Does anyone else get really frustrated with temporary titles? Like, you need something to call your WIP and somehow, you just sit on it forever, and that’s your silly sounding title and you can’t seem to come up with an actual title but you hate the temporary one?
This photograph of the pirate ship “Dryad” was taken by a travelling photographer in the Northern reaches of the ravine province- confirming reports that pirates have been operating in the area. Dryad- Formerly HMAS Swallow- was captured by pirates last Autumn while returning from a routine reconnaissance mission. Our sources in the intelligence service claim there’s rumours that the recent piracy “epidemic” in the Northern provinces are sponsored by foreign nation states.
Military forces have been deployed to the North including anti-airship missile batteries on-route from Edwinton. It is believed to be only a matter of time before Dryad is either sunk or back in Union hands.
I’ve been avidly following the historic!Laurens fandom for over a year, and THIS is the thing that makes me break my radio silence.
I don’t have tumblr, so I’ll be submitting stuff this way and going by the pseudonym Simple Softshell. Feel free to put this on your tumblr if you want. I hope you like it!
Important background headcanons:
- Hamilton'a swashbuckling career is more of a Robin Hood gig. At age 14, working at Beekman and Cruger, he had to go on an entire round trip across the Atlantic on a slave-trading vessel for business. He could no longer ignore the true horrors of the slave trade and justify continuing to be complicit in it as a means to get to a station where he can enact greater change. Instead, he had the sailors teach him how to do what they’re doing. Four years later, he has a ship and a crew comprised of abolitionist sailors (mostly Frenchmen and free blacks), and freed slaves, and they roam about the Atlantic hijacking slave vessels, freeing the kidnapped people, letting the kidnapped people decide the fates of their tormentors, and proving crew members to help the ships full of people trying to get back home to get back home.
- John Laurens stuck to his guns and became a naturalist in spite of his father’s disapproval. The unspoken compromise the have reached is that John can take scientific voyages as long as they accomplish a business purpose as well.
- Malcom J. Shrewsberry is, was, has always been a free man. His parents bought their freedom before he was born. [I don’t understand why this fandom only writes Shrewsberry into fic as a slave, or not at all. (Exhibit A: I have yet to see a single historical!Lams modern-AU that features Shrewsberry at all.) Why is that? If Alexander Hamilton can be a pirate captain, then Shrewsberry can be a free man and a well-respected merchant sailor in a position of power.] Malcom Shrewsberry was apprenticed to a merchant sailor age thirteen. The captain saw what a bright and hardworking kid he was, and trained him in ship management and financial negotiations. Now, he’s widely known as one of the finest captains in Charleston.
- John chooses Captain Shrewsberry for his skills in both the maritime and mercantile arts. Shrewsberry is paid to take care of the transportation and the trading, allowing John to focus on natural philosophy. It’s also a passive aggressive form of rebellion; John knows it bothers his father that a black man is carrying out his business transactions, bothers Henry even more that the captain does really good work–good enough work that Henry can’t really justify forbidding John to keep hiring him without damage to his reputation. John is low-key hoping that Henry will keep being bothered until eventually his conscience wins out and he frees all the people he owns, but even John knows it’s a futile dream.
- Pirates in the Golden Age didn’t actually use violence very often; they mostly relied on their reputations and fear to make enemy ships surrender before battle ever started. That’s a big part of why the crew of The Heart of Oak keeps electing Hamilton as captain–he’s really good at the theatrics.
- Pirate ships were apparently some of the first democracies, which is just brilliant for our very, very niche purposes.
I’ll submit the fic separately bc this has been long enough already lol.
This is so great…not long enough!
- On Hamilton’s first trip aboard the slaver, they were unlucky at sea. There wasn’t a single night that they weren’t plagued by storms and Alex started a joke among the crew that he had cursed the sea when it struck St Croix with the hurricane- and the sea replied that she’d kill everyone in his wake but never let him die. The crew laughed at the the boy’s creative horror stories. But, when the ship caught fire on their return journey, only five men survived, clinging to planks until one of the guard vessels found them. Two days later, Alex crawled back to shore. He lost his job and disappeared to the streets, climbing up the dark underbelly of St Croix and working with a bad crowd. He made a murderous trip to the house of Peter Lavien, robbed Beckman and Cruger dry, and tore apart the island until he had enough ‘friends’ (former slaves) to steal a ship. Four years later, when the Little Lion’s a household name in the trading community, those five survivors remembered Hamilton- like a ghost- and they hadn’t forgotten the loud kid’s strange story…so the rumor caught on about the cursed pirate captain. - Laurens’s career began through John Ellis from a letter of introduction from Alexander Garden regarding the drawings of soft-shelled turtles that the Royal Society had admired. John met Daniel Charles Solander, a famous naturalist who had just returned with Captain James Cook from a round-the-world voyage. They were planning another voyage to the South Seas and invited John along. He’s lived an enchanted life of an explorer, establishing himself in his own right, doing what he loves and gathering research of species specialization that predates Darwinism by a hundred years. - Malcom J. Shrewsberry was a pilot. By trade. He had a natural affinity for eyeballing the trajectory that a ship needed to draw itself into any slot, no matter how tight. Merchants in Charleston were crawling over themselves to hire him for his ability to fit ships into the most crowded ports, weaving between ships and into spaces other pilots wouldn’t dare. For awhile, it was like a game for the merchants- hire the reckless black man and make bets whether he’d crash your ships- if he did, he’d be a dead man. He never did. And it made him famous…but it also gradually lost him business. But, he’d been smart with his earnings and had saved up enough to buy his own ship, manning it with the best sailors he’d met through the years. Despite his skills at sea, merchants are still too racist to want to hire him to carry their goods, so John’s scientific journeys earn him more income than he could make by relying on transporting goods alone. And though they’re not exactly friends, he also thinks John’s nerdy obsession with all kinds of plants and animals is amusing to watch and keeps the crew in high spirits. (If you want more Shrewsberry in fic, @madtomedgar and @publius-esquire‘s au has some oneshots that feature him historically)