Interesting exercise, writing from the P.O.V. of someone you don't like and aren't meant to like. But ever since I saw the film I've been impressed with Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative, and I could empathize with the character in one particular way: he has bad bosses. I started the story at the moment late in the film when he realizes this: he'd supported a regime that was willing to let the problem of the Reavers just fester, when to be honest — and brutal — nuking the planet of Miranda at a certain key moment would have prevented the Reavers from spreading havoc. The Alliance certainly could have, and didn't, and this has consequences.
I'd had the story idea (and the title) in my head for a while; I started writing it down years ago, I think in 2011. I didn't get much out, just parts of the first two sections (the first retelling the scene from the film, so that was fairly easy), but it stayed on my desktop. This year I decided to get it finished, darn it. Like a lot of tie-in fiction, it fills in story gaps in, I hope, a compelling way; I've read lots of tie-in novels by people very good at this, like Peter David, Terri Osborne, and Keith DeCandido, and I hope I've learned something from them and other writers. (Part of the fun of the new Star Wars film Rogue One is that it's a tie-in film, connecting in fun and surprising ways to the original 1977 Star Wars. So a lot of people are getting the pleasures of tie-in fiction thanks to Rogue One.)
I wanted the style, mostly, to be elegant and a little distant; seemed right for the character. There's also no humor, so it's good I was working on something else recently (an original short story I haven't finished yet) that is, I think/hope, funny. I'm still a little worried about one particular paragraph I wonder may "read" funny in a way I didn't intend. (I won't say which paragraph.) A much better writer than me, Douglas Adams, tried to write moments that initially seem funny but turn out to have troubling implications, and I was trying to do something similar. Maybe I'll cut it. Maybe I won't.
I hope I've made no major mistakes in What Happens When; at one point I needed to back up and revise parts of the story after figuring out I'd assumed wrong and the spacecraft Serenity didn't get repaired on Mr. Universe's planet. (I guessed the ship was taken to Eavesdown Yards. It's at least an educated guess.) The story still worked after those revisions, thank goodness. I haven't read the comic book that shows the Operative after the events of the movie, so I have no idea if what's in that story contradicts anything I've written. I'll just hope not.
Meanwhile, there are other stories. I'll see which ones I can get out.