One of the most meaningful traits toward mammals in general, no matter the species, is their capacity to overcome adversities and to grow after experiencing events both good and bad. This trait that shows all mammals can adapt in the same way, and it was something that allowed them to evolve from their previous savage state to the state of sentience that they had in the present days.
Some things took time to be overcome, as they were the kind of trauma that clung onto you, and it was the thing that would follow you for a time, sometimes forever. Others were the kind of annoyance that you were just able to shrug off and continue to move on as if it was nothing.
What had happened into Fangtropolis was not the kind of thing that you can just shrug off.
The destruction of a whole city is not the kind of thing that you can just ignore and continue to live on with.
The deaths of so many are not the kind of thing that can be ignored just like that, unless you have a hole where your soul was supposed to be.
Fangtropolis was one of the most famous cities in the country. It was the home for a population of mammals of over eight million, and it was all destroyed in a single night, resulting in the deaths of many creatures, both prey and predator. Well, they are dead, it's just going be hard to actually identify the bodies to know for sure
Many had managed to escape by leaving the city, however, many more had not been so lucky. As a result, the loss of lives was estimated in the house of millions.
The following morning had been a hard one.
Teams had arrived in the place, coming from all sides. Some came from nearby cities, and others had arrived from more distant locations.
There were reporter teams, wanting to cover the aftermath of the destruction of the city.
There were firefighters and disaster squads, all of them dealing with the damages left behind. As well as medical teams, who had come to deal with anyone that was needing medical support, be them the ones who escaped, or the ones who had somehow, miraculously managed to survive that destruction.
There was also the army. They had come in there without warning and without being announced, as they wanted to investigate this event and see if they could find an answer to what could have caused it. As it seemed, they could fear it had been some kind of attack or a new natural disaster of some kind.
Many had arrived in the city, and all that they saw was destruction.
However, this did not stop them, as all of them were ready to work.
The following morning and afternoon were the beginning of the search for survivors.
Some were hesitant into walking into the city due to what they had seen and heard, however, they discovered that the black mud that had caused that destruction was long gone.
By walking into the city, they saw many burnt buildings and some partially melted, as the mud had left behind a great deal of destruction. Some of the structures were still fragile, with some of the buildings threatening to collapse. This forced the teams to be very careful as they continued to look for any possible survivors among that tragedy.
The most terrifying, however, what was had become of what seemed to be the mammals caught by the mud.
All over the street, it was possible to see blackened forms that resembled mammals. Some of them looked quite convincing, while others only resembled mammals vaguely. They were across the street as if they were statues, in many different positions. In a corner, there was a blackened form that looked like a feline, curled over herself, almost like a kitten, as if she was shielding herself from something. In another corner, there was what seemed to be something that was nearly a skeleton, with a position as if it had been fighting to get free of something, an arm raise and outstretch as if to reach for something, while the maw was open in what seemed like a mute scream.
These scenes were all over the city. This made the search parties unsure if they would actually find someone who had actually managed to survive something like this. Still, they had a job to do, and they intended to do it. So, they searched.
It took them hours, but they finally found the first of the survivors:
It was a young tigress. She was hidden inside an old fridge in the remnants of what once was her house, curled over herself as she hugged a stuffed toy. Somehow, the mud had not managed to reach her. She was tired and trembling, and she was asking for her mommy.
She was the first of the survivors found in the wreckage. Some had managed to escape the destruction and the mud. Some of them had found shelter into the buildings that had not collapsed and that had remained after the destruction was gone. Some of them had gotten in the ceiling of the houses, barely avoiding the destruction. Some of them had somehow managed to remain out of the reach of the mud somehow, and they were able to survive that ordeal against all odds.
Some of them even had barely survived, as they had gained marks and scars that would remind them of that horror for the rest of their lives.
Some of them had been buried under the debris of fallen buildings, but they had still somehow managed to survive, as if by a miracle, to that horror that had befallen to that city and the disaster of a building falling over them. These were considered to be the luckiest ones, even though this definition could surely be up to debate.
Each one of these impossible survivors that were found on the remains of the destroyed city encouraged the teams to continue to search. For the rest of the day.
For the second day.
For the third day.
Non-stopping searches continued, and they found forty-eight survivors.
Forty-eight souls that had escaped that hell.
Forty-eight souls that were still alive in spite of all the odds.
Forty-eight souls, of the nearly eight millions of mammals that had lived in that city.
Forty-eight souls that were found in the three days of restless searches.
Somewhere in England.
The doors of the room were closed. The room was made to be soundproof, both to avoid something would bother the ones inside from the outside, and to avoid what was said inside to be listened to by unwanted parties. However, even so, if someone passed by the door, they could make out the sounds of shouts coming from the inside.
"This is unacceptable!" Said a small mammal with a surprisingly powerful voice, as he slammed his fist into the round table where they were gathering. Some of the other mammals there jumped slightly, as the little mammal fumed in anger. He was a fennec fox, with fur of the color of sand and big ears, as it was common for his species. He had signs of age, as it was possible to see in streaks of silver fur on the sides of his head and on the wrinkles on his face, which got worse with the frown that he had on from his outrage. He wore a white suit on his body with a purple tie around his neck. He could not be bigger than three feet tall, still, he had an imposing voice that would cause anyone to respect him, and the expression of barely contained fury on his face did a lot to increase the power of his presence.
"In the middle of a city!" He shouted again, "With millions of victims! Transmitted on live television!" He said, looking around each one of the mammals that were into the table, predator and prey alike. "How did this happen?! Someone explain to me!"
