Catching Lightning In A Jar

<TeslaTornado> There is a familiar voice on the intercom, and it says: «Any available research personnel please report to the Containment wing. Repeat, any available research personnel to the Containment wing.»
<Bunton> Pauline goes to the containment wing!
<TeslaTornado> Pauline, you arrive amid a cluster of six or seven of the whitecoats, the anonymous researchers that permeate Containment and the Research labs, several of them wearing badges that proclaim them as "high energy specialists" or something like that. They have congregated around one of the larger storage cells, which you recognize through scuttlebutt on site as the take from the recent raid on a Grassroots cell.
<Bunton> Pauline recognises no such thing.
<Bunton> She's never even heard of a "Grassroots cell."
<TeslaTornado> Then you're standing in front of a containment room with a bunch of boxes in it. Wonderful!
<Bunton> Pauline glares at the back's of people's heads.
<TeslaTornado> One of the boxes has been opened, and researchers are veeeery carefully removing what look like very large silver backpacks from it:
<Bunton> Pauline coughs unsubtly.
<TeslaTornado> Several of the researchers, also being masters of the Unsubtle Cough, shuffle out of the way for you.
<Bunton> She half-walks, half-runs up to the contraption.
<Bunton> She looks giddy.
<Bunton> "What is /this/?"
<Bunton> She sounds so excited.
<TeslaTornado> One of the researchers, whose nametag reads "C. CARLISLE, RESEARCHER", looks up. He's a tall, gaunt man, shaved bald except for a perfectly sculpted mustache. "Something brought back from Psi-7's last mission. Some kind of terrorist raid or something. These packs were part of the take. We're figuring out what they do."
<Bunton> Can Pauline roll engineering + self-taught?

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<TeslaTornado> Yes, she can.
<Bunton> 4df+9
<Glacon> Bunton: 10 (4df+9=0, +, 0, 0)

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<TeslaTornado> From a cursory examination, you can tell that this has something to do with the generation of electricity. However, there is no power source, or fuel source discernible on the exterior of the pack or the gauntlet. It's definitely intended to be weaponized, judging by the quality of the craftsmanship, uniformity of the parts and the overall rugged appearance of the equipment.
<TeslaTornado> You'd have to take one apart to learn any more, though.
<Bunton> "It's an electric weapon."
<Bunton> She points out to them the stuff that you just said.
<TeslaTornado> Researcher Carlisle nods along as you point out each individual characteristic you notice. When you finish, he nods, removing a notepad from his pocket and copying it all down. He offers you one of the packs. "Try not to damage it, and bring it back to this cell when you're finished."
<Bunton> Pauline looks like she's just been given a pony-shaped box on Christmas.
<Bunton> And also she's a kid who likes horses.
<TeslaTornado> You might notice a similar expression on some of the other researchers' faces. It's like a room full of kids.
<Bunton> She takes it eagerly. "Can I request the use of your lab space?"
<TeslaTornado> Kids who were just given access to some kind of high powered weapon.
<TeslaTornado> Carlisle nods. "Sure. I'm Lab 21."
<TeslaTornado> "Look for the wires."
<Bunton> She nods excitedly, then turns and runs off.
<TeslaTornado> You scamper eagerly through the myriad halls and stairways of Site-19, eventually arriving at Lab 21; which, sure enough, has a great deal of wires in it. The name on the door is "CALVIN CARLISLE, PH.D, HIGH ENERGY SPECIALIST".
<Bunton> She struts in.
<Bunton> In IC 1, I'm guessing.
<TeslaTornado> IC3, actually.
<Bunton> OH.
<Bunton> My mistake.
<TeslaTornado> 'sokay.
<Bunton> Okay!
<Bunton> What's the lab like?
<TeslaTornado> The lab is large, and all of the walls are insulated. Most of the room is occupied with equipment not unlike Hill's, designed for high-energy experimentation. A large Faraday cage is set off to one side.
<TeslaTornado> It's like Nikola Tesla's wildest dreams came to life in one room.
<Bunton> She grins and plops the device down.
<Bunton> Then she quickly runs back and from her room to grab her tools.
<TeslaTornado> The device is plopped and the tools are grabbed. SCIENCE AWAITS.
<Bunton> Pauline begins disassembling it!
<Bunton> Any rolls needed?
<TeslaTornado> Engineering + specials to not completely bollocks the machine taking apart. It's a low DT.
<Bunton> 24df+12 for Qualified Engineer!
<Glacon> Bunton: for Qualified Engineer!: 12 (24df+12=-, 0, +, 0, 0, 0, 0, -, +, 0, 0, +, 0, +, 0, 0, -, -, +, +, 0, 0, -, -)
<Bunton> Er.
<Bunton> 4df+12
<Glacon> Bunton: 12 (4df+12=-, +, -, +)
<Bunton> Huh, same roll.
<TeslaTornado> OH GOD THERE'S SO MUCH BLOOD—ah, much better.
<TeslaTornado> You crack open the outer casing of the machine, through the use of a power wrench on several kindly labeled bolts.
<TeslaTornado> The interior of the machine is… Complicated. If Carlisle's lab is Tesla's dream, then this is Tesla's nightmare.
<Bunton> Pauline "hmmms" as she tries to figure it out.
<TeslaTornado> Same roll as before to determine what does what and what goes where and why that thingy does the thingy.
<Bunton> 4df+6 I realise adding "Engineering" and "Specialty Engineering" together is a bit silly, so the previous roll should be 6.
<Glacon> Bunton: I realise adding "Engineering" and "Specialty Engineering" together is a bit silly, so the previous roll should be 6.: 7 (4df+6=0, +, +, -)
<TeslaTornado> 4df+5 Shit's complicated
<Glacon> TeslaTornado: Shit's complicated: 3 (4df+5=-, +, -, -)
<TeslaTornado> Well that wasn't anywhere /near/ as difficult as you expected, Pauline.
<TeslaTornado> That rat's nest of cabling and wires wasn't the result of a greater mind's inner machinations, it's just the result of shit-poor cable management.
<Bunton> She tries to push them aside with a spanner and find the important bits the other bits all connect into.
<TeslaTornado> You also manage to identify several anti-tampering countermeasures which would have fried the entire device had you gone diving into it irresponsibly.
<TeslaTornado> And after several minutes of poring over the backpack, you manage to discern the better part of its mysteries: it is some kind of high-intensity electric arc generator, which generates and stores large bursts of electricity within the backpack and discharges it through the gauntlet linked to it.
<TeslaTornado> But here's the damndest part: You can't find a single power supply in this thing anywhere.

