Who are you, Shepard Book?

UPDATED: Friday, June 30, 2006 15:43
VIEWED: 2694
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Friday, June 30, 2006 5:42 AM



Originally posted by Muddersmilk in the "What would the Season 1 finale of Firefly have been like?" thread:
4) Book is revealed to be a former Alliance Operative. We all know he was...

I beg to disagree! I don't think Book was an Alliance Operative at all. If he had been, then he would have had no previous name and rank, just like the Operative in Serenity, and the Alliance officers who checked his ID would not have know he was important enough to help out.

I think it goes higher than that. Much, much higher.

I was thinking about this extensively the other day after I posted to the "Most Terrifying Villain" thread. Who are the biggest of the Big Bad in the verse?

The reavers? Nope.
Niska? Not even close.
Blue hands? No again.
Jubal Early? Oh please!

The biggest of the Big Bad in the verse are the minds responsible for the Reavers, Blue hands, Bounty hunters, Unification War, etc. In other words: THE PARLIAMENT! And the worst part is that WE DON'T KNOW WHO THEY ARE. We've never seen them, we wouldn’t recognize them, but they are the ones pulling all the strings.

In fact, if one of them was walking around on board ship, we would never even know it! Hmmmm...

I think Book was a former member of Parliament who decided to leave his post when he found God, or when he realized how much misery he was helping to create and became a Shepard to try to atone. Hey, for all we know, the Pax might have been his idea, and that's why he left his post to join the Shepards!

That would be the only way to explain why the Alliance officers who checked his Ident card would act so quickly to get him into the infirmary. It also explains his knowledge of Alliance procedures, weapons, etc. that no simple Shepard would have know.

Any other thoughts on the subject?

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流口水的婊子和猴子的 笨儿子。
Liou coe shway duh biao-tze huh hoe-tze duh bun ur-tze.
"Stupid son of a drooling whore and a monkey."


Friday, June 30, 2006 5:49 AM


At no point did they refer to Book's rank.

They would have simply seen that he was an operative, just like in the movie.


Friday, June 30, 2006 5:52 AM


Hmm.... havent thought about that before I read this. I figured him to be a high ranking officer or somethin like that. But the idea of him bieng an ex-member of parliament tickels my fancy much more. Way to get a new insight on this much debated topic.

It would explain alot about how he knew about precedures of the military, as well as how the operative would work... But I do have one question as to your idea.

If he knew how they all operated, the way a member of parliament would have to know, how come he didnt forsee the operative beginning to systematically execute all of those responsible for sheltering Serenity?

That has been a big question in my mind for quite a while.

-Siklis Pakem Parabellum, "If You Want Peace Prepare For War!"-

-Bravery is not the absence of fear, this is a foolish notion. Bravery is the mental capacity to work through fear toward a higher purpose.-

-"Everybody dies alone." Malcolm Reynolds Our Captain!-


Friday, June 30, 2006 5:57 AM


well it's heavily implied by a variety of things that he is well versed in the inner working of Alliance and familiar with their policies and procedures. It's demonstrated that whatever he was, it was important enough to produce a swift response from Alliance personnel. It's unlikely that an operative would have that kind of pull, which means Book was either a political somebody ( which I am doubting because they didn't recognize him and the Operative was able to terminate him without difficulty) or a military somebody. I would bet on higher ranking millitary official also because Government officials tend to be insulated from the ugly outcome of their actions where as millitary commanders often have to see it first hand.

I choose to rise instead of fall- U2


Friday, June 30, 2006 6:11 AM


I don't know, but if there was just one, and only one, mystery out of all the loose ends I'd want to see's that one. Everytime I watch it and he comes on screen, I just keep wondering. My only qualm, is that now even if the series was brought back, he will not be there for the discovery if it ever happens. ::sighs::


Friday, June 30, 2006 6:19 AM


I agree, just to know that there is this huge mystery to ba solved and that we will never know the answer is very...well can't think of the word but not good. I just recently got my boyfriend into Firefly after much complaining from him, and he loved the show (naturaly who wouldn't?) after Jubal's comment about Book not being a sheppard my boyfriend got all bug eyed going "Well who is he?" and unfortunately all he got from me was a shoulder shrug.


