[Superheroes] Gorilla My Dreams
This really is a solo adventure but done with a technique I've been experimenting with. I used ICONS for the actual task resolution. For those following along at home, I chose a character I had created for a challenge over on RPG.net, Haemophile, and a villain I had done for something else, Ape X. (Ape X is essentially Gorilla Grodd.)


Origin Birthright
Name Haemophile (Chloe Grace)
Prowess 5 Intellect 3 Determination3
Coordination 3 Awareness 3 Stamina10
Strength 5 Willpower 5
Specialities:Martial Arts, Stealth
Powers Invisibility Good 5
Strike (Slash) Great 6
Extra: Secondary Effect: Affliction Amazing 7
Idealizes "normal" because she's a mutant
Mid-level assassin for a shadowy agency
No one but her builds up immunity

Ape X

Origin Transformed
Prowess 5 Intellect 7 Determination –
Coordination 4 Awareness 4 Stamina 13
Strength 6 Willpower 7
Athletics, Mental Resistance Expert, Technology Master, Wrestling 
Super-Senses (Enh. Hearing, Enh Smell) 2
Telepathy 7
Extra: Mind Control 7

Genius Gorilla
Hatred of Humans
I Will Do What's Best Even If They Hate Me

The laundromat was a slice of normalcy for Chloe: it and the library were the things that kept the rich filling of weirdness from staining her... She couldn't figure out what the end of the metaphor should be, except that life was truly a weirdness sandwich. She found that last bra and threw it in the washing machine, then carefully counted out the quarters. She looked at the remainder and counted them. She wouldn't have enough to dry everything. She turned to the woman at the counter--

Everyone turned into a gorilla.

Chloe checked her arm--not hairy.

So everyone had turned into a gorilla except Chloe.

And they didn't notice. The woman (woman-gorilla) at the counter was still flipping through her tabloid.

Chloe looked around. One of the gorillas noticed her and the eyes started to widen--

And then the change flickered off. Everyone was human. The woman rubbed her eyes and went back to chatting with her friend.

And except for Chloe, no one seemed to notice. 

This was something beyond her ken: either insanity or a plot. She stepped outside to a private place to make two calls. The first was to Dr. Jessop, her government psychologist. (Killing was hard for Chloe, even though it was her job.) Chloe felt out Dr. Jessop to find out if she--Chloe--was due for hallucinations.

"I think we'd better see you this afternoon. I can stay late tonight." Dr. Jessop had a warm voice, like honey, and Chloe agreed. After that call, she tapped the phone against her thigh. Then she called her agency handler.

"Everyone just turned into a gorilla," she said, without preamble. "I already called Dr. Jessop. So if I'm not crazy?"

"I didn't notice anything," he said. His voice was scratchy and high.

"No one did."

He paused a moment and then gave her a name--Dr. Timothy Coop--and an address. "He does all that Kirbytech stuff for the university. He has clearance. You can talk to him."

Chloe went to the counter. "I'm sorry, but I have to get my kid from the sitter," she lied. "He's throwing up. My basket's right there. If someone needs the machine, I don't mind if they put the clothes in the basket." The woman waved her hand without looking up from her tabloid.

* * *

Dr. Coop's office was cluttered, decorated with tall piles of books and printouts, and a few dusty pictures of the family. Dr. Coop was sitting at his desk between two pillars of paper and putting away a small flask.

Chloe introduced herself, using the cover name that the agency had given her. "What do you know about gorillas?"

He looked straight in her eyes. She could smell the booze. "Nothing," he said slowly. "Biology was my wife's area."

"Because earlier today, I saw everyone change into a gorilla."

His shoulders sagged. "Thank god. I thought I was the only one. You're a mutant, right?"

"No, of course not. Why would you think that?" Chloe had known she was a mutant since she turned invisible at thirteen. The claws and the poisonous venom had only reinforced that.

"You're latent. That's okay." He looked behind her. "Shut the door." She did. "I'm a mutant," he told her. "It's a knack for technology. Put something in front of me, and let me touch it, and sooner or later I'll understand it." He smiled tightly. "Makes me good at my field. But I was teaching a bunch of first-years today, and they all turned into gorillas."

"So I'm not crazy."

"No, the Moreau ray is obscure but documented. Villain, early 1960s. His only affected one individual, though, and required a tremendous energy input. He stored lightning in capacitors-- Your power?"

