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Forensic Investigations

Ana Issek, FT

Diplomate, NT Security Board of Pathology

Revised 02 Jul 2455 (edited to proper Common by J. T. Morgan)

I. Introduction

Investigations are the bread and butter of all security work commonly undertaken for the company. But more often than not, the investigator may find himself in a position wherein he is either not knowledgeable enough to come to a proper conclusion based on the evidence given to him, or merely overlooks the obvious, blatant facts and misses key clues in the tools available at his disposal. The purpose of this paper, as penned by a professional in her field, aims to share these often neglected clues with both old and new investigators alike, because sometimes even the simplest of things goes unnoticed.

A good investigator must be able to play the part of not only a detective, but also as a pathologist and even a social-privvy person. Not only should you, as a qualified individual, have a basic understanding of your career choice and the technical knowledge to go with it, but generally you should also make sure you have good communication skills. These are necessary, as they allow you to coax information out of other security officers and then explain the results of an autopsy or other medical examination to your superior and juries - who are often purposely filled with people that have no basic understanding of any of these things.

With that in mind, be aware there are a multitude of advantages to the world of forensics and investigative work in general. The company is quite generous and, whereas normal officers are rarely ever dealt gear that is above standard regulations, you have the authority to file for proper firearm permits that will allow you to carry a handgun of your choice (though it must be small caliber) openly where you are stationed. The impact of having either an energy-based or ballistic sidearm is not lost on both suspects and security officials alike. However, be aware that in most of these same colonies, ships and stations you will be working as an investigator; not as a full officer of the law. Your best friends are the magnifying glass and fingerprinting kit, not the handcuffs and baton of a full-blown officer.

II. Identifying Contraband

With the abundance of technology, both legitimate and otherwise available for purchase these days, criminals can get their hands on a literal smorgasbord of dastardly tools.

A. Chemicals

Many homicides and even some thefts involve the use of chemicals, either forcefully injected into the victim or fed to him through a multitude of means. More often than not, post-mortem assessments of the body (or blood tests in the case of living individuals) will clearly display the offending chemical substances that had been administered. But the means of transmission isn't always the same.

Even the mere concoction of chemicals in the victim's bloodstream can give you, as the investigator, ideas as to the intent of the suspect. Was arsenic, or chloral - perhaps mercury found in the victim's blood? Then it is likely the intent was to kill. But should you find even a non-lethal dosage of chloral or such things as cryptobiolin and impedrezene, the intent would likely to be confuse and pacify so that the suspect can carry out further plans.

B. Explosives

Contrary to popular belief, sites of explosions actually leave a lot of evidence behind for an investigator to find. Though most of the device itself is incinerated in the resulting explosion, even simple things like the size and the severity of the blast are often major alerts to determining the type of bomb used in the first place.

1. Small, controlled charges are widely used aboard non-terrestrial facilities. They are controlled explosives with a small set-up time and, in the case of spacefaring vessels, are not usually strong enough to break through the hull unless purposely set against the outer walls of the ship purposely. They have a relatively small range, but are as potent as a murder weapon as they are as a breaching tool. Take care with suspected bombers.

2. Many company installations are equipped with mobile carts that house welding fuel, tanks that are there for the express purpose of utility for the engineering employees. But as they are filled with several gallons of flammable liquids, these are sometimes made as the favorites of homemade bombs. Because they are more volatile than other, more controlled forms of explosives, they are often powerful enough to tear through both the lower hull and walls of a spacefaring vessel, or put a very large dent in a secure building. You may also find remains of the device used to trigger it in the debris, but it usually isn't very helpful.

3. Professionally-made tank-transfer valves are perhaps one of the most dangerous explosives seen in security work. They are made by joining an oxygen and plasma tank together, and have a larger radius of projected destruction than their simple home-made brethren. If you see such a device, it is best not to disturb it and call for a professional bomb squad due to the threat and potential damage that such a bomb can do.

When faced with explosives as evidence, you should always make sure to let the professional bomb team handle their disarming and then scan the components first. There is a high chance the process involved with dismantling bombs can fudge with the evidence, but they are always very dangerous items and the investigator should ensure his own safety first before he attempts to meddle with high-explosive items.

III. Autopsies

Autopsies are perhaps the single most important process that is part of a homicide investigation. When a human being is purposely killed by another, there is often a great deal of evidence left behind that can quite easily be the break in a case an investigator needs. It is suggested every detective have a basic understanding of the anatomy of the human body. While cutting open the cadavers yourself isn't quite as necessary, being able to identify the cause of death as well as examine the wounds themselves for clues is. For the budding pathologist, a few terms will be listed, terms you should familiarize yourself with, as they will often come up during medical examinations.

