A New Friend?
By Biku

Firefly and its characters belong to Mutant Enemy ("Grr... argh") and to Joss Whedon-sama (may he live forever) and probably also to FoxTV and its Satanic alliances. MS (unfortunately) belongs to the world.

The cargo bay door to Serenity touched the desert ground with a gentle bump, causing small puffs of dust to dance upwards into the air.

"Okay, people," Captain Malcolm Reynolds said, gesturing to wide expanse. "Let's just do this job and get out of here."

"How are we supposed to find out our contact if'n we don't got a name?" Jayne Cobb growled as he stepped out into the desert sunlight. "He could be anybody."

"Except for the fact that there ain't nobody out here," Kaylee Frye, the ship's mechanic, replied. Jayne just scowled in her general direction and scanned the horizon. "How come we don't know his name, Cap'n?" she asked Reynolds.

The captain shrugged. "First, it's a she, and second, all she would give is her initials. M.S."

"M.S.?" Jayne repeated, suspiciously. "How's that supposed to help?" Reynolds just shrugged again.

"Don't rightly know," he admitted. "But I'm sure that--hello."

Jayne and Kaylee both looked to where the captain was staring to see a woman suddenly standing a few meters from the ship. Jayne drew his gun, instantly; as did the woman. Her reflexes were just as fast as his were.

"I'm not looking for a fight," she said in a low, husky voice. "But I'll give you one."

Reynolds stepped forward, raising his hands. He gestured with a quick nod to Jayne, who lowered his gun. "I take it that you're 'M.S.'?"

"Might be," the woman replied, walking towards them, as she holstered her own weapon. Once she was close enough, they could see that she was tall, with a sinewy grace, wavy red hair and alabaster skin. Her large, luminous eyes were a deep violet framed by dark lashes. As she holstered her gun, they could see she was well armed. "You Mal Reynolds?"

"Yep," Reynolds replied. He definitely seemed more guarded, now, less inviting and open; a change that Kaylee noticed immediately.

"Cap'n?" she asked, quietly, but he just shook his head once. Kaylee nodded and faded into the shadowy background of the ship.

"We heard you had cargo for us," Reynolds called out to the strange, exotic woman.

"That I do," the woman replied. "Me."

"You?" Jayne barked. "We ain't taking no passengers!"

"That's for me to decide," Reynolds snapped in return. He paused for a second. "But he's right. We're not taking passengers."

"Oh, you'll want me on your ship," the woman replied easily. "Even though I'm a hardened mercenary, I have a secret heart of gold and will help you in your adventures for next to nothing. I am proficient in all known forms of combat, including archaic weapons like swords and crossbows, and I know several different martial arts. I am trained as a medic, and also have a way with engines. Oh, and before I forget to mention it, I used to work for the Alliance and can therefore supply you with inside information. I also like to sacrifice myself for the good of the crew."

"Is that so," Reynolds said, slowly. He exchanged a glance with Jayne. "I bet you're looking for a shipboard romance, too."

"Naturally," the woman replied with a radiant smile. Reynolds nodded once and then he and Jayne opened fire. The woman dropped fetchingly to the ground, giving only a small gasp, her red hair arrayed around her.

The pair walked up the ramp as Kaylee pressed the control to close the 'bay doors.

"Goddamned Mary Sues," Jayne muttered, blowing the smoke from his gun just before he holstered it. "Worse'n reevers."

"I know," Reynolds agreed, holstering his own gun and rolling his eyes. "As if I'd let one on board my ship."