As is the case with the vast majority of the other Joes, Rafael J. Melendez is a normal human being, lacking special powers of any variety. He nonetheless does his best in the war against international terrorism, however, as the bazooka-wielding Joe known to his fellows as Zap, bringing his advanced military training and can-do attitude to bear against Cobra and its many minions.
Hindrances / Augmentations:
Bazooka (a): Zap's primary offensive weapon is the bazooka, which he can load with all manner of ordnance. For the most part, he uses it in demolitions work or when targeting enemy vehicles, so it is most often loaded with shells that inflict damage per a +7 fragmentary weapon with each hit. He can only fire this bazooka once before it needs to be reloaded, a feat which takes one full exchange to accomplish.
Helmet (s): a wise precaution for somebody that causes explosions for a living, this helmet offers Zap intensity 4 (+1) protection to any attack that hits him anywhere in the cranium. If in a combat situation, Zap will be wearing this item at all times, to minimize any undue risk to his person due to firing his bazooka at an opponent, vehicle, or structure.
Sidearm (a): as a backup, Zap carries a standard issue pistol in addition to his main weapon, in the event that he either runs out of shells or is menaced by an enemy while trying to reload his bazooka. This pistol can be used to fire a single shot to inflict his Agility +4 damage, or a semi-automatic burst for his Agility +5 damage. Zap likely carries several spare magazines for this weapon, as well.
Boxing (s): a part of Zap's basic training in the Army involved his learning essential self-defense techniques, should he find himself without weapons. In unarmed melee, Zap can divide his pre-card play action score between two attacks, the last of which will occur as a contingent action.
Demolitions (a): while still studying engineering principles, Zap has applied his training so far towards understanding how to take things apart. He can attempt actions using explosives to efficiently destroy structures and vehicles at a reduced difficulty.
Guns (a): Zap has been trained by the military to safely and effectively wield firearms, and he may do so at one difficulty level lower than is normally necessary. Whether he's carrying anything ranging from a pistol to an M60, Zap can wield it effectively.
Marksman (a): in addition to his basic gun training, Zap can utilize all manner of heavy artillery in battle. When utilizing mortars, bazookas, or other long-range destructive implements, Zap resolves such actions at one difficulty level lower than would otherwise be required.
Military / United States (w): wishing to become an engineer, Zap enlisted to get good training from the Army. As a result, he is well-versed in military protocols, and can rely on the Military as one of his contacts. Furthermore, the Army is the source of all of his other skills.
As one of the original GI Joes, Zap can undoubtedly count on his oldest team-mates, as well as the rest of the Joe team as a whole should he need help. Furthermore, as a member of the United States Army, he can likely receive aid from them if he finds himself in need of it on a mission.
Explorer: Zap always wanted to be an engineer, so he could understand how the world's great structures were built - and thus design his own. This is why he hooked up with the Army in the first place, to get this education, though he's grown to love fighting the good fight while there.
Zap's first field uniform included olive drab trousers, an olive drab turtleneck shirt, a green leather belt, a brown shoulder harness, and brown leather boots. His uniform was adorned with various pockets and pouches to store any odds and ends he needed on a mission.
Zap is a fun-loving guy, one who tries to make his work more enjoyable by making light of most situations. He maintains his light-hearted demeanor even while working with his explosives, never getting nervous even when he's merely seconds from having them blow up in his face.
Real Name: Rafael J. Melendez, grade E-4 (later E-7)
Occupation: GI Joe bazooka soldier
Legal Status: American citizen with no known criminal record
Marital Status: single
Alias(es), if any: none
Group Affiliation: GI Joe
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Other Distinguishing Characteristics: Zap has a pencil thin moustache.
Born in New York City, Zap always dreamed of becoming an engineer, possibly to participate in the creation of the gigantic structures around him. Regardless, he studied engineering with the Army, as their engineers are quite talented, and eventually made his way into the Army Ordnance School. There he learned everything he knows about armor piercing weaponry.
Excelling in his chosen area, Zap was eventually recruited into the newly-forming GI Joe team, and provided, he provided his services as both a bazooka trooper and as an explosives expert. This expertise came in especially handy when the insane Commander Wingfield attempted to start World War 3 with a nuclear bomb he intended to detonate in rural Montana.
