I work with numbers all day. As a creative outlet, I write stories, and I happen to love writing in the universe of Zootopia. You can find all my stories here, or on Fanfiction.net as well as Archive Of Our Own.
My Zoosona was created by the wonderful Quirky-Middle-Child
"Fast forward a little bit," Judy told her co-worker as they both peered at the monitor. "She said it was after school, so probably around 3:30."
Judy and Fangmeyer had hurried back to the precinct after questioning the former Mrs. Terrence Wiskberg. Judy wasted no time finding Francine, and the two of them began digging through the surveillance camera footage at the train station. Fangmeyer had split up from them to avoid being seen in the precinct as a group. Judy asked Clawhauser to keep a sharp eye on Bogo's desk to make sure they would know if he left his office, on the off chance that he stumbled across the two of them conducting public espionage.
"We're looking for two ocelots, right?" Francine asked.
"Yes, mother and child. She'll probably be wearing something fancy since it was a Friday afternoon," Judy said. While she did not share Chelsey's taste in fashion and couture, it would make it easier to spot her in a crowd. That was the whole idea of expensive clothing, after all.
"Try the other platform," Judy said, scratching her chin. Francine tapped the keyboard and the screen flashed to the next camera over, showing tracks three and four. The platform was packed with wayward mammals heading to and from various places. A few were hugging and greeting loved ones while others were exchanging goodbyes.
"A little further forward," Judy suggested, and they forwarded the footage by ten minutes. A new train was at the station boarding, and Judy finally caught what they were after.
"There!" she said, pointing to the spot where an ocelot was holding her son's paw in one hand and her smartphone in the other. "Ok, hit play."
Francine tapped the keys again and they both watched as the seemingly preoccupied mother guided her son towards the train. She took one glance up, confirming the train, track number, and timing before kneeling down to her son's level. They talked for a moment, likely going over what he needed to do once he got on the train. She pointed to her cheek, and her son leaned up onto his tiptoes and gave his mom a quick kiss before heading towards the open doors of the train with his backpack buckled on tight.
"Pause it there," Judy said, and Francine tapped the spacebar with her trunk. "Show me all the cameras in the building at this timestamp."
With a few keystrokes, the screen split up into 12 frames, each containing a frozen image of the crowd at the train station in various locations. The screens were likely a little small for Francine to really see any details, but to Judy, each image was larger than the TV her family shared back at the Burrows. Her eyes quickly darted from one image to the other, scanning each for anything suspicious.
"What are we looking for?" Francine asked sheepishly.
"Terrence bought that ticket for his son. If you were going to set bombs off in a public place, what would you do first?" Judy asked.
"I'd make sure my loved ones were safe," Francine said, nodding.
"Exactly. And since our informants have described him as nervous, I bet you he would need to see it for himself," Judy reasoned, moving on to the next camera. There was also the chance that he trusted his ex-wife to handle the simple job of getting her son on a train, but she doubted Chelsey could be described as reliable. What was more likely, and it pained her to think about it, was that Nick had shown Terrence the same footage she was currently looking at as a way to gain his trust. He did, after all, steal credentials for the traffic cameras.
"Is that him?" Francine asked, pointing to the screen on the bottom right corner with her trunk. Judy focused in on the spot and noticed a predator leaning over the balcony that overlooked both platforms. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, which was suspicious on a hot day, but he was faced away from the camera.
Francine hit play and they watched as the hooded figure looked out over the crowd. Chelsey was already on her way out of the station before the train had set off. More passengers continued to wander onto the train as the conductor called the train's destination and departure time.
"Hopps, something's been bugging me about this guy," Francine said as they both watched the scene play out.
"What's that?" Judy asked, not tearing her gaze from the screen.
"This Terrence guy, he bought chlorine from Nick's informant, right?" Francine asked, and Judy nodded. "Well, I was on Zoogle earlier looking at how chlorine bombs are made. They're pretty common for science classes to get kids interested in chemistry, but they are not that explosive. Even with a load of the stuff, it wouldn't be as powerful as the bomb they set off in Griño."
"Yeah," Judy remembered. "That was my reaction as well. My brothers made one when we were kids out of a plastic bottle, and all it did was pop like a small firecracker."
"Granted, it might still be dangerous if they get enough. But if Pumar's buyers are paying big money, then they won't take anything less than C4 or something similar."
"Maybe Nick is planning to con the terrorist organizations with a cheap dud rather than a risky plastic explosive," Judy guessed. Francine certainly had a point, and she doubted even Nick would be bold enough to swindle terrorists with a mammal like Pumar looking over his shoulder. However, her attention at that moment was not on chemistry, but rather the hooded figure on the screen. Even if Terrence was in on the scam, the possibility of blowing up his own son was probably too risky for him to leave to chance.
The train doors finally closed, and a moment later the train began to move. The hooded predator watched the train depart for a few seconds before turning to leave. Judy saw his eyes shift from side to side as he made his way through the crowd.
"That's him!" Judy exclaimed. The face on the screen was definitely the same as the one in the photo she carried in her pocket. He walked with purpose towards the exit of the train station and out of the camera's view. "Follow him."
Francine switched cameras again, and this time they watched as Terrence walked out of the station and towards the pickup area where cars and cabs waited to take mammals into town. He made his way towards the edge of the curb and, as if the timing were synchronized, a black sedan drove up to the curb and the door opened up for him. He got in and the car immediately drove off. Francine switched to another camera as the car made its way through downtown. Judy waited until they could find a good angle to see who else was with Terrence.
"Stop there!" she nearly shouted, looking at the screen with wide eyes. The car was in the middle of a dense intersection, and both occupants were clearly visible. The passenger was Terrence while the driver was Pumar.
"That's our mountain lion," Judy realized.
Victor Pumar looked none too pleased about chauffeuring Terrence around town. His scowl was visible even with the shoddy resolution from the traffic camera. But if Terrence was his supplier, then he could easily strong-arm the wanted terrorist into helping him make sure his son was safe. No Nighthowlers, no bombs, no money.
"Let's see where they went," Francine said, hitting play again.
They continued to follow the car as it snaked its way through downtown and up towards the southern parts of the city. Judy could catch glimpses of Pumar from time to time as they drove along. Something about his glare disturbed her, even though he was simply driving. His eyes were piercing and his paw gripped the steering wheel as if it were holding something of value to him.
It took a moment for her to realize it was disgust she was seeing on his face. Perhaps Terrence was talking his ear off or the car stunk of something fowl, but Judy couldn't help the feeling that Pumar was disgusted by the city he was driving through.
"They're heading to the Docks," Francine noted, leaning forward in her chair. "The cameras are either broken or nonexistent out there. We might lose them soon."
