Saturday Seed ~ 47 (Blue Planet)

This week’s seed is for the beloved but often neglected Blue Planet. This seed is very open-ended and part of its charm is its vagueness and potential to go unresolved forever. Some things in life, particularly life as defined by the awesome majesty of the inscrutable ocean, are better that way.

The Seed

Imagine a day in Haven like any other – until reports start coming in that thousands upon thousands of fish have floated to the surface belly up, all at once. Two mysteries are handed to residents in that moment:

  • What killed the fish?
  • What were such large numbers of fish doing in this place at that time?
Planting the seed

Everyone on Poseidon is potentially affected by this unexplained mass death. This seed can be used to round out potential hooks for a group that has just wrapped up a story, or to add depth and/or distraction to an ongoing story.

 

Where you plan to take it should initially color how you introduce it. My preference is for something like this to be and remain wholly unexplained and serve merely as an onramp to some other form of action, be it activism on the part of the characters, or a way to get everyone to the same point in time and space so that they gain perspective on some other problem with a more readily obtainable solution.

The details

In a barnacle shell, a truly stupendous number of fish have suddenly and inexplicably died. Research by the characters or other agencies will uncover no external reason for the deaths. They simply died by ceasing to live: no damage, no known toxins, biological infections, or unexplained environmental shifts turn up.

 

The fish float to the surface off Haven’s Shuttle Point, on the Wharf side. The mass of bodies is visible from the shore as a growing, silvery discoloration that one has to turn one’s head fully from side to side to take in. It makes for dramatic viewing from the air or from below the surface as it spreads with the motion of the tide. Surface vessels near the mass will not be able to see water between the bodies.

 

Investigation and clean up are two major priorities, and spin-doctoring takes a close third. Concerned citizens with all manner of political, economic, and environmental tridents to grind start filling whatever social and media networks they can gain access to with conflicting and inflammatory calls to action, laying blame, dodging responsibility, and asking for someone – anyone – to do something before this happens again. Religion of the extreme sort, takes it as a sign, and not a few of the mentally unstable take up signs calling for sinners to repent.

 

Hucksters and Con Artists begin hawking all-sorts of cure-alls, preventatives, and protective gear to take advantage of what news sources are likely to inflate into a full-scale crisis watch if nothing else of interest happens.

 

One local broadcast takes a lighter view, and starts running a contest to award free concert tickets to the viewer who comes closest to guessing the exact number of dead fish before an official tally is released. Second prize is a dinner for two with romance novelist, Theora Sullivan, whose newest work, Oceans of Death – Tides of Love, is steadily climbing the best-seller chart.

What’s going on

There are many courses to plot with this sort of thing, such as it being an industrial accident involving a new biotoxin which breaks down with unseemly speed and completeness, it could have been the result of a freak weather event, or astronomical anomaly. Worse, it could be a misguided publicity stunt by Ms. Sullivan’s publisher.

I suspect that I would prefer that no one solves the mystery, but by investigating it, uncover threads to other plots you have been dying for your group to navigate.

 

Enjoy!

 

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