Physical security is the fine art of keeping uninvited guests out of your corporate site. Fortunately for the security provider (and for the customer), would-be interlopers have a finite number of ways to break in. Whether entering grounds or buildings, bypassing fences or walls, intruders must go under something, over something, or through something to get inside. Therefore, effective physical security must simply block access upward, downward, and from all sides. Most uninvited guests are dedicated to whatever act of espionage or theft they intend to commit, and they are also endlessly inventive. No single form of protection can keep a dedicated intruder out of a corporate compound; to be truly effective, security must consist of multiple defensive layers. Perimeter, grounds, individual buildings, and sensitive areas within buildings all need the best protection your hard-earned money can buy. Therefore, Knight Errant Security recommends a varied menu of security options, including both purely defensive and containment measures. Strategically chosen sites for new corporate installations, state-of-the-art manmade physical barriers and strategic lighting, wire and laser traps, sturdy and efficient security drones, and guard patrols equipped with the latest cyberware and topnotch training are just a few of the choices available from Knight Errant. >»»(Fortunately for us dedicated liberators of corporate secrets and other drek, lots of corps can't afford the kind of state-of-the-art package KE's pushing.)««<

  —Bashful (16:10:12/12-18-55)

  >»»(Yeah, but most of the scrimpers don't have anything worth snatching.)<««
  —Jesse James (16:15:45/12-18-55)


Perimeter defenses are the barriers that enclose your corporate site. They can be either natural or manmade, and include walls, fences, traps, lighting, sound barriers, and mechanical devices such as attack drones.


Anyone who recalls high-school history lessons probably remembers the story of Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who led an army over the Alps to attack the Romans. The Alps are an example of a natural barrier: a boundary line drawn by Nature that no one can cross without enormous difficulty. Mountains, cliffs, ravines, rivers, lakes and so on are all natural barriers that a smart corporation can use as part of its physical security. The presence of a natural barrier on one side of a corporate installation means that corporation can put up one less perimeter wall, thereby saving money. A natural barrier can also be augmented with hidden security devices to make it truly impregnable. Strategic Location Scouting Many corporate sites already have at least one natural barrier on their grounds. For corporations interested in building new sites, Knight Errant offers a unique service: strategic location scouting. Knight Errant surveyors, armed with all the necessary data about the needs of the new installation, travel throughout the corporation’s preferred general area for the site and seek out a location with the best possible natural barriers. Through consultation with experts in technical security devices, our surveyors create a list of recommendations for augmenting existing natural barriers with hidden gun ports, sensors, motion detectors, and the like. These recommendations and complete data on the proposed site are presented to the corporate client for a final decision. The modest service fee for strategic location scouting is well below the cost of building the number of man-made barriers necessary to adequately protect sites lacking natural defenses.


Manmade barriers include walls, fences, traps, and defensive landscaping, such as moats, artificial lakes and gullies, and so on. Manmade barriers can be constructed with various materials, depending on the desired stopping power and the corporate security budget. Walls and Fences Any wall or fence is a physical barrier, even the classic white picket fence or an improvised barricade of burning tires. Some kinds of walls and fences, however, are far more efficient at keeping out intruders than other kinds. A smooth concrete or plascrete wall several feet thick does a better job than a wall made out of wood or stone blocks; wood is flimsy enough to ram a vehicle through, and a stone-block wall provides hand-and footholds for scaling. Knight Errant recommends concrete and plascrete as building materials, as both are sturdy and relatively cheap. Plascrete is particularly difficult to penetrate, making it extremely difficult for an enterprising break-in artist to sink hooks or pitons for climbing. To make walls impervious to ramming attempts by heavy vehicles, walls may be constructed as thick as structurally necessary or placed to prevent vehicles from building ramming speed. The latter option works well for gates and doors in perimeter walls, which must necessarily be light enough to open easily. Many high-security installations feature two or more concentric perimeter walls with staggered gates and doors in each. Such staggering requires vehicles to make several turns to pass through each gate, making it impossible to achieve ramming speeds.


Fences can also be electrified, with the same results. Barbed wire, chain-link, and concertina wire can all be electrified. Chain-link fencing is the most popular of the three; it is inexpensive, sturdier and more aesthetically pleasing than barbed or concertina wire. Modern-day chain-link is available in either galvanized metal or a high-strength polymer, either of which will conduct electricity. An effective chain-link fence, such as those commonly installed by Knight Errant, should be at least 2 1/2 meters high and no more than 5 centimeters from the ground: tall enough to keep a troll from easily climbing over, and with a gap at the bottom too small for even the smallest (meta)human to wriggle under. In loose or badly eroded soil, the bottom edge of the fence should be sunk below ground level. To make it more difficult to knock down, the fence should be fastened to rigid posts set in concrete, with additional braces where necessary at corners and gate openings. For additional security, the fence should be topped with multiple strands of stretched barbed wire, angled at 45 degrees from the protected area. This overhang should increase the height of the fence by at least 25 centimeters. If buildings, trees, or other vertical objects are within three meters of the fence line on either side, use a Y-shaped overhang; the branches of the Y will prevent a determined climber from using the vertical as a means of ascent or descent. To protect against washouts or channeling underneath, dig culverts at natural drainage points. The openings of culverts should be sized to keep out even the smallest (meta)human body—roughly 625 square centimeters or less— or else should be protected with metal bars to permit proper drainage. The gaps in a chain-link fence should be as small as possible; metahuman races such as dwarfs and elves often have smaller or more slender feet and hands than the average human, and may be able to find hand- and footholds in standard-sized fencing where humans or larger metahumans cannot. Concertina wire is coiled steel or high-strength polymer wire. Generally, it is sold in lengths that form a barrier 15 meters long and I meter high when stretched. Originally used by the military for building perimeter fences quickly and easily, it commonly appears nowadays at low-budget, quick-built or pre-fab sites. Concertina-wire fences most often consist of two coils stacked atop each other or three coils laid out in a pyramid. The ends of each stretched coil are securely fastened together and the base wires staked firmly to the ground. Of all fences, concertina wire is one of the most difficult to penetrate. One advantage that wire and chain-link fences have over walls is the simple fact that they are not solid. Through the fence, passers-by can see any skullduggery that may be going on inside corporate grounds and report it to the nearest local law enforcement authorities. If an intruder safely gets over a solid wall or fence, the very barrier intended to keep him out shields him from prying eyes as he goes about his nefarious business.