Scat. This was likely no accident. There were plenty of areas of the city not covered by the traffic cameras, but Nick would know exactly where each of those would be. She watched as they took one turn down Iris Boulevard, and Francine tapped the spacebar with a sigh.
"That's as far as we go," she said sadly. Judy was disappointed she could not see more, but there was still plenty to work with from what they found.
"Run the plate," she said confidently as she jotted down the number on her notepad. Francine quickly switched her applications from the traffic cameras to the automotive registry and pulled up a query page. Judy read the plate number aloud and Francine fired the number into the system. They got their answer in seconds.
"Registered black sedan to a John S. Cooper. The address listed is right in that area," Francine stated.
"John S. Cooper," Judy pondered, putting a paw to her chin. There was nothing particularly suspicious about a simple name, but a sedan being registered to a mammal they had not heard about did not sit right with her. "Hmmm. What does the 'S' stand for?"
Francine quickly pulled up the owner's profile and found the full legal name in the corner.
"Slick?" Francine said, raising her eyebrow. Judy's eyes shot open, and she could not fight back a smile as she gazed at the screen.
"That's Nick! He must have pulled some strings to get that car registered in a fake name at the DMV. You're positive the address is in that neighborhood?" she asked Francine frantically.
"It's just a few minutes from where we last spotted the other two on the cams," the elephant confirmed.
"This is it! Nick has led us right to him and he's got Pumar and Terrence in the building!" Judy exclaimed, giving an excited hop before reaching for her phone and dialing Wolford's number. It rang three times, and each felt like an eternity for the bunny.
"Talk to me, Hopps," he said a moment after he picked up.
"Wolford, are you with the ZBI?" she asked quietly.
"No, they relieved me and Grizzoli after lunch," he said.
"Do you have non-lethals on you?"
"Only my tranq and the taser with a few cartridges. No armor or riot gear."
"That'll work. We got a hit on our fox. Meet me and Fangmeyer at the top of Iris Boulevard near the docks. What's your ETA?"
"Uhm . . . I'd say 12 minutes, but 4 minutes if I come with the lights and siren on," he said.
"No sirens, we need to keep them surprised. We'll meet you then."
"Now we're cooking with gas!" Wolford exclaimed, and Judy hung up the phone.
"Keep your radio ready," Judy told Francine as she began to make her way out of the cubicle.
"Wait, shouldn't I go too?" Francine asked, looking around to make sure no one was eavesdropping on them.
"There is still a chance they're not there, so we can't risk having the whole team in one place so the ZBI doesn't get suspicious. Even if they are there, I'm sure we can handle them," Judy replied with a confident smile.
Judy had not felt so gleeful in days. She knew where Nick was, she knew who was with him, and they had no idea she was coming. The best part was that the ZBI was none the wiser. All she needed to do was catch two perps and bring Nick in, which was nothing she could not handle, especially with Wolford and Fangmeyer. The hard part then would be clearing his name, which she hoped he had a plan for. She smirked and furrowed her brow.
That fox better have a good reason for this mess.
Judy checked then rechecked her belt. She had her tranq on one hip and a police-issued taser on the other. Her cuffs, light, radio, phone, and Kevlar vest were all where they needed to be. Her two teammates stood on either side of her, checking their own equipment by their respective cruisers. Once they were all satisfied that their gear was in order, they huddled around Judy's car.
"We don't know for sure that they're in there," Judy began, "so we can't call for backup until we know they are. Fangmeyer, that'll be your responsibility. Wolford, if we don't see anyone, we'll need your nose to go to work."
"What if they are in there?" Wolford asked.
"Then they won't see us coming. Pumar and Wiskberg should be considered armed and lethal, but it's four on two so we can play this by the books."
"Four?" Fangmeyer asked.
"That's assuming Nick is in there with them. If he's not, don't save your darts. We need them both in cuffs, not necessarily conscious."
"What happened to 'by the book'?" Wolford asked with a skeptical eyebrow.
"Agent Savage said himself that 'by the book' for terrorists means shoot first, ask questions later. Only difference here is we won't be firing bullets," Judy explained. "The door is open so we won't need to breach. Watch the corners and stay sharp. You guys ready?"
Wolford gave his tranq a yank and cocked it back before looking at her with a confident smile and nodding. Fangmeyer also nodded and kept her own weapon holstered. They both tuned their radios to silent and drew their flashlights. Judy nodded back with a determined look and turned on her heel, keeping close to the wall that lined the street corner. She peered around the corner at their target building and quietly assessed her options.
It was an old storage unit house only 3 floors tall. The dry cleaning store on the left side looked closed down, and the store to the other side was available for rent. She doubted there were any entrances from the buildings on either side, and the windows were barred. That left the front door and any exits in the back. Her training taught her that her perps would try to make a run for it out that way, so she would need to close those off first.
The black sedan was parked out front, and the front door swayed ever so slightly in a light breeze. Judy breathed and gripped her tranq in one paw and flashlight in the other. She turned the flashlight on, her coworkers following suit, and stepped forward silently.
They quickly made their way across the block and kept their weapons low. Before long they made it to the door and Judy threw it open. Fangmeyer took point, checking the corners. Wolford was right behind her and immediately began sniffing before Judy followed behind and looked for signs of movement. There was still plenty of sunlight in the lobby of the store, but around one corner towards the back there were neither lights on nor windows, and Judy felt jealous of her predator coworkers who could probably see much more than her.
"Clear," Fangmeyer called out from one hallway in the back.
"Clear," Wolford answered from the lobby.
"Clear," Judy said and turned back to her team. "You catch anything Wolford?"
"Nothing much. I've got some mammal in here I don't recognize, but that could just be the landlord."
"Let's hit the next floor," Judy said quietly before turning a corner towards a large metal door labeled 'stairway'. She kept her ears on a swivel, listening for any signs of movement above them. Fangmeyer grasped the door handle and swung it open. Judy pounced forward with her tranq out and aimed it up the stairs.
They made their way to the next floor, clearing it the same way they did the first. The corridors were lined with large metal doors latched with bolt locks, likely filled with dusty furniture and other assorted junk. Judy's ears stayed at attention as she swept the area.
"Got something," Wolford called out. "Smells like fertilizer."
"Could be a Nighthowler lab," Fangmeyer suggested, "or a gardener who keeps their extra materials in storage."
"Not picking up any Nighthowlers," Wolford said looking to Judy, who nodded back at him.
"Let's clear the third floor," she decided, and they each headed back to the stairwell. As they made their way quietly up to the next floor, Judy's hopes began to fade. She had not heard even the slightest bit of movement, and if there were three other mammals in the building, she would have at least heard them try to hide.