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<TeslaTornado> This thing is capable of generating absolutely massive bursts of electricity; you'd guess that it could at the very least render someone unconscious with a single blast, at most turn them into ashes and dust and memory.
<TeslaTornado> But where in the fuck does it get its power from?
<Bunton> Pauline stops and ponders.
<Bunton> "What…"
<TeslaTornado> Hey, what's that on the backpack?
<TeslaTornado> Pauline, roll Perception.
<TeslaTornado> Also, Qualified Engineer, because you're looking at a machine for a specific part.
<Bunton> 4df+9 Hooray for my best stats!
<Glacon> Bunton: Hooray for my best stats!: 7 (4df+9=-, 0, -, 0)
<TeslaTornado> You spot the thing that the GM pointed out to you!
<TeslaTornado> Which is OH GOD WHAT.
<TeslaTornado> There's literally just a spike that pops out of the top of the backpack, approximately where your spinal cord connects to the base of your skull.
<TeslaTornado> It links to all of the electrical equipment in the backpack.
<Bunton> Pauline stares as the connection comes together in her mind.
<TeslaTornado> Yes it does.
<Bunton> The connection being the film version of Frankenstein and her high school biology lesson.
<Bunton> "Oh."
<Bunton> "OH."
<TeslaTornado> This thing somehow draws power from the electrical pulses carried up the spinal column, amplifies it using the technology in the backpack, and discharges it through the gauntlet.
<TeslaTornado> Which, in retrospect, explains what those indicators on the gauntlet are for.
<TeslaTornado> "BPM".
<TeslaTornado> "EEG".
<TeslaTornado> "EKG".
<TeslaTornado> Although, really, even if you had found those first you would have had to make the relevant connection in your head.

