We’ve all entertained the old bounty hunter fantasy of bringing in a mark, dead or alive, to some darkened back room in the seedy part of a dystopian megalopolis. You know the one, where you’ve returned from the secret headquarters of a sinister, near-future corporation. Maybe you still smell like gunpowder, or perhaps you shove a sweating, zip-tied CEO to the floor, where they will beg for their lives while a pitiless underworld figure laughs mirthlessly around a stub of cigar.
But are you really made of the right stuff for Chrono-Bounty Hunting? Think you are a natural Looper? If your dream is to haunt the dark regions of multiple timelines, you need to consider these issues:
Time Travel Is Expensive—like, reeeeeeaaaaallllllllyyyyy expensive
On the one hand, tachyon-curve generators have come down in price over the last few years, which is something that any hobbyist will cheer. A recent check on Amazon shows that, on average, a consumer-level TCG goes for about $400K. This is a tempting price-point, and we could hardly blame you for thinking that the Hyzen CB-100 is just the thing to get you going in the high-rolling world of trans-temporal fugitive acquisition.
But hold on to your cryptocurrency (merely an expression: your computer-world money has no physical existence)! Have you asked yourself what happens if your budget-savvy timejump rig drops a Tokamak? Let’s just say your fundamental particles will spend the rest of eternity accelerating toward the speed of light. And not in the fun way.
If you want to run with the big boys—Burnak the Malevolent, San B’Strassa of the Sullen Order, or the Unlikely Quadruped of Norrih 7–you’re gonna need something industrial. A FrimCorp Model G with anti-frame drag package and a decent stereo will set you back $2.4B. And then there’s the insurance…
Do You Really Have What It Takes to Look a Sentient Being in the Eye As You Take Its Life with Your Bare Hands (but a weapon is fine too)
We know you think you do, and there’s no doubt that some of you psychos would be happy to stick the business end of a piece of rebar right through the closest aorta. But the vast majority of you dilettantes have lived soft and easy lives of plentiful calories and an extraordinary selection of high-quality television programming. It’s not like any of you were tempered in the cleansing fire of the gladiator pits of Ceti Major, where a kick in the teeth was the only parenting you received, and desperate hunger forced you to garrote the only person you’ve ever called “friend”…
Anyway, we don’t think you’ve got the sand.
You’d Probably Do the Eye-Patch Thing
Just forget about that. You might as well have a grappling hook.
How Are Your Soft Skills?
The life of a history-voyaging, extra-judicially-violent, mercenary scalawag is a glamorous one, no? Well, it certainly can be–if you have some of the subtler tools of the trade at your disposal.
Literacy is a good start. If someone is reading this to you now because in seventh grade you thought that communicating via standardized and durable symbols was for dorks, you’re going to find that getting through contracts is a bear. And did you know that 80% of dimension-jumping bail agents have a law degree? This is independent of the literacy issue, obviously, but it does mean that they have a certain knack for lording things over people and overcharging. How will you establish your credentials in a crowded and talented market space? Having a scorched human skull dangling from your jetpack should be considered the bare minimum.
You Don’t Even Have a Good Name
What, Monte Richardson the Associate Loan Manager? You’re going to announce yourself as that when you stroll into the year 2270?! Not exactly going to strike fear into the heart of the leader of the Red Fist. They are going to eat you alive, sir.*
We suggest you sit back and take a deep breath. Having a fantasy life is healthy, and certainly there’s no harm in imagining yourself gallivanting through a future wasteland or a past wasteland or any wasteland with your trusty Virox-11 personal railgun at your side. But the reality of the time-traveling bounty hunter is probably just a little too real for the likes of you. Maybe time-traveling Yelp contributor would be more your speed. No offense.
*UPDATE: The Red Fist informs us that they have renounced cannibalism, though they are as committed as ever to torture and organ trafficking.