"Clear," Fangmeyer called out from the end of one hallway. Wolford cleared the other end and signaled back.
"Clear," Judy said, a slight twinge of defeat in her voice. She was certain they would have bumped into at least some evidence by now after clearing the building. It was not out of the question to begin searching the storage units, but if they had caught them by surprise, Wolford's nose would have picked up something.
"That car out front was the one you saw on the cams, right?" Wolford asked, keeping his tranq down.
"Yes," Judy replied, her ears beginning to droop.
"Hey," Fangmeyer said reassuringly. "They're not here, and that's ok. We thought that might be the case. We'll tear this place apart until we find something else to go on."
"I know," Judy said, crossing her arms over her chest. A setback did not mean the case was over, and she had plenty to search through before the day was out. She turned and holstered her tranq. "Let's start with the car and work our way up the floors."
Just then, her phone buzzed in her pocket. Judy carefully brought her phone out and eyed the new message from Clawhauser on the screen.
*TURN ON YOUR RADIO* it read.
Judy nearly jumped and fumbled about for the radio on her hip, scrambling to twist the volume knob until it clicked. At first there was a hectic static, drawing the attention of both Wolford and Fangmeyer. After a brief moment of continued static, she heard the uncharacteristically frantic voice of Agent Savage.
"Repeat, all nearby units, respon~~" his voice called out before being lost to static. "Suspect is a fox ~~~ red motorcycle. We believe the fox to be connected with known terrorist Victor Pumar. Suspect was last seen fleeing custody at ~~~ fourth and Oasis."
Judy nearly dropped the radio trying to hitch it back to her hip. Her eyes were wide, and her ears stiff as boards.
"That's Nick!" she cried. "Let's go!"
"Hold on," Fangmeyer exclaimed, but Judy was already halfway down the stairs with Wolford right behind her.
"Hopps!" Wolford shouted, having trouble keeping up with her.
"I'll take my cruiser!" she shouted over her shoulder as she zoomed back across the block to where her cruiser was waiting for her. Her radio continued to call out for backup as their location updated every few seconds.
"He's headed west! Let's cut him off downtown!" Judy said again before leaping into her cruiser and firing the engine up loudly. She mashed on the siren button and her car lit up before tearing down the road. She could see in her rearview mirror her coworkers making their way into their respective cruisers and firing their lights up too.
"This is Officer Hopps! I'm on Iris Boulevard en route to intercept!" she shouted into her radio.
Her car's engine continued to roar as she swept through one intersection after another. Each car in front of her began to slow and pull over for her as her siren continued to wail. Her cruiser darted up each road and screeched around the corners as she made her way back uptown towards Savannah Central.
"Suspect is turning left towards downtown," the radio crackled. "See if you can box him~~."
Judy's paws clenched around the steering column as she sped forward. If she didn't hurry, the ZBI were likely to start shooting soon. Thoughts of seeing Nick's body on the pavement flashed in front of her eyes. She bit down, teeth clenched, and continued to press forward.
The screen on her dashboard highlighted the nearby officers on a map, most of which were making their way towards the scene. She noticed them following a path towards the denser part of town. If Nick was on a motorcycle, he might try to lose them in the traffic.
Soon enough, she zoomed past another intersection into downtown, blipping her siren to warn the oncoming traffic. She finally positioned herself in front of the line of patrol cars heading her way and caught a glimpse of a black SUV with police lights blaring. She turned hard, falling in line behind them as they screamed through downtown.
"Break off, Officer Hopps," a voice ordered on the radio. "See if you can cut him off before he gets to the park."
"Roger that," she responded into her mic before veering off towards the precinct. She could not resist the urge to peek down at what the ZBI cars were chasing, but she could not see anything past them. She hit the brakes hard, rounding a sharp corner before heading back up towards the park that marked the center of Savannah Central. The entire place was littered with various mammals and other vehicles going about their day. Judy cursed as she mounted a curb to get around a line of stopped cars and finally found herself in the middle of the intersection.
"He's cutting back towards the precinct," one officer called.
Judy lowered her window and stuck one ear out. She could hear the squeal of a motorcycle engine roaring in the distance and fast approaching. She blipped her siren again, warning the nearby mammals of her presence, and positioned herself in the busiest intersection, holding traffic in both directions.
"He's in the bike lane. Hopps! Clear a path!" she heard Agent Savage shout. Judy realized halting traffic meant that Nick could weave through the cars, but the larger SUVs were stopped in traffic. She quickly reversed her car and blipped her siren again, prompting a few drivers to nervously back away from her encroaching cruiser.
She heard the motorcycle whizz by, but she could hardly catch a glimpse of it. It nearly barked in protest as the rider screamed past Judy's cruiser. She quickly put her car in gear and followed, this time close enough to see the helmet and bike suit Nick was wearing.
"Get back here!" she yelled, finally looking right at him. Judy realized how angry she was with him in that moment. Innocent lives were put at risk during this chase and he was only making it more difficult for her to clear his name as he ran. She was so close now, and the fire in her belly was raging.
"~~This is Officers Wolford and Fangmeyer. We're coming down towards you now!" Judy heard Wolford say over the radio. She hailed back to box Nick in at the top of the park. Right as Nick rounded a corner towards an exit from the park, both cruisers from Wolford and Fangmeyer screeched sideways to a halt, blocking his exit.
"He's cutting back," Wolford hailed. The bike's back wheel spun, spewing smoke as he re-directed himself back towards Judy. She slammed on the brakes and angled her car off to one side as the ZBI cars began to catch up with her. He was now boxed in, with only the lake to one side and buildings on the other. He didn't stop, instead mounting the curb and using the bike to climb the steps of the Natural History Museum. A few frightened pedestrians jumped out of his way as the motorcycle squealed passed the archway in the entrance.
"We've got him closed in," she heard Agent Savage announce as the black SUVs blared their sirens and mounted the curb, effectively cutting off any exit towards the park. A few agents got out of their cars and began following the motorcycle into the building with their firearms drawn.
"No," Judy whispered as she saw them chase him down with their guns ablazing.
"Wolford!" she barked into her radio. "Back up!"
Judy fired her car back up and began tearing down the street. Wolford was only just fast enough to unblock the road for her as she stormed out of the perimeter and towards midtown.
"Where are you going, Hopps?" Fangmeyer asked.
Judy was afraid to answer. This could be her only opportunity to catch Nick before the ZBI got to him, and she could not risk them catching on. She made her way down the street towards a familiar subway train tunnel that connected to the Natural History Museum. She and Nick actually crashed a train into that tunnel during her first case, and that was something the ZBI would not be aware of. She quickly parked her car at the edge of the street and leapt out of her cruiser.
