Name: Reverend Copernicus Jones
Aliases: Copper, Shepherd Jones, Reverend
Allegiance: Unaffiliated (Browncoat friendly)
Height: 6′ 0″
Eye Color: Gray-Brown
Occupation/Role: Looking Glass Medic and Spiritual Guide
Father: Leonard Jones, Factory Worker, Deceased
Mother: Meredith Jones, Retired Postal-Worker, Housekeeper, 72
Siblings, if any: Galileo “Leo” Jones, Bank Manager, Bernadette, Brother, 55
Kepler “Kep” Jones, Antiques Dealer, Persephone, Brother, 51
Spouse, if any: Adrianna Winston-Jones, Deceased
Children, if any: Samuel Jones, Son, Chemist, Greenleaf, 25
Rachel Jones, Daughter, Actress, Bernadette (lives with her rich Uncle) 19
Religiosity, emergency medicine, some field surgery background, philosophy, religion, breaking & entering, and con artistry; prefers not to use a gun, but can, and while he’s by no means an expert pilot, he can keep his shuttle in the air and even land it.
Copper’s father and mother spent a lot of time working, so he had a lot of time to himself. His older brother tried to serve as a surrogate parent, but their age difference was such that it only caused Copper to resent Leo’s authority. Leo was always the good son, Kep was the baby, and Copper was the victim of classic “Middle Child Syndrome…” and he lived it. He was not a good kid, and spent most of his time on the streets of New Paris hanging with the wrong crowd.
By the time he was a teenager, Copper was in pretty deep with the “thug” crowd. Although not the biggest kid, he was smart enough to manipulate most of the thugs and quickly rose to be a lieutenant in his gang. He never wanted to be the leader of the pack… those guys got shot and stabbed in the back by people who wanted their position. Instead, he simply ingratiated himself to whoever was in charge at the time. It served him quite well.
Four months before his twentieth birthday, his dishonest lifestyle caught up with him. Copper was caught breaking into an apartment building via the fire escape and was bound by law. He was prosecuted, sentenced, and spent two years in an Alliance prison. Upon his release, Copper packed his belongings and stowed-away on a ship bound for the Border Planets. Upon reaching the outer colonies, though, he quickly learned that the only kind of thief that could survive out there is a petty thief. Copper wasn’t interested in petty heists, he wanted to hit the big time.
The better life he sought proved to be harder and farther out of reach than he’d imagined. Copper had always been second fiddle to the “big man,” but out on the Border, the big men already had second fiddles, and most were just looking to take advantage of those looking for work. Two hard years and Copper was almost ready to go home. Problem was, home was a long way off, and getting there cost money. So Copper decided to turn his persuasive talents towards a different class of people… if he couldn’t steal and couldn’t finagle his way into the criminal world, he’d turn his eyes on those looking for something to hold on to.
The Good Reverend Copernicus Jones was born. At first, it was a matter of getting by posing as a wandering evangelist. But as people began to respond to his small requests, Copper saw an opportunity. At first, it was street-corner evangelism with a coin jar claiming to be destined for the Abbey, it grew into frontier revivals and passing the plate, and ultimately blossomed into his greatest con: faith healing. Before long, he had a reputation on the outer planets of being a miracle worker, helping the lame to walk and deaf to hear with a touch and a prayer.
It was, of course, a complete sham. By this time, Copper had gathered a group of similarly-minded, if less smart, folks who were willing to ride in wheelchairs or hobble around blindfolded to demonstrate his miraculous power. He even found himself a phony doctor to pronounce every case as legitimate. Before long, there was plenty of money for a good life on the Central planets… but no reason to go. The Border was finally starting to prove its value.
Then came Adrianna. She wanted to believe, and he showed her the way. She was the daughter of a wealthy Lord on Persephone, moved out of her father’s graces to make a life for herself. She was an idealist, and the perfect mark for one, final con… one that would set Copper up so well that he’d be able to retire and live a good, long life. Copper began to ingratiate himself with Adrianna, giving her far more attention than he’d ever given a mark. She began to demonstrate certain feelings toward him, and he took full advantage.
He convinced Addie to go to her estranged father and make amends. He’d go with her of course, her strength in the storm. He had a wealthy mark with a huge state that dripped money… and now he had a way into that estate. But it was a crime he was destined never to complete.
On the way to the spaceport, their bags in hand, Copper and Addie saw a small boy run out of a restaurant laughing in the noon sun, his face to the sky. His young mother ran out after him, obviously frustrated by the chase that he saw as a game. The postal rider, galloping into town, never saw the boy as he rounded the corner.
The rider stood beside his horse, aghast, as the mother knelt over the boy’s broken body, weeping in hysterics. Addie and Copper stood amongst a crowd of whispering witnesses, watching the boy’s life slip between his mother’s fingers. With no doctor or paramedic in sight, Adrianna urged Copper out onto the street. She knelt with him next to the mother, and both laid hands on the boy.
