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Treasure Chest Cavity
So that's where you hid the family jewels!

Zoe: You really think there's something in there?
Mal: Using corpses for smuggling is a time-honored repulsive custom.
Jayne: Maybe it's gold.
Zoe: And maybe he was a friend of ours and you need to show more respect.
Jayne: I got respect. I'm just sayin' (points to body) Gold!
Firefly, "The Message"

This trope is about using a person as a walking safe. Or a dead safe, in some cases. Despite the name, the treasure can be hidden in other body parts, and with or without the person's knowledge. Smugglers may willingly have themselves (or others) surgically altered to hide objects inside of them. As shown to the right, in some instances the hidden item may be parked inside the person's Soul or odder "places", as if in a spiritual Hammerspace. Taking the item out may require surgery (hopefully Psychic Surgery to avoid Scars Are Forever), or may be simple if they've been surgically given "pouches".

See also Stomach of Holding. Compare Victoria's Secret Compartment, Trouser Space and contrast Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Nice Hollystone of Baccano! keeps an extra cherry bomb in her empty eye socket.
  • In Bleach, the Hougyoku was hidden inside Rukia's soul, pictured above. The Big Bad had a handy ritual which allowed him to reach in and grab it; Plan A was to vaporize her and get the artifact that way, because said object is indestructible.
  • InuYasha:
    • Inuyasha had his father's grave hidden inside the pupil of his eye.
    • In the very first episode, Kagome had the Shikon no Tama torn out of her body. The jewel had attached itself to the soul of Kikyo, Kagome's previous incarnation, after it was burned along with Kikyo's body in an attempt to prevent its powers being used.

Film
  • In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond uses the dead body of diamond smuggler Peter Franks to smuggle diamonds through customs.
  • The Fifth Element. The Stones (the film's MacGuffin) are hidden inside the body of Diva Plavalaguna.
  • In a rather bizarre version, Christopher Walken's part in Pulp Fiction keeps a pocket watch up his arse to give it to the son of the last owner.
  • In Underworld the vampire elders Viktor and Amelia had the components for the key to William's tomb surgically placed in their chests.
  • Used repeatedly in the Saw franchise, where keys are implanted inside people, either to force others to attack them or to force the implant-ee to perform self-surgery.
  • In A Christmas Carol The Musical, one of Marley's fellow wandering ghosts has a safe in his chest. "I never had a heart..."

Literature
  • The Radix: The Radix was hidden inside a mummy's chest. Bonus points: though it didn't resurrect the mummy, while being stored inside it, Radix made its dead tissues regenerate and bleed.
  • Friday. The title character has a pouch implanted behind her belly button that can hold a small object. She often uses it while acting as a courier. At the beginning of the book she's carrying a vitally important message from the Moon to Earth... but, unbeknownst to her, not actually in her pouch, since her enemies know about it.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering novels, Karn the silver golem (now golem planeswalker) has a Hammerspace cavity in his chest within which he stores a massive assortment of super-powerful doomsday artifacts called the Legacy, some of them nearly as large as himself. He's also one of the Legacy artifacts himself. He could also also plug himself into a flying ship which was another part of the Legacy to activate the super-scary doomweapon, before he absorbed the whole ship into his chest compartment.
  • In Without Remorse by Tom Clancy, part of the plot involves gangsters smuggling drugs from Asia into the US in the bodies of dead soldiers being shipped home from Vietnam. This was definitely Truth in Television.
  • In Terminal World, the angel which warns Quillion to flee Spearpoint has the pieces of an advanced weapon surgically embedded inside its body for Quillion to extract after its death.
  • In the After the End Bad Future of the Nightside series, Razor Eddie is held captive by post-apocalyptic mutant insects. As they can't separate him from his signature straight razor and can't risk him using it against them, they implant it inside his body and allow his wound to heal over.

Live-Action TV
  • In one season of 24 the MacGuffin is a computer chip holding some valuable video, which it turns out was surgically implanted under the skin of one of the terrorists. As he is dying he tells Jack Bauer of its location, and Bauer cuts it out of him.
  • Doctor Who: In "Dragonfire", the treasure that the "dragon" is guarding turns out to be actually inside its body.
  • In the Firefly episode "The Message", the crew suspects momentarily that the body of their dead friend may have been used to smuggle some sort of valuable cargo. It was, except he ain't dead, and the cargo are artificial vital organs which have replaced his own.
  • In an episode of She Spies, the girls are hunting a thief. As it turns out, what she stole was an experimental artificial heart that she needed to stay alive. An even bigger shocker, her boyfriend was actually a bounty hunter, hired to bring her in and return the heart. At one point, he actually describes it as "an honest-to-God treasure buried in a chest."
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Who Mourns for Morn?" we learn that Morn took part in a bank heist years ago and has been storing the stolen latinum in one of his stomachs ever since — which is why his hair fell out.
  • One CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise episode about stage magicians included an escape-artist character who'd had surgery to sculpt a pocket into the roof of his mouth, in which he could conceal small keys.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons supplement Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia. The god Druaga was said to store his soul object in a human being. If Druaga's corporeal form is destroyed, the person will die. After the person is buried, the soul object will create a new form for Druaga in the person's grave.
  • One of the most basic uses of fleshcrafting discipline in Vampire: The Masquerade.
    • The Samedi can use their clan discipline of Thanatosis to hide or store objects in the folds and wrinkles of their putrid skin. Other vampires can learn this application of the discipline, but without skin that naturally sags and stretches, the results tend to be rather... obvious.
  • In Tabletop Games/Shadowrun the 4th edition Augmentation book gives rules and equipment stats for adding one of these into a dead body.

