Note on timeline: This story takes place roughly 500 years after the fall of Earth in the Hc Svnt Dracones setting, about 200 years before games are generally expected to be set. As such there are a few differences in culture and technology.
“...But, as the second generation Vectors emerged from their tanks, it became clear that something had not gone exactly as the humans had planned." The cubs and kits on the stage of the regional MarsCo grade school started taking out their props, a small doll of a mouse Vector, the hindquarters of a plush lion, and a marker. “Some of the new Vectors had morphisms, ranging from taurs," a leopard cub attached the plush hindquarters to the back of his pants so that it looked like he had two pairs of legs, “to atypical patterns" a goat kid started trying ineffectively to scrawl on her coat with the marker, “and micros," the rabbit kit who had been talking most of the time held up the doll.
“Looks like you finally found somebody your own size!" One of the audience, a portly male fox of the same age as the cubs on stage, taunted.
Judy Hopps, the eight-year-old, barely a foot tall, bunny, glowered at the fox. “Just let me finish, Gideon Gray." She straightened back up quickly and continued. “At first, the humans were worried about those 'mutations' and tried to figure out a way to stabilize the Vector genome. But, as time passed, it became clear that just because somebody had four legs, or technicolor fur, or was a little small, did not mean that they were inherently worthless to society."
“So long as they can get you a booster chair!"
“Shut up Gideon!"
Chapter 1"As MarsCo regional director of Longbow Station, I am pleased to announce that my Morphism Inclusion Initiative has resulted in its' first graduate from the Inner Ring Police Force's academy." Director Lionhart waved to the micro rabbit in her dress uniform as she stepped forward to receive her badge and diploma. "Assistant Director Bellwether, her badge?" The lion behind the podium pushed his sheep assistant to pin the badge on the newly graduated Officer Judy Hopps.
The two-foot tall bunny couldn't have been prouder of herself as her new badge was pinned to her chest. She knew that she had only been admitted to the academy thanks to Director Lionhart's charity scholarship, but she had graduated on her own merits and that was all that mattered to her. Let him use this for his own publicity, she had achieved her dream of working for the IRPF, keeping the streets and megastructures of the post-human solar system safe.
"It is my great privilege to assign you to Longbow Precinct 1." Lionhart concluded his speech and promptly left the stage, presumably in a hurry to catch the next shuttle.
His assistant hung back a minute to speak to Judy a little longer. "Congratulations, Officer Hopps."
"I won't let you down, this has been my dream since I was a kid," replied Judy.
"I look forward to seeing you on duty. Could stand to see more of us little guys around." The sheep was short, just barely in the normal height range for an adult Vector and likely would have been classed with the morphismed for much of her life.
"We'll show them." The newly minted bunny cop replied with surety.
The next day, Judy was at the spaceport preparing to leave for orbit. Her parents and, numerous, siblings had gathered at the terminal to say goodbye as she embarked on her new life.
"Now, you're sure about this Jude?" Her father, Stu, was a micro like his daughter, two feet and three inches tall and still wearing his farmer's overalls. "A BlueSky station is a pretty big place, lots of tall people around not looking where they're going."
Judy didn't blame her dad for having such silly prejudices, he was born in Bunnyburrow, a small corptown founded by a co-op mostly consisting of rabbit micros and laterals who had gathered up enough money to lease several acres of land on Venus from MarsCo and set it up for agriculture. His parents had left Mars to escape from the shortage of respected jobs for morphisms in the megastructures and carved out a modest lifestyle for themselves, he was inclined to believe that city life anywhere else was much the same.
"Stu..." his wife, Bonnie, was a lateral rather than a bipedal micro, but she dressed fully and walked on her hind legs as often as possible to "seem civilized". Her family had moved to Bunnyburrow when she was in her teens so she was a little better informed about life in the big city.
"I'll be fine Dad," Judy said, barely managing not to roll her eyes at him. "There's nothing to be afraid of."
"Except for bears, there's bears to be afraid of." Stu replied. "And wolves, and weasels..."
"You play cribbage with a weasel." Bonnie cut in.
"...and he cheats, that's how I know. And don't forget foxes, all canidae are bad but foxes are the worst."
Bonnie started to agree with her more pastorial husband now, "oh yeah, remember Gideon Grey back when you were in grade school?"
"Gideon Grey was just one fox," Judy replied, "I'm sure other foxes won't be like him."
"Just in case, I packed you some things." Stu pulled out a shopping bag that Judy recognized from one of the independent BuySpots around town, known in particular for products that the MegaCorps and their subsidiaries wouldn't bother with. "I've got some fox spray," he pulled out a small spraycan with a stylized picture of a fox's head crossed out, "a fox horn," next was an airhorn that would probably hurt her own reclaimed hearing as badly as a fox's, "and this micro-sized shockstick," the tiny electrical weapon broke as he handled it and sent a shock up his arm.
Judy quickly batted the knockoff shockstick out of her father's paralyzed grasp, and moved to reassure him. "Look, I'm sure the precinct will issue me equipment, in fact they're probably printing out my gear as we speak."
"It does seem a bit excessive, Stu", her mother said in agreement, massaging her husband's arm. "Maybe just the repellent, they probably haven't thought of that."
"Oh all right," Stu picked up the spray can in his arm that still had feeling. "But, really, I just want you to be safe Jude."
"Like I said, I'll be fine." Judy repeated. "I graduated top of my class, remember? That included Close-Quarters-Combat."
"Well, if you're sure..." Stu trailed off as the boarding alert flashed for Judy's shuttle.
"Oop, likes you it's time for you to go."
"Okay, bye!" Judy picked up her bags and started to head for the gate, then stopped and ran back to give her parents one last hug before leaving. "I'm going to miss you guys."
In orbit the shuttle docked with a passenger liner almost a third of a mile long, too large for a terrestrial landing. The voyage from Venus to Jupiter, which Longbow station orbited, would take almost an entire month so Judy found her cabin and settled in for the long haul. She spent most of her free time working out in the gym and brushing up on the few local laws enforced by Longbow's administration. One of the ship's Omnislots had been fitted with a manufacturing complex and the crew included a tailor who was all too happy to take half of Judy's savings to design and fabricate a lightweight armored bodysuit for her, strong enough to stop a few bullets but flexible enough for her to move unmolested.
Towards the end of the trip the ship began to pull up on Longbow and Judy went to the observation blister, as she watched the station grow larger in the window's view she drew out her toggle case and pulled up her music collection, queuing the discography of the famed gazelle celebrity and Longbow resident Gazelle. While she listened to Gazelle's hit single "Try Everything" (sponsored by MarsCo) she stared enraptured at the massive structure. The station had been built by MarsCo to service the terraforming and colonization efforts on Ganymede and Europa, a BlueSky station separated into habitat regions to accommodate employees from all over the solar system. Some of the habitats were sponsored by other MegaCorps, the rainforests were maintained by the medical giant Progenitus, while athletics and entertainment corp Pulse had the desert square, and to get their new employees accustomed to the frigid cold of the moon they owned exclusively, Transcendent Technologies Inc ran a frozen sector known colloquially as “Tundratown". As time passed an entire city had sprouted in the five-mile diameter habitat.