No one said a word for a while, and the fennec fox than turned to another mammal who was sitting around the table:
"You!" He said as he pointed to a corner of the table, to a wolf who was sitting across the table. This wolf had brown colored fur over his body, with a cream coloration on his under muzzle, and surely going down his chest. His body was tone and muscled, it was the body of someone who was no stranger to the gym, and the fact that he was nearly seven feet tall when he was standing did help in his imposing figure. He also had a mean-looking scar on the side of his face, looking like it had been made by someone with really big claws, which helped to pass the image of a hardcore mammal. He was dressed less elegantly than the fennec, as he wore simple clothing, a forest green shirt and a pair of camouflage pants. His eyes were of a deep crimson color, and they looked back at the fennec as he pointed a finger at him.
"You said you had sent one of your best to the area to offer extra supervision!" The fennec said accusingly. "To prevent things from running out of control!"
"I did." The wolf said to him in a deep voice, his arms crossed as he looked at the fennec. "Clawson has always been one of our best operatives. I personally assigned him for this task because he was the most qualified for it."
"Then how did this happen!?" The fennec demanded. "Was your 'best-qualified agent' an incompetent one!?"
The wolf's lips curled as if he was ready to snarl, and this was enough to reduce the fire of the fennec fox, but not by much.
"This is a disaster " The fennec said in a depressed tone, resting his head in both hands. "A complete and utter disaster "
"We can deal with it." Someone else said. The impala had a fur on her body that was white as snow, which brought out her pink snout and equally pink eyes. She was a slender figure, with a voluptuous breast area, kind of like the famous singer Gazelle. She was wearing a long and elegant white dress and jewelry of silver on her body, including some silvery chains in both of her horns, which were just as pink as her own eyes, something quite unusual, even for albinos, as she seemed to be. She looked at the others as she spoke. "We have dealt with other situations before, and we surely can deal with this."
"It is different this time, and you know it, Vanhorne." Another mammal said. He was a lynx with light brown fur. He had a mass of fur around his lower neck that was of white and black coloration, with black around the trim of his ears and with black stripes and spots on his body, and with white around his yellow eyes. He was probably 4'6'' feet tall when standing, and his fit form imposed respect, as well as the harsh expression on his face. He was wearing a red social shirt, with dark-grey pants and blazer over it. He had his arms crossed and was leaning on his chair.
"We never had quite a situation like that." He spoke in a hard tone.
"We already had occasions in which there were witnesses who couldn't be taken care of." The impala, Vanhorne, spoke. "We were able to discredit them and make the situation solve itself."
"We are not talking about a single witness that could be easily discredited and labeled as a lunatic." The lynx said his tone annoyed now "We are talking about an event that was transmitted to a whole country. Something that was shown to the world and that many saw with their own eyes. We never quite had a situation like that before."
"The understatement of the year." Said another mammal in a sarcastic manner, the one speaking was a goat. He had black fur on his body, with some white colored tuft of fur on the top of his head, kind of looking like hair, and he also had a pair of horns that grew backward, both yellow in coloration and looking quite imposing. His chin was decorated with a beard of white fur. He was wearing social clothes, black long-legged pants, a green shirt with a red tie, and on top of it, he was wearing a cloak of black and grey coloration, with a trinity-theme on its trimming. He had half-moon glasses in his face, allowing him to have a better vision with his eyes of a golden yellow. Though the clothing that he was wearing didn't let it show, he was actually quite fit, not being buff like the wolf, but not being scrawny, looking like a standard healthy goat. His hooved hands were in front of his face, showing the gloves he had, black and with golden detail, matching the anklets that he had around his ankles. "After all, it is not like we have ever had things captured on video and transmitted to the news with frequency. It would make quite hard to keep ourselves in the shadows if we did."
"Oh, shut it, Calves!" The fennec said angrily, glaring at the black goat, who merely looked undisposed back at him through his half-moon glasses.
"Many consider you one of the smartest members of the Council! So instead of wise-cracking, you could try to offer a solution!" The fennec accused. Calves, the goat, merely looked back at him for a few moments, before he said:
"Well, I did offer a solution before." He spoke in a calm tone. "Quite repeatedly, if I were to add."
The fennec rolled his eyes, and slumped into the chair, as the mammals in the table shared looks among themselves.
"I have been telling you for years that we should banish it for good." The goat said, "It has always been too dangerous. Too powerful. Too unpredictable. It was only a matter of time before something like that happened."
"It has been made for centuries." Another voice came, it was a horse. He stood tall in his chair, proudly in his fine black suit, with his dark-brown fur, black nose, beady hazelnut eyes, and with a mane that was considerably long. Matter of fact, his mane was so long that it had to be tied to prevent it from going all the way down to the ground, and even still, it went as far as the middle of his back. His body was also fit, but not like the wolf, revealing that he was someone who was used to being away from the action, he was a researcher and not a soldier. "I must admit that it has run out of control in certain situations, but it has always been in the reach of our management."
"Well, it was not this time." Calves said calmly. "Something went wary. More so than in the previous times."
"Can anyone say what it was?" Said the lynx in the grey blazer. The fennec was the one who reacted to this, pointing at the wolf with a green shirt.
"Mieczyslaw! Your agent was in there! Does he knows what happened!? Has he said anything!?"
The wolf merely looked back at him, and he sighed, with a somber expression.
