Here is the 76th installment. Hope you enjoy it.

Notes now live at the end of the chapter, so here is the obligatory, on with the show.

Sadly, I do not own and thus can claim no rights to Zootopia or its characters. They belong to Disney.

It continues…. Enjoy.

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Once aboard the Cerebell, the kits were changed and fed quickly, before they got underway again. While the kits were being fed, it was discussed and determined that, if the Wolford pack would see them, as it was still early, they would prefer to get it out of the way. Landing only five minutes later, they exited and were welcomed by a Night Wolf contingent that quickly escorted them into the Wolford pack, Von, council chambers.

This meeting was actually far less formal, and led by Mike and Liz, with Nick and Judy standing in their places as Firsts. Mike stood forward. "Council, thank you for seeing us. You honor us by accepting our request for an audience this late in the day."

The Alpha of Pack Von stood with a smile. "Think nothing of it. We welcome you, Designate and Regent of Wolford Pack, Zootopia. We welcome your chosen and recognized Firsts." Turning his attention to his counterparts standing behind Mike and Lizz. "Alpha's of Wolford Pack, you honor us with your presence as well." Returning his attention to Mike and Lizz. "You have been the only point of discussion today, for reasons I'm sure you can guess. We are also aware of the planned pact signing. It is our hope you will be willing to accept the commission to sign on the behalf of the Wolford Pack Von, just as you will be doing for the Zootopia Pack, and several others, as I understand."

Mike bowed. "It would be our honor. We are one pack. Separated by distance, mountains, valleys, and rivers. May I hear your howl, and you mine in response."

"The honor is ours that you will represent us in such an expansive pact. You and your mate represent what we of the Von Pack have sought for our pack since our ancestors left with the Wildes and others that were driven from the burrow and our ancient lands. You have a mate who is strong, and who clearly loves you as unconditionally as you love her. You have chosen Firsts that demonstrate your vision beyond internal pack politics, just as the current Alpha's did, and whose experiences and perspectives will help you better lead the pack in a changing world.

As for this meeting. The decision to align ourselves with the original Zootopia Pack, was in question many years ago. This was especially true while your brother and his mate underwent the horrors they experienced when trying to join the pack. However, your mothers actions, as Alpha, when she realized what they were being put through, salvaged that. Still, we remained at arms length in our dealings. You had some very conservative, bigoted, members of the council that had undue influence.

However, your first has taken care of that handily. Proving again the excellence of your choice. Mister WildeHopps. While we, the Von Pack, sympathize with your distaste and desire not to take such actions. We must also express our great joy in that you are willing to do what is needed, despite your misgivings. You were left with no choice, while giving your opponent, and their patron, every opportunity to not go down that road to its inevitable conclusion. Though please, worry not. While such events within a council meeting of one pack are shared with others of the same larger Pack to which they are aligned, the agreement of secrecy within applies to us as well.

We know also that you and your mate are teaching the Designate and Regent. That their pups, along with yours will learn from you and them. The influence that you and your mate have and will have on the world can not be overstated. It is an influence that you have already had. And… While you have stated that you will not live your lives according to some prophecy. The facts of how you and your mate do live your lives is in fact directly in line with said prophecy.

Few know this, but the publicly known prophecy is a sterilized version. The actual city council, unless they are also members of this body as well, do not. That prophecy that they used millenia ago to craft this city was carefully cleaned up, with many details removed. It was a Wolford wolf who first wrote it down. There is a story there with it. If you will bear with me for a moment, I will explain."

Pausing a moment and getting agreeable nods, the Alpha continued. "What I am about to describe is some of the most ancient histories of the world. In the ancient days, before the Wolford pack entered a pact with the Hop clan, the pack was like any other. Hunting other mammals for food. Then a change happened. We do not know a lot of the details of what happened, but we know a rabbit and a fox who had entered into a relationship were part of that. That a young wolf who was someone at the time considered too weak, was shown kindness by that fox and rabbit.

