Star*Drive 2525: Hunting for Fun and Profit
The act of bounty hunting in the S*D setting depends greatly on where you are looking for your mark/acquisition/target. Generally, most jurisdictions will allow some forms of bounty hunting to varying degrees.
There are three main types of bounties: bond work, contract work, and illegal bounties. Each type of bounty will generally specify whether the target/mark/acquisition shall be delivered dead or alive. A bounty where the target is wanted dead is generally called a termination, which is a nice word for assassination. Termination bounties are not legal in many areas of human space, including the Concord, Orion League, Borealis Republic, and Orlamu Theocracy.
Even with a massive number of potential legal systems to contend with, bounty hunting is very common within the Stellar Ring and throughout humanity’s frontiers. The reason is simple: space is big. Really big. It’s almost trivially easy for a felon or terrorist or pirate to disappear after getting off-planet. For this reason, every Stellar Nation and colonial government allows some form of bounty hunting. To simplify things, most Stellar Nations have signed treaties on bounty hunting. A Concord Peace-Keeping License (CPKL) is the most commonly recognized credential for bounty hunters in human space. All Stellar Nations have signed the Treaty of Concord, which includes procedures for obtaining CPKLs. A CPKL is valid as long as the hunter does not violate other relevant law. Hunters are advised to know their limits within the jurisdictions they operate in. For example, in Austrin-Ontis space, a CPKL even includes a license to kill, if the mark is wanted on charges that would bring the death penalty within Austrin space. On the other hand, in the Orion League, a CPKL is not sufficient authority to kidnap someone unless they have been tried and convicted in an Orion court. Thus, hunters must be aware of local laws when pursuing bounties. Importantly, a CPKL will automatically be sufficient to receive straight answers to these questions from local law enforcement. Hunters are advised to download all local laws and regulations upon starrise in a new system or jurisdiction for analysis by a legally-trained individual or expert system.
Bounties may be posted for a variety of reasons: corporations will post bounties for the retrieval of employees who have committed corporate espionage, governments will post bounties for criminals who have fled, and individuals will post bounties for sapients that have wronged them or simply those who are lost. The bounty system is also often used to track down missing starships, cargo shipments, or even lost information. These latter types of bounties do not require a CPKL as they do not directly implicate the freedom or life of another sapient being.
Despite the CPKL system, some areas of space are more open to the bounty system than others. The practice is particularly popular within the Profit Confederation, even moreso within the borders of the Rigunmor Star Consortium and Austrin-Ontis Unlimited. Bounty hunting is also often the only truly effective form of law enforcement within frontier areas, like the Verge, which lack sufficient numbers of Concord Administrators to effectively track and capture all criminals.
Criminal bounties are commonly placed on pirates, murderers, terrorists, and other violent criminals. However, the bounty system is also used for less violent types: bail jumpers, debtors (especially in Rigunmor space), runaway slaves (uncommon, as slavery is not legal in most Stellar Nations), and white collar criminals.
Types of Bounties, Summarized
Skip Tracers and Repo Men
Bail Bonds and Criminal Bounties
Courier services, Freight lines, passenger lines…
Loan sharks, illegal contracts, assassinations…
Extermination of non-sentient animal life on newly colonized worlds. Also may include standing bounties on klicks, kroath, and other “soldier” External species.