Call of Duty:
Summary: Judy Hopps and Finnick, along with a rag-tag group of former savages, have successfully fled Zootopia and its dictator, Dictator Bellwether, into Bunnyburrow and now must lay low or risk becoming prisoners of the law... or so they think. When a Bunnyburrow sheriff's car pulls up to the Hopps' compound, they are thrust into a civil war... and the stakes have never been higher in any war before. If Bellwether wins, it could mean the collapse of Zootopian society, and ultimately, worldwide chaos. So... who will win? Read to find out! (Now a crossover with COD: Infinite Warfare, simply because this story's setup is perfect!)Chapter 1: Sitting isn't a solution.
"It has been one week since the Savage Escape from Zootopia General." Fabienne Growley folded her paws on the glass studio table and kept her face completely straight as she gave the evening news highlights. The warning light on her collar remained green as she spoke. A welcome change from the yellow it had been a few days earlier when she reported on the hospital fire that killed eight of the Savage predators and injured several other Mammals -both patients and hospital employees alike. "While six of the escaped Savages have been apprehended and remain under careful police guard, supervised directly by Chief of Police, Westley Bogo, three Savages still remain at large."
Head shots of Emmitt Otterton, Renato Manchas, and Nicholas Wilde appeared on the TV screen beside Growley.
"They are considered extremely dangerous." She continued. Growley tried to glare soberly into the camera, but succeeded in just glaring. "If you see them, do not approach them. Call the police and report them immediately. Chief Bogo has set up a special hotline specifically for Savage emergencies." The number scrolled across the bottom of the screen. "Once again, they are considered extremely dangerous. Do not approach them yourself."
Their head shots stayed on screen for a few more moments after Growley finished, the hotline number scrolling across the screen one more time before the camera panned right to her co-anchor, Peter Moosebridge.
The moose cleared his throat. "In response to the Savage escape that resulted in a fire, claiming the lives of eight Mammals and injuring several more, Mayor Bellwether held a press conference yesterday promising more aggressive action against the Savage crisis and stricter regulations for at-risk citizens." He did not specify that 'at-risk' citizens were exclusively predators, it went without saying. "Here's a clip."
The screen faded from the image of Growley and Moosebridge sitting at the Newsroom table, replacing them with a full-screen clip from Bellwether's speech from the previous day. She stood at a podium in front of City Hall, four officers of the ZPD -none of them predators- standing behind her, watching the crowd critically.
"Public reports routinely state that great amounts of crime are being committed by predators. This must be stopped and it must be stopped now!" She proclaimed, not making a single reference to the Savage crisis at all. "Predators have lots of problems. They're coming into out city and they're bringing their problems with them. They're bringing crime, they're bringing drugs. They are rapists. They're not sending you or me, they're sending their worst of the worst."
The crowd roared at that statement. But it wasn't a roar of outrage, or offense, or even just disagreement. It was the exact opposite, in fact. The crowd was cheering. Cheering! With agreement -even approval- of Bellwether's mass generalizations of a marginalized group that was currently out of public favor.
"Because of this, I'm implementing a total and complete shutdown of predators entering Zootopia until our scientists can figure out what is going on."
And the crowd went wild again.
"Dad, can you turn that off?" Judy growled as she and a handful of her sisters helped their mother put the second round of breakfasts out on the table.
The Hopps family was so large, Bonnie had arranged a system wherein the children were divided up into groups and fed in shifts. First breakfast shift were the older siblings. The ones tall enough and strong enough to not need a grown-up's help, and mature enough to be trusted without adult supervision. The second shift were the ones Stu would take out and work with directly, show them how they would run farms of their own one day. The third shift was the children to young to be trusted with any kind of -important- work regardless of supervision.
It was the second group that Judy and her siblings were helping their mother serve.
"I just think its a good idea to stay informed about what's going on in the world." Stu informed his daughter. "Especially with your… guests visiting."
