Need Referee help with Secrets of the Ancients campaign


First of all: if you are one of the players in my game and you are reading this, do us both a favour and bugger off. You're not supposed to be here! :wink:

With that out of the way: I could use some helpfull ideas for my game. I'm the referee in the campaign Secrets of the Ancients (the mgt 1 version, although we are using mgt 2 rules) and the players are just about to finish the second chapter. Instead of being the usual murderhobos that players tend to be however, they want to play by the law and surrender.
Here's the situation: The marines got blasted by Backett's automated defences and the players fled the lodge in the Star Hunter. And then they decided to target the defences to aid the marines. Now they want to fly to the starport instead of running. I ended the session there (it was already getting late and one of the players was absent and I think the whole surrender/flee decision should be made with everyone present). But there is a very real chance that next session will start with them surrendering to the authorities, because they've done nothing wrong and don't want to make themselves suspect by running.

The campaign however, assumes that the players are on the run for the law and I'm not sure how to proceed. I've got a few basic options, but I don't like any of them:
A. Shot on sight/incarcerated for 20 years: Would be the most basic option, but it feels incredibly lame and it would effectively end the campaign. Plus, the players are right in that they did not actually do anything wrong. They didn't fire a single shot, except at the automated defences to try and help the marines, they didn't bring any of the illegal weapons, even when the found the dead body in the jungle they called it in to the local law enforcement. They only laws they trespassed so far are an illegal killing of local wild life on Alell (which was in the middle of the junglo, so nobody knows that) and back on Regina one of them murdered Harlen (but that's going to be close to impossible to prove, because Harlen's space station go BOOM). About the only provably thing is that they are still in possesion of the ancient's winged statue and that doesn't exactly seem like a capital offence.
B. All is forgiven: I could just let them get out of the situation scotfree (after interogation and such of course), but that too feels kind of lame. I think there should at least be SOME repercussions for their rather naive "we didn't do it, so nothing could possible go wrong" way of thinking, plus Gand Holces doesn't seem like the type that would quickly be persuaded of your innocence once he is convinced that you are a criminal (which he clearly is, otherwise you don't send marines to arrest someone). Another problem with this approach would be that it invalidates the first halve of the third chapter and the entire 8th chapter.
C. Running a prison scene: I could interject a prison adventure, but that would stall the main campaign for quite some time (or either bring chapter 8 forward, but that brings about a whole host of new problems) and more importantly: it would run in the same problems as A, there isn't a lot of reason to actually imprison the characters. Not only that, but preparing an entire prision adventure in the week that I have seems rather impossible. :p Plus, being the law abiding citizens that they are, I doubt that they would actually try to escape. They have way to much trust in the institues of the Imperium.

So, I was hoping someone here has a great option D. I realy like the campaign (although it can be a bit railroady in certain places), but this feels like a weak spot. So if anyone here has a great idea (or even a half-baked idea) that will help me get through it, that would be much appreciated! :D
D. Held for questioning: This likely lasts a few days (might take some time for whoever happens to be interested in questioning them to even get there) eventually let go when there isn't enough evidence against them, but closely watched and followed after they are let go.
Carolus said:
Isn't that the same as option B, only with first wasting a week of time?

I guess that depends on how close the PCs react to being watched closely and followed after being released is to how they would react to being on the run from the law. I suppose if the players are just going to say, we don't want any more trouble and therefore quit pursuing the main plot, it would be game breaking, but if the campaign assumes that being on the run from the law wouldn't be enough to do that, then this shouldn't either and it closely matches what would probably happen in such circumstances.
Might not work with your group, and might not gel with the current GM mindset of let the players do whatever they want, and roll with it. But my players did something similarly out of character (for them, heh) in an earlier adventure. My solution to regain order and save myself having to rework everything.

They were taken into custody, all fine. Over the course of a week, they were given the distinct impression that they were going to prison, it didn't matter that they thought they were innocent, the Imperium certainly didn't. Once they were all in the full mindset of realising they weren't coming out of this winners, they got an opportunity to escape. In mine, by a fortuitous rebel attack on the base that held them giving them the chance, to get to their ship and get off world. Which they luckily took. Players might feel a bit railroaded, but if you want to be at least on the line painted by the campaign broad brush, it's a possibility.

Good luck!
Drag them off to jail, removing each of them for tedious interrogations for a while, then back to jail. Meanwhile, their ship is running up berthing fees and not generating revenue. In jail, they meet some interesting people who may be useful in the future. Eventually, the investigation runs its course and they're released with a fine for the minor crimes, and the statue confiscated. But now they have low grade criminal records, which is inconvenient in places where such things matter.

Later, two things turn up, not necessarily in this order, and likely after enough time that they're not expecting it:
- The jail contact sends them an e-mail about something interesting, and proposes a rendezvous. It may be legitimate, or a scam.
- Some Imperial official, after harassing them about their records, offers a deal to get their records expunged. They'll still face hassles until the expunge gets to everywhere (assuming they satisfy the offer), but it's a legitimate offer.