An old war comrade of Mal's and Zoe's, Tracey, mails his inactive person to them. He also leaves a message asking them to deliver his body to his family. Some men claiming to be with the Alliance is on the trail of the body and catch up to them demanding the body. The crew can't find anything on Tracey's inactive person, but as they prepare to cut it open, Tracey comes back to life. He explains he is smuggling super-organs in his own body. They flee to the planet with the men in hot pursuit and eventually/supposedly agree to give up Tracey. Tracey gets wind of the plan and makes a break for it with Kaylee as a hostage, they shoot him down and Mal reveals they were going to send the officer off since he's out of his jurisdiction and on a personal mission with no authority. Then Tracey dies and they deliver his body for real this time.
In the far-distant future, Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds is a renegade former brown-coat sergeant, now turned smuggler & rogue, who is the commander of a small spacecraft, with a loyal hand-picked crew made up of the first mate, Zoe Warren; the pilot Hoban "Wash" Washburn; the gung-ho grunt Jayne Cobb; the engineer Kaylee Frye; the fugitives Dr. Simon Tam and his psychic sister River. Together, they travel the far reaches of space in search of food, money, and anything to live on.