"That's fine, but I don't want the munchkins getting it in their heads that Nick and the others are bad guys." She informed her father sternly, placing her paws on her hips and giving the older bunny a look that reminded Stu so much of her mother. If Judy had settled and become a proper bunny wife to a reputable bunny buck and mother to her own herd of bunny babies -like he and Bonnie wanted- there was no doubt in his mind that she would have been the ultimate and unquestionable authority in her home. Stu was very proud of his daughter for breaking the traditional bunny mold, making history as the first bunny police officer, and became a hero to the city of Zootopia. But he still lamented the fact that she never followed in her parents' footsteps.
"If there's ever going to be any progress, we need to stop fear mongering." Judy continued. "Predators are no worse than any other Mammals." A pause. "Just look at Gideon Gray! He's your business partner and he's a fox."
"Speaking of…" Bonnie cut in between her daughter and her husband. She set two more plates on the table. "Xander! Slow down and chew your food!" She wiped her paws on an already dirty dish towel and turned to Judy. "What if we asked Gideon if your predator friends could stay with him? I'm sure it would make them feel more comfortable."
Which meant it would make her parents more comfortable.
Of course, staying in Gideon's fox den below his bakery might actually be more comfortable for them than when they were currently staying. The fact that one of them -Mr. Manchas- was too large to fit in the warren aside, Bonnie and Stu refused to allow the four predators Judy brought with her from Zootopia deeper into the burrow than the surface-level family room, kitchen, and dining room. Instead, her parents set up four cots in the drying house and invited them to bunk there- away from the main family home.
"First of all, that would involve more Mammals knowing I'm alive and that we're harboring fugitives." She said, getting the lesser objection out of the way first. "Secondly, you can't just ask a business partner that you're not actually personal friends with to harbor fugitives for you!"
One would think something like that would be obvious.
Judy wrapped four plates in tinfoil and stacked them on top of each other. Grabbing a handful of forks, she navigated her way around smaller bunnies and out of the kitchen. "Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm going to go and take some breakfast out to our guests before you two suddenly decide to start ranting about how they'll try and eat us if they get hungry. Or whatever other stupid scenario you can think of."
She kicked the door open. Not because she was frustrated with her parents, but because she didn't have a free paw with which to use the knob.
The sun had been up for a good hour already -a perfectly reasonable time for rabbits to not only be awake but also showered, dressed, and ready to start their day. But she knew that when she got to the drying house, Nick and the others would either still be asleep, or else still be awake. They were all either nocturnal as in the case of Nick and Finnick, or diurnal as in the case of Otterton and Manchas. After only just a week hiding out at the Hopps family farm, they hadn't yet adjusted to the shift in schedule.
The drying house was a wide, above ground building, made of brick, with many small windows set high in the walls for air flow. Her family used it for drying and storing herbs before they could be ground down into course powders and sold by the ounce at her family's stand.
Judy pushed open the door without bothering to knock and stepped inside. The scent of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme was the first thing to hit her as she stepped onto the hardwood floorboards, and the bunny had to wonder -not for the first time- how the strong scent of herbs affected Nick and Finnick's much more sensitive canid noses.
As expected, Finnick was fast asleep. Curled up on his cot, snoring loudly -far louder than his size would have implied. Manchas was also asleep, his body overflowing from his cot. The two foxes and the otter were Mammals of a size comparable to a bunny's, and so it was much easier to provide things for them such as, blankets, clothes, heck, even just shelter. Manchas, on the other paw, couldn't even stand fully in the drying house because, while it was taller than the average bunny structure, it was still a bunny structure. Made by bunnies, for bunny use. No one ever imagined trying to fit a black jaguar in it.
Otterton was sitting up on his cot, eyes closed, legs crossed, paws folded in his lap. The posture of meditation. He didn't move when Judy entered, or make any indication that he even knew she was there for that matter. She knew he was a member of a naturalist club in Zootopia and attended yoga classes there, but she never really realized just how seriously the otter took his yoga stretches and meditation. Personally, she didn't see the appeal. But whatever it was -inner peace, or higher understanding, or whatever- Judy had to admit that he was taking their exile from the city best out of the lot of them. Even better than Judy herself.
Not wanting to disturb his meditations, the rabbit placed his breakfast plate and fork on the end of his cot. Manchas' and Finnick's she laid on the floor near their heads, then she turned to Nick.
