Cat's Paws

One or two of the agents, whether Program or Outlaws, are being possessed by alien intelligences.

Briefing

For All Characters: Information has been acquired from a trusted source that there is something amiss at the Silva Animal Research Facility in Ohio. Find a way to get inside and figure out what is going on.

For Possessed Characters: You are a deep cover agent for the Cat Army of Ulthar, gifted for entering human dreams and possessing their minds and bodies. Routine surveillance on the waking side found the research facility warded against all forms of feline magic and Dreamlands-based intelligence gathering techniques. Something's up, find out what it is. An asset ensconced within the human ‘Delta Green’ influenced them into pursuing their own investigation, which you will be piggybacking onto.

Optional: The reason why the Briefing for the human DG agents is vague is because the handler was possessed by a Ulthar agent for just long enough to set up this op. The handler doesn’t remember contacting the agents as anything other than the vague impressions of a dream.

Possession Notes

The technique used by Ulthar agents is fairly non-damaging to the host psyche. While the cat gains complete access to host physical and intellectual skills, the human host is reduced to a dream-like state where the loss of agency is mitigated.

As the cat mind is connected to the host’s endocrine system and subconscious, SAN damage it accrues will be visited upon the host throughout. Violence-based SAN checks for killing or witnessing corpses is only relevant when dealing with other cats, dead humans are distasteful and unfortunate but not all that disturbing to an Agent of Ulthar.

Hitting a Breaking Point wakes the human host up enough to take control just long enough for Fight, Flight or Freeze. Regaining control is a POW vs. POW test.

Ulthar agents enjoy a form of rudimentary cat telepathy, at a cost of 1 WP per exchange. This is facilitated by the flehmen response, a sneer allowing cats to detect pheromones via the Jacobson’s organ in the roof of their mouths, which humans also have but rarely use. Non-possessed agents may roll Alertness to notice their fellow agents sneering at cats.

Ulthar deep cover agents are trained and experienced at mimicking hominid behavior, but under high stress or anxiety may exhibit cat-like behavior like arching the back, hissing, teeth chattering, chewing on non-edible items, ear twitches, and knocking things off tables for seemingly no reason.

The Situation

The research head at Silva has been possessed by a crafty and ambitious Zoog. It has directed the scientists to develop a weaponized form of the pathogen feline panleukopenia, justified to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a potential means of dealing with an exploding feral cat population. The Zoog reasons that if the cat population in the Waking World is decimated by plague, Ulthar will be weakened and vulnerable to Zoog invasion.

The Facility

The Silva Animal Research Center is a secure laboratory in Ohio protected by security guards and electric fences (Alertness check to notice shot or electrocuted cat corpses: fallen Ulthar agents).

Its website is sparse and hasn’t been updated since 2014: while the research head remains the same, the researchers themselves have been replaced. Following up on the old researchers reveals they've long moved onto new positions: their boss went through a sudden drastic personality change and fired everyone.

The facility is divided into animal holding rooms with rows of cages, isolation rooms, pathogen containment areas, and offices and lockers for the researchers. There is a loading dock and security center towards the rear of the building. Access is via key codes and there are CCTV cameras linked to the security center and the Zoog’s lair.

The Zoog has occupied a former multipurpose room, now containing a kitchenette, cages containing particularly plump or appetizing cats, and a study area filled with medical and occult notes (written in Zoog using the Latin alphabet with idiosyncratic diacritics). There are no chairs, it likes to crawl.

There are plastic sheets in front of the cages, with blood stains visible on the carpet, and the refrigerator contains a Tupperware container with a skinned and cleaned cat marinating in a red wine sauce with potatoes, leeks, and onions.

The center is organized as a square around a central garden area with a massive oak tree. The Zoog has carved a nook for itself about fifteen feet up the tree (Athletics 80% when climbing), where it sleeps and will retreat to if confronted.

The GMCs

The Researchers

Chosen for low moral thresholds, lack of curiosity beyond assigned tasks, and inability to remember dreams. Live fairly mundane lives, and have respectively sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic personalities.