In the process, and it is the events that took place then, that the Wolford wolves turned away from the ancient and brutal ancestor beliefs and embraced beliefs of more open inclusion. The consideration that other mammals may be more than just food. Because of this, after some re-aligning of the pack hierarchy, the Wolford pack of the time entered into a pact with the rabbits known as Hop. Later, the rabbit and fox, who thought the Hop clan decimated, rejoined them, added the Wilde foxes to that pact and the Hop burrow.

The details of those earliest days are only held in oral histories written down hundreds of years later. We do know that it was the Wilde foxes that taught the Hop rabbits to raise birds, and the Wolford pack how to fish. It is why, unlike any other pack, the core Wolford pack prays to Karma, Saren, and other such deities, instead of the ancestors. While also maintaining something I suspect you will recognize Nicholas.

When we abandoned the beliefs of our original ancestors, we walked away from the idea that all others that were not wolves were unworthy of their lives save as food. Our ancestors then took on beliefs from the alliances, the pacts that we made. Our moots and circles look more like a Hopps family get together than it does that of the moots and circles of other packs. Our prayers include beings such as Karma and Saren, and we took on something from those ancient Wilde foxes."

Motioning to two Night Wolf guards that had not moved since they entered. They stepped aside, pulling open a stone panel in the process. Behind that panel was revealed something that caused both Judy and Nick to audibly gasp. Nick took a step forward. "That's…"

"An ancestor stone. Yes. something we learned from your ancestors. A way to honor our ancestors without embracing the blood thirsty and savage nature of those ancient wolves. We do not forget those that have gone before, but we must also recognize that the ways of the ancient past are not necessarily the best ways. When it was needed for survival, sure, but surely as well, now such ways, such ideas are no longer needed."

Nick nodded. "Amazing." Turning and pulling Judy into a hug. "Carrots! Do you think... Maybe that stone you told me about. The one you all had to maintain, is what we think it might be, now that we know that the Wilde's lived with the Hopps?"

Judy nodded. "It really just might be. When we visit the burrow, we will have to check it out."

Nick looked up at Mike. "Do you maintain a stone as well?"

Mike nodded with a grin. "We do. It is kept and maintained by the Alpha's exclusively. It's one of their responsibilities. There is a whole garden for them."

Nick was grinning. "I hope you will let me see them."

The Alpha chuckled. "This is only one stone, the current one. When it is filled, a new one is brought in and this one goes to the garden, very similar to how the Zootopia packs garden is set up, I expect. The old beliefs prescribe how it is to be maintained. Once we are done here, I would be honored to show all of you to the garden."

Nick nodded, looking up at Mike, who chuckled at the puppy eyes he was being given. "Put those away, Nick. Alpha, we would be honored to visit the ancestor garden and pay our respects. Now, I must bring this back to a point you were starting and understandably veered from. The prophecy."

The Alpha nodded with a chuckle, and smiled. "Ah, yes. Those ancient Wolford wolves stopped abandoning and driving out wolves who were not that ancient ideal. We started embracing the different skills and abilities. One may not be physically strong, but may be mentally powerful. One of those was a seer. They led the pack, and their allies safely through several truly harsh seasons. Their final prophecy is the one we now discuss.

It did not say why, though I'm sure they were able to know and chose not to impact that closer part of their history. I even suspect that they knew at the time how the prophecy would be broken up to clean it up. You." Pointing to Judy, Nick, Mike, and Lizz. "Are directly named. What it says beyond that is only for wolves, but to summarize. We are to be faithful to our ancestors. We are to honor the pact of old and join the pact of all formed by Judith of the Hopps and Nicholas of the Wildes. We will rejoin with our lost brothers, the pact sundered, becoming again whole when the wolf named Michael takes a mate named Elizabeth. A great cat of orange stripes."

The scowl on Nick's muzzle was almost a physical punch. "Alpha, that is not even remotely funny."

Shaking his head, the Alpha stepped forward, holding a document. "I am not trying to be funny. That is what it says. It also says that I am to show you, when we first meet, this photo."

Handing the document to Nick, Nick looks it over with a growl mixed with a sigh. "Judy… You read it. I cannot bring myself to."

Taking the photo, Judy's eyes go wide and hands it back to nick. "Nope. That's for you, Nick."

