Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Bounty

Forty years ago, the government of Harlan's World faced multiple crises: a downturn in the economy, growing discontent over the ruling oligarchy, burgeoning governmental budgets,planetary overpopulation, and the threat of the mimints on New Hokkaido.  To counter these problems, the First Families launched what became known as the Mecsek Initiative, which included draconian cuts to governmental infrastructure and the creation of the Bounty and deCom.

Put simply, the government would offer a cash reward for any destroyed mimint.  Rather than allocate military forces to the Uncleared zones, freelance mercenaries called deCom (for "decommissioners") would be licensed by the government.  The government provided the most basic of billeting and coordination for deCom members, who in turn would have to provide their own weapons, equipment, cyberware, and other tools of the trade.

An entire economy was created around the Bounty, as underemployed (and potentially violent) youth could seek quick fortunes by joining deCom, surrounding arms manufacturers and other service-sector businesses thrived serving the needs of the deCom community, the government's expense was greatly reduced even with the Bounty pay-outs, and a potential source of revolutionary fervor was diffused.

The amount paid by the Bounty to deCom members varies wildly from the negligible for small drones to small fortunes for massive AI tanks and mimint-factory 'bots.  For a Bounty to be claimed, individuals must first destroy a mimint and return with the AI's internal core (or major remain thereof) back to the government's main deCom headquarters in Drava.  There is a complicated algorithm that has been developed to deal with the continually varied forms the mimints take, and some disgruntled deCom often complain that over time the amount of the Bounty has lessened in comparison to risk.

But the dream of hitting the big score and leaving deCom with a pile of money and the promise of a new life continues to create a steady stream of novice deCom recruits (known as "sprogs").

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