Wars World Survey: Drake Brannaugh - By Abalux
|Weight:||280 lb/127 kg|
|Birthplace:||International waters, 500 miles off the Direnholmian coast|
|Languages Known:||Avalonian English and enough of many other languages to hold simple conversation and give naval commands. Drake's early years of travel were good for learning snippets of foreign languages.|
|Relatives of Note:||Mother Jeanne, 72 (retired navigator); fraternal twin brother Nelson, also 48 (captain of the Tamed Storm); stepdaughter Emma, 25 (major, People's Collective Air Force); and son Drake Jr. (usually just "Drakey"), 2. Before the Macro Land conflict, Drake was married and had fathered six more children.|
BackgroundTechnically, Drake isn't native to any Green Earth member nation. He and his twin brother Nelson were born on his father James' pirate flagship, the Tamed Storm. Drake is Avalonian mainly because James and Jeanne Brannaugh were (though he wouldn't call any other nation home).
When Drake was born, his adopted nation was in a struggle for its freedom. Steinhalt had already claimed three-quarters of what would become Green Earth?s heartland. He was now turning his eyes toward the Sixty Demes of Avalon's industrial resources. The Avalonians fortunately had their navy for protection - and the pirate captains that worked with it. James Brannaugh, like the vast majority of Wars World's pirates, had registered as an Avalonian privateer. In return for rights to captured craft and materials, he and his ship's crew served as naval militia. It was a dangerous but lucrative arrangement.
Drake and Nelson were, of course, unaware of these matters during their early childhood. They were never too far from their parents. Being the sons of a pirate captain and his navigator wife, they had an unusual education. Drake and Nelson began learning sailing, naval tactics and strategy, navigation, and shipboard combat as soon as they could speak and walk. Their education on less practical matters (literature, math, etc.) was a little sparser. After all, James Brannaugh had never graduated high school. He did give his sons one of the best naval educations on the planet. Meanwhile, Jeanne trained the boys in surfing - an old hobby of hers. Drake proved especially talented at it.
He also had other talents. One rare sunny day, when he and Nelson were six, Drake found his father standing near the Tamed Storm's bow. He looked like he was concentrating on something. Then a massive tidal wave appeared in the ocean. Thinking that it was going to hit the ship, Drake panicked and began running toward his father. In a bright flash of light, another tidal wave appeared. It picked up the ship, and broke against the first wave. James snapped out of his concentration to find Drake very confused. After calming him down, the pirate captain told his son a secret: some Brannaugh men had control over the sea. They could turn it against their opponents. This power was the source of James' fearsome reputation. He told Drake that, as long as he realized what a responsibility he had been given, he would train him in the ways of the Tsunami. Drake agreed to use his CO Power only when absolutely necessary. From that day forward, he became his father?s successor. Nelson never developed CO Powers. If he was ever jealous of Drake, he never showed it.
As Drake grew older, the conflict between Steinhalt and Avalon became the Cosmos War. He and Nelson became inured to the sound of gunfire and, soon after their fifteenth birthday, joined in their father's raids. It was scary and difficult. At the same time, both boys knew their father was a competent commander who would always protect them. Then the Tamed Storm had a run-in with forces under the dictator's direct command. It was a pitched naval battle. In the midst of it, a chilling black wave rolled over the Avalonian naval forces: Steinhalt's infamous CO Power. Sailors and pirates began dropping like flies. Among them was James Brannaugh. He collapsed on the deck of his beloved ship. Drake and Nelson ran to their father's side, and, as he took his final breaths, he passed the family's heirloom to Drake. This heirloom was a telescope dating back to Avalon's colonial period. It was also James Brannaugh's badge of captainship. Everyone on the Tamed Storm knew that Drake was now captain. Despite his grief, he managed to save his ship from defeat, driving off Steinhalt's fleet in the process.
Drake proceeded to fight in several Cosmo Wars naval engagements, including the landing on Ansal (one of the future Confederation's Scandinavian-descended member nations). It was there that he met Alisson, his future wife. Terrified, several months pregnant, and fleeing an abusive, Steinhalt-sympathizing boyfriend, she immediately tugged at his heartstrings. Drake made sure she stayed on his ship. There, he cared for her. His compassion soon blossomed into love. When Alisson gave birth to a daughter, Emma, Drake married her and adopted the child. She gained a position as the Tamed Storm's cook (to this day, Emma has no idea Drake is her stepfather.)