Groaning, Nick took the photo back and looked it over. "Nope. I'm not reading that without seeing the actual document. The fact that it says to take me to it after I demand that is scaring the fur off me." Both Nick and Judy's fur was standing on end.

While the rest of the party are taken to view a hall of history of the Wolford Pack, Von. Lizz, Mike, Judy, Nick, and the kits, are escorted deeper into the pack building and to a massive vault. Once inside, they were led to a display, the Alpha indicating a large collection of documents laid out there under glass, with labels that included the base prophecy, details, and a dozen cases with their and other names on them. "Here is the original prophecy, and more importantly, the document that is addressed directly to you.

I can appreciate the fear and concern, Nick. We've had these documents dated. They were written between eight and ten thousand years ago. From what they describe, the pact with the Hop rabbits and Wilde foxes was more than five hundred years old, or as they put it, winters, when these were written. I'm named here as well. To know, some mammal, probably ten millennia ago, knew your name and addressed you directly, including answering the questions you ask as you read these documents is absolutely terrifying.

Each one links to a sealed case." Indicating a collection of cases on pedastals. "I had one, you each have one. Read the section that is designated to you, and then open your case. We have archeologists and historians standing by to document it once you have retrieved your item or items. I got a letter and a bone knife." Indicating the knife in question resting in a display case. "It will stay there until it is needed. Its purpose I do not know."

Nick

Nick nodded with a resigned sigh. "Fine. Let's get this set up for a B rated

sci fi horror flick over with." Looking down as Judy put a reassuring paw on his arm. "Sorry, Fluff. This is just freaking me out way more than the first time I felt you in trouble. That a mammal that long ago was able to know, to view this moment in time and not write a vague prophecy, but actually address us directly…"

Judy smiled up at Nick. "I know. We also know from what we have learned. Such things are well within the realm of possibility. Mammals just choose not to embrace these things. Most psychics are frauds, very talented body language readers at best, but there are those that are real. We're telepaths, at least with each other for ancestor's sake, Nick."

Nick nodded again, taking a deep breath and stepped up to the case with his name on the plate. It was even sized for him. Looking down at the document, he found something written in ancient Vulpine. A language that only Judy likely knew how to read, other than himself.

Hello Nick. My name does not matter, but you want to know it, so it is Meev. I am not an actual ancestor of you, but we are related, if distantly. I have been blessed, or cursed, depending on your opinion on such things, with a view into a future so distant to me that little of it makes sense. In truth, I am able to see several possible futures, and so I am in fact addressing all of the versions of you that will eventually read this.

I do not understand how it works that there can be multiple layers to the world and how, or why, things play out as they do, but it is true. All of you seem to understand what that means, so I shall leave that to those that understand the meaning of such things. I merely record what is needed to be known.

All but one of you are here with your kits. Congratulations. They will be your ultimate pride. You all must however guard them well early on. As the history you are putting together comes out, there will be those that seek to destroy that, as it proves their position to be a false one. I know you all assume this, but I must reiterate it. The danger is not insignificant. So prepare yourselves. I cannot say from where that danger ultimately comes from, as for each of you, it comes from different sides.

Keep your friends close, especially those with different species mates. They will be your greatest strength and weapon against those that seek to harm them and you. As you have spoken, I just want to let you know. Keep living your life as you have that got you here to reading this letter. Only one of you needs to reconsider your life, and it is neither those who enforce the laws, nor the ones that stand before this letter as the consummate thief, that I address there. You will know in your heart which of you to whom I speak.

No, the one that needs to re-examine his life is the one who walked away from Judy. You walked away from a future you cannot understand. You have a chance to claim a new, better, future, but only if you are willing to look past the hate and pain.

That is really it. The combination of the safe, that's what you call those, is set to what you chose right now. I wish you all the best of luck. My prophecy was really only to get Von ready to back you up. But even within Von, there are those that will stand against you. Trust your instincts, trust yourself, trust your mate.

Nick stepped back and shook his head. With a deep breath, he stepped over to the safe with his name on it. Closing his eyes, he spun the dial left, then right, then left again, then right, and right a second time. Feeling the mechanism catch, he pulled and the door opened. Looking inside he found a note clearly written by the same paw as the letter.