And the Inner Ring Police Force was contracted to protect them all.
As they drew towards the main docking facilities the young rabbit was again impressed by the sheer size of the cavernous space used to house all the traffic that went through this trade nexus. Privately and corporate-owned ships of every shape and size, small personal ships, boxy MarsCo freighters, sleek Pulse cruisers, they even passed by a mile-long IRPF battleship orbiting outside. The city beyond the spaceport was no less impressive.
To maximize the use of space, MarsCo had built megastructure towers that stretched anywhere from halfway to two-thirds of the way up to the habitat's ceiling, which was so high that if viewed from the bottom floor you might see a bit of a bluish tinge to the sky through all the towers. The towers themselves were almost self-contained cities in and of themselves, with some floors having full-width roads and enclosed skywalks for ground cars and other vehicles. As she marveled at the sight she spotted a hologram of Gazelle projected against the nearest megastructure. "Hi, I'm Gazelle, and I'd like to say, welcome to Longbow." Judy beamed, things could not be better today.
"And here is your new home." The landlady opened the door to the smallest and dingiest living space Judy had ever seen. The wallpaper was close to peeling and dust covered half the surfaces. The room was tall enough for the average Vector but the floor space left barely enough room for the bed, desk and microwave. There was no bathroom, sink, or ration bar dispenser, she'd have to use the block's communal facilities. "Complementary de-nymphing once a month. Here's your key," she handed Judy a small toggle with her room number on it and suddenly her expression turned rather stern. "Don't lose it."
While Judy was trying to figure out how to copy the key toggle to her personal toggle the neighbors walked by her open door. Trying to start out on a friendly note she introduced herself. "Hi! I'm Judy, your new neighbor."
One of the antelopes cracked open a can of beer as he walked by "Yeah, well we're loud."
"Don't expect us to apologize or anything." His partner added carrying a bag of groceries.
Judy realized her key was copy-protected for whatever reason and decided it wasn't worth it as she closed the door and reviewed her new choice of domicile. "Greasy walls," she said noting the wallpaper, "no floor space," the neighbors started an argument that make the decorative holograms on that wall flicker, "crazy neighbors... I love it!" She flopped down on the bed, thinking to herself that eventually she'd be able to afford an apartment that cost more than 10 credits* a month.
The next morning, Judy got up promptly at 0500 sharp, donned her newly printed armor, and opened the door to head down to the police station. But before leaving she hesitated, noticing the can of fox spray her dad had given her. The labeling was almost certainly tailored to her father's prejudices mined from his social networks, but some online research found the listed ingredients to be extremely irritating to members of the Canidae family with their heightened sense. Figuring that since Canidae were the numerically largest family she decided she might as well take it with her.
The lobby was filled with Vectors of all shapes and sizes, bipeds, taurs, laterals, even a few of the more exotic morphisms, though she noticed a shortage of micros and micro-sized laterals. She stepped up to a front desk manned by the most obese cheetah she had ever seen in her life. He was happily mounging away at a bowl of cereal when she tried to get his attention. "Uh, excuse me," Judy spoke up, waving from just below the desk's edge.
"Hmm?" The cheetah said, putting down the bowl and leaning over to look down at her.
"O M Goodness, they actually did hire a micro bunny. Aren't you the cutest thing?"
Judy felt more than a bit irked at this but tried not to let it show. "You might not be aware of this, but while it's okay for one micro to call another micro "cute", it's not really okay for another morphism to."
"Oh!" The cheetah went back in shame, "I'm so sorry, most micros around here live in Little Rodentia so we don't see too many of them, I didn't realize." He held out a hand in greeting. "Benjamin Clawhauser, at your service."
"It's alright, you didn't really know." She spotted something under one of Clawhauser's chins and started to point it out. "Uh, you have something under, um..."
"What?" He started to feel around the spot she'd indicated and eventually pulled out a half-eaten donut with Pulse's triple-wing logo drawn in the icing. "Oh there you are. I've been wondering where you went." He scarfed down the pastry in one bite.
"Yeah, I think there was a meeting I was supposed to be at..." Judy started to say, a bit unsure of herself.
"Right, bullpen's over through those doors over there." Clawhauser pointed out the room in question.
"Okay, thanks." Judy said, walking off towards the bullpen.
"Aww," the cheetah said as he watched her go. "That little bunny's gonna get eaten alive.'
Judy worked her way down the aisle in the middle of the "bullpen", in here it was even more obvious that the precinct here tended to hire larger Vectors. They tended towards wolves, big cats, ungulates, bears, there were even a few that seemed macro-enhanced. The micro rabbit couldn't help but feel a little out of place. She took a seat next to a horse with horns, either a morphism or implants of some kind, she wasn't sure. "Hey," she said, trying to be friendly, "ready to make the system a better place?" She held up a fist and the horse shrugged and bumped it with his own much larger fist, pushing her a foot to the left.
Then the crowd of officers in the room began pounding their tables, causing Judy to bounce in her seat, she saw a large bluish-black skinned bull who looked to be in his fifties, maybe seventies if he went with one of Progenitus' aging plans, walking steadily down the aisle to the podium in the front of the room. From the stars on his shoulders she guessed he was Chief Bogo. He took his place behind the podium and the pounding abruptly stopped. "First on today's business," the Chief bellowed, "we have some new officers joining us here today." Judy perked up at his statement. "And frankly, I don't care." Her ears drooped back down before she caught herself, he wasn't going to recognize her after all. "Second, we have fourteen missing Vector cases." The smartglass display behind him lit up with fourteen pics of the missing Vectors and a map pinning their last known locations. "All species from the Canidae, Felidae, Ursidae, and one Mustelidae. No known personal connections." Judy took in the pics eagerly, this was big, she could make her mark with this kind of case from the start. But then as he was assigning the cases to officers he finally reached her name. "Hopps Ro' Ra: parking duty. Dismissed!"
What? Judy couldn't believe it. She'd worked so hard for so long and now she was being assigned to watch parking meters? That couldn't be right. As the other cops filed out of the room she hopped down from her seat and went up to Bogo. "Uh, Chief." The bull paused a second before leaving through the side door. "I'm not sure if you noticed, but I actually graduated top of my class..."
"I did notice, and I don't care." Bogo cut her off.
"Sir, I am more than just some little bunny," she pleaded, "if you were to assign me to one of those missing Vector cases I could solve it in a week."
"Well then," he continued, "issuing a hundred parking tickets a day should be no problem." Chief Bogo left, ending the discussion then and there.
