Guide to Contraband
So, you're a fresh security officer with a charged baton and a mind to enforce THE LAW? This page provides guidelines on what to confiscate when you search someone.
General Contraband Guidelines
The term contraband applies to items in the illegal possession of people aboard the station. Generally speaking, “illegal possession” refers to:
- Obviously dangerous items that a crew member should not possess without the appropriate qualifications. Examples of this include a botanist handling an ion rifle, a cargo tech with a chainsaw, or a chef with a chemical grenade. Don't be overly critical of that engineer with a fireaxe - it makes more sense for them to carry one than the Chaplain.
- Items that have been crafted for the explicit appearance of/use as an improvised weapon, or items with an obvious combat application. This includes things like pneumatic cannons, makeshift spears, and improvised armor. It does not necessarily include things like military uniforms, costumes, holsters, or other accessories. The item should appear to pose a potential threat to be treated as one, and should only be confiscated if it turns out to have that potential.
- Items that are restricted in Tau Ceti by law. Examples of this include military-grade equipment, federally controlled pharmaceuticals, and banned literature. Many Syndicate gadgets are examples of tech that is illegal for the average citizen to own, but not all are visually identifiable.
There are also circumstances in which an item should not be considered contraband because it is not illegally possessed:
- When someone is authorized to possess an item via a correctly filled out and stamped NFC-0106 Executive Permission form or NFC-0210 Weapons Permit form, it is legally possessed. The Head of Staff responsible for this authorization may be liable for misuse of the item.
- When an otherwise contraband item is protected by Station Directives. This includes the items stored in the Cargo Bay warehouse and within the Research department per Station Directive 4, and the Merchant’s sweet gun and wares per Station Directive 8.
- When an item is misused, but by someone who is otherwise qualified to possess it. A botanist who attacks someone with a hatchet would be liable for the assault, but the hatchet is simply a legally possessed item used in an illegal way. It's reasonable for people to be walking around with items generally found in their departments, unless they are particularly dangerous or otherwise restricted.
As with all things, some common sense is required when making determinations of contraband. A plastic eating knife is a knife, but is unlikely to be considered a "dangerous item" by an average person. The delicious-looking sandwich the Head of Personnel just ordered from the kitchen should not be confiscated due to security somehow justifying that it has an "obvious combat application." The janitor running around in a soviet army costume with a holstered banana is not actually an armed soldier, and doesn't need to be processed for "illegal" items (though uniform regulations may apply). Officers may be liable for illegal detention if they process people for contraband incorrectly.
On Syndicate And Supernatural Items
Antagonists have access to a variety of items that are either designed to deceive people, or appear otherwise unknowable or strange. Generally speaking, these items should not be treated as contraband unless they fit one of the above guidelines. For example, a Syndicate revolver or energy sword are obvious deadly weapons and should be controlled, while a parapen looks like a regular pen to the naked eye and would probably be ignored unless special attention is called to it.
For magical or religious items, it is better to assume that they are mundane until their powers are witnessed. A wizard’s scrying orb looks like a plain old crystal ball. A cultist’s tome is just a nonsensical book to the uninitiated. Generally speaking, until the crew sees magic or powers that they can connect to those items, they should not be considered very suspicious or dangerous things on their own.
Remember that the true nature of most antagonist equipment is not common knowledge, and roleplay accordingly. The Uplink page offers a quick reference for traitor items that may appear immediately suspicious.
Regarding Station-bound Recognition of Contraband
As a general rule, the AI and its Cyborg minions should not be actively attempting to inform the crew regarding contraband items, but only in response to a request. Additionally, some devices' functions based on their appearance should be immediately obvious. For instance, if someone attempts to show you a sleepypen to analyze it, simply state that it looks like a pen, so it must be a pen. If the individual demonstrates its purpose onto another person, and the other person you are observing falls over, you can then qualify the pen as a hypodermic dispensary, because you just witnessed that demonstration. There are several other items with similar intricacies, and likewise station synthetics which are designed more like logical computerized intelligence should follow the same logic, so as to immerse yourself in the role while also not actively trying to give people information they want to hunt antagonists.