Nick was the only Mammal who was actually up, awake, and alert.
Probably because he hadn't actually gone to sleep the night before. This had been going on for a solid week now. Ever since escaping the hospital fire and getting out of the city, Nick had gone full-nocturnal. Staying up all night and only going to sleep in the early hours of the morning when the sun crept over the farm and all the little bunnies started to rise and scamper over the land.
He sat on the wood floor next to his cot. At some point in the last week, he managed to pry up one of the floorboards and was using the space beneath it to hide their leftover cash. During their stay Nick had also added to their cache of cash, a map of Bunnyburrow Town, and a map of the surrounding county. Both looked like the little touristy maps a Mammal could pick up at any visitors' center in town. Next to these, was a spiral bound notebook that the fox was currently sketching in.
Coming up behind him and peering over his shoulder, Judy saw that the page he was currently working on was a hand-drawn map of her family's farm with notes here and there 'good hiding place' over the cornfield, 'escape to river' along the natural irrigation system they dug the year before she left for the academy, 'hide emergency go-bag' next to an old oak tree that had been on the property since forever.
Judy had a feeling he had been prowling around the property at night. Since he refused to sleep when everyone else was, like a normal civilized Mammal. He had to be doing something with his time. Apparently, he was familiarizing himself with her family's property and planning for contingencies.
"You shouldn't sneak up on a predator." He growled without turning around.
She huffed. Placing one paw on her hip while she held his breakfast and fork in the other. "Oh, please. Tell me you didn't know I was here the moment I entered."
The fox grumbled something Judy was pretty sure she wasn't actually supposed to hear, but thanks to her ungodly rabbit ears she caught anyway. "Smelled you before you even got to the door." and "Nose's been more sensitive since the Night Howler."
He didn't look at her as he started to pack away his notebook and maps. Tucking everything back into its hide-y ho in the floor. He laid the needlepoint portrait of Robin Goodfellow over everything before securing the loose floorboard back in place.
As Judy understood it, Goodfellow was a trickster fae -a faerie. But the way Nick and Finnick talked about him, you'd think he was a lesser pagan god instead. The patron deity to foxes, juvenile pranksters, and con artists. She thought the patron deity of foxes bit was a little odd since -in the portrait at least- Goodfellow didn't appear to be all fox. Oh, he had a fox's face and ears. But also the horns of a stag, and -it was a little hard to tell since the image was embroidered not painted painted- but his fur read more like the red leaves of Autumn rather than actual fur. Then again, he was a mythical figure. He could look like whatever the artist wanted him to look like.
She set the plate down on the floor next to him. "This is supposed to be breakfast, but I see since you never went to bed, it'd ben dinner instead. Eggs, again. Eat them before they get cold."
The four predators had spent the past week at the Hopps' farm eating mostly eggs. Being the closest food to meat that a bunny could buy at the market without looking suspicious. Rabbits didn't eat fish or poultry, but they did bake, and baking required eggs. Considering that the Hopps family herd was hundreds strong, nobody bat an eyelash when Bonnie Hopps bought eggs by the ten-dozen.
They still hadn't worked out the kinks in this plan of laying low until Chief Bogo could expose Bellwether's conspiracy and they could return to the city. It wasn't exactly like Judy planned this -or even had any warning. Things just sort of happened, and her parents were so happy that their daughter was alive and not really dead that they were willing to tolerate a few predators on their property for a while.
Yawning, mouth opening wide, displaying all those lovely sharp teeth with their delicate points that frightened her parents so much, Nick Picked up the plate and peeled back the tin foil.
"You didn't cook this." It wasn't a question. The fried eggs over medium next to potatoes looked too perfect. Judy Hopps was many things, but a perfect cook was not one of them.
"My mother cooked." She informed him, just a little insulted by how relieved he sounded to not have to eat her cooking. "I was on juice duty this morning."
"Ooh! What kind of juice?" Nick asked excitedly, suddenly noticing that she hadn't brought a pitcher or any glasses with her. That wasn't fair. There was fresh squeezed country juice and she wasn't going to share. Rude bunny.