REmember that a kick in the ass is a step forward.


Friday, June 30, 2006 6:49 AM


I think everyone is forgetting that not only does Book know a LOT about the alliances inner workings, he also knew a lot about weapons and how to fight. Seriously, how many government bigwigs see combat and have knowledge of such things. Jubal took him out quickly because he believed him to be dangerous physically.

I think its much more probable that he was an operative of some description. Doesn't matter if they didn't refer to a rank or name when the Alliance gave him medical attention, all they needed to see was Operative. Obviously he couldn't have left on very bad terms, otherwise I'm sure they would have treated him quite differently i'd imagine.


Friday, June 30, 2006 6:57 AM


I've always thought that maybe Book was in law enforcement. He knew about the fed station in "The Message", as well as where the cop got his stripes.

In "Bushwacked," he was he one that wanted the incident reported to the feds.

He probably high enough up in the ranks that he commanded the respect to get medical help.


Friday, June 30, 2006 7:03 AM


I would tend to agree...if they have the same type of structure as our military a simple operative would have very little juice with higher ups..he'd have to be pretty powerful to command that sort of instant response...remember the Operative fully expects to have the command center ignore his request for River to be left alone. that doesn't exactly scream power and influence. Book obviously has both so I'm guessing higher level military or law enforcement because he knows weapons and fighting as has obviously done something he regrets deeply...also I've seldom seen a politician genuinely regret their actions:)

I choose to rise instead of fall- U2


Friday, June 30, 2006 7:04 AM


Yea I'm sticking with the operative theory, because it seems to me that's what Joss was trying to hint at in the movie. Both Book and the Operative were men of strong belief, Book's belief in god and the Operative's belief in the alliance.

I also think that what happened with the operative at the end of the movie was meant to show us what happened to book. He found out some horrible truth about the alliance that shattered his belief and left him a broken man, until he turned to god.

And yea as for the no name or rank thing, the Operative didn't need any name or rank to get Dr. Mathias to go from asking what the hell he was doing in the records room to giving him full access to anything he wanted.

"Haha, mine is an evil laugh."


Friday, June 30, 2006 7:11 AM


I like all these theories about Book, since he's is my second favorite character. I must say though, I don't think he was a member of the Parliment. Book is good with a gun, and can take down a Fed without a problem, I think he was a high level enforcer or an Operative.

Although knowing Joss, I'm guessing no one will be able to determine his past unless we hear it from Joss himself. There doesn't seem to be anything conclusive enough to say he was definetly anything.

The part in safe is also quite intriguing as well. The fact that they rushed him in makes me wonder if they still owe him something or he is still tied in somehow. We may never know for sure, but will always hope for more FF/BDM.


The Bible's a bit fuzzy on the subject of kneecaps.


Friday, June 30, 2006 8:29 AM


Im with you on that one. Book is so complex and deep in numerous ways that its hard to tell. There are many things supporting numerous beliefs. For instance...

A high ranking miliraty personnel;
1) you have to work your way to higher ranks, thus at one time he would have been a grunt and had to fight. This explains his use of firearms and hand-to-hand combat.
2) he knows the inner working of the alliance military. This suggests at one time he had done the same thing, he also seemed to be in pain when thinking of how the military would have come at them, kinda showing a past regret.
3) He has IMMEDIATE treatment from the alliance with no questions asked and Serenity is completely left alone. Which screams power.

A high ranking member of law enforcement;
1) relatively the same as Military except for the knowledge of where the cop got his command stripes, how he never contacted the station, and that he was doing the job on the side. hmm..... past experience? Maybe

and I may be pushing it with this one but here we go, a member of parliament;
1) his knowledge of all things alliance. He knows the inner-most workings of the alliance.
2) He would have had to start somewhere, maybe prior military, to get recognized for a seat in parliament. Thus once again he would have had to work his way up from the bottom and had to fight before.

But still the hardest question for me to answer is how did he get killed so easily? If he was a high ranking law enforcement, and especially a high ranking military, he would have had better defenses on Haven. He would have known the Operative would have been coming to take him out, probably not personally but with some other ships. Getting knocked out by Jubal I can understand because he caught him by surprise... But having such poor defenses on his "home" just doesnt make sense to me.