Defensive Landscaping

Traditional manmade barriers such as walls and fences are not always appropriate as the sole means of perimeter defense at a corporate site. They are unsightly and intimidating and can convey an unsettling impression of the corporation to prospective customers. Also, they say very clearly to a would-be intruder that the site contains something worth protecting. For the corporation interested in subtlety, or for whom a relaxed and inviting first impression is vital, Knight Errant offers a valuable service known in the security industry as defensive landscaping.

  »»>(Another jargon gem!)««<

  —Jargoneur (16:46:51/11-27-55)

Defensive landscaping refers to the construction of artificial versions of natural barriers. The moats of medieval castles are one example of defensive landscaping, though it is the most obviously artificial. Modern-day defensive landscaping is based on the principle that the best security is the least obvious; the artificial barriers of 2055 include manmade lakes, hills, gullies, and other landscape features constructed so as to be indistinguishable from their natural counterparts. These barriers may contain any number and combination of hidden sensors, alarm triggers, gun ports, drone ports, and so on, tailored to the specific needs of the individual corporation. As an example, imagine an intruder walking down the side of a small hill toward your facility, confident that he has only to get through the nearest door or window. Before he has gone more than two or three steps, Narcoject guns triggered by motion detectors under the turf pop up from countless concealed ports in the innocuous-looking manmade hillside, and a barrage of tranquilizer darts renders the would-be criminal harmless.

  —Uptahere (11:56:10/9-14-55)

  »»>(1 hear there's a few biotech labs out there who've stocked artificial lakes on their grounds with all kinds of weird wildlife. Piranha-flying fish crosses that'll jump out of the water to chomp on you, paracritters that'll curl your hair—you name it, they've probably gengineered it.)««<

  —Rifkin II (14:02:04/9-18-55)

Another advantage offered by defensive landscaping is the ability to easily combine physical and magical defenses. An artificial lake, for example, creates a natural home for a water elemental.

Traps and Other Safeguards

Most discussions of manmade barriers begin and end with the wall, fence, moat, and so on, as if nothing more can be done to stop the intruder who successfully breaches the perimeter until he or she attempts to penetrate the facility itself. In truth, the wall is only the first line of perimeter defenses. Various types of traps and additional safeguards, from the primitive to the complex, can contain or temporarily disable an intruder who manages to penetrate the wall. The examples discussed here are only a few of the many possibilities for safeguarding your facility. The most obvious safeguard, and the one most often used, is the “no man’s land.” A no man's land is a strip of clear ground between a perimeter barrier and outlying buildings, or between two concentric perimeter barriers, wide enough to permit security forces a clear field of fire. Often, a no man’s land also contains obstacles that impede an intruder’s movement without being large enough to provide cover: rocks, contoured ground, wire or infrared-beam mazes, and so on.

»»>(1 hear Ares seeds the no man's land at most of its sites with mines. BOOM!)««<

—Billy Boy (12:16:14/12-10-55)

Mazes of wire or infrared beams can also be used independently of a no man’s land. Knight Errant designs and constructs all maze traps to the individual client’s specifications. Monowire mazes are relatively inexpensive, though prospective buyers should be aware that these mazes will almost certainly maim or kill any intruder unlucky enough to fall foul of them. Mazes of crisscrossing infrared beams can be designed to trigger alarms or gun ports. Another type of trap that has gained popularity in recent years is the classic “tiger-pit” trap. Economical and easy to build, a tiger pit consists of a deep hole camouflaged by covering material that will not bear significant weight. The covering material blends in with the surrounding ground, hiding the trap below from the intruder. When the intruder steps onto the covering, his weight breaks through it and he plunges into the hole. He remains trapped until security personnel retrieve him for questioning.


A recent innovation in the security trade, high-amplitude sound is an effective, if costly, method of repelling intruders or rendering them harmless. The home and car alarms of the past century often relied on sound to attract unwanted attention to would-be interlopers, forcing them to flee to avoid capture. Some modern-day sound alarms still fulfill this function, but newly developed high-amplitude sound systems do far more than that. White-noise generators installed in perimeter walls flood the immediate area with several frequencies of high-amplitude sound, capable of shattering microprocessor crystals in smartguns, cyberware, and various other forms of high-tech equipment commonly carried by the criminal element. His gear and augmentations suddenly rendered useless, the interloper will swiftly depart before security personnel catch up with him— if he can. Sudden jolts of white noise can also incapacitate intruders by overwhelming their hearing; an intense enough barrage of sound can cause acute pain and disorientation, immobilizing the criminal long enough for security guards to reach him. Clients considering the installation of high-amplitude sound systems, however, should be aware that too high a sound level may render intruders permanently deaf.

>»»(So what're we gonna do? Sue the corp?)««<

—Slag (14:36:01/11-16-55)


Mechanical defenses include devices such as gun ports and drones. Used in conjunction with natural or artificial perimeter barriers, they are an indispensable part of your overall security blanket. Gun Ports The gun port is a simple mechanism, easy to install and conceal. Any one of various guns, a servo motor, and the appropriate type of belt-fed ammunition are all installed in a box or behind a sliding panel in the wall. When an intruder triggers the detector to which the gun port is connected, the box opens (or the panel slides back) and the gun opens fire with rubber bullets or mild tranquilizing darts. To ensure that the target is hit, gun ports can be designed to "sweep" across a wide field of fire.

>»»(Funny how lethal those ’‘rubber" slugs can be when they're being spat at you out of a minigun ... )<««

 —Brady (03:36:54/11-05-55)

Drones, automatic or remotely operated by a rigger, can be equipped with cameras for surveillance purposes or with various types of more direct countermeasures.

