A/N: I'M BACK!
IF you follow me on Tumblr, you would know that I've spent this time attempting to rewrite the first ten chapters of ZPIC. As of now, chapters 1-3 are ready for reading and better than ever! Each one will be updated the day after. For more information regarding chapters 4-10, follow me on Tumblr for updates!
"Alright, on paper, this seemed like this would be a lot faster," Nick complained as he closed his book. "Honestly, I might not have done it if I had known the length."
"Nick, four weeks are hardly a long—" Judy stopped herself as she glanced up from her book, feeling the glare of her mate. "—Okay, fine it is but it'll be worth it!" She narrowed her eyes at Nick. "Besides, I recall you being equally excited about becoming a detective as well."
Nick shrugged as he leaned against the wall. "Well, I am, but seeing all these other mammals is kinda intimidating." He jerked his thumb behind him, where a group of other officers were standing.
Judy scoffed as she shook her head. "So what? We're all here for the same reason and to achieve the same goal: our certification as detectives. There's no reason to feel uneasy." Nick smiled at that thought. Judy had made a great point. He was being ridiculous and needed to look at things from a team perspective. There was no top ranking, no first class cadet, no higher honor, and no competition. They were just brothers and sisters in arms, looking to make a difference on a bigger scale.
He and Judy were the first to arrive. The Detective's Program was in the Zootopia Police Academy, so the two were basically back at the beginning. Plenty of other officers from other precincts arrived, but Nick, Judy, and Olivia were the only ones from Precinct One. At the moment it was just Nick and Judy, Olivia looked like a no show. A few days after they applied, Bogo enlisted them in the Program. It was short notice, mainly because the latest batch of applicants were about to start their program. Bogo happily obliged, understanding the three would do great work as detectives.
Regardless, Judy was eager to join and therefore so was Nick. They were given out books regarding the schedule, rules, and expectations of the program. Judy had read through it the entire book at least twice while Nick skimmed through the night before. He knew Judy was going to tell him about it anyways so he did not bother. He was bothered by the fact that Judy was incredibly eager to show up an hour and a half earlier. The first class started at nine in the morning, but Judy thought 7:30 would be around the time everyone else would show. Though Nick fought against the notion, he gave in and showed up early—missing his cup of joe.
"Yo, Wildehopps!" Olivia's voice echoed across the hall. The two and a few other officers looked toward the small Moose casually sauntering over to them. She had cup of what obviously was hot chocolate in her right hoof and her manual book in her left hoof, all accompanied by a happy grin. "How's it going?" she asked as she stopped before them.
Nick groaned as he banged his head against the wall. Judy nervously chuckled as she mumbled, "For some, it could be better."
"An hour and a half Carrots!" Nick exclaimed.
Olivia raised her brow as she glanced over to Judy for answers. "He's mad because I made him show up early," she answered.
Olivia's eyes widened as a scoff escaped. "An hour and a half?" She shook her head and sighed. "Hopps, you are insane."
Judy chose not to comment on Olivia's statement and rolled her eyes. "So, how are you feeling?"
Olivia shrugged. "I dunno. I'm pretty excited, but I kinda want to get to work fast."
"Same here," Nick agreed.
"Eh, I think the learning experience would be just as good as the real deal." Judy's eager smile slightly faltered as Nick and Olivia shook their heads in disagreement. "Okay… I guess I'm solo on that one." She glanced around the halls and smiled at her fellow peers. She wasn't the only one wearing an excited grin.
Olivia too began observing her peers. She scanned them up and down, reading their expressions. She understood some were eager, maybe almost as eager as Judy. But Olivia also got the sense of a confidence boost from others at mere sight of her and her friends. Perhaps seeing short mammals made them think they were the big shots. Others felt otherwise due to the profile of Judy and Nick. Two star cops brought the intimidation, and Olivia understood that. Judy was her idol after all.
When she was assigned under Nick and Judy, she was obviously excited, but there was also a small sense of fear. She had to prove to them that she was the best of her class for a reason and that she was worthy to serve alongside them. In the end, Olivia got the impression Judy and Nick were glad to have her around, but she still had to prove herself. So there was some excitement from the program, but also because it was her chance to show off her skills.
"I'm excited to test out the new revolver," Olivia stated. "Can't wait to try it out."
Judy nodded. "Yeah, I'd like a chance to use it too. Fortunately, there is an hour break period so we should get a chance to test it out at the firing range. Even if that's enough time."
"Wager?" Nick asked smugly. The two ladies raised their brows, indicating he had peaked their interest. "Whoever has the most accurate shots doesn't have to buy lunch?"
"Pfft, lame," Olivia said, "How about I get a choice of where to eat dinner?"
"Please, you?" Judy scoffed.
"'On the Spot Olive', they called me," she responded smugly.
Judy sighed at her joke while Nick quipped back, "Huh, I thought they called you shor—ow!" He winced in pain from Olivia's hoof. She moved fast and struck hard.
She narrowed her eyes and said, "I dare you to finish that sentence, Slick." Her fist was half cocked and ready.
Nick seethed and continued to rub his shoulder. "Alright, alright," he muttered. Nick cleared his throat as he took a small step away from the small Moose. "Okay… how about the winner can decide after?"
"Sounds fair," Judy answered.
"Or at least until an actual bet is made," Olivia muttered.
