"In The Name of the Father"
Sunday, August 1, 2004

How the Shepherd got his name.


TITLE: "IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: No specific pairing. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: New. Standalone story. ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE:

SUMMARY: "The origin of the Shepherd's name." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


A "Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

He supposed he should not have been surprised that the boy had seen through him but Merciful Father no one should have suffered enough in life to have that much savvy. The Shepherd shook his head slightly and reminded himself that he really should stop thinking of Serenity's Captain as a boy. In every respect Malcolm Reynolds was a man pure and simple or rather not so pure or simple. Man was complex and sharper than he seemed. Book had been careful. Quietly covering his tracks from day one of picking out his target. The *lese* old Firefly class transport had been the perfect choice. The rumours he had followed solidified in the simplicity of the ship's name.

Not long after joining Serenity he came to have his first bout of second thoughts. His heart quailing at what he saw as the unremitting bleakness of their austere Captain. The rag tag crew inspiring the kind of emotional conflict you would expect to find in a criminal asylum. Now they were like worn clothes, the fit may be a little ragged and humble but wrapping him in their weathered folds as if made for him. For he was a man fallen from grace himself. And the Captain, young as he was, grim and all knowing for his years as he was, had seen the heart of him in that first glimpse. It had inspired and terrified him. Later, in Inara's shuttle, he had almost confessed the whole of it. God bless the mercy that kept that little weakness hidden.

"I think I am on the wrong ship."

The Companion had placed a gentle hand on his bowed head and reassured him. Funny how the words of a whore had filled him with the resolve of the truly penitent. How ironic that it should be Inara Serra who would teach him humility not the other way around. And disturbing that it would be Malcolm holding the mirror of his faith up to him so he could lay claim to each and every flaw. Oh yes. God truly had a wicked sense of humour.

It was two or three in the morning. The ship was as quiet as she ever got, her crew cradled as they slept in her metal arms, protected by a skin of steel and lulled by the endless turning of her idling engine. The heart of the ship. Not the engine but her crew. Since when did he get so fanciful? The Preacher smiled to himself and began the soothing ritual of making tea. Not surprised when he heard the even measured footfall of the Captain. Not looking up to catch the question in those dark soulful eyes but reaching instead for a second vessel and patiently pouring enough solace to fill two cups. When he was done he looked up, saw the Captain had paused by his place at the table, the Bible lying open where the Preacher had left it. He watched the Captain read the words and quietly joined him. As the cups were placed on the table, Malcolm Reynolds looked up. His eyes locking on the Shepherd's in unspoken truce. "Kind of poetical don't you think?"

The Shepherd raised his eyebrows and pretended not to understand his meaning. Knowing the Captain was not referring to the words on the page. A light dry chuckle escaped Mal's lips as his hand gently brushed the pages of the open Bible, like the touch of an absent friend. The Captain's smile became a sudden bright flash of warmth reflected in eyes that laughed back at him.

"Book." He paused and savoured the irony of the joke. "For what it's worth you took your name from the best, Preacher. I think your God would have liked that."

"He's your God too."

The Captain was about to protest but the Shepherd held up a hand. The inexplicable softening of his features calming his most cherished charge. "Let it be, son."

"I won't change my mind, Preacher. God deserted me, *us*, on that gorram battlefield. Even if you can forgive Him I can't."

Book nodded. Knew. Understood. "I have faith enough for both of us."

Then he watched in silence as the Captain took his tea and left the commons area. Knew he would be heading for the bridge where he would sit and stare for hours on end out across the Black. The only place emptier than his war weary soul. Shepherd Book looked down at the passage he had been reading.

*Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil. For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff comfort me...*

The Captain would keep his secret and there was comfort in that small act of faith. Book. That was his name now. Chosen because his own redemption lay within these holy pages. Reverently he closed it and brought the worn leather cover to his lips so he could kiss it. In his own redemption he hoped to find the keys to another's. It would not wipe away the walls of the honoured dead but it just might give the living a chance.

* * * * *

*lese* = crap


Sunday, August 1, 2004 12:28 AM


All kinds of good. And poetical.

Sunday, August 1, 2004 2:52 AM


Unusually gentle for you. But with your characteristic insight and skill. Thanks!

Sunday, August 1, 2004 12:18 PM


artships, I thought everybody needed a break after my last epic. A new series will be starting soon so this is your little breather! Thanks as always to everyone for the comments. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, August 1, 2004 11:42 PM


A very nice character piece.

Monday, October 23, 2006 2:22 PM


its ok.... Im more into action and stuff but this aint bad so I give it...


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.