The war ended with Steinhalt's capture. Drake testified at his war crimes trial - the Allied Nations had decided to count the Black Wave as an atrocity. After Steinhalt's execution, he did some major soul-searching. He knew two things. First, he loved the sea and the responsibility of defending Avalon. Second, he did not have the ruthlessness necessary to become a respected peacetime pirate captain - but Nelson did. Drake came to a decision. Against the protests of his crew (including Nelson), he gave command of the Tamed Storm to his brother, returned to Avalon with his wife, stepdaughter, and mother, and entered the People's Collective Navy's Privateer Transition Program.
Drake was one of the program's top graduates. He performed so well, in fact, that he got permission to join the navy's commissioned officers. This was an extraordinarily rare occurrence. What happened next was even rarer. Drake was a humane commander as well as a brilliant one. A master at the Avalonian arts of compromise and negotiation, he accomplished with disapproval and reprimands what other commanders did with threats and violence: discipline. His techniques made him popular with his subordinates. In the Avalonian military, where officers go up in rank by subordinates' votes as well as by superiors' recommendations, this meant Drake got promoted every two years (the minimum time between promotion elections). He was admiral before he knew it.
Meanwhile, at home, Drake was building a large family. Both he and Alisson wanted many children. Besides, he needed as many sons as possible to pass on his unique talents. They began trying for children every time Drake got promoted and could support more family members. Alisson delivered six children on Avalonian soil (the youngest, Drakey, was conceived at the Ring, after Drake became admiral of the CDF). Their house in the naval headquarters of Wrenton was loud, boisterous, and joyful. The Brannaugh family was one of the happiest among the naval high command... and, although Drake and Alisson's marriage was not perfect, it was certainly the strongest in town.
Then Drake received a letter from the Ring. Without informing him, his fellow Avalonians had nominated him as the CDF's admiral. They had good reason for going behind his back: Drake would have never accepted the vote. He considered running Avalon'?s navy enough of an honor. Still, he felt obligated to take the position. Drake packed up his family and journeyed to the Ring. When the Brannaughs arrived, they learned that the noble chosen as CDF supreme commander had lost his cover. The Confederation Council wanted to give Drake the position. He figured there had to be a way to compromise. After speaking with the Council and Baron Dieter von Bilstein, he worked out a plan. Drake became, to all appearances, the CDF supreme commander. The actual jobholder was the Baron, who took the code name "Eagle". This was the beginning of Drake and Eagle's friendship.
That friendship got a little strained when Orange Star attacked Green Earth. Drake had seen where the attack came from: an island to Avalon's north. Eagle, however, was too focused on revenge to investigate. Even worse, the Avalonian people voted down Drake's proposal to investigate. It was only when he found Grit and Sonja in Avalonian waters that he made progress. He helped his fellow COs defeat Sturm. Afterwards, Drake thought things would calm down.
He was wrong. A few months later, Avalon was celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of Steinhalt's surrender. The navy was putting on a display in Portsmouth, Avalon's de facto capital. Suddenly, planes appeared from the fog. They began attacking the ships and the assembled audience. Drake tried his best to take control of the situation. The enemy's firepower was too strong. He had to gather his family and evacuate the city. The next week was a blur of Avalon falling to Black Hole. Finally, when all but Wrenton was under Hawke's fist, Drake had no choice but to warn the rest of the Confederation. He took what was left of the navy and his family with him. Absent was young Drakey, who was stuck in Portsmouth with his grandmother.
Drake still isn't sure how he made it to the Ring, but he knew he was followed. A battle ensued. During the fight to keep the Confederation capital free, a Black Hole bomber attacked the lander carrying Alisson and the children. It sank with no survivors. Although Drake didn't show it, everyone knew he was crushed. He changed from a cheerful sailor to a gloomy widower determined to avenge his family. It was this determination that kept him from breaking down. Only after Sturm's death did he finally mourn his family. He took solace in Drake Jr.'s survival.