"He has not reported back since the event." The wolf, Mieczyslaw, spoke to the table, and everyone looked at him in silence. "No one has been able to find him. He is already presumed missing."
"You could very well presume him dead by now." Calves said matter-of-factly. "As well as the other ones."
"Do you think they all died?" The horse asked.
"Did you had any news of them ever since the event?" The goat asked, looking at the wolf who shook his head.
"No." Mieczyslaw spoke. "We have been trying to track them ever since the event, but with no success."
"They are probably hiding!" The fennec said. "They know that they will have to answer for this! The cowards!"
"The ones who might still be alive, you mean." Calves said once more. "After all, it is not uncommon to have few survivors."
"We are still monitoring, but we cannot find anything." Mieczyslaw said once more. "For the past three days our agents in the USA have been following their tracks and keeping watch, they are even keeping track of their clans and other relatives, but they cannot find a trace of them. Is like they have vanished."
"Do you think they all died in that?" Vanhorne asked, and Calves sighed.
"Would it be a surprise? It destroyed a whole city and killed millions."
"And the whole world saw it!" The fennec cried out in dismay, "How do we fix it!?"
"We can't." Mieczyslaw said with his somber tone. "We cannot fix the lives that were lost and destroyed. No one can." He spoke, and the fennec groaned as he heard that.
"Yeah, it is sadly true." Another voice said in a light tone, and the eyes turned to another part of the table, there was a raccoon. He had fur of a very light grey coloration, with the traditional black area around his eyes like a mask, and with white around his muzzle. He had a smile on it, as the other members of the council were used to seeing, and his eyes were of a caramel coloration. He was quite thin for a raccoon and his slender body went through his suit, which did look like something an important business mammal would wear. He was wearing a suit as well, a black one with a blue shirt and a yellow tie. "We cannot change what already happened. However, we can remediate the situation in the position we are in now. I do believe that was what you were referring to, right, Mr. Sanders?"
Sanders, the fennec fox, glared at the raccoon, who had a smile on his face as he looked back at him with his caramel-colored eyes.
"Yes and what are your suggestions, Maskell?"
"Misleading and misinformation, of course." The raccoon said in a cheery tone, "This is basically the base of all that we do, right?"
"The only thing that you do, you mean." The fennec said as if he was noting a fact. Many raccoons would take offense to what was just said, but Maskell seemed to actually consider it a compliment.
"Mammals tend to believe in nearly anything, as long as it is something that they want to hear. We just need to give them an explanation that will please them, and they might even let go of it."
"There is no way anyone can let go of that." Mieczyslaw said.
"True, but we can offer them an explanation that will prevent them from asking more questions." Maskell continued. "Just make them look into another direction to maintain them in their state of blissful ignorance."
"Have you seen the images of the event that were transmitted?" Calves asked and, as the goat expected, there was not an answer. "It was an explosion of red light that punched a hole in the air, which cascaded a black mud that set anything it touched on fire. It was transmitted live in national scale to all the USA, and in the past three days it has been the main topic of all news in the country, and is already gaining space in the international news." The goat said, looking at the raccoon as he spoke that. "Many questions are already being asked, some questions that even you will find hard to answer. If you manage to make them look away from this, I'll be impressed."
"We have to remediate the situation!" Sanders said as he slammed a paw on the table again. "We have kept ourselves out of sight for centuries! We cannot allow everything to crumble down now! We need to make sure that we remain a secret!" The mammals in the table agreed with him, and the goat merely sighed.
"What if it's no longer possible?"
Like a catacomb that could devastate a whole country, that single question had an impact in every single mammal present. That single question carried all of their fears and worries in it. That single question made feelings of dread creep upon them, and filled them with worry about the answer for it.
"You should not be saying these things!" Sanders said in annoyance. "You should not even be thinking these things, Calves!"
"I'm just asking a question that I know is in everyone's minds." The goat spoke, still sounding calm as he spoke. "As it was already spoken, this situation is different from all of the ones we had before. So, I guess we are all wondering if keeping a secret might even be possible by now."
"We will not admit defeat!" Sanders demanded, the volume of his voice surprising for someone that small. "We are the Council, and we cannot even consider this a possibility, and you, as a member of this council, should not be speaking such things!" The fennec said, pointing an accusing finger to the goat, who only looked back at him.
"We need to do our best now." Another voice came, and the eyes turned to another member of the gathering. Another wolf, this one bigger than Mieczyslaw, with a sleeveless shirt that allowed everyone to see his muscled arms, and loose pants, both in shades of blue. His body was bulky and toned, covered into the fur of a deep grey coloration, and his eyes were yellow like gold, and both had a serious but composed expression to them.
"We are the Council, and as so, we can do nothing more than to attain to our duties." The big wolf spoke, and Maskell spoke:
"Thank you, Mr. Lupine, for stating the obvious."
The other members of the table glared angrily at the raccoon, but he was unfazed, and so was Lupine, the wolf.
"Each one of us in here has achieved the position we have now due to our knowledge, our power, and our responsibility, and now, it is an occasion in which we must prove that we do deserve to be part of this council." He spoke, and right after that, there was a knock on the door.
"Who is it!?" Sanders demanded, turning to the door, and after a few seconds, the door opened, to reveal the face of a reindeer with dark-brown fur and modest antlers decorating his head. His green eyes flicked in between the faces of the ones in the table, faces that looked intently back at him before he met the eyes of a certain mammal.
"Hmmm. P-Pr. Calves."
