Specialized computers are custom-made for specific tasks. All specialized computers are powered by a sealed power cell built right in. The sealed power cell can be recharged at most energizing retail outlets at a cost of 100 Credits. The maximum capacity of a sealed power cell is 100 hours. There are four common types of specialized computers: file computers, CACs, lock compicks, and CASs.
The file computer records information. It is programmed for one language. A poly-vox or some other translation device is necessary if the character does not understand the programmed language. The unit is a 15-cm square that is 5 cm thick. It has a voice grid, random location indicator, and bank of buttons on one side. It can store a remarkable amount of information in its memory, but all of it must be verbally entered through the voice grid.
All Star Lawmen involved in criminal investigations must carry a file computer to record testimonies and statements. They are required to enter their files into Star Law's mainframe computers on a regular basis. Thus, Star Law is assured of a complete and up-to-date computer file of all cases being handled.
Most large computers have audio-transfer grids so that information can be easily exchanged with file computers.
Referees may wish to spice up their game by having a file computer found among the ruins of an old civilization or ship wreckage. The information on the computer could be garbled or in a strange language. This should encourage players to seek out language experts or an alien race for assistance in translating.
A File Computer costs 120 Cr and weighs 1 kg.
Computer Access Computer (CAC)
This extremely important computer is the size of a 20th-century Earth computer keyboard. It comes with various connecting cables, speech synthesizer, and a universal adaptor that can adjust itself to nearly all known computer jacks. This is a standard unit used by nearly all computer technicians for entry into computers that have no fixed access keyboard or voice grid.
The CAC, once connected, adjusts itself to the computer language used by the host computer so the user can interface with it. This is how the computer skills for accessing and operating, bypassing and defeating security, interfacing, displaying information, and manipulating or writing programs are attempted when there is no obvious, easy access. Only those characters with the appropriate computer skills can operate a CAC for these purposes.
The basic CAC costs 2,500 Cr and weighs 2.5 kg.
The CAC can also be equipped with up to four booster programs that assist the user. No more than two of any one type may be used at the same time. Each booster program adds a +1 Column Shift to the character's success rate when using the skill. The available programs are:
- Computers: Access & Operate (250 Cr)
- Computers: Bypass Security (200 Cr)
- Computers: Defeat Security (250 Cr)
- Computers: Display Information (50 Cr)
- Computers: Interface (75 Cr)
- Computers: Program Manipulation (100 Cr)
- Computers: Program Writing (200 Cr)
- Computers: Program Bodycomp (250 Cr)
A special CAC for characters with robot skills also exists. Booster programs, with the +1 Column Shift modifier, for these CAC RV (robotics version) include:
- Robotics: Alter Functions
- Robotics: Alter Mission
- Robotics: List Functions
|Card Color||Time Required|
|Blue||1d10 + 15 minutes|
|Green||1d10 + 30 minutes|
|White||1d10 + 45 minutes|
|Silver||1d10 + 60 minutes|
|Red||1d10 minutes + 2 hours|
|Not Marked||1d20 hours|
A lock compick resembles a file computer, but comes with five credit card-sized remote broadcast circuit cards. This device is illegal and its possession can bring 5-10 years on a penal asteroid; it is only at the disposal of Star Lawmen on rare occasions. In the hands of a character with the Security Systems: Open Locks skill it can potentially open any card lock.
The broadcast circuit is inserted into the card lock like a normal passcard. Once switched on it emits a changing electromagnetic pattern that will eventually open the card lock. Some machines have a timer security system built within their cardlocks. After 10 or 15 minutes, these machines will retain any non-functioning card, securing it for later inspection. This is why five cards come with the computer. Extra cards can be purchased, but they cost 1000 Cr each and require a week to attune to the lock computer. The time required to open the lock depends on the color of the passcard.
A Lock Compick costs 4,000 Cr and weighs 3 kg.
Computerized Analysis Scanner (CAS)
The computerized analysis scanner is a highly specialized and sophisticated piece of equipment. It can scan for information, compile the information and analyze it, and then present that information to a character familiar with its functions in a concise readout. Each CAS is covered with microswitches and small gauges and lights, along with a voice grid that is used for vocal commands and audio replies from the computer.
Limitations on CAS use are detailed in the individual skills that apply to them. For each CAS listed below the referee and players can assume the following:
- The CAS must be within one meter of the object or bioform being scanned (unless otherwise stated).
- Analysis must be prompted vocally by the user with specific queries (such as "What is the damage to the computer's circuits?", "Is the injury treatable using a standard medkit?", etc.).