Locks and Keys

Of course, any door or window is only as secure as its lock. Computer-based systems that function as both locks and identification systems—such as maglocks, keypads, cardreaders, scanners, and voice-recognition systems—are discussed in Technical Security, p. 28. The remaining types of locks in widespread use are well-designed pin-tumbler locks and padlocks. Both types cost little, and neither depends on electrical power; therefore, neither can be disabled by power outages. Padlocks are also easy to replace. The ideal padlock consists of a heavy, corrosion-resistant, solid-steel body with a case-hardened steel shackle at least 1.3 centimeters thick and heel-and-toe locking action. Heel-and-toe locking action means that the lock grabs the shackle internally at both ends, rather than at one end. A good padlock should be key-operable; standard combination locks use simple numeric codes that an alert intruder can far too easily guess. The padlock should attach to a hardened-steel hasp, constructed so that its mounting hardware is completely concealed when closed with the lock in place. Pinless hinges that cannot be removed and a staple as thick or thicker than the padlock's shackle are the finishing touches that make a padlock impervious to all attempts to force it, cut it. or remove it from the door. Smaller versions of padlocks can also be used on windows, either as stand-alone locks or to reinforce standard window locks. The number of padlock keys should be kept small, and access to them strictly controlled. Employers are advised to use distinctive padlocks; certain unscrupulous individuals have been known to destroy a padlock and replace it with one of their own, to facilitate theft at a later date.

The pin-tumbler lock, first invented by Linus Yale Jr. in 1861, reigned unchallenged as the unbeatable high-security lock until the development of the maglock in the early 21st century. Even today, a sophisticated pin-tumbler lock poses quite a challenge to the would-be intruder. Many residences and older commercial buildings still use pin-tumbler locks; most people are therefore familiar with them, but few understand exactly how they work. A pin-tumbler lock consists of five parts; the cylinder, the plug, the pins, the drivers, and the springs. The cylinder contains all the rest of the lock's moving parts. The plug is the piece of metal that fits into the cylinder; a hole milled into the plug, called the keyway, allows the key to be inserted into the cylinder. A series of holes drilled into the cylinder and the plug accommodate the pins, drivers, and springs. The pins— small pieces of brass that are sharp on one end—fit into the holes with their points down. Drivers, similar to pins but with two flat ends, rest on top of the pins. The springs rest atop the drivers and exert pressure on the hardware below them. When there is no key in the lock, the springs push the drivers and pins all the way into the holes, preventing the plug from turning. To open the lock, a key inserted into the keyway must have precisely the right number and size of cuts along its length to raise the top of all the pins flush with the top of the plug, and no higher. If the wrong key is inserted, some of the cuts will be too shallow, and will raise the pins into the cylinder; others will be too deep, and will not raise the pins high enough. Either way, the plug will not turn and the lock will not open. The difference between an easily picked pin-tumbler lock and one that is virtually impossible to crack is the clearance between plug and cylinder. A large clearance gives the lock-picker a better chance to lift all the pins to the right height at the same time, because it enables him to wedge already-lifted pins in place. With a small clearance, the pins cannot be wedged, and will spring down each time the lockpick moves to another pin. A well-designed pin-tumbler lock, therefore, is practically impossible to open without the right key. As with padlocks, the number of and access to keys should be limited. Though padlocks and sophisticated pin-tumbler locks are less desirable than maglocks for securing commonly used entrances and exits, they are well-suited for other purposes. Outlying storage facilities can be adequately secured with either type of lock, and padlocks will suffice to secure perimeter gates at lower-security installations. Even emergency doors and windows can be locked with padlocks, though the location of the key should be known to only a few trusted individuals. If the key must be used to open an emergency exit, employers are advised to find a new location for it and ensure that only the most trustworthy employees are informed of the change. Because of the potential for a security breach should the key’s location become too widely known, maglocks make a better alternative to secure emergency exits.


Containment and neutralizing measures are the last line of defense against the most determined—or luckiest—trespassers. They stop the intruder in his tracks before he can penetrate the most sensitive areas in a corporate facility, either by trapping him in one place long enough for security personnel to apprehend him or inflicting sufficient bodily harm to incapacitate him.

Containment Measures

Containment measures detain an intruder, but do not harm him or her physically. Steel or ballistic-composite shutters that slam shut over doorways whenever sensors detect an intruder’s presence are one popular option; even the best possible cutting tools will not allow the intruder to break through the heavy shutters quickly enough to escape on-site security personnel. Netguns are another common containment measure. Easier to install than shutters, a netgun drops from a concealed port in the ceiling and shoots a light but tough polymer-fiber net around the unsuspecting victim. The criminal lies helplessly entangled in the net. unable to cut or tear through the sturdy fibers while his movements are so sharply restricted.

  »»>(l've heard some corps use netguns that shoot out monowire. You roll around in a net made of that stuff, you die the death of a thousand cuts in real short order.)««<

  -Careful Out There (09:04:45/10-6-55)

Neutralizing the Enemy

Knight Errant offers several neutralizing measures, most of them designed to incapacitate an intruder temporarily without causing any permanent physical harm. For those rare cases in which more stringent measures are needed, Knight Errant provides full security services. Gun ports and laser mazes are two of the options most often chosen. Gun ports, described earlier in this section, are a particularly effective method of stopping several intruders at once. Laser mazes are generally installed in conjunction with other containment measures such as steel shutters or knockout gas, so that the breaking of the laser beam triggers these security components. Monowire mazes can also provide an extremely effective deterrent to break-ins, but should be used judiciously. These devices will permanently injure or kill the criminals they are designed to stop, and so corporations considering them should be aware of the possibility of legal challenge by surviving relatives. The extraterritorial status of most large corporations should be adequate protection, but no court is ever entirely predictable. In several celebrated cases of the past century, burglars and housebreakers won large awards from sympathetic juries. Though these have been rarely referred to since the landmark Shiawase decision, they remain valid precedents. Knockout gas is another option for neutralizing the enemy by sedating him while security personnel converge on the compromised area. Gas has several advantages: it inflicts no permanent harm and so avoids possible legal consequences, many gasses are inexpensive, and proper ventilation ensures rapid enough dissipation to prevent it from endangering legitimate personnel who may be nearby (depending on the circumstances of the break-in). For most corporations choosing this alternative, the optimum gas has no odor, acts instantaneously, and will not begin to break down for several years from the installation date. Depending on the needs of the corporation, delivery systems can shunt the gas to a narrowly confined space or over a wide area: in the latter case, Knight Errant guarantees that all intruders in the area specified will be affected virtually simultaneously. Knight Errant specialists can offer corporate clients complete details on the specific knockout agents available, including speed of action, degree of deterioration over time, specific effect on humans and metahumans, and so on.

