Burners are bounty hunters or assassins assigned to track down and “burn” designated targets. They can be government agents or private individuals working for pay. While some of the most notorious Burners are known to operate alone, most Burners actually work as part of a cross-functional team.
In most cases a “burn” is a kill, but some assignments instead involve capture, particularly government-sponsored bounties. A “clean burn” involves proof of successful capture or proof of death. Some Burners prefer to document the hunt, not only as proof of their burn but also as proof of who they didn’t burn. After all, Burners receive no official acknowledgement or protection from their employers, and could be prosecuted by the local government and become a fugitive themselves.
Burners are usually Spacers, since they need to follow their quarry wherever they run. Most targets who escape a local system out into space are sentenced to death, and some targets might be wanted in one or more systems. Tracking down and getting the drop on dangerous targets isn’t easy, and successful Burners tend to be subtle, patient, adaptable, and downright devious. Many Burners are Espers or have one on their team, for the ability to track Shining Paths can be indispensable. Also, most government bounties specify deductions for collateral damage, Burners need to be careful and precise if they want to make a profit.
Some Burners are assigned missions other than tracking down individual targets, such as espionage or leading a team of Mercs to assault a fortified target. Powerful individuals sometimes keep Burners on retainer so as to have more experienced and capable bodyguards protecting them.
Encounter Seed — A team of Burners comes after the characters, who may not even know they have a price on their heads, or what they allegedly did. The characters might need to investigate to find out who wants them dead, why, and how they might get the bounty lifted.