So, the other day I went and saw Zootopia after many months of hype online. Needless to say, it was amazing. Absolutely beautiful animation, addressing adult issues like bias and prejudice without being preachy, and characters and acting that put many more adult movies to shame. I mean hell, if Bella and Edward had half the chemistry Judy and Nick have - or better, if Kristen Stewart could act half as well as an animated bunny - then Twilight wouldn't have nearly as bad (still bad, but "Forgettably" bad, not "This is the worst thing I've ever seen" bad).
Over on Spacebattles . com, some guys were talking about the film, and potential ideas for fanfiction and crossovers and whatnot. I couldn't help but think that, since Disney currently owns Marvel and the MCU, mixing these two makes a certain amount of sense. And out of all potential Marvel heroes, villains and characters, who would be a better fit for a world populated with anthropomorphic animals than everyone's favorite gun-toting raccoon, Rocket?
Comments and critiques are welcome, here perhaps more than others. Characterization may be the one thing I'm most concerned about by doing this. While doing Rocket himself should be relatively easy (I'll be using the movie version of him, with some elements from the comics to build upon his backstory), getting Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde is most important here, I believe. Both of them were so rich and alive - they more or less carried the film - yet I'm trying to work off of seeing the movie once (and whatever fanworks I come across). At least when I did Peace and Isolation or Lucario of House Arryn, either they were TV shows or movies on Youtube I could easily refresh my memory (Ponies, Lucario, Ned Stark), or characters that were mostly blank slates and I could add or make up stuff as I went along (God-Emperor, Longinus, Jon Arryn). Anything to help nail them down when I get there would be greatly appreciated.
And finally, disclaimer - I don't own either Zootopia or Guardians of the Galaxy (If I did, you could bet your ass I'd have the guys at Marvel make a Zootopia comic, and make it part of the Marvel multiverse once Secret War is done). Zootopia of course is owned by Disney, and Guardians of the Galaxy is owned by Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios... which are also owned by Disney. Enjoy.
Well, this sucks.
Rocket Raccoon, former member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, couldn't help but think that as he hung onto a piece of debris that used to be his ship, floating in the empty white void, unable to move or breathe, unable to do anything, really. It wasn't space as he knew it - Oh no, he would've died hours ago if it was, instead of stuck in this purgatory dimension. He didn't even know what happened - one moment he was on his way to Knowhere with Peter Quill, Drax and Gamora after surviving the Battle of Xandar, the next there was a massive explosion, the feeling of falling through space, and then waking up... here. Wherever here is.
What happened? He wondered, staring out at the same stretch of emptiness he'd been staring at the last unknown amount of time. It couldn't have been that bomb I left in the box, could it? I thought I deactivated the damn thing. Yeah, I must've. We had to have hit an asteroid or somethin'... What about the other one? Wait, why did I build another one?... Ugh, if the guys find out, I'm never going to here the end of it.
That was the big question though: Would they ever hear about it? Were they all dead? Was he dead? And Groot... Shit, where was he? No. No, not again! If anything happened to him, after all he'd done for them, after all he did for him...
Did this universe just experience a Convergence?
If the raccoon could, he would've jumped out of his fur. Someone was here, and it sounded like they were talking right into his ear. A deep, metallic voice that sounded powerful and malevolent, full of that cocky arrogance all supervillains seem to have.
Maybe, but it seems like there was some spillage. Another voice said, opposite ear. This one sounded older, gentle yet still enthusiastic. Why? Are you disappointed that you couldn't add another chunk to your Battleworld?
Don't patronize me, old man! You seem content letting the Beyonders run roughshod over the multiverse, leaving me to stop them and pick up the pieces. I would hope that you would be more appreciative of my efforts to salvage what's left of your work, from the DOOM that you let grow in your absence.
Ah, Victor. Even as a God, you have much to learn. Though you may think you've seen infinite worlds in your efforts to stop the Convergence, that is only a grain of sand in the vast expanse of Creation. Even if you were to become more powerful than me, One who is Above All Things, you would still be but a small player in the greatest of stories. Everything that the Beyonders have destroyed is only a few branches in the great tree of the Creation, one that will grow back soon enough. And all the worlds that you have laid claim to will return to their rightful place, when all is said and done.
If this is your attempt to humble me, I'm afraid it is rather lacking. But I digress. Rocket felt the voices inside his mind now, energy building up around him like an Ion Cannon revving up to fire. His insides felt cold, as the void around him grew dark and dreary. In the distance, he could here the sounds of a battle - metal clashing, people shouting, explosions echoing all around. I take it this little... rodent here is for me? There's a place for everyone in Battleworld, even for one as inconsequential as him.
