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Sunday, March 3, 2013
Treasure from the Desert
Deshret is a desert world, terraformed in a previous age, but now slowly sliding back into uninhabitability. Its forbidding red sands would have long ago been abandoned to its hostile indigenes and desert monsters, if it weren't for the treasure buried beneath its shifting dunes.
During the Archaic Oecumene, the desert world was the location of a floating metropolis. The city did a thriving business in the preparation and storage of uploaded mind copies in their secure databanks (referred to as “tombs”) buried beneath the planet’s surface. The Great Collapse lead to the city literally disintegrating to dust under assault by rogue disassembler swarms. The stored data facilities were left unguarded and ripe for tomb-robbers.
Shortly after the incorporation of the Radiant Polity, haphazard thievery on Deshret coalesced into a business supporting a new society. The tall, jade-skinned, ectomorphic Ogüptans controlled the exploitation of the past from their capital, the spaceport Moph. Some are sandminers, sifting the red dust for fragments of code and the rare whole artifact left from the Great Collapse. Others are tomb-robbers, wresting the minds of the long dead to sell into slavery, to toil in the infospheres of today.
Tomb-robbing isn’t without risk. The data is secure, and getting at it often requires overcoming deadly physical and digital intrusion countermeasures. Perhaps even worse, strife around the Great Collapse or soon after, left the desert full of spirits and devils. Wild nanites haunt the wastes: malicious djinn and body-thief dybbuks. Then there are the masked desert tribes, murderously resentful of intruders into their sacred places.
Despite these risks, there is no shortage of people willing to brave them for a chance at quick money.