Gorilla Malloy And The Silver Skull Of Amnorak
Simmons stood up on the control platform, like a king observing his domain, and cast his gaze over the rows of data analysts and security officers. This was his first time taking control of the sprawling command center of the Special Response Team and, though he tried not to show it, was dreadfully nervous about screwing up. It didn’t help that his eyes kept getting drawn to Analyst Fitzgerald’s legs, which were maybe the most exquisite things he’d ever seen. He’d been working up the courage to ask her out for lunch or coffee or something ever since he’d gotten this job.
Realizing he was staring at them again, he hurriedly looked back down at the large touch screen computer monitors that were arrayed in front of him. Several of the analysts had shunted some emergencies his way so that he could back up their initial responses. A fire at a Newark area nuclear facility that Analyst Jackson felt was routine enough for the local fire fighters to handle. Simmons agreed. A break-in at the Mushaki building in Los Angeles also seemed pretty routine, so he approved that too. Some hackers had broken the security system of a federal building, no big deal. Fourteen separate instances of crime and each one of them more mundane than the last.
But just as Simmons was about to write off the afternoon of his first command as being just another routine shift, something about that Mushaki break-in began to nag at him. He rapidly scrolled back to the notification with his right hand while his left brought up any relevant information about the building, its owners, and its contents. He scanned the data, shunted a few items to the analysts below, like a zookeeper tossing fish to a flock of penguins, and began his hunt for whatever was nagging at him.
Analyst Adani shunted an article from a small antiquities magazine up to him and everything clicked into place. Swearing quietly, and stealing a quick look at Fitzgerald’s legs, he touched the red icon that would put him in contact with General Fuller. While he waited for the grizzled old general to respond, he directed every available satellite feed, traffic camera, and hijacked cell phone to feed him real time images and sound of the area around the target building.
“What is it?” General Fuller’s face popped up on right side of Simmons’s monitor.
“We have a situation, Sir,” Simmons said nervously. “I think you should come down here.”
Fuller rolled his eyes and stood, giving Simmons a sudden and unwanted look at the General’s crotch. “Have everything up on the big screen by the time I get there.”
The energy in the room had changed. Each of the twenty analysts were frantically sifting through a mass of data and throwing any relevant details up to Simmons’s monitor, where he would sift it further, and shunt the crucial details up onto the big screen for the General to digest. A police dashcam had a good view of the front doors of the building, where a team of armed men could be seen pacing back and forth. A news copter had arrived on scene and were filming another group on the roof. One of the men looked like he had a rocket launcher.
“What do we got?” Fuller growled as he walked up the steps to the command platform.
“Looks like we have a Die Hard situation, Sir,” Simmons replied. “There’s a team of aggressors holed up in the Mushaki building in Downtown L.A. They have the ground floor and the roof covered and, according to our seismic data, they set off some kind of detonation in the underground garage and may have sealed off that entrance. That just leaves a few service entrances, which we have to assume are covered or booby trapped.”
“Dug in like ticks, eh?” Fuller mused, an unlit cigar clamped in his teeth. His hand moved over the monitors, expanded some images on the big screen, taking in the whole situation. “So why is this our deal, Simmons? Why not leave it to the feds and the locals?”
Reaching awkwardly around the general, Simmons flicked the article from the antique magazine up onto the screen. A giant photo of a silver, devil-horned skull filled the screen.
“This is why I think it’s our deal, General. The Silver Skull of Amnorak. Supposedly it has magical properties and is cursed and blah blah. What’s important is that it is worshipped by a cult, the Cult of Amnorak, and is one of their most prized icons. For decades it was thought lost, but...”
“Don’t tell me,” Fuller sighed. “The skull is in that building.”
“It turned up last month at an auction in Paris where it was purchased by one Hiroshi Mushaki,” Simmons said, putting images of the relevant data up on the screen. He zoomed in on the dash-cam photo of the aggressors, highlighting an armband with a silver skull insignia on it. “The cult demanded its return, made threats, but were ignored by the Mushaki Corporation.”
“They can’t ignore them now,” the General said. “I think we can assume that these are fanatics who can’t wait to die for their cause. Fantastic. You were right Simmons, this is our deal.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Simmons felt an odd mixture of relief and pride. “I have a few analysts working on a plan of attack. We figure if we move a few fire teams in....”
“I’m going to stop you there, son,” Fuller said. “When it comes to a job like this, there’s only one agent I trust to get it done right.”
All of the data analysts and security personnel turned to look at the General, each of them had a look of joyful expectation. Simmons was confused.
“One agent, Sir? Who would that be?”
The room erupted into a cacophony of cheers and high fives. The General glared at them and they quieted down instantly, getting back to work, but Simmons could see the faint edges of smile on the old man’s face. Simmons took a deep breath.
“Sir, I know I’m new here,” he began. “and that it probably isn’t my place but...”
“Speak your mind, son.”
“Well, I’ve been going through the records, specifically the ones concerning Gorilla Malloy and I think...”
“That’s some pretty thrilling reading, ain’t it,” Fuller said, his face full of pride. “That sonofabitch is worth ten fire teams.”
“Sir...he’s a gorilla.”
“More like a gorilla-and-a-half.”
“No, I mean he’s an actual gorilla. I know he got struck by lightning...”
“Which gave him his trademark shamrock scar on his cheek,” an excited analyst whose name Simmons had forgotten yelled up. “That’s why they named him Malloy!”
“Yeah, I know that,” Simmons said carefully. “And I know that he likes to wear pants...”
“Battle fatigues,” the analyst corrected.
“Battle fatigues, yeah. And that we gave him a gun...”
“A custom made .50 caliber automatic,” the analyst shouted up. “which he’s never fired because a gorilla like Gorilla Malloy doesn’t need a gun to fight crime!”
“He doesn’t need a gun because he’s a gorilla.”
“And a half,” Fuller added.
“No, I mean he’s just a gorilla,” Simmons exclaimed. “I don’t think he’s an intelligent, mutant, crime-fighting gorilla. I think he’s just a fucking monkey in pants.”
The room went quiet. Fuller slowly turned his head and caught Simmons in a withering gaze. Simmons nervously looked away and saw that everyone was giving him the same glare. Out of the corner of his eye, Simmons say Analyst Fitzgerald slowly get up and make her way to the command platform stairway. She walked up right up to him, looking down on him with blue eyes cold as winter, and slapped him hard across the face.
“He’s an ape, you son of a bitch!” She hissed at him. “An ape who saved my life!”
Simmons felt his jaw click back into place and wondered if this hurt his chances at getting that lunch date.
“Look, I read his record,” Simmons said loudly enough for the whole room to hear. “I know he saved all of you when that terrorist cell broke in and took you all hostage last year, but he did it by throwing feces at them and then bludgeoning them to death. When he was done, he climbed up into the rafters and fell asleep. He only came down when you put a female in his habitat.”
“He is a horny bastard, I’ll give him that,” Fuller said with a chuckle. Everyone in the room, except Fitzgerald, chuckled along with him.
Fuller grabbed Simmons by the shoulder and pulled him close.
“Look, son, why don’t you shut up for a bit before everyone here hangs you for treason. Gorilla Malloy is this agency’s best weapon and you should see him in action before you go shooting your mouth off, okay?”
“Yes, Sir,” Simmons said, feeling his jaw click back into place..
“Good. Now, without any further interruptions,” the General said, pointing a finger at the big screen and raising his voice. “Deploy Gorilla Malloy!”
Simmons rubbed his cheek and looked up at Analyst Fitzgerald.
“So, uh, what are you doing for lunch today?”