December 23rd 2015
We are locked and loaded, with today’s episode of TRACKER ready to shoot. At the trigger, as always, is me, Garret Coliga, delivering another round of the latest official Bounty Hunters Guild news, tech and tips brought to you by today’s sponsor, Apocalypse Arms. Manufacturer of such fine ship ordnance as the Revenant Ballistic Gatling and the Strife Mass Driver, Apocalypse has just introduced a new line of personal weapons that are as well-crafted and absolutely devastating as their larger siblings. To celebrate, they are having a fantastic Citizen Day special where all customers who earned their Citizenship this standard Earth year can send in a rebate for 25% off. The deal only lasts till the beginning of the new year, so all you newly franchised hunters out there, get shopping. Don’t forget to tell them that Garret sent you.
It’s only been a few weeks now since the declaration of war — about damn time I might add — but already the Guild is seeing an uptick in contracts. With the government sights turning to focus on the Vanduul threat, it seems that there is all the more business coming our way. Doubly so thanks to more than a few brave members stepping up to do their part and enlisting to serve. Our thoughts and well wishes to our brothers and sisters, as well as all the starmen fighting to protect us, but since the boards are being overrun with government bounties, I figured I’d use today’s HotSheet to highlight some of the jobs that are a little more off the beaten path, so to speak.
First up, a mechanic on the make. It seems one Silas Rapapo of Rapapo Repairs out near Vann was trying to up his profit margins by telling people that he was patching up their ship with high-end materials when, in reality, he was slapping on low-grade steel bonding covered in some nice paint work. A scam he apparently had going for a few years, silencing complaints with apologies and bribes where he could, until his shoddy work wound up getting a family of five nearly killed after their hull ruptured during what should have been a routine landing. Mr. Rapapo skipped bail, and has been on the lam since late November. Here’s hoping he escaped in a ship he repaired.
Moving on, we have a refugee gone rogue. After being sent to a Xi’An labor camp as a political dissident, Suec’ath managed to escape to UEE space in the hope of finding asylum. However, the request was denied and the Advocacy are looking to extradite Suec’ath back to Xi’An space. Turns out, the Xi’An are especially eager for the return and are being very generous on this one. Since Suec’ath has already been able to give a highly secure labor camp the slip, you can bet that this is one slippery slink. Smart credits are on them trying to make their way across yet another border to try their luck with the Banu.
Next, we have a lost little one. Eugene and Marigold Helms have listed a private contract for information on the whereabouts of their 13-year-old daughter. She ran away from their Cestulus home three months ago, and there has been no word from her since. The locals have turned up dry, and since the child left of her own will, it hasn’t been much of a priority. Not much of a contract either if I’m being honest, but sometimes the reward is about more than creds.
Which brings us nicely to today’s special guest, Ted Morales, the chair of the Guild’s Committee on Ethical Practices, to talk to us about what it means to have a code of ethics as a bounty hunter. But before we get to Ted, just need to add real quick that for all jobs on the HotSheet and any contract in general, you’re going to want to consult your local Guild or Law Enforcement office to double-check any bounty before confronting a fugitive, as bounties may have been cleared. And of course, jobs must be performed by licensed Guild Members in good standing.
With all that said and done, I’d like to welcome Ted to the program.
Ted Morales: Thanks for having me, Garret. Real excited to be on. I have been listening to TRACKER since I first got involved with the committee about two years ago. It’s a fantastic resource.
Thanks, Ted. Means a lot to me. Really. Now, first things first, I’m sure many of you out there are asking: wait, the Guild has an ethics committee? And the answer to that is a resounding yes. Ted, why don’t you explain to those not in the know what you and the committee do?
Ted Morales: Of course. While there are official laws set by the UEE outlining what a bounty hunter can and cannot do in order to be licensed, the Committee of Ethics is there to help establish guidelines for what a member should or should not do. Or as one of our committee members likes to say, the black and white stuff is easy; we’re there to help with the gray.
I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the hunt and to justify questionable means because it’s all to help put away bad guys. I’ve done some stuff in the heat of the moment that I’m less than proud of now. An incident involving a suspect’s cat and an airlock comes to mind.
Ted Morales: Most hunters have stories like that. We are doing dangerous work where we interact with criminals every day. It is important for us to have a support system we can lean on to make sure we don’t get caught up in the mire. That’s where the committee comes in; not to make the tough choices for you, but to provide a helping hand so that guild members can be ethical and still perform their job.
I’m a firm believer that it’s worth the effort to make a living that you can live with, but when it comes to doing what’s right or doing what’s going to put creds in your account, it can definitely be a tough call.
Ted Morales: That’s why we’ve developed what we like to call the Four P’s of Responsible Hunting: Purpose, Pronouncement, Proportionality and Prejudice. If you take the time to ask yourself these four things before taking a job, or even in the middle of the job, it could help steer you in the right direct.
For example, with Purpose you ask yourself is there a good reason to be doing what I’m doing? Is there strong evidence for why I should be taking this case? Any hunt or investigation can lead to significant harm to the person or people being investigated, so it’s good as a first step to stop and see if the job itself feels justified before undertaking any action. That’s Purpose.
Right. Does this job seem like it’s a contract worth doing, and not just from a money side. What’s Pronouncement?
Ted Morales: Pronouncement is asking if the job or actions you are undertaking have been made public to the Guild or to the proper authorities, and if they have not, would you feel comfortable if they did come to light.
The old ‘would you be embarrassed if your parents found out’ test.
Ted Morales: Exactly, thinking about your peers’ or mentors’ reactions can definitely be a good guideline. If you wouldn’t want them to know, then maybe you should reconsider what you are about to do. The next ‘P’ is Proportionality. Are the actions you are taking appropriate to the task at hand?
Okay. Like how blowing up a ship might be totally valid for chasing down a violent suspect, but a little out of hand if you’re trying to nab someone who is delinquent on their support payments.
Ted Morales: Right. Just because a certain level of violence is justified in one case does not mean it is universally ethical. It is important to constantly be evaluating and making sure you are using the appropriate tools and techniques for the job at hand.
We’re going to have to take a break in just a second, here, but if my count is correct, I think we just have one ‘P’ left.
Ted Morales: The last one is Prejudice. Not only discrimination against people of different races, species, economic class — which is important — but also in the sense of your own personal feelings on the case. Have you had a problem with a shipjacker in your own line that may change the way you approach a contract? Did your parent’s store get robbed once, and you have —
Hold that thought, Ted. We need to hop to commercial for a minute, but when TRACKER comes back we are going to talk through how to use the four ‘P’s on some real life case examples, and explore what to do if you do make an ethical mistake. Plus, we’ve got a review of some new facial scan tech that you’re not going to want to miss. More TRACKER on the way.