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<Bunton> Pauline stares at it for a while.
<Bunton> She tries to remember if the body can actually produce that much electricity.
<TeslaTornado> Well, there's the thing.
<TeslaTornado> You're no biologist, but you'd guess that if someone used this thing too much, or if they drew too much power away in too short a time.
<TeslaTornado> They'd probably die, or be sent into cardiac arrest.
<TeslaTornado> On a scale of one to ten for "dangerously stupid ideas a weapons technician had", you'd rate this at around a seven.
<TeslaTornado> Seriously, the guy who designed this thing probably took the idea from a comic, and then built it when he was drunk.
<TeslaTornado> Which, in retrospect, explains the shitpoor cable management in the device.
<Bunton> Pauline wonders if she could hook it up to a proper generator and see exactly how it works in action.
<TeslaTornado> You probably could. Roll Per + Qualified Engineer to find a suitable attachment point.
<TeslaTornado> Carlisle has a generator handy, because he's no dummy.
<Bunton> 4df+9
<Glacon> Bunton: 7 (4df+9=-, 0, -, 0)
<TeslaTornado> Hey look, there seems to be a port to attach a heavy-duty electrical cable with a lable that says "FOR TESTING PURPOSES ONLY".
<Bunton> Pauline wheels it over to the generator and starts hooking it up.
<TeslaTornado> It's pretty simple. You bolt the top plate of the unit's backpack down and plug the generator into the proper receptacle, and then presumably ground it all.
<TeslaTornado> Looks like it was built so even an idiot could manage to do this, which is probably why Grassroots wasn't afraid of lugging them around.
<Bunton> Pauline still doesn't know what Grassroots is, but yeah!
<Bunton> In fact, she might. She reads a lot of reports.
<Bunton> But I don't.
<Bunton> :p
<TeslaTornado> Pauline read that report, GM Fiat.
<Bunton> She pauses, wondering if activating this might not be dangerous and irresponsible, especially without proper equipment and isolation.
<Bunton> For like, a picosecond.
<Bunton> Then she looks for the ON switch.
<TeslaTornado> The ON switch is located, and the device begins to hum ominously.
<TeslaTornado> An amber light on the gauntlet marked "TEST" switches on.
<TeslaTornado> Beneath it is a red toggle switch.
<TeslaTornado> Do you toggle the toggle switch, Pauline?
<TeslaTornado> Do you dare unleash sweet, electrical Hell on Carlisle's lab?
<Bunton> Yes.
<Bunton> Yes she does.
<TeslaTornado> 4df+5 (High Intensity Arc Caster) The air fills with the scent of ozone as a long arc of electricity slashes out from the gauntlet with the sound of a bullwhip's crack, connecting with the far side of the room.
<Glacon> TeslaTornado: (High Intensity Arc Caster) The air fills with the scent of ozone as a long arc of electricity slashes out from the gauntlet with the sound of a bullwhip's crack, connecting with the far side of the room.: 4 (4df+5=+, 0, -, -)
<TeslaTornado> It leaves a large scorch mark on the far wall and slags one of Researcher Carlisle's filing cabinets.
<TeslaTornado> Your arm hairs stand on end.
<Bunton> "Hahahahaha!"
<Bunton> She flicks it back off.
<TeslaTornado> The amber "TEST" light goes out, and the ominous hum of the backpack winds down.
<TeslaTornado> The lab is quiet again.
<Bunton> Pauline is grinning like a crazy person.

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<TeslaTornado> Pauline, there's a tap on your shoulder. One guess who it is.
<Bunton> Pauline spins around, still smiling.
<TeslaTornado> Researcher Carlisle is standing there. He glances from you.
<TeslaTornado> To the backpack.
<TeslaTornado> To his slightly melty filing cabinet.
<TeslaTornado> Back to you.
<TeslaTornado> "… I take it you figured out how it works."
<Bunton> "It works!"
<TeslaTornado> "—Ah."
<Bunton> "The weapon part at least. Aiming is an issue, and whatever idiot made this designed it to draw from the wearer's body. Stupidly."
<TeslaTornado> Carlisle nods along. "That would explain why we couldn't find a power source."
<Bunton> She nods, tapping the little spike.
<TeslaTornado> "We thought that was a biometrics indicator for field medics."
<TeslaTornado> "Learn somethin' new every day."
<Bunton> "Filled with inefficiencies, though. Between that and the lack of a mobile power source…"
<Bunton> Pauline suddenly looks all puzzled.
<Bunton> "Why would they make this?"
<TeslaTornado> "Probably a shock and awe weapon, or designed for short-term deployments."
<TeslaTornado> "Or maybe they didn't make it. Maybe they stole some sort of prototype." Carlisle shrugs.
<Bunton> "Do you have anything else from Grassroots?"
<TeslaTornado> "Mostly just documents and a bunch of military grade weapons. This is the most interesting thing we've turned up from them so far."
<Bunton> She nods, then looks around.
<Bunton> "Could I possibly continue to use your lab?"
<TeslaTornado> Carlisle nods. "Sure. Between me and Hilbert and a few others in this wing, we're probably the best equipped to deal with these…" He squints at the backpack. "The hell should we call these?"
<Bunton> She shrugs.
<TeslaTornado> "High Intensity Arc Casters?"
<Bunton> "That works."
<Bunton> "I'm not very good at naming things."
<TeslaTornado> "Alright." Carlisle looks at the newly christened death machine. "That's alright. We're scientists, not writers."
<Bunton> Pauline starts on closing up the panel and making sure all the HIAC's bits are inside of it.

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<TeslaTornado> The bits are all inside. You feel an intense compulsion to cable manage this goddamn thing, though, if for nobody else's benefits but your own.
<Bunton> She resolves to design a more organised version.
<TeslaTornado> This is filed away. Other than that, the HIAC is all sealed up and disconnected.
<TeslaTornado> Carlisle moves the pack into the Faraday cage and toggles the switch a few times, making sure to fully discharge the system before it is sent back to storage.
<Bunton> "Right, I uh… need to start on blueprints. I, uh… look forward to working with you."
<Bunton> She offers a hand, awkwardly.
<TeslaTornado> Carlisle takes the hand. You notice he's got a few minor burn scars on his hand and wrist. "Likewise, engineer Wisniewski."
<Bunton> She heads back to her room to get her supplies and notes.
<TeslaTornado> Carlisle totes the backpack over to the newly christened G Cell.

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