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The Operative

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I'm not going to live there. There's no place for me there... any more than there is for you. Malcolm... I'm a monster. What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.
~ The Operative to Malcolm Reynolds about why he wants to create what he believes is a better world.

The Operative is a nameless and ruthless member of Alliance and the main antagonist from the 2005 sci-fi action movie, Serenity. He was potrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor.


After the Hands of Blue were killed in the events of Those Left Behind, the Alliance contacted him in the hopes of recapturing River Tam and bringing her back. He travels to the Academy, where River was first operated on, and reviews security feeds of River and her brother Simon. When Dr. Mathias, one of the people who'd previously worked with River, interrupts, he willingly reveals his identity as an Operative, disturbing him.

During the conversation, he correctly deduces that Simon rescued her sister (throwing his career and safety away in the process) out of love, but quickly turns the conversation towards Dr. Matthias's "sin". This, he believes, is pride, citing Matthias's comment that key members of Parliament had met with River, exposing her to government secrets via her psychic abilities, but insisting that he deserves an "honorable" death. When Dr. Matthias tries to run, he quickly kills his guard and paralyzes him with a pressure point attack, making him fall onto his sword while praising his work.

Afterwards, he begins transmitting subliminal messages throughout the galaxy, which eventually causes River to revert to her programming on Beaumonde and destroy the Maidenhead bar. In the aftermath, he learns about Malcolm Reynolds, and travels to the Companion Training House - and Inara. There, he makes Inara get in touch with Mal, knowing that he'll come to her help, regardless of whether he knows about a trap.

At the Companion Training House, the Operative fails to persuade Mal into giving up River and Simon, showing brief flashes of anger when Mal reveals him as an assassin and insults his intelligence, and eventually resorting to violence when he tries to shoot him. The Operative quickly overpowers Mal, but ends up stunned by Inara's flashbang "incense".

With Serenity gone, the Operative orders hits on every known hiding place of the crew, including Haven and former crew member Shepherd Book. He then tries to convince Mal to turn over River, mentioning his desire to make "better worlds", even though he'll have no place in them because of all his deeds. After he suggests that Mal "isn't a Reaver", he gets cut off, and Serenity vanishes off the Alliance's radar.

Realizing where Mal has gone, he gathers Alliance ships and travels to Mr. Universe's planet, where he recieves a message about the crew's discovery on Miranda. The Operative kills him, destroys his broadcasting equipment, and places his ships in orbit around the planet. When Mal arrives with the Reaver armada chasing him, he escapes in the ensuing battle and quickly learns about the message that Mr. Universe left before he died.

Now thoroughly fed up with Mal - even going so far to shoot him in the back - the two engage in a brutal fight, only for the Operative to discover that his pressure point attack doesn't work, as Mal had the nerve cluster necessary moved during an operation. With the fight over, Mal uses the backup equipment to broadcast the final report from Miranda. Finally seeing the consequences of the Alliance's goals, he gives up the chase, and assists the crew in repairing Serenity.

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