»»>(1 love this "no permanent harm" drek. I guess being reduced to a drooling idiot who can't even feed himself isn't considered permanent—though I'm sure my brother would disagree if he had enough of a mind left.)<««

—Naderboy (24:08:11/10-23-55)

>»»(Even the "harmless" sleepy gasses can kill you if you're unlucky. A chummer of mine died on a raid when they pumped the hall we were in full of some stuff. Allz it did to most of us was give us dreams like a Salvador Dali painting; but my chummer, he choked on it like it was cyanide. (The corpboys dumped his dead meat into our holding cell to encourage us to talk nice to 'em.) I found out later my chummer had a fatal allergic reaction.)««<

—Ballybeg (20:02:35/9-5-55) >»»(OK, kids get yer allergy shots, now.)««<

—Beavis II (09:20:54/9-15-55)

>»»(No joke. Just another reason to do your homework before you go, so you know what kind of gas you might run into and how it's likely to scramble your nerves.)««<

—Careful Out There (12:55:42/9-16-55)

Light and sound also make effective neutralizers when used as part of an overall security blanket. Bright interior lights near hidden cameras, for example, slaved to the cameras so that they light up when an intruder passes or attempts to tamper with one, can blind or disorient the intruder temporarily and cause him to panic. A frightened criminal is a blundering criminal and often proves easy to capture. Bright white lights can also be programmed to flood deliberately dimmed secure areas, blinding the interloper while offering a clear field of vision to security guards equipped with goggles. White-noise generators, previously discussed as a part of perimeter defenses, can also be used inside rooms and corridors; depending on the frequency of the sound generated, they can either disorient the intruder, make him feel physically ill, or even shatter the crystals in every smartgun or cyberware system he possesses. Lethal levels of sound are not recommended for interior defenses, as there is no way to guarantee that legitimate corporate employees may not be within hearing range when the system goes off.

>»»(Like that would matter. Dead wageslaves? Who cares? Plenty more where they came from!)««<

—U. Sinclair (00:30:34/11-6-55)


Though the ever-changing cutting edge of defensive technology claims most of the spotlight, the (meta)human element is the most vital part of any security operation. The vast majority of alarm systems, perimeter defenses, containment measures, and so on do not stop the criminal all by themselves; instead, they delay him long enough for security personnel to reach him and deal with him. No physical security plan can be considered adequate without trained personnel, from rank-and-file security guards to patrol officers to cybered fast-response teams.

»»(So the computers ain't taking over the world? Awww ... I'm bummin' ... )««<

—Echo Mirage (12:16:11/01 -05-56)

All Knight Errant security guards, no matter what their specific duties, receive the best basic training with the latest equipment and combat techniques available. We keep up with the escalating “arms race" between security providers and the criminal element; nothing that shows up on the mean streets takes KE personnel by surprise. Our operatives do what every good security guard must to be worth his pay; they expect the unexpected and never lose their cool. Different levels of ability among security guards, of course, come at different costs. Depending on the needs of the individual corporate client, security forces can be non-augmented or equipped with any kind of cyberware from the basic smartgun to chipped reflexes to tactical-computer implants.

Corporations with few on-site assets to protect but a need for a visible guard presence to reassure customers are advised to use nonaugmented security officers in large numbers, or those with simple cybertechnologies such as wired reflexes or dermal plating. Heavy dermal plating, however, generally serves to intimidate the public; lighter types are more subtle, and more likely to make prospective customers feel safe. If a site contains large amounts of important data or equipment, augmented guards are a better choice; the extra expense is more than worth the added protection such personnel give to your vital investments. Against these benefits, the risk of security personnel compromising your facility is relatively small. However, the risk does exist, and all corporate clients should take it into consideration before making a final decision on what kind of (meta)human security force to hire. Even the most loyal guard is still only (meta)human, and may succumb to the temptation to betray his employers if the criminal offers enough incentive. Knight Errant’s intensive screening process greatly minimizes the risk of unknowingly hiring potentially anti-social individuals who may choose criminal activity over honest employment, but no screening process is perfect. On balance, the risk is worth it in our judgment; but every client's executive officers must judge that question for themselves. For additional information on KE personnel screening, see Personnel Security, p. 51.


Guard animals can also offer protection, either alone or in conjunction with (meta)human handlers. Various paranormal animals can be trained to serve as guards; on request, Knight Errant security specialists will provide clients with a comprehensive list of the animals available and their potential uses. Among non-magical animals, geese and guard dogs remain favorites. Geese honk loudly and incessantly at the sight of (meta)humans, making them an effective early-warning alarm. They also have aggressive territorial instincts; they will attack anyone they consider an intruder, inflicting surprisingly painful nips with their bills. Among dog breeds, Doberman pinschers and German shepherds are fast runners that can cover a typical no-man’s land in seconds. A brace of mastiffs can take down a troll, and a pit bull's jaw-locking death grip can even bite through light to medium armor. All these breeds are highly intelligent, amenable to training, and even capable of accepting light augmentation. When used together with (meta)humans, guard dogs can often compensate for the guards’ innate sensory weaknesses. The presence of a handler guarantees that the animal will not panic or become disoriented under fire, and a magically capable handler can help the guard animal resist spells cast on it.