"Carrot juice." Judy supplied as if that should have been obvious. She knew better than to offer the fox carrots in any form. His tastes ran towards sweeter produce. Fruits. Grapes, cherries, apples, and, of course, blueberries.
Nick made a face of disgust. "This hotel sucks. I demand a refund! And you can forget about me telling my friends about this place."
Someone threw a balled up t-shirt in their general direction. Judy looked to see Finnick rolling over on his cot, turning his back to them while he grumbled. "Save your foreplay for when you're alone!"
Not saying anything, Nick set his plate back down and began unfolding and setting up his own cot to finally get some rest. Full nocturnal. He'd gone full nocturnal since escaping the hospital and fleeing the city. Staying up all night, sleeping during the day.
Judy's ears pinked at the mention of foreplay and the implication that she and Nick were anything more to each other than just good friends. It wasn't the first time someone jumped to the same conclusion about them. The day they left the city, just as she and Finnick were getting ready to spring their rescue, Koslov -Mr. Big's right hand Mammal- made the exact same assumption about the nature of their relationship.
'Save the one you love.'
The idea of being 'in love' with the fox hadn't even crossed Judy's mind until the polar bear said it. The idea of being in love with any Mammal besides another rabbit never crossed her mind. It was completely absurd. Ridiculous. To fall for someone outside your own species -or even your own genus. But since then -since the idea was placed in her head- Judy found herself sometimes wondering.
She thought about his expression at the press conference. He liked to brag that he had such a great poker face, that he never let anyone see how they got to him. But she saw. She got to him that day. She got at something deep inside him, poked at it with a sharp stick without even knowing what she was doing. And when she realized how deeply she had hurt him, it shook something inside her. Some deep foundation in her core that she thought was so stable and so secure -until she met him. Judy hurt herself when she hurt Nick.
But it wasn't just that. She thought about her cathartic release under the bridge when she apologized to him. How she broke down into tears and told him that it was okay if he never wanted to see her again. Judith Laverne Hopps was not one easily given over to tears or fits of hysterics. Yet she sobbed openly in front of Nick and didn't pull away when he offered her a hug -accepting their reconciliation and comforting her tears.
Judy watched him set up his cot before sitting down and scooping up his plate of breakfast-dinner. She did feel something for the fox. There was something there. She just wasn't ready to assign the word 'love' to it.
Things had been so crazy since she first met him. Blackmail, nudist clubs, near death experiences, cracking cases only to have them give rise to larger conspiracies, species tensions, propaganda campaigns, resigning from jobs, reconciling, more near death experiences, faking death and laying low, riots in the streets, and yet more near death experiences. So much had happened, Judy had to forcibly remind herself that she and the fox had only known each other for a few months. Whatever it was that she was feeling for Nick, it was far too soon to start applying the word 'love' to it.
"So, what's been going on in the world since we left?" He asked through a mouthful of eggs. "Are they blaming the hospital fire on us and branding us terrorists?"
"Probably. They honestly haven't talked much about the fire since we got here." Judy admitted. "At least, not that I've been inside to hear. Bellwether was on the news this morning. Apparently she's now banned new predators from even entering the city. Although, there was no mention as to what she plans to do with the predators that already live there."
"Oh, well that's not gonna have a negative effect on the economy at all." Nick scoffed. "I really have to wonder what her end-game is. I mean, prejudice is great and all-" his classic sarcasm "-but when it comes to motives, it's just not enough to explain what she's doing."
"Well, tell ya what, when Chief Bogo finally arrests her, you can ask." The bunny suggested. She turned to leave. He needed his rest -not that she was particularly happy about his switch to nocturnal- and she had other chores to do. As far as the rest of the world knew Officer Judy Hopps of the ZPD was dead, killed by a Savage fox. But her parents knew she was alive and so long as she was not only living, but living under their hill she could help out on the farm just like all her other siblings.
Judy paused, turning back to the fox. He sat on his cot, half-eaten plate of dinner-breakfast on his lap. For some reason he looked suddenly so vulnerable and unsure.