Hello again, Nick. Your opening pattern proved a true challenge for our artisans, but they figured it out. You've caused their skills to go up significantly. Then again. Preparing all this for You, Judy, and your friends has proven to be quite the effort and has improved the skill of the artisans far beyond those of their fellows in other clans and packs.

I don't really have anything for you. I only ask that you don't let this whole thing impact how you live your life with Judy. You two are the hope we in the distant past strive for. Just be you. Love your mate. Love your kits. Love your friends.

The Alpha's blade is in fact a key, but not one you will need. One of your grandkits is the one to use it, so just let them know what it is. When they need it, they will know where to use it.

Nick handed over the note to the historians as Judy, Lizz, and Mike, were reading and opening their own safes.

Judy

Judy stepped up to her letter, the display case clearly designed for a rabbit, and more to the point, her. She felt Nick's shock at being directly addressed and swallowed weakly, not sure what to expect. She barely flinched at seeing it was written in ancient lapin. She was one of maybe five kits that had learned it. Not even her parents did, but as she knew that Nick's was written in an ancient vulpine script that maybe a dozen foxes read, so it didn't shock her. There were clearly things going on well beyond their current understanding.

Greetings, Judy. I must say, you are a beautiful rabbit. Much like Nick, you are the spitting image of your ancestor. My sight allows me to look both forward and backwards in time. So I am able to look upon both Judi and Nik. I mean, you are both even named for them. I am not one to believe in a soul returning to this world, but when I watch you and compare you both to them, it can be hard to deny the possibility.

My ability is both a curse and a blessing. I am able to help guide our people through hard times, and push them away from bad actions when times are good. I don't actually have to do that much though, because they are smart, and good mammals. So I get to spend my time looking far ahead, and far back, in time.

I've watched as mammals have grown up from simple beasts. I've looked back and seen what came before. I've looked forward and seen what comes next, and then after that. I've seen mammals at their lowest and their best. I've shared tears with them across time, and danced in joy on their behalf. I have spun what I see into great stories that my people cherish. It was never my intention to become a prophet, but that seems to be what happens when you share a gift like mine with mammals that don't know any better.

I can, when looking into the future, only see along the lines of mammals who are descendants of the family. The nice thing is, as time goes on, that expands. By your time, there are millions of mammals that are in some way related back to me.

Nick's letter was first, and I have since learned by watching over several mammals' shoulders, about what is called the multiverse. As I write your letter, I am old, feeble, and understand my death is soon. Another blessing mixed with a curse. I know the exact moment of my death. I've made arrangements. I welcome it, and whatever may come after.

As with Nick. I won't give any big pronouncements. Just live your life as you have already been. My intent was never to dictate someone's future. I especially understand now that just by watching I have impacted things. By writing it down, I've impacted it more. Most of those futures I have created work out great, some do not, and that is just the nature of things.

I honestly feel as though I know you. Then again, I've watched you grow into a strong, wonderful person. Well, except for you… Yeah, I'm looking specifically at you, with the huge notch in your ear. You and your Nick could have been great, just like the rest of them. Instead you embraced the fear, made it yours. I find I dislike you the most.

To the rest of you, you are wonderful, but reality and possibilities being what they are, you know there are a few versions of you out there that made Dawn look like a perfect angel. Anyway… Letting my nerves about tomorrow get the better of me.

Live your life to your best ability. That is all I ask of you. The combination of your safe is what you are about to choose it to be.

Judy stared at the letter for several moments. "Well… If that isn't something." She stepped up to her safe and spun the dial five times one direction, three full times another, and then a single turn. The door popping own at that point.

Inside was a small case and a note.

Judy. These are my gifts to you, Nick, and your kits. I didn't have anything for Nick when his safe was sealed, but by the time I reached yours, I realized I needed to give you something. Enjoy these. Enjoy the love you share with each other and your kits.

Opening what seemed to be a jewelry case Judy gasped and snapped it closed again. Nick spun towards her in shock as she faced him, eyes wide with a mixture of shock and terror on her muzzle. "Holy Crap! Carrots!"

Judy nodded as she clutched the case to her chest. "Yeah. Nick… This is too much."