She peered over the edge of the bridge that ran over the train tunnel. She waited and held her breath, not wanting to miss any sign that Nick was making an escape attempt through the subway line. A few moments went by in agonizing silence as she pleaded to hear something. Nick was smart enough to remember the train station at the base of the museum. He had to be.
Sure enough, Judy caught the sound of a motorcycle engine howling and echoing off the walls of the subway tunnel. The engine was getting louder as he made his way through the tunnel and towards the exit that lead out to a bridge over midtown.
"Okay, okay," she hissed as she steeled herself, gripping the guardrail that kept mammals from doing what she was about to. She positioned herself over the edge of the railing and let go.
Judy fell for a few brief seconds before her legs painfully collided with the wood supporting the train tracks. She looked up just in time to see the headlight of a motorcycle making its way along the track and barreling towards her. Even if he did see her, he was moving much too fast to stop in time.
Judy grunted and kicked hard off of the ground. She leapt into the air and re-positioned her legs to brace for impact. She collided with the visor of his motorcycle helmet hard and her chest groaned as much of the air was forced from her lungs.
"Nick, stop! It's me!" she yelled, hanging onto his helmet strap. She could not see his face through the tinted visor, but she heard him jump in surprise at the smaller animal clutching his helmet and blocking his view. A paw rose up reflexively to sweep her off, but that caused the bike to list to the side and lose balance.
"Nick! Stoooaaaahhh!" Judy cried as they both fell to one side and began to roll painfully on the concrete that lined the side of the bridge. The bike's engine howled again as the wheels came off of the ground and began to roll. The windshield shattered as the bike came down and flipped in the air once before bounding off of the tracks and tumbling over the side of the bridge towards the city streets below.
Judy's elbow and shoulder ached wildly. She groaned as she tried to sit up and assess the damage to her body, thankful she still had all her joints intact. The backside of her vest had taken most of the impact, but she would certainly be feeling that spill for weeks to come.
She got up and peered over the bridge, looking down to where the bike had fallen. She sighed in relief as no one was hurt. The motorcycle lay steaming on the ground with shattered mirrors and an engine that was still idling somehow.
"What were you thinking?!" Judy screamed as she turned to face Nick. But he was gone. Or rather, he was halfway down the wall that lined the street beside the tunnel. He climbed down the ivy that grew along the wall and slowly started to make his way to the street.
"Hey!" Judy shouted and took off after him. She carefully gripped the ivy herself and began to shimmy along the wall. She was a good 30 feet above the street, and while the fall would probably not kill her, she did not fancy falling that far onto concrete. Nick was ahead of her though, and rapidly nearing the bottom. She took a deep breath and let go from the wall for a moment, falling briefly before catching another part of the ivy vines. She prepped and did it again, falling for a moment and catching herself before she fell too fast.
She was gaining on Nick now, but he would be on the ground any second. She performed her maneuver again, but this time the ivy in her paws gave way and ripped out of the brick wall.
"Wooaah!" she exclaimed as she clung tightly to the ivy branch in her paw. The ivy continued to rip away from the wall as small pieces of concrete and plaster dust spewed outwards. She fell farther and cried out for a moment before the last part of the vine caught against the wall and stopped her descent.
Judy had her eyes shut tightly, holding onto the vine with trembling paws. When she finally peeked, she noticed she was dangling a few inches from the ground.
"Oh," she said sheepishly and stepped onto the sidewalk. She looked up just in time to see Nick making his escape away from her and into an alleyway. She sprinted after him, her feet and legs aching after a couple of hard falls. She followed him into the alley and immediately noticed it was a dead end.
Finally, Judy thought. She had him cornered, so there was no more running from her. She looked down from the brick wall that lined the alley and focused in on the fox in the bike suit, who was trying in vain to reach for a nearby fire escape.
"Nick," Judy sighed as she walked towards him, only to stop once she got closer to her fugitive. Her heart sank in her chest as she looked at the only part of the fox she could actually see. Bike suits covered all extremities to protect against road rash in case of a fall, but they almost never covered the tail, and this fox's tail was white.
Judy drew her tranq and trained it on the motorcyclist that had finally stopped running and turned to face the bunny.
"Who are you?" Judy called out.
The fox raised its paws up to his helmet and undid the strap, pulling off the helmet with a groan. Judy's eyes darted from the helmet to the fox's face. It was a girl.
"Who are you!?" Judy ordered again menacingly. The female fox looked at Judy with annoyance. She had soft white fur and brilliant blue eyes. She was slim and looked about the same age as herself. She observed Judy with a hard glare before finally offering a shrug.
"Sorry," she said, giving Judy a cocky smile. Judy was about to shout again when the fox hurled her helmet at the officer with all her strength. She sidestepped the massive round garment and pulled her tranq up again. The fox was rushing her at full tilt, and Judy was in no mood to issue warnings.
Judy fired her tranq as the fox approached, aiming for her midsection. Just before the dart made contact, the fox reached over to one side and picked up a lid from a nearby trashcan. She held it up as a shield and the dart collided with the round piece of tin with a clunk. Judy reached up to cock her tranq back and load another dart in, but the fox was upon her.
She leapt back as the fox swept her leg under her feet. Due to the chase, Judy's feet did not move as fast as she needed them to, and she tumbled backwards. The fox took the opportunity and swept the trashcan lid in her paw to the side, catching Judy in the shoulder. The bunny flew to the side and landed against the wall with a hard thud, hissing in pain.
When she looked up, the vixen was sprinting down the backside of the alley and out towards the street where her motorcycle lay in shambles. Judy took off after her, but her legs groaned again underneath her and she could not keep up.
Eventually, the fox made it to the bike, hoisted it up, and zoomed off, leaving Judy in her exhaust trail.
Judy stood in the center of the street, where multiple mammals watched along with her. She could still hear the faint sounds of a motorcycle engine as the vixen disappeared from view.
Waiting was always the worst part of any case. The majority of cases needed some kind of lab work in order to confirm evidence that would hold up in court. On the one hand, it could come as a welcome respite from a case that Judy had otherwise wrapped up. On the other, it could be a painful waiting period that kept her from finding their suspect sooner. In either case, she and Nick almost never made an arrest or pressed charges until the lab could confirm their suspicions, and that could take anywhere from a few hours to days.
The lab rats received tons of work to filter through from the crime scene at Spitz’s house, so they would likely be working through the night as it was. When Judy showed up with a single strand of fur, there was hardly enough time to explain herself.
“Please, I just need to know what you can tell me from this,” she asked.
“Officer, do you have any idea how buried we are right now?” the small grey rodent asked as he gestured to the room full of scurrying rats.
“I know Remy, but please. If we can get a positive I.D. on this strand, we might be able to find the killer,” she pleaded.