"Waiting for Chief Buffalobutt to fix everything for us isn't a plan." He informed her soberly, not making eye-contact. "I just… I know you're still adjusting to your newfound fugitive status, but… we need to have a plan. Several plans. In case Bogo can't actually do anything. In case we have to live like this indefinitely. In case someone turns us in. In case one of us loses control and goes back to being Savage. We need to have contingencies." Now he did look up at her, meeting her large amethyst eyes with his emerald green ones. "I'm really grateful to you for rescuing me. But a lot of everything has just been you making it up as you go along -you don't actually know what you're doing, and… I guess I just wanna know if you're actually making a plan this time."
He didn't mention that the majority of her decisions prior to rescuing him from the hospital were also made on impulse and without forethought or planning. Stealing the subway car, grabbing her family truck and hauling tail back to the city, essentially announcing 'its because they're predators' to the mass media, breaking into an abandoned hospital crawling with timber-wolf security, attempting (and failing) to intimidate Mr. Big. Heck! Even taking the Otterton case in the first place was a snap, spur of the moment decision that she didn't think about, she just made. Judy was a creature of impulse. Nick didn't really know just how well she would handle being a fugitive in the long term.
Judy Hopps was a creature of the moment, she thrived by actions. Nick Wilde was a creature of scheming, he thrived by gambits. The two were not an ideal combination, and Nick had never been very good at speed-chess.
The bunny's eyes flicked to the loose floorboard and his notebook, cash, and maps. "Do you have a different plan?"
"No." He admitted. "But I know what needs to be done when you wanna hide from the authorities." A pause. "Which I've never had to do, by the way."
Judy was silent a moment longer. Thinking. Then, "I want things to go back to the way they were, so… so if Bogo can't expose Bellwether alone, I'll go back to the city and help."
Nick did not point out that, that was not actually a plan. That was another reckless decision, a premeditated reckless decision and that made it worse. What did she expect to do with her status as legally dead at best, and Zootopia's most wanted at worst? Was she gonna stalk the streets in a garish costume? The fox couldn't imagined her as a masked vigilante. She was no Robin Hood. Nick flicked an ear and looked down at the floorboard that held his emergency cash and other useful information. It was also where he was keeping his mother's portrait of the Goodfellow -Trickster of the Greenwood.
But then, it wasn't like he could suggest any alternatives. Slick Nick didn't have a plan either. He, also, was no Robin Under the Hood.Chapter 2: Well, that escalated quickly.
Gazelle checked out of the hospital AMA -against medical advice. She didn't care. She was going to Ashok's funeral even if it killed her. It wouldn't kill her, of course, but it might hinder her healing. The pop diva hobbled up to his casket on crutches that threatened to rip open her stitched with every step.
They placed chandanam over his forehead and wreaths of flowers around his neck and head, and as Gazelle drew closer to the casket, she detected the subtle scent of fresh basil. So, they had decided to go with a traditional funeral. She placed a pinda in the casket, next to his head. Others had already done similar. She rested a hoof on the edge of the casket, making sure not to touch the body, and recited a short hymn. One of the few that she knew.
Someone placed a comforting paw on her shoulder. Orange and cream fur with black tiger stripes. Gazelle turned to see who it was, expecting one of Ashoka's relatives. Instead, she was pleasantly surprised.
Sun-ha Park was one of Gazelle's back-up dancers. The 'fan book' their manager insisted they publish described him as the 'quiet and mysterious' one. But, actually, Park was just introverted and socially awkward. He avoided eye-contact, talking more to her crutches than to her face. "Can I have a hug?"
They hadn't seen each other since the night of the concert.
Gazelle shifted her crutches so that she was holding both with one arm and opened the other to invite Park in. The tiger was twice her size and completely dwarfed her with his muscle and bulk, but it felt good to be held by another Mammal. A Mammal she knew, and worked with, and loved like a brother. Ashok might have been her true love, but Gazelle loved all the tigers of her herd.
"I've been having nightmares." He whispered into her ear. "I keep seeing Rod-" he choked and held her tighter causing a pain in his stitches. "I keep seeing it happen."
"Shh, shh." The pop diva soothed, rubbing circles into his shoulder. She ignored the pain pulsing across her chest and midsection, and down her leg. It was what she got for leaving the hospital against her doctor's advice. Besides, Park's emotional state was more important at the moment. So was hers, for that matter. Emotional wounds were harder to heal than physical ones. "I have nightmares too. I can only imagine what Raj must be going through."
