“I don't think cuffing is an appropriate response, Lieutenant Allen.”
   — Nathan Boss on Lieutenant Allen's attempt to arrest Jack Green

Nathan Boss is the Captain of the USS Brian Cowley and served as the executive officer of the USS Benjamin Franklin and of the USS Neil A. Armstrong II under Maggie Kauffman.[1][2]

The Long War

The send-off

In 2040, Nathan is travelling aboard the USS Benjamin Franklin as the executive officer (XO).[1] In April, he was in Richmond, Virginia standing next to Captain Kauffman and Joe Mackenzie for President's Cowley's send-off speech.

The mix-up at Reboot

In May of the same year, he led a small party of Navy and Marines on a mission to Reboot, located on Earth West 101,754.[3] The group was dropped in a small clearing a short distance from the town but their equipement was dropped over in Earth West 101,752. Since no one brought a Stepper with him, they also had no means to reach the ship, which infuriated Lieutenant Sam Allen, in charge of the Marines. Luckily, they ran into Bill Lovell in the forest and he finally led them to the town and to the house of Jack Green.

When they were there Sam Allen asked Jack Green if he could rent out a room in his house to Ensign Toby Fox, who was working on a census and would need somewhere to stay while gathering his data.[4] Jack Green refused to accept their money, arguing that they use favours in Reboot and expressing his despise of the Datum government. Allen, already pissed by the mix-up with the equipment, got mad and attemped to arrest him but was stopped by Nathan.

The incident at Cracked Rock

Nathan went off ship with Captain Kauffman and a couple of midshipmen at the town of Cracked Rock, where they were summoned for another incident between humans and trolls.[5] Maggie, fed up for having heard the same story over and over, asked for Nathan's mission patch and made Carl part of the crew by attaching it on Carl's arm using her dog-tag chain. Nathan then used his troll-call to get a testimony of the captive troll.

The march on Valhalla

In July 2040, Nathan was part on the military's march on Valhalla.[6]

The Long Mars

In 2045, Nathan is the executive officer of the USS Neil A. Armstrong II, mandated to travel to Earth West 250,000,000 and, possibly, find the missing crew of the USS Neil A. Armstrong I.[2]

The Long Utopia

Earth West 1,217,756

After years of serving under Captain Kauffman, Nathan finally got his own command and became captain of the USS Brian Cowley.[7]

Around 2058, Earth West 1,217,756 saw its day shorten by the effects of an extraterrestrial species called the silver beetles who were building giant viaducts all around the world.

The Navy was summoned and sent the Cowley to deal with the phenomenon.[7] When they arrived at the town of New Springfield, the day was reduced to twenty hours and the militaries gathered the locals for a town meeting and told them they were still trying to figure out what was happening to their world. Nathan was not really welcomed well by the pioneers so he let Margarita Jha, the ship's chief science officer, explain to them the consequences of a shorter day for all the lifeforms of this planet.

Nathan tried to reassured the crowd by saying that the ship was big enough to evacuate everyone and their cattle but this idea was rejected since the locals refused to give up their homes. At this moment, a local pioneer, George Abrahams stepped up, told them that the silver beetles were building a Dyson motor and asked to talk to the scientific staff.

World tour

In January 2059, the day was now reduced to twelve hours, Nathan decided to take a selected group of passengers on a global expedition to show the extent of the damages caused by the silver beetles and what they had learned so far.[8] Among the passengers were the famous Joshua Valienté, Sally Linsay, George Abrahams and his wife Agnes who proved to be androids, a long-lost copy of George back from the remote Long Earths, Oliver and Marina Irwin as representatives of the locals and two Next, Stella Welch and Marvin Lovelace, summoned by George.

Margarita brought everyone to an observation gallery and the Irwins started to see the damages brought to their world for the first time. As they were flying in clouds of volcanic ashes, Maragarita reassured them since all Navy twains had ash filters equipped since Yellowstone. She then announced that a cocktail party was going to be held in the Captain's cabin.

The next day, they finally reached New York's footprint.[9] As they were hovering on top of this world's version of Rhode Island, Joshua saw that it was bare rock now when a few months ago there were still trees on it. Margarita and Ken explained to their passengers that any attempt at contacting or harming the beetles failed. They even used a nuke to destroy the viaduct by it was rebuilt in forty-eight hours.

Understanding that the beetles couldn't be stopped, Stella Welch, one of the Next, stepped up and announced that this world was doomed but they had to prevent the beetles to spread to the other Earths by sealing this world off from the inside. For this, they would have to ask for the help of a young boy named Stan Berg, supposedly the strongest Next there was, but it meant that Stan would be sacrificing his life.

The Cauterizing

The operation of sealing the world off was named the Cauterizing by the militaries.[10] The day was now reduced to eight hours. Sally Linsay went all the way to Miami West 4 to get Stan and came back. The Cowley was still hovering on top of what was left of this world, the New Springfielders long gone somewhere else, as people were saying goodbye to those giving up their lives to save the Long Earths.

The ship stepped away with its passengers as Stan Berg, Sally Linsay and George Abrahams stayed behind.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Long War - Chapter 14
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Long Mars - Chapter 5
  3. The Long War - Chapter 18
  4. The Long War - Chapter 19
  5. The Long War - Chapter 55
  6. The Long War - Chapter 67
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Long Utopia - Chapter 38
  8. The Long Utopia - Chapter 45
  9. The Long Utopia - Chapter 47
  10. The Long Utopia - Chapter 51

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Operation Prodigal Son
Crew: Adkins  •  Sam Allen  •  Nathan Boss  •  Carl  •  Ed Cutler  •  Toby Fox  •  Margarita Jha  •  Maggie Kauffman  •  Joe Mackenzie  •  Mike McKibben  •  Jason Santorini  •  Harry Ryan  •  Jennifer Wang
Passengers: Hiram Davidson  •  Jake  •  Marjorie  •  Shi-mi
Twains: USS Abraham Lincoln  •  USS Akron  •  USS Benjamin Franklin  •  USS Los Angeles  •  USS Macon  •  USS Shenandoah
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