 Sanjeep Singh: Geneticist, party animal, optimistic and sociable, talks a lot, likes the job because the pay is good and he loves the US.
 Colin Reese: Virologist and team leader, loner who lives alone, obsessed with his work and his clan leadership position in the space MMO Eve Online.
 Melanie Cole: Epidemiologist, lives alone, OCD, enjoys sudoku.
 Flynn Martinez: Pathologist, family man, married to a social worker, devoted extended family, complete sociopath.

The Security Guards

As far as they are concerned, they’re paid good money to sit around and do nothing, occasionally having to shoot cats or glare menacingly at protestors. Their reaction to problems will be confusion followed by over-reaction. They know nothing about what is going on inside, but will happily speculate if approached out of work. There are six altogether, who split eight hour shifts, so two will be at the facility at all times. They got this gig from a company handling security all over the area and won’t be easy to bamboozle or manipulate.

The Buncher

This is a so-called Class B dealer, licensed to provide animals from “random sources” such as auctions, flea markets, and animal shelters to universities and laboratories, and also collects lost, stray and “free to a good home” pets. Overweight and short with an attitude, but can turn up the charm (Persuade 80%). Has a van filled with animal cages and a big-ass net.

The PETA Activist

An individual in their late 40s, who wears colorful clothing and stands with billboards outside the facility gates screaming at employees and handing out grisly pamphlets. Also abducts domestic pets and humanely putting them to sleep, because “better they die than live as slaves”.

A Complication

During the investigation, a Bast devotee a county away curses an enemy, inciting all cats within a ten mile radius to converge on the poor bastard (possibly the Buncher or PETA activist) to tear them to shreds and strip the meat from their bones. The possessed Agents are compelled to participate. If they gorge themselves on the flesh of the heretic, reward them with a rush of beatific transcendence and +1D4 SAN.

The Zoog

The creature shares with the Ulthar Agents a gift for infiltrating the minds of sleeping humans and taking command of their bodies. It is utterly fed up with living in the Waking World but will not return until its mission is complete: it is a scion of a noble house fallen on hard times and wishes both to restore old glory and prove itself superior to its larger siblings.

The Zoog is immediately identifiable for possessed agents: crafty black eyes and wriggling tendrils superimposed over its host’s face. It can detect cat possessed individuals too, and will use this to blow their cover and convince the human agents that they have interlopers in their midst, and that cats are selfish, callous parasites who have no love in their hearts.

It has spent its free time on a mostly fruitless quest to actualize Dreamlands Magic in the real world. It has had one major success with adapting the spell Devolution, and keeps a Paleocene Miacid in a cage as a testament to its success.

The Zoog is limited by the body and brain of its host, a middle aged civilian scientist (STR/DEX/CON 10, INT 14, POW 12, CHA 8). It has a handgun (40%), a knife (60%), and uses its spell as a last resort due to the high WP cost.

Devolution

Simple ritual. Study time: days; 1D10 SAN. Activation: rounds; Cost: 2D6 WP per round, SAN: 1D8
Causes a creature to revert to an evolutionary ancestor with a successful vs. POW test. One round causes a homo sapiens sapiens to revert to homo erectus (INT 1D4, CHA 1D4, +1D4 STR, -40% on all skills except Alertness, Athletics, Dodge, Melee Weapons, Survival and Unarmed Combat), a second rounds leads to homo habilis (INT 1D2, CHA 0, +1D6 STR, all skills gone except Alertness, Athletics, Dodge, Survival, and Unarmed Combat), then a gibbon-like creature, then monkey, then rat, then lizard thing, then fish, then sea cucumber, then goop. The transformation costs 1D4/1D6 to witness and 1D10/2D20 to be subjected to, though SAN ceases to be relevant if you suffer three rounds of it.

Credits

This is an entry to the 2018 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by Anonymous.

The intellectual property known as Delta Green is ™ and © the Delta Green Partnership. The contents of this document are © their respective authors, excepting those elements that are components of the Delta Green intellectual property.