Due to confusion over how much knowledge people would have about various items and the various antagonists, the following is the rules concerning identifying antagonists.
This page is considered part of the Rules.
HAVING A MILITARY BACKSTORY OR ANYTHING SIMILAR DOES NOT OVERRULE ANY OF THESE
As always, if someone comes along spouting IC "knowledge" of things on this page, or any other lesser-known details of the setting, including Virgo-specific things like the cult of Devoratrix Mundi or whatever antag-of-the-week we've made up on the spot, your characters are free to respond to them in much the same way as if they were talking about "chemtrails" or whatever the lunatic theory of the day happens to be.
Syndicate items are purposefully hidden from the general public and from most NanoTrasen employees, which is necessary for the Syndicate to fully complete their tasks, and for NanoTrasen to keep their employees in line. These items are mostly considered contraband. Certain items however are identifiable to those with certain training. Syndicate items are occasionally available on the black market, and if identified, possession of such devices does not necessarily imply syndicate involvement.
Recognizing an object does not mean you know it's from the Syndicate, only what it is, and what it does. Some items are also simply modified versions of existing items, and some items are disguised.
AI and Cyborgs
The AI is only able to glance at things with it's camera, making identification hard at distances. All items disguised as other items are therefore unidentifiable unless blatantly in use (e.g. Emag, hack tool, mysterious package, lighter, etc.)
AI's are able to tell when obvious contraband is used though (e.g. Revolvers, energy swords, etc.) In keeping with conventions, AI's are allowed limited knowledge of contraband, but are only to offer this information if directly prompted.
Cyborgs follow the same rules as their human counterparts, but can ask the AI for any suspicious objects.
The following is a list of Syndicate items and who would be able to tell what is what. If the item is not listed, the default is only the Captain or Head of Security would have any vague knowledge.
This was literally invented in Virgo. It's not contraband. It's not even considered a weapon, but a utility tool no different than a wrench or crowbar. It can still be used to assault someone, but is not in it of itself a weapon.
Revolver & Ammo
Everyone knows that nobody outside of security should have a revolver, and everyone also knows they shouldn't be using lethal weapons on people.
Everyone knows it's an illegal weapon but not exactly how it works. If it were tested, it could be figured out.
It is very obviously a dangerous weapon to everyone. Exactly how much someone knows about what it is and how it works would vary from job to job, with Security and weapons researchers likely knowing the most.
Everyone knows it's a grenade, security and science know it's an EMP grenade. Both of those know that nobody outside of security is normally meant to have these. If it goes off, anyone could tell that electronics have been screwed with pretty seriously.
It's just a pen. If R&D took it apart and investigated its contents, they would find that it is a low-capacity hypospray hidden inside a pen case.
It's a bar of soap. Not exactly contraband.
Detomatix PDA Cartridge
It's a strange PDA cartridge. If put inside your PDA, the menu would be simple enough to navigate and use for anyone.
Seeing one of them changing would be pretty weird and probably known as holoclothing, and suspicious if it's to a restricted item, which is definitely chameleon clothing. Security and Science should be both very aware that it is minor contraband outside science.
No-Slip Syndicate Shoes
They're a pair of shoes. Not even close to contraband.
Agent ID card
It's a normal ID to most people. It's normal to Heads unless they investigate it closely (and have a reason to do so), in which case it's an illegally modified ID card. Science can investigate and find that it can change itself on the fly.
It's an ordinary gas mask, until someone talks with it on without an ID or switches IDs in front of someone while talking. With investigation, R&D could find out what it is and how it works, though anyone could tell what it does if they see it in action. Noticing distinguishing features (or a lack of them) which aren't covered by the mask, and are wrong for the person whose voice is being imitated, would tip someone who knows that something is going on.
Thermal Imaging Glasses
They're ordinary sunglasses. If put on, you can tell that they see living creatures through walls. Not really illegal beyond usual NT privacy laws concerning thermal glasses, but odd.
It's an odd and suspicious device. Security knows it's illegal. Research can take it apart or otherwise investigate it to find out exactly what it does and how it works.
Everyone can immediately see it's a modified ID card (which is illegal), engineers and scientists would know that it would screw up electronics like in doors if they investigated it closely.
Fully Loaded Toolbox
It's a toolbox. Not illegal.
Traitor Radio Key
It's an ordinary radio key, until you put it in a radio, in which case you'd be able to tell that it goes onto an unknown radio channel. This isn't illegal by itself (there are a LOT of empty channels that don't usually get traffic). Listening in on encrypted channels, like department channels, is. (This item is not currently available to traitors, but does exist in the code).
Binary Translator Key
As above, except onto the silicon talk thing instead of an unknown radio channel. Not illegal, but a little strange. Those with a bit more knowledge in robotics might realize that this is much more serious tech than normal encryption keys.
It's a space suit. Its color is nonstandard, but that's not illegal. Those without authorization to have spacesuits (which is nearly anyone not in one of the four major departments, and a couple within those) shouldn't have it, but if there's not any suits missing from the station, then they probably didn't steal it.