Copper pretended to pray as Addie prayed beside him. In his mind, he was rehearsing his speech. You can’t save everyone. It was the boy’s time. Sometimes, God allows bad things to happen for a good reason… anything that might excuse his failure and keep he and Addie on their course. His rehearsal was in vain.
To this day, Copper can’t explain what happened on that street. Maybe it was Addie’s faith or the desperate pleading of the boy’s mother, but there was only one explanation. God intervened. Not only did the boy open his eyes and smile, but he stood on a once-broken leg and hugged his mother with two arms that must surely have been crushed by the horse’s legs as they trampled him. Whatever the explanation, that road to the Eavesdown Docks became Copper Jones’s Road to Damascus.
When they returned to pack up his revival and move to the next town, Copper called together his group of con artists and broke up the band. Needless to say, they weren’t pleased with his decision, even after hearing his reasons. Copper did the only thing he could to compensate them… he gave them everything. All the money he’d secreted away during their time together was divided between his former partners. This did well to soften their concerns, and they wished him well on his new path and said they’d be waiting when he came back.
Returning to Addie, he decided it was time to come clean with her as well. The next few weeks were a living Hell; he was certain at any moment she’d finally tell him that they were over. But she ultimately made a different decision. She saw the miracle they’d witnessed as God’s way of putting Copper on the right path, and what kind of girlfriend would she be to turn her back on him and argue with God.
Copper decided that the only way to make up for his past lies was to find the truth in them. With Addie’s support, he went to an Abbey, paying special attention to whether or not they allowed their Shepherds to marry, and joined the Church. The training was difficult for Copper, for although he knew his Bible, he had to for his fake revivals, he was looking at the words in a whole new light.
By the time his initial training was complete, Addie and he were married, and they had a son. When it came time to choose his path in the Church, Copper chose to take on medical studies. He would learn to heal people the way God intended, and the next time someone came to him for help, he’d be giving rather than taking. In his second year of medical training, Addie gave him a daughter.
For a long time, things were good for Copper and Addie on the Rim. He even had time to get to know his baby brother when Kep decided to pursue life on the Border worlds. Eventually, Kep set up and antiques business on Persephone, and he and Copper became close friends as well as siblings.
Then, without warning, Copper got word from his mother. Leonard Jones was dead. Traveling back to Bernadette, his family finally met their Matriarch and the estranged brother Copper had barely ever mentioned. It was a cold, quiet time, and not something he likes to discuss. His one point of joy was how well Leo got along with Rachel and Sam, and that he didn’t tie them up in the old grudge he shared with his brother.
After his father’s death came the War, and that would push his brother and him even further apart. Copper had some skills that would be needed on the field of battle, and a faith that a lot of the young soldiers of the Independents needed to find their way through the dark, dangerous night. So, without a thought for his own safety, he volunteered and seen found himself amidst the fighting… on the side of the Browncoats. The good Lord kept him safe through it all, but he saw things that tested his resolve, though he never faltered.
After the War, Copper and Addie sent their son off to school for the physical sciences; that boy loved to mix things just to see what would happen. Things looked like they were headed toward the good again, despite being under Alliance rule, and it looked like old age would be accompanied by peaceful times. After a few years, though, tragedy struck from an unexpected angle, and Copper found himself, once again, on the road.
Many years before, a man had come to Copper begging the Reverend to heal his dying wife. He had of course pretended to try and failed then delivered his usual “in the Lord’s time” speech when all was said and done. It was one of a thousand such occurrences, and something he had simply forgotten. The man who’d lost his wife, however, had not. Crossing paths with the Shepherd on Persephone, purely by chance, years of anguish and frustration pushed the man to pull a gun on Copper and squeeze the trigger, ranting all the while about God’s great failure.
Addie saved his life. Her fast thinking pushed him clear of the gunshot, sent him sprawling to the ground and out of harm’s way. She, however, was not so lucky. She’d taken the bullet for him. He tried to save her, even as the local security folk jumped on her killer. But it was not meant to be. It was, tragically, her time. All his faith and skill amounted to nothing when the wound was that immediate.
He had a lot of questions to answer for the Fed on the scene, but managed to answer them all truthfully without getting himself locked up for his past crimes. The man who killed his Addie, Wen Trace, was taken into custody. Before they took him away, Copernicus looked him in the eyes and did the one thing Trace would not have expected. He forgave him. In his heart, though, that forgiveness was based more on guilt than charity. After all… what goes around….
Wracked with guilt and living in despair, Copernicus Jones made a decision. He wrote his brother, Leo, and begged a favor, swallowing a lot of pride in the process. A few weeks later, Rachel was living with Leo on the core, given a chance by her father to have the good life he’d always eschewed. With that done, Shepherd Jones sold his house and most of his possessions, and headed on the road to see if there was any place in the ‘Verse where a worn out old man could find a future.
Eventually, he found his way to Looking Glass, a place of reflection, and after much negotiation, came on-board as ship’s doctor. He converted the cargo bay of one of their shuttles into a mobile infirmary and moved in. Now, he serves as on-call medic and “ship’s counselor” while trying to find a way to escape his own demons.