Not this time. The energy around him grew, but it seemed to change, like a negative to positive charge. Now he felt like he was on fire, everything around him melting and burning as he fell into a glowing light. There was the soft beat of music in the air, cheerful and full of life. I've been talking with... an old friend of mine. He's expressed interest in this fella here, something about a brand new world for creatures like him.
Oh, you mean 'The Mouse' is showing off one of his new creations?... Very well. It might just amuse me, watching him get the 'perfect' world he's been searching for.
Ha! My dear Doctor, there's no perfect world, even in utopias. For if everything in life was perfect, what would there be left to strive for?
With those words of wisdom echoing in his mind, Rocket passed through a blinding white light, and in a moment of agony and ecstasy, fell into deep slumber...
The raccoon slowly came back to consciousness, the ground underneath him vibrating with a gentle hum. A maglev train of some kind, Monorail perhaps? He opened his eyes, and saw that he was alone in the cabin, sitting upright and looking at a window displaying an ever-expanding prairie in all directions. He blinked, looking around in a disoriented haze.
"What?" He uttered, genuinely baffled. "Did that just happen?" There was no response - guess it wasn't one of those AI-operated trains, then.
Rocket noticed right away that he was in his orange jumpsuit again (his favorite one, come to think of it), but also that the cabin was empty save for a single duffel bag on his right, with a letter on top. He reached over to open it, and began reading aloud:
"To: Rocket Raccoon, proud member of the Guardians of the Galaxy,
As you may or may not have deduced by now, your original universe had recently experienced a multiversal event called a "Convergence". Fear not, for your friends and universe has survived, at the cost of another, nearly identical universe. As fate would have it, the chaos caused by two planes of existence colliding created some unexpected events - namely, your forced ejection from said realities."
Okay, so I'm in another world, then? Rocket sniffed the air, tapped the metal floor with his foot, flexed his arms, even gave himself a pinch. Everything seemed to be normal. "At least I'm not dead yet," He muttered, "That's a good start." He continued on;
"Fortunately for you, rather than spending all eternity floating in the void between realities or getting sent to the chaotic Battleworld of our compatriot, you have been specifically chosen to go the glorious and wonderful world of ZOOTOPIA, 'Where Anyone can be Anything!'" The raccoon rolled his eyes at that. "Sure, when a space rat becomes a mob boss, maybe I'll buy that." "What sets ZOOTOPIA apart from any other world you've visited, is that not only are there no humanoid species here, but it is also entirely populated by an-thro-po-mor-fic animals, such as yourself."
Rocket blinked, and reread the last sentence. And read it again. "'No humanoid species... animals such as yourself'." Could it be true? He could understand a world without humans and their lookalikes - he had visited a couple planets where the aliens were so strange that he couldn't tell whether he was talking to a face or an ass - but people like him? He was a one-off, a scientific experiment. A freak. In all of his years of traveling the stars, he had only ever met two other creatures like him: Blackjack o'Hare, famous bunny pirate... and Lylla, the otter that stole his heart. He hadn't seen either of them since way before meeting Star-Lord in Xandar, and most times he just accepted that, outside of his friends, he was truly alone in the universe. Only in his wildest dreams had he ever thought that he could find a place where he wasn't mistaken for vermin, considered a pet for some bigger, uglier alien. A place where, perhaps, he could just blend into the crowd.
Sure "normal" is boring, but it would be nice to experience it at least once in his life.
Shaking his head, he continued on; "Inside this bag, you will find all that you will need easily make ZOOTOPIA your new home. Alongside all the necessary paperwork, you have also bee given several mementos and tools from your home 'verse. While ZOOTOPIA isn't a po-dunk backwater world filled with wild beasts and primitive savages, it does possess technological capabilities and similarities to present day Terra - limited space travel, fusion power, wireless telecommunications, etc. Keep in mind, should you pursue a business or desire quick cash - spaceships are very rare, and making plasma guns and combat drones out of a box of scraps is going to get the attention of persons you'd rather not have right away."
"No spaceships?" He groaned, "No plasma guns? So much for raising my hopes up." He opened up the bag, looking around at all the worldly possessions he now has. He whistled in appreciation as the first thing he saw were a pair of shiny, chrome-colored Nova Prime model pistols. They were rather small - basically a derringer for larger people, but perfect for his hands. They were even complete with black leather holsters with the initials "R.R." stitched on the sides. At the bottom of the handle was a little switch, the top having the image of a face with x's for eyes, while the bottom one had a sleeping face with z's on the side.
"These are custom Nova pistols, upgraded with a 'stun' setting. Guns are technically illegal in ZOOTOPIA, but with your track record you'd probably make your own anyway. Like Xandar, using lethal force is definitely frowned upon, so at least this way you can defend yourself from the larger animals without becoming a murderer in the process."
