Inspired by this post on RPGnet, but taken as an excuse to approach scifi with the sort of trope-filling gonzo-ness I like in my fantasy worlds.
The Elevator Pitch:
"Stargate Atlantis meets Farscape meets Red Dwarf meets Firefly. With just a hint of Star Wars and Indiana Jones"
The Full Details:
In the last years of the 21st century, Earth took its first steps into the galaxy, by sending out several sleeper ships to set up new colonies on habitable exoplanets. Some were sent by national governments, some were privately funded by eccentric trillionairs. The fifth ship was a cooperative effort by several nations working in tandem. Sadly, Sleeper Five ceased sending back telemetry a few years after it departed, and was presumed lost. History moved on.
Over the centuries that followed, humanity discovered faster than light travel, and the galaxy ws fully unlocked. The sleeper ships were actually overtaken by FTL vessels, although Sleeper Five was never found. Earth's nations explored the stars, exporting their hostilities to a grander scale, and roping in the technologically primitive aliens they found. Wars between opposing empires caused untold damage, but in the wake of these atrocities, in the new peace that followed, humanity found the utopia they'd sought for so long.
The Earth Empire, the first truly unified nation encompassing all humanity (and, to a lesser extent, the aliens) was set up, aided by the Great AI, a computer intelligence that encompassed the Empire's communication network, and was a part of every device in the Empire. A golden age flowered, with humanity wanting for less and less as the Great AI took over more and more responsibilities. Eventually, humanity as a whole was sitting in the lap of luxury, the Great AI tending to their every whim, responsible for all production and innovation, creating technological marvels that seem almost magical by today's standards.
Which was brilliant, up till the day the AI just... stopped. Nobody knows why. But little of the Empire's technology would run without it, and almost nobody remained who knew how to repair or operate anything. Within a year, 90% of humanity was dead, primarily from starvation.
Five hundred years later, the galaxy is just starting to rebuild, in places. The New Earth Empire, founded by a few worlds that were not hit as hard in the great crash, aims to bring back the glory days, although their methods are far from peaceful, and their technology, while on average better than that of most worlds, is nowhere near the heights of the Old Empire. The Fringe Worlds, sandwiched between the N.E.E. and an assortment of other stellar nations of varying viciousness, and the Wastelands that used to be the core of the Old Empire, are potentially in for a rough time.
And then Sleeper Five comes back, appearing out of an inexplicable aurora of light and peculiar sensor readings above a backwater fringe world. The inhabitants, a simple farming community, a couple of rogue archaeologists, and the independent trading ship that occasionally drops in to buy vegetables, are quite surprised, but not half as surprised as the crew of Sleeper Five.
The campaign revolves around the adventures of the Sleeper Five colonists, their farming friends, and the random interstellar hangers-on who've twigged that these people are the Next Big Thing, as they set up their colony, explore the ruins of the Old Empire, salvage bits of malfunctioning post-singularity technology, and fend off the depredations of various unpleasant people, aliens, robots, and other, stranger things.