The door beside them clicked unlocked and swung open. The instructor stepped out, revealing herself to be a female Cheetah. She had a slim build and wore dark blue jeans with a blue shirt. The shirt had the ZPA labels and symbol on it's sleeves, which tightly wrapped around her arms. "Attention!" The officers stood around the hall looked at her in alarm but did not fail to salute her. They threw their backs to the wall and stood in a line across it. She walked out into the halls, paws folded behind her back, and a bold tone in her voice. "I am Sergeant Fuli." She slowly walked down the hall, leaving the scent of intimidation in her path.
As she walked down the hall, her gaze did not divert from straight ahead, though it was clear she was looking at her students with her peripheral vision. "I will be your Drill Instructor for the next four weeks. I will be educating you on the basics of detective work. The mindset of a detective, what it takes to sniff out a perp, and how you can piece together hard clues. Now, you all have already learned a bit about detective work during your time as cadets, but we're going to be going through it entirely. From this point on, you're not just officers, you are Detective Recruits." She smiled smugly as she stopped at the end of the line, turning back to stare down the hall once again. "Welcome to the real work ladies."
"Crime scenes are always different. Same as each case." Fuli was standing at the head of the room, with a projector facing the whiteboard. "The important thing to note, is that you need to have everything thought out before arriving. Say the crime scene is a murder. Though not every murder is the same, you always need to ask the same questions to start out." She said clicking a remote and changing the slide on the projector, revealing a list of information. "Witnesses, clues, and information, you always need to look for these first."
"Right as you arrive, you need to keep an open eye out for any clues that the officers might have missed. Then you must know the victim. Forensics knows what they're doing, so by the time you arrive they should have already I.D.'d the victim. Of course, you all should already know the importance of asking witnesses. Sometimes, witnesses are criminals themselves and believe if they are the ones calling in the crime, they can't be suspected as the murderer. So, it's crucial when dealing with witnesses and suspects, they all must be treated the same.
"Even if someone is in mourning and they can't bear the thought of their loved one dead, you have to get information. You must be observant. In this scenario, it's not uncommon for relatives to kill their own blood much like a stranger aimlessly murdering a regular citizen. You're job as a detective is to build the story from the pieces the murderer has left behind. You look for clues, relations to the victims, basically everything you've learned from before. But, I'm here to teach you how to build past that."
A paw rose and caught Sergeant Fuli's eye. "Yes… Smith, was it?"
A polar bear from the back of the room nodded as he lowered his paw. "I'm just curious, what other ways could we solve this scenario other than the given clues and information?"
Fuli smirked. "Well, there is the infamous well known, gut feeling. Your instincts. When you make a call based on a hunch, mainly because deep down you know it's the right call. Of course, when you're more experienced you'll develop strong instincts. Not every case can be solved with just clues, sometimes the crook is smart and doesn't leave behind a lot of clues or information for you to go off of. So, we're going to be working on situations like that." She smiled as she clicked the next slide. "Hypothesizing," she stated.
"If you're ever given only a slim amount of information, you need to be able to create leads and motives just from background information and the victim's personal relations. Piecing together affairs, sibling rivalries, social skills, and basic personality. Things like these have to be created from your own mind, so you must cover all the bases and leave no room to question your theory." Fuli pulled out several files from the drawers of her desk, and placed them on top in multiple separate stacks. "Each stack has the same case, but aren't the same type of investigation. We have a missing mammals case, homicide case, fraud, and sexual assault. Now, the end solution to the crimes aren't all the same, but the simplistic goal is to build a theory for a selected suspects for each case, and determine the solution. Of course, a missing mammals case won't bring the same results in comparison to a money fraud case, but all I'm looking for is your ability to infer."
Fuli cleared her throat as she glanced down at her wrist, checking the time. "Ah, 'fraid our class is almost over. So, grab a case from one of the five stacks. I want this completed by tomorrow and feel free to work with anyone else involved with the same investigation. Like any precinct, your brothers and sisters in arms should be at your disposal to help assist your investigations. Use each other to help build these theories, but mind you I want notes on who came up with what and I wished to be informed of the groups you all have created." She narrowed her eyes at her class as everyone was still in their seats. "Get moving?" she ordered questionably.
Judy happily stood up as she collected her things. Once she hopped down from her chair she smiled at Nick, then to Olivia who was standing behind him. She smirked smugly as she placed a paw on her hip. "So, homicide?"
"Yup," Nick nodded.
Olivia shrugged. "I'm up for it, But I thought with your experience with the fourteen missing mammals case you'd do the missing mammals case again." She cocked a brow at the two.
"Well, I'm just really interested in homicide cases," Nick explained.
"How about another catch," Olivia offered. "We work solo, just to see what each of us comes up with."
Judy laughed. "Sure are cocky today, eh Olive?"
The small Moose scoffed as she waved her hoof dismissively. "Nope, just confident." She chuckled as she walked away from the group and over to Sergeant Fuli's desk.
Fuli peered over her desk and saw Olivia. "Ah, Venisont, what case will you be working on?"
"Homicide, ma'am," Olivia stated proudly. "And I'll be working solo."
Fuli smirked. "Ah, feeling a little lone wolfish, Venisont?"
Olivia shrugged with a smirk. "Something like that." She stuck out her hoof and Fuli pawed her the sheet. "Thank you ma'am!" she said as she made her departure.
Judy laughed at the overconfident Moose and followed in the line. She stepped forward once it was her turn and announced, "Homicide, solo."
Fuli laughed. "I expect nothing less from Precinct One's finest." Judy smiled at the compliment as she took the sheet and walked away. Fuli raised her brow as she saw Nick step forward. "Lemme guess, Wilde, homicide?" Before Nick could say anything, Fuli added, "I know when I see a loyal pup."
