And So It Was Named
Sunday, June 4, 2006

River does some reading and Book does some preaching.


Written for the Firefly Friday challenge on "babble".

Disclaimer: any and everything Firefly and Serenity is the property of Whedon et al. I’m not making a bit of coin on this. Just playing with his toys.

Setting: pre-BDM, post-series

Rating: G

balal - to confuse or confound (Hebrew)
River’s brow furrowed deeply at the pages before her. She flipped through, flipped back and flipped all around. She stopped, put both forearms on the galley table and stared straight ahead. “It still doesn’t make sense.”

Book looked from his own reading. “What’s that?”

“This.” She looked down to the pages again. “Full of inaccuracies and fanciful words that say nothing.” She fingered the papers. “Babble.” She held one up. “Puzzling.”

The Shepherd moved to speak, but refrained. Instead, he rose and went to see what had confused River. His face softened at seeing the familiar words of Genesis staring up at him. “You’re reading the Bible, River. We’ve discussed this.”

“Yes, yes. Faith fixes. But the wound still doesn’t heal. No bandage big enough.”

Book pulled a chair out and sat. “What exactly perplexes you?”

River pointed to a passage. He read it in silence then smiled. “I thought that you would understand that.”

“Understand, yes. But it’s wrong.”

The Preacher blinked and shifted in his seat. “Wrong?”

“Read!” She tapped the words more forcefully. “Archaeological evidence is very clear. No towers. Just pyramids. Ziggaruts.”

“River, the Tower of Babel is a metaphor.” Book searched for the words to explain. “It’s like...well, it’s a way to explain why people speak different languages.”

“Why would God punish them?”


The young woman rolled her eyes. “Your God said that He made everyone not understand.”

“Because they were trying to get closer to heaven.”

“He punished them!” River slumped. “Why?”

“It isn’t about punishing per se, but desiring to become God. The physical reaching for heaven means reaching for God. It doesn’t work that way. You need faith. That’s what heaven is all about.”

She shook her head, her hair falling onto the table. “Not real.”

Book smiled. “Oh, heaven’s real. Very much so.”

River narrowed her eyes, but did not continue that line of conversation. “Tower of Babel. Balal. From the Hebrew. Confuse, confound.” She paused and pulled her legs onto the chair. “Simon.”

Book chuckled. “I dare say so.” He patted her hand. “Have I answered your question?”

She cocked her head and ignored the inquiry. “That’s what he thinks I am. The Tower of Babel. Raise me up to heaven. Find salvation. Find happiness.” She smacked the table. “But I’m crashing down and he doesn’t like it. Has to wander. Not understanding. Always confused and confounded.”

“Perhaps he’s the Tower.”

River grinned. “No, I’m still babbling.”

The Shepherd rose from the seat and grabbed his glass from the other end of the table. “Not anymore, child. You’re starting to make perfect sense.”

“But you don’t concur.”

“I don’t have to. And that’s not really the point.”

River shifted her body and cocked her head to the other side. “Your book says reach for heaven. Dares you. Try and you’ll be punished with babel.”

Book offered a non-committal shrug.

“Lesson is: don’t try for heaven.”

“Perhaps, but at least now you’re thinking on it.”

River thought on this then stopped. Her feet fell to the floor as she straightened her back. “Sneaky Shepherd!”

Book smirked. “Of course I am. How else can a preacher get his flock to read the Bible.” He strode to his quarters leaving River to feel a little like a dummy. Next time, she would have to leave out some pages on nuclear quantum physics to get her flock to have faith in the true reality of the ‘verse.



Sunday, June 4, 2006 3:40 PM


Ahh, loved the conversation between River and Book. Wonderfully done.

Sunday, June 4, 2006 5:05 PM


Ahhh, that sneaky Shepherd! Very nice piece, your River was wonderful! *don't you just love those challenges?!*

Sunday, June 4, 2006 5:11 PM


Thanks, Leiasky. River and Book needed more stories and this just came to me (finally - thanks muse!).

To Squish, yes, I do! And I think you do as well *wink*

Sunday, June 4, 2006 8:32 PM


Wonder if Book has ever tried to argue that some of humanity's greatest scientists were religious men? Newton's a good example...pious and empirical in his work;)


Monday, June 5, 2006 12:03 AM


Very fine story and a nice balance between Book and River that was playful and serious. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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