in Boston were Ben’s father found suitable work as a veterinarian’s assistant. It wasn’t glamorous work, but at least it paid the bills, at first anyway. When Ben was born, he had had only the one brother, who was two years his senior. By the time Ben was twelve he had two younger sisters and a younger brother. The family’s financial situation was growing evermore dire. Ben’s older brother was taken out of school to be apprenticed to a silversmith. Ben was himself sent off to be a volunteer in the Royal Navy and rated ship’s boy.

Ben hated it at first, he thought that everyone was excessively cruel. However he soon grew accustom to life aboard the H.M.S. ”Brunswick”, an older fourth-rate ship of the line. Ben eventually befriended the other ship’s boys, as well as some of the younger crewmen, becoming particularly close with Thomas Wilkes, a fellow ship’s boy. The two were nigh inseparable, until a canon ball took off Thomas’ head during a skirmish with a Spanish Galleon. Ben was changed after that, he talked and laughed less, eventually alienating himself from his friends. He was still a diligent worker though, and over the next five years learned the ways of sailing.

At seventeen Ben was rated an able seamen, however letters from home spoke of the increasingly difficult situation Ben’s family found itself in. Ben’s father was now unemployed after the veterinarian he worked for had decided to retire. Due to an inability to pay the rent, the landlord had kicked Ben’s family out of their house, and they were now living in nothing more than a hovel. Ben wrote back, promising that more money would be coming with his promotion, however he feared that this would not be enough.

Ben was on shore leave in Kingston when he heard some men in a tavern talking about how some pirates had captured a Spanish military payroll ship loaded with pieces of eight, and were now richer than the Governor of Cuba himself, (though Ben doubted the validity of this last part). Ben asked them what else they knew about these pirates. They told him that they sailed on the ship ”Sea Hound” out of Tortuga, and that they were some of the fiercest and most successful brigands in the Caribbean. Ben thought about all the wealth they must have had. He imagined that with such wealth he could easily pull his family out of poverty, something that would not be easily accomplished with his comparatively meager earnings as an able seaman.

Ben had always considered himself to be a loyal English citizen, though he had never been sure why. After some consideration he realized that there was no concrete reason, concluding that his loyalty lay first and foremost with his family. He therefore resolved to somehow find a way to join the crew of the ”Sea Hound”, and with them earn such wealth that he might bring his family out of poverty. Ben had to plan carefully however, he was well aware of the penalty for desertion. Several months passed without any opportunities arising, but then Ben discovered that they would soon be sailing quite near Tortuga. He knew this was probably as good a chance as he would get, so when they reached the point of their course that took them nearest to Tortuga, Ben waited until nightfall, and jumped ship.

Fortunately, no one noticed his disappearance for some time, giving him enough time to get a safe distance from the ”Brunswick”. The shore hadn’t looked that far away when he had started out, but after what seemed like an hour of swimming it looked like he hadn't gotten any closer. He kept swimming but was reaching the point of exhaustion. He felt his consciousness begin to fade just as the sun was rising. As luck would have it a local fisherman had just set out on the water for the day when he came upon the semi-conscious Ben. The man fished the more than grateful Ben out of the water and took him to the docks. Ben asked the fisherman his name and promised that one day he would somehow repay him for his kindness.

As Ben entered the town of Tortuga he started to ask around and found that he was once again very much in luck, as apparently the ”Sea Hound” was currently in port. He was directed to a tavern known as the Pure Poison and Guilty Pleasures were he found Eamon O’Sullivan, Captain of the ”Sea Hound”. Eamon laughed when Ben told him his story, (although Ben didn’t find it all that amusing), and told Ben that if he was indeed as experienced as he claimed to be that he was welcome to join the "Sea Hound’s” crew.

Ben quickly proved that he was indeed a capable sailor, and soon took part in his first battle aboard the ”Sea Hound”. Their prize was a fat merchantman loaded with spices and tobacco. She fetched quite a hefty sum of coin, of which Ben’s share was all sent, (save for a small amount of spending money), to his family in Boston. He was sure that they would eventually hear of his desertion, he just hoped they would understand why he had done it. He has since served ably aboard the ”Sea Hound”.

Birthplace: The Caribbean Sea, on board the ”Vernon” en route to Grand Bahama.

Nathan Cooke – father (50)
Elizabeth Cooke – mother (48)
Jonathan Cooke – brother (27)
Hannah Cooke – sister (22)
Sarah Cooke – sister (18)
George Cooke – brother (15)
Jennifer Cooker – sister (12)
Harold Cooke – brother (9)

Skills: Apart from being a skilled sailor, Ben can also read and write, though he is not perfect at either, having not completed his schooling as a boy.

Weaknesses: Ben isn’t great when it comes to armed conflict. When wielding a sword he generally just hacks wildly at the enemy, hoping to do some damage. Ben’s method for using a musket goes something like this: point at enemy, close eyes and turn face, pull trigger.

Anything Else: Credit goes to Lei for finding the avatar, thanks Lei! smile.gif
The Seven Seas
Posted: Oct 10 2010, 05:49 PM


Group: Admin
Posts: 373
Member No.: 1
Joined: 19-April 09

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