"Come on Sergeant, you don't expect me to have a mind of my own?" Nick quipped as he accepted the sheet given to him.
"Feelings can always jeopardize decisions Wilde, don't forget that," Fuli reminded him.
"Don't expect you've seen everything from me Sergeant." Nick smiled as he walked away from the desk and exited the room. He quickly joined up with Judy and Olivia, still wearing his smug smile. "Shooting range?" he asked.
The two smiled in response. "Raincheck Slick," Olivia shrugged. "Hopps and I have a date with some boxing gloves."
Nick rose a brow. "What did I miss in the minute I was away?"
"Judy wagered that I couldn't beat her in a one on one," Olivia explained. "I was just in the process of placing a bet."
"Bragging rights?" she asked.
Olivia frowned at Judy as she sighed. "Alright, fine," she accepted disappointedly. "Let's head over to the ring."
Gideon Grey was a simple Fox who loved a good routine. The simple things throughout his day would make him smile. Whether it was the morning greetings he'd get from his neighbours or the ringing of his shop's bell chimes, Gideon would always happily grin. Whenever things fell into a routine, Gideon would begin to appreciate the small things out of it just because he could. Obviously, this meant whenever he saw his regular customers he would be delighted to see familiar faces.
Yet this time around, he was certainly confused as to how he ended up with an intently focused Olivia Venisont at his number ten table. She had arrived at six and plopped a notebook onto her table. She didn't order anything. Yet Gideon decided to make her usual and give it to her regardless. She appreciated the thought and thanked him. She then proceeded to work on her notes without saying anything else to Gideon.
An hour later, he had concluded she was far more invested in working on whatever she brought in rather than talking to him. This time, silence was the introduction. Everytime she came, she was the one to start the greetings and pleasantries even though she was the one who complained how cliche they were. He crossed his arms across his chest as he eyed her suspiciously from the doorway of the prep kitchen. A quiet grunt escaped as he rose a brow.
"Why not just talk to her?" Lindsay's voice came in from behind him.
He looked back into the prep kitchen and kept his brow raised in confusion. "Pardon?" he asked.
"You've been staring at her for five minutes now, maybe longer," she stated with a playful grin. "To be honest, I was just curious how long you could go before you needed to blink."
Gideon chuckled as he shook his head and furiously blinked his eyes. "I'm just, uh, kinda worried. She seems sorta off and she has never been this silent before."
Lindsay laughed. "Yeah, I know. So far every time she's come, she makes quite the entrance and has a habit of speaking loudly." Gideon grinned at the comment as Lindsay walked over to the oven, pulling out an apple pie. "Go on over, boss," she added, "I'll take care of this order."
Gideon maintained his grin as he turned back to Olivia. "Thanks," he said as he exited the kitchen. Gideon casually made his way over to Olivia's table. He stopped right across from her, standing at the opposite end of the table and cleared his throat.
She glanced up from her notebook and raised a brow at Gideon. She smirked, "Can I help you and your toothy grin?"
Gideon chuckled as he pointed at the seat across from her. "Mind if I sit?"
Olivia shook her head. "Never stopped you before," she replied as she lowered her head and brought her focus back to her notebook.
He happily pulled out the chair and sat down. "So… what's going on?" Again, she raised her head and brow at the farmer. "I mean, ya just kinda waltzed in here. Didn't really say much."
Olivia's eyes widened. "Oh, right, I'm sorry!" She awkwardly smiled. "That must've been so rude."
Gideon raised his brows. "Olivia Venisont, apologizing for bad manners? Never thought I'd see the day."
She frowned. "Okay, don't go spreading the word or anything. But yeah, I guess I just assumed I already said hi and such." She brushed aside her tuft of her and shrugged. "Sorry, I was just busy with the Detective's Program."
Her farmer friend beamed a smile at the topic. "Oh? How's it going then?"
"Really well. We just got an assignment, it's like a homicide case." Olivia began to stretch her arms around and leaned back in her seat. "The idea is that we need to build our own theories and story from the murder, just using the victim's background, suspect information, and with only one interrogation to go off of. The entire thing is hypothetical. Never thought this whole DR thing would be so interesting."
"DR?" the Fox asked for clarification.
"Detective Recruit," Olivia explained.
"Ah, gotcha," Gideon nodded. "And how are you doing?"
Olivia smugly smirked. "Great! I'm just about finished. I concluded that the murderer might be the victim's brother. Everything I got from the victim's background really helped. I drew conclusions that the two might've had family issues, along with the fact the victim got special treatment, according to what the brother said in the notes. Plus, the interrogation answers seemed suspicious in the sense that he denies knowing much about his brother even though they were related.
"Then when you look at his location at the time of the murder, he says he's across town, far away from his brother and has no alibi much like the other suspects. But of course that would be the excuse of someone who was trying seem innocent, trying to reasonably distance yourself. The best I could gather for motive, is that the brother was upset that the victim wouldn't give him a loan or something like that. The notes about the brother were slim but all I inferred was that the brother might be low on money." Olivia held a massive grin as she began to pull out her notes.
Gideon was smiling as she spoke. She went on for seven minutes, describing her entire thought process. He was entranced by how eager she was. He couldn't recall ever seeing her smile for so long at a time. Though he chose to listen to her, deep down he wanted to brag. After all, it was his idea and she did it. Completely overlooking the fact that it was the result of a bet. Gideon was just glad that she looked like she was enjoying herself.
"All I'm saying, is that I'm old enough to have at least a cup."
"Well I don't think you should!"