Underneath that were several pairs of clothes, including a snappy-looking dress shirt that wouldn't look out of place on a pirate. There were also a pair of boots designed for his feet (and putting them on, they fit rather well), equipped with smaller versions of the mini-jets that Peter Quill had on his shoes. Rocket wasn't one to focus too much on clothes, but he could see the benefit of wearing more than jumpsuits all the time.
"You'll notice in ZOOTOPIA that most mammals wear clothes just like the humanoids back in your world. While that might not interest you, perhaps the jet-boots will. Many locals will be quite a bit taller than you, and parts of the city are built to accommodate them. Being able to talk with them at eye-level should help keep things fair, and get you places that might otherwise be out of reach."
Underneath that was a weird looking device - it looked like a cross between a small datapad, and Peter's cassette player, complete with speakers designed for his ears.
Zootopians haven't yet achieved the technological requirements to create datapads as you know them, but this smart phone does about everything a datapad does anyway - call, text, surf internet, play music, the works. Enjoy the library of local music and songs from your boy Star-Lord's playlist - something to remind you of home, past and present."
"Finally, we know that moving to a strange place can be a scary experience, especially when you're all on your own. With that in mind, our last gift for you is the ability to have your bodyguard and friend by your side."
At the bottom of the bag was something that brought a genuine smile to the outlaw's face - a pot filled with dirt, with a little stick coming out of it. The stick had a face, which blinked and smiled, and two little arms that gave a little shake.
"Hey, Groot," He said to the little plant, "How you doin'?"
"I am Groot!" The plant chirped, not at all minding having just been stuck in a bag for who knows how long.
"Great, I was startin' to worry." He put the pot up next to him on a window ledge, facing the sun. Groot stretched out and yawned, enjoying some good ole' fashioned photosynthesis. "I am Groot?"
"Nah, bud. Just you and me right now." He sighed. "How much did you here in there?"
"I am Groot." He nodded.
"Good, 'cause I'm almost done and I don't wanna repeat myself."
"With all that's said and done, our final word of advice is this - ZOOTOPIA will not be a walk in the park. There are many good things about it, just as there are many bad things too. You are no longer a freak of nature, but you are nonetheless subject to bias and preconceived notions as anyone else. Even in the most perfect of societies, prejudice will always exist, whether by explicit laws or unspoken consensus. No one can control how the many see the few, but you can control how people view you. Will you return to the criminal ways of your past? Will you become the hero you and your friends were destined to be? Whatever you choose, know that the future is yours to make, and we shall watch your progress with great interest.
TOAA, VvD, MM"
The letter ended, and soon the only sound to be heard was the constant THU-THUK! THU-THUK! of the monorail heading down the tracks.
"I am Groot?"
"I dunno what we're gonna do now." Rocket leaned back in his seat. "I don't know where we even are! This is just a lot to take in, even for me."
The baby tree creature tilted it's head to the side, perhaps expecting a more definitive answer. The raccoon rubbed his tired eyes, and grunted, "Ok, as of right now, my only plans are riding this train to we reach this place, and keeping you by my side. Once we get there, I'll just have to wing it."
"I am Groot!" Groot nodded his head vigorously.
"I am pretty good at improvising, aren't I?" Rocket put on an earbud of his new phone, and started fiddling around with it until he got some music on shuffle, and started skimming through some of the pamphlets he found in the side pockets of his bag.
About twenty minutes later, he had gone through about 3 of the 5 pamphlets, and was adjusting Groot's pot to get more sunlight, when an overhead display started flashing, with text scrawling out, "Approaching Zootopia. Stop at Sahara Square in 5 minutes." Looking out the windows, he saw that the flatlands had been replaced with small hills and little rivers. Up ahead in the front of the cabin, the front window showed that they were rapidly approaching a giant bay. Rocket quickly put everything back inside the bag, leaving the zipper unzipped so Groot could see. Going to the front window, the phone had shuffled again.
"Uh-uh-uh-uh-UHHH!" Try Everything, by Gazelle.
"Awugah-shagga, Wooga-wooga, Awugah-shagga-" Hooked on a Feeling, by Blue Suede.
Electric, almost chimey music started playing, with the sound of an active rainforest echoing in the background. Welcome to the Bio-Dome, by "Foxy goes to Hollywood".
He placed his phone in his pocket, and let it play.
As the music started building up, he noticed the track become elevated as it went around a hill by the beach. For a moment, Rocket wondered if the letter was true, and if Zootopia wasn't just some ramshackle village of mud huts that was populated with whatever species of unintelligent animal he used to be. "Ha!", the song went - as if aware of his doubt - and a crescending sound rang out as the hill pulled away to reveal a beautiful metropolis. Dozens of skyscrapers rose above what looked like one massive island, but surely had to be different islands - even from a few miles away, he could see one part built on a desert, another built into a jungle, and another still built on what looked like ice. The buildings didn't have the extravagant, 3-dimensional sculpture feel of many of the buildings on Xandar, but still each one felt unique, perhaps even organic in design.
