When a spy picks up an object, they will always hold it in a particular hand:

Picking up an object requires that the corresponding hand(s) be empty. (Books are a special case: after a spy takes a book and before they return it, they open it and begin reading, so both hands must be free to take or return a book.) Certain missions require the spy to hold a specific object (Fingerprint Ambassador, Inspect Statues, Swap Statue, Transfer Microfilm), so the spy may have to get rid of a different held object first before they can do these missions.

Some actions require the spy's hand to be empty to do them:

  • To bug the ambassador, the spy's hand that is closest to the ambassador must be empty.
  • Purloining the guest list requires the spy's left hand to be empty (because doing so may require taking a drink).
  • The spy checks their watch (and adds time) with their right hand, and can't do that while holding the briefcase.
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