"Harvey." The goat said seriously as he looked at the younger mammal. "I told you to wait."
"I-I know, but is that I-I was browsing on the internet " He spoke, and these words granted many frowning looks from the other members of the council. "I found a thing."
"If it is another video of penguins it can wait." The goat said.
"No, it's not!" The reindeer said, and he approached. He was carrying a computer in his paws. The reindeer dressed in what seemed to be some kind of school uniform of crimson and white ran to the side of the black goat and started to talk with him in rushed whispers. This seemed to get the goat's attention as he started to discuss with the reindeer.
Sanders rolled his eyes and mumbled to himself.
"How did he even became a member of this Council "
"You know Calves, you give your students way too much freedom." The horse with the very long mane spoke but Calves paid him little mind.
"As I was saying." Lupine said, "Each one of us is a member of the prestige of our community, not only in this country, but worldwide." He spoke to each member of the council present, even Calves, who seemed now to be looking at the computer and seeing what the reindeer had to show him. "Each one of us is an individual of power and respect, and we have many times showed that we are the fittest to make the best decisions. Now, it is no different."
He looked at each one of them. "Yes, this situation is different from all the ones we ever had, yes, it is going to be a difficult time, and yes, we all are going to face our greatest worries and problems with the coming days. However, as members of this council, we are to push through the difficulties and to prove our value. This council now must act." He said, punctuating his word by tapping his claw in the table, and there was a collective mumble of agreement from the rest of the table.
"This council must act with precision, efficiency, and good sense. Most of all, we must act with unity towards our goal and with determination, if we are to have any chance to remediate this. It might be a great challenge, but we need to keep our focus on the task ahead of us." Lupine said, and the table all agreed with him, meanwhile, Calves was just looking at the computer still.
"Now, Maskell." Lupine turned to the raccoon. "I do believe you did had some ideas on how to proceed-"
"Oh my " Calves said, interrupting the wolf as the eyes now turned to him. He was looking at the screen of the electronic device, a hand over his chin as he had a concerned expression on his face. He looked up from the screen, looking at the mammals all gathered in that table, all of which had now their eyes on him.
"We might have yet another problem "
The ones gathered were looking at him, some of them with raised eyebrows, and in seeing their reactions, the goat turned the computer around so they could see the screen and pressed play.
The members looked at the image that was playing before them, and soon, their confused expressions turned into expressions of surprise, shock, even of horror.
"Oh, for crying out loud!" Sanders screamed on top of his lungs before his head smacked into the table in defeat. Meanwhile, the rest of the council was in an uproar.
The time you take to recover from something depends on how bad that something was. If it was a fight with a friend, it might take only a few hours or a few days. If it was a death in the family, it could surely take days, and you would never quite get over it.
If it was the terrible destruction of a whole city and the death of its whole population, well, it surely it would take a while. Some mammals thought it was stupid to cry over other mammals that you barely knew. Judy Hopps was not among these. She had cried in the night she witnessed that destruction. She spends the night hugging Nick, and in the next morning, she barely felt like getting up from bed for all the morning and the beginning of the afternoon.
And now, nearly three days later
" And the searches for survivors continue in the remains of what once was Fangtropolis." A female voice came from the television. "Up until now four dozens of survivors were found among the destruction. Searches are continuing as we speak, and some of the teams-"
Judy rose her hand and pressed the remote's button, changing the channel.
"-Specialists are still trying to come with an explanation of the event that resulted in the destruction of Fangtropolis." A male voice came. "Both the army and the government have, up until now, remained in silence over the rumors of a new kind of weapon-"
"-It is just crazy, you know?" A male voice came from the television, and continued: "We were supposed to be in the town that night My family and I I was to have a meeting, but I canceled it in the last moment to have a spontaneous vacation with my wife and our kittens We left before sunset. We were still on the road when that happened. The kittens had fallen asleep when I heard the news through the radio. I could barely believe it I-if I had not canceled my meeting and decide to go for this vacation... It could have been us It could have been me and my family among the victims I Oh, God "
With a grunt, the bunny rose her hand and clicked another button, this time she turned the television off. She was sitting on her desk, the small television on her cubicle just turned off as she looked at the thing she had improvised for herself.
It was a blackboard that she often used to have notes and to write down important things that she had to remember and to put some of her pictures from family and friends. However, she had turned it into a small "research center" concerning the disaster of Fangtropolis, what was being called by some as "Darkest Hour".
There were a lot of notes and hypothesis drew in it, some of it crossed, some connected to other notes and hypothesis and even to pictures and even random words. Judy had started to work in there on her first day back work after their off Sunday. She had been designed to do desk duty, along with Nick, and she had used that time to try to make sense of all that had happened. In less than one hour, she had a mural ready, and she had been working on it in every free time she got, doing researches online, printing images and news reports from online, and adding them to the mural.
She was intending to repeat the process in that day, as she had once more been assigned to desk duty. She was just looking in her computer, looking in the news websites to see if she could find anything new.
Judy was focused on the screen, but her ear twitched as she could hear someone approaching.
"Hey, there, officer Carrots." Came the familiar voice of a fox. Judy only gave a quick "hi, Nick" as she did not move her eyes away from the computer. There was a brief silence as the fox approached, and placed a box in the desk. However, Judy seemed not to have even noticed.
