Guide to Forensics

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The Forensic Technician at times may seem like an intimidating job as they are not given much direction. When they are needed, they are expected to do nearly everything on their own with the rest of the department not having the knowledge on how to help. Anyone wanting to jump into the fun role of forensic technician should have some guidance, and so this guide is here to explain the steps on properly handling a forensics investigation, as well as give some tips to make you the Horatio Caine the Torch deserves!

Types of Evidence

In your work, you'll be responsible for processing varying types of evidence - some more consequential to cases than others, but all important in the long run. Your ability to collect and identify the following types of evidence will be paramount to performing a strong investigation.

Fingerprints

One of the most important, if not the most important types of evidence you will come across at a crime scene are finger prints. Everyone (for the most part) has hands, and by extension, fingers. These fingers have oil on them that tends to smudge off on surfaces and objects that you touch. All species serving on board the SEV Torch will leave fingerprints if they're not careful, and this links them to a scene. All crew member's have their finger prints recorded as a security measure, and so cross-checking with Security Records will allow you to identify your suspect once you are able to collect enough of a fingerprint to search the database.

Fibers

The less loved cousin of fingerprints, fibers are perhaps the most common piece of evidence at a crime scene. When you interact with objects, including doors and switches, there is a chance that your clothing will leave fibers behind on the surface that can later be collected. Because it is rare that someone wears a piece of clothing complete unique, fibers can help you narrow down your suspect's department and support stronger evidence to help in a conviction.

Gunshot Residue (GSR)

When a gun is fired, the resulting combustion inside the chamber causes the propellant to burn up and may bring off flecks of the bullet itself; this is what makes up gunshot residue, or 'GSR' for short. When someone fires a gun, the GSR will end up on their hands (or gloves, if they were worn). Swabbing hands and gloves of a suspect will allow you to not only confirm whether someone fired a gun recently, but also will tell you what kind of gun was used.

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid, or 'DNA', is the code in which all natural life is made up of. Everyone, including xenos, have a unique string of DNA that is not shared with anyone else. On board you are able to find DNA in the bodily fluids of crew of which there are two, blood and saliva. Swabs can be used to take DNA samples from a crew member's mouth, or to wipe up blood - this is especially useful if your victim's identity is for some reason, unknown.

Forensic Tools

Any good forensic technician needs equally good tools and equipment to operate effectively, and so Expeditionary Command has loaded your forensic's lab with state of the art technology for gathering and categorizing evidence. Below is a list of tools essential to every investigator on the Torch. When you get called to investigate a crime scene, make sure you have all of these tools on your person so you are prepared to collect any evidence on site. Note, the crime scene kit spawns with most of these items already in it.

Forensic Tools
Tool Use How To Use
Fingerprint Powder'.png Fingerprint Powder Collect fingerprints off of an object or the environment With the object, in hand click on any object or piece of environment to dust for prints, this will produce a fingerprint card.
Fiber Collection Kit.png Fiber Collection Kit Collect Material Fibers off of object/environment With the object in hand, click on any object or piece of environment to search for fibers, this will produce a plastic bag with a sample of the fiber.
Dna swab.png Swab Kit Collect DNA samples, gunshot residue (GSR) With the object in hand click, on any object or piece of environment to search for DNA, or in mouth of a person to take their DNA sample. Use on hands, gloves or clothing to look for GSR.
Luminol.png Luminol Find blood that is not visible to the naked eye With object in hand, click on object or environment to spray. Blood will light up blue, even if it was washed away.
Evidenceobj.png Evidence Bag Store evidence to prevent contamination during transport Drag the bag over an object to store it and click the bag in hand to empty it.
Syringes.png Syringe Take blood samples to analyze in your mass spectrometer Use on suspects or victims to draw blood, then use again on a spectrometer to insert a blood sample. Can also be used to collect reagents from beakers for later analyzation.
Fingerprints.png Fingerprint Card Collect a person's fingerprints Use on hands of a person to take their prints.
Massspectrometer.png Mass Spectrometer Scan blood samples for chemicals in the blood Use a syringe filled with blood on the object, then click it in hand to scan.
Reagentscanner.png Reagent Scanner List reagents in a container, or food Use on containers and food to see what reagents are inside.

The Analysis Machines

You've finished collecting all of the evidence possible from a crime scene, now you are back at the forensics lab wondering what to do with all these samples. Luckily, you've got a high powered electron microscope and a DNA analyzer to do all the work for you!

High Powered Electron Microscope Microscope.gif

The microscope will take accept both fiber samples and fingerprint cards and can give you reports on what fiber you have collected and a partial or full fingerprint code.

1. With a fiber sample or fingerprint card in hand, click on the microscope, the sample should leave your hand and enter the machine.

2. Click on the microscope to start the analysis. You must remain still, and wait for the progress bar to complete.

3. The microscope will have printed out a report that will either tell you the fibers or fingerprints found.

4. To remove the sample, use your mouse on the microscope then drag it onto your character, this will remove the sample and place it back in your hand. File this away in a closet.

DNA Analyzer Dna scanner.gif

The DNA scanner will accept swabbed samples of blood and saliva, as well as gunshot residue. After scanning, you will get a report giving you information on the evidence

1. Right-click on the machine and press 'toggle lid', this will open the machine's receptacle.

2. With your DNA swab in hand, click on the machine. This will place it inside.

3. Click on the machine to open its interface, and press 'close slide'.

4. Click 'run scan' in the interface, this may take a few moments to complete.

5. A report will be printed, depending on what evidence you put in you will either get a DNA string that can be searched in Medical Records, or information on the weapon and ammunition of your suspect.

Example Scenario

You are called over the security radio to investigate a break in the CO's office. Someone has hacked his door open and stole his revolver, 'Final Judgement'.

When you arrive, the first thing you must do is quarantine the scene. We don't want anyone else getting their prints or fibers on the scene. Put up tape on the hacked door and if you want, consider blocking off a hallway using your police tape. If you are going to leave the scene for whatever reason, you may want to ask a Master at Arms to stand guard to prevent anyone from tampering with the scene.

At the scene you see the hacked door and the broken glass, you also see some drips of blood on the carpet near the broken display case. With your trusty crime scene kit in hand, you take out your fiber collection kit and use it on the hacked door. You get several fibers from it. You then run the door for fingerprints. You get two sets of prints. You make sure to put all your raw evidence in your kit and then you take out a swab kit and get a sample of the blood on the carpet. You look over everything and think you've got all you can from the scene. However, you may want to make sure the crime scene is secure until you are completely done with all your findings.

At your lab you put the fibers into the microscope. The fibers you see are your forensics gloves, of course, what looks like the captains uniform, some electrical gloves and a supply assistant uniform. Those electrical gloves and supply assistant's uniform shouldn't be there. How strange.

You then run the prints in the microscope, and you get a printout that lists two distinct fingerprints strings. You will have to run them in the crew records. You go over to your computer and search the records for the two sets of prints. The first comes back as the captain's, no surprise there. However, the second set of prints comes back as Jimmy Jones'- a Supply Assistant. Now that's suspicious!

You place your final piece of evidence, the swab, in the analyzer and let it run. The analyzer pings telling you the swab is ready. It lists the DNA and you run it in crew records. Sure enough it belongs to our old friend, Jimmy Jones.

All evidence indicates that Jimmy is the culprit. You report yours findings to the Chief of Security, and he issues a warrant.

Case closed.