Huck, the quintessential youth, and Jim, the quintessential outsider, float down a river on a raft. They are not in control of their travels to any large degree, and they are willing to accept what comes as a gift from the gods. Adventures, in many ways, happen to them.
Frankly, I think the best possible combination would be to set this thing in the Firefly universe (DVD available December 9th). Firefly is basically a sci-fi future with no aliens (where the underlying design philosophy is “humans can be far more monstrous than any rubber-suit monster”) and a very Western feel to the fringe territories. (I really need to do up a decent gamer’s-eye-view sourcepage for the show.)
Huck Finn fits right in.
In fact, lets make Huck and Jim buddies from the core worlds, working their way through the ‘Verse and trying to stay one step ahead of the guys who are looking for Jim… that would be the Blue Hand guys — the ones that run the Academy — they want Jim back because he’s a latent… we’ll call it ‘psychic’, but that’s not really accurate. Jim’s brain has been experimented on rather heavily and he evinces a lot of strange behavior and near-psychic talents — the Blue Hand guys consider Jim their Property, and have rewards posted all over the CoreText network for his return. Huck’s just helping him out because “it’s the right thing to do.”
I don’t know when I’ll ever get a chance to run a Firefly game, but when I do, this is certainly something I can see adding in somewhere.