Smiling and pulling her into a hug. "We do not have to wear them now. When is up to us. We can discuss it with them tonight."

Judy nodded again. "Yeah. That sounds good."

Lizz

Lizz looked down at her letter and gasped. It was written in an ancient tiger dialect she learned to read as a cub purely on a whim.

Hello Elizabeth. I suppose you do prefer Lizz. Either way. I'm just a mammal looking forward in time to watch you reading this and smiling as your eyes widen in shock. I live what is actually 12,328 years, give or take a decade, from when you are reading this letter. It still amazes me just how far away you are from me in time.

My particular family line tends to have a thing for felines, being a wolf myself. Don't know why, but there is at least one a generation. I have looked back and I do not see why, we just seem to like cats. Maybe it's the dominance fight you have before mating the first time. I mean, that's just sexy as hell, but I digress.

I know I don't write like someone from so long ago to you, but that is because I have spent the last few decades watching and learning. I suppose I could be seen as having several doctorates at this point. I've studied as much as I can so that I can express to those I write these letters to in a way that you can easily understand. Even if I did keep the language this is written in one that you and only a handful of other mammals could understand.

Anyway. As I tell the others. There really isn't anything special I have to pass on to you. Hold onto Mike and your cubs. Train hard with Nick and Judy, the things they, as well as a few others will teach you will keep you, your mate, and your kits safe. Your cubs and their kits will be all but inseparable, but I'm sure you have already guessed that. They all have a connection, and one that will prove invaluable as their lives progress.

Love them. Trust them. Trust yourself, and try not to smother them too much. I kinda wish I could have met all of you in person, but I must rely on just looking forward and watching. Good luck.

The combination is what you are about to choose. Benefit of being able to watch from afar, I can have it set according to what you are about to do.

Lizz shook her head and glanced back at the Alpha. "They say they are around 12,328 years in the past, give or take a decade."

The Alpha nodded. "That matches what we have been able to date the documents and such to. They gave you an actual date range?"

Lizz nodded. "They did. That is simply insane."

Stepping up to her safe, Lizz spun the dials and inside found a small box and a note.

Lizz. A gift for you and Mike, according to your own ancient traditions. Ones you have so far chosen to forgo. He won't turn you down.

Opening the box Lizz gasped. Inside she found a pair of ear piercings. Specifically ancient piercings that denote the mates across time. Closing the box, she looked up at Mike who smiled at her as he approached his own safe. "Yes. I'd happily wear yours, if you'll wear mine."

Lizz did her best to not cry out in joy, but still had a few tears drip down her cheeks. "We'll talk later."

Mike

Mike stepped up to the letter in the case with his name on it with no small amount of trepidation. His tail was still, and given the reactions of the others, and the shock he felt from Lizz, something that came as an extra shock that he could feel her so clearly now. A point he filed away to bring up with Nick and Judy later that night.

Still, he looked down at the letter and managed to suppress the gasp the others had failed to. Benefit of being the last to approach their letter. Still, reading a letter written in a version of ancient lupin that he and he brothers had created and only ever shared with each other, sent a chill down his spine. It even had the moon phase, month, and time of day it was written. His brain quickly shifted and he was able to read it easily.

Hello Mike. I suppose it is kind of a closed circle that the Lupin written language, which I created in order to document everything from how to fish, to this very letter I write to you, is based on the version of ancient Lupin that you and your brothers created. You boys made it extra complicated in order to encode your discussions with each other. I simplified it for my needs, and over the centuries between me and you, it was added to, modified and changed to fit the times.

It's fascinating to me to watch how the language I based off of what you taught me, twisted into what you based that very language off of. I blame the foxes for needing to learn to write things down, but they really were some of the first that achieved sentience,and used that to their benefit. Something the rest of the species, including wolves, seem unable to let them forget. It's really sad.

Funny. I didn't think I had any descendants. Then I find out that my sight isn't great within my own future. Turns out I was to be gifted a mate. Not something I expected, and something I had a long discussion with her about. I have watched you, your mate, Nick and Judy, and others, for far too long. My mind is more like yours in the way I think. I gave her a choice, and to my joy, she honestly chose me.