>»»(What's this about augmenting animals? I thought that was impossible.)*;««

—Slag (08:15:41/12-14-55)

Technical security was born the moment a group of travelers first decided to train pack animals to warn them of intruders. From that humble beginning, technical security has grown into one of the most important fields of corporate security. No security system can be truly effective unless it integrates the latest security technologies. Knight-Errant’s technical security department represents the leading edge of innovation in the field, providing the most reliable and efficient security technology available. Though almost every well-protected company depends on a security system bolstered with alarms, access controls and active surveillance systems to protect its assets, some private security providers continue to rely on traditional Matrix and computer-based monitoring and control of these systems. At Knight Errant, however, we provide unmatched protection by using state-of-the-art closed-cir-cuit simsense technology, which gives our technical security systems unmatched response times and complete autonomy from the world-spanning web of the Matrix. By using CerebroTech’s patented closed-circuit simsense technology, a Knight Errant security rigger “becomes” the building he or she protects. In the same way a vehicle rigger monitors and controls every function and aspect of the machine he pilots—altering speed and reacting to changing conditions with a simple thought—a security rigger can “feel” a door open or “sense” unusual pressure against a fence and respond immediately. Because the system is autonomous from the Matrix, intruders in cyberspace cannot access it. At Knight Errant, we use the most advanced alarm systems, access-control technologies, and surveillance and control systems together with highly trained personnel to provide unmatched technical security tailored to each client’s security needs and budget.


Though alarm systems generally provide more coverage per nuyen than security personnel, they are not so inexpensive that a company can afford to use such systems without careful consideration. At Knight Errant, our rule of thumb is that no security system should cost more than 10 percent of the total value of the assets the system is designed to safeguard. Knight Errant technical security personnel will help corporate executives analyze their company’s security needs and assemble an alarm system that best supplements existing security personnel and perimeter defenses such as walls and defensive landscaping.

To determine whether an area would benefit from an alarm system, our personnel begin by considering the area’s security incident records, paying particular attention to unauthorized penetrations. The frequency and type of intrusions dictate the nature and extent of the alarm system needed. For example, if an intruder breaches a boundary fence or wall an average of once each month, that area is identified as a hole in the existing security system to be eliminated through the use of some type of alarm. Depending on the area or asset being protected, KE personnel may suggest a perimeter, area-detection, proximity, or magical alarm for the trouble spot. The different types of alarms are discussed in the following passages—except for magical alarms, which are discussed in the Magical Security section, p. 40.


Because perimeter defenses are designed to stop intruders from entering a protected area, these defenses are usually the first level of protection a corporation chooses to reinforce with an alarm system. Perimeter alarms may also substitute for perimeter defenses when physical barriers prove impractical or undesirable. Alarms used to safeguard site perimeters fall into four basic categories: taut-wire detectors, electromechanical devices, pressure devices and photoelectric devices.

Taut-WIre Detectors

A taut-wire detector, also known as capacitance wire, consists of an electrically charged wire stretched around or across a physical barrier. Any (meta)human body or living object that comes within two meters of the barrier produces a disturbance in the electrical field created by the detector, which then alerts a control station to sound an alarm. Anyone who possesses a trideo set can observe the general principle behind this type of system in their own homes by simply approaching the operating set closely. The distortion in the set’s image is created by your body disturbing the electrical field generated by the trideo set’s imaging components. The extreme sensitivity of taut-wire detectors is also their one major disadvantage. Such systems sometimes react to mundane animals that wander into detection range, resulting in a potentially high number of false alarms. However, a security rigger monitoring the system can easily use drones to check out alarms, greatly minimizing this drawback.

Taut-wire detectors may be placed on any physical barrier outside the protected site, such as a building roof or any walls or fences marking the border of the site.

Electromechanical Alarms

Electromechanical devices represent the most common and, in some ways, the simplest type of perimeter sensor. Generally used on windows and doors, these devices are electrical switches composed of two magnets or small plates of metal or other conducting material. Normally, the devices are set in closed positions and linked to an electrical circuit connected to a control station. When a window or door is opened, the switch opens and breaks the circuit, alerting the control station. Mechanical switches are also used on both doors and windows. Usually set into the frames, mechanical switches consist of plungers that are depressed when a door or window is shut. Opening the door or window breaks the electrical circuit of the monitoring system. Window foil is a third type of electromechanical alarm. These thin strips of metal are applied to windows in continuous pieces and charged with a constant electrical current. If the window is tampered with or broken, the fragile window foil tears, breaking the circuit and alerting the security system.

Because the security systems in existence by the middle of the twentieth century remain effective even today, most alarm technology has not changed significantly since that time. New materials, however, have largely replaced window glass. These materials provide much greater protection against intruders while allowing natural light into a building's interior and offering views of the outside world. Some of these new materials, more fully described in Physical Security (beginning on p. 18), conduct electrical current through their panes and frames, enabling security-conscious companies to create virtually impassable electromechanical alarm systems.

Pressure Devices

Pressure devices represent another type of switch alarm. These devices are basically flat mats constructed of conductive material. When pressure is placed on the device, the switch closes and completes an electrical circuit, alerting the security system to an intruder’s presence. Companies can conceal pressure devices under carpeting or other flooring and strategically place them in the areas of a room most likely to appeal to intruders—under windows, in front of doors, around workstations or below closed-circuit surveillance systems. Entire corridors or rooms may be outfitted with pressure devices, though such large-scale coverage can prove prohibitively expensive.

Some manufacturers have begun to design pressure-sensitive mats that resemble natural and common flooring materials. These devices combine maximum protection with minimum obtrusiveness, thus contributing to a pleasant atmosphere that can reduce stress, improve productivity, and raise morale among corporate employees.

Photoelectric Devices

Photoelectric devices offer excellent protection for large spaces. These two-part devices consist of a sending unit that emits a visible or invisible beam of light (or a laser), and a receiving unit that senses the light’s presence. If an intruder interrupts the beam of light, the receiver senses the absence of the light and alerts the control station to the presence of unauthorized personnel. Using reflectors to bend the light beam, most photoelectric alarm systems are designed to crisscross an area multiple times, creating an impassable mesh of light.