"Really, Carrots?" Nick said, "Not even a look in the eyes? And after the work, I had to find a donut store that sold sweet carrot-flavored donuts "
Judy rolled her eyes but continued focused on the screen. "Thanks for that. I'll eat it later during my break." She spoke, as she screened over another news website, seeing a new article that was just posted about "The Darkest Hour".
"Carrots Carrots! Judy." Nick said, and this was enough to make her stop a moment, for it was rare for Nick to call her by her first name. Also, the fact that he had placed a paw on her arm helped to get her attention.
She took her eyes off the computer and looked at Nick. He was once more on his police uniform, and he had an expression on his face as Judy looked at him. It was quite rare to see anything break to his cynic façade. However, ever since the event of three nights ago, it seemed that the façade had shattered, and Nick had been trying to rebuild it. It was clear that the smug smile was not what it was before that night, still, Nick seemed to be recovering with time. Still, it was possible to see past the mask that he once wore easier now, and Judy could see the genuine worry as he looked at her.
"Judy, I think that you are focusing way too much on the Fangtropolis thing." He said genuinely. "I think that Chief Buffalo-Butt's idea of giving us both desk duties was to try and take our heads off this subject for a while."
Judy looked back at him serious, as she spoke:
"I can't just let it go Nick." She had that familiar intensity in her eyes as she spoke that. "I just can't "
"I know." Nick said. "But you need to take your mind off it for a little bit." The fox said, holding her by the shoulders. "You need to focus on, I don't know, making the reports about the antelope that was caught shoplifting last week. Or maybe about checking the traffic cameras to see if you can catch someone going through a red light. Because this-" Nick gestured at her "disaster mural" in which she worked at every chance she got "-is surely not good for you."
Judy looked down, and she was thinking of a reply to this when another voice came.
"It sure isn't."
Both mammals looked up to see the bigger mammal in there. Chief Bogo looked down on the two mammals, his usual expression as he looked at the two mammals, who seemed surprised for seeing him.
"I heard Nick's footsteps, but I could not hear his hooves how can someone so big be so silent?" Judy thought as she looked at her boss.
"Hopps, I remember clearly telling you to focus on the work here at the station." The buffalo said, and he gave a glance at the mural that the bunny had made. "That does not look like the work in the station."
Judy needed a few moments to recover, but she did, and she said. "I was just collecting facts, sir. Just a regular investigation."
"Except that, I didn't assign you to do this." Bogo said seriously as he looked down on the bunny. "Neither could I, because this is no jurisdiction of the ZPD. This is the jurisdiction of the national agencies, like the ZIA and the FBI. They are the ones who are investigating this thing."
"AND-" Bogo said, cutting the bunny off, "-if you are really investigating it on your own, unauthorized, and without a warrant of the ones with the jurisdiction, you are breaking a lot of rules. And that is something that none of us expects from Officer Judy Hopps."
Judy didn't have an answer to that. Yes, she knew that it was not her jurisdiction and that she should not be "investigating" it. She even found out one or to excuses for that, like saying that she was doing it as part of personal research on the subject, so maybe she could at some time tip the ones investigating about the subject. However, under the hard gaze of the buffalo, the excuses she had come up with were lost within seconds.
There was a long moment of silence before the buffalo sighed, and he said:
"I know that it affected you." He spoke. "Affected everyone, believe me. I spent the rest of that night receiving calls from nearly everyone. The mayor. The mammals in the city hall. Some other chiefs from other precincts. Mammals who had watched that and wanted to know what it was and for me to do something about that "
There was another brief silence, and Bogo continued:
"There is nothing we can do now." He spoke, sounding somber. "Nothing we can do about the subject. That is a sad truth. It is a national matter, and as so, it is the jurisdiction of the national agencies. We have to accept it, even though we might really want to do something about the matter."
Judy noticed the look on his eyes, and she knew: the Chief also wanted to do something about the matter, but his paws were tied by the rules. That was something that sometimes happens in the police work, the very same rules that they upheld and followed sometimes prevented them from acting. This was the case with jurisdictions, and they could not just go over the rules to assume the case as their own as they showed in the tv series. That was just not the way things went.
After a few moments, the bunny asked:
"What can we do then?"
"Our job." Was Bogo's simple answer. "We focus on the now. We do what we can. We solve what is within our reach." He looked at the two officers. "That is the job of police officers. It is all that we can do."
There was a small silence as Judy and Nick both acknowledged these words. A silence that was broken when the chief once more spoke:
"A job, that you two need to do."
"Okie Dokie." Nick said with a salute, as he was turning around to go back to his own desk, while Judy was about to go back working on hers' when the buffalo added.
"You both are going in the streets."
This made both mammals stop and look back at the much bigger mammal.
"Excuse me?" Judy asked, "Sir, I thought we both had been assigned to be on desk duty today."
"You were." Bogo said, "But we just received information about a public disturbance downtown. All the other officers have already been dispatched to their own assignments, and we don't have anyone available to check on this. So, I'm putting you two to take care of this."
The bunny and fox shared a look.
"It is basically a simple call of a mammal who claims that some guys are creating a ruckus on the street. Nothing serious, you just go in there to check and to apprehend anyone who is actually causing trouble. It is routine. Just pass by Clawhauser and he will give you the exact address."
The buffalo didn't even wait for their answer, as he just turned around and walked away. The two mammals stayed behind, and within the silence, Nick said:
"Well, it looks like we do have a job, right?" He said, making the bunny look at him. He smiled at her and asked:
"Ready to make the world a better place?"
Judy looked at him, seeing how Nick was now using her own motto on her, and she couldn't help but smile.
