The Four Winds, Chapter 18
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our Heroes - and Our Villains - try to figure a way out of the mess they're in.


"Frank has betrayed them. All of them. He's taking them to Nassau Point to sell them as slaves."

Book was sitting on the narrow bunk, reading a Bible. River hadn't realized he was carrying one; she wondered vaguely where he kept it. Then she realized he was just a hallucination generated by the crazy part of her mind, and decided that it really made perfect sense for a hallucination to manifest whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted to. Except a voice, perhaps. But she thought maybe she liked him better as a silent partner. Maybe.

He was, at least, a polite hallucination. When she spoke, he looked up at her and lifted his eyebrows as if he were truly interested. When she finished, he frowned in disapproval. Book didn't like the idea of these innocent colonists being sold as slaves, either.

"I can't let that happen," she said.

He looked surprised. He held up a finger, indicating that she should wait, and closed his eyes briefly. Then he flipped through his Bible. When he found the passage he was looking for, he held the page where she could see it, and ran his finger under the words.

The verse was in Jeremiah. Book ran his finger under the words, what will you do when the end comes?

Well, that was obvious enough, and anyway, she had already decided what she had to do. "Take the ship," she said. The terrible shakes that she had thought were a side effect of the medication were fading, after all, and when she thought about Frank, and all of these people sold as slaves, the trembling became the taut quiver of a drawn bowstring.

Book closed his eyes, pinched the bridge of his nose, and then flipped to another verse, this one in Exodus.

Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us.

River considered. The ship carried only ten crew. Ten, she thought she could handle. And surely the colonists would be on her side, if they found out what was going on. Although in a situation like that, people with no skills and no training tended to do the wrong thing -- like getting in crossfires -- and cause more problems than they solved. Still, they'd be a formidable mob. Anyway. It was doable.

"I've dealt with some scary people," she told Book. "These people aren't that scary, and their ship won't be hard to fly."

Book's expression said, "Oh?" He hadn't known she was a pilot. Well, technically she wasn't; she had no credentials. But she could certainly fly this ship.

Book showed her a portion of a verse in Genesis. Where are you going?

It was a good question. It wasn't as if she could just scold the crew and tell them sternly that they needed to take these people to a colony world. In all likelihood, there was no colony world, and never had been.

But Nassau Point was where she has been planning to go, for reasons of her own, and it could serve for the colonists, too. Because Simon wasn't the only person she expected to find at Nassau Point. Mal was there, too.

If she took the ship to Mal, he would know what to do.

"I need to take the ship to the Captain," she told Book. "The Captain will know what to do."

Book's slight frown was back, but he didn't appear to argue with her. She supposed he could shake his head "no" if he thought her plan was a bad one. Or find another Bible verse to point out. There were plenty of condemnations and negating statements in there, surely; he could come up with a "thou shalt not" if he felt really strongly about it. But even if he did disagree, would she take advice from a hallucination? Well, maybe. It would almost be like taking advice from herself, after all.

But he seemed not to have anything to say at this point.

"So, I really think the thing to do is to ask the Captain," she concluded.

Book pressed his lips together, acknowledging the finality of her statement. She sensed that he wasn't at all sure of her confident assertion that she could take over the ship without trouble. But she knew that when she acted, he would see. And he would support her. Somehow. Maybe.

He flipped through the Bible again.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans shall be established

"You know, you could just say you're with me," she told him. "After all, you're not at the Abbey anymore." She had to admit that, as plans went, hers was a little sketchy. But surely he would understand that even if it was difficult and dangerous, with a low probability of success, she had to try. It was the right thing to do. A preacher should understand that.

Book had one more verse for her. It said: Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further their evil plot.

"Well. Amen to that, anyway," she told him.


Coles did his best thinking when he was moving -- but not like this. Not confined in the seat of his Admiral's gig on the flight back to his flagship.

This was a real problem.