Ashok was his brother -from the same litter.
Park held her for a few moments more. Then straightened, wiping his eyes. He cleared his throat and when he spoke again his voice was even. "He's still angry. Like, really angry. Their parents asked him not to attend the cremation incase his negative energy interfered with his Ātman leaving the body."
"That's terrible!" Gazelle exclaimed. She shifted her crutches back to a position she could use to walk. "Where is he now?"
"Back at the apartment." Park supplied. "Since he can't beat-up Rod, he's been satisfying himself breaking all his stuff." A pause. "If I'd known they were discharging you today, I would have picked you up."
She shook her head. "They didn't discharge me, I checked myself out. I needed- I wasn't gonna miss saying goodbye to-" Her voice cracked and Gazelle put a hoof over her eyes to hide her tears. "The whole point is to not be reincarnated, right? So... so I may never see him again!"
Park's arm was around her again, the tiger leading her away from the casket. They stood to the side, out of the way of the other mourners.
There was no service.
After the wake, the casket was carried to the pyre and Ashok's body cremated. Gazelle insisted on staying for the whole thing -until it was done and his ashes were collected. The ashes were taken by his parents. They would commit his remains to water. There was a river that cut through the Rainforest District that would serve their purpose. They did not invite Gazelle to come with them and she did not ask. His parents never really approved of their son dating outside the species -and a prey at that. The few times she interacted with Ashok and Raj's parents, they were polite to her. They respected her because their son cared about her, but they did not like her.
Gazelle was also fairly certain they blamed her -at least in part- for his death. After all, if Ashok had just kept to his physical therapy practice and not given up the perfectly reputable business to be a go-go dancer, then he wouldn't have been on stage when the other time went Savage.
After the cremation, Gazelle finally let Park take her home.
It was the first time the pop diva had been home since the attack.
A luxurious penthouse apartment in Savannah Square. Four bedrooms, two baths, full kitchen plus dining room, spacious living room and rooftop patio. The space was under Gazelle's name, but all five of them lived there. Her and the four most important Mammals in her life. Her herd. A herd of predators. Sun-ha Park, Rodrigo Colmillo, Rajesh Patel, and... and Ashok Patel. Now it was just the three of them. Now that Ashok was gone (she couldn't bring herself to use the word 'dead' not even in her own mind), and Rod -along with all the other Savages that survived the fire- was moved to a much more secure psychiatric facility. Now it was just her, Park, and Raj.
Park held the door open for her and Gazelle hobbled inside on her crutches -to find the place a complete mess.
Empty beer cans and liquor bottles were strewn all over the living room floor, coffee table, and couch. As were days old, half eaten pizza. Flies circled the boxes, searching for the best place to land on the sticky, congealed grease. Gazelle blinked in horror at finding her home in such a state of... disarray!
"Sorry about the mess." Park muttered, legitimately apologetic and embarrassed. "If I'd know you were coming home today, I would have made him clean up a little."
"Where is he?"
As if on cue, the refrigerator door closed to reveal the tiger that was concealed behind it. Raj shambled out of the kitchen, a fresh can of beer in his hand. Shirtless, wearing a pair of PJ pants that looked like they hadn't been washed in days, fur rumpled from lack of care. He looked Gazelle up and down.
"You look like something the me dragged in." The tiger announced before popping the top of his beer can and taking one long sip. He paused to burp loudly, then took another -longer- sip.
Gazelle crossed the space between them, slowly and awkwardly. She'd been standing far too long already, her crutches threatening to pull her stitches with every step. But some things were more important than physical pain. She wrapped one arm around the larger Mammal and pulled him into a hug. "How are you holding up?"
Raj gave a snort of derision. His hot breath making the fur on her back stand on end. "How am I holding up? Ha! That's cute. You think I'm holding up!"
"I know." Gazelle soothed. "I know. I miss him too."