Judy thumped her foot in frustration, an atavistic behavior she'd picked up from her mother, as the door swung shut. "I'm not going to be printing off a hundred parking tickets a day. I'll print two hundred tickets, before noon."
*About 100 modern-day US dollars. The rulebook says to price any small items that would be worth $10 or less at 1 credit.
Judy tried to be enthusiastic about her first assignment, she threw on the reflective jacket and hat the corporation had issued her for the job, then got in the cart she was supposed to drive when carrying out her duties. It was a flimsy thing that looked barely able to move, much less take her around the station, after a few minutes of driving she could have sworn she smelled De-Rez enyme. Figured she would be given a disposable vehicle, she'd be lucky if it lasted the whole three days it was supposed to, and the next one would certainly be coming out of her pay. 20 credits every three days, she might end up not only eating the public ration bars but also camping out in a unoccupied office. But maybe if she proved herself good enough at this demeaning job she could get reassigned to something more suiting her skillset, or at least be issued a more permanent vehicle.
The tickets were essentially short strips of plastic with embedded RFID tags. Placing them on a SmartGlass surface or viewing them through UI lenses would display the violation, fine, and due date for paying the fine. The most common offense by far was letting one of the pre-pay meters run out. While many people preferred the “pay-on-leaving" model of parking, businesses in the Downtown habitat favored pre-pay so as to keep customers moving through. And as it so happened, part of IRPF's contract with the MarsCo administration included penalizing those who went over their paid parking time. About one hundred and ninety of the two hundred tickets Judy wrote before noon were over-run meter violations, six were bad parking jobs that didn't stay within the designated lines or crept onto the curb, and the remaining four were disposable vehicles left in public parking spots at the end of their operational lives instead of returned to the proper recycling area.
She had issued less than ten tickets when she came across the first disposable. Judy jumped up onto a taur-sized van to place a ticket on the windshield but the hood buckled under her minute weight and she just barely avoided falling into the dissolving engine block. When she landed safely on the sidewalk the entire van caved in, she called Clawhauser to report it in. However, after reporting the incident she offered to find the perpetrator as well.
“Yeah..." the cheetah on the other end of the line replied, “the Chief said you had to stay on parking duty. It's no big deal really, we just look up the owner's contact info from the sellers, and send them a bill for the clean-up. It's only if they refuse to pay when we issue an arrest warrant."
“But if a warrant is issued, you'll call me right?" Judy asked hopefully.
“Ehhh..." It sounded like Clawhauser was trying to avoid answering.
Judy groaned and dropped a tracking beacon from her belt into the dissolving vehicle, “I'll get back to writing tickets, okay."
With that, she threw herself even harder into her assignment. She bounced from car to car dropping tickets, reaching the two hundredth one mere minutes before noon. Then, as she was celebrating the completion of her goal, the meter where she'd parked her cart expired. She sighed and issued herself a ticket.
At the sound of a horn beeping Judy's head turned towards an alleyway on the opposite side of the street. The source was a truck driven by an irate ram who was yelling at an unfortunate fox who quickly scampered out of the way. “Move it fox!"
Maybe it was her father's prejudices speaking, but something about that fox seemed suspicious to Judy. She watched as he ducked into an ice cream shop with oversized doors, the reason for which was soon apparent as a ten-foot tall macro-enhanced cow pushed her way past him. Wondering what business someone his size might have in a store meant for macros she decided it wouldn't be too far out of her way to follow him in.
The servers were a pair of large male Blips that seemed based on the Old Earth elephant. They were both easily twelve feet tall and their trunks were fully prehensile. As Judy watched one of them used his elongated proboscis to scoop out a macro-sized serving of strawberry ice cream, then suck up a load of crushed nuts and spew them onto the sundae. But her attention was more focused on the fox who was now at the end of the line and starting to talk to the cashier.
“I don't know what you're trying to pull here," said the elephant-Blip who was taking orders as he leaned over the high counter to stare down at the fox.
“Look," the fox replied, “I just want to buy a frozen treat for my little boy here." It was then that Judy noticed the smaller fox standing next to him. The other vulpine was two feet tall, even shorter than Judy if you discounted his sizable ears, and his fur was tan rather than red as visible beneath his bluish pajamas but he was still mostly recognizable as vulpine. Save for his tail which was as thick around as an otter's.
The bunny officer's interest was instantly piqued, the kit was obviously morphismed somehow, a hybrid maybe? She didn't have anything against interspecies couples personally but she knew that on the rare occasion that the mutt-reduction protocols* failed the resulting offspring were often ostracized, much like micros and laterals actually. Judy slowly moved her hand away from the spraycan at her belt and stepped closer.
“Look," said the clerk, “we sell ice cream for macros here, your kid won't be able to finish one of our jumbo pops. It'll make a mess, he'll get upset, and there's no way I'm going to be held accountable for that."
“Oh, okay." The adult fox bent down to comfort his kid, who was starting to get teary-eyed. “It's just that his birth parents abandoned him when he came out with a morphism and I told him he could get any Surgery he wanted to make up for it when he grew up. And he said he wanted to be a great big Macro. So, I figured that for his birthday I could get him a macro-sized treat to help prepare him for it."
“So take him someplace else that serves normal-sized ice pops." The cashier said more harshly. “It'll be proportionally the same."
At this utter lack of sympathy Judy decided she'd heard enough. She stepped forward and spoke up. “Excuse me, sir?" Both the adult fox and the Blip turned to face her. “Are your customers aware that they're getting snot and mucus in their frozen treats?" She held out her toggle case on which she'd pulled up a diagram of an elephant's nasal passages and the other Blip dropped the scoop he was holding. “Now, I could call in a health inspector to verify your trunk is safe, shutting you down for a day or two if you're lucky and costing you some 200 credits in inspection fees, or you could just put some kind of glove on that trunk and give this nice dad and his son a... what was it?"
“Jumbo pop." The fox dad said, glad to find someone sympathetic.
“Right, a jumbo pop." Judy continued. “So, what is it going to be?"
The cashier resigned himself and took the obvious route. “1.5 credits."
“Good to hear you came around." The fox said, then made of show of patting his shirt and pants. “Oh, dang, it seems I forgot my toggle at home. Sorry little guy."
Fortunately, Judy leaped up and slammed her case on the payment surface, forwarding a full two credits to the register. “Keep the change." The clerk handed over a red popsicle that must have outmassed either Judy or the kid, who shockingly was able to carry it over his shoulder.
As they walked out together the fox thanked Judy for her help. “Always great to meet a civic-minded officer, would Ro'Ra be the right terminology?"
“Oh, I prefer to just be called Judy Hopps, I wasn't born in the Corp and the taxonomic naming convention** always sounded silly to me."
“Okay then, you can call me Wilde, Nic'las Wilde." Nick replied.
