Sorry for the delay. I hope that you enjoy this chapter. Reviewers will receive their choice of a trip to the opera with Ultra, a double date with Mallah and the Brain, or a tour of Gorilla Island guided by Gorilla Grodd! (No guarantees of returning human).
It could have been the start of a joke, or the subject of a satirical cartoon. Three gorillas, a brain in a jar, and a hacker walk (or lurch, or float, or slouch, as the case may be) onto a golf course. One gorilla, a white-haired giant with a surprisingly refined voice, wore khaki slacks and a navy polo, making him the most tastefully dressed golfer of the day. The second gorilla, gruff, aggressive, and seemingly the least happy to be there, wore simple armor and a purple cape. The last gorilla, perplexingly French-accented, wore a belt of machine-gun bullets slung around his shoulder, and a golf cap set at an angle on his head. The hacker wore a sweatshirt and jeans. He seemed not to particularly care that he was here, though he did keep muttering to himself. The pickled brain, unsurprisingly, wasn't wearing clothes.
The first event of the day involved three caddies being violently transformed into primates. The caped gorilla had set a large device, delivered a smile that showed far too many teeth, and pressed a large red button on the machine. The three caddies unfortunate enough to be standing near the gadget immediately began to let loose screams of pain that quickly turned into roars. Enormous tufts of fur erupted from suddenly bulging muscles, and even the screams of pain and terror could not completely mask the sickening crack of skeletons contorting as the men writhed in the throes of devolution. The surviving caddy, assigned to the hacker, found himself seconds later standing over a trash can, providing passage to the contents of his breakfast that were now violently leaving his stomach. He felt a hand on his back. "Yeah, I lost my lunch my first time, too." The caddy wiped his mouth and turned around to face the hacker. Even in this situation, his LexCorp training kicked in. "Sorry about that, sir."
"Calculator," the hacker replied, "Call me Calculator. Everyone else does." Calculator sighed and glanced over at the new gorillas. "Gotta admit, that tech is freaking amazing. Not that I want to try it out, but…damn do I wish I thought up that device."
The caddy straightened up and sighed. Of all the villains he could have been assigned to work for, he supposed Calculator was the best option. The man was more likely to drain his bank account than his blood, and didn't seem inclined to cause him any other bodily harm.
Now, a few holes into the game, the caddy found himself the recipient of a sort of running narration, courtesy of Calculator. It was actually quite useful. Calculator was a sort of guide to everything he had always wanted to know about super villains but had been afraid to ask.
The first tidbits of information he had received were the identities of the primates in question. Ultra-Humanite, "Ultra", was the albino. He had once been human, and a refined one at that, for he had the best form in his swing that the caddy had ever seen. Apart from his excellent taste in clothes, he also had a love for opera, fine art, and foie gras.
The angry one, Grodd, was intent on devolving all of humanity. "Disproving Darwin since 1959", Calculator had quipped. The caddy actually laughed at that one. He had to admit, it would make a good tee-shirt. For the most part, Calculator informed the caddy, the villains didn't really like Grodd all that much. He was sort of the annoying racist uncle of the Society that you only really invited to family occasions out of some sort of guilt-laden pity. And because maybe he would devolve you if you didn't. Or break your spine. Calculator was actually surprised that Grodd was even playing. "Normally," the hacker explained, "he wouldn't have time for such 'trivial human games', but I guess Lex promised him more foot-soldiers to devolve if he played. I guess it worked."
A few holes into the game, Calculator was sitting on a bench to the side of the tee, while the trio of gorillas lurched near the cart.
"And what about the third one?" The caddy asked, "Who is he?"
"That's Monsieur Mallah. He works for the Brain." Calculator nodded towards the duo, currently involved in what seemed like a friendly conversation. Monsieur Mallah seemed to be golfing for the Brain, using whatever clubs the Brain recommended, marking the Brain's scorecard, even occasionally shading the Brain from the sun.
"They seem close," the caddy said, "I guess even villains can have best friends."
"Um, yeah, about that," Calculator shifted uncomfortably on the bench, "Um, how do I put this? Mallah and Brain are…well, let's say they're partners in more than just crime and leave it at that, shall we?"
The caddy paused for a moment to consider the implications of this revelation before deciding that he needed to ask his friend, a LexCorp researcher, if there was any way scientifically to bleach his brain.
At the moment, Calculator was sulking. He kept glancing at the gorillas and furrowing his brow.
"Okay, be honest with me," the hacker finally said, "Do you think Luthor is trying to tell me something? I mean, we have Mallah, Ultra, and the, heh, third banana is Grodd. And then there's me. You think Lex is trying to send me a message? I mean, do I seem like a gorilla to you?" The caddy was about to respond when Calculator quickly added, "You know what? Don't answer that. I don't want to know."
The caddy was aware of a large shadow crossing his frame and looked up in time to see Ultra-Humanite standing above him. He quickly snapped to attention. "Anything I can do for you, sir?"
"Yes, I was just wondering if you could be so kind as to recommend a club for this hole." Ultra's voice was less threatening than the caddy had expected. "I do love a good pass around the course, but I'm afraid given my…current condition…I haven't had much of an opportunity to play for quite some time. I may be a touch rusty, and I do believe that Mr. Luthor has redesigned this course since last I was here."
The caddy glanced over at Calculator, who shrugged. "You're the only one left, buddy." The hacker offered a wry smile. "So, for now, we have no intention of doing you harm. Just be glad you're on our good side."
With that reassurance, the caddy straightened and smiled. That was right. These villains did need him, if only for a moment. They may be able to kill him with a simple push of a button, or flick of the wrist, but he knew that he could read a course better than all of them combined. "Of course, Mr. Humanite. Now, given the length of this hole…"
Next Chapter: Crazy as Hell