Video Games
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Player Character can come across a quest named “Rabinna's Inner Beauty” in which you have to escort a slave. If you treat her kindly she reveals that her former master hid a portion of moon sugar inside of her to smuggle it to the city and a man you escort her to will kill her to get it out. You can either help her or let her be killed.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, the Moon Gem, sacred treasure of Serdio was sealed inside King Albert's body. It was ultimately extracted by Lloyd through some magic.
  • In Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One can ask several characters to...remove, or otherwise modify, his body parts, like his eyeball, or even his intestines. This results in items being found, and often a stat increase (though it also inflicts significant damage). One specific case involves a previous incarnation storing useful items inside his ribcage, to be found only after finding the requisite clues.
  • The Neverhood: Klaymen stores and retrieves items within his torso. Pressing the leftmost button on his chest causes a flap to painlessly and seamlessly open and close.

Webcomics
  • In Ava's Demon, those who enter into a Pact with a demon gain a drawer in their torso. The demons can place helpful objects in this drawer.

Web Original
  • Jinn from the Whateley Universe is really just a pile of clothes and fake skin animated by telekinesis, so she stores a backpack of supplies and school books in her chest.
  • Pom Pom from Homestar Runner can store things inside himself, from his cell phone to Strong Bad.
  • The Hire. In "Ambush" a carload of heavily-armed men pull up alongside The Unnamed Badass Driver played by Clive Owen, and tell him to hand over his passenger, who pleads with The Driver not to do so as he's swallowed the diamonds they're after. After a nail-biting car chase the Driver uses his skills to crash the robber's vehicle. When they arrive at their destination, he asks the Passenger if he really swallowed the diamonds. The Passenger just laughs.
  • In an episode of Baman Piderman, the discovery that the wish was inside Baman all along turns out to be much more literal than it usually is. Baman has a drawer in his chest, and the wish (taking the form of a magic wand) is inside it.

Western Animation
  • Bender of Futurama can hide all kinds of stuff inside his robot body - children, robot clowns, Fry... Recently he proved to have so much space available that a small doomsday device went off inside him and didn't damage him. But when it came to carrying around an entire castle's worth of loot he started to show difficulties.
    Bender: For the first time in my life, I feel like I've stolen enough...
    • That lasted for five seconds, until Fry snapped him out of it and he went right back to stealing.
  • On He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), Orko would often pull things out of his hat.
  • In an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Jackie unknowingly had the map to a treasure inserted inside one of his dental fillings by a crooked orthodontist.
  • In a Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century episode based upon "The Five Orange Pips", a dangerous weapon is concealed inside the chamber of a man's artificial heart, and Prof. Moriarty seeks to retrieve it. As it turns out, said weapon is by then quite old and worth more as a museum piece than a tool of destruction.
  • Swindle of Transformers Animated stores his merchandise (helmets, weapons, etc.) within a drawer like cavity in his chest. This compartment is also linked to his "personal storage dimension" which is seemingly limitless in capacity.
    • In Transformers Prime Alpha Trion hid the final Omega Key within one of his bodyguards, Smokescreen.
  • On Xiaolin Showdown, The Yin Yoyo was hidden inside Dojo's Ear.

Real Life
  • Truth in Television with drug mules who swallow their illicit cargos or shove them up their rectums in plastic bags to elude searches. There's a pretty high chance of the bag bursting and killing you with a massive overdose but hey, it's not the dealers who are on the line so who's worried?
  • Some politician said once that the launch codes to the nation's nuclear missile silos should be implanted inside an underling's chest, who would have to be killed and cut open to retrieve them. As he put it, the President might think twice about launching the big one and killing untold millions if he had to murder one man with his bare hands and see him lying dead at his feet.
    • The kind of president who would kill the underling with their own bare hands (as opposed to a less personal or painful method) would probably be the last person who would use a nuclear arsenal responsibly.
  • According to QI, a certain pre-industrial travel guide recommended that travelers prepare for potential theft by making an incision in one arm and hiding a jewel inside the wound, then sewing it up and allowing it to heal. Thus one would have some emergency wealth that robbers wouldn't be able to find.
  • This actually happened with one of the most famous diamonds ever found (not the Cullinan). The miner who found it hid it in his thigh.


Tasty GoldTreasure TropesTreasure Is Bigger in Fiction
Talking with SignsHammer SpaceTrouser Space
Sudden AnatomyAnatomy TropesTriple Nipple
Torso with a ViewImageSource/Anime & MangaWeapon Across the Shoulder

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