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Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

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A guileful hero can often avoid unnecessary fighting by disguising himself as a Trojan Prisoner, walking into an enemy base and planting explosives, rescuing the princess and laughing on the way home as the base blows up. See also The Mole.

However, some enemies can't be fooled by first rate acting and good costuming. Some, like zombies, virus infected or robots, can instantly tell others of their kind on sight, smell, sound, taste, touch, Aura, or WiFi. Anyone attempting to traipse by through a throng of them will quickly be found out and eaten. There is one catch to this "foolproof", friend-or-foe recognition though. Basically, it assumes everyone who is one of their kind has the same agenda and interests, and when you go about infecting, robotizing, or metamorphosizing normal humans to your side, at least one of them is going to slip through the cracks, avoid or reject the Hive Queen's influence, and refuse to sell out humanity and become a Pro-Human Transhuman.

These Sheep In Wolf's Clothing use their early stage zombification/monsterhood to slip by enemy hordes and help their still-human allies however they can. This is usually a Heroic Sacrifice for a number of reasons: firstly, these Doomed Protagonists know the change is irreversible, and he or she will either die outright from the infection or suffer Loss of Identity once it finishes. Some heroes may infect themselves voluntarily to avoid detection, especially if the enemy is so well defended that only a suicide mission can end their threat.

If he succeeds, the hero can have one of three ultimate fates: become a monster and die (hopefully after succeeding in his mission), become a monster and live (which usually leads to What Have I Become?, but might not be so bad) or become human again thanks to a miracle antidote or No Ontological Inertia on the transformation.

Surprisingly not connected to A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, but related to Faustian Rebellion. Compare Personality Remnant, which doesn't need to have a tactical advantage.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Used by Armin as evidence that Eren is human regardless of his powers. Normal Titans tried to eat him in his Titan form, so that means they recognize him as being a human.
  • The titular Kabaneri of Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress have somehow stopped the infection process of regular Kabane (aggressive zombies with steel-hard bones) retaining their intellect and humanity but gaining enormous strength, reflexes and resilience. Unfortunately, it also causes them to hunger for blood, and if they go too long without drinking blood, start trying to feed on the closest humans.

    Comic Books 
  • In 30 Days of Night, Eben realizes that one of the few things that can kill vampires are other vampires. So he pumps himself up with vampire blood and utilizes his brief period of sanity to take on their leader.

  • The Alien series:
  • Black Sheep (2007) has mutant carnivorous sheep, and IF you survive an attack, their bite will slowly mutate you into a weresheep. The lead manages to cross a flock of sheep thanks to his infection.
  • District 9 has Wikus gain access to all Prawn technology 'thanks' to his mutating into one of them. This comes in handy when Cristopher's son sets a prawn battlemech to Kill All Humans mode.
  • Terminator Salvation has an interesting case. Though he is always a cyborg, Marcus was attacked by all Skynet robots when he believed he was "human." But after being outed in the resistance base he manages to infiltrate Skynet central in San Francisco because, thanks to this realization, the machines registered him as "Active".
    • It also helps that he'd since taken enough damage to reveal his robotic endoskeleton.