Drake is now on family leave, vacationing with his mother, brother, stepdaughter, and son. He wanted to help out with the Omega Land conflict. Still, he knows he needs time to recover from seeing his nation conquered and his family nearly exterminated.
PersonalityThe Macro Land war aside, Drake is an extraordinarily cheerful sailor. He's also the most accessible of his fellow CDF officers. Eagle and Javier comport themselves like the nobles they are. Jess projects the confidence that comes from being a strong, willful tank commander. Out of uniform, however, Drake has the placid, easygoing demeanor typical to Avalonians. He makes few pretensions. As a result (and also because he is technically the CDF supreme commander), Drake is popular and admired across the Confederation.
He is also a masterful negotiator - a trait not uncommon among Avalonians. Compromise and cooperation are the glue holding the Sixty Demes together. Nearly every Avalonian has a fluent understanding of civics and diplomacy. Drake just happens to be good at using them. His innate negotiation skills have been a big help in keeping Eagle and Jess' personality conflicts under control.
Combat AbilitiesIt's ironic that the CDF high command's most combat-experienced commander is also the one most reluctant to use his skills. The Cosmo Wars made Drake into a very cautious commander. He's seen more people die (and killed more opponents) than he?s wanted to and, as a result, is fairly conservative in a fight (Drake was among the advocates of depicting realistic injuries when Hachi was building the MAPS). Still, he is good with a pistol. He also retains a surprising amount of strength and toughness. Although Drake is quite pudgy for his size, a large amount of his weight is muscle. Those Avalonian muggers who've tried to waylay him have wound up in the hospital. They would say that he seemed to be pulling his punches.
As for his CO Powers, Drake is even more conservative with them. He remembers what his father told him when activating Tsunami: "Someone's going to drown." Therefore, war is the only event in which he would use his powers. His Typhoon, which emerged when he was trying to save Avalon from conquest, particularly worries him. Drake doesn't mind that it sucks up his opponents' fuel; he considers that a legitimate tactic. What bothers him is the rain. According to reports from Avalon, the nation's near-persistent rain disperses whenever he uses Typhoon. Some citizens are wondering if Drake is to Avalon's rain what Olaf is to Blue Moon's snow. This greatly bothers him. He regards Olaf as a dictator and doesn't want his fellow Avalonians to think of him as their superior.
RelationshipsWhen Drake first met Eagle, he was expecting a reaction far different from friendliness. He knows what Wars World's nobles think of Avalonians (very little). Eagle, however, congratulated him on being nominated. That congeniality was one of the reasons why Drake made that deal with the CDF. He later discovered the similarities between him and Eagle - war hero fathers and early CO Power discovery. The two of them soon became fast friends.
Jess gets nearly identical treatment - perhaps even better. Drake does this because of what happened her first day at the Ring. Eagle greeted her by saying, "Well, I guess you're used to obeying men!" The Rostanian Army was nearly all male. To Eagle, this was a joke about that situation. To Drake, who had studied Jess' attitudes toward nobility and male arrogance, this was an unwitting but dire insult. Therefore, one attempted uppercut to Eagle's jaw later, Drake found himself holding his colleagues apart and defusing the potentially explosive situation. He's gotten used to that.
Drake has also gotten used to having a king, Javier, around the CDF headquarters. He can't make heads or tails of his chivalrous colleague. On the one hand, his mastery of coordinating soldiers, protecting against indirect attacks, and constructing tanks impresses Drake. On the other, Javier's Avalonian English is so undeveloped that he forms interesting malapropisms. Drake can?t count the times he's had to bite his lip not to laugh at them.
As for foreign COs, Drake has a surprising friendship with Kanbei. It developed partially because Yellow Comet's emperor saved him from a Macro Land war ambush. Both of them, however, have lost their wives to Black Hole, and that is the true source of their companionship. Drake is also good friends with Kanbei's daughter Sonja and the Blue Moon CO Grit. The three of them met investigating Sturm. The camaraderie generated by that mission bound them. Drake is even considering helping Grit move to Avalon after his Blue Moon contract expires.