She is from a pack that is still doing things the old way. She's a beautiful, strong, powerful wolfess. But, she is also extremely intelligent. She whispered in her fathers ear to mate her off to us to seal a rift. With us having a pact with several rabbit clans, only the Hopp survives to your time, sadly. As well as foxes with their intelligence and tactics. Both the rabbits and foxes able to burrow quickly. Several bears in the area who we provide protection of their dens over the winter and they in exchange lend their strength to us.

We are very secure. It allows us to allow those like me, someone weaker physically, but smarter, to thrive and prove my worth to the pack in other ways. This is all your doing, Mike. You. Lizz. Nick, and Judy. You have and continue to teach me so much that I then find ways to twist and paint in ways that my people can accept.

My mate is smart like me, but physically powerful too. Our pups are going to be strong like her and smarter than both of us. It's why she agreed to take me as her mate. She found that my intelligence passed on to our pups is worth a few of them being less strong. Thing is, the physical weakness I have is not… I think the word is genetic? It's just because I was sick early on, but though I survived, it weakened me, preventing me from growing strong.

I have only one thing to really tell you. Actual advice unlike the others. Don't forgo Wolford pack ceremony and tradition, embrace it, make it your own. Consider it with your mate, your Firsts, your parents and brothers. Yes, not all of it should be kept, but don't abandon it all either. take their advice in, and follow your heart. You and Lizz will make truly great Alpha's.

So that's really it. Just a hello from the ancient past. Follow your heart, love your mate, and your pups. All of them. The lock on your safe is the combo you are about to enter, so make it hard.

Mike shook himself and stepped over to his safe, hearing Lizz gasp, he got a mental image of traditional tiger ear piercings. Giving her his warmest smile. "Yes. I'd happily wear yours, if you'll wear mine."

Lizz clearly did her best to not cry at that, although a few tears still managed to drip down her cheeks. "We'll talk later."

Mike nodded and spun the dial, not looking, just like the others. One number, then two, then five, ending with ten digits, two of which had two full rotations to them. Opening his safe, he pulled out a note.

Mike, if my artisans hadn't been able to figure out how to do Nick's combination, they'd have never been able to pull off yours. Well done. A small gift. A token and recognition of the Alpha you will become. Why go through the effort of having your own badges and such created, when you can wear these. A gift across time, the original badges of the position as Alpha. I know you won't wear them now, but when you do, wear them with pride. You will carry the pack to greatness, and your pups so much father still.

By the way… I Told you about my mate, right? Her name is Elizza. Fitting I suppose, as you are a direct descendant of our pups. She even has some recessive stripping on her neck and shoulders from a great great grandpa who was a smiladon.

Oh, yeah. The smiladons will make powerful allies, but they have their own agenda, so trust in Nick and Judy when interacting with them.

Mike pulled a box from the safe and opened it carefully. Inside he found something every wolford pack wolf was told was lost thousands of years before. The first badges of the Alpha from right after the pack reformation and their move from their ancient savage beliefs to their current faith. What more, it had several gems in it he had never seen before but had both Nick and Judy gasping.

Judy stepped up, hopping up grabbing a pawful of his shirt and standing against his hip. Mike grunted, reminded just how heavy and therefore strong she was. "Mike! That's a really big Hopps Sapphire. I'll need to check the lists, but I think there was only one that size ever cut. It was listed as a gift, but I don't remember the rest."

Nick nodded. "Yes, and those are Wilde rubies. They come from the same deposit as we have learned."

Mike nodded in reply, looking over the badges. "Yes, and that is a pure moon stone. The original Moon Stone of the Alpha. It was from the Alphas staff which was smashed when the pack broke and reformed. The stone is said to have shattered, all but its heart lost, the heart is said to have formed itself into the glyph of the Alpha. Something we use to this day." Looking down at the badge. "It seems that the legend is not accurate, but not that far from the truth either."

Mike looked up at Lizz with a smile. "We'll wear these when we ascend as Alphas, but will also have our own made to reflect us as Alphas. These will be kept to be used during the ascension ceremony. They should be preserved. Never actually lost, just deliberately misplaced. For a few thousand years."

