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Super Employment

New thing of the indeterminate time period: Super jobs.

Take as given that, in the real world, there is no place for super-powered vigilantes running around beating the hell out of criminals that they just happen to run into while rooftopping. There are a host of reasons why comic book style heroes aren't realistic.

So, with that, if one found one's self suddenly in possession of super powers, what could one do with them? How would they a) make daily life easier, and b) how could one use them to Get Rich Quick? How would being super change your employment prospects?

Each of these short articles will consider a specific super power.

Today's power: Teleportation.

While one of the weaker fight-crime powers, teleportation is great for "normal" life.

First of all, a teleporter doesn't have to commute. As someone who spends close to two hours a day getting to and from work, that would be miracle enough. Party hopping and being able to see folks over distance would be pretty great, too.

So, with that, even if you could only teleport yourself (and, hopefully, your clothes), you've already made your life better. The two most common variation points on comic book teleportation are distance and weight allowance. Nightcrawler can only handle short distances, and can't carry much weight. He still has to commute to the X-mansion, but he can at least get to the Blackbird in a couple hops without having to wait for the elevator to the hanger. Lila Cheney can transport herself and a sizable entourage over intergalactic distances. Magik can move herself and her team a fair distance, provided no one minds stopping in Limbo first.

To make a living with your teleporting, you've got a few choices. The simplest is comeptition for UPS - when you absolutely have to get it from point A to point B *right away* the teleporter is the way to go. Mass and distance effect what you can do here. If you're 'porting letters across town, you're not going to make as much as the guy who can shift a dozen shipping containers from Taiwan to Boston. Mass is especially key. If you can only transport small things, your business will have to specialize in very valuable small things - bags of diamonds from Russia to Washington or something like that.

"Something like that" brings us, of course, to the more dangerous ways to make money; to whit, illegal jobs. Becoming a smuggler is the logical extension of the courier job. Being able to move drugs, stolen goods or just skip around customs agents makes the teleporter valuable to the black market. If you can move people around, too, so much the better - grab the product, put it in a vault, then bring the buyer and seller there, and everyone gets cleared out without much risk of a double-cross, since no one knows where the product is.

Becoming a thief, while also easy for the teleporter, is significantly riskier, and likely with no better a payout. Just because no one can stop you getting into the bank vault or museum doesn't mean you won't leave evidence behind when you grab something. Plus the stolen goods still need to get fenced, so you still need to be hooked into organized crime. Even if you steal cash, there's a risk of the cops tracking the bills back to you.

There are, of course, the insane badass careers of assassin, spy, terrorist and counter-terrorist, but unless you happen to be into that sort of thing before you start teleporting, odds are you won't really get into it afterwards either. Plus, a CIA operative doesn't make as much money as the ones in the movies do.

I suppose you could also make a killing as a stage magician.

Comments? Complaints? Suggestions for another power to cover?


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
If the teleportation range is far enough, and mass limit is, let's say, under 200kg, then free orbit is a fantastic money-making endeavour. Current cost to orbit hovers around $8000/kg. Make sure you can carry your space suit + any amount of payload, and you can assemble things in orbit.

Start by making a space station, then you can dispense with the space suit & increase your payload.

Next superpower - flame powers (like the human torch)
Jan. 7th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
That is so totally awesome -- I had never thought of that!
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 8th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's possible to have teleportation powers without the power to change velocity as well. We don't live on an intertial reference plane, so if velocity was maintained, trying to teleport from here to Australia would leave you skimming along the ground at 1800mph, just from the Earth's rotation alone.

There's two ways that I can conceive of practical teleportation powers working:

1. Arbitrary velocity change, under control of the user.
2. Must match velocity of a nearby object.

#1 is trivial to use. #2 just means you have to have one conventionally launched object in orbit already, and there's literally tons of that stuff up there.
Jan. 7th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
Teleportation is a power I've always wanted, and I know what I would use it most for: getting good food from places that I can't travel to on a regular basis. In particular, there's a really good deli in New Orleans, with muffelettas to die for. :) It would also be awesome for people who have to travel for work, but want to be able to come home at night to be with their SO or family.

Telekinesis is another one I'd love, so I'd love to see what you do with that one. :)
Jan. 7th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
As she's always been my favourite - at will weather control
Jan. 7th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
Keep in mind that UPS and like services charge through the nose for overnight delivery while a teleporter could do it immediately. (Not to mention that they can do many of these a day!)