- The CAS can only be interpreted by someone with skills in the area of the CAS's function (robotics skills for Robo-CAS, botanist skill for Flora-CAS, and so forth).
- The skill bonuses for the different CAS are only applicable when the devices are being used and do not teach the character new skill levels.
- All CAS units weigh 2 kg, except for the DuoCAS, which weighs 3 kg.
Atmospheric-CAS: (A more advanced form of a vaporscanner) An atmospheric-CAS indicates what levels of radiation, gas, and spores are in the atmosphere surrounding the CAS, what effects they would have on different life forms, and the most likely causes of these atmospheric conditions. This CAS has no skill bonuses. (200 Cr)
Chemical-CAS: A chemical-CAS scans an object (up to a metric ton in weight) and indicates what natural an synthetic chemicals and compounds compose it. This CAS adds a +2 Column Shift to the Chemistry skill when used on chemical samples. (150 Cr)
Demolitions-CAS: A demolitions-CAS can scan explosives, bombs, or mines within two meters, through all materials except federanium, and indicate what type of explosive it is, what detonation devices are attached, and give suggestions on how to defuse it. This CAS adds a +2 Column Shift to the Weapons: Demolitions skill when defusing. (300 Cr)
Electro-CAS: An electro-CAS is used to scan electrical circuitry and power sources. It displays how a machine is wired, indicates any breaks in the wiring, and gives suggestions on how to repair it. This CAS adds a +2 Column Shift for the Security Systems: Open Lock skill, if the lock is electrical. (250 Cr)
Fauna-CAS: (A more advanced form of a bioscanner) A fauna-CAS is used to scan bioforms. It indicates if the bioform is alive, what type of organism it is, whether it is edible, and extensive information concerning its physiology. This CAS adds a +2 Column Shift to the Zoology skill when used on zoological samples. (200 Cr)
Flora-CAS: A flora-CAS is used to scan plant life. It indicates if the plant is alive, it is can be a threat to any of the PC races, it if is edible, and how it interacts with its immediate surroundings. This CAS adds a +2 column Shift to the Botany skill when used on botanical samples. (200 Cr)
Geological-CAS: (A more advanced form of a geoscanner) A geological-CAS can scan up to a metric ton of geological samples. It indicates what minerals the samples contain, whether there are likely to be valuable minerals, gas, or oil deposits nearby, and suggests possible geological and mineralogical difficulties associates with these combinations of minerals. This CAS adds a +2 Column Shift to the Geology skill when used on geological samples. (200 Cr)
Magnetic-CAS: A magnetic-CAS can scan up to a metric ton of metallic structure. It indicates what metal and metal alloys are present in the structure, the structure's weak points, strong points, how it reacts to certain stress, etc. It can also indicate whether any sources of electromagnetic radiation are within 10 meters of the CAS, their strength, direction, and likely source. This CAS adds a +2 Column Shift to seismic disturbance analysis when using the Geophysics skill. A +2 Column Shift is added to the following skills when building a device: Engineer: Hydraulic; Engineer: Mechanical; Physics. (150 Cr)
Mechanical-CAS: A mechanical-CAS can scan a mechanism up to a metric ton in mass. It can show the internal working parts, cracks or breaks, and give suggestions on maintenance. This CAS adds a +2 Column Shift to the Machinery: Repair and Vehicles: Repair skills. A +2 Column Shift is added to the Security Systems: Open Locks skill if the lock is mechanical. 750 Cr)
Medic-CAS: A medic-CAS is used to scan a patient or victim. It indicates the patient's physical condition, diagnoses ailments, estimates time of survival under present conditions, etc. This CAS adds a +2 Column Shift to the Medical Diagnosis skill. (800 Cr)
Robo-CAS: The robo-CAS is a unique combination of several different scanners. It indicates a robot's physical condition including suggestions for maintenance, estimated time for repairs, etc. This CAS adds a +2 Column Shift for the Robotics Repair and Robotics: Modifications skills. (600 Cr)
Duo-CAS: These units are slightly thicker than normal CAS and can handle two of the functions listed above in one unit, usually in a logical combination such as Electro/Mechanical-CAS. In some instances the referee may wish to modify the bonuses when functions are combined. The cost for a duo-CAS is the combined costs of both CASs plus 20%.
Notes & References
- A Power Generator can also be used instead of a retail location.
- Approximately 6x6x2 inches; about the size of a stack of five modern-day CD cases, or a personal CD player.