Nia knew her father way better than her mother, which was odd, because she'd never actually met her father - he died nearly eight months before she was born. She wished she had gotten to know him, but she never felt like anything was missing from her life - she'd been born into a family of six - and yes, they were all family, even if they weren't related by blood. Sometimes other ties were stronger.
River was in charge of Nia's schooling. Sometimes she explained things too fast and started talking about things that didn't make any sense, but most of the time she was a patient teacher. And she was the smartest person Nia knew - any question she could dream up, odds were, River'd know the answer to it. She might tell her the answer in riddle-speech, but she'd know it. Even though she was a grown-up, like everyone else on the ship, she was the youngest of them, and acted like a little kid sometimes. She had a mischievous streak that Nia often took advantage of when she thought of a shiny prank to pull on the rest of the crew - mostly Simon, he was the easiest to fool.
Simon was River's older brother, and he was the ship's doctor. He was kind of intimidating, with his calm, reserved face that didn't betray any emotions, but once you got to know him he was kind and he loved his sister more than anyone else, even Kaylee. Even after a dozen years on Serenity, though, he was still more proper and civilized than the rest of the crew - manners were very important to him. He taught Nia anything she wanted to know about biology and anatomy, and he even let her be his assistant when he had to patch any of the crew members up after they'd gotten shot or wounded. Nia thought it was interesting, but she wasn't too crazy about all the blood.
What she was interested in was flying. Uncle Mal (Zoe didn't care if she called everyone else on the ship by their first names, but she called Captain Malcolm Reynolds sir, and insisted that Nia call him by something other than just Mal, out of respect if nothing else) had been the pilot of the ship, with River's help, since Nia's dad had died. He was good, but apparently her father had been way better. He was naturally talented, and Uncle Mal said she was too. He wouldn't let her fly the ship on her own just yet, he said she was still too young, but once, when he and her mother were off on a job, Kaylee'd let her take one of the shuttles for a spin.
Kaylee was probably Nia's favorite person on Serenity. No one could ever not like Kaylee, she was happy and friendly and fun. She played games with Nia, she let Nia do whatever she wanted - she spoiled her to death, and Nia loved it. She showed her how Serenity's engine worked, and sometimes Nia would help her decorate the ship's doorways and walls. Kaylee would paint flowers and vines, and Nia would paint dinosaurs and dragons. When her mother saw her handiwork on the dining room ceiling, Nia could've sworn that she almost smiled.
Nia'd never really been scared of Jayne. Sure, he was big, but Nia wasn't small for her age, and she was still growing. She'd pestered Jayne for days, following him everywhere (except his bunk, Nia's mother had very clearly stated that she wasn't allowed to go into anyone's bunk unless they told her it was okay) until he finally agreed to show her his gun collection, and how to use them. Jayne gave her secret lessons until she could shoot an empty can of protein from twenty-five yards away. Even though they both knew her mother would not approve, Jayne said it was good for everyone to know how to protect themselves.
Sometimes, if they were nearby, they'd visit Inara. Nia was always a little in awe of the glamorous, beautiful Companion, just because she always felt gawky and awkward in comparison. But when Inara was around, the others couldn't help but talk about all the crazy stories from their shared pasts, and inevitably Wash's name would come up. Nia's mother didn't like to talk about him, or have anyone else talk about him either, but she didn't seem to mind much if it was on one of those rare occasions when Inara was with them and the eight of them were just sitting around the table after a good meal, laughing and reminiscing. These were the times when Nia learned about her father - he was a loyal friend, a fantastic pilot, always ready with a funny joke, but courageous in times of need. Nia drank these stories in and treasured them like the precious gems they were, and saved them for later, to be brought out at night and pored over like a well-worn book.