"Claws." She didn't tell him about the others, and the claws were itching to come out. Side effect of feeling threatened. She slid them out, and then back.

"That's not a lot." She shrugged. "Okay. Where were you when it happened?"

"South side."

"It looks like it affected at least the city, perhaps more."

Chloe nodded and pulled out her phone again. "Can you cancel my appointment with Dr. Jessop? I'm not crazy. It looks like at least this city turned into gorillas. Check farther afield." She put her phone down. "If the area is big enough, it's not my problem."

"That seems rather un-hero-like."

Chloe laughed. "Trust me, I am not a superhero."

A light started to flash. "It's the vault," said Dr. Coop. "I store high tech items for study, and someone's breaking into it."

"The police--?"

"They'll be too late. Come on!"

* * *

They ran to the vault--and found a huge silverback gorilla tearing the door from its hinges.

-I'll find it easier to look at the contents without that door,- rumbled the gorilla. He glanced at both of them, and they froze, as if a force had paralyzed their bodies.

He left the vault with something the size of a shoebox that has a blue gem fastened on top. They "heard" him but his lips didn't move.

-I can't risk you breaking the power source. You'll stay like that for an hour. That should be enough time.- He looked them up and down. -Interesting. You remember everyone else changing. Well. We'll have to hunt you down once I'm done.-

About a minute after he left, Chloe tumbled to the floor. She helped Dr. Coop and then phoned her handler again.

"No, really," she said. "Now I have the need to know. Tell me everything in your files about the telepathic gorilla."


They were sitting in Dr. Coop's office. She had a mug of tea in her hands. "They claim they don't know where he came from, but he represents a troop of hyperintelligent simians." She saw his hand tremble as he reached for his tea. "You feeling better?"

Dr. Coop grimaced. "It's still an effort to move anything. Thank you for the tea."

She shrugged. "We were paralyzed by a telepathic gorilla. A cup of tea can't hurt. Hell, I'd drink if there were booze handy."

Dr. Coop reached into his desk and held out the silver flask. She waved it away.

"I think I have to be alert. What was the box thing he took?"

"I don't know yet. It came out of a crashed spaceship during the Kootlismik invasion. He, the ape, implied that it was a power source, and that's probably correct--I just haven't got to it yet because I have other things with more urgent deadlines."

"It takes you time? I thought you just, you know, understood things."

"I always check. I'm afraid that I'll interpret my understanding wrong because I lack the background. A radio is a radio, but if you don't know about radio waves, it's a murder weapon: you drop it in the bathtub with someone and it kills them."

Chloe nodded. "But you think this thing is a power source?"

Dr. Coop said, "I think he burned out his previous power source. Check for standard power sources. See if any of them went dead." Chloe just looked at him. "Can't you--?"

"I barely graduated high school," she said. It was a lie: she had never graduated high school.

"Right." He sat down at his computer. "My theory is that he's using some variant of the Moreau ray. Mutants like me--like us--aren't affected because the Moreau ray affects a specific allele, a marker. His ray triggers certain biological changes. Our allele is different...it's a marker."

"He's making everyone into mutant apes?"

"Sort of." He scanned the results on his computer. "He tapped into the power mains for the army base."

"How much more powerful is the thing he took?"

"Assuming it is a power source?"

"He thinks it is."

"Granted. The weapon it came from vaporized the entire hull of a tank in less than a second." He scribbled for a second. "Assuming that it does the same number of kilojoules with the same losses for efficiency... I think he could make the change permanent for the seaboard. Possibly the nation."

She chewed her lip. "Man, we definitely need real superheroes here."

"Mine is not really a fighting power."

"Mine is only a fighting power." Claws flickered out of her fingertips and then she withdrew them. "I hate it." She sighed. "Where is he now?"

"Who knows? Now he's freed from the need to tap into the power grid."

"But his lab had to be hooked up originally. The machine, the ray generator, is there. He's smart but he's not super fast."

"Mechanical lab space, not necessarily official lab space, where he can hook into the army base generators."

"That's going to be in or near the army base. They won't have lain cable outside the base."

"Then he's in the vehicle maintenance building or in the underground lab."

"The underground lab?"

"They have an underground lab. My wife--my ex-wife. She worked there."

"Of course they have an underground lab." She rolled her eyes. "It's that simple? Surely someone else has noticed this."

"Well, you have to have clearance and know about the underground lab." He printed off a map. "I don't know where the entrance is--I was blindfolded the only time I went there."