A. Rigor mortis is a condition that generally begins in smaller muscles and then spreads to the larger ones, and happens shortly after death. The effects of rigor mortis usually wear off in thirty-six hours as muscle decomposition sets in, but an investigator can mechanically break it by stretching the rigid muscles with force.

B. Hypostasis is often identified as a purplish discoloration, much like a bruise, on the body or organ surfaces. It results when blood settles to dependent parts of the body, usually forming within one and a half to two hours after death. This type of mark usually surfaces on bodies that have been left to lie on a specific side for a long while, giving time for the blood to pool and marr the skin and organs.

C. Exsanguination is a fancier term used to describe when a victim has died due to excessive blood loss. More often than not, in homicide cases where you find a body that has bled out, this big word will be sitting right on the coroner's report that will be waiting for you.

D. Hypoxia (and cyanosis) are always terms that should be known to investigators on stations or spacefaring vessels. When a body is exposed to space, the low pressure outside causes for rapid deoxygenation of the bloodstream, leading to hypoxia, which is better known as oxygen deficiency in the tissue. As a result of this, the flesh can begin to turn blue and even grey as cyanosis sets in, aptly named for the blue color that severely deoxygenated flesh takes.

E. Gunshot residue, while not often thought to be applied to autopsies, is actually incredibly useful in determining the proximity of a shot. At near point-blank ranges, the still searing-hot gunpowder flecks emitted by ballistic weaponry often leave a muzzle burn around the entrance wound of the bullet, coupled with stippling. The same is applied to laser guns, as the intense heat of the barrel leaves a distinctly circular mark in the middle of the burn marks. As the gun begins to draw farther away from the body, just simple gunpowder can be found in the vicinity of an entrance wound, and depending on the pattern and presence will usually place the shooter between one point five to three point five feet away. Beyond that, there will usually be no indicators that the victim was shot aside from the bullet and hole itself, as it is too far for fouling and gunpowder to travel.

The author of this paper cannot stress enough that the medical examination must be incredibly thorough, especially in cases where the cause of death is either not obvious or highly suspect. Even the most convoluted of homicides always has an explanation. Even the oddest deaths always have a logical explanation behind them. Investigations and examinations are key in discovering these.


This article is provided "as is" without any express or implied warranties.

While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, the author assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from use of the information herein.

Copyright © 2455, Ana J. Issek. This material may be reformatted and/or freely distributed via online services or other media, as long as it is not substantively altered. Authors, educators, and others are welcome to use any ideas presented herein, but the author would ask for acknowledgment in any published work derived therefrom. Commercial use is not allowed without the prior written consent of the author.


References/Further reading:

AUTOPSY PROCEDURE: http://web2.iadfw.net/uthman/Autop.html

AUTOPSY EQUIPMENT: http://web2.iadfw.net/uthman/autopsy_tools.html

GLOSSARY OF USEFUL TERMS: http://web2.iadfw.net/uthman/forensic_path.html

I paraphrased as much of the above as possible, but there is far more information available in the provided links than here. These are articles I've used for a long time now, and sharing them may help inspire others to play forensics with more fervor or help existing CSI/detective mains better to phrase their findings and understand how certain forms of forensic science can be applied to the IC world. They're very interesting articles, and useful. Understanding the jargon and complexities of forensic science is important and applies explanations to things that happen in the IC world.

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Because a lot of people want to know how to play with the fancy tools and Sue doesn't want to explain it.



Step one. ALWAYS WEAR YOUR GLOVES. Acquire waistcoat and sunglasses. You are not an officer, so you do not need to adhere to their uniform expectations. Find a lighter and a pack of smokes and have them at the ready, to add extra cool during panic situations. Outclass everyone on the station that isn't equipped with a top hat and cane. BONUS TIP: Grab one of the Heavy Duty Flashlights before the Red Tide does. You can put it on your belt slot.

Now that you look like the distinguished nerd you are, get acquainted with your lab. You will spend half your time here, when you aren't running from break in to murder to poisoning to autopsy. This is where the magic happens. See all the things on the tables around you? Grab all the things. Put them into your free CSI kit. It's the gray box on the rack. It has two layers of storage and can fit everything you need to fulfill your investigations. Do NOT lose it. If anyone steals it, you become useless and should space yourself in shame. If you arrive and your lab is already empty, find the Detective or Head of Security and find out where your stuff is.