“Nice to meet you Nick." Judy bent to look the other fox in the eye. “Hey, I know how hard it can be out there for morphisms, but look at me, I'm a micro bunny working for the IRPF. Even if you change your mind later about that Surgery there could be a job waiting for you. Here," she quickly programmed her ticket-printer to produce a small sticker in the shape of an IRPF officer's badge. “Why don't you try this on, see how it fits you." She stuck it on the front of his pajamas and he looked at it in puzzlement.
“Now Finnick," Nick said, “give the nice officer a smile and let's let her get back to her work."
“I was ready for a lunch break anyways." Judy replied. “See you two around."
An hour later Judy was still writing up tickets when she spotted Finnick again. She was about to say hi to him but then she noticed he was carrying a jar of red fluid over to a rusted van, where he'd just left there was a bunch of other jars collecting more fluid from a weather drainage pipe. Following the pipe up Judy saw Nick holding the remains of the jumbo pop she'd bought them up to a heating vent. When all that was left was the plastic stick it had been frozen around he slid down the pipe and into the passenger door of the van. Finnick was driving.
Finding this very bizarre Judy got into her cart and followed them, having little trouble keeping up with the van in its' poor condition. They went through the access tunnel to Tundratown and parked by an empty field of snow. Finnick got out and carefully left small digitigrade pawprints in the snow while Nick followed pouring the melted popsicle juice into the depressions and left a small stick that seemed to have been whittled off the jumbo pop stick in the heel end. While they were busy Judy, realizing that they'd probably be waiting a while for the popsicles to refreeze and she was still on the clock, attached a micro-transponder to the van and ran back for her post.
After two more hours Judy's case alerted her that the van was moving and she tracked them to a bank on the outskirts of Little Rodentia. Earlier Judy had looked up the enclave after Clawhauser had mentioned it and found that it was primarily populated by micros and laterals of the Rodentia family, but generally of species much smaller than rabbits like rats and mice, and sponsored and administered by IRPF's corporate rival Spyglass so technically she wasn't even allowed to enter it. Nick set up a cooler filled with pawprint-shaped popsicles with a sign that said “Handcrafted Pawpsicles, .2cr" and at 1600 exactly a line of assorted rodents streamed out of the building. One of them noticed the little setup and walked towards him, others following. With practiced ease Nick scanned their toggles with one hand and handed them “pawpsicles" with the other. As the customers finished their purchases they tossed the plastic sticks into a series of recycling bins and once they were all done Finnick popped out and emptied the bins into the van.
There they wrapped the used sticks into bundles and drove them to a mouse construction site, selling them as building materials and explaining the red coloration as a mix-up in the orders. Though apparently they were on a tight enough deadline to accept them anyways.
When they'd offloaded all the merchandise Nick slipped Finnick a credit chip with his share of the day's profits and the smaller fox left, shucking off his pajamas to reveal a jumpsuit laced with cooling lines and getting into the driver's seat of his van. “What, no goodbye kiss for Daddy?" Nick called.
“I still don't understand you Vectors." Finnick said, the first time Judy had actually heard him speak now that she thought of it, in a voice deeper than one would generally expect from a kit. And then he drove off.
As the red fox stood there in the dust and smoke from the beat-up van's passage Judy came up behind him and he turned around to face her glare of disapproval. “You lied to me."
“It's called a hustle, sweetheart. And nothing I did was illegal by IRPF laws." Nick said, turning to leave.
Judy pursued him, “Oh yeah? What about setting up a BuySpot without paying the lease and transporting merchandise across habitat boundaries?"
Nick responded by holding out a virtual document on his toggle case, “temporary vendor's permit, and inter-hab merchant's license." He withdrew the case before she could get a good look. “Can't touch me, Carrots. I've been doing this since I was twelve, I've got all the bases covered."
Judy snarled, “You're gonna want to refrain from calling me Carrots."
“My bad," Nick snarked, “I assumed you were from some podunk town where they still grew food in dirt."
“Bunnyburrow is not just some podunk town, we're a full MarsCo subsidiary."
“But you're not refuting the dirt-farming part." As they continued to walk the fox swiped a handful of blueberries from a street stall, Judy was too focused on their conversation to pay any notice. “Let me know if this sounds familiar. Naive little bunny from the countryside of Venus with dreams of making it big in the big station manages to get a job with the police, only to find out that she was hired as a publicity stunt and the only job the chief will trust her with is meter maid. Her dreams crushed she slips into emotional and literal squalor and ends up living in an abandoned city cube eating ration blocks three meals a day until she has enough and goes back to pulling carrots out of the dirt in, you're from Bunnyburrow you said?" He slipped through an opening in a fence, “Seeya, Carrots!"
Judy leaped over the fence and straight into Nick's path. “I don't have to take this from some lowlife who didn't have the guts to be more than a popsicle hustler."
“Listen," Nick leaned down and looked her directly in the eye. “They say anyone can be anything, but the reality is unless you've got the credit to afford radical Surgery you can only be what you are." He pointed to himself with his stick, “sly fox," he turned it towards the micro officer, “dumb bunny." He turned around to leave and Judy leapt in front of him again.
“I am not just a dumb little bunny." Judy said, indignantly.
“Right," Nick said, “and that's not wet Quikcrete."
Judy looked down and realized all of a sudden that she had stepped in a section of sidewalk that had just been printed by one of the city's maintenance GeoMats. If she didn't act fast the Quikcrete rising around her shoes would harden and trap her. As she yanked herself out Nick made his escape saying “you'll never be a real cop. You might be a passable meter maid though, you could even make Supervisor someday."
After several more hours of writing tickets, Judy returned to her dingy apartment, kicked off her Quikcrete-encrusted shoes, and reluctantly got a ration block from the dispenser. She would have preferred something more palatable, but she'd already spent her food budget for the day on a popsicle. The microwave reduced the cube of recycled protein and spare nutrients to a scorched and withered mess. Disgusted, and disappointed with how her first day had gone, she decided she had no appetite after all and threw it away.
Unsure what else to do, she turned on a random music stream, but as if by some cruel joke every song the algorithm picked was something depressing. Not lifted from her funk in the slightest, Judy picked up her Toggle case and opened it to her family photo album. She'd assured them so confidently that she would be the best bunny cop ever no matter what, and after graduating from the academy it had seemed almost certain. She was wondering what she'd say to them now when the “incoming call" alert popped up on the screen.
Suddenly put on the spot Judy almost dropped her case in panic before hitting “accept". Her parents faces materialized on the tiny screen, a video message all the way from Venus. “Hey Jude, how was your first day as a cop in the big station?" Her dad asked.
“Oh, hi mom and dad," Judy replied sheepishly. “It was great. Busy day out making the system a better place and all that you know."
An hour later her mother sighed in relief. “Well that's good, we were getting so worried about you."
“Wait, what's that you're wearing?" Stu suddenly pointed at the camera and Judy realized that she was still wearing the reflective vest she'd been issued when assigned to parking duty.
