Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to be a Pirate: Quartermaster Edition ??

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(Recruit) So how does this work exactly?

(Quartermaster) If you'd like to be a pirate,

you need understand it is a business.

You can't have a crew or a ship

or a brand

without a business model to support them.

But pirate business is like any other.

Make a product or provide a service

to your customers in exchange for money.

Then spend that money on equipment and personnel

to make more product for more customers, for more money.

The difference with Piracy Incorporated is

our customers don't wish to beserviced.

No matter.

With the correct spending on equipment and personnel,

the business willservice them regardless.

(Recruit) [innocently] Do you have to?

(Quartermaster) My boy, if we don't service our 'customers',

someone else will.

And the reward for our abstemiousness will be poverty.

In our societal and technological environment,

an economic niche exists.

And this incorporation of pirates

fills its shape as whiskey fills a barrel.

Such is life.

The motions we choose but the sum of forces upon us.

I became a pirate as the gold in this grail chose its form.

The both of us now cogs of this machine

that profits on the high seas or perishes.

(Recruit) [uncertainly] Okay.

(Quartermaster) Profit is income minus expenses.

And for a pirate company,

income means seizing the biggest booty.

(Recruit) [snickers]

(Quartermaster) [sighs deeply]

Seizing the biggest treasure

while provoking the least cost-inducing resistance.

The Captain ismore than happy

to explain how we accomplish that through branding.

Branding built on the foundation of a solid business, mind you.

Brands are memorable and battles flashy.

But they don't happen without contracts and spreadsheets.

Thus, before we set sail,

there will be a contract for the voyage.

Though we choose not to live under the Empire's law,

we still have rules of our own.

To which all men have input.

And to which all men must agree before setting sail.

The contract sets the voting methods, codes of conduct,

punishments for violating those codes,

distribution of pay, workman's compensation, etcetera.

Each pirate enterprise is a bit different.

But in general it works thusly.

There are two elected offices.

The captain and the quartermaster.

The captain is not our boss, but serves at the pleasure of the crew.

If they are unhappy with his strategic decisions,

the crew can replace him at any time by a majority vote.

There is no term length, with one exception.

Battle is no time for democracy.

Amidst pandemonium, the decider must be free to decide.

But this is the only time the captain cannot be removed.

And, though our branding may give you the impression

the captain is in charge of all things,

the quartermaster keeps the ship running.

Overseeing the men, their quarters,

their rations, their agreed-upon privileges,

and punishments executed for contract violations.

Everything needed to keep the ship effective and profitable.

Quartermaster. Battle master. Crew.

Now, at the dawn of this new century,

a lot of men are qualified to be crew.

Which means the cost of their labor is low.

(Recruit) So you're not going to pay me much?!

(Quartermaster) You misunderstand.

That you are here tells me you're not

interested in traditional employment.

Working nine to five on a ship of the Empire for minimum wage.

Staying out of trouble and saving for retirement

as banal days pass eroding the dreams

and aspirations of your younger self.

Leaving you at the end to wonder how it all slipped away.

No, your personality matrix,

shaped entirely by your genetics and your environment,

tend you to engage in risk-taking.

(Recruit) [confused] What's genetics?

(Quartermaster) [dismissively] Doesn't matter.

Given your situation, you find being an outlaw

with the possibility of great riches

under the threat of the Empire's noose,

a risk worth considering.

If the riches are large enough, which they are.

As a crewmen on a pirate ship, you are not paid in wages,

but with one share of the profit.

Same as every crewmen.

The captain gets two shares for the strategic decisions he makes.

The quartermaster one and one half for his labors.

The surgeon, one and one fourth.

Same for the carpenter.

Though we do often have difficulty

finding surgeons with the right personality matrix.

So, if there is no surgeon, the carpenter will be surgeon.

Shocking, I know.

Such flat and equal compensation

is not what you'll find on Empire and merchant ships

where captains and officers are compensated richly

and get special quarters and privileges over the crew.

On a pirate ship, we are all equals achieving a common goal.

(Recruit) Wow! What great guys pirates are.

Such camaraderie!

(Quartermaster) [as patiently as possible] No.

This is not because we are better and the Empire worse.

But again, economic inevitability.

Empire and merchant ships are not owned by the men who sail them.

But by monarchs or investors who hire captains and officers to run them.

To ensure loyalty to the owners above crew,

the captain is not only paid much more,

but has a share in the ship's profits, which the men do not.

And may be granted titles and land upon his successful return.

Meanwhile, the crew, hired from the mass of men

with lives of quiet desperation and personalities matrices

constraining them inside the law, have only the low price

of their undifferentiated labor to offer.

And, being inside the law, their captains can threaten them

with corporal punishment on board,

with prison or treason off board.

Backed by the Empire and her resources

to track down traitors and deserters,

But for us pirates, captain's orders are but the words of one man.

Outside the law, a majority can take control at any time by force.

It is only our contract that eases this transition.

And, at every port, if a man trust not the contract or the crew,

he can just leave.

There is no pirate empire to track him down.

We have a ship and a business only by our cooperation.

And only if we can keep it.

But the incentive is great.

We are not here to sell our labor

to distant and disinterested owners.

But to taste the fruit of our labors directly.

To make money.

A lot of money, for all of us.

The only thing standing in our way

(aside from our customers occasionally)

is the subtractor of Costs.

If it grows too large, the business will inevitably dissolve.

And we won't get paid.

These costs come in mostly two forms.

Ship repairs and people repairs.

For the ship, the rules of supply and demand work against us.

We can't sail into a port of the Empire

seeking repairs without raising questions.

So we must only visit pirate-friendly ports,

with pirate-friendly dockworkers,

mostly far away in the New World.

Which raises repair costs considerably.

For pirates, each broken mast or cannon hole

is more costly than for the Empire.

So, for business reasons, we prefer not to fight.

Also fighting incurs personnel costs.

Since we know that some crew will be injured in battle.


And it's just a roll of the cosmic dice as to who and to what.

The contract we decide on lists generous compensation for

lost legs, arms, hands, eyes.

Thus after thetreasure is seized,

the injured are compensated, the ship is repaired,

supplies replenished.

The remainder is profit.

The glorious, glorious profit.

And your one share, after one successful voyage with us,

will be worth years of labor with the Empire.

So, are you compelled to join?

[merry hornpipe music]

(Recruit) I'd like hear from the Captain.

The Description of How to be a Pirate: Quartermaster Edition ??