Nick wasn't really sure what was going on after he came out of the shower, but he knew the bunnies of the apartment were bickering. He figured it was a pointless argument since their tones weren't hostile. Judy's was more of a nagging and Emma sounded more matter-of-factly. He wasn't worried at all. He was just glad he wasn't the cause of it.
He stood in his and Judy's bedroom getting dressed. The program had a given a uniform for the applicants. It was a dark blue short sleeved shirt, with a ZPA logo on the sleeves and a badge symbol on the chest. Nick didn't mind the new uniform—it even reminded him of his days as a cadet—he just didn't like the lacking of a tie. He enjoyed his ties and liked using them to accessorize. Though Judy would attest that they were completely atrocious.
After Nick finished getting dressed, he gave the mirror a quick smug smile and exited the bedroom. He slowly made his way over to the kitchen counter. Emma was sitting on the middle stool and fiddling with an empty cup in her paw, next to her finished plate. Nick sat next to her and began eating his pancakes. He leaned over and dared to ask, "What's going on?"
Emma let out an irritated sigh. "I was going to make myself coffee, but Judy thinks I'm too young to have coffee."
Nick raised a brow as he glanced over to the coffee maker that was on the counter and noticed its pitcher was missing. He looked over to Judy and saw she was holding the pitcher in her paw, utilizing the other paw to shield it away from Emma as if the mere sight of it would taint her. The pitcher was halfway full of milk and was tucked away behind Judy's arm. Nick narrowed his brows, to which Judy glared at him. Sensing the length of the argument, Nick decided to play his cards. "Uh, can I at least get my cup?"
Judy raised a brow at Nick. "What, can't wait for Sahara Sweets?"
"Well, yeah. Yesterday we didn't drop by like you promised and I had to spend our first day with low steam."
Judy frowned at her mate. "We were only there for six hours."
"And we still had to clock four hours of work afterwards!" Nick reminded her. "I had to think about the case assignment and work, all without my coffee!"
"You lived," Judy teased.
Nick frowned at her. "Carrots, please?"
She conceded with a sigh and nodded. She walked over to the step stool and reached for the cabinet, pulling out a coffee mug. Judy set down the mug on the coffee maker along with the pitcher and brewed him a cup. "So, how did your assignment go?" she asked with a smile.
Nick grinned, "You think that I didn't finish it?" Judy nodded. "Carrots, please, give me more credit than that." He jerked his thumb back. "Finished it last night and have all my things ready on the glass table." Judy's eyes widened as sly grin developed. Nick narrowed his eyes at her. "You want to peek at it," he deduced.
"Indeed!" she responded as she began walking.
But before she could exit the kitchen, Nick said, "Aw, Carrots didn't finish so she has to copy off me?"
She turned around and narrowed her eyes at Nick. "I did finish mine!"
"Then why do you need to see mine?" he challenged.
Nick was playing a dirty game and set Judy up. She scowled at Nick and sighed. "Well played Slick, well played," she commented as she walked back to the counter.
Nick smirked and said, "You may be getting better Carrots, but don't expect to beat me at my own game too often."
"When will I get that slick I wonder." Emma asked herself.
Judy shook her head at her sister. "Hopefully never." She crossed her arms. "Just because I do it, doesn't mean you'll need it. I just use my powers to counter Nick, you know, for good!" Emma chuckled at that.
The Red Fox rolled his eyes. "Come on, being slick isn't that bad."
The coffee maker began to beep as Judy replied, "You keep telling yourself that." She walked over to the coffee maker and grabbed Nick's mug. She poured the pitcher of froth into the mug, filling it nearly all the way. She quickly grabbed a tea spoon from a drawer and began to stir the hot beverage. Once finished, she pawed the drink over to Nick, who happily smiled.
"Thank you!" He set down the spoon on his empty plate and raised the drink. "Cheers!" He smugly smiled as he looked over to Emma and pawed the mug to her. "Enjoy, freshly made."
Emma and Judy's eyes widened. One was out of shock and the other out of excitement. "Thanks Nick!"
"Don't thank me, thank your sister," he quipped.
"Nick!" Judy scolded. She placed her paws on her hips as she narrowed her eyes. "Must you always go against me?"
He laughed. "No, I just think she can handle some caffeine." He ruffled Emma's head fur and grinned, "Besides, I always had coffee before I went to school."
"And that went well for you." Judy teased.
Nick sighed irritably. "I'm serious, I actually passed school!" he shouted. The girls laughed at his outburst, leaving him to frown. "I swear, the odds are always against me."
Judy rolled her eyes. "You just won against me."
Emma laughed after taking a satisfied sip of her cup of coffee. "Ah, that's good." She glanced over to Nick as a sly grin found itself on Emma's face. "Be careful about these number talks Nick, last time it made things awkward." Judy's face became slightly flushed at the comment while Nick coughed, averting his eyes toward his finished plate. The young bunny chuckled. "And it still makes things awkward. Oh joy," she said sarcastically.
"This, this has to be a joke? Right?" Olivia asked her comrades as she glanced up from the sheet.
Nick shook his head, looking unsure of himself while Judy shrugged. "I mean… maybe we're just really good?"
"Pfft, I'm willing to bet Nick copied off you," Olivia said accusingly as she pawed the sheets back to Judy.
Nick frowned. "I did my work—why is that so hard for everyone to believe!" he exclaimed.
Olivia ignored the Fox's defence and looked to Judy. She shook her head in disbelief and said, "We all said the brother?" Judy nodded with a smirk, causing Olivia to vigorously shake her head. "No way, that's just freaky."