With the aid of Grunt, who held the heavy components in place while he worked on the bomb, Zap managed to deactivate the device before it could destroy the Joes and everything else within miles of the blast. Zap also did his part when the GI Joe team had to protect a special space shuttle launch from Cobra's wrath, as it contained a satellite that could ferret out their secret underwater launch facilities.
While he participated in several additional missions, Zap was eventually taken off active duty, assigned to the administration of the GI Joe team when it became totally self-contained. This relative inactivity lasted until the secret location of Cobra's American headquarters, the town of Springfield, was discovered. Every Joe, including Zap, was brought in for the attack on this town.
After Springfield, Zap continued on in his administrative role, though a large part of his duties came to involve the creation of the Joes' new headquarters in Utah, as well as the recruitment of new members onto the team. At some point, however, Zap received training in the use of advanced energy weapons, and was given the use of a potent sonic cannon for a time.
At any rate, times change, and the GI Joe team was eventually disbanded, as Cobra seemed to become an entity that they were no longer necessary to deal with. What Zap got up to in this relative downtime is currently unrevealed, though it's quite possible he went to school to wrap up his engineering degree. After all, that's what he always wanted to do with his life!
GI Joe's inactivity lasted for a few years, after which time the team was once again assembled to battle the legions of Cobra. In fact, Zap was one of the very first Joes to hook back up with the group anew!
He stayed with the team in an active state during its second, more public incarnation, and then again on reserve during its third. Once Cobra instigated World War III however, all bets were off. Zap, along with every other surviving Joe, joined the fight against their terroristic arch-nemesis and narrowly managed to stop Cobra from actually taking over the world - and captured their Commander!
Though their enemies were finally laid low, Zap and company stayed together, charged with keeping the peace world-wide while remnants of Cobra's army were mopped up. This also had the side effect of allowing the various governments defeated by Cobra to rebuild their infrastructures during this time. But make no mistake, the GI Joe team isn't going away so easily this time!
Additional / Substitute Equipment:
Body Armor (s): Zap's second uniform is basically a padded olive drab affair, adorned with metal gauntlets, steel boots, and steel knee pads. All of this combines to effectively offer him intensity 4 (+1) protection against both physical and energy attacks of all varieties. It may look kind of bulky and unwieldy, but it works, and that's all that matters.
Sonic Cannon (i): utilized later in his career, this piece of advanced technology generates tightly focused sound waves that can be fired at a target to inflict intensity 12 force or energy damage, depending on the weapon's settings. This device is energized by a large power pack mounted on Zap's back, and can fire up to ten shots before it needs to be recharged.
Zap's second uniform is a padded olive drab outfit, adorned with thick metal gauntlets and knee pads / boots. Also, Zap wore a bazooka ordnance belt on his chest, having four rounds strapped right onto his torso, as the power pack for his sonic cannon took the place of his old backpack.
After hooking back up with the Joe team in the late nineties, Zap adopted a variant on his original uniform. His turtleneck shirt adopted a camouflage pattern, he donned black boots instead of brown ones, and his shoulder holster also changed from brown to a black hue.
Additional / Substitute Equipment:
Assault Rifle (a): supplementing his offensive capability when he doesn't quite need explosives, but his sidearm isn't quite enough firepower, Zap will occasionally carry this weapon with him on missions. It works per the latter, but also has a fully automatic mode, with which Zap may inflict his Agility +6 in damage to a singular target.
Grenades (i): when he has the need to blow something up, but doesn't require his bazooka to do it, Zap will sometimes bring a couple of grenades with him on missions. He can fling these explosive devices anywhere within near missile distance of his person, and then take cover as they detonate to inflict intensity 10 fragmentary damage to everything within near missile distance of where they activate.
When engaging in cold weather training and/or operations, Zap uses an ensemble different than all his others. It includes green and white camouflage trousers, a black turtleneck beneath a brown jacket, green webbing, and black leather boots and gloves.
GI Joe directories featuring a version of Zap:
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