1963-11-11 - Kickback
Summary: Who knew energy weapons had kickback?
Related: None
Theme Song: None

So, now, in addition to all the mundane craziness in this world — missle crises, political wrangling, mutant protests (actually, can that be considered mundane? No matter, it's terrestrial, at least)… there are — so the media say — bona fide aliens on Earth.

Jo Kelly has known for years, centuries, actually, that not all is as it seems. She's living proof of it. But, compared to shape-shifting extraterrestrials or some of the more spectacular mutants out there… well, she's pretty small potatoes. Benign, even.


Ms. Kelly is also not a woman who has survived this long by being stupid. Nor by hiding her head in the sand. It's not always been easy to strike a balance — the interruption of war tends to make everything dicey — but she's found over the past 270 years that, really, sometimes the best defence is a good offence. Or, at least, good offensive potential.

Thus, she stands under a single lamp in a lit corner of an otherwise dim wearhouse/workshop space, tinkering with small parts for an idea she set aside decades ago. The advent of machine guns somewhat made the idea inconsequential, at a time when mercy in battle wasn't necessarily a virtue, and most battles were fought on the streets in war zones. These times, however, call for a somewhat lighter hand. Sure, weaponry is generally a whole lot heavier, a whole lot deadiler, but there are also a lot more civilians in the so-called war zone — the everyday streets of America. And Jo's not particularly interested in leaving mayhem and murder in her wake.

The trick, really, is making the wires small enough to fit nicely in the chasis, and yet still robust enough to handle the sliding energy scales she wants to send through the coils. The secondary problem is temperature control, mainly so it doesn't melt or otherwise fry its weilder. She pushes piece of dense foam into cavites carefully carved into a maple handgrip and gently threads wires down through it into a grounding plate. Setting the grip on the workbench, she now picks up the coils and pushes them gently into the dense glass tubes attached to the cylinder mechanism. They snap into place with a soft click. Then, she slides a coolant pack over the entire thing, securing it with a snap. Finally, she attaches the wires from the grip and spins the whole mechanism into place. It settles in against the pin of the focusser that servers as the barrel. A couple more screws and the sights are in place — though, really, how much aiming does an energy discharge really require?

Jo picks up the pistol, such as it is, and carries it to the far end of the warehouse, where she's set up a rough target range. Pulling a pair of goggles on — just in case — she lifts it in one hand and aims… or, at least, points it towards the nearest target. A gentle squeeze on the trigger and…


"Ooow…" Jo picks herself up off the floor, a half dozen feet back from where she stood. On the bright side, the target is smoking. On the not so bright side… Who knew energy weapons had kickback?

*Fwoosh!* Delayed reaction. The target bursts into flames.

"Aw, hell." Forget the gun. Where's that extinguisher?

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