"Super." She looked at the map. "You're sure no other superheroes have responded to this?"

"They would come to ask me--I am the expert on rays that turn people into gorillas."

"I guess." She sighed. "I guess I'm going to an army base."

* * *

Chloe left her motorcycle outside the fence, out of sight of the gate. It had been so easy to walk into the army base that she wondered why they didn't have protection against invisible assassins. Really, she couldn't be the only one.

The blow was entirely unexpected and sent her sprawling along the ground.

More to come in part II.
Quote:We suddenly need another character. Fortunately, generating a character in ICONS is pretty fast. Let's roll some dice. I'm already assuming that this is whatever the military does to protect against superfolk, so it's a Trained or Gimmick origin, and if Super-Senses doesn't show up, it'll have to be an extra.

Name APHID: Armour for Parahuman Incursion Defence
Prowess 3
Coordination 4
Strength 5
Intellect 3
Awareness 4
Willpower 3
Determination 2
Stamina 10
Specialities Military, Technology
  • Resistance (Damage) Good 4
  • Binding Great 5
  • Stunning  Average 3
  • Super-senses Infrared Vision, Radar sense, Telescopic vision Average 3
  • Military hierarchy
  • Just a guy in a suit (Abilities are 3 outside it)
  • Open for later development...probably unique to user.

Chloe rolled out of the blow, her claws already out. She heard, "Infiltrator, female, invisible to normal sight. Trying plan 51 for guards." She didn't actually want to know what plan 51 was. She could feel the claws unsheathe.

She spun, staying on the concrete of the side walk. The man wore a light patchwork of armor, a helmet, goggles, and a bulky backpack with a hose that led to a three-barrelled gun. His pistol looked high-tech, too.

Her invisibility was her only defense, really. Now there was nothing left but to go on the offense.

The venom started dripping from her fingertips.

She unsheathed her claws and attacked, aiming for a weak spot in the kevlar coverings, found one but it wasn't enough. Perhaps the poison would work fast enough--

No: He backed away and pulled the trigger on his odd gun. Some kind of gooey fluid gushed out and caught Chloe squarely in the chest. It quickly foamed up and swelled fast, immobilizing her.

And then she saw him fall over.

She couldn't break through the foam, but she could cut large chunks of it. It was a slow process, having to cut her hand free and then do other pieces without cutting herself. She became invisible again during the process. With luck, at first glance it would look like she had freed herself and knocked him out. 

Then he shuddered and his chest heaved. She knew he was dying, but she was only free from the waist up. She rocked herself until she fell over, and called into his radio. She hoped it was transmitting.  "He's down. Need medical care--full tox kit." She didn't want an innocent life on her conscience.

She still wasn't quite free when the first guards showed up. They quickly formed a circle around the fallen figure, trapping her.

Almost as if they had been trained.

Okay, the military did have ways to deal with invisible assassins.

* * *

Chloe was handcuffed and surrounded by guards as they led her into a building. She had a couple of thoughts

First, what was with the handcuffs? Didn't they know that all the trendy Hollywood types dictated zip ties now? She knew how to break zip ties. She couldn't break handcuffs. And while she had picked handcuffs once during training, she needed a paperclip or lockpicks, and she'd left the lockpicks back at her apartment. She had been doing laundry.

Second where was the secret lab? How did you get to it? (Okay, that was several questions.) They hadn't conveniently put signs up saying "This Way To Underground Lab." If she were doing it, she'd put the entrance by the washrooms, so everyone had an excuse for being there. Maybe in the mess hall.... everyone went to the mess hall.

Well, she was not going to the mess hall. She was going to the stockade, or the brig, or whatever the Army called it. The soldiers led her into an elevator and three guards squeezed in with her. All of them were wearing night vision goggles presumably so they could see her.

They had guns, but it was a closed space. They couldn't fire. Really, there wasn't going to be a better time. She swivelled at the hips to plant a knee in one gut. Before they could react, she kicked out at another and the third.

In a moment, one was unconscious, and the other two guards were down. They stayed on the floor.  They tried to grab her ankles to reduce her mobility, but they didn't get a good grip, and she stomped each to unconsciousness.

As the elevator slowed, she grabbed the handcuff key and freed herself. By the time the door opened, she was invisible. She looked out at the office--or offices, because there were glass windows in the walls. In direct view was a gorilla working at a lab bench. Incongruously, the gorilla wore a lab coat and protective goggles.