-Siklis Pakem Parabellum, "If You Want Peace Prepare For War!"-

-Bravery is not the absence of fear, this is a foolish notion. Bravery is the mental capacity to work through fear toward a higher purpose.-

-"Everybody dies alone." Malcolm Reynolds Our Captain!-


Friday, June 30, 2006 8:43 AM


small religious colony in a very hidden place, plus many years a shepherd probably means his reflexes were dulled and he wasn't really expecting trouble. He did manage to take down the ship and survive til Mal got all in all for an old man not too shabby

I choose to rise instead of fall- U2


Friday, June 30, 2006 10:51 AM


I was so sad when they killed Book. Ron Glass has been one of my favorites since Barney Miller. I just wish he would have stayed alive (and from his interview it seems he wanted to) for any future movies....but then again I get the feeling this was it for the crew...



Friday, June 30, 2006 11:05 AM


Book tells us in Serenity, "I wasn't always a Shepherd, Mal." He has had more than one career.

So what's to prevent him from having had more than two?

Perhaps he began in the Alliance military forces, rising to an intermediate rank. He could have transferred, or been assigned, to Parliament security, where he could have observed the political side from close up. After retiring from the military, he could have had a second career in law enforcement. Finally he followed his calling into the Abbey, and thence aboard Serenity.

Perhaps that's only part of the story. Book lived a long life. It may also have been a varied one.

I'm pointin' right at it!


Friday, June 30, 2006 11:28 AM



Originally posted by PaganPaul:
If he had been, then he would have had no previous name and rank, just like the Operative in Serenity, and the Alliance officers who checked his ID would not have know he was important enough to help out.

[P]The reaction to Book's ID card in Safe strkes me as awfully similar to the reaction to The Operative's ID near the start of the BDM. The title "Operative of the parliament" seems to trump any military rank. And the name "Book" always sounded like a cypher to me.
[P]If this were Star Trek - or maybe even Buffy - I'd suggest that The Operative turned to Christianity as a drop-in replacement for his lost faith in the Alliance, joined a monestary, got thrown back in time by a freak transsubstatiation accident (involving a stale communion wafer, a mutated space weevil, some irradiated wine and a small rubber band) and wandered around backwater spaceports for 20 years until he spotted someone he knew getting on a familiar space ship (probably after having become Jubal Early's father). But fortunately it isn't (but the Operative does seem like a cross between an alternate Bad Book and Early).

[P]I wondered if Book was an agent for a rival government faction - possibly the people who helped break River out - keeping tabs on River in order to find out what the Big Secret was. Witness his speech (can't remember which ep) about governments not being intrinsically evil.


Friday, June 30, 2006 3:43 PM


Is Book really a Shepard? In the final episode, Jubal Early states "He's no Shepard." Jubal seems quite emphatic in about this and also shows alot of knowledge about the crew and ship. We here in the episode called "Ariel" that he has gone on some kind of retreat, but we never see or hear anthing else. Was he really on a retreat or did he make it up so he could go somewhere else that he didn't want anyone else to know about? So is Jubal stating a fact or an opinion? If Book had been a high ranking official would he have known about some of these lower criminals, "Their not looking for survivors." He might know about Niska like everybody knew about Capone, but not these petty thieves. When he wakes up on Serenity after his surgery he says "Its good to be back home." And in first episode he has doubts about his presence on Serenity and actually cries in front of Inara who has to comfort him. Maybe coming on board Serenity is his the beginning of his redemption. He may never have been in any brotherhood. As for his knowledge of the Bible, well I've read some of it myself but it doen't make me a Christian. You guys really made me think on this. My conclusion is Book is just starting out on his journey and Serenity is his first step. He bought his Shepard outfit secondhand as a disguise. Remember the look he gave Mal when he was introduced as a Shepard. He was surprized Mal had not recognized him in the outfit he was wearing. As if the costume was not working. Book really is a puzzle isn't he. It makes you wonder after all the hush hush stuff around him that they would not answer any of these questions in the movie. Must be a sadistic streak in Joss to leave us guessing like this.

And what do we do with the chain of command?






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