The duo was soon passing by Clawhauser, who was silently munching on some donuts. In the past days, the cheetah had not been as giddy and bubbly as he usually was. Many attributed it to the fact that he was one of the mammals who had watched the event unfold live by television, and that the cheetah was always sensitive about things. He had gotten impressed by the images that he saw, and more than once, Judy could swear that she saw him crying at a corner. Everyone tried to cheer him up the best they could, and they managed to improve his mood slightly. Still, it was clear that what happened had a great impact on him.
He gave them the address downtown, and after Nick made a little joke to cheer up the cheetah, which granted a small smile, the double was going into their cruiser and driving in direction to the place.
As she drove, Judy thought that maybe it was a good way of taking her mind off the subject for a while. Maybe it would be good for her, even because, focusing on that single subject for a very long time could not be healthy for her. As she looked back at her partner, who was wearing his shades once more and smiling his usual smirk at her, she sighed and drove to their next assignment.
The drive was of nearly fifteen minutes, and soon, the duo was parking into a corner near the street, and as soon as they did, a mammal came very quickly to meet them.
It was a female armadillo. She had a grayish-brown coloration on her body and on the shell on her back. She wore a red blouse and a white long skirt on her, which, like all armadillos, was beneath her shell. The part that connected the shell of their backs was only in the middle of the back, leaving the rest of it as space through which the fabric could slide to be fit within the form. Nick knew this now, but when he was younger, he actually thought that the armadillos could remove their shells to be able to wear clothes. This armadillo was just a little bit shorter than Nick, and she came to them with a serious expression on her face.
"Are you the cops? Good, because I was wondering how long would you take to arrive-" She started, but stopped in her tracks when she looked at Nick. She had a raised eyebrow as she looked at him up and down. The expression on her face was one that Nick was familiar with, and he just kept his smirk on his face as he lowered his shades and looked at her, giving a wink.
The armadillo looked at him with outrage, and she seemed ready to say something when Judy cut in.
"I'm sorry, are you the one who called about a case of order disturbance?"
"Yes, it was me!" The armadillo said. "There are some low lives that are causing a ruckus on the street. I want you to arrest them."
"Some low lives, you say?" Nick said, "What exactly are they doing?"
"They are making a lot of noise and making a fuss!" The armadillo said, deliberating not looking at Nick, and talking only to Judy. "Also, two of them have taken off their shirts! In the middle of the street! How indecent..."
"So, they are disturbing order and also being indecent?" Judy asked. "Where are they, exactly?"
"Right this way. Come with me! And get your guns, they are troublesome!" She said, gesturing for them to follow, and the two mammals shared a look before they followed the armadillo lady.
Nick already had an impression in that armadillo lady, and she seemed like the kind of lady that didn't like free expression and diversity, and it wasn't just because of the way that she treated him, even though this did speak a few things about her.
As they followed her, soon they were spotting what seemed to be an agglomeration of mammals.
"Is that all of them?" Judy asked. "Because if it is, we might need back up."
"Nah, these are just curious." The armadillo said, sounding quite annoyed. "They have all stopped to watch these three clowns."
As they approached, the group of mammals in front of them had a small uproar, of what actually sounded somewhat like applauses and "woos". They also could hear some music coming from there as if someone was actually playing in there.
"Would the 'lowlifes' by any chance be a band?" Nick said as the sound became clearer as they came closer. "Because they are actually quite good."
The armadillo once more ignored him completely, and she continued to guide them in direction to the crowd.
"Excuse me. Move over. Mover over. I have cops with me!"
The armadillo was guiding them through that crowd. Many of the mammals were bigger than her, and while it was easy to pass through the legs of the much taller ones, they had to make a little effort to pass by some of the other mammals, but they were quick to open space when they saw that Nick and Judy both had police uniforms.
"There are they!" The armadillo lady said once they moved past the crowd, and now where t what seemed to be the center of the gathering. She was pointing forward, and looking over, Nick and Judy looked at the "lowlifes" that the lady was talking about. Three of them, to be precise, and all of them looked to be quite hard to miss.
The first one, the one who called the most attention, was a horse. He was a tall figure, standing on nearly seven feet tall, and with a toned physique, and it was possible to see what became the horse was shirtless. The fur on his body was of a milky chocolate-brown coloration, hands which had hooved fingers, and his head had a mane of black fur, and his forehead had a white marking that looked like a star. He was wearing a pair of jeans pants, with symbols in the legs that looked like the suits of cards. A black tissue belt held the pants to his body, but the pants were a little down, which allowed seeing glimpses of his colorful underwear. The fact that the horse was partially naked would make him quite worthy of attraction. However, what made him stand out was the fact that he was breakdancing like a pro. The horse moved in the rhythm of the music that was playing, swinging his legs and arms around in the rhythm, moving his body with skill and style. And he was not doing just some foot-in-foot-out thing, he was doing complex moves, which included backflips and handstands, with his hooves leaving the ground and then coming back down to tap hard in the concrete of the sidewalk. All the while, the horse had a smile on his face, and he would occasionally wink and point at the crowd, moments in which the crowd would have to applaud in admiration.