"I mean, all the evidence points to him, right?" Nick asked as he took his sheet back from Judy.
"Whatever, I know you cheated," Olivia dismissed.
Nick groaned as he chose not to reply. It was obvious the two were going to rag on his work skills for a long time. "Alright, whatever you say. But you can't possibly think that I cheated for the boxing match?"
Olivia scoffed. "You're acting like you won that match."
"Uh, no you didn't. I remember you on the floor of the ring, begging for a time out."
"I won," Judy coughed. The two glanced at her and she shrugged.
"Yeah, okay. I did pretty well, But I got tired out! I got a few good licks in though." Nick pointed out.
"More like misses," Olivia quipped. "Don't know about you, but when I swing at someone, I'm not trying to kill the air around them."
"I hit you!" Nick shouted.
"You were lucky."
"So were you!"
"Please, there's difference between luck and skill." Olivia said crossing her arms.
"Your height gives you an advantage."
"I'm as tall as Judy."
"I don't think so."
"Oh? You want start some—"
"Oh my gosh, can you two let it go?" Judy shouted, cutting Olivia off. "Besides, we all know that I won both matches." She pointed to herself smugly, basking in pride.
Nick and Olivia glanced at each other as they considered Judy's statement. They nodded a silent understanding before they spoke. "Technically, we never glossed over what the total amount of wins should be," Olivia replied.
Judy furrowed a brow. "What?"
"She's right Carrots," Nick nodded. "I mean, does winning two matches really count as a victory?"
"I don't know," Nick shrugged. "We need to go over this."
Judy shook her head and facepawed herself. "I can't believe I put up with you two."
"Well, it isn't hard." Olivia grinned. "You sleep with one of us." Both their faces became flushed as they threw Olivia a glare. "The literal sense, I meant the literal sense you perverts." Their blushes faded slightly and Olivia's grin remained. "Be glad it's not me, Judes," the small Moose stated as she walked pass the two. She noticed officers from their class began walking into the room, leaving her to assume Sergeant Fuli was inside. "I'm a kicker in my sleep." Thinking she had left with the final word, Olivia walked away with a smug grin.
"Don't worry, I'm sure Gideon will find a way to work around that," Judy quipped.
Olivia stopped in her tracks and sighed. Those two were never going to let go of her and Gideon's friendship. She shook her head as she entered the class, understanding that sitting next to those two meant a long day for her. She quickly made her way to her seat, which was the desk in the third row. Judy and Nick sat in the second row, just in front of Olivia. The rest of the Detective Recruits found their seats and quickly sat down.
Segreant Fuli was seated at her desk, preparing papers as she waited for everyone to settle down. After allowing a moment of chatter to pass, Fuli cleared her throat. She stood up from her desk and walked over to close the door. "Alright, please put your reports out on your desks. Along with the case information sheet, and any other notes you have." Everyone followed her orders and placed their sheets onto their desks. Fuli walked around the desks and collected everyone's work. " I hope you all know what to take away from this assignment."
"Not every case will give you the full story, and even then, you still need to be able to build the story on your own. I will grade these papers, and as it said in the manual, this assignment will be added to your overall percentage." Once Fuli collected all the papers, she made her way back to her desk and tucked them into a drawer. A couple members of the class nodded along, expressing their understanding. Everyone had read the manual and knew the grading system of the program.
85% was the lowest they needed to pass the learning segment of the program. The learning segment consisted of two weeks of education and training. The manual stated they would learn the ropes of detective work as well as the different cases they could be assigned. As for the final two weeks, they were meant for shadow work. Each Detective Recruit would be assigned to a ZPD Detective for the remainder of the program, shadowing their work whilst also being shown the ropes.
The final two weeks are what Olivia and Nick looked forward too, as well as some of the other DRs. Judy was also excited about it as well, but she was already ecastic about the entire program as a whole. "Now, as we move onto the topic of theorizing, there's also the scenario in which you need information from a suspect or victim, and you need to get the information by means of interrogation." She leaned forward and placed her paws down on her desk, using them for support. "Now, interrogation is always a risky move because not every mammal is the same."
"When it comes to interrogation, you have to decide how you're going to go at them. Since every mammal is different, you have to be careful in how you interrogate them. Some might be afraid of the good cop/bad cop routine, but others may have toughened up to the idea, so they aren't as scared of it. Sometimes, all it takes is some bad cop, because the suspect will crack under the pressure. All it comes down to, is how you attack them with the information.
"You need to remember the goal is to gain as much information you can from the suspect. Your methods should be enough to persuade them. There are tons of methods you can use, but you can also change up your interrogation technique once you notice the suspect stops talking. Sometimes, good cop/bad cop works for a bit, but the suspect will stop talking, so you need to try to be direct with them. Sometimes, when a suspect is feeling cornered, they can stop talking.
"You never want that. You have to be able to tell whether or not if they are uncomfortable or if they are willing to cooperate. It comes down to technique and observation. You need to give your absolute best with these two skills, because if you fail, if you slip up and let them get away—you've let a possible criminal walk free. You cannot afford a slip up. In the real world, a single slip up in our line of work can taint our city."
It was obvious a few of the DRs were slightly nervous due to the sergeant's aggressive tone. Everyone else understood the route she was going for. She was instilling the concept into them because it was something important they needed to grasp. Judy knew this very well. She had seen Freddie and Boris do it before and understood the concept. The fact that the two excelled in their observational skills had always impressed her, and she was amazed at how well they worked. However, she had heard from other officers and Nick that she had great observational skills of her own. Nick already had some skills due to his social skills with mammals. He always knew how to con someone based on their social behaviour, so it was easy to transfer that skill into police work.