  • In K.A. Applegate's Animorphs, the kids end up pretending to be Controllers a couple of times.
  • Frank Herbert's Hellstrom's Hive. A secret agent is fed hormones that cause him to smell like the mutated members of the title organization, thus causing them to accept him as one of them. He infiltrates the Hive and causes a great deal of damage, until the hormones start to wear off and the members start to smell that he's an outsider.
  • In the Star Trek novel Resistance, Picard attempts to infiltrate a Borg ship by partially reassimilating into the Collective as Locutus. It doesn't work.
  • In Codex Alera, Tavi and Kitai can fool the Vord as long as the queen doesn't notice them and they don't attack any of the Vord. This is because the Vord Queen's form is based on their blood.
  • In Mistborn, Marsh impresses the Inquisitors so much that they turn him into one of them, not bothering to investigate his false background. They also warn him about their primary weakness (removing one spike on their backs will kill them), and he kills them all in their sleep.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In episode 5 of Supernatural's sixth season, Dean gets turned by a vampire seeking "pretty boy" recruiters for its army. He manages to use this to his advantage in infiltrating the nest. This is less Heroic Sacrifice and more What the Hell, Hero?, as afterward Dean realizes that his brother Sam let him get turned just for this purpose, because Sam Came Back Wrong a year ago and is currently a Soulless Shell. Mind you, he had an antidote back at base that he was like eighty percent sure would work so long as Dean didn't bite anyone. Not that he told Dean. Sam is kind of a dick without his soul.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In the two-parter "Unimatrix Zero", three of the Voyager crew members try to infiltrate a Borg cube by trying a standard attack and getting assimilated, which turns out to be what they actually wanted as they're using an inhibitor to prevent being taken over by the Hive Mind while sabotaging the Borg. In the series finale, Admiral Janeway from the future intentionally lets herself be assimilated in order to spread a Borg-destroying pathogen throughout the Hub in the present.
  • In an episode of the first season of Angel the titular character used his condition as a vampire to infiltrate the demon supremacist army, the Scourge. The Scourge at first despised him due to the human origin of vampires, but he convinced them that he loathed that aspect of himself and wished nothing more than to see humanity wiped out.
    • Also comes up in the final season, in Angel's plan to infiltrate the inner circle of evil's operations on Earth.
  • The Walking Dead (2010): Rick and Glenn sneak through a horde of walkers by covering themselves with walker blood and guts so they can get to a truck.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Black Diamond Wrestling once ran an angle where a wrestler tapped into evil powers he probably shouldn't have and started turning regular wrestlers into evil wrestling monsters, with the exception of Keith Haught, who while transformed into "The Jester", remained a babyface, was the only wrestler in Black Diamond that couldn't be transformed back and The Jester became the most popular kid appeal wrestler of KSWA long after the angle had faded from memory.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Adversary in Forgotten Realms is a figure of dread in illithid myth. The legend holds that a larva that undergoes ceremorphosis will take on all of the host's personality and memory. This "Adversary" would still be the host, but with all the powers of an illithid. Illithids that inherited little quirks from their hosts hide them so they are not mistaken by their peers for being the Adversary. The Adversary is no mere myth. A scholar found a way to interfere with ceremorphosis and retained his mind and soul despite becoming an illithid. He acts as a mole within illithid society, doing what he can to be as subversive as possible. Such as spreading the legend of the "Adversary".

    Video Games 
  • In World of Warcraft, the isolationist nation of Gilneas is turned into Worgen (werewolves) by a mysterious curse. Later on, they're attacked by the undead Forsaken (eventually the greater Horde in general), causing them to join the Alliance. Eventually, the Forsaken gain the ability to raise their own undead (previously they were only able to gather undead that were already raised by the Lich King), including the soldiers of the Alliance sent to fight them. The Worgen, being immune to the Plague of Undeath due to their curse, repaid the Alliance's efforts to save their people by taking the fight to the Forsaken.
  • In The Walking Dead game, Lee breaks through a mob of zombies to save Clementine. The walkers barely notice him due to his infection, and being covered in zombie blood.
  • In Star Trek: Borg, the player character, currently possessing the body of a Bijani crewmmate, intentionally goes into a Bijani pain trance so that way when the Borg transforms him into one of their own he manages to retain his own mind, which in turn allows him to use his enhancements and links to the collective against them.
  • In Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within, the titular character becomes a werewolf and then - having transformed into a wolf but not killed or eaten a human yet - is able to reverse his curse by killing Von Glower, the source of the curse.

    Western Animation 
  • The Powerpuff Girls capture Rowdyruff Boy Boomer in the episode "Bubble Boy", then Bubbles impersonates Boomer and infiltrates the other Rowdyruffs in a ploy to lure them into capture.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): Uncle Chuck used his Unwilling Roboticisation to act as an inside agent for the Freedom Fighters. At least, he did after he regained control of his mental faculties.
  • Unicorn: Warriors Eternal: Winston joins the titular Warriors after becoming a werewolf, maintaining his self-control out of sheer devotion to his fiancée, Emma.