There was a school... a, uh, government-sponsored academy, we'd never even heard of it but it had the most exciting program, the most challenging... we could have sent her anywhere, we had the money... but she wanted to go. She wanted to learn. She was fourteen.
I got a few letters at first, then I didn't hear from her for months. Finally I got a letter that made no sense. She talked about things that never happened, jokes we never... it was code. It just said... "They're hurting us."
-- Simon, in the Serenity Pilot
Somehow (secretly) tied to the Blue Sun corporation, The Academy is where River Tam was taken by the government and experimented on. She is now on the run, and the Academy enforcers (referred to by River as the Hands Of Blue) are in pursuit.