"Oh, you miss him!" Raj pulled away with a snarl. The warning light of his collar shifting from green to yellow. "It was you that got him killed! Ash wanted to leave the city! Get away for awhile, wait for things to blow over. But you just had to stay. You with your bleeding heart that loves all. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have been on that stage when Rod went bonkers! If Ash wasn't trying to protect you, he would still be alive right now. My brother died because of you!"
"Hey!" Park stepped between them. "You don't mean that."
"Oh, don't I?" Raj growled back. He jabbed a clawed finger at the collar around his neck, then at the one Park also worse. "Why don't you tell her what happened as a result of that concert fiasco? Do you know, 'Zelle? Did they let you watch the news during your convalescents? Thanks to Rod attacking you and Ash getting killed, now we all have to wear these damn things. These collars to tell you when we're emotionally compromised and could get aggressive. Oh, but it doesn't stop there. Oh, no. If we do get to worked up, the thing shocks us. And not a small jolt either!"
"Calm down, unless you intend to demonstrate for her." Park snapped. He turned back to Gazelle. "It's not just the collars. You noticed how they stopped us as we were leaving the Rainforest District to check my ID and make a note of where we were going? Well, they're doing that for all predators too. We aren't as free to move around the city as we used to be. Our movements are being monitored. No one's tried to actually stop us so far, but still... the whole thing makes me very uncomfortable."
"We should have just left like Ash wanted!" Raj cut in. The light on his collar was still yellow, but he at least seemed calmer.
"All this happened because Rod attacked me..." Gazelle dropped her crutches and sank to her knees on the floor. She wrapped an arm around her midsection, hoof resting over the deep claw marks Rod had left there when he went Savage. "I never thought... I was trying to make things better! How did this... why is this happening?"
She began to cry.
Park shot Raj a dirty look. "Look what you did." He also wank to his knees next to her. "'Zelle, you couldn't have known this was going to happen."
But it did happen, and it happened because of her. "I should have just left when Ashok suggested it. Gone on tour. Gotten away from the city for a while. It's all my fault."
"Yeah. It is." Raj agreed. He took another sip of his beer and stepped away.
"You're not helping!" Park shouted after him.
But Raj just slammed his bedroom door shut.
Gazelle stayed on the floor, sobbing. She lost her love and it was all because of her. Because she insisted on having a charity concert to try and raise money to figure out what was causing predators to go Savage. She should have just washed her hooves of it all and left. But she was stubborn and insisted they stay. Because of her, Ashok was dead and Rod was crazy.
Gazelle didn't know what to do anymore.
'Stricter regulations for at-risk citizens'. Those were the words used to describe the newest round of laws passed into legislation as a result of the Savage escape and fire. No one bothered to mention that the only citizens whom were 'at-risk' were predators and predators only.
As one reporter asked in a throw-away question that was never answered at the fateful press conference that started this whole mess, a mandatory quarantine was implemented on all predators.
There was no one place in the city where they could stick every single predator that lived in Zootopia. Not even Happy Town could hold all of them. Not to mention, there were still those that thought it would be cruel to force Mammals live outside their natural biome. You couldn't expect a polar bear to live in the scorching hot sands of Sahara Square. Making Mammals live in places not designed for them was cruel, but evicting them from their homes and moving them into hastily thrown together and ill maintained government housing? That was A-okay!
A section within each district was cordoned off for use as a quarantine zone. A chain link fence hastily erected around the neighborhood's perimeter, the windows of some apartments boarded up on the outward facing side. Each zone only had one gate through the fence. Predators still had to be able to get in and out. Life didn't stop just because the city hated them. Adults still had to work. Cubs, and pups, and kits still had school. But the gates shut and locked at nine PM. The quarantine zones all had strict curfews.
As with the TAME collars, predators were given time to set their affairs in order before moving into their new homes in quarantine. If they did not, or if it took them to long, their property was seized by the city and redistributed.
"Wait a sec, you want me to buy your house!?" Primal sat on Silver's porch -because like hell was he going to go inside that spiker infested cavern that Dr. Scott Silvers, entomologist, called a home. Calling it a 'cavern' was unfair. It was a very nice rustic cabin, nestled between two large redwoods. Handmade wooden rocking chairs on the front porch. Exactly the kind of house you'd expect a wolf to live in. It was just Silver's unusual fondness for spiders that made it seem otherwise. The gorilla stared at his friend, not quite understanding.