Additionally, photoelectric sensors may use photo cells designed to receive specific types of light. This feature prevents intruders from defeating the device by “fooling" the photo cells into accepting another light source as the light beam. Until recent years, security theorists had advocated the use of “invisible" light sources such as ultraviolet and infrared light for photoelectric devices. However, the enhanced visual capabilities of metahumans and the invention of inexpensive and easily portable visual enhancers have made this doctrine obsolete. Many corporate security divisions now choose to make use of the cheaper visible laser sensor systems, often color-coordinating the light to complement the surrounding decor, especially in areas frequented by corporate employees.


Area-detection alarms, commonly known as motion detectors. emit specific signal or wave patterns and then monitor these patterns for irregularities caused by the motion of intruders. “Shadows." or blind spots in a protected area can be eliminated by using multiple detectors to provide overlapping coverage.

The three most common types of motion detectors are ultrasonic, microwave, and passive infrared detectors. More recent technological advances have created a fourth type of motion sensor, the air-pressure detector. While perimeter alarms such as electromagnetic and photoelectric devices can be used to defend limited areas as well as borders, area-detection alarms offer additional protection for especially sensitive locations. If positioned properly, motion detectors can offer almost complete coverage of open areas such as rooms, hallways and warehouses.

Ultrasonic Motion Detectors

Ultrasonic motion detectors emit high-frequency sound waves and “listen" for the same wave pattern to return. Any motion, however slight, will alter the wave pattern in the same way that a tossed pebble will alter the pattern of ripples moving across a pond. Anything that disturbs the predetermined wave pattern alerts the control station to sound an alarm. These detectors are easily programmed to ignore such common sounds as doorbells and telecom incoming-message signals.

Microwave Motion Detectors

A microwave motion detector consists of a transmitter and receiver and operates in essentially the same fashion as radar. The transmitter produces high-frequency electromagnetic waves that bounce off objects in the protected area. The receiver reads the echo of the waves and recognizes the pattern created by the objects in the area. Any change in the echo pattern alerts the detector to unauthorized movement in the area. Unlike ultrasonic waves, microwave signals penetrate walls and windows. This enables microwave detectors to cover larger areas, but also increases the likelihood that incidental moving objects or authorized personnel will trigger a false alarm. Though microwave motion detectors can be adjusted to compensate for extraneous, non-threatening movement, security divisions often restrict the use of such detectors to relatively low-traffic areas. A security rigger can efficiently compensate for potential false alarms by actively monitoring the alarm system via dosed-circuit simsense.

Passive-Infrared Detectors

Though technological advances have substantially increased the reliability and accuracy of passive-infrared detectors—for example, they rarely react to sunlight, air conditioning units, or vehicle headlights—the advent of metahumanity has forced the security industry to calibrate infrared units to detect a greater range of body temperatures, which provides greater opportunity for a particularly clever or technologically well-equipped intruder to defeat such detectors. Furthermore, passive-infrared detectors remain more susceptible to false alarms than any other type of motion detector despite improvements in their design. For these reasons. Knight Errant recommends the use of these devices only when no other type of motion detector is suitable for the area to be defended because of the type of work performed in the area, the material stored there, the composition of the surrounding construction, or the personnel or other life forms occupying the space.

Air-Pressure Detectors

Though technically classified as a pressure-detection system rather than a motion-detection system, air-pressure detectors provide more effective area defense than perimeter defense. An air-pressure detector consists of a diaphragm designed to detect changes in the ambient air pressure of an area or room. Movement within the monitored area or a door opening or closing are examples of events that can trigger an air-pressure detector. Air-pressure detectors do not suffer the limitation of blind spots, but must incorporate computers to analyze air pressure and recognize normal barometric fluctuations. A security rigger monitoring the system significantly increases the accuracy of these judgments.



Knight-Errant considers proximity alarms an important component of any complete and effective security system. Designed to detect electromagnetic fields and unusual vibrations, proximity alarms efficiently supplement perimeter and area alarms by protecting specific objects in a room or area. Proximity alarms also may be used when other security systems are impractical or undesirable. Most proximity alarms fall into one of two categories: capacitance sensors or vibration-detection devices.

Capacitance Sensors

Capacitance sensors generate electromagnetic fields calibrated to detect the electrical charges produced by (meta)human bodies at specific distances from an object. Generally, these highly sensitive devices consist of discreetly placed wires connected to two balanced circuits. They can be set to detect an intruder approaching within several feet of a protected object or an intruder touching the object. The location of the object, the expected amount of traffic near it, and the acceptable level of false alarms all affect the sensitivity level chosen for the sensor. In addition to specific objects, capacitance sensors can be used to monitor areas such as storage sites or entire rooms. Capacitance sensors are also often used to turn standard gun emplacements into so-called “smart” gun ports, because they can discriminate between (meta)human intruders and other moving objects.

Vibratlon-Detectlon Devices

An elegantly simple system, a vibration-detection device uses a contact microphone placed on or near the object to be protected. The microphone is monitored by a central control station that sounds an alarm if the microphone detects any vibrations. These devices are regularly programmed to ignore vibrations common to occupied and unoccupied buildings, such as the sounds of creaking floors, telecom beeps, or the gnawing of a mouse. Vibration-detection devices can also be programmed to ignore vibrations common to the protected environment, such as the sound of thunder, gunfire, and traffic.


The single corporate security system most visible to employees—and the one they are most likely to try to circumvent out of sheer annoyance—is the access-control, or identification system. These systems are composed of maglocks, cardreaders and other pass systems, biological recognition systems (biometrics), or any combination of these devices. While Knight Errant recognizes that all corporate employees have a right to personal privacy, the competitive corporate world of the 2050s forces employers to implement ever more vigilant security measures. Though employers can use access-control systems to track the movements of authorized personnel throughout a corporate facility, the primary function of such systems remains identifying and tracking unauthorized persons or activities that might endanger the corporate work force. To maintain efficient and effective corporate security, Knight Errant requires its corporate clients to maintain at least one form of access-control system on all sites and recommends the use of redundant systems—layered levels of identification procedures—in sensitive areas. Clients may choose from many different styles of maglocks, pass readers, and biometric systems and may also incorporate weapon and cyberware detectors into the access-control system at strategic locations.