In the background, there was another mammal, which was the source of the music. It was a buff wolf, standing 6'2'' feet tall, and with a physique that would be fit for someone who went to the gym every day. He too was without a shirt, and it was possible to see his muscles, as well as the golden piercings that he had on his nipples. The wolf had black fur on his body, with a grey shade on his chest and down his stomach. On his head, there was a mix of shades, as the fur on the top of his head and down on his neck and back there was a mix of violet and blue, undoubtedly the result of dye. It was also possible to notice that the wolf had the same vibrant shades polishing his claws, both on his hands and on his feet. He was wearing a pair of khaki pants that were worm out and thorn. He was holding an electric guitar that was of the same shades of violet and blue of his dyed fur, and he was playing it as the horse continued to dance. The wolf threw and shook his head like a rock star as he played the guitar with skill.
The guitar made a sound as it was connected to the sound equipment of another mammal. This one was also a canine, but not a wolf. It was some kind of dog. It was hard to identify which specific breed, but he was shorter than the wolf, standing in good 4'9'' feet tall, with clothing that made it seem that he had just come out of a rave. He was wearing some bright neon-purple jacket on his body, with black gloves on his paws and a pair of black pants that had lines in them of the same shade of neon purple. The more striking about the wolf was that the fur that was visible on his head was blue, it probably was also dye, and it contracted with the white on his muzzle and down his jawline and neck. The wolf was using some portable mixer, which surely he was using to work the sound of the guitar of the wolf. The dog also had a smile on his face, and he was slightly bobbing his head in the rhythm of the tune of rock that the wolf was playing.
"Has the circus arrived?" Nick asked as he looked at the three mammals who seemed to be putting their own show in the streets. Judy had a raised eyebrow as she looked at this, and the armadillo lady seemed as if she just had enough.
"So, aren't you going to arrest them?" She asked, gesturing at the three mammals, who continued to play, mix, and dance in the streets, granting some reactions from the crowd that had gathered to watch them.
"For what, exactly?" Nick asked.
"You are cops, and your job is to arrest them!" Was the armadillo's answer, and she once more seemed to be deliberating ignoring Nick. Judy gave her a glare for her tone and for her actions towards her partner, but she sighed.
"Come, Nick." The bunny said. "Let's have a talk with these mammals." Soon Nick was following the bunny, and as they came closer, the music became more intense, as the horse answered by dancing more frenetically, looking like he was performing in a dancing contest.
"Excuse me." Judy said, but the horse continued to dance as if he had not heard her, as he started to make backflips, his hooves clopping on the floor each time he returned to it.
"Man, he is good." Was Nick's thought. Judy didn't liked being ignored.
"Excuse me! Sir!" The bunny said, louder, so her voice would be above the sound of the guitar. The horse landed on the ground in a dramatic pose. He looked over at the bunny and fox, with a smile on his face.
"Something wrong, officers?" He asked, right before he got back up and continued to dance.
"Nothing much." Nick said, as the horse was still dancing break, "Only someone seems to be bothered by you doing this. Not me, of course. You are a pretty good dancer."
"Thank you." The horse said, as he was now making a few complex moves that involved handstands, so his head was on the same level as the two shorter mammals. "I have been practicing. My father always said it was useless, and he said that investing my time on that was a waste and that it was a disgrace. So, no wonder I focused so much of my attention on it."
"Sir, may I ask you where is your shirt?" Judy asked.
"Right there, next to Butch's." The horse said.
"And Butch is "
"The wolf with the guitar." The horse said. "The one in the mixer is Evan, and my name is Percy." The horse said, and he once more was back on his hooves, and he was dancing rhythmically as the wolf howled as he made a long solo with the guitar. Some wolves in the crowd actually howled back.
Nick rolled his eyes. "Why do they always howl?"
"And why have you took your shirts off?"
"I did it because it was easier for me to dance." The horse said, "Butch I don't know, maybe because he wanted to show his new nipple piercings. It is not illegal, as far as I know."
"You are right." Nick said, "But the lady in there don't really like that you guys are shirtless."
The horse looked at Nick and followed his gesture to the armadillo lady that was looking at them as if they were criminals. The horse snorted, as he made a backflip and landed on his hooves once more. He put his tongue out, looking right at the woman, making a heart with his hands, and winking at her. She looked outraged by this.
Nick chuckled at this. The horse had personality, that much he could say.
The horse then stopped and turned to the two canines. "Okay, guys! We are done here!"
"What? Seriously?" The wolf said, stopping and looking at him. "I was about to put on a show!" He whined in to complain.
"Leave it for next time." The horse said. "Now gather your things, we are leaving." He turned to the two cops, "Officers." He said by inclining his head respectfully, and he was soon walking away.
Nick returned the gestured, and he and Judy were about to turn and leave, but someone was not happy with the turn that this situation was taking.
"Hey! Why are you letting them go?" The armadillo lady asked as she stepped forward. "Arrest them!"
"Why?" Nick asked, and the armadillo once more ignored him.
"As a good and upstanding citizen I demand you to arrest these lowlifes now!"
Judy looked at the woman, and soon, she was speaking:
"Ma'am, I have no reasons to arrest any of them."
"They are not breaking any law." Judy said, more sternly. "I cannot arrest them for being indecent, for even though it is unusual for someone to remove their shirt in the middle of the street, it does not constitute nudity. I cannot arrest them for order disturbance, for they are in a public place, and they are not bothering too many people. I cannot arrest them for performing in the street, for the constitution says that is part of their freedom of expression, a matter of fact, the laws say that I should defend their right to perform, so long as they do not disrespect someone else's rights."
The armadillo looked at her, and the bunny had her arms crossed. "Long story short: they have not broken any law or made anything that constitutes a felony, so I have no reasons or grounds to arrest them on anything."
