Saturday Seed ~ 135 (Shadowrun)
This week’s Saturday Seed is for Shadowrun. It is a seed about a dead man, with deadly property.
This seed deals with a classic case of a simple job which turns out to be something else, coupled with more than the normal amount of fear, loathing, and uncertainty and wrapped in an unhealthy dose of violence.
Planting the seed
The seed is appropriate for an experienced team of runners who have magical support, are not afraid to get their hands dirty, and also have something to lose. The runners are approached by a fixer they know only by reputation. She is looking to hire a team to clean up after a failed attempt and get the job done. She is not terribly forthcoming on the fate of the previous team
A few years ago, a housing project in the far north uncovered a mass grave in a peat bog believed to date back to the 700s. Among the highly preserved bodies discovered, was a perfectly preserved male, more carefully wrapped for some form of funeral rites than the others, as though he were of greater importance. Initial media response was tepid, and drifted off to more salacious news when early reports of ‘the ice mummy’ failed to attract viewers.
Recently, this so-called mummy has been touring museums and is now in town for a few weeks. The small silver artifacts with it reveal a mixed reverence and fear of the person, and a clever PR team has spun this all into a tale of curses, murder, and eternal slumber – not death. With this support behind it, the story has grown in interest for the masses. The youthful and almost live appearance of the ‘mummy’ is such that he has become something of a romantic figure. To sweeten the pot, the idea of a curse has been slowly revealed through timed releases as though it were being discovered piece by piece. The curse is now being advertised as a king’s mad quest to protect his lands and loved ones even beyond the grave. Documentaries wildly speculating on his life and times are now always on one station or another, and top stars are competing to play him in melodramatic roles that are guaranteed money in the bank.
The stars are not the only ones looking for money. Attempted thefts aimed at liberating the sigils, wards, and other jewelry found in the wrappings have been attempted wherever it has gone. Security is ultra tight, of all types, and is incredibly sophisticated. This does not daunt Mr. Johnson.
Real details and real scholarship on the figure and the artifacts found with him are being closely guarded. Only the wildest speculation is easily available to the curious. Rumors of strange magic abound, but no confirmation can be found. Expert diggers after facts may discover traces of high-level academic and thaumaturgical debate about the dating of the find which suggest the mummy may be far, far older than publicly stated, but these traces are full of jargon and complicated speech backed with incomplete references and citations and are routinely expunged making them difficult to follow for those not expert in the field.
The run entails not just stealing the items, but liberating the mummy as well. The fixer believes it is for a collector in a certain Asian island nation, but no details are forthcoming. The cargo once liberated from its rightful owners, is to be delivered to an airstrip – no questions asked – before dawn in three days. The payout will take care of the rent and entertainment for several months. If successful, the bragging rights will lead to lucrative job offers for years to come…
The only problem is that all the previous attempts on the exhibit ended in dead runners, and no one is sure how they got that way. Word on the street from those ostensibly close to the corpses may indicate ‘the mummy got them.’
What is going on
No one is really sure if the mummy is capable of rising up and fulfilling its curse, and if it is what form that might take. There are plenty of theories, but not a lot of facts, and not a lot of investment in providing any. Despite the realities of daily life in the 6th World, there is something about this situation which is bringing out the trickster in people – even supposed experts.
The truth is muddled. The Johnson is trying to pad his own fee from the collector, so he is actually behind the deaths of the runners. Fear of a curse, and actual deaths to prove it only serve to raise the mummy’s value.
The mummy, however, does have a spirit trapped within it. With enough deaths, it just might have enough power to do something drastic of its own accord…