The Von Alpha stepped over to them, and gasped himself upon seeing the badges. "By the ancients! The lost badges… Here the whole time as a gift to the Wolford pack Alpha."

Mike smirked. "I'm not the Alpha yet." Closing the box. "However, these will go into the safe. We'll use them for our ascension, and then have our own made. They should be saved for special ceremonies where the gravitas of these can help anchor the moment. The ascension of new Alphas, swearing in of a new council, things like that."

The Alpha put up his paws. "I'm going to stop you right there. Those are yours, we have an ancient set we use in the same way. They were created when Von pack was established. Still, if you would all allow us to document what was in the safes. They will not be removed from your sight, just there on the documentary work bench. "Indicating the work area several very eager looking wolves wearing traditional historian sashes stood."

With a collective chuckle they all agreed, carrying the various items over to the work area to be cataloged and carefully documented. As they all passed Mike's safe, which was the largest, Judy's ears twitched as he stopped and stared at the safe. Her head cocking to the side. Her eyes went wide, as she turned. The urgency in her voice a physical force. "Everyone get back!" None of the mammals questioned her. Nick not waiting for her to coil her legs had done so himself and leapt with her in his arms.

Taking cover behind the vault door, they waited, Judy with an ear peaking around the vault door. After a few moments, she glanced back at Nick, both of them frowning. They moved into the room slowly, followed by the others. Several mechanical ticking sounds clearly audible from all four safes. Gears moving and heavy bolts retracting. Then the safes unfolded themselves like flowers. Several panels opened on what was once the inside of the safes to show a note on Mike's safe, written in standard, as well as several dozen glass vials.

Hello everyone. My apologies, Judy. I simply could not resist the small prank. Here you will find samples, tissue and blood, that you may test and see just how you have changed as mammals from my time. I included members of your families, and as many species as I could manage to squeeze into the limited space these safes provided.

Mike, I have included samples from myself and my mate. Lizz, it took some doing, but we got samples of your most ancient ancestors. Judy and Nick. There are two very special samples here. I have refused to look and see what the results are, but they are from the two mammals you are named for. They lived a very long time and only just passed on. Two hundred and twenty five years, give or take. I expect you two will live much longer than that.

They are the ones that helped forge the reality of cooperation and safety my pups enjoy because of their efforts, despite the otherwise savage nature of the world. There is even the body of a mouse named Erk and a rat named Geh, who volunteered upon their deaths to be embalmed for inclusion.

This is the last bit of anything I have for you. Love each other. Do what you do. Make the world a better place, and I am sure you will see your way to wonderful futures for yourselves and your young.

They looked upon the many crystal vials full of liquid and flesh in shock. The historians quickly moved to catalog and move the vials into light sealed containers to protect them physically and from the deterioration that the lights in the vault could cause.

Exiting the vault with their gifts from the ancient past, it was a quiet trek back out to retrieve their families, kits, and head back to the hotel. Mike and Nick carrying the kits while Lizz and Judy protected their gifts. Their families seemed to know better than to inquire. They said their goodbyes, promised to return, and passed on the usual pleasantries.

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A/N

Remember to share the love. Review and Fav. It is the life blood of every writer to know you are enjoying their work. I also want to thank everyone who has Fav'd, followed, and reviewed this little project. I know that isn't much, but to me, it's huge. Even as a writer of original fiction, that you enjoy this means a lot to me as an author. You can check out my original work and link to my Blog, Scribblings, where a lot of it lives by hopping over to dcballard . com ( Direct: ascensionnovel . / scribblings (remove the spaces) because the forwarding is misbehaving.)

If you enjoy this, and you are not also reading my original Log Entries series over on my Blog. Why aren't you? (takes a Nick-esk pose of hurt) Also. I am now posting them on AO3, so you have even less excuse. It's free, ORIGINAL fiction. "An original story told through the log entries of the pilot and captain of an experimental star ship."

You should really be checking out my bestest bud, Bear678, and his story What Foxes May Come.

So keep those reviews and comments coming. And also remember, if you see issues, misspellings, etc... Let me know in PM, I'm under no illusion of being perfect and want to fix those things I miss.