So, what is the name of Doug's Space Opera campaign anyway?
In prior episodes the PCs escaped the doomed “automated prison” space stations (actually, unbeknownst to our heroes a secret military lab) just before it activated the mysterious secret weapon that vaporized itself and 13 out of the 15 attacking capital ships. Carrying their precious data cube destined to go to the High Command, they made their way to the planet below and finagled cooperation and passage aboard a fast ship out.
Episode IV: A New Hopelessness
The PCs embarked upon the corvette class fast diplomatic-runner, and introduced themselves to the captain, John Diddums (my new PC). A commotion near the entrance to the landing bay ensued, with a man in pilots garb shouting some nonsense about his ship being stolen. Diddums lifted off, despite some chatter from the control tower indicating that they disapproved of the idea for unfathomable reasons, with Paul's character racing up the closing gangplank as the ship charted a course for… ADVENTURE…and away from people who refuse to understand that four aces beat a full house kings over eights.
Upon leaving orbit, however, the remaining two enemy capital ships began to pursue. Diddums was a bit put out to find that his last-minute passengers were attracting this kind of attention, but since two of them were dressed in battle armor declined to make an issue of it. On their part, they forebore pressing him on the exact details of the ownership of his vessel, at least once he pointed out that while the exact legal ramifications were a matter of debate under well-accepted principles the ship was at least 90% his. They ran for the Gate to the next system out, made it, were hailed by a police ship of some kind (don't you just hate it when communications can outrun your escape?). They were explaining that they had no intention of stopping to be boarded considering the enemy capital ship that pursued them through the Gate, when another enemy ship teleported into the system between them and the only other Gate. Violating the laws of physics as he understood them cheesed Diddums off considerably, and since trying to hide from the planet destroying aliens on a planet didn't strike him as the best idea he'd heard that day, Diddums redlined the engines and tried to beat the enemy ship to the gate. Mike and Paul took the gun turrets while Diddums piloted and ran the shields (later, he found out that Mike was a better pilot–you live and learn) and after a brief SPAAAAAACE BATTLE, they made it through. Curiously, the enemy didn't follow immediately.
In the new system, they encountered a friendly fleet, and the grunts unburdened themselves (after a considerable amount of argument over the merits) to the highest ranking officer present–and were immediately assigned to take the data and keep running. While they were doing this, Diddums rearranged the “paperwork” on the ship and the ship's “license plate” to make things a bit more peacable in this cold hard universe filled with welshers and sore losers. Once this was accomplished, they resumed their flight…in both senses of the word.