Now that you have all the things, your CSI Kit should look like this. Note that you can put boxes inside it, so you can carry around boxes of evidence bags and swab kits with you. I tend to take the microscope slides out of the box and repurpose the box for storing field evidence for whatever active case you're running. Makes it easier to keep track of what evidence is relevant to which investigation. You also have Morgue access, so feel free to run on down and grab a body bag. You'll probably need it.




Let's break down that menagerie of equipment and explain what each piece does and why it's important. Some of it we will need to return to later.


26596184-11026596268-856- Fingerprint Powder & Fingerprint Card

One of your primary tools. Use the powder on doors, weapons, clothes, or generally anything you suspect that has been touched by a criminal. If anyone has touched what you powder, you'll get a fingerprint card.


26596183-c5b - Fiber Collection Kit

One of your primary tools, but secondary to finding prints due to the interchangeability of clothing. Mostly used as supporting evidence in the case of partial prints that incriminate multiple people. Use it on doors, weapons, clothes, anything you suspect that has been touched by a criminal. If anyone has touched what you use it on, you'll get a bag of fibers.


26596194-64e26596187-c8c - UV Goggles & Luminol

The goggles currently do nothing, but I suspect they should/will do one day. The Luminol spray will reveal any blood that may have been sprayed away. You only get so much of it though, and I'm not currently sure if there's a Chemistry recipe to make any more.


26596189-81826596193-c6c - Reagent Scanner & Syringe

Use the reagent scanner on any food or drink that's offered to you, before consuming it. Scan EVERYTHING that comes out of Chemistry, the Kitchen and the Bar. You'll analyze the chemical components of whatever applicable item you scan and each present chemical will be listed. Science can make Advanced Reagent Scanners that will show you the exact concentrations of each chemical in the mix, but the standard version does not provide this information. You can use the Syringe to take a blood sample from someone you suspect to have consumed either drugs or poison, and then analyze it for confirmation.


26596188-696 - Police Tape

When you arrive at a crime scene you should use this to tape off every possible entryway and prevent contamination of potential evidence. Throw out anyone who cuts the tape. Try not to completely block off a main hallway, unless it's absolutely necessary, and even then try to do your investigation and call in a janitor quickly.


26596181-98b - Camera

Useful to carry around with you. Considering you are not equipped with the offensive and defensive tools that an Officer has, you take an incriminating picture if the opportunity presents itself and then swiftly run the hell away.


26596190-227 - Recorder

Useful in case you need to perform an interview, or turn it on in secret and try to goad someone into incriminating themself with their own words.


26596191-b4726596300-67f- Box of Swab Kits

When there's a blood trail on the floor, and no body in sight, whap the blood with one of these to take a DNA sample. You can also swab bloody weapons, bloody clothes, or people mouths.


26596182-fdd26596299-77a- Box of Evidence Bags

Anything with blood on, or that looks out of place at a crime scene, needs to be bagged before anyone else can touch it.


26596185-ba9 - Labeler

Slap labels on those nameless evidence bags unless you want to forget which bloody weapon was from what crime scene in relevance to what investigation. I usually harass cargo for some empty boxes, label them accordingly and stash anything relevant in there.

Stay tuned for part two, where we discover a crime scene and investigate!

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For the purpose of this document, a protohuman was requisitioned. Most criminals are not stupid enough to discard the incriminating weapon at the scene of a crime, but it will do to show the tools and processes available to you.

First, cordon off the area with the supplied police tape to ensure the crime scene isn't further contaminated by passerby's. Rest assured that many of the crew will try to involve themselves if the crime scene is in a public area. Some may even disregard the presence of your tape and walk right through a crime-scene, so if it's in a populated area try calling for an Officer to assist you in keeping the crime-scene from interference. Remember to wear your gloves so you don't contaminate evidence yourself.



As you can see here, we have a corpse, a bloody weapon, and a bloodstain. We should be able to identify a culprit from this. Take a swab kit and sample the blood on the weapon, and the blood on the floor. You can load one sample into the DNA analyzer at a time, and it will take a minute to perform its analysis. Remember to close the lid after a sample is loaded, and open it again after ejecting it so you can load your next sample.




With the lid closed, begin your scan!



Once it is complete, the analyzer will print a report for you. Remove the sample, set it aside, and load the next sample. When that's done you will have two reports.