Maglocks offer several advantages over simple padlocks or pin-tumbler locks, which are usually sufficient for low-security installations or installations sufficiently protected by other security measures. Maglocks are available in four levels of sophistication and can be keyed to individual users or groups of users, simplifying access control for areas protected by such devices. Type 3 and 4 maglocks are usually connected to a protected area’s technical security system. In such a configuration, any attempt to bypass a maglock will trip the lock's monitoring system and trigger an alarm.

»»>(1 suppose this means that the good ol' days when maglocks were accessible via a corp's internal matrix are gone forever. No more, “Mister Decker Man, please tell the computer it's wiz to open the maglock on the fourth floor. Better yet, tell it the lock's still closed and no one's messing with it. Thanx!")««< —Delunidai (10:08:24/12-4-55)

Each of the four types of maglocks available provide a different level of protection. Type 1 maglocks, the least expensive, are essentially electronic padlocks, each containing its own power source. Type I maglocks cannot be slaved to an integrated security system nor programmed to respond to multiple individual keys. The Type 1 is roughly comparable to the electronic banking card that served as the precursor to the credstick: an unlimited number of people may carry a Type 1 maglock key that will open the same lock. Like Type 1 locks, Type 2 maglocks respond to only one key, though any number of people may carry a copy. The most commonly used type of maglock. Type 2 locks can be integrated into a comprehensive security system to enable a security decker or rigger to know when the maglock is open or shut. Type 1 and 2 maglocks employ relatively low-end technology and so are more easily deceived than Type 3 and 4 maglocks. As a result, Type 1 and 2 maglocks are generally used only at minimum-security installations or with low-cost security systems.

High-security installations require Type 3 or 4 maglocks, which provide increased operational flexibility and a greater degree of access control. Type 3 maglocks are fully matrix capable and act as input/output ports. They can be programmed to recognize multiple keys, each assigned to a specific employee and programmed to identify that employee each time the key is used, thus providing efficient access control and traffic monitoring in sensitive areas. Type 4 maglocks can be connected to a dosed-circuit simsense system run by a security rigger, who will “feel” the opening and shutting of the lock and can open or close it himself. Like Type 3 maglocks. the Type 4 model permits multiple individual keying. The dosed-circuit simsense feature and enhanced capabilities of this maglock make it the most versatile and expensive type on the market. Generally. Type 4 locks are reserved for high-security areas.

In addition to layering technical security systems with four levels of maglocks. corporations can further tailor access-control systems by using four different categories of maglock keys: user keys, submaster keys, master keys, and root master keys.

User keys are provided to all individuals who require access to a locked area. Keys for Type 1 and 2 maglocks are specific to each lock; keys for Type 3 and 4 maglocks are specific to each user. Submaster keys open all maglocks within a specified area, such as a single wing in a building or a single building on a corporate site. Because they allow access to more areas, submaster keys should be issued only to high-level executives and to on-duty security guards. Master keys open all maglocks in a corporate compound. Usually only one master key exists for a site and is issued to the site’s senior security officer. The root master key is a particularly valuable item that must be guarded with great care. This key opens all maglocks in all of a corporation’s compounds and facilities. The code of the root master key is programmed into a maglock’s firmware, and the security staff must have the root master key in order to reprogram all other keys to the maglocks that it opens. Root master keys are designed for use during security-system installation, re-keying, surprise inspections, and any other situation that requires a single individual have access to all sensitive areas. Only the most senior security executives should possess root master keys.

Unlike padlocks and pin-tumbler locks, maglocks can be changed easily if a key is lost, stolen, or forged. Re-keying the locks on even one building after a security breach once required many hours of labor and expensive parts. However, re-keying a maglock is as simple as reprogramming a computer. Even if a location remains free from security problems, all maglocks should be re-keyed at least once every six months as a safety precaution. Type 3 and 4 maglocks, of course, can be re-keyed from the central security system. Whenever an employee possessing a user key leaves his position, that key is programmed out of the system. User keys assigned to new employees are programmed on the first day an employee reports for work. If a submaster or master key disappears, corporate security should program a new one and delete the old one as soon as they discover the loss. If a root master key is lost, the locking firmware of all maglocks programmed to accept that key must be replaced. Maglocks come in two basic styles—keypads and cardread-ers. To use a keypad maglock, personnel must enter an identification code that serves as a password on a numeric or alphanumeric keypad. To use a cardreader, personnel insert a card through a slot in the reader. The cardreader identifies the pass-card by scanning an identification number encoded on a magnetic strip or microchip in the card. Both styles of maglock can be programmed to log the user’s identity and the time he or she opened or closed the lock.

Managing Maglock Security

Maglocks must be incorporated into a total security system with careful consideration to ensure their effectiveness. If their effect on the daily operations of a corporation is ignored, employees may be tempted to circumvent the system. Sign-out systems for user keys allow a corporation to monitor traffic through an area and limit the number of available keys, but such systems may regularly disrupt daily operations and significantly decrease employee productivity. Even requiring employees to constantly unlock doors as they perform their work can produce the same results. For these reasons, maglocks should be limited to high-security or low-traffic areas and should be carefully monitored. Whenever possible, corporations should restrict access to keys to as few employees as possible. These employees should be properly vetted and required to sign the keys in and out. On this smaller scale, the sign-out system represents a reasonable security precaution rather than an unreasonable hindrance. Additionally, maglock keys are normally produced with programs that prevent unauthorized copies from being made. And corporate security personnel can also track the whereabouts of maglock keys through magical means. A corporation that fails to install maglocks and distribute keys in a carefully considered, judicious manner may as well not install locks at all. Remember, access control is only as effective as the system set up to provide it.


