(this is my second application) Eight hours of waiting. Binge drinking through the perp's liquor cabinet. Lamenting how the fucker didn't even have the decency to show up on schedule. Smashing his fine china. Clogging the toilet. A man had eons to occupy himself, trashing another man's house before inevitably trashing his life. It was only just, ensuring there was nothing left to tie him to the world. Even the rich had that burden, and here he was - easing it for free. Widmore felt like a saint to the morally destitute. Well, they did pay him. Occasionally. "Honey?" Harsh footsteps emerged on the floorboards, the front door eased shut. Lights violently shone through the boarded windows, an engine idled outside. Guess the mark had shown his face. "Honey, I'm home! We're - we're rich, we can finally go to Reno!" The familiar sound of a rifle chambering itself echoed through the shack. Maybe the guy thought his 'wife' was dumb as a bag of bricks. Maybe he believed his own delusions. Maybe he was unaware that his soon-to-be assailant had cut the poor woman out of her binds, shooing her off hours ago. It didn't matter how much of a psycho the guy was, bystanders were bad news in this profession. Better to have only one body to cart away than dozens. "Squared our debt away! I... I mean, your debt! Good news, right?" Something in his gut told him that the bastard was lying. Every inch of this began and ended with "murder-suicide", and the rifle's presence just made it worse. Randall had felt some sickening stuff in the last few months of work, but this? Sense evaporated. Not that he had all the answers - it was a vague, open-ended bounty to begin with. Normal from the pool he normally drew from, the type where the client didn't care if the hunter came back with a captive or a corpse. Maybe the victim was someone's sister, sure. Meant he didn't have to risk life and limb to carry the usual axe-crazy criminals across state lines. Mr. Crackpot started yelling again. "Honey, listen! I gotta fix for everything, all our problems! Y'hear me? We're gonna go an-" A deafening bang pierced the room, blowing the crazed 'husband' all over the living room. Randall peaked over the impromptu barricade he had drunkenly constructed hours before, lazily gripping the snubnose. No need, turned out that the guy wouldn't be able to put up a fight bleeding and twitching over the stained floorboards. That and the clear absence of a face. Oh well, client wasn't asking for much identification to begin with, seemed to be another 'personal' contract. At least it paid well. He passed over the body, stepping by the exhausted M14 that had been rigged to one conspicuous tripwire, and began to ransack the shack once more. - - - They say that lives are the one thing currency can't buy. That's complete bullshit. Lives these days got decided by currency, more specifically, the cost of someone's life was often chalked up to the price someone had tagged to the poor bastard. Dynamite and bullets were inexpensive running costs, paid happily by the few who wished to black-bag the top scorers and drive straight into a grave. Often they shoved them into the back of unmarked vehicles and sped down the crumbling highways, the 'passengers' screaming and banging all the while in the trunk. More often, they underestimated their marks and wound up shot into a casket, one gunshot wound at a time. Professionals without standards, like Randall, went for the personal jobs, the barely-a-hit work that necessitated a choice. Bring 'em in alive, or (hopefully) dead. Sometimes, these perps had actually committed some ghastly crime and might have deserved being chased through what was left of rural America. Sometimes, people who screwed up or offended the wrong person got dragged to hell by bastards who were just like them, just armed with a better gun, slightly more sense, and the law. And sometimes, the less-adept bounty hunters might have decided to actually take them in alive. Sometimes. Randall rose to fame after dispatching the Kelvin twins. Most dangerous job he ever took, but it set him up. Poised him for something passing for fame 'round the southern states. Some said it simply couldn't be done, the twins were too secure in that fortified farmstead. Everyone knew where they were, but reaching 'em? Impossible. They called him mad. Although he suspected that he might have gone mad long before that, Randall still tried. Maybe they were right, because instead of actually charging through their vast fortifications and barricades, trading lives with expensive rent-a-mercs, he simply waited for nightfall and rolled a grenade down the chimney. Bounty completed, job well done. Five thousand less in the wallet, but at least this way he was both still alive and moderately rich. Just like the famous folk heroes of the twenties, he soon spent most of it on passing pleasures and went off to scrape more jobs. Johnny Lawman had a lot of work to dole out to freelancers, especially since these days there wasn't much of a thin line separating 'civilian' and 'casualty'. Feds knew it, having ditched their fabled RULES-OF-ENGAGEMENT guidelines out the window the second they wrestled back control of the eastern seaboard, yet there were too many people for even their conscripted armies to catch. Aside from those who tempted the powerful, another class of criminal emerged. Transhumans. Half man, half machine. Plenty of endurance to tank most of the militiamen thrown at them, plenty of buff strength to tear man and synth apart. With deadbeat work at a slump, Randall's life was punctuated with enlistment in one of the many 'reclamation authorities' tying up the loose ends of many a rogue transhuman runaway. Empowered to investigate and hunt down 'non-exempted' transhumans, Randall simply ignored his infrequent orders and often bought back maimed transhuman zekes who'd been head-humped or blown apart by minefields long before the world order changed hands. Paid the same, with virtually no consequence. Even some foreigner could grab a gun and sign up for the hunt, claim they were some 'Junker' deserving of praise. Randall didn't give a shit about who deserved what. He got paid, he kept his mouth shut, the so-called superiors counted the bodies and went back to their paperwork. Freelancing for the government suited him just fine over going back to ambushing bail-jumpers and local crazies. Ten days after hauling off the last batch of Elites who decided to venture through one nevada boneyard decades before, another offer came in. Risky bounty, decent pay, "take what you please". Perp was supposedly camped out in a town two days away, perhaps armed, perhaps crazy. He rubbed his chin. His wallet felt lighter than usual. What did he have to lose? Randall Widmore set out for town of Silver, Nevada. His jacket fluttered in the highway wind.