“What?" She ineffectually tried to cover up the vest with her arms, forgetting that it wasn't a live feed. “Oh, it's nothing, just a little mixup with uniforms..."
“Are you a meter maid?" Her dad inquired almost rhetorically.
“Oh thank God!" Bonnie exclaimed. “I thought you might actually be in danger out there."
“Safest job on the force." Stu added in. “Meter maid, meter maid!"
“Now now," Bonnie tried to shush her husband. “She's got another big day tomorrow and we're keeping her up late with all the time lag."
“Oh, right, sorry." Stu moved to switch off the camera. “See you tomorrow night."
Judy sighed and set down the case again. “Tomorrow's another day." She tried to reassure herself.
“Yeah," said one of the neighbors from next door. “It could be worse."
* Vectors are designed so that when different species breed their kids are one species or the other instead of hybrids. But sometimes things happen and you get sterile mutants with traits of two different species.
** Many MegaCorps have unique naming conventions. The IRPF lists an employee's rank as the first part of the name, then their personal name, and then the first two letters of their taxonomic family (Canidae, Rodentia, etc) and species (fox, rabbit...)
Judy could not help but slow down as she carried out her duties the next day. The events of the first day leaving her feeling much less enthusiastic. As a result she was often actually around to hear when somebody was around to pick up her tickets.
“I was five seconds late!"
“I just stepped in for a minute!"
“My mommy says she wishes you were dead."
“Yeah, you're a real hero lady!"
When the verbal harassment got to be too much she decided it was time for a break. She got into her little cart and repeatedly banged her head into the steering wheel, repeating to herself “I am a real cop, I am a real cop" as if it would make the feeling lessen. Judy was so preoccupied with self-pity that she didn't even notice the thief running past.
She was briefly roused from her stupor by a panicked civilian running up to her cart and rocking it. “Hey! Do something!" He yelled in her ear.
“Sir," Judy replied, reverting to one of the scripts she'd been given with the assignment. “If you have a complaint about your ticket, please direct it to the home office."
“What are you talking about?" He screamed back. “He's getting away!" The irate Vector pointed at a fleeing lateral weasel carrying a dirty duffel bag on his back. “Are you a real cop or not?!"
Instantly her ears perked up as she regained the previous day's enthusiasm. “Yes! I'm a real cop!"
“Then go already!" With that Judy took off. She leapt out of her cart and dashed off in pursuit, calling dispatch as she ran.
She chased the weasel through the streets, pulling up a profile on her Toggle case as soon as she got a look at his face. Duke Weaselton, a ferret (apparently weasels were smaller than rats) media bootlegger and occasional petty thief. Judy had no idea what he'd stolen this time but she guessed it was something fairly valuable this time based on the owner's distress.
An IRPF cruiser pulled up in the path of the weasel but he slipped underneath and kept running before the officers had even opened the doors. The equine Judy had met earlier jumped out of the driver's door and started giving an update on his radio when the micro rabbit simply vaulted over the car shouting “I got this! Officer Hopps in pursuit!"
Just before Judy was able to catch up with Weaselton he ducked into an access tube that was barely a foot tall, the wall of the megastructure said “Little Rodentia" in ten-foot letters. Judy remembered that there was a Vector-sized service door elsewhere but she didn't want to take the chance of losing her quarry in the building's internal structures so she slid on her back through the micro-door. The bunny cop found herself in a miniature version of the larger habitat, the floor was covered with arcology buildings like the megastructures outside, only smaller, six feet tall at the most. Around her feet mice and other micro rodents scurried in the streets, panicking at the sight of two outsiders who were just small enough to fit through the front door yet big enough to cause serious damage. Judy saw her coworker shouting something at the window above the entrance, but couldn't make it out through the glass. He could have been saying “Hey, wait for the real cops!" or “Hey, we can't go in there!" for all she knew.
Whatever it was, she couldn't afford to hesitate much longer. Already the weasel was climbing up the side of a building and preparing to run across the tops of the structures. A few of the locals were aiming small weapons at him, but they hesitated, wary of causing collateral damage. Judy hopped up onto the roof ahead of him and immediately he scrambled backwards, going the opposite direction. She started to jump after him, but noticed the roof beneath her feet creaking, the impact had already made a visible dent in the top of the building and she was wary of causing more damage. Noticing her hesitation Duke dropped down into the gap between two blocky structures and shoved them apart with his legs. The buildings in Judy's path began to topple over towards her, she heard screaming from the interiors and thought fast. She stopped in the gap between structures like Weaselton had, but this time she tried to counter his force with a push of her own. Fortunately it proved to be enough to stop the domino effect and put the toppling buildings back in roughly the same spots (though the residents would probably notice the difference).
Judy spotted the culprit dropping off into an alleyway by a restaurant with a large donut on its roof. “Hey!" She shouted and raced off after him down the now cleared street.
Weaselton looked freaked out for a minute and turned to run away, clipping the giant donut with his shoulder. He realized then that it was a solid construct rather than the hologram they'd both previously assumed. Glancing down at the rickety supports that attached it to the restaurant he suddenly had an idea. “Have a donut, copper!" He yelled towards her and shoved the novelty device hard enough to break it free of its supports and send it rolling down the street after her.
Judy dodged easily, but then she saw a group of female rodents exiting a shopping center carrying bags of merchandise, not noticing the rolling fiberglass pastry. She shouted at them “look out!" and darted towards them, just barely managing to grab the donut before it squashed a rat with a rather expensive looking haircut.
The rat lady looked up at her unexpected savior, who sheepishly said “Like your hair."
“Why, thank you."
Judy turned back to Weaselton only to see him stagger to the ground and lay there, his mouth foaming. As she approached she noticed a dozen slivers of metal poking out of his back and sides. The reason became apparent as she spotted multiple rodent micros carrying small pneumatic weapons, something about them seemed familiar. “Wait," she pointed out the nearest one's dartgun, “isn't that a shardshot?"
The squirrel carrying the indicated illegal weapon looked up at her oddly. “Check the logo lady." He gestured with his weapon at the wall, where Judy finally noticed the pyramid and all-seeing eye of Spyglass, the one MegaCorp that didn't contract with the IRPF and who not only allowed its' citizens to own poisoned flechette launchers, but manufactured them for sale. “Your laws don't apply here. Just collect your Vector-trash and get out of here."
The bunny IRPF officer decided to take his advise and go, picking up the twitching weasel and his bag of loot before heading out the door.
Later, in Chief Bogo's office, Judy was receiving the chewing-out of her life. “Abandoning your post and entering Spyglass corporate territory. I don't know if I've seen a more reckless officer in my career." The bovine chief tore open the bag, “but at least it wasn't a total loss, we recovered a bag full of moldy onions and what the heck are these things anyways?" He pointed out some rectangular plastic cartridges nestled in with the bulbs.
