This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue.
Author’s note: This adventure was inspired by Marvel Star Wars #7
Setting: a small, low-population world with a D or E starport.
Father John Xubulr has a problem: he is the priest for the local community on this backwater planet (or at least the only one at its starport) and one of his fold has died recently. The old spacer, Jacso, had been in space for nearly his whole lifetime, shipping goods to nearby worlds. Now he is dead, and his last wish was to be buried on ‘spacer hill’, a part of the local graveyard that rises over the starport.
For generations, the hill has been reserved for the community’s spacers, those who lived their lives between the worlds to bring home what wealth and prosperity they could, and it has been like that since the colony was founded. There is a problem though: old Jacso had been in an accident some time back, while he was contracted to one of the megacorps, and half his body had been replaced with cybernetics on the company’s bill.
He was an old spacer, and nobody gave him much grief for it while he was alive, even though a lot of them stared at the chrome he had, and most of what local friendships he had cooled noticeably. Now, some of the local folks are upset, to put it politely: all due respect to Father John, but no way is a ‘dirty stinkin’ robot’ going to be buried on their hill! He might have been born here, and done good by his neighbors, but he—it, rather—was half machine and should go to the scrapyard like the rest of them.
Father John needs some help: he promised Old Jacso he’d bury him up on the hill, and part of the congregation expects him to do exactly that. A vocal minority is dead set against this and threatens violence if that ‘dirty chipper’ is even brought close to the hill.
Father John will offer the characters a handsome amount of money the old spacer left to the parish if they will help him get the body (which is heavy due to the cybernetics in it) up the hill and into the ground.
- Everything is as it appears. The people who oppose the burial grumble a bit, but nothing happens.
- As 1, but the dissenters take an intense dislike to the “blasphemers”, and were more numerous than Father John believed. They will not make this known directly, but small stuff (public shunning, refusal of service, etc.) should bring it across.
- The characters have an angry mob at hand. There is a serious risk of violence, and Father John may be killed if the party cannot calm the situation.
- As 3. Additionally, if the characters have their own starship, they will repeatedly discover sabotaged equipment on it, some of which might even lead to problems in space. If the characters are not here with their own ship, they might be refused passage off-world, due to the captain’s dislike for their actions. In any case, they will have to leave the community quickly, and (at the referee’s discretion) Father John may have to leave with them.
- As 3, but somebody will try to get rid of the body by digging it out again after the burial.
- As 5. but the body removes itself from the grave: the cybernetics were far more extensive than anyone realized and the characters now have to deal with a cyberzombie looking to be repaired.
Subsequent events are up to the referee.