Saturday, August 23, 2014

Villain incarceration and transportation

These days, the technology behind keeping supers imprisoned is pretty good. It wasn't always like that. In fact, "villains can escape from jail a week after capture" is such a persistent meme thanks to decades of poor understanding of super-biology and lack of experience.

Chemical restraints

The current state of the art in super incarceration is chemical restraint. These are drugs, either "generic" or tailored to an individual (or set of powers), that inhibit the use of one or more super-powers. Part of the goal of the Transhuman Capability Catalog was to track the specific mechanisms behind powers. Based on this information, companies like Persona and Pfizer are able to synthesize suppression drugs.

The use of these drugs has been evaluated for constitutionality in many of the circuit courts within the United States. No legal challenge has reached the Supreme Court as of yet, and it's doubtful that they would hear one - there's too much at stake to meddle with something that's working.

The actual administration of these drugs depends on the super. Some are ingested with food, others are injected, and others are delivered as an aerosol in the prisoner's cell. The drugs can take effect anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours after delivery, and could be effective for hours or days. The first and second generation of power suppressors are now off the market since it was proven that almost all supers would develop a tolerance and eventual immunity to their effects.

Occasionally a prison will experiment with attaching collars containing suppression drugs to their super-inmates. The goal is to create a system that maintained the suppression while also allowing the inmate to roam around the complex with less supervision.

Physical restraints

Supers who are unable to break out of a jail cell, one way or another, are pretty rare. That said, some do exist. Most prisons would prefer their existing cells to an expensive drug deal with Big Pharma, so there's a fair amount of competition for "easy" villains.

Prisoner transfers

When a villain needs to be moved - to another facility, or to stand trial, or something similar - it's a big deal. The cops keep the transfer route a secret, even from other departments, until almost the day of the transfer.

Here are a few ways that villain transfers have been detected and interfered with:
  • Prison financial records indicated a cancellation of the power suppression drug order, along with a requisition for vehicles.
  • Suppression drugs were replaced with a placebo by an insider.
  • A prison placed orders for a tailored suppression drug despite not having the prisoner for which they were tailored.
  • Guards or other police officers took a bribe to reveal the details of the route.
ACTION is pretty good about providing security for this work these days, so most prison-break scenarios for villains require a fair amount of inside information. Acquiring insider assets, keeping them paid, and getting actual useful information from them are all big challenges for villains who want to take care of their fellows. But if you do break another villain out of the slam, you can and should expect plenty of gratitude. The value of this cannot be overstated.