Judy looked at them just as puzzled, but she recognized the bulbs almost instantly. “I don't know what those things are, but the others aren't onions, they're an experimental Progenitus biopharm crop called Midnicampum holicithias, my parents have a contract to cultivate them."
“I don't care." Bogo slammed a hand down on the bag, causing a loud crunching sound, and shoved it aside. “The culprit's medical bills and the concessions we'll have to make to Spyglass will cost us more than those little plants will recoup."
The intercom chimed and Clawhauser's voice came over the speakers. “Chief, we've got Mrs. Otterton here, asking about her husband."
Bogo hit the button and replied “not now."
“Not, now!" He turned back to Judy, still pissed off at her. “I was hoping you couldn't mess up a simple job, but if you can't even handle parking duty then you'll be spending the rest of your contract behind a desk."
Before Bogo could elaborate on what he had in mind for her, a short otter woman walked in through the office door, followed by a gasping Clawhauser. “Sorry sir," the overweight cheetah panted, “she got away from me. I've really let myself go." He commented as he turned to leave.
“Chief Bogo?" The otter pleaded, “can't you please find my Emmett?" She was clutching a printed photo of herself and a male otter, the same otter seen in the Missing Vectors casefiles Judy realized, and two pups.
Bogo seemed to make an effort to soften his tone as he replied, “I'm sorry, but we have all our officers busy with the other missing Vectors. The moment we get a lead on your husband we'll let you know."
Mrs. Otterton started talking about Emmett, he was a botanist, they had a son and daughter at home waiting for him, and Judy both felt sympathy for her and saw an opportunity. “I'll find him," she volunteered at once.
“Oh thank you, thank you." The otter bent to give the bunny cop a hug. “Bring him back to me and our babies, will you?"
“I'll do my best." Judy replied. But as soon as Mrs. Otterton had left the room the chief rounded on her.
“You're not taking that case." He stated simply, as if that were the end of it.
“What?!" Judy had been sure that Bogo wouldn't have been able to refuse something like that.
The chief moved to open the door again, “if you thought there was any way I would let you..." he trailed off as he spotted Mrs. Otterton talking to the habitat director's assistant.
Bellwether turned to Chief Bogo as his expression turned to shock and terror. “I've just been informed that Officer Hopps has taken the case." The ewe drew out her Toggle case and started typing out a message before Bogo could even react. “I'm going to go tell Director Lionhart right now."
Now, Chief Bogo had no choice but to let Judy search for Emmett. Their client had heard that his little pet project was now involved in the investigation and he didn't dare to contradict him. Instead, he settled for giving Judy an ultimatum. “You have forty-eight hours. If you don't manage to work this thing out by then, you will spend the next thirty years as Clawhauser's assistant." He showed her out the door. “Try not to pick up his eating habits."
While Judy was getting the admittedly sparse case files from Benjamin Clawhauser she asked off-handed how he'd ended up with that job.
“It's a bit of an interesting story really." He started out. “You see, I actually used to be a Pulse athlete a while ago." At the bunny's incredulous look he elaborated. “Got all modded up and everything. Reflexes, speed, night vision, so many muscular enhancements I honestly lost count. Before long I needed ten times the typical caloric intake just to keep from starving. After thirty years of performing dangerous feats on camera, I decided it was time for a change in career, my contract had an option for Body Replacement so I took it and became a cop." The cheetah picked up another donut with the Pulse logo and stared at it for a second. “Thing is, while this new body doesn't have the same energy demands as the old one, my brain is essentially the same. And when you've eaten mostly SuperFood for a decade and a half, the normal stuff just isn't the same." He downed the Calorie-loaded pastry with barely a second thought.
“So, you just couldn't stop yourself from eating them?" Judy was astonished by his story.
“Yeah, I made it through the academy's crash course, skipped the physical part on account of my prior career, but after less than a Mars year* on the streets I could barely keep up with the average crook. So they gave me this job."
“Wow, that's awful." Judy replied.
Clawhauser brushed off the comment and countered with “Nah, I actually like working here at the front desk better than being a beat cop. No real pressure, but I'm still working to make a real difference in the community."
Once the cheetah's story was finished Judy returned her attention to the file he'd given her. It was disappointingly small, with barely more information than the victim's wife had already provided. No witnesses, no leads, and the only surveillance footage available was a 30-second clip of him just walking down the sidewalk, no indication where he was going. Desperate for some point to start from, she played the clip over and over again until something jumped out at her on the fifth playback. Otterton was licking something, Judy paused and pinched the touchscreen to zoom in on his hand. He was eating a red popsicle shaped like a pawprint, recognizing the frozen treat instantly Judy zoomed back out and just barely caught sight of a familiar orange tail right before it swept out of view. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me."
*Mars year = 687 days. Venus year=224.7 days. Vectors use the Earth year for official dating but many civilians use their local year. In Venusian years Judy is 39 and Nick is about 52. In Martian years Nick would be a 17-year old teenager while Judy would barely be out of her tweens. Jupiter's year is 11.86 Earth years and it's colonies are new enough that nobody uses those years.
Sometime later Nic'las P. Wilde was casually walking down the sidewalk pushing a stroller in which Finnick laid “recharging" as he referred to it. Judy pulled up next to him in her cart and addressed him. “Hello, Nick," she said coldly. “I was hoping you could answer a few questions for me."
“Well, well," replied the fox. “If it isn't Officer Carrots. What is it this time? We park in a handicapped zone or something?"
“Ha ha, no." Judy gave a flat laugh at his insult and kept going. “This is actually about one of your customers, Emmett Otterton." She pulled onto the sidewalk and stopped in front of him, jumping out carrying a tablet with a still from the surveillance video. She pointed at Otterton's face with a novelty stylus shaped like a carrot. “I was wondering where you'd seen him last."
Nick continued his disrespectful smirk, “I may have seen him, but I've got better things to do than chat with some little bunny who thinks she's a cop."
“Like what?" Judy asked, visibly annoyed. “Hustling 2 credits worth of popsicles?"
“Hey," Nick replied, indignantly. “I've made 20 credits a day, 687 days a year, since I was 6. Now, I think somewhere a display case is missing a doll so why don't you hop on back home."
At that point Judy had heard enough. “That's it." She whipped out a set of magnetic clamps and bound them around the front wheels of Nick's stroller. As he was staring in astonishment she yelled, “Nic'las Wilde, you are under arrest!"
“For what? Hurting your feewwings?" Nick mocked her.
“Ledger fraud." The con artist abruptly dropped his smug expression. “MarsCo independent vendor permits require not only a small annual fee but also 10% of the profits from sales. Now normally, they deduct this automatically from the Ledger registered with the permit and you say that you make 20 cr/day?" She pulled up a calculator and did some quick math, “let's say, 11 Martian years, that means you've made oh, let's round to 150,000 credits. Now, I happen to have the transaction records for your Ledger right here. Oh, it says that you purchased it 10 years ago, not illegal but a tad bit suspicious don't you think? And what do you know? It lists an income of zero credits the whole time you've owned it, you've just paid the renewal fees from its' automated trades." Judy actually laughed at this point. “Now, I may be just a “dumb bunny" but we are good at multiplying aren't we?"
