Office of Internal Security
Perhaps no agency in the New Earth Government is more feared than the Office of Internal Security. The innocuous name hides what are perhaps the most sweeping powers of any government agency in the history of democracy. However, citizens tolerate what might be called abuses of power, because the OIS is the agency responsible for policing powers of a cosmic nature. The OIS works tirelessly to protect citizens of the New Earth Government from threats which they themselves aren’t even sure they can manage.
The two primary forces they regulate are magic and para-psychic ability in all their forms. They deal with crimes involving sorcerers and para-psychics, with the mystical black market (aka the arcane underground), and with hostile non-human entities that might find their way inside arcologies. To enforce law and protect citizens in the face of what can be overwhelming power, they often are allowed to skirt many areas of law to which other government agencies must adhere. Criminals messing around with magic or para-psychic ability are not even allowed to be classified as mortal until properly tested and processed through special detention facilities. When dealing with the OIS, even the bill of “unalienable” mortal rights goes out the window.
The public never sees OIS detention facilities. They are high security and their locations are kept on a “need to know” basis. These underground vaults are terrifying, even if you’re only visiting. Powered armor, guards armed to the teeth, mystical wards, government para-psychics, and more only represent the security forces. That doesn’t include the testing facilities and the staff that crews them. Under current law, anyone who strays into what the New Earth Government has declared as illegal areas of mysticism forfeits their status as mortal. In order for them to stand trial for their crimes, they must once again be classified as mortal. Those seized by the OIS in such a fashion must undergo what can most euphemistically be described as an unpleasant battery of tests. The psychiatrists, parapsychologists, and sorcerers that work in OIS testing facilities are a dedicated and unusual group. With what they must face protecting humanity on a regular basis, they lose a bit of their own. OIS testing staff are not gentle, nor are they nice – they have to be hardened in order to be inured to the pleas and screams they endure from their subjects. They scan, poke, prod, question, drug, and sometimes torture without batting an eye. Those who pass these tests and are restored to mortal status in the eyes of the law go on to face harsh criminal punishment. Those that fail are locked away forever, guinea pigs for whatever government experiments require someone tainted by cosmic forces.
Para-psychics suffer a similar, but more extreme fate. While magicians require space, objects, and ritual to harness their power, para-psychics can call on their power in an instant. Those parapsychics who’ve been arrested for out of control Burns or criminal behavior are taken to these same detention facilities, not to determine if they are still mortal but to determine if their powers are controllable. They are subjected to powerful tranquilizers and experimental drugs designed to dampen their powers. In essence, parts of their brains are shut down. Burners that pass a regimen of psychological evaluations and physical tests are allowed to go, but are carefully watched once they leave. Criminal para-psychics, once under control, suffer their prison sentences in these facilities under heavy psycho-pharmacological influence. Those that aren’t controllable will never find their way into the sun again, unless neutered. They are often experiments for drugs or surgery designed to control or eliminate para-psychic powers.
Besides detention, the criminal charges associated with breaking the laws governing safe use of magical or para-psychic ability or traffic of associated goods are draconian. Failing to register as a para-psychic or sorcerer warrants a life-sentence in prison. Possession of illegal rituals warrants the same. Possession of other forms of mystical contraband carries a minimum prison sentence of twenty years. When it comes to the regulation of dangerous cosmic powers, the New Earth Government isn’t kidding around.
There are four main types of OIS field agents. The first and most apparent are the standard field agents, who work in pairs. They are the recognizable hand of the agency, going into the field to investigate potential threats and infractions. The second are the undercover agents, who go deep into the dark alleys and seedy underbelly of the arcane underground. They have what is widely considered to be the most dangerous job in the agency, as many mystical abilities can aid criminals in ferreting these agents out. The third are the response teams. These teams are typically composed of New Earth Government military-trained marines who provide needed tactical support for investigating field agents or for raids. They operate in squads of ten and are heavily armed and armored, and widely considered to be the scariest bunch of soldiers in federal agency employ. The fourth type of field agent are the special powered armor teams (SPAT). Operating in pairs, these trained pilots are brought in when the resistance is expected to be especially ugly. These types of field agents don’t include the agency’s enormous support staff of administrators, intelligence specialists, and researchers.
Like other government agencies, the Office of Internal Security pays according to a government service (GS) ranking system. Agents typically occupy the GS-10 to GS-13 ranks, while managers and directors occupy GS-14 to GS-15. The agency is overseen by a variety of directors and field operations are overseen by the Special Agent-in-Charge (SAIC). Authority on individual cases is given on a case by case basis, but seniority is certainly respected and valued.
Also under the purview of the Office of Internal Security is dealing with “hazardous lifeforms” within arcologies. Hazardous lifeforms is the government-speak for monsters. Whenever some unskilled or crazed sorcerer lets a summoned creature loose into the world or whenever some horrible beast finds its way into the arcology, it’s the agency’s job to hunt it down. Being a soldier in the OIS is never dull.
Another interesting part of the agency’s war on unregulated cosmic power is the doctoring of occult texts. Rather than attempt to remove some of the more powerful or sought after banned occult literature from the black market, they circulate copies that have been carefully altered to make them less dangerous. Every copy of the mythical and coveted Necronomicon that surfaces in the arcane underground is one such sanitized version, but few know that. Like the Anarchist’s Cookbook of old, many occult texts are incomplete or have had their fangs removed.
The agency works closely with the Ministry of Information, who tracks and processes many different types of information within the New Earth Government. For the OIS, they flag statistically probable mystical offenders and they monitor sorcerous and para-psychic aptitude testing in schools. While most of the crimes the OIS investigates are of a far more sinister nature, tracking this data certainly helps track potential future offenders.
Within, the Office of Internal Security takes care of its own. Employees are well compensated and have excellent benefits plans with top-notch mental health plans. There is a fierce loyalty and brotherhood among agents. They know they deal with forces beyond their control and quarry that commands enormous power with no moral compass. The only internal politicking within the agency occurs among desk jockeys who’ve never worked in the field, and their behavior is frowned on and looked down upon.
The public face of the agency is inscrutable. The Office of Internal Security does everything it can to stay out of the spotlight. They wage a careful war in the dark places of civilization and sometimes must resort to extreme measures. It does no one any good to present their actions for public scrutiny. Citizens of the New Earth Government are keenly aware of the OIS and its authority, but most never run across its power or influence. It is assumed by most that if you run afoul of the agency that you had it coming. They also work carefully with the Ministry of Information to keep media exposure to a minimum.