Hacked AI Upload Module
Everyone knows it's a circuit board. Engineers and scientists could tell that it's a modified AI upload module, which is very illegal. Roboticists would be able to tell how it's modified, and that it uploads corrupt, overriding laws.
Everyone can see that it is a bomb.
Everyone knows it's not of NT origin, engineers know it's going to suck power out of the ship and is therefore illegal.
Everyone knows it's not of NT origin, and looks pretty odd. Engineers and scientists know it's going to try to pull the singularity over to it.
Teleporter Circuit Board
Everyone can tell it's a circuit board and what it builds, and knows that these ones are meant to stay in tech storage and the teleporter room. If you go and use it to make a teleporter to get into high security areas then security is well within their rights to pull the thing down and confiscate the circuitboard.
Having an implant without it noted in medical records is odd, and should probably be investigated. If the implant is removed for some reason, Research can tell what sort of implant it is.
Implanters aren't meant to be outside of medbay and certain sections of Security, so if one's just lying around it should be at least taken back to Medical, and possibly investigated if anything else about the situation is suspicious.
It's just a balloon.
There's really no way to tell if a permit is fake or not. Fortunately, if a Head of Security thinks a permit is suspicious, they are allowed to terminate the permit and confiscate the weapon(s) for any reason. It's up to the person who received the permit to contact the Site Manager or Central Command to override the decision.
Permits that are explicitly issued by CentCom, such as for personal conceal carry, are much harder to fake, although the Head of Security can still suspend those permits for the entire shift if they need to.
Mercenaries, pirates, and criminals
Mercs, pirates, and criminals exist. They do mercenary, piratical, and criminal things. There are about a million different groups and factions of them, and crew are unlikely to know anything about the band that just showed up unless they've dealt with them specifically before.
Crew will generally be aware that people in the underworld carry and use a variety of black-market gear, and unidentified hostiles are more likely to be common or garden criminals such as these than they are to be any actual organized group such as the syndicate, spider clan, wizard's federation, or whatever else you might immediately metagame from seeing an emag.
Although believed to be now defunct as of recent years, no one knows for sure. All staff may know the Syndicate as a dangerous organization, working against NanoTrasen - in much the same way that a 21st-century American knows that Al Qaeda and ISIS are religious terrorist organizations. While most have heard of them, people outside the actual intelligence community (such as ONI) generally know nothing of their actual methods, dealings, or internal workings.
Security forces and the Captain have been briefed vaguely about Syndicate forces, but only as much as is detailed above in items.
All Heads of Staff have been briefed to the extent of any CentComm reports.
General crew who have met them before are allowed to retain knowledge of whatever things they've dealt with directly. If your character has a background involving the syndicate (or any other antagonistic organization) then it is required to discuss such characters with the admins to hash out how much or how little they know.
The Order of Nar'Sie is a secret and secluded cult, and is therefore not known by the crew.
The Chaplain/Counselor has limited knowledge, up to knowing that the cult is evil, should probably be stopped, and that holy water will de-convert those influenced by the cult.
However, it is (and should be) hard to convince anyone else of this.
Those who dealt with the Cult of Devoratrix Mundi on the other hand will be familiar with the events surrounding the redspace incursion to the extent of their IC interaction.
AI's and Cyborgs are not normally known to malfunction.
With the exception of overwhelming evidence, outright declaration by the AI, or from the 'Hostile runtimes' message from CentCom, the AI and Cyborgs should not be presumed hostile. Law resets are not out of the option if the AI is acting odd and there is reason to think its laws might be affected, but this doesn't mean that it's hostile.
Space ninjas are as mysterious as they are deadly, and as deadly as they are mysterious. The crew know nothing.
Like wizards, if an individual mercenary happens to show up on the station with advanced equipment, they should be observed closely and attempts made to determine their reasons for being there, but do not warrant an immediate code red unless they prove to be hostile.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a dude in a black suit and a mask appearing on the station and then cloaking is likely not good, but it also doesn't mean "that's a spider clan ninja who carries a THX-1198 self-sealing biosuit with a cyclic rate of..." and so on.
Creatures colloquially referred to as "Changelings" are like Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness monster. No research or data has ever been collected from them, nor has any actual confirmation been found of their existence. The threat they pose is unknown, if any. They're mostly known of as a series of celestial legends that get passed around truck stops, sort of a biological boogeyman. Like old-earth vampires, there are a dozen different stories that have similar elements but no actual concrete example, and most of them can boil down to drunken horror stories or have far more mundane explanations.
It is highly likely that only research members, specifically xenobiologists would know anything about exotic alien creatures, and the ones who do mention anything about so-called changelings would probably be ridiculed by their colleagues for believing such pseudoscience.
But let's say you meet something like a changeling: They should be treated as any first contact alien being should be, if they reveal themselves through actions, words, or otherwise. This includes not being presumed hostile unless they actually act hostile.
Cortical borers are known as a parasitic creature, though some of their exact workings are not known. Medical and research staff would know that sugar sets them at ease and makes them much more cooperative, even inside of a host.
Memes are a completely unknown entity. No one has any knowledge about it. Even science staff would only have a theory as to how this lifeform could exist.
It is not normal, and would probably be quite distressing to come into contact with it.