For many applications, maglock systems may prove undesirable. The fact that maglock systems require employees to possess physical keys produces its own set of security risks. Employees may lose or forget their keys or even be robbed of them. The unauthorized use of even one key to enter even the lowest-security area of a corporate facility may represent a serious security breach. Maglock systems also prove unsatisfactory as a means of tracking guests. Re-keying locks after every visitor is impractical, and most security divisions generally consider all non-employees significant security risks. A Knight Errant pass system can help solve many of these problems. In such a system, the corporation issues unique identification cards to employees and visitors and places proximity readers at strategic points throughout a building or compound. The cards contain tiny microchips that emit low-pow-ered signals, which are read by the proximity readers. If the card carrier has access to the area protected by the reader, the reader accepts the chip’s signal and unlocks the door or other barrier for the pass user. If the carrier does not possess clearance for the area in question, the door may simply not respond. More commonly, any attempt by unauthorized personnel to access a restricted area alerts the control center or security rigger to a potential intrusion attempt, and the system or rigger can question the intruder through a ciosed-circuit television and/or intercom system.


Maglocks and pass systems are the most inexpensive access-control systems available. However, both types of systems are of limited reliability. For the most effective access control, Knight Errant recommends biological recognition systems. Generally, these systems cost considerably more than maglock or pass systems, but the greater costs are offset by the biological recognition system’s greater reliability and convenience. Biological recognition systems identify individuals by their unique traits. The most common type of biological recognition system reads the fingerprints of corporate personnel. Thousands of different prints can be stored in the system computer, enabling a corporation to provide guests with access to restricted areas. Other systems use palm prints, voice-verification, and retinal scans. The most secure bio-recognition systems read two or more indicators. For example, a high-security installation may be fitted with voice-verification and retinal-scan recognition devices. Current bio-recognition systems are also sophisticated enough to detect employee vital signs.


CCSS systems use simsense and neuromuscular interface technologies, similar to those used in vehicle control rigs, to create system control rigs for running security systems. A CCSS system consists of a number of technical security devices—such as maglocks, alarms, detectors, “smart" gun emplacements, and drones—connected to a special simsense deck known as a security control rig. The security control rig translates the electrical signals from the devices into neuromuscular signals, which are monitored by a security rigger plugged into the rig. The control rig works in reverse as well, translating neuromuscular signals from the rigger into electrical signals that can be transmitted to any number of devices. The CCSS system enables a security rigger to control a security system just as a vehicle rigger “drives" a vehicle. The security rigger literally “feels" the system components as if they were parts of his own body. The opening of a single maglock, the triggering of an alarm, an intruder stepping on a pressure detector—all these events produce physical sensations in the security rigger. The rigger may then activate system components through simple neuromuscular commands—with a flick of his wrist, for example, a rigger may sweep a room with fire from a gun emplacement.

Simlinks connected to the system control rig enable secondary riggers to monitor the sensory input received by the primary security rigger and aid in the operation of the security system.


If the security rigger is the “brain" of a CCSS system, then surveillance and control devices may be viewed as the system’s eyes, ears, and hands. As described above, these devices enable the rigger to detect activity throughout the site and to act in the physical environment. Surveillance and control devices include maglocks, alarms, and access-control devices (described previously) as well as drones, weapon and chemical detectors, and cyberware scanners.


Drones are perhaps the most versatile of all surveillance and control devices. They range from simple, remote-control camera platforms no larger than a bread box to complex, programmable machines as large as small cars. The more complex drones may be fitted with diverse arrays of sensors—video, audio, thermal, and motion-detecting types—and nearly any type of weapon—ballistic, nerve gas, net, and taser to name just a few. Drones may be programmed to operate independently of external controls, slaved to a system control rig, or any combination of the two. These machines can be used to quietly patrol a security site, illuminate intruders with spotlights, target intruders with lasers, or even respond with weapons fire. Drones may even be equipped to patrol external areas of a security site. As a result of their unmatched flexibility, drones are well-suited for both access-control and surveillance duties. Knight Errant uses two main types of drone: semi-mobile and free-ranging. Semi-mobile drones are designed to patrol specific routes within a facility. Generally, these inexpensive machines lack internal guidance mechanisms and independent power supplies. They are commonly designed to follow tracks or wires and must be connected to external electrical power supplies. However, most are fitted with limited backup power systems that enable them to remain functional in the event of a power interruption.

Free-ranging drones are fully mobile and contain independent electrical power supplies. They are the most versatile of all security drones, as well as the most expensive. These machines come in a variety of designs—including airborne, marine, amphibious, and land-based models—and can be programmed to patrol specific areas of a site or wander in random patterns. They can be configured to relay all of their sensory input to a central security system or set up to alert the system operator when they detect specific, discrete events.

Weapon Detectors

Self-contained weapon detectors have been used in the security industry for a number of years, and they are a valuable addition to any CCSS system. Most contemporary weapon-detection systems use magnetic-anomaly detection (MAD) technology. Detection circuitry can be installed into doorways and entryways, or in free-standing frames. When a piece of ferrous metal passes through the loop formed by the circuitry, it induces a current in the circuitry’s detection coils. A sophisticated microprocessor in the circuitry then compares the current pattern to patterns caused by various weapons. If it finds a match, the circuit triggers an alarm.

Chemical Detectors

Like the weapon detector, the chemical detector is a security staple that has taken on renewed importance with its integration into CCSS systems. Chemical detectors check for airborne traces of chemicals emitted by explosive compounds. By their very nature, explosives possess relatively unstable and volatile molecular structures. As a result, they emit certain chemicals into the atmosphere around them. Some of these chemicals, namely nitrogenous compounds, produce a distinctive odor that can be detected. In addition to explosives, today’s chemical-detection systems can detect the propellant used in modern, caseless ammunition.

Cyberware Scanner

Like any other technical security device, cyberware scanners can be integrated into CCSS systems or operated independently. Cyberware scanners consist of sonic/magnetic scanners connected to microprocessors. Whenever an individual passes through the field of the sonic/magnetic scanner, the scanner performs sonic and magnetic imaging on the individual. The resulting images are instantaneously checked against a library of cyberware profiles stored in the microprocessor. which then identifies any cyberware detected. Generally, cyberware scanners can detect and identify all standard and restricted cyberware that contain non-organic components. Organic and vat-grown implants, as well as organically masked Alpha and Beta-level cyberware, may be difficult to detect, however.