Remy sighed, and after a brief moment took the small plastic baggie from Judy’s paw and rolled it up, holding it underneath his armpit.
“Why didn’t this come in with the rest of the evidence?” he asked.
“Well, funny story actually,” Judy began with a laugh. “I was on my way back when my sister Harriet called – ”
“—on second thought, it doesn’t matter. I’ll let you know what I find as soon as I can,” Remy assured her, and with their conversation concluded, made his way back towards the lab.
Judy gave a satisfied smirk. Her ability to play mammals like that certainly proved useful from time to time, and it was a skill she owed entirely to Nick. Her smirk soon faded as she realized that she was now in the waiting period, and it was unlikely she would hear anything new for the rest of the day.
Her phone’s clock told her it was late, and the other members of her team were all asleep by now. Judy made her way back to her apartment, all the while going over the various bits of evidence she had thus far. Normally, she had Nick to bounce ideas off of, and his absence left her feeling uneasy.
That uneasy feeling amplified as she opened the door to her apartment. The silence felt strange. Not having him quip about their day made the walls feel unfamiliar. What was worse was climbing into bed alone for the first time in a long while. The auto-thermostat kept the bedroom cold, just as he liked it. But instead of crawling into the covers and warming herself by his side, Judy held her knees to her chest and wondered. She thought about where he was, about what he was doing, and whether or not he was thinking about her in that moment. It was not easy to calm herself enough to find sleep, but she needed her rest to tackle the case in front of her, so eventually she nodded off.
The next morning felt strange. Once again, Judy was alone in a room meant for two. This time she knew why, and it made her hold the sheets a little tighter in her paws. She spent as little time as she could going through her morning routine, trying her best not to dawdle on activities that reminded her of him.
Judy arrived early at the precinct, even by her standards. She hoped that Remy would have some news from the lab for her, but sadly he did not. She decided to spend her time before roll call digging up some more info on the network. When she got to the cubicles, she was surprised to find Francine at her desk staring holes into her computer screen.
“Francine?” Judy said. The elephant nearly jumped with a start, looking down to find Judy staring up at her.
“Hi Judy,” Francine said with a smile.
“Have you been here all night?” Judy asked.
“Oh no no,” Francine reassured her. “I got here not too long ago. I had to leave yesterday to go pick up the kids, but I was getting close to something so I got here a little early. I just wanted to see if I could dig something up before you got here this morning.”
Judy smiled at her coworker’s dedication. She never had any reason to doubt Officer Pennington’s resolve, but Judy had never worked much with her in the past. Even if it wasn’t much help, it was good for her spirit to see Francine working so hard.
“Thanks Francine. It means a lot, even if you didn’t find anything.” Francine shot Judy a sideways glance.
“Who says I didn’t find anything?”
“Did you?” Judy said excitedly. Her ears perked up as Francine smiled at her and patted the spot on her desk beside the keyboard. Judy wasted no time and leapt up onto Francine’s desk to peer at the screen. The screen was practically as tall as Judy was, and the keyboard was about the size of her bed.
“At first I wasn’t digging up anything, but then I remembered that the ‘officer’s notes’ section of arrest reports often don’t get scanned into the text file, so they’re not searchable. I was reading for anything that might have something to do with what your informant described as ‘pool-cleaning supplies’ when I found this arrest record a few minutes ago.”
Francine pulled up a file that showed a scanned arrest record of one ‘William Vanderhoof’. The photo on the screen displayed a strange mammal that Judy did not recognize, looking at the camera with a vague indifference.
“What kind of mammal is that?” she asked, looking for the entry under ‘species’.
“A dik-dik. It’s a bit like a small deer with horns,” Francine explained.
“Hmm,” Judy pondered as she began to read aloud. “Arrested for possession with intent to distribute, charged with loitering and posted bail. Looks like a run-of-the-mill dealer.”
“I thought so too, but look here at ‘officer’s notes’,” Francine said as she scrolled down to the bottom of the page. Judy read the section Francine mentioned and noticed the detailed account of the arrest, written in sloppy handwriting.
Suspect was found at the corner of Birch and Vine in the Rainforest District. When questioned, he asserted he was simply waiting for a friend. Found three bags of nip, enough change to stock a cash register, and a backpack containing about twelve pounds of chlorine. When asked about the chemicals, he simply said the customer asked for it. Chlorine? Really? If all you want is to keep your pool clean, then just go to Harry’s Hardware down the block like a normal mammal.
Judy’s eyes widened. The last sentence was verbatim what Finnick had told her the day before.
“Who was the officer on this file?”
Francine smiled again and scrolled up. The top of the file in bold letters read Arresting Officer: Wilde.
“That’s gotta be him,” Judy said confidently. “When was this arrest reported?”
“Last month,” Francine mentioned.
“I was visiting family for a few days. Nick met me out there, but he must have made this arrest before finishing his last shift! Francine, this is exactly what we needed this morning.” Judy smiled at her coworker. Francine smiled back before looking at the watch on her wrist.
“We better get to roll,” she said, already beginning to stand up from her cubicle.
“When you get back, see if you can pick him up on traffic cameras during the past week on that spot. If he still visits the spot, then we can grab him. Text me if you find anything.”
“You got it,” Francine affirmed, offering hearty thumbs up. Judy made her way to roll call with a new spring in her step. She knew there was a reason she liked Francine.
Roll call started early, and the Chief wasted no time in getting right to the assignments.
“Officers Wolford and Grizzoli, the ZBI has requested some sniffers in their ongoing investigation, so I’m sending you upstairs. You’ll be meeting with Agent Maple,” Bogo ordered. Wolford shot Judy a quick glance, then looked backed to the Chief and nodded before joining his coworker out the door.
While Judy was hoping to have Wolford with her that day, she decided it was useful to have a mammal taking a closer look at what Savage was up to. Wolford was smart enough to know that.
“Lastly, Officer Hopps is in need of a temporary partner for the day. Do I have any volunteers?” Bogo asked. Judy was surprised to find more than a handful of officers raise their paws. The sight would normally be heartwarming, if it weren’t for the fact that she needed to chase down her leads and wanted someone on her team with her.
“Alright then. Officer Snarlof, you and Hopps are in the Rainforest District today.”
Judy thought about raising a paw and suggesting she be given a solo assignment for the day. It would certainly be insulting to poor Snarlof, but she could not afford to waste time on normal patrols that day with an officer she needed to keep secrets from. Before she got the opportunity to, Officer Fangmeyer stood up.
“Sir? Officer Delgato is still on vacation. Would it not make more sense to pair two officers who are both missing partners?” Bogo looked back down at his docket and shot Fangmeyer a glance.