Had he come upon Tam and Washburne first, on his own, he could have hidden them, or hidden their bodies, or taken some protective action before they fell into the hands of his crew. But he hadn't. And now he was stuck with them. Outright murder wouldn't help him now. In fact, it might spark an investigation that would only make matters worse. He thought of an investigator digging into what had really happened to Serenity and the Tams -- not to mention, what Coles had been doing since that incident -- and could almost feel the cell walls around him as he thought it.

He only had one idea.

He wasn't sure it was something Malcolm Reynolds would go for.

But Malcolm Reynolds was loyal to his crew.

Maybe it would be enough.


Inara had meant to tune the Butterfield, but in fact, she had done little more than plink at it for close to half an hour. It lay half-forgotten in her lap, where she reclined on a round cushioned sofa in the lower sitting room of Jerrode's yacht. She had been staring at a painting of violets that hung on the wall, but she had been seeing Mal's face. Specifically, she had been seeing Mal's face when it suddenly changed.

She had had the somewhat fanciful impression, at the time, that he had suddenly been shot, right in midsentence. His expression had altered that dramatically, from angry (and getting angrier) to... she couldn't decide. Surprise? Thoughtfulness? As if something had just struck him. Like a bullet. Without the blood.

Mal knew something, or thought he did. Something he hadn't shared with her. Something he'd realized in the middle of saying "Because he's got"... what? What did Jerrode have that Mal found so startling?

Going forward from that point was not enlightening, so Inara went back. Back to Jerrode, sending someone to retrieve Simon and Zoe...only to find them gone when his people arrived. But what if they hadn't been gone? What if they had evaded Jerrode's people on purpose? Why would they do that? Because they, too, knew something she didn't -- something that made avoiding Jerrode's people look like a good idea.

If that were true, then it was Jerrode who had interfered in Mal's rendezvous in the first place; who had driven Mal from Nassau Point. If that was what Mal was thinking, then Jerrode was Mal's enemy.

Which meant, she realized, that Jerrode had become her enemy, too.

Well, if Mal was correct, then Jerrode would not let Inara leave freely; she had become a bargaining chip. A hostage.

And she would have to find her own way home.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011 4:17 AM


Hmm. SOMEONE isn't a hallucination, and took a vow of silence. Perhaps this is the real and original Shepherd Book.

Also, wow Inara, way to finally use your head. Of course this could have all been avoided if you hadn't made a stubborn and completely unnecessary stand about being able to have your companion engagements no matter what else is going on.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 3:49 PM


Yeah I am not sure but I still think I know who the new "Book" is and if I am right I doubt Mal will be happy to see him.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 1:50 AM


I wanted to cheer at Inara finally 'getting a clue'. Just hope she does not give her misgivings away to Jerrode while trying to find a safe way out. As for River and ghostly book, I really liked it. Worked well and raised a smile or too. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 1:51 AM


I wanted to cheer at Inara finally 'getting a clue'. Just hope she does not give her misgivings away to Jerrode while trying to find a safe way out. As for River and ghostly book, I really liked it. Worked well and raised a smile or too. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 5:21 AM


Love the River/Book interaction. I'm fascinated to see what you do with this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 6:09 PM


Thanks so much for commenting! It helps keep me going.


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The Four Winds, Epilogue
The end...or maybe just another beginning.

The Four Winds, Chapter 25
The rest of the crew return home.

The Four Winds, Chapter 24
Me and Elwood, we're puttin' the band back together.

The Four Winds, Chapter 23
Inara investigates matters; Mal discovers that the impossible has been done in his absence.

The Four Winds, Chapter 22
River needs Mal to solve her problem; Mal is forced to provide information to the Alliance.

The Four Winds, Chapter 21
When Mal tries to recover the cargo, will he lose more than he stands to gain?

The Four Winds, Chapter 20
Mal makes changes to his plan; River puts her plan into action; Inara decides on a plan of her own; Wash finds something he'd lost.

The Four Winds, Chapter 19
Simon gets an alias; Mal gets a look at his client; Wash gets a shock.

The Four Winds, Chapter 18
Our Heroes - and Our Villains - try to figure a way out of the mess they're in.

The Four Winds, Chapter 17
River finds out what's really going on; Simon and Zoe fall into the wrong hands.