As you can see, the blood on the weapon matches the one on the floor. Make a note of the DNA string. Go over to the medical records terminal in your office, log in and go through 'Search Records'. Here you can input a DNA string and return a list of any matching crewmembers.




In this case, the protohuman is not listed on the crew manifest and thus the console will return no results. But if it were, then the console would instantly show you the medical record of the crewmember with that DNA string on their file. We have successfully identified the victim and the murder weapon! Now to begin narrowing down the suspects to determine the culprit. Return to the weapon and search it for fibers and fingerprints. If you're lucky enough to find anything the corresponding fingerprint card and fiber bag will come pre-labeled.

First, insert the fingerprint card into the electron microscope at the rear of the office and begin your analysis. You'll have a couple settings to choose from to help refine your analysis, and all three will not be applicable to the same item. In this case, we want to identify the fingerprint string found on the crowbar. Select that option and wait for the machine to finish its' work and print you a report.




As you can see, we have determined a unique string. However it is very incomplete. The culprit must have been cunning enough to wear gloves.




Unfortunately, it's not much to go on this time. The completeness of a fingerprint string depends on whether or not the culprit was wearing gloves, and how frequently the weapon was handled. Had the culprit handled the weapon without gloves, you would be lucky enough to return a complete string such as this.




Depending on your findings the next part might be quick and easy as it locates a precise match.






However, if you only have a partial string to go on you will likely return multiple results. In which case you will at least have narrowed your suspects to a more manageable list. In the case of the most incomplete of strings, you will have to manually look for any possible matches and apply a little investigative intuition. Fortunately we have other evidence to analyze now!

Return to your microscope with the fiber bag you collected earlier. Unlike fingerprint cards, you need to first carefully transfer fibers from the collection bag to a microscope slide before you can insert it. You are provided several of these each shift, and each one is reusable. With the sample loaded, this time you analyze the fibers. Read the report it prints for you to taker a look at the findings.




In this case, the only fibers found were those that match black gloves. You will more often find the fibers from a particular jumpsuit that is unique to a job, or department, or from a piece of clothing that you have seen a member of the crew wearing. Be sure to inform the rest of the Security team of your findings, or your absence of findings. Just letting them know that the criminal wears black gloves can sometimes help guide officers to watch over certain crew members under suspicion and alert them that they are cunning enough to purposely foil investigative attempts.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! In part three we will address the final responsibility that falls to the Crime Scene Investigator; performing autopsies. Most Medical Doctors have the access and medical training to perform these themselves in the medical Morgue, however it may be required to perform them yourself in case the medical team themselves are under suspicion.

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I hope you brought your body bag, because this where it gets messy!

Pull the open bodybag under the victim and close it up, then relocate the victim to the operating table provided in your office. Before touching the corpse directly, ensure you have your sterile mask and latex gloves on, otherwise you may find yourself catching an infectious disease from the body, if it is still hosting a viral pathogen. When removing the victim grab the body and place it on the surface. Remember, even when a victim has died, pulling them directly instead of grabbing them will result in a bloody mess all over your lab. And you don't want that. Place them on the table, like so.




Aside from your viral protection gear, the tools you will need for this task are as follows, and are provided in the autopsy area of every CSIs office.


26597431-694 - The Scalpel and the Autopsy Scanner

To use these, first ensure that the victim is laid out on the operating table. Carefully perform a single incision on every bodily area, then analyze each area in turn with the Autopsy Scanner




Print the results after you have scanned every possible area.




Tada. You can tell exactly where, and how many times a victim was assaulted, and the precise time of death. As always, be sure to communicate your findings and be ready to assemble all relevent evidence and information into a report. You never know when your your superiors may request it. And a criminal that's returned to CentCom without any accompanying evidence is far more likely to not recieve the full punishment for their alleged offenses.

But now you have a body in your lab, and probably other work to do. Your last task is to see the body to its next destination. For most this will be to the medical Morgue. You inform the geneticist, or Chief Medical Officer, of the corpse and it becomes their responsibility to see the person cloned. Remember, do your best not to reveal the death to the crew member if they are cloned. Others may be in posession of the appropriate paperwork for them to be rendered into indentured servitude after their death, in which case you take the body to the Roboticist, where they will perform the operation to transfer the brain into an unstoppable Durand a helpful cyborg. In the worst case scenario, the body will neither accept cloning nor are they eligible for cyborgisation. In this case the cadaver goes to the Chaplain, whose duty it is to perform last rites, perhaps hold a ceremony, and then grant the body a dignified Space Funeral.



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