"Oh." Rocket uttered, a sound of understanding and acceptance. This place was real, and it gave him a good first impression. Perhaps things weren't going to be so bad, after all?
First the tracks went through the desert region - "Sahara Square", the "Tourist's Guide to Zootopia" pamphlet had said. To his left there was a massive structure in the shape of a palm tree, shining like a beacon in the noonday sun. To his right, there was a racetrack, where a variety of creatures - each of them easily as tall as a humanoid or taller, all covered in fur - raced each other. This area didn't seem to busy at the moment, most likely staying underground, underneath buildings that reminded the star-traveler of many inhabited desert worlds.
"Moving at one million miles on hour!
Using my power, I sell it by the hour!
I have it so I market it!
You really can afford it, yeah! Really can afford it!"
The track passed over a wall, which the first real piece of engineering that impressed Rocket. On the first side, there were easily dozens of giant heaters, each of them producing enough hot air that he could feel it radiating through the window. On the other side, there were an equal amount of air conditioning units, blasting out cold air fast and hard enough to actually change the temperature within the cabin. In this part of the city, called "Tundratown" (at least it's not "Iceburg", or something stupid like that), everything was covered in snow or ice, and down below(Rocket rubbed his eyes just to be sure he was seeing right), was a river filled with ice blocks, and many different creatures - either with white fur or covered in winter clothes - rode them up and downstream. Perhaps the river was artificial, and waterjets were pushing the two sides of the river in different directions?
As the train continued on, snow erupted out of these various pipes alongside the track, shooting the frozen powder into the air, and providing the illusion that it was a snowy winter's day.
"Shooting stars never stop, even when they reach the top!
"Shooting stars never stop, even when they reach the top!
"There goes a supernova! What a pushover, yeah!
"There goes a supernova, what a pushover!"
Once again the train passed over another wall. This time, on the other side there was nothing, but in front and around the tracks were massive, massive, trees. They were easily the biggest he'd ever seen, soaring hundreds of feet above the forest floor, each one big enough to have multiple houses. The trees were all surrounded by deep mists, and as soon as the train entered the "Rainforest District", it lived up to it's name with a mighty downpour. The canopies stood above them, and down below highways weaved around the trees as cars sped down the wet pavement.
"I will give you diamonds by the shower!
Love your body even when it's old!
Do it, just as only I can do it!
And never, ever, doing what I'm told!"
As before, the rainforest soon got blocked off, though now it was due to the hills leading up to the highest peak on the island. The mono passed through, and soon began descending into the center of the metropolis - Savannah Central. The train slowed down as it approached the station, and Rocket took himself and his stuff to the exit. The mono shuddered to a halt, and air hissed as the exit door slid open. As the door passed away, the raccoon's eyes widened, and Groot blinked in surprise.
All around the station were hundreds of creatures... like him. Well, not exactly like him: Yes, they walked on their feet, and many - if not most of them - were covered in fur, and all of them wore clothes or were fiddling around with their phones, tablets or carrying food and drinks. However, the similarities ended there. These people - these "Zootopians" - came in all manner of sizes and variations, more different from each other than most aliens born worlds apart. Many were much bigger than him, with long necks or horns or tusks, or with odd patterns and styles of fur. Many were smaller than him as well, as little balls of fur in suits and ties scurried around, going up and down these brightly colored pipes that carried them off to parts unknown. And more still were his size, but had giant ears or fluffy tails, often thin and lanky, or fat and fluffy. In all his life, he had never seen so many people look so different. And yet, the atmosphere within the station wasn't any different than the typical "civilized" spaceport - busy, but not hostile or dickish.
Rocket and Groot went off the train, up some escalators, past some vendors offering some kind of slushy drink, and out of the station. In the square, thousands more walked about, in even stranger shapes and colors, under dozens of billboards and advertisements and a giant TV screen. And not a single humanoid stood among them. Rocket smiled, realizing now that he had finally found a place to call home...
"We're a long way from home!
Welcome to the Bio-Dome!
On our way Home!
Going home where mammals roam!
Long way from Home!
Welcome to the Bio-DOOOOOOOOME!"
Author's Note: Why "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" instead of "Try Everything"? When we see Judy go to Zootopia the first time, the moment is supposed to conjure up a sense of awe and wonder in our idealist protagonist, as she enters a literal city on the hill (a symbol for an idealistic society or earthly paradise), and that song amplifies that. With Rocket, while he visits big, futuristic cities every other day, something about this city is different - something that is both exotic and familiar. When combined with literally just fall through space and time, the whole experience would be one of surrealism and anticipation - that all of this was strange, but in a good way. And to me, the song by Frankie goes to Hollywood fits that theme, and also served as the musical inspiration for this fic.