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Zoe reports to Mal that she's sealed off the bridge. "I do not like her there," he says, and tells them to check the shuttle, in case she's elsewhere. He enters her shuttle, where she sits at the bridge. She cocks a gun at him without turning around, and he snaps still. "Captain." He holsters his gun and speaks. "The government's man, he says you're a danger to us. Not worth helping. Is he right?" She begins to cry, but won't look at him, focused on the navigation screen. "Are you anything but a weapon? I've staked my crew's life on the theory you're a person, actual and whole, and if I'm wrong, you'd best shoot me now." She cocks the gun. "Or we could talk more." She works silently, gun still leveled behind her, and a planet appears onscreen. She turns back to him, finally. "Miranda."
They all discuss the fact that there's a planet Miranda that none of them have heard of. "Because there isn't one," Mal explains from the screen. "It's a blackrock. Uninhabitable. Terraforming didn't hold, or some such. Few settlers died." Simon massages the throat River hit him in, and River apologizes. "I had to show them. I didn't know if you were going to make me sleep." Irritated: "You could have asked." Jayne is also unimpressed with all this noise. Kaylee vaguely remembers a call long ago for settlement volunteers for Miranda, but Wash is still confused, because the Cortex has nothing on it: "History, Astronomy...it's not in there." This is what convinces Mal, of course. "Half of writing history is hiding the truth. There's something on that rock the Alliance doesn't want known." Inara points out that it's not too far from where they are, and Wash wigs, asking his wife to explain why. "This is us, at Haven, and here's Miranda. All along here, that empty space in between, that's Reaver territory." Everybody gets scared, but they are distracted by what they see on approach to Haven: buildings destroyed, burning, bodies everywhere. "Doesn't look like Reavers."
Down on Haven -- and see what they did there? -- they can't find Book. River stands before a burning child's swing. The little kid that loved Kaylee lies dead. Mal finds Shepherd Book, dying behind a building. "Shouldn't have been you," Mal says. "Alliance should've hit us. Should've hit me." Shepherd smiles. "That crossed my mind." He admits to shooting down the ship, "I killed the ship that killed us," and they smile. "Not very Christian of me." Mal tells him he did the right thing, and Book jokes again that coming from Mal, that means "almost nothing." Book starts to slip, but Mal promises that Simon will save him. "I look to be bored by many more sermons before you slip. Just don't move." Book shakes his head again. "Can't order me around, boy. I'm not one of your crew." Mal almost loses it. "Yes, you are." Book begs him, "I don't care what you believe. Just believe it. Whatever you..." and he dies, his message interrupted.