Fuli leaned down and picked up a box from behind her desk. She placed it onto her desk and pulled out a small booklet from the box. "This, is a booklet on interrogation techniques and observational skills. This will help point out obvious tells during interrogations, as well as tells when the suspect is lying. Now of course, not all of this will help you during interrogations and some of them are just theories. I want you to study these booklets during the learning segment of the program. For now, I'll allow you twenty minutes to look over the booklet."
"Afterward, I will run footage of an interrogation to test you if you can notice the suspect's tells." Fuli scanned around the class, monitoring everyone's expressions. "Understood?"
"Yes Ma'am!" everyone responded.
"Alright, now get to reading," she ordered as she gestured to the box.
The class immediately got out of their seats and walked over to the desk, grabbing a booklet from the box. Nick, Judy, and Olivia had waited for the huge mob to pass before getting their books. They were standing at the back of the line, waiting. Judy excitedly asked, "You want to look this over together?"
"I mean, it seems like this is independent." Nick shrugged. "Who knows?"
"You two can learn together, I'll read by myself," Olivia responded.
A paw appeared in front of them, holding three small booklets. "Here, these are the only small ones."
The three looked up at the newcomer and found a polar bear smiling down at them. "Oh, thanks Officer Smith," Judy smiled as she grabbed the booklet.
"Yeah, appreciate it," Nick said as he grabbed his.
"It's no problem," he responded. He offered the booklet to Olivia, who rolled her eyes and scoffed.
"I could've gotten it myself," she muttered as she grabbed the book. She turned around and walked back to her desk.
Smith confusedly looked to Judy and Nick, hoping for answers. "Oh, uh, she's sensitive about her height," Judy explained. "Nothing personal, don't worry." She and Nick walked away from the Polar Bear and made their way back to their desks.
Everyone had began quickly reading through their booklets. The booklet was quite informative on the tells of mammal mannerisms; when they lie or when they tell the truth. There were subtle signs that revolved around body language and tone. It would regard how they reacted to certain questions, the movements they made when they try to respond, or even how they provided the information. Nearly everything the suspect said would give off tells of lies or truths. Everything had to be observed carefully. It was a lot of information to process.
Granted, everyone had known some of these tells for awhile now just through experience. Olivia had become quite the observationalist over time. The one thing she could always tell, is when someone was being fake or lying. She could easily see through most mammal's acts mainly because she had one of her own. Lying had been difficult to notice, but she could tell with only few. Olivia had just learned to see reality for what it was.
Nick's case was obvious. As a con artist, lying was part of the job. He had been quite good at the con and knew how to convince others—sometimes authorities—that he was telling the truth. Of course, with such a skill, he could utilize it both ways to understand when a mammal lied. Truth be told, it was harder than lying itself. He realized there were two sides of the spectrum: telling the lie and seeing through it. Telling the lie had come easily to him since he also lied to himself about how he really felt about things. But seeing the lie come from someone else's mouth had been admittedly difficult. Nick overtime had learned the best way he could con anyone, was if he gotten to know them a bit. Therefore, he developed his skill in knowing everyone.
Regardless of the feats any of them had been proud of, this was something different. Judy had been a by the book cop and knew a few of the signs and methods of interrogation but she couldn't fathom the details. The booklet went into the specifics of everything. From the twitch of a nose to the slightest glance in the other direction, everything someone did was a hint. That was the mind set they needed to perceive. Not everything could be simple or easy, that meant sometimes everything needed to be looked over. It was overwhelming to scan through the booklet.
Judy wasn't nervous about anything, she was just slightly caught off guard. She looked up from her booklet to take a break from the reading. She scanned the room and noticed a few other DRs had worn the same look of confusion and worry. It was then she decided to theorize their thought processes. Some might have been worried they wouldn't be able to get all the information memorized or anything of the sort. Others wore the look of skepticism. There was a hesitation that had come with the new information. Fuli had said some were just speculations or theories of observation. They were left to wonder if the information provided was worth noting down.
"Alright!" Fuli's voice rung out.
Judy threw her attention toward the front of the class in alarm. Had time flown that fast? Or was processing the information not as long as she had guessed? Judy slowly glanced around to her friends. Nick had glanced up from his booklet and looked over to Fuli. He had his brow risen but did not let out any sign of being overwhelmed. When she looked to Olivia the small Moose winked at her as a joke and gave a thumbs up. Of course, she knew those two would be alright. Judy herself had nothing to worry about.
"Eyes forward! Direct your attention to the projector," Fuli ordered as the screen began to load. The projector displayed a video of an interrogation room. The room looked similar to the one in Precinct One, with the exception of the wall color being beige and brown. At the table, sat a male Sugar Glider all by himself. He had an uneasy posture and a worried look on his face. "Alright, I want you all to take notes on this. This is an interrogation from four years ago that took place at Precinct Nine."
Fuli played the footage as she sat down at her desk. A few seconds into the video, the door opened and a mammal walked in. He came into frame and sat down, leaving his back to the camera. After a quick scan, Judy looked to Nick in shock. Nick nodded at her to clarify, to which she looked back to Olivia, who shrugged in shock. It was Boris. The footage was the day when Boris interrogated Dusty Marshall in regards to the Rainforest District Bank Heist.
"Afternoon Dusty Marshall," Boris greeted as he tossed a file and pen onto the table.
