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.
Jayne wonders why they aren't under attack, if the Operative knew they would return, but Zoe figures it out: "They didn't know we were coming here." She orders Wash to wave everybody -- Li Shen, the Sanchez brothers -- that has ever sheltered them after a heist. "Tell them to get out. Get out now." Security feed, back on Serenity, shows them all, dead. The Operative waves Mal, who looks at him more broken than angry, close to tears, his last refuge taken, and all the others with it. "You should have taken my offer. Or did you think none of this was your fault?" Mal offers that he doesn't murder children. The Operative admits that he does. "If I have to." Mal asks if he even knows what this is about. "It's not my place to ask. I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin." So then, Mal assumes, "me and mine gotta lay down and die so you can live in your better world?" The Operative explains that there's no place for him in the better world either: "I'm a monster. What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done... Every minute you keep River Tam from me, more people will die." Mal asks if he honestly thinks that at this point he gives a damn, and the Operative smiles. "Of course you care. You're not a Reaver, Mal You're a human man, and you will never understand how..." Mal shuts him off, and leaves the ship giving orders left and right.
"Get these bodies together. Zoe, you and Simon rope them together. Five or six. I want them laid out on the nose of our ship." One of the interruptions finally gets through, as everybody is horrified by what he's saying -- "I won't desecrate these bodies!" -- but he steels himself and keeps going. He orders Kaylee to "muck up the reactor core. Just enough to leave a trail and make it read like we're flying without containment, not enough to fry us." Kaylee nearly freaks, but he orders it again. "Jayne, you and Wash hoist up the cannon mount. Goes right on top. Piece or two of the other ship, stick it on. Any place you can tear hull without inner breach, do that, too. We're gonna need paint. We're gonna need red paint." Zoe steps up on this. "Sir, do you really mean to turn our home into an abomination so that we can make a suicidal attempt at passing through Reaver space?" He looks dead at her. "I mean to live. I mean for us to live. The Alliance won't have that, so we go where they don't follow." Everybody starts to fight him on it, and he pulls his gun. "This is how it is. Anybody doesn't wanna fly with me anymore this is your port of harbor. There's a lot of fine ways to die. I ain't waiting for the Alliance to choose mine." He shoots the last living agent, just now emerging from a ship a few yards away. Everybody screams because he's getting so intense and scary and making such ugly decisions. "I mean to confound these bungers. Take my shot at getting to Miranda. Maybe find something I can use to get clear of this. So I hear a word out of any of you that ain't helping me out or taking your leave, I will shoot you down." He holsters his gun and heads back toward the ship. "Get to work." River watches him go.