19. No Need for Runaways!

Stopping off at a space station, Tenchi and the gang decide to enjoy a bite to eat at a beef bowl restaurant, but even a quick meal is far from simple with the girls around. Thanks to Ayeka’s insistence on eating in a slow and proper manner, she and Sasami are still eating their starters by the time the others have finished, and the absence of the restaurant’s part-time helpers means that it could be a while before their main meal is even served.

What Tenchi and the others don’t know is that reason the part-timers are slacking off work is because they down in the docking bay- hotwiring Yagami. Leaving Ayeka and Sasami to their meal, Tenchi and the others head back to the ship, only to watch in horror as it takes off and flies away without them.

Ryoko has Ryo-Ohki transform into a spaceship so they can chase after the hijackers, and soon the gang is in hot pursuit- all, that is, except Ayeka and Sasami, who get accidentally left behind. And with no money to hire a space cab or even pay for their beef bowls, the two princesses are stuck.

As Ryoko does her best to stay on Yagami’s tail, Tenchi exhorts her to catch up as quickly as possible- after all, Katsuhito and Nobuyuki are still on board. Playing chess in the house, the two men are in fact completely oblivious to the hijacking- their only concern is worrying when Tenchi will be back with their beef bowls.

As the two hijackers, Amarube and Yura, take Yagami through an asteroid field, Ryo-Ohki follows close behind, only to end up flying through a red light and almost crashing into another ship. Ryoko manages to swerve out of the way, but in doing so ends up crashing right into an asteroid. And by the time they get back on track, Yagami is out of sensor range.

Onboard Yagami, Amarube and Yura drink to their success- the first chapter in their quest to become the greatest gangsters in the universe. As they plan what to do next, Amarube suggests that they sell Yagami so that he can have some money to buy a spaceship- until Yura points out that he could just keep the one they have.

As they cruise along, Yagami is soon picked up by a Galaxy Police camera, which identifies it as the ship that belongs to Ayeka and her band of wanted criminals. Much to Amarube and Yura’s surprise, in short order an entire GP fleet is chasing them- surely this is a little heavy-handed for a simple hijacking?

Whilst Yagami flees from the approaching fleet, reports on the police chase are broadcast on the news, telling Ryoko and the others exactly where the stolen spaceship has gone. True, the Galaxy Police will also be there, but as far as Ryoko is concerned, that is something to worry about after they catch up to Yagami.

Listening to the news, Amarube and Yura finally realise that the stolen Yagami actually belongs to a band of wanted criminals, and begin to wonder if they have bitten off more than they can chew. Their only hope seems to be to keep on running, and to that end Amarube desperately tries to increase Yagami’s speed. Unfortunately, his manipulations of the control pad only succeed in setting off a fireworks display, and when he angrily bashes the console in frustration, Amarube accidentally fires on the GP fleet.

As the GP begins firing back, Amarube and Yura start whimpering and crying for mercy. The gang realises that they need to catch up as fast as possible, and so Ryoko suggests implementing a risky strategy ‘Operation Speed Up Ryo-Ohki’. To Tenchi’s surprise, the operation actually involves feeding Ryo-Ohki some hot chilli pepper- a plan which works successfully, but ensures that Ryo-Ohki will be upset with Ryoko for a few days.

Now super-charged, Ryo-Ohki quickly catches up with Yagami and the GP fleet, only to discover that the hijackers have accidentally set a collision course with a nearby supernova. Unable to take any more stress, both Amarube and Yura pass out before they can change course, and the GP fleet are unwilling to follow them too far in case they become unable to escape the star’s gravitational pull. The fate of Yagami, Katsuhito and Nobuyuki now rests on Ryo-Ohki.

Finally reaching Yagami’s docking port, Ryo-Ohki transforms back to cabbit form as the others board the ship. Kiyone and Ryoko are all set to take down the hijackers, only to discover that they are already unconscious. Meanwhile, Tenchi and Mihoshi head down to the cargo bay to check on Nobuyuki and Katsuhito, only to discover that the two men are still totally unaware of the hijacking.

Taking over at the controls, Kiyone is horrified to see how close they are to the supernova, but fortunately, genius Washu has a plan. By approaching at just the right angle, they can use the star’s gravity to actually accelerate them away.

Under Washu’s direction, Kiyone successfully manages the escape manoeuvre, and Yagami pulls away from both the supernova and the astonished GP fleet- ejecting Amarube and Yura in an escape pod as they go.

The excitement over, Tenchi and the gang settle down, whilst Nobuyuki and Katsuhito finally get to enjoy their beef bowls. After a while, however, Tenchi finally realises that something is wrong- Ayeka and Sasami have been left behind. The poor princesses have been forced to wash dishes to pay for their beef bowls (not to mention the various breakages caused by Ayeka as she works). If Tenchi doesn’t come and rescue them soon, they might be stuck washing dishes forever.