Holy crap, she thought. That James Bond stuff about being captured so they'll take you to the boss works. I should have tried it on purpose.

* * *

The gorilla—yes, it was the one she had seen at the university; the white streak was distinctive—looked up. 

The windows were a clever touch, she thought. He needed to see you to read your mind. With the windows, he could do that. While she was invisible, he couldn't read her mind. She saw the gorilla reach forward to a stud on the wall.

"I've unlocked the doors," came a man's voice over the loudspeakers, dead of emotion. "Come and get me." She could see a man near the gorilla mouthing the words. The solders and technicians in the room with the gorilla kept working, but the rest stayed motionless.

The gorilla would certainly know she was coming when he saw the doors open. Not for the first time, she wished she could walk through walls.

She got out of the line of sight, grabbed a carbine from a frozen soldier, and fired at the window. The shot was deafening in the room. A filing cabinet across the room suddenly dimpled as the bullet entered it. She looked at the window.

The window was only scratched slightly.

"Bulletproof glass," came the voice over the loudspeaker. "Would you like to come here? Because I'm not coming there."

Great, Chloe thought. She looked around for a shield. The desk wouldn't fit easily inside— Ride one of the wheeled chairs? Ah.

She came up behind a solder and grabbed him at the belt, holding him in front of her. Poor guy...you'll have a wedgie when this is over. With him as a shield, she moved through the first door.

Once the door had closed behind them, the soldier suddenly moved, drawing his weapon and firing at behind himself. He narrowly missed her, but the sudden noise made her drop him.

"See?" came the voice. "They don't want to pass up the improvement that is a simian existence."

Two punches later he was unconscious, and she quickly stepped away so the gorilla couldn't figure out where she was.

Sorry, guy. Won't do that again, she thought. She didn't risk saying it out loud.

She didn't have to use a shield, she realized: all she had to do was prop open the door so he didn't know when she went through. She wriggled along the floor to minimize the chances of him seeing her. Dimly she heard the sound of breaking glass, but didn't get up to look. This new room had two doors and some lockers. One door led to a bathroom; the other to a decontamination chamber.

"I'm almost done. Once I flip the switch, you can turn invisible, but you won't be able to hide your hairless self."

How were people decontaminated? A shower? There were nozzles in the walls and ceiling. She crawled into the decontamination chamber. The gorilla lumbered to the window to look at the room.

The far door didn't open. The voice came over the speaker.

"A safety measure. You can only open one door after the other door is shut. Shall I get that for you?" The open door closed by itself. There were multiple clicks and a hum of electronics.

A fine mist poured out of the nozzles.

"Decontamination," came the dead voice. "Makes you visible."

-Now I can talk to you directly,- came the voice in her head. -You've done quite well, for a hairless one.-

Chloe hammered at the door handle. It didn't budge.

-What's the worst pain you can remember?- She tried not to remember, but she had been beaten by terrorists on her third mission. They had broken her arms and legs, and beaten every inch of her—

It's just my imagination!

She sank on the floor, gasping, leaning against the door.

After an eternity, the door gave. She rolled into the room, the decontamination mist billowing around her and then fading. There was glass on the room floor, in front of every human but Chloe. She didn't have time to think about it; the huge fists of the ape came down where she had been just a moment before.

"I can still find you physically by smell," came the dead voice of the man, echoed over the loudspeakers in other rooms. "The disinfectant is distinctive." The gorilla's nostrils flared.

They exchanged blows; Chloe cut his big hairy arm, but not seriously. The gorilla gasped. 

"Ready!" said the man. Every human in the room but Chloe raised a shard of glass, pressed it against his wrist. "I will kill every human in this room, unless you reveal yourself to me."

Chloe looked at them, then walked in front of Ape X and flickered into sight, vulnerable to the gorilla's fists.

He smiled in his simian way and brought his arm across her face, snapping her sideways...while Chloe jammed her claws into the belly of the great ape. She had positioned herself for this shot, even though it hurt.

"Then they'll die!" said the man, his voice cracking with emotion for the first time. Every human but Chloe slashed across their wrists. "You killed them, hero."

"I am not a hero," said Chloe, and slashed again. The gorilla was unconscious. With luck the venom would kill him, but his breathing didn't even hiccup.

When the MPs came, she had bandaged most of the injured men. She was kneeling, visible, over the one she couldn't reach in time, sobbing. Her clothes were stained with his blood: a stain that would never come out.

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