“Ah, yes. I was going to put you on the ‘Spitz’ case. You would rather spend today on standard patrols with Hopps?” Bogo asked. Fangmeyer nodded, keeping her expression respectful. Bogo then turned to Judy.
“Any complaints, Hopps?” he asked.
“No sir,” she said firmly.
“Well then, you’re both on Rainforest patrol today,” he finished and turned his attention to the rest of the room. “While we’re waiting for lab results on the ‘Spitz’ case, I want everyone’s eyes peeled. Remember, Pumar is our number one priority. I don’t care about species profiling right now, if you see a mountain lion that looks even a tiny bit suspicious, call it in. Dismissed!” Bogo finished. With that, he made his way to the door and headed back upstairs.
Judy fell in line behind Fangmeyer as they both made their way outside into the parking lot. Judy’s phone buzzed, displaying a text from Francine.
*Vine and Birch. He’s there now.*
“Yes!” she hissed. Fangmeyer made a point of ignoring whatever she was happy about and got inside the cruiser on the driver’s side. Judy quickly joined her, struggling for a moment with the seatbelt that was two sizes too large for her. She gave up completely on being able to see out the window of Fangmeyer’s cruiser.
“Nice work at roll” she said. “Thought the chief would chew you out for second-guessing him.”
“Bogo doesn’t care about feeling in charge, he just wants the work done,” the large tigress commented. “I’m guessing we have something to go on this morning?”
“Thanks to Francine, yes. We’re looking for a dik-dik named William Vanderhoof. A small-time dealer, might have some info on our buyer of chlorine.”
“Where to?” Fangmeyer inquired.
“Birch Street and Vine.”
“Got it,” she said, putting the cruiser in gear and setting off. “We hear anything from the lab rats yet?”
“No,” Judy replied. “As soon as we do, we’re going to have to move on that evidence as fast as we can. Right now, that is our best advantage over the ZBI. If Spitz’s killer is involved with Pumar, then finding him might lead us to Nick faster.”
“What makes you think that Spitz’s killer is involved with Pumar?” Fangmeyer asked.
“Not much,” Judy confessed. “Spitz was employed for some scavenging work by a new mystery boss around the same time Pumar would have been in Griño detonating a bomb. Whoever this mystery boss was, he paid top dollar for secrecy and might have killed Spitz to keep him quiet. If that’s the case, whatever Spitz was scavenging for might be linked to the bombs Pumar plans to sell here in the city.”
“What does a bomb salesman need a scavenger for?” Fangmeyer asked.
“Materials, perhaps. Pumar’s supplier is still unknown, and whoever they are, they’ve got to be good at chemistry to weaponize Nighthowler toxin.”
“Chemistry,” Fangmeyer clarified. “Good enough to mix a jar of chemicals to throw police off the scent of a rotting corpse?”
“Exactly,” Judy said. “I think Spitz’s killer might be Pumar’s supplier.”
“Hmm,” Fangmeyer wondered. “It sounds plausible, but can I be frank, Hopps? It sounds a bit like we’re grasping at straws here. I’m hearing a lot of ‘maybes’ so far, and we can’t arrest anyone on ‘maybe’.”
“You’re right,” Judy conceded. “The honest truth is that all of this is stemming from my conversation with Finnick. He was given information directly from Nick, and so anything Nick left us is coming from him.”
“If that’s the case, shouldn’t we be interrogating your informant?”
“Nick wouldn’t have told Finnick too much, to keep him from being an accomplice. We need to trust that Nick told him exactly what we needed to hear,” Judy explained.
“I see. So we’re following Nick by following your informant.” Fangmeyer nodded. “Can’t say it isn’t working thus far. I just hope we’re following the right trail.”
Judy was about to retort when her phone buzzed again. This time it was from Clawhauser.
*ZBI split up into two today. One team took Wolford and Grizzoli, the other is just Agents Savage and Maple. Not sure where they’re going. Chief seems to be putting up a fight. Sounds like they’re keeping him in the dark.*
Judy thought about what the Chief was actually up to. All things considered, he was unlikely to sit back and let the feds handle things. Nor was he likely to be made one of the ZBI’s henchman. She and Fangmeyer made their way through the tunnel that separated Savannah Central and the Rainforest District, popping out the other side into a blinding sun.
“Fangmeyer, you’ve been working with the Chief for a long time, right?” Judy asked.
“Sure have,” she said with a nod. “Going on 24 years now.”
“Really?” Judy said, astonished. She knew Fangmeyer had been on the force for some time, but she had no idea just how long. It was hard for her to imagine the Chief as a young bull.
“Yeah,” Fangmeyer replied. “Why do you ask?”
“I was just wondering if you might know what’s going on in his mind? If it’s not too much to ask,” Judy said carefully.
“Hmm,” Fangmeyer pondered. “He takes everything seriously. The ZBI will need him to cooperate before this is all over, and the evidence against Nick right now is pretty overwhelming.” Judy frowned and reluctantly agreed that the Chief was in no position to play favorites.
“But,” Fangmeyer continued, “Chief Bogo has lost officers before, and I don’t think he intends to do so now.”
Whether or not Fangmeyer was just trying to cheer her up, Judy was unsure. She had faith that Nick was still hers, but to solve this case she needed to have faith in her fellow officers as well, and that included the Chief.
“Hm,” Fangmeyer smirked. “The last time I saw that look on your face, you broke the record for most parking tickets written in a day.”
“What?” Judy said, shaking her head out of her previous thought.
“You’ve got this fire behind your eyes, sometimes. Makes a cop glad to be a cop.”
“Thanks,” Judy said, rather bashfully. “It means a lot coming from a senior officer.”
“I was a little afraid that kind of look would have vanished by now after a few years on the force. The beat does that to some mammals,” the larger officer noted.
“Is that what happened for you?” Judy asked. She blinked, wondering what on earth possessed her to be so bold. “I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have asked that! How rude of me. Here you are trying to be nice to me and I’m questioning your resolve!” Judy asserted, waving her paws in the air to try and wipe the assuming question from the air as if it were on a chalk-board.
“Easy Hopps. Don’t worry, I get it,” Fangmeyer reassured her. “I think we just became cops for different reasons. You clearly wanted to prove yourself and make a difference in the world. That takes guts and determination.”
“Well I’m sure you have your reasons for being in this line of work. I don’t think you’d stay for 24 years otherwise,” Judy said with a smile. Fangmeyer’s mouth flattened.
“I suppose. My only interest was making sure my kids grew up in a safer place than I did.”