"L‒Listen, I want to speak to my lawyer—"
"Don't worry you will," Boris interjected quickly. "I just want to ask questions about what happened earlier this evening." Dusty nervously adjusted his posture. "Now is it true that you and three other mammals broke into the Rainforest District Bank and stole three million dollars?"
"I… I yes," Dusty nodded.
"I want to know where your crew is," Boris quickly stated as he leaned forward. The camera's position prevented any angle on Boris' expression, but it was clear he had given Dusty a challenging look due to his feared expression.
"I‒I don't know where they went!" Dusty responded quickly. "I don't know! I have no idea where the escape route led… or where the rest of them are. The plan was to split separate ways after we made off with the money, I swear!"
Boris leaned back in his seat and sighed. "Dusty, it'll be easier to tell the truth."
Judy smirked at the projector screen. It was easy to tell he was lying. The video paused and Fuli turned to face the class. "Observations?" Judy's eager paw shot straight into the air along with other DRs. She patiently waited as she noticed Fuli scan around the class. "Venisont."
Judy whipped her head around and was shocked that Olivia had willingly participated. Judy lowered her paw as Olivia lowered her hoof. The rest of the class proceeded to do the same. "He's lying. The stutter in the beginning of his sentence is a small hint, but the fact that he repeated the same line twice and slowed his pace down is a bigger hint. It was his way to stall as he thought of an actual lie. Even then, he decided to answer quickly to avoid leaving hesitation."
Fuli nodded at the small Moose. She continued to pay the footage.
"I'm not lying! I swear I don't know where they went!"
Boris sighed as he flipped the file open and looked through it. He grabbed the pen and began to click it as he read. Dusty slowly tilted his head up as he eyed the paper. A moment of uneasy silence passed before Boris asked, "Says you made a trip the bank recently. Deposited five hundred seventy five dollars in your account."
"What of it?"
"Strange sum of money to gain on the salary of a Marty's Mart cashier worker. And in two weeks time? Some bonus you must've gotten." Boris glanced up from the file and looked at Dusty. "According to a statement provided by your landlord, it would seem you and your roommate had rent issues several weeks ago but you spontaneously managed to pay for everything." Boris leaned back in his seat as he rolled the pen in his paw. "Is your roommate part of the crew?"
"I… I… yes," Dusty answered shamefully.
"Strange how this 'random' splurge of money came in whilst there were reports of convenience store robberies in, well, wouldn't ya know it? The region where you live in!" Boris waited for a response.
"Okay, we stole the money, yes."
"Alright, I want to know what's the deal with these reports of, 'a small hole puncture in the safe.' You broke the lock?" Dusty nodded. "How?"
"With a drill," he answered immediately.
"A drill wouldn't cut through that deep. Even then, that would open half the safes you stole from. I want to know how, Dusty."
"It… It's something Aaron made. It can break the lock mechanism and open the safe."
"So that's how you broke into the bank vault," Boris deduced. "Why did your crew go from two to four, how did that happen? And, where did you get a tranquilizer gun?"
"We… we stole it."
Boris scoffed. "Yeah, I bet. I just find it strange that a two mammal robbery went to a highly armed, four mammal heist crew with tact armour. Where did you get the supplies? Last I checked there weren't any gun stores on your block."
"We stole them!" Dusty insisted.
"Gear like that is hard to come by. You got them from a gang—or are you part of a gang?" Dusty froze in his place as Boris sighed. "Dusty, this was a robbery that resulted in the theft of three million dollars. It's obvious this wasn't some petty thug work. I want to know about the gang you work for."
Dusty shifted in his seat and vigorously shook his head. "There's no gang."
Boris nodded. "Okay, if you say so." Boris nodded as he pulled the file closer to him. He pulled out a small picture and slid it toward Dusty. "Who are those fancy dudes?" he asked as he pointed at the picture with his pen. "Why would you need to wear a mask in a parking lot? These three suspiciously look like they pawed you something. To top it off, someone in the same suspicious get up—excluding the mask—showed up at your apartment building and dropped off a suitcase? Well that's a strange item."
"Okay, there is a gang," Dusty replied with a hint of disappointment in his voice.
"What was in the case?"
"Our gear," Dusty answered quietly.
"So what, they supplied equipment and offered a higher pay raise?" Boris questioned with a bitter tone. Dusty slowly nodded. "This encounter happened a week ago. With a gang like this, you mean to tell me that they didn't think through escape routes? Where are they Dusty?" Dusty remained silent for a moment as he kept his head down. Boris sighed as he straightened up in his seat. "Dusty, you know that this gang can't protect you. With the money they make, the mammals they have, do you think they'd spare a chance to save you?" Boris asked. "Well, if you refuse to cooperate then I guess we're done here. Sure is a shame that they didn't bother waiting for you."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm talking about how in the footage we saw, they drove off from the bank the second you went back inside the building," Boris stated nonchalantly.
Judy smiled and slowly nodded. She understood it now. Boris had changed up his tactics three times so far. At first, he had been soft and easy as he listed the evidence. He intended to get confessions out of Dusty first. Once he realized the strategy wasn't going to last, he decided to attack Dusty with facts and evidence more aggressively, thus pressuring him into admitting and answering his questions. But Boris must have noticed his aggressive onslaught left Dusty cowering in guilt. The way he was acting made him feel ashamed, so Boris switched up tactics again and looked to be using some form of bribery. He seemed like he was going to convince Dusty he had nothing to stand for.
"There was no hesitation." Boris shrugged. "My guess is that you were the deadweight. Eh, sure is a shame loyalty isn't what it used to be." Boris got out of his seat as he said, "Thank you for your time."