It's also worth mentioning that somebody with such a power would be extremely valuable to governments and the military as communications could be made without travelling intervening distances thus allowing for maximum security and discression.
Jan. 7th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
One other interesting limitation that I've seen is whether the person had been to the terminal destination. Wizards in D&D can go off course if they don't know the location well. Ryoko (of Tenchi Muyo fame http://bit.ly/8SjiFf) could only teleport to locations she had been previously no matter how well described.
Jan. 7th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
That's where networking comes in; you get a venture capitalist to sponsor you for a world tour; minimally, hitting major air and sea ports. Hop to the nearest one and rely on land to get you the last mile, as it were.
Jan. 7th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
Come now. As an avid traveller and near-penniless graduate student, I've managed several forays to major (and minor) centres. Surely a teleporter who can slip onto moving trains wouldn't have an issue with a world tour.
Jan. 7th, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
Sure, but with funding, you eat better. :)
Jan. 7th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
they can do many of these a day

Assuming that it doesn't cost them huge amounts of energy to do so. They might only have the energy to do one jump a day.
Jan. 7th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
Power generation :

Presuming there is no actual energy cost to teleportation, which seems to be the case (dear conservation of mass and energy : PSYCH!), depending on your limits, there could be an interesting porocess of spending the day raising 1-ton rocks a 1/2 mile up to drop onto a levering/gear system that turns a generator.

Alternately, we have the teleportation style of Kevin O'Donnell's Mcgill Feighan series, which includes the (rayther necessary when you consider it) aspect of being able to add and remove momentum from mass, which, unless you're travelling in a straight line along the rotation of the earth is necessary to avoid sudden relocation into orbit - or the side of a mountain. This would allow a number of teleporters to continually add momentum to a flywheel-generator system.


Other personal transportation services

Extreme Skiing/base-jumping transportation -

Wanna parachute from the middle of the desert with nothing to jump off of? No worries!

Nowhere safe to land to ski down the side of the mountain? No worries!

Rescure Operations -

Oh noes! Timmy's fellen down the well again? 59.95 Ms. Jones, you have your whole loyalty card full after all.


Advertising gimmicks

Need someone to crash the competition's quarterly meeting and spread info on your new product while avoiding security? No worries!
Jan. 7th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, rescue operations was one of the first things that came to my mind, though in more senses than just getting Timmy out of the well.

Currently my son's got a huge fixation with firefighters and always wants to look at photos and videos on firefighternation.com, and one of the things I've noticed in a lot of the videos is how hard they often have to work at breaking into a place that's burning, in order to rescue people, get the hoses inside, etc. A teleporter who could transport people would be great as a firefighter (or as a paramedic for that matter). But even one that could only teleport themselves and their clothing + handheld gear could get in and open locked doors and windows from the inside so that the other emergency personnel could get in much faster than if they had to chop the door down with an axe or something.

Hmm, for that matter, a teleporter with less of a taste for adventure could make a good living by undercutting locksmiths when it came to helping people who'd locked themselves out of their houses/apartments.

Being able to teleport other people would also be very useful for bouncers in bars and nightclubs. If they said "You're out!", you really would be, no arguments.

Other superpowers to cover: my personal favourite has always been telekinesis. That would be useful in an incredibly wide variety of occupations, from handling hazardous materials to circus acrobatics and ballet.
Jan. 7th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
i would like to see more of these. perhaps with illustrations.
Jan. 8th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
I want to be able to teleport so badly.

Okay, because it is [SPOILER] something that happens in my comic, can you cover compound eyes?
Jan. 8th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
OK, here's some more:
Telekinesis (my favourite), telepathy, invisibility (item of note: the truly invisible can't see, because no light interacts with their retinas, but I assume there's some phlebotnium that gets around that).
Jan. 8th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
Re: invisibility limitations:

echolocation could be helpful, but that's another superpower.
perhaps they see in light wavelengths that lie outside the visible range, like deep IR or UV.
Jan. 10th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
Kinetic control.

That or Probability control. (I wrote a short story years ago about someone that If he knew the probability of something happening could cause it to happen. he starts simply with flipping quarters, makes a fortune gambling then inadvertently dooms the world when a science show tells him the chances of another big rock hitting the planet.)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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