Etheral Scanners are security and sensor devices that detect and analyze a target's natural and/or magickal aura.
Small, handheld etheral scanners can determine if a person is awakened, and if so, if they are a mage, werecreature, vampire, or ghoul. They can also detect the natural auras of unawakened humans, Bugs, K'Nes, Jurvain, Vulthra, and Horadrim. Finally, they are able to detect if an inanimate object is magickal, although not what the enchantment does.
Basic etheral sensor suites (similar in power to portable handheld versions) were commonly built into power armor used by the Tech Infantry of the Earth Federation. It has yet not been determined in-story, however, whether the Holy Terran Empire's Imperial Guard, Imperial Army, or Imperial Bodyguard use them in thier power armor.
Larger, non-portable etheral scanners are more advanced and powerful, usually placed at security checkpoints, and are as common in the TI universe as metal detectors are today. They can not only detect mages, magical items, and active spells, but what sphere of magick the target uses and how powerful they are.
Etheral scanners CAN detect Caal, IF the operator knows what to look for and how to interpret the results. The first warning humanity had of the impending Caal Invasion in 2264 was an unusual reading on an Ethereal Scanner employed at a monorail station on Arnheim. Since humanity thought at the time that the Caal were extinct in this part of the Galaxy, the equipment was not pre-programmed to properly identify the characteristic signature of a Caal, which is two overlapping auras inhabiting the same body. Only because Raptor commandant Vin Dane was himself a Horadrim who had an inkling what the strange readings meant was the unusual report even investigated at all. Now that the Caal are officially extinct once more, newer models are again showing up on the market without the ability to detect the Caal.
Limits and WeaknessesEdit
Etheral scanners have a (comparatively) short range compared to other sensor suites, and require a clear line of sight to read auras.
Supernatural creatures wearing a control collar will show up on etheral scanners as regular unawakened humans. Mages injected with Quellers can also sometimes pass as unawakened. Both forms of subterfuge are rare and unpopular, however, as both methods leave the awakened spy without the use of their supernatural abilities to defend themselves if they get caught. Control collars are bulky and difficult to disguise, and Quellers leave mages dizzy, nauseous, and confused.
Finally, a Caal magickal device known as a Life Mask can also disguise its user's true nature. These are hardly ever used, however, as humanity, K'Nes, and Jurvain do not even know such devices exist. Hordrim and Vulthra, both races with long histories of fighting the Caal, may or may not know about Life Masks, and in either case would be loathe to use Caal magick.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Etheral Scanners have been popping up now and again in the TI literature canon ever since season 4.2. Now, with the Twiki, we figured it was about time to define just what exactly these MacGuffinscan and can't do.