Nick thought he could see one last opportunity to get out of his sticky situation. “You don't have any proof of this. It's my word against yours."
The micro cop held up her carrot-shaped stylus and depressed a button on the side. “20 credits a day, 687 days a year, since I was 6."
“Actually, it's your word against yours. Never thought this thing's little quick memo feature would prove so useful."
Defeated, Nick let out a sigh of dismay, “What do you want from me bunny?"
“Simple," Judy slid the pen into her vest pocket. “You help me find out what happened to Otterton, and I'll give you the pen. But if not, then the only place you'll be selling secondhand popsicles is the prison cafeteria!"
Finnick jumped out of the stroller, “sorry, can't get tangled up in the police." He clung to the front of Nick's shirt and ripped off the sticker Judy had given him the previous day. “You might want this though." He attached the sticker to Nick's shirt and dropped. “Maybe we'll meet again later, bye." The odd little creature ran off and disappeared behind a corner.
Nick glanced at the fake badge adhered to his chest and then back to Judy, an exasperated expression on his face. “Look, I didn't see where he went, only where he was going."
“Well then, where was he going?"
Another grin crossed the fox's face. “Oh, it's no place for little country bunnies, trust me, you don't want to go there."
“Remind me never to come back here again." Judy shuddered as she recalled the interior of the “Naturist" club. Some Vectors just needed to wear clothes, that's all there was to it.
“Assuming we ever meet again after you give me that pen." Nick said, holding out his hand to take it.
Judy kept the stylus safely in her pocket. “You seem to be pretty useful so far. I might need your help again."
“Lady, I've told you what I know, I got you the skimmer's VIN and any idiot can do a search for those. You can't hold me like this forever."
“Not forever." Judy acceded, taking out her Toggle case to look up the Vehicular Identification Number for the luxury Vertical Take-Off and Landing skimmer that had picked up Otterton. “I've only got about..." she counted quickly on her fingers, “45 hours left to solve this case and then I won't have any reason to keep you on."
Hearing that, the fox got a little idea. While his captor was finagling with the website for the VIN registry he slipped a small vial of liquid out of his pocket and poured a small drop onto the steering column of the bunny cop's cart. De-Rez enzyme spread across the disposable vehicle's composite skin and did what it was designed to. As Judy finished up with the search Nick dropped the vial into a nearby sewer drain and got up on the back of the small cart. “So, where to now, Toots?"
Judy leaped in to her seat and started up the engine. “Rental service in Tundratown, if we go right now we can..." she trailed off as the steering wheel broke off in her hand.
“Huh," Nick observed, acting surprised. “Maybe exceeding the weight limit shortened its' lifespan by a few hours. Kind of thing happens with these disposable vehicles you know."
“Agghhh." Judy banged her head against the disintegrating dashboard. “And I was just filling out tickets for improper disposal just yesterday. Now I'll need to call in a collection truck and find the nearest BuySpot that sells these things, then wait for it to finish printing."
“Well, sounds like you'll be busy for the next few hours then." Nick jumped down from the cart and started walking off. “Since you won't be needing me I guess I'll be going now."
“Not so fast, popsicle hustler." Judy showed off the stylus-recorder briefly before stashing it again. “I've still got this, which means you're sticking with me." She started off in the direction of the nearest BuySpot indicated on her case's map.
Nick shrugged and followed. “Was worth a shot." He muttered as he set off after the little bunny.
By the time Judy had found an appropriate BuySpot, registered her IRPF account, and printed out a replacement cart the overhead lights had dimmed for the station's night cycle. By the time they'd made it to the VTOL rental center it had already closed for the day.
“Well," said Nick, “guess that's it. Can't do anything until they open in the morning."
The bunny cop was fuming. “You had something to do with this, didn't you?" She accused the fox who was trying to look innocent. “That cart had another day left, I checked. You must have done something to deliberately waste my time."
The hustler smirked again. “Well, whatever the case, we're stalled for now and unless you want to keep watching me all night you'd better just gimme that pen now."
Judy shrugged, “okay," and promptly chucked the stylus over the rental center's fence. “Go get it."
Grumbling, Nick set to climbing over the fence. He scaled the old-fashioned chain-link with little difficulty and plopped down in the snow next to where the pen had landed. But after bending over to pick it up he found himself face to face with a certain micro cop again.
“Our contract with the station allows us to cross property lines provided reasonable suspicion of a crime in progress." She explained, grabbing the pen back from the stunned fox. “For instance, if I spot a shifty-looking fox jumping the fence." Judy set off for the skimmers parked next to the main office.
Nick shrugged and followed after her. “You sure you picked the right career? You'd be great on the other side of the law too."
Judy ignored him and started brushing the snow off the VIN plates on the skimmers. Eventually she found the right one and forced open the driver's side door. “Come on," she said to the fox she'd used to get in, “you might as well help me look for evidence."
While Judy swept over the seat looking for loose hairs or fingerprints, Nick opened the glove compartment. Something fell out and landed in his hand and he gasped in shock. Judy snapped her glance over towards him and looked at what he was holding. “The velvety pipes of Jerry Vole!" It was a cartridge with the image of a famous rat singer, “magnetic tape? Really? Who uses that anymore?"
The bunny gave an annoyed sound and jumped up onto the dashboard to look for more oddities. In the process her foot bumped the switch to lower the divider between the driver's cab and the passenger section. Both Vectors turned to look and saw the scene of carnage behind them simultaneously.
“I think that if that otter were here, he was having a very bad day." Nick commented. The clone-leather seats were shredded by what seemed to be bare teeth and there were deep scratches with flecks of dried blood, like someone had tried to tear them open with their fingernails. The speakers were smashed and dangling by loose wires. Judy slipped through the aperture with ease, while Nick just barely forced his way in, half-somersaulting and landing face down in the crevice between the seats and the divider.
The micro cop let herself chuckle a little at the clumsiness of normal-sized Vectors, before realizing that he probably contaminated the evidence. She started looking for fur samples or torn off nails in the rents of the fabric on the other side from where the fox had landed. As she did so, Nick righted himself by grasping a drawer in the door, it popped open revealing a tray of dusty drink glasses. Curious, he picked one up and wiped off the dust.
“Oh, no." He said, noticing a large monogrammed “B" on the glass.
Nick shoved the glass back in quickly and scrambled to try and unlock the door. “I know who this skimmer belongs to, it's owned by a crime boss known as Mr. Big and he does not like me." He found the latch and threw open the door, only to find himself looking up at two very large polar bears. “Oh, Ray, Kev'n. How you guys doing?" The ursines didn't say a word, they merely grabbed the two Vectors by the throats and lifted them out of the skimmer, carrying them both one-handed to another vehicle parked nearby.
