As formidable as the ships of the Core Systems Republic Navy can be, or the Spartan Brigade People's Navy, or even those of lesser groups like the Penitent Brotherhood, none of them can be everywhere at once. In many corners of human space, the crushing realities of life can cause individuals to choose a life of crime - regardless of the dangers. Broadly speaking, certain types of crime are more prevalent in some areas of human space than in others.


Arguably the most common sort of criminal activity, in that no sector is markedly better or worse in rates. The actual act takes various forms, from false-flagged trader vessels surprising vulnerable freighters, to stowed-away brigands overpowering a surprised crew and hijacking the ship, to brazen demands for cargo from overtly pirate vessels. Obviously the exact nature of the threat will be changed somewhat in higher-security systems, but some incredibly audacious criminals have stolen entire megafreighters under the noses of the Republic Navy and gotten away scot-free.


Inevitably, planetbound citizens will find themselves wanting that which their government forbids, and certain individuals have no qualms about providing them with what they desire. Again, the exact nature of these materials varies somewhat, but generally runs to such items as illegal combat implants, narcotics, stolen or selfmade weapons (of varying yields). Odd circumstances will sometimes see smugglers running books and CoreNet digests to censor-stifled academics, modern gadgets to backwards people, or even such mundane things as water, food and clothing to blockaded worlds.

Illegal Salvage

Perhaps not the first thing imagined when criminal activity is brought to mind, illegal salvage is something of a gray zone, legally. On one hand, many planetary authorities require full permits (and several demand a stake in the salvage value) before allowing salvage of one vessel, and the Navy raises a stink when unauthorized salvagers lay claim to military hardware and don't turn it in to the proper authorities; on the other hand, derelict vessels are a navigational hazard, especially in high-traffic areas, so often the enforcing bodies of salvage law will look the other way when someone brings in a hold full of scrap.

Ed. - The customary offering to an official waffling on overlooking a grey salvage job is 5-10% of the scrap value, although officials in certain systems are known to turn their nose up at anything less than twenty percent.


Today, as ever, controlled substances and illicit narcotics are big business in human space. The regulatory body for these substances is the RHSA, which limits production on and suggests criminal penalties or rehabilitation for given drugs. The list of narcotics under regulation is too large to list in short, but the RHSA and customs authorities tend to focus on six:

  • Glass, also known as Liquid Glass or G and by the RHSA code 'gamma'. An extract of the Irisian glasswort plant. Users typically experience euphoria, delusions, and temporary suppression of pain responses. The long-term effects have not yet been studied, but computer models have predicted that long-term users may suffer permanent deadening of pain receptors. The RHSA classes Glass as a Schedule II narcotic, suggested punishment 5-10 years in prison for intent to distribute and mandatory rehabilitation for possession.
  • Niclasmerin, street names Nico or Nicky, RHSA code 'nu'. The opioid family has lost none of its potent effect on humans over time, and has only taken advantage of scientific advances. Using recently isolated precursor molecules, niclasmerin is easily and inexpensively synthesized and packs an almost hundredfold potency advantage over heroin. The side effects are the same, but because of the intense potency, a niclasmerin overdose is not just possible in longterm users - it's inevitable. Nu is a Schedule I narcotic, with 25-to-life punishment for illicit manufacture or distribution, and mandatory seclusion rehab for possession.
  • Iridescin-β, street name Glitter, RHSA code 'iota'. Ceramol plate molding leaves byproducts that, when treated properly, produce a gritty, glittering golden paste that can be eaten or injected to produce an intense amphetamine-like burst of energy that lasts several hours. The source of the drug precursor means that most Glitter labs are close to or inside shipyards and military repair facilities, and that most users are either military personnel or dockhands. Fighter pilots, historically, are the largest population of Glitter users (the energy burst allows them to react much faster), but the long-term side effects - progressive motor control failure, lapses in judgment, and a significant risk of cellular mutation - means that such pilots rarely evade detection and punishment for long, which is usually an instant cashiering and up to 20 years of prison for distribution or manufacture.
  • Phenylated Innsmouthein, aka Lovecraft or Cthulhu, RHSA code 'phi'. A naturally-occurring toxin on planet Innsmouth, Catskills System, Phoenix Sector, a nearly hundredfold increase in the incidence of mental illness among the planet's populace was eventually traced back to the compound innsmouthein, found in all plant life grown planetside. When concentrated and potentiated by reaction with benzene, the compound produces vivid, horrific hallucinations and tends to leave the user with nightmares for months after a single dose. Long-term, phi abuse tends to leave the user a sobbing, paranoid wreck, which itself is far more of a punishment than the Schedule I listing suggests for possession. Distributors and manufacturers, on the other hand, often face life doing hard time on Stribog. Ed. Rarely, long-term users claim to be able to read minds, but as to whether it's an effect of the drugs or a delusion caused by mental decline is undetermined.
  • ortho-Clasmerin, RHSA code 'omicron'. An opioid and precursor molecule to niclasmerin production, it serves as a less potent, less addictive substance with less of a high, and occasionally finds use in medical settings when morphine is unavailable or contraindicated. It is a Schedule III drug, with little penalty for possession, while distributors and manufacturers are more frequently charged with intent to manufacture and sell nu instead.
  • Laqas-mir, RHSA code 'lambda.' A drug that has only crossed the CS-Spartan border in the time since the end of the Core Systems-Spartan War. Little is understood about it, aside from the gross physical effect of making humans docile and suggestive.
  • Landalzopam, aka Bones, Jitterbug, and Glide, RHSA code 'mu'. A heavily abused pharmaceutical developed by a subsidiary of the Kanbei Cartel.
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