Book's story
Thursday, August 6, 2009

HoratioFrog brought this back to my mind. It's been sitting on my HDD, blocked, for over a year. Slightly Alternative Universe-- the BDM had the Shepard not explaining, but somehow the story had to be shared


Mal had papers spread all over the dining table that late night, trying to be organized, when the Shepard entered. "Mal, may I join you for a few minutes?"

"Kinda busy, Shepard. I appreciate you arraingin' this cargo for us, from your Abbey to that mission colony of yours on Haven, but because it's legit, the paper work hasta be in order or your Abbot won't pay the fee. Can it wait?"

"'Fraid not. You see, when you unload that cargo tomorrow morning,you're unloading me too."

Mal was shocked. "Preacher, you ain't said nothin' about that. Kaylee'll be real upset."

"That's mostly why I didn't say anything. But my abbot has ordered me to join the colony. So anything we don't say now, may never get said. I have some things I need to confess to you. "

"I ain't the man to be hearin' confessions. "

"No, but you are the man I've wronged. I must give you a chance to forgive. To begin with, I am an agent of Alliance Central Intelligence, an operative of the Parliament."

"Preacher, a man could get shot, by accident, sayin' a thing like that on my boat. Mebbe several times. "

"Let me finish my story. Then, if necessary, I'll walk down to the airlock with you.Has it ever occurred to you that a man, any man, can be a mass of conflicting principles, and that he chooses which ones he obeys at any particular moment?"

"S'pose that's true. Exceptin' maybe fer Jayne."

The Shepard chuckled. " It's true. And you thing of the Alliance as a big, uniform, equally ugly evil. It's not. It's an Alliance-- groups, factions, each having their own interests. Doesn't mean its results aren't ugly and evil,but it's not uniform . For instance, I work for a Parliament member who is concerned about a recurrence of the Indepenedent Rebellion. That's what brought me to your ship. You were thought to be involved, or at least likely to be."

"Government been watching me?"

"Indeed it has. Intelligence keeps an eye on many browncoats. Some are violent insurrectionists, terriorists. You know some of them. If you weren't actively involved, it was suggested that you deal with them, you might place me alongside them. Watching you, I have learned that your resistance is on a smaller scale, a personal battle. Theft, smuggling, embarrassment, small time annoyance, that's what you can do. So that's what you do. You aren't part of a larger movement or organization. You aren't a threat to the whole Alliance."

"So how did you become a Shepard? Or is that a fake?"

"No, that's a conflict. My Master thought that an itenerant Shepard would be a good cover, and he had enough influence to force the Abbey to take me in. And a funny thing happened. The Abbot wouldn't release me. My Master appplied pressure on him, wanted to get me out and on with my mission. But the Abbot is a stubbornn man. He would not let me leave the Abbey until he saw in me an awakening of true faith. Said he would die, and have his order slaughtered, before he saw a man walk the worlds in a Shepard's suit who wasn't a man of the spirit. He actually held me prisoner. And after a time, I began to study his religious works. Out of boredom if nothing else. Many months passed. With nothing else to do except garden, the study brought me to a truth, that there was something to the Faith, after all. Even some foprgiveness for some of the things I had done. And a way of atonement. By doing good works, I could work toward forgiveness for the things that, so far, couldn't be forgiven. "

"But you still do your "Master's" work?"

"Yes, I do. I still owe a debt to him. I serve two masters, you might say. Sometimes they don't conflict."

"What about these Alliance folk we've met? Dobson, Womack? What about the Tams?"

"A factional matter. The Tams are not MY mission. Blue Sun Corpaoration is a major player in the government, did you know that?"

"Blue Sun? The soft drink folks? Jayne's T-shirt?"

"Yes, them. My Master particularly does not support THEM. Their mind experiments, their Men With Blue Hands. His amusement at their failures is so strong that sometimes he fights against them. But more often, he instructs his agents to watch and report, to assist if they can, in oppposing them. Dobson was their agent, and Early, and the Tams their objective. My instructions were to protect both sides if possible, to cooperate when convenient, but not to accomplish their mission for them. As to Womack, a bad cop is a bad cop, one of the few abuses I am not willing to tolerate. But he had no bearing on my Job, either way. I chose not to help him. I have chosen, where I had a personal choice, to protect the Tams when I had to, and this ship and crew when I could."

"And now you're leaving us?"

"I follow orders. My Master still expects his mission to be accomplished. The Abbot who ordered me to walk the 'Verse for a spell has now ordered me to serve at Haven. I was able to pursue both goals at once before. Now I submit myself to the will of my Abbot. I must learn again by serving in one place, grow by building ties to another small group."

"Sounds of another conflict, doesn't it, between those 2 masters you serve? "

"Indeed it does. The Abbot knows the full truth of me, all of this and more, of my past. I think he sees this as a challenge to me, a test of my faith. He faced down soldiers to hold me prisoner, for my salvation, looked down the barrels of guns, stared death and massacre in the eye, armed only with a Bible. He now tests my other Master. Can He allow me to remain in isolation? How will I respond, facing the firing squad with a target pinned to my breast? " He paused.

Mal prompted him. "And ?"

"I think my Master can spare me. I am not his only agent. I think he will be patient, some more, and wait. If threatened with that firing squad, I think I can persuade my way out of their gunsights. Now, Captain, I must excuse myself. I must return to my quarters, I need to pray some, then pack my things to disembark in the morning. I believe that I will stretch my legs first. I plan to walk by the airlock on my way. Would you care to accompany me?"

Mal began to push his chair back and rise. Then he hesitated, an old, nearly forgotten expression coming to his mind, thru his layers of doubt. " No, Shepard. Go With God


Thursday, August 6, 2009 11:33 AM


I can't see Book serving two Masters. I could see him as originally being something like an Alliance Operative or high up in their Intelligencia then turning to God when he could no longer square the circle of what he saw, did and was complicit in. Yours is an interesting angle though and a brave stab at explaining his past. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 6:13 AM


Have just tripped across your story - snippet at the top of the Blue Sun Room page
I like what you've done here. Like the story - always wanted to know more about Book. You've thought it through and it hangs together
Liked especially the idea of the Abbot standing up to parliament and not letting the Robes of a Shepherd to be debased
But I'm with AMDOBELL in the sense that Book never did come across as having two masters, an ex- operative perhaps, but that is my impression, you made it work

Thank you


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Book's story
HoratioFrog brought this back to my mind. It's been sitting on my HDD, blocked, for over a year. Slightly Alternative Universe-- the BDM had the Shepard not explaining, but somehow the story had to be shared

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A Swarm of Fireflies
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Besides, I've never been to Burbank.
A little different from my usual stuff- a little more action, a little romance.

The bookend story to my piece Freed Man. Wash during the war.

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Freed man
four little scenes that sorta tell a story. Wash, after the War.

This came to me last year at holiday time. Inspiration works funny. This is all there is. I've worked at it a bit all year, and this is all there is, no more, no less.