Judy did not comment any further. The tiger’s face grew rather sullen at the mention of her childhood, which Judy guessed was not as peaceful as her’s had been on the Hopps farm. Years ago, the apex predators in Zootopia were often recruited very young by organized crime, so there was no telling what kind of trials Fangmeyer endured to escape that life. Instead of any more probing, she decided to change the subject.
“Speaking of kids, how’s the family?” Judy asked.
“Oh, the boys are doing just fine. Richard is studying hard, and Parker is a bit of a pawful. They are both fans of yours, by the way.”
“What? No, I’m sure their real hero is their mom,” Judy stated. That comment made Fangmeyer smile softly, giving Judy the satisfaction that the tiger was officially cheered up.
“Hopps, is that our guy?” Fangmeyer said, pointing out the windshield. Judy stood in her seat to see over the dashboard. Sure enough, a relatively small deer dressed in a sloppy set of denim jeans and a windbreaker leaned up against the wall of a nearby thrift store at the edge of the intersection.
“That’s him,” Judy said confidently.
“Looks like we’ve got a runner,” Fangmeyer observed as she pulled farther forward and into a parking spot.
“What? He’s not running,” Judy observed.
“Did you see the way he leered at the cruiser as we drove by? Trust me Hopps, limber up.”
Judy was not one to question the advice from a senior officer, but she also found it hard to believe she could tell he would bolt just from a look. Judy preferred to work with hard evidence before jumping to conclusions. She made that mistake on her first case, and she was not keen on repeating it. But sure enough, as she and the tigress approached him, he tossed his cigarette and began walking in the opposite direction keeping his hands in his pockets. Judy did as Fangmeyer suggested and rolled her shoulders in anticipation.
“Ready?” Fangmeyer whispered.
“Whenever you’re ready,” Judy confirmed. Fangmeyer smiled and placed a paw to her mouth before calling out to him.
“Excuse me sir! ZPD, we’d like a word.”
She may as well have fired a starting gun, because the dik-dik bolted forward down the sidewalk. The two officers wasted no time pursuing him, calling out for the other pedestrians to step aside.
“Stop! ZPD, clear the way!” Judy shouted as she avoided a hare pushing a long stroller. Fangmeyer fell a bit behind as she was having trouble making a safe path around the crowd.
Judy began to get closer as the runner shot a glance over his shoulder. When he saw the rabbit beginning to close on him, he veered to the side and headed down a different street.
“Keep on him!” Fangmeyer called out from Judy’s side. The tiger had elected to avoid the sidewalk and instead ran in the street at full tilt. She caught up to them quickly and began to box the dik-dik in. Just before Judy was ready to make a move, a herd of wildebeest emerged from around the next corner. Their perp took the opportunity and headed straight into them, vanishing behind a forest of legs. Judy dove underneath their legs and continued the chase. Behind her, she could hear Fangmeyer calling out for the crowd to make way.
Judy followed as he began to toss trash cans to the ground in his wake. She easily vaulted over them and used the opportunity to observe the path forward. The road split into two directions in front of them with an alley between two larger townhomes in their direct path.
“I’ve got an idea!” Judy called out behind her. Fangmeyer was now catching up to them, running in the street again. “Force him into the alley!”
“I got right, you get left!” Fangmeyer answered, grunting as she kicked her legs into high gear. While Judy was certainly capable of maneuvering and dodging, she was impressed with Fangmeyer’s top speed.
Judy was now close enough to hear the small mammal panting as he pushed ahead desperately. He veered in one direction, looking to make a sharp turn at the next split in the road. Judy quickly drew her tranq and fired. The dart zoomed past his left foot and made him jump in reflex towards the other direction. He turned to head down the other street, only to find Fangmeyer nearly on top of him blocking his path to the right. He carefully jumped away from her, just out of her reach, and headed directly forward towards the alley.
Judy saw his figure plunge into darkness as he passed into the shadow of the homes on either side. She and Fangmeyer were now sprinting right beside one another as they entered the alley behind him. Time for her idea.
“Throw me!” she called up towards Fangmeyer.
“What!?” the tigress balked.
“Now!” Judy called out as she kicked off the ground with both her legs as hard as she could. Fangmeyer carefully caught Judy by her midsection and drew her back. Judy made herself small, keeping her eyes on the perp nearing the alley exit as Fangmeyer hurled her forward with her next stride. Judy turned for a moment, facing the wrong direction while her body felt weightless. The poor dik-dik could only gawk as he saw Judy sail past him through the air. She turned her hips and shifted her legs forward before colliding with the ground and rolling to a stop. She stood and faced the perp who was now coming towards her.
“Woah!” he exclaimed, almost falling forward trying to stop in time. Judy was ready with her paws up and legs set to pounce if he tried to make it past her. He wheeled around to face the other direction, only to find Fangmeyer staring down at him with her paws over her chest.
“Nice throw,” Judy complimented her colleague.
“I was second-base on the softball team against the fire department,” Fangmeyer commented, keeping her eyes on their prey. Judy could almost hear Nick’s voice comment on the word ‘softball’. If he ever heard this story, that would undoubtedly be a new nickname for her.
“Woah, woah, I didn’t do nothin’,” the runner said with his hooves up, backing up against the wall.
“I’d hardly call running from the police and reckless endangerment ‘nothin’,” Fangmeyer scolded him.
“You guys were chasin’ me! I didn’t do nothin’ wrong!” he spat.
“Take it easy, Mr. Vanderhoof, we just want to talk,” Judy assured, deciding now was a good time to play good cop.
“You cops usually chase the folks you ‘just want to talk’ with?”
“Only when they run,” Fangmeyer added.
“I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ to you guys.”
“Oh? If we take you in for reckless endangerment and resisting arrest, we’ll also confiscate anything you got on you, and a little birdy told us you sell nip in your spare time. What do you think, Hopps? Should we search him?” Fangmeyer asked her. The dik-dik became suddenly quiet and nervously glanced at Judy.
“Please, Mr. Vanderhoof, we’ll waive the resisting arrest and endangerment charges if you cooperate. We just need some info on one of your buyers,” Judy pleaded. Their perp huffed and leaned against the brick wall to his side.
“Fine. But don’t call me Mr. Vanderhoof. I ain’t my dad. I’m Willie,” he corrected her.
“Thank you Willie,” Judy said, relaxing her posture. Fangmeyer kept her arms crossed but gave Judy and Willie enough space to speak without being crowded.
“I haven’t dealt for the big bosses in years,” he said defensively.
“I know,” Judy said. “I read your file. You recently got booked for loitering at the same spot we found you at. Care to tell us why you haven’t found a new corner?”
“Cause that was the deal,” Willie said nonchalantly.
“Deal?” Judy queried.
“Yeah, with the fox cop. Said he likes to keep contacts in the underground, in case he needs a favor. I had to stay in this area, and I had to talk when he came askin’. In return, he said he wouldn’t book me as long as all I sold was nip.”