They were shoved into the new skimmer and forcibly seated between the two bears, who kept a close watch on them as they drove. Cautiously, Judy whispered a question in Nick's ear. “Whatever did you do to make this guy so mad at you?"
Nick's ear twitched but he didn't dare to give any other sign of having heard her. “I, may have, misunderstood the Spyglass social currency system."
Judy stared at him in confusion. “What does that have to do with..." But she was silenced by a clawed hand the size of her head resting on her shoulder.
Eventually, they stopped and the cop and the hustler were led into an office so cold that snow dripped from the corners. The room was dominated by a massive solid wood desk, before which sat a trap door. As Judy watched in suspense a procession of progressively larger polar bears entered through the door at the other end of the office. The last of whom, an impressive specimen who stood over 12 feet tall, took a seat behind the desk and laid his clasped hands down upon it. Then, to the bunny's amazement, he opened those hands to reveal an aged micro rat seated in a small swivel chair.
“Mr. Big," Nick started, “I can explain..."
But the black-furred rodent cut him off with a small wave of his hand. “Nic'las," he enunciated slowly and carefully, twisting a whisker in thought. “I took you in, taught you everything you know, but you did not understand. Sing, you thought that it was like credit, you could just pay back whatever offenses you'd given and all would be right." Mr. Big stopped twirling his whiskers then and gave the fox a merciless stare. “After your generous gift of a rug woven from the hairs off the butt of a skunk I told you never to show your tail around me or my property again. Yet here I find you, snooping around my business, and with a cop no less." Nick tried to speak again, but one of the bears grabbed him by the throat. “I don't want to hear your excuses Nic'las." He pointed towards Judy, “I want hers."
Judy's temper flared. Who was he to demand an explanation for doing her job? “I am Officer Hopps of the IRPF, and I'm going to find out what you've done with Mr. Otterton if it's the last thing I do!"
Mr. Big sighed heavily. “Were anyone else to say that, they would be in the canal." Another bear wrenched Judy up over the trapdoor and it opened, uncovering a stream of frigid water with floating blocks of ice. Judy froze in fear, she doubted she could survive more than a minute in that even if she didn't drown.
“Daddy!" A shrill voice rang out from the largest bear's shirt pocket and a vaguely familiar female rodent scurried down his sleeve and ran up to Mr. Big's side. “You told me you wouldn't ice her!"
“Baby, Daddy has to show he's not to be messed with." He turned back to the dangling Nick and Judy. “Now, as I was saying. Were you anybody but Judy Hopps Ro'Ra, who saved the life of my only daughter this very morning, you would be in the canal." The bear holding Judy pulled her away from the trapdoor and brought her face-to-face with the crime boss and his offspring. “Given the service you've rendered us I will not only let that insult slide, I will also tell you what you wish to know. As it so happens, Emmett is a good friend of the family. A week ago he sent me a message that he had something that I absolutely needed to know, in person, so I sent my personal skimmer to collect him." Big's face fell in regret as he remembered. “Yet, he never arrived."
“He was attacked?" Judy suggested.
“No," the rodent responded. “He attacked my driver, Mr. Manchas. They were halfway here when all of a sudden he became savage, he shredded the interior of the skimmer and when Manchas landed to check in on him Emmett assaulted him. He then fled, disappearing into the night."
“That doesn't make any sense." Judy thought, confused. “How could somebody like Mr. Otterton just go savage?"
“There is a beast in all of us." Mr. Big mused. “The humans had their beasts as well, and they didn't even have our fangs and claws."
While the cop and the crime boss were talking, the fox was left dangling over freezing death. Eventually, he managed to squeak out “little help, please?" and caught their attention again.
“What is he doing with you anyways?" Big asked.
Judy stammered as she tried to compose an answer. “Well, he's a witness. He saw Mr. Otterton enter the health club where you picked him up."
Nick croaked out something that may have been “blackmail."
Mr. Big actually laughed at that last comment. “Is that so? Well, in that case I suppose I could let you live. This time."
The goon holding him threw Nick flat to the floor next to Judy. The trapdoor closed behind him with a resounding “thud".
Officer Judy Hopps Ro'Ra. Micro Rabbit, Female, age 24
Body: d12 Dexterity 3, Resilience 1, Acuity 2, Strength 2, Presence 1
Mind: d10 Dexterity 2, Resilience 2, Acuity 3, Strength 2, Presence 2
Community: d8 Dexterity 2, Resilience 1, Acuity 2, Strength 2, Presence 1
Economy: d10 Dexterity 2, Resilience 2, Acuity 1, Strength 1, Presence 2
Focus: Balance and Counterbalance
Surgeries: Reclaimed Auditory, Leaping.
Officer Judy Hopps grew up in a MarsCo subsidiary corptown called “Bunnyburrow" in the rural areas of Venus, this corptown was primarily based around old-fashioned agriculture for sale to luxury markets. However she was not satisfied with the prospects of a life growing carrots and blueberries for some distant corporate executive and somehow managed to get into an IRPF academy through Director Lionhart's “Morphism Inclusion Initiative". Despite getting in through a PR move Judy has proven herself determined as any new recruit and seeks to prove herself on the streets of the Quad.
Judy has a couple of reclamation operations as part of her scholarship.
Nick Wilde. Digitigrade Fox, Male, Age 32.
Mind: d10 Dexterity 2, Resilience 1, Acuity 3, Strength 2, Presence 3
Body: d8 Dexterity 2, Resilience 1, Acuity 1, Strength 2, Presence 1
Community: d12 Dexterity 4, Resilience 2, Acuity 3, Strength 3, Presence 2
Economy: d10 Dexterity 2, Resilience 1, Acuity 3, Strength 2, Presence 2
Focus: Friends in Low Places, MacGuffin Muffin
Surgeries: Reclaimed Scent, Genetic Compatibility: Reclaimed Night Vision.
Nic'las Wilde is a Quad native born and bred who spent his childhood in the megastructures of Station 1. After a bad experience with the Junior Explorers he became convinced that if society was going to stereotype him as a deceitful fox he might as well live up to it. He stopped attending the MarsCo public school and started learning the ways of the anarchist street from the Spyglass exec and community judge known as “Mr. Big". At the age of twelve he sold his Ledger and became a full-time hustler, separating the gullible from their credits while still toeing the IRPF line enough to keep operating in their area.
Especially after burning his social credit with his mentor in an incident referred to as “the skunk-butt sale."
Nick has some knockoff genetic reclamations, one of which is technically a felidae reclamation but he heard somewhere that natural foxes (those not based on a general Canis template) had the same reflective eyes as cats so he shelled out extra for the compatibility surgery.