An Altered Perception - Chapter 9
Thursday, September 1, 2005

A big bit of backstory on Book... ooooooh...


Chapter 9

“I understand.” She’s looking directly at him. “I don’t comprehend.” “What, River, what don’t you comprehend?” Mal snaps. “What is it?” River frowns. “Not you.” And then he really looks at her. She’s not looking at him. She’s looking through him. He turns and steps aside, leaving a clear space between her and Shepherd Book. “I see everything. I can’t not. I see what you did. I know what you were.” Mal’s mouth sets in a grim line. “Preacher…” He’s drawing his gun. Juliet grabs his arm in a vice grip, eyes fixed on River. “No touching guns.” Mal re-holsters the pistol, noticing out of the corner of his eye Zoë doing the exact same thing. “What were you, preacher?” she asks calmly, though Mal can detect the edge in her voice that says she’s anything but inside. Book looks around the assembled faces. Kaylee’s shock, Mal’s anger, Zoë’s calm danger, they all hurt him. That it would come to this. “It’s not what you think. I didn’t do that to her. I didn’t, I…” “You’re here to take her back?” Simon’s face looks like he would be prepared to take Jayne’s gun from the big man’s holster and shoot him if he said yes. “No.” Juliet takes one of the Shepherd’s hands, holding it up. He doesn’t stop her. “Hands of blue, take you away to the other side. Can’t stop. Will never stop. Just keep coming and coming, ‘till they get back what you took.” Mal’s hand strays to his gun again. River shakes her head at him. “No touching.” “Fine. Let him give me a reason not to.” “Very well.” Book’s eyes lock on his. “You want to know about me, I’ll tell you.” “Finally!” “Jayne. Shut-up.” “Thank you.” He nods to Zoë. “Right. I fought during the war on the side of the Alliance.” “Thought there might be something of that sort,” admits Mal. “But, unlike you and Zoë, I wasn’t on the front line. I was doing my usual job. Recruiting people to serve the Alliance. Cheap labour.” “Slaves…” “Captain, I am not proud of many things I have done. I took the able bodied, the likely candidates for the independent army. Put them in factories, mines, all number of places. Made sure the independents would be outnumbered.” Mal and Zoë are looking murderous. “You said something about your usual job,” growls Jayne. “Yes. The Alliance employs many people like I once was. To seek people. I wasn’t a bounty hunter, but I did the job a number of times. After the war, I couldn’t take it anymore. I retired, became a preacher. Tried to cleanse my soul. But even I don’t understand what this has got to do with River.” River laughs softly, making everyone jump. “Took them. Bought them. Convinced them to let go. Three. Three of eleven.” “River, what…” Juliet holds her hand up and Simon stops talking. “Three of those at the school, he put there. That’s what she means. He put them there. They’re there because of him.” She shudders, stumbling backward into Mal, who grips her arms, steadying her. “He didn’t…” “Not me," River says quietly. "Simon. You.” “What?!” “Tried to get you. When you were brought into the world, he came for you. Came to take you away.” Tears fill her eyes and her voice begins to break. “Wouldn’t let go. Compromise. River. The one. The last. The one they wanted. They would have given any thing they had. A daughter was nothing. Didn’t matter. They’d still have everything.” “Oh, mei-mei…” “Dedicated source box. Got one. Nothing for River. Many years. Nothing. Then less than nothing. Two by two.” Stillness descends over the bridge; everyone lost digesting River’s words. Shock shows on all their faces now. Most of them came from families that would never have dreamed of doing anything like what the Tams had done to their daughter. Signed her life away before she was even born. It was unthinkable. Horrifying. Simon is first to speak, seemingly deliberately turning his mind away from the dilemma of his parents. “Who did you work for? Aside from the alliance,” he asks Book. “Many people. But that girl is jogging my memory. The children jobs were funded by a huge corporation, with its roots all the way through the Alliance. Blue Sun.” “Blue Sun?” Jayne looks somewhat confused. “Hey, that was the shirt I was wearing…” “When she attacked you with a butcher’s knife,” Simon finishes. Understanding dawns on him. “She was trying to tell us all along. When she had the spell in the kitchen, there were little logos all over the food packages. Why did I not see this sooner?!” “I don’t like blue protein.” They all turn to stare at Juliet. “What?” Mal says, confused. “It’s the nicest one!”


Thursday, September 1, 2005 9:46 AM


it all seems a little...easy, what with the quick figure and the shepherd is just a little TOO eager to tell his tale, y'know what i mean?

and why is it all in bold?

getting better, though...

Thursday, September 1, 2005 11:25 AM


ok, note. i was trying to going to explain books eagerness, but oops, i forgot. sort of got it in when he says that river was jogging his memory. hey, i'v been making this story up on the spot, so sue me!

Thursday, September 1, 2005 11:45 AM


2nd note - i'll fix it next chapter, ok?

Thursday, September 1, 2005 12:17 PM


Okay, still a mighty fine read. I would have expected the girls to have to give pieces of Book's story before he would let it fall from his own lips along with the shame of it. Be interesting to see how you round this out. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, September 7, 2005 4:16 AM


yay, i fixed the bold!


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A big bit of backstory on Book... ooooooh...

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