"I'll give you a good price." The timber wolf assured him. "Way below market value. I just... I don't have a lot of time to get this done and I know the sale won't close before I have to move. But if the purchase is at least on record then they won't take it away from me -uh, you."
The warning light on Silver's TAME collar shifted from green to yellow. Primal could only imagine what the wolf must be feeling. Not only being forced from his home, but having to sell his property for far less than what it was worth or else forfeit it to the government.
Primal shook his head. It was like the world woke up one morning and decided, 'Hey, let's all go bat-shite insane!' "I can't believe they're actually putting predators under quarantine."
"Call it what it is, Primal, we're both of us far too old to be sugar-coating things." Silvers snapped at him, sitting up in his rocking chair and glaring directly at his friend. "It's a ghetto. They're moving predators into ghettos. That's exactly what they're doing and calling it 'quarantine' doesn't change that. Its 2016 and they're setting up ghettos -here, in our city- and everyone is just letting it happen!"
The light on his collar flashed red and Silvers was shocked back into his chair. It rocked back and forth while the wolf recovered.
"First these damnable collars that not only taser us any time we're just a little worked up, but also mark us as predators like a yellow badge." He rubbed a paw over his eyes. "Did you know an otter was a predator before one went Savage? I didn't. They're so adorable and small. I didn't realize a lot of smaller Mammals were predators before the collars went on. Weasel, and mongooses -mongeese?- and stoats. I had no idea they were predators until the collars went on."
"Mongooses is the correct plural." Primal supplied absentmindedly. "And, actually, I did know all that. I'm a surgeon. But I get your meaning."
"I also want you to buy my reenactment costume and props off me." The wolf continued.
That was how he and the gorilla originally met and became friends. Through a historical war reenactment group. Specifically for a period many historians considered to be the start of the trend that eventually gave rise to modern society of prey and predators living and working together. A group mixed of prey and predator Mammals banded together to defend themselves against an encroaching army that was exclusively predator. Maximalus versus the Preda Kahn. More commonly it was known simply as the Beast Wars. It was a short war, lasting only three seasons. But it was of great historical significance.
"I'm not going to the quarantine zone. My brother-in-law managed to get some exit visas for the whole pack. We're leaving Zootopia and I don't think they'll have a reenactment group where we're going." Silvers used the more politically correct term to make his friend feel more at ease. "Give them to the next guy who wants to play Bolt."
"Silvers..." The gorilla began. He was going to refuse. Then he considered his friend's situation and his options, really considered them. It felt like he was taking advantage of a desperate Mammal, but from Silvers' point of view, he was doing him a favor. Buy my stuff from me, and if this madness ends in my lifetime let me buy it back from you when I come home. Instead he asked, "What are you gonna do?"
The wolf leaned back in his rocking chair. "Wolford's a cop, works for the city, that's how he managed to get us passes to leave so easily. The pack has made offers on properties in Deerbrook, Nimh, and Bunnyburrow. The first one that's accepted we're gonna take." A spider crawled out of the window and began spinning its web in a corner of the porch canopy. Silvers looked up at it forlornly and Primal was horrified to see that it was a black widow. The wolf sighed. "I'll have to leave them behind. Oh, dark poison of my heart, I cannot bear to be parted from you."
Massaging his temples, Primal looked away. The wolf was a good friend and pleasant company -most of the time. But whenever his damn spider fixation was involved, he became extremely uncomfortable to be around.
"Well, I better go..." The gorilla stood. "I'm actually relieved that you're getting out of the city, and-" Primal paused, considering his words. "You said your brother-in-law's a cop? If you do end up in Bunnyburrow, he might want to look up the family Hopps. As I understand it, the bunny officer who died is from there. Wolford might want to pay his respects."
The wolf likewise stood, seeing his guest off the property. "I'll tell him. Please, think about my offer. I'd rather sell to a friend for a pittance price than have the government seize it from me and leave me with nothing."
Goodness knew the pack could use whatever extra funds it could get during their relocation.