“Sounds like a good deal,” Judy commented.
“Yeah, well, lyin’ no-good crooked copper said I wouldn’t be bothered by any of the blues. But here you are,” he said, gesturing at the two of them.
“We’ll make good on his deal,” Judy said. “Just tell us about the chlorine.”
“The pool stuff?” he said with an eyebrow raised. “That ain’t drugs or anything, I just got it at Harry’s.”
“You bought chlorine at the hardware store and sold it like drugs?” Fangmeyer asked, a little skeptically.
“Hey, I don’t ask questions when my customers are payin’ good money. Charged the cat nearly double what I paid for it, but he didn’t seem to mind none.”
“That’s what we’re curious about, Willie. Whom did you sell it to?” Judy asked.
“A cat named Terrence. Terrence something-or-other. Last name ends in ‘berg’, I think. Real bookworm nerdy type. Pretty sure he was a doctor or something,” Willie disclosed.
“What makes you say that?” Fangmeyer asked.
“He gave me this list of chemicals that would have worked if I couldn’t get the chlorine he wanted. There were these crazy-long words that all ended in ‘ide’ that I couldn’t make heads or tails of. I just went to the store and found a brand of pool cleaner where the ingredients matched the words on the list.”
“Did you ask why he came to you instead of getting it himself?” Judy questioned.
“Sure, at first. He offered more money so I shut up about it. My guess is he didn’t want his face on cameras anywhere.”
“Why’s that?” Judy asked.
“He kept his hood up, lookin’ real shady and makin’ sure no one saw us talking. I can tell a new customer when I see one. The regulars know that it’s much less suspicious if you’re relaxed about the buy. The new ones are always nervous about gettin’ caught, which makes ‘em look super twitchy, and this guy looked like he never even jaywalked before.”
“Can you describe him for me?” Judy requested as she pulled out her notepad, jotting things down.
“He’s a pred, but not one I’ve seen before. Brown fur with spots, and super-wide eyes,” Willie said, pointing to his own eyes to illustrate his point.
“You called him a cat. So he’s a feline?” Fangmeyer asked.
“Kinda, but not like you. He’s smaller, but not young. He’s probably middle-aged, I’d guess.”
Gears began turning in Judy’s head as she worked together what Willie was telling her. A smaller feline with brown-spotted fur, middle-aged and nervous-looking. Her paw reached into her pocket and pulled out the photo Agent Savage left her.
“Was it an ocelot?” Judy asked with mounting excitement.
A look of confusion appeared on Willie’s face. “A what now?”
Judy looked at the photo in her paw, making sure to cover up Nick’s face with her thumb before showing it to the dik-dik.
“The mammal driving the van, is this him?”
Willie squinted and looked at the photo in her paw. He first noticed the large, aggressive mountain lion. His eyes then drifted to the ocelot driving the van, and his eyes widened.
“Yeah! That’s him. I’d recognize that nervous twitchy cat any day. Who’s the bigger cat with him?” he asked.
“Bad news, that’s who,” Judy muttered before shooting Fangmeyer a glance. The tigress wore a dark expression and glared back at her.
“Thank you Willie,” Judy gratefully said as she turned to leave.
“Yeah, whatever. Next time you wanna shake me down, talk to the fox-cop first ok? We have a deal,” Willie shouted confidently.
This made Fangmeyer stop and turn. Willie’s confident expression immediately soured as he nervously watched as the large predator got down onto one knee and glared at him at eye-level.
“Let me make one thing clear to you,” she nearly whispered. Willie could feel her breath on his fur. “If you ever sell your merch to kids, I’ll know. And if that happens, you’ll wish the fox had brought you in instead of me.” Willie swallowed, practically quivering as Fangmeyer’s feline eyes leered holes into his soul.
“You’re the boss!” he declared with a salute before scampering off down the alley with his tail tucked firmly between his legs. Fangmeyer continued to frown and scoff as she emerged from the alley beside Judy.
Judy was preoccupied with the photo in her paw. She had observed it endlessly since she got it. She looked for any other signs or clues that Nick might have left her. This time, she analyzed the ocelot driving the van. His eyes were sharp and focused, full of nerves but not of apprehension. He had the look of a mammal not afraid to get caught, but rather afraid to fail.
“This isn’t looking good,” Fangmeyer grumbled with a dissatisfied shake of her head.
“What do you mean? This is a huge lead for us. We now know this cat’s name before Savage does,” Judy said assuredly.
“I mean for Wilde,” Fangmeyer clarified. “Making deals with drug-runners for info is hardly ‘by-the-book’.”
“True, but that’s nothing new. His contacts in the underground have led to some of our biggest busts, so as long as they deliver, the Chief adopts a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy and Internal Affairs never inquires into anything,” Judy explained.
“I know, but even if that was nothing but rainbows and sunshine, which it’s not, Nick is in real trouble here. If what we suspect about this ‘Terrence’ guy is true, then Nick has made an on-the-books deal with a known drug dealer who is supplying chemicals to a bomb maker.” Fangmeyer hissed the last part to drive the severity of the situation home.
Judy walked a little slower. For the first time, she was hoping that the evidence that led her to Nick was not very solid. If Nick was to be prosecuted once this was all over, the more evidence against him hurt his chances of coming back home to her. She sighed, reminding herself that Nick must have thought this through. Besides, she was not about to let Internal Affairs keep Nick from her.
“We’ll find a way to deal with that when we get there. Right now, all that matters is finding Nick and stopping those bombs from going off,” Judy said confidently.
Judy’s phone began buzzing and playing a familiar marimba tune from her side pocket. She quickly pulled it out and answered.
“Officer Hopps, it’s Remy,” a small voice squeaked at her. “I have results in from the fur sample you gave me yesterday.”
“Yes?” she said excitedly.
“Yes, sorry I can’t give you much to go on. All I can say definitively is that the fur is from a Leopardus Pardalis, commonly known as an ocelot,” Remi stated.
“I see. And you are certain that was the species?” Judy asked.
“Yes. If I had more fur, I could cross-reference the sample with our records to see if we ever arrested this particular mammal. Then we would know for sure who it was.”
“That’s alright, Remi. I think we know who we’re looking for now anyway. Thanks so much for your help,” Judy replied with a sigh.
Judy hung up and placed her phone back into her pocket, not bothering looking up at Fangmeyer. She really did not want to see the look of sympathy that would be on the tiger’s face. She simply soldiered on towards the cruiser with Fangmeyer in tow.
“I need to give Francine a call,” Judy muttered. “She’ll need to find us a bomb-maker named ‘Terrence’.”