DISCLAIMER: I don't know Firefly, for that's the genius idea of Joss Whedon. (Genius!) I only own Cassie.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Malcolm Reynolds was not an easy man to please…nor was he one to be taken by surprise. In fact, he never even mentioned about his life on Shadows, where he was raised by his ma and the handful of ranch hands…well, no one expected this to occur…

"KAYLEE!!!!!" the Captain of the Firefly class transport Serenity cried out from the cargo bay. "Where is that nu hai [girl] at? KAYLEE!!!!!!"

While Mal was screaming for Kaylee, Zoe was coming down the stairs from the cockpit. The first mate sighed as she shook her head.

"She's out in town, getting the parts needed for the ship, sir. She's been out for a half hour," the dark-skinned gun woman told Mal.

"Oh…well, is there anyone to help me out with the gorram ship then?" the 30-something vet said to Zoe.

"She'll be back in no time, sir."

"Whatever you say, Zo…just get the crew up and running when they get back," Mal said as he went through the infirmary to reach the common room.

Zoe shook her head again as she went to organize the cargo hold for new supplies. She managed to get one box out of the way before she spotted a curious person standing at the bottom of the ramp.

"Need something?" Zoe inquired, wondering what the person was doing.

"I'm looking for a Captain Reynolds. Heard that he might be here…" the person replied.

Zoe took in the appearance of this person: they had on a red jacket that stopped at the waist, tan pants that was like a second skin to the person, a white wife beater that suggested that this person was female, brown boots that looked a bit cowboyish to Zoe, and brown fingerless gloves. The person's hair, however, was a different matter, for it seemed to match Mal's hair a bit, except for the red highlights to the somewhat dark brown hair.

"Not his wife by any chance…?" Zoe asked, a well-manicured eyebrow arched in confusion.

"What? No, no…not married…just looking for Capt. Reynolds is all," the woman replied back, noting Zoe's confusion fairly easy. "You're Zoe, right? Malcolm's first mate?"

"Yes…and may I ask as to how you—" Zoe was in mid-question before Mal returned to the cargo hold.

"Zoe! Thought you were—hello. Are you looking for someone?" Mal said before realizing the newcomer.

"Mal…this nu hai was looking for you," Zoe said, not taking her eyes off the woman.

Zoe was confused, now that the woman mentioned that she knew Zoe…where did she meet this woman—during the war? Maybe perhaps…

"Mal…don't you even recognize your own sister?" the woman asked. "I mean, it's been, what, three years since you last seen me and all…" she added as she ran a tanned hand through her hair.

Mal's blue eyes widen a bit before he spoke, but it seemed a bit more of prideful than anything else.

"Wo hen hao xi zhou ma [Well, I'll be damned]. It's been too long since you've shown your face around," Mal said as he gave his signature smirk. "Whatcha been up to lately?"

"Oh, the tong chang [usual]: robbing from the rich, giving to the person with the highest payroll the 'verse can offer me," the woman replied with her own.

Zoe never had been more confused than she did that day. She was about to ask Mal who the woman was before the woman looked at Zoe with lavender eyes peeking out from underneath a red-layered strand of hair.

"Zo, it's me…Cassie Phoenix…remember?"

Zoe's mind clicked then. She recalled a woman named Cassie Phoenix just a month before the Battle of Serenity Valley. She smiled a little as she nodded her head.

"I remember you now. Didn't you have longer hair and it wasn't as red as it is?"

"Oh, you mean zhe? Just something I sported about yi ge ban shu nian qian [a half year ago]…Believe me, I wasn't expecting to have to had cut my hair into a buzz cut in order to sneak into a shu ji di qiu [core planet]. The Alliance still believes of me dead and I rather hang low under their radars," Cassie said as she cracked her knuckles. "Wasn't easy to part with my long hair, but I figured that my hair'll grow back to its original length, but this suits me just xuan [fine]."

"It suits you better, mei mei. It suits you better," Zoe stated to Cassie.

"So…it's just you two on Serenity? No pilot or mechanic?"

"No; both are in town. We even got us a hired hand too…" Mal replied to his sister's question.

"Guo zhen [Really]? Smuggling's gone that dangerous for you two alone?"

"Just to aid us…"

"Wo du [I see]. I was hoping if you needed another able hand on board the old gal. Been looking for work for a while now," Cassie said as she went to retrieve her bag from the other side of the ramp.

"You've been looking for work for yi ge que [a while]? How were you able to—?" Zoe asked.

"Friends helped me out. In return of lodging, I did small chores around their place. Right now, I'm ready for a bian hua de feng jing [change of scenery]."

"Guess I can put you to work then. Doesn't mean that it's—" Mal said.

"Dong ma [I understand], no free passage. I got money to pay ya…not enough, but I can work the rest of it off," Cassie said as she gave Zoe the money.

"And you trust her with it?"

"At least she's not going to use it for cheap purchases…it's for the ship, ge ge."

"Welcome aboard Serenity, Cassie," Zoe said as she had Cassie help her out with the boxes in the cargo hold.

A/N: I had to redone this story a bit. Apparently, I was going back to my earlier days of fanficion writing, so I went back and really redid this chapter. Next chapter's when the rest of the crew will meet Cassie, except for Simon and River Tam, Inara, and Shepard Book. I have a chapter of their meeting Cassie later on.