For today’s modern pirate, psychology plays a key role in maintaining any type of long term sustainability. This ability to understand both the thinking of any potential prey and the proper and correct thinking of a successful corsair will save everyone a lot of unnecessary bloodshed and expenses.
“But I like bloodshed,” you say. No, you do not. Hush. This isn’t A Handbook for the Aspiring Sociopath. That said, there’s going to be some bloodshed. Try not to look so pleased. In fact you must be ready to do some Very Bad Things on a grotesque scale. If satiating one’s bloodlust isn’t the purpose, then why so gung-ho on the gratuitous violence? Because it is not gratuitous.
Nobody wants to get hurt
The regular schlub who finds themselves in a potentially life threatening situations, simply wants to get through it with their longevity intact. Nobody with the sense God gave fish is keen on dying. Which means someone engaged in a conflict will have two goals to devote efforts to. The first is protecting themselves with the secondary goal of hurting you. If it doesn’t get in the way of goal number one that is.
You on the other hand, should only worry about hurting your opponent. Your inner God-given fish of common sense taking issue with that statement? Understandable. The first thing you need to do is murder that fish and toss its corpse over the side. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Done? Good. Because common sense in this matter will get you killed. The very act of trying to defend yourself is going to get you dismembered, mangled, or dead.1 Welcome to the paradox that is quasi-organized violence. By focusing all your resources on killing your opponent, you increase the likelihood that they’ll be dead before they can inflict any grievous harm on your person. Some Vikings and Celts went into battle buck naked armed only with an Axe. With nothing but literally naked aggression, they were able to quickly overwhelm their opponent and drop them.
Through rapid application of offense, you will be able to magnify the effectiveness of your forces. In the Empress’ English, you fight fast and brutal to make it clear that the sole goal once the hammer drops, is to slaughter anything not sporting an eye patch. Once this is made clear (and this may require more than one application and a few strategically placed “survivors”) through the port rumor mills, you’ll find far more white flags in your future.
There is no tomorrow
Failure is always an option. For those in the business of piracy though, the option is in the form of “Death by _____”. If by some mistake you’ve managed to disregard or skip over the introduction to this Fine and Reasonably Priced handbook, allow us to go into the details a bit more.
Every empire in the whole of known space has the same penalty for piracy: death. Traditionally, it is administered by hanging, with the guilty being displayed posthumously for all to see. The thinking being that if you show people what happens to pirates, it will deter them from engaging in piracy. A very common sense approach which has never worked in the history of ever. On no occasion has a pirate, having been caught amongst a scene of blood, rum and cash, looked at the arresting Naval Officer and and said “I’m sorry Commander, I was unaware this was illegal.”2
A pirate finds themselves quite motivated towards success. As such, it would behoove the modern pirate to “leave it all on the field” when engaged with the enemy. You can imagine the embarrassment it would cause if, upon shedding one’s mortal coil, you state that you were holding back. Losers hold back. Winners shoot their opponent in the face until there is no face to be shot.
Thinkery am the anemone
Don’t think. No. I do not care how clever your mother said you were. She was lying. You are not that smart. I’m sorry to be the one to break this news. On the other hand, good news! Your opponent is an idiot too.3 A fact that you must and will exploit to your tactical advantage.
During a crisis, the primative caveman brain takes over and tells you what to do. It is all instinct and muscle memory. The caveman brain is a simple creature, and not prone to leaps of strategic genius. Give it enough time though, and the clever bits of the brain will take over and reason out a proper plan. The proper plan is your real enemy. If you see one, smash it with something heavy and cudgel-shaped.
Rapid dominance is about overwhelming your opponent with such raw offense in such a short amount of time, that they find themselves dead before the initial panic wears off. There is a reason why pirate ships are fast and bristling with ordinance. The speed will also put them immediately on the defensive which we have seen above, works to our advantage.4
Hit fast and hard and you just might fly away with a good bit of coin and your head still attached. If not, there is always the other option.
(1) Probably all three and in no particular order.
(2) After the first printing of this Excellent and Award Worthy work, it has come to the editor’s attention that several individuals have attempted this defense for the sole purpose of discrediting our claim. Finding this a rather disingenuous and petty thing to do, the text remains as it was originally published. The authors are content in the knowledge that the offending parties were summarily executed.
(3) One could argue that having avoided a life of piracy, your opponent is capable of making positive life choices and thus, could be considered to be smarter than you. We counter that it is not wise to argue such points with well armed criminals, and follow it up with a savage mugging. Nobody likes the smart kid.
(4) Admit it, you didn’t read it. You’re just skimming through the pictures.