Shadow War - Chapter One
Thursday, July 1, 2004

Malcolm and Book have an introductry conversation on the bridge. Slow paced, but, hey, I'm building to something.


In the black, a strange, old, dirty, and slightly delapidated space ship cruised by one of the crushed planets from afar. Terraforming was hard on most planets, a little too hard on some. The Alliance was sure to bring the light of civilization everywhere it could, even if it had to destroy every heavenly body in the 'verse. Captain Malcolm Reynolds was at the helm. He always felt strange piloting Serenity, not because he wasn't a pilot, but because he felt it usurped a little of what Wash, the real pilot, was good at. As he watched the destroyed planet drift by, he was again reminded of the folly of the Independents and their war with the Alliance. Any one body of government that could destroy whole worlds was no body to tangle with. Fighting the Alliance was stupid, bloody, unforgiving, and absolutely necessary. While he felt strange flying the ship he owned, he would never tell Wash that. Wash liked to get a little independent at times, and Mal didn't like to foster it. He was glad that his pilot could think on his feet and was quick witted, but Wash had a slight tendency to run off at the mouth at the wrong times. And, when the pilot got his brain around an idea, it was hard to shake him of it. The hold Mal had over Jayne, his hired muscle, was tenuous at best, and Jayne was easily persuaded, especially when money was concerned. Mal heard a footstep behind him. Actually, he sensed a footstep behind him. There was only one person on the ship that could move that quietly. "Shepherd", Mal said, without turning, "What's wrong? You a shepherd with no sheep to count?" "That's almost funny, son." Shepherd Book said. He walked up behind the helm to look down at the nav computer before sitting in the only other chair in the cockpit. He serenely observed the destroyed planet floating by in the starfield. He fetched a deep sigh and turned to Captain Reynolds. "God loves. Man kills." Mal cut his eyes towards the preacher across the instrument panel, and said "Don't start." "As you wish, Captain. Sooner or later, you're going to have to tell me what happened." "What happened with what?" "Your faith, Captain" said Book. "My faith, much like my business, is none of, Shepherd." "No need to get tetchy, Captain Reynolds. I understand that you need your privacy. I simply couldn't sleep. What are you doing up?" Book asked. "What are you doing up, Preacher? Bad dreams? Maybe a few recollections you don't want to recollect? I mean, sooner or later, you're going to have to tell me what happened." Mal said, with a sly smile. Book tightened his robe around himself a little and returned to looking out the observation portholes. "Okay then. As you can see, I wasn't getting tetchy. Just privatized is all." "Point made, Captain Reynolds." After a brief, silent pause between the two men, Mal sighed and turned back to the preacher. "I know why I'm awake, but, why are you. You seem to be up all the time. I understand space insomnia. I can really understand it in the face of Jayne's space squitters. That man eats too much protein." "I thought the crew had voted never to mention that again?" Shepherd Book said, wrinkling his nose. "And, I deeply apologize for breaking the accord. But, truthfully, Preacher? Why can't you sleep?" Book inhaled deeply as Mal saw as pained a look as he had ever seen on any man. "We all have nightmares that chase us no matter where we go, Captain. A shepherd is no different." "Actually, Shepherd, I thought you guys were different. How can good men of God have nightmares?" "Good men of God rarely start out that way, Captain. And, the things that they do to make them men of God are probably responsible for the dreams that make them pray for sleep." "Wow. Cryptic, yet vague. Thanks preacher. You know, a simple 'I'm not ready to tell you why the Alliance patched me up' would have done." "Well, why ask a question that you know I'm not going to answer? Why are you awake all the time?" Book asked, while rising and starting for the door. "Bad dreams are not exclusive to the clergy, Shepherd. Why don't you go and pray to God for some sleep. I would rather stay awake, thanks." "Then mysteries all around Captain. Your faith and my past. I'm afraid that they may always stay intact." "That they may, Shepherd. As for me and my mysteries, I think I'll let the autopilot take over. We should be close to Pegasus in a couple of days, and I need my beauty sleep." Over his shoulder, Book said "Yes, you do."


Thursday, July 1, 2004 8:46 PM


I didn't find it slow. Found it interesting and intriguing. Provacative conversation. Looking forward to seeing what kind of plot wraps around this set-up.

Thursday, July 1, 2004 9:14 PM


I'm not sure about this, even after posting it. I'm not sure that I have the voices right. I will continue, but this story is a slow. character driven drama, with a little action. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.

Thursday, July 1, 2004 9:44 PM


manwithpez (bizarre yet interesting nom-de-net, BTW)--

I could 'hear' the Shepherd's voice quite well while reading. Somewhat less so the captain's, though the dialog for him was definitely in the right spirit, some of the phrasing perhaps a touch off. Seemed to call Book "Shepherd" too much.

As one also indulging in writing character driven drama (Blue Sun Job), with the action primarily used to illustrate character development and provide character stress factors, I do hope you continue this. I enjoyed it and very much would like to read more.

Friday, July 2, 2004 2:05 AM


I thought this was excellent and there was nothing wrong with the pacing, I love it when a story is written at the pacing of the tale's unfoldment. As for the voices you have done very well in the main. Book would not have kept calling Mal "Captain Reynolds" just "Captain" - unless they had just met. I really like the start and the way the banter between them flowed. Shiny. *Xie Xie ni*, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, July 28, 2004 8:31 AM


Looks promising. The dialogue isn't quite right. I could hear Book's voice while he was speaking, but he adressed mal as captain too much. I couldn't hear Mal, doesn't fit right, and he called Book shepard too much.

Anyways, off to read the rest of the chapters.

Saturday, August 7, 2004 9:28 PM


A very good start. The characters are right on target. I guess I will have to play catch up to find out what happens next.


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Somnambulism - Chapter Fourteen
It's back...well, this is actually a reposting of a lost chapter. Hey! I just refound it myself!

Somnambulism - Chapter Thirteen
Trap. Hunt. Enemy. Trap

Somnambulism - Chapter Twelve
The Plan, Negotiation, Landing, Hunt

Somnambulism - Chapter Eleven
Wash's Orders, Mal's Revelation, The Other, Captiulation

Somnambulism - Chapter Ten
Mal's Dream. Walt's Problem. River's Regain.

Somnambulism - Chapter Nine
Safety. Recollection. Explanation.

Somnambulism - Chapter Eight
Simon's Dream, Mal's Choice, River's Verdict

Somnambulism - Chapter Seven
Memory, Atavism, Hera

Somnambulism - Chapter Six
History, Discovery, Purpose

Somnambulism - Chapter Five
Malice, Theory, Opportunity