"So you will just let these low lives walk away?" The armadillo said. "This is an absurd! These mammals are going to start a problem!"
"Why do you think that?" Judy asked.
"Just look at them!" She said, gesturing to the mammals who were getting ready to leave, and who was now looking at her as she made her speech. "The ripped clothing! The dyed fur! I know troublemakers when I see them! These three need to be put behind bars before they start causing trouble!"
Nick lowered his shades to look at the lady, and Judy had a serious look on her face as she looked at the mammal before her.
"So, this is why you want them to be arrested?" Judy asked. "Because they don't look proper? Lady, they have the right to express themselves, a right that is granted to them by law."
"Just leave it, Carrots." Nick said, "I guess that this lady has her point. Let's just go and have some grub before going back to the precinct."
"And you stay out of this!" The armadillo said, rather aggressively.
"Ma'am, do not speak to my partner like that!" Judy said to her. "He is a cop, he is an honest mammal, and he does deserve to be treated with respect!"
The armadillo reeled back a bit from her outburst, but she did not let it go.
"These three are going to cause troubles. Don't say I didn't warn you."
"We are leaving already." The horse said as he put his shirt back. "You don't need to rip out your panties and scream. We are just minding our own business."
"You should be doing something other than walking in the streets!" The armadillo said, pointing at the horse. "You should be studying! Or working! Not going around acting like a clown! These two I can even understand why, but you!?"
The horse looked at her, and so did the two canids that were with him.
"You should have a little more decorum and civility! What kind of respectable mammal dances like a madman in the middle of the street?"
"One that Likes to have fun and doesn't give fudge to what others think." The horse said, with the same calm smile on his face. "After all, you only live once, so you got to make it count, right? Have fun and do the best you can.
The armadillo "Hmphed!" as she looked at the horse with disdain. "These are exactly the kinds of excuses that riffraff says to justify why they keep doing nothing."
"Ma'am." Judy said, "I'll have to ask you to calm down. You seem to be getting too much nervous."
The armadillo ignored Judy and continued to focus her attention to the mammals in there. Who, by the way, seemed to be giving her very little mind. They were just turning around to leave.
"It is mammals like you that become a turmoil to the world! Good for nothing scums."
The three mammals stopped in their tracks. In better words, the horse stopped in his tracks, his ears twitching. The other canines also stopped, but they were staring at the horse. One of them said a curse, while the other had his hands in his mouth.
They looked scared.
"What did you just said, old lady?" The horse said, his voice neutral, but Nick noticed the change in the attitude of the two other mammals, and he could see that they were backing away from the horse slowly, looking at him as if he was a ticking bomb about to explode.
"That you all are nothing but trouble to society! Or am I wrong?" The woman continued, oblivious to the way that the canines were looking at the horse. The horse didn't turn to her, he still had his back at the lady, and the only movement that was possible to see from him was the twitching of one of his ears, and it almost looked like some sort of nervous tic.
"You called me 'good for nothing' " the horse said, his voice growing low, and Nick was starting to have a bad feeling. "Didn't you?"
"C-come on now, Percy." The wolf said, and he looked scared. "I-I'm sure that she didn't mean that "
"Darn I did!" The armadillo said. "After all, the ones like you that keep doing these things, instead of dedicating themselves to something good and productive are only some good for nothing scums!" She said, and the canines both looked at her, completely mortified. "You are just a bunch of lowlifes who don't do anything good or productive! This is so deplorable! Your families must be so ashamed for knowing that you are out doing things like that!"
Judy looked at the woman, she had quite a disgusting look into her face, and Nick looked at her as he saw his suspicions being confirmed. The horse continued with his back turned to her, and his ear twitched even more. The two mammals took a few more steps back, and they looked like they were just expecting a tragedy to happen.
After a few seconds, the horse slowly turned around, and he was looking at the armadillo with a smile on his face. However, Nick could see the strangest look in his eyes, one that gave him a chill running from the back of his neck to the tip of his tail.
"You know, lady, you do remind me of my mother " The horse said, and he gave a step in her direction.
"P-Percy " The wolf said. "L-let's not do anything crazy now ." He seemed that he wanted to reason, but the horse was not listening to him.
"Oh, yes " The horse said, his eyes on the armadillo, who was now becoming quite uncomfortable with the way that he was looking at her. "These things you said the look you have in your eyes looking at me " The horse raised his arm, and his hand was turned up, and it was possible to see something glowing in it.
"Percy!" The wolf said, but he was ignored. The glow that had formed in the hand of the horse was more intense now, and it was possible to see that it was some kind of flame. Nick raised an eyebrow as he looked at that, was it some kind of trick?
However, soon, the flame moved out of his hand and started to circle around his arm, and the flame seemed to be changing colors as it moved on his arm. It stopped once more in the palm of his hand, as the horse now held it away from his body.
"The last time I saw her " the horse said, as the flame in his hand started to grow, it was changing colors as it grew. "She said to me the exact same words that you have just repeated " The horse said, and the fire in his hand had grown and taken the shape of a heart, one that glowed in a strong, violet flame.
All the mammals who were looking at it were amazed. Including the mammals who were the closest, namely: Nick, Judy, and the armadillo lady, who looked terrified.
"Oh, yes " The horse said, and he turned to look at the woman. "You do remind me so much of my mother "
There was a moment of silence when the fire that made out the heart suddenly grew in intensity and changed from the violet to a strong shade of red.