"We had three locations!" Dusty shouted hastily. "They didn't tell me which location they intended on going to, but they made it clear that those three locations were where we were suppose to lay low. The idea was that once we escaped the chase from the cops, we would choose one of the three closest routes." Dusty sighed as he sunk his head. "I'm willing to bet they just didn't bother telling me which one we were actually going to."
Boris nodded as he sat down. "Can you tell me the three locations?"
"The abandoned garage near the Buy-A-Blimp Shop, the abandoned Sewage plant on Rainfall Valley, and the—"
The video froze and the screen immediately turned black. The class was confused and began looking at Fuli for answers. She got up from her seat and said, "It was at that moment, when the Ghost Gang attacked Precinct Nine and killed Dusty Marshall with a lethal dart." She glanced over to Judy, eyeing her skeptically. Judy raised a brow back at Fuli, confused at why she looked to her. "That day had left us with two dead and five injured cops. But it also took away the chance of catching them." Fuli walked around her desk and proceeded to sit on the edge of it. "Regardless of those details, I want to ask you about the strategy Detective Convel was using."
"Johnson," Fuli glanced over to the Tiger.
He lowered his paw. "Boris was playing to Dusty's personality. He went slow and calm at first but attacked him with hard hitting evidence, evidently corning him into giving answers."
"Exactly, he changed up tactics, so in turn, he managed to play around with Dusty." Fuli added knowingly, "It helped him gain the advantage and also pushed Dusty into letting out more information." She looked around and shrugged. "Anything else?"
"He was building up tension," Nick spoke up.
"Ah, Wilde, care to elaborate?"
"Convel had obviously read the files in advance, but acted like he was reading them to leave a moment of silence for Dusty." Nick cocked his head slightly to the right as he leaned back in his seat, tucking his arm behind his chair. "Building up the silence left Dusty nervous. He was nervous about the information Boris had. Whether it was evidence or just information, Dusty knew he had info on him so he was forced to think more truthfully about his answers."
Fuli smiled as she nodded. "Clever conclusion Wilde. It is true that sometimes silence is enough to break a mammal's psychology. This can counter your method as well, because the silence may also grant the subject a chance to think of a lie or a story to cover their bases. This is a risky tactic to employ." Fuli glanced around the class. "It's obvious Convel could've had gone for a more direct approach, this way Dusty would've given up the intel faster. However, he needed to play around and understand how Dusty responded to pressure and questions."
"This is an important note to stress of course. Not every method of interrogation will work consistently throughout the interrogation. Changing up tactics will benefit you and throw off the suspect. So it is crucial you observe their behavior and understand their personality. What makes them unnerved? What type of approach pushes the suspect into talking or cowering in silence? Take this advice, and apply it to your mindset strategically. This is a weapon in your arsenal, use it wisely."
Fuli stood in silence as she waited for the class to finish noting down what she had just said. After letting a few seconds pass, she stated, "Alright, we'll begin exercises in another twenty minutes, take this time to read over the rest of the booklet if you haven't or memorize some of the interrogation methods and observations."
"Time to go work," Judy remarked to herself.
She stood outside a big white building with tall windowless walls and a light blue trim around the doors. The sign that occupied the front of the building read Zootopian Advanced Tranquilizer Training Center. Judy pulled open one of the front doors and entered the lobby. She quietly walked past the small wooden tables topped with plants as she made her way to the front desk.
"Hello, what can I do for you today?" The Lion sitting behind the desk asked.
"Hello, Officer Hopps here." She pointed to herself happily. "I was wondering if you could point me towards the ZPD tranquilizer revolver training."
"Sure, what time is your training scheduled?" he asked as he made a few clicks on his computer.
"11:30," Judy replied. Judy averted her attention away for a minute as she admired the wall of awards behind the Lion. She recognized few of the names on the wall. Some were of fellow officers she had in her class when she was a cadet, others were officers she idolized to beat. There were the exceptions of a few that were impossible to break. Few had the award for perfect accuracy, for nailing every single shot. Names like Savage, Bobtail, Auguara, all eluded her. She was just amazed someone could be so accurate.
"Alright, you're in room 203. Just head down the hall to my right, and it should be the third door on the left," the Lion answered, gesturing to the hallway.
"Thanks! Mister… uh, sorry, I didn't catch your name."
"Officer Johnson, and no problem," the Lion replied.
Judy made her way down the hall and entered the room. She was surprised to find it to be pretty empty, with just a few other mammals seated behind wooden desks. She quickly took a seat at one of the many desks in the front row and began to look around, disappointed that neither Nick or Olivia were in the class. A few moments later, a spotted Hyena in a yellow shirt with a police badge and a ZATT label stepped into the room.
"Hello officers, my name is Victor Harvick, but please call me Victor. I will be your training instructor today to not only educate and train you to use this new weapon, but to enable you to master it both physically and mentally," the Hyena said gesturing to a picture of the gun on the blackboard behind him. "I will be bringing around your unloaded weapons now," Victor added as he opened a metal case. He began to remove the guns from the foam and set them on everyone's desks along with holsters. "Now, I will begin by teaching you what it is we are training you to use. The T1000 R is the most advanced air powered tranquilizer created to date, and therefore it requires knowledge of how the weapon works in order to maximize your effectiveness using this tranquilizer. I will begin be showing you the T1000 R training video that talks you through how the gun is built, and how it breaks down. When we are finished, I will go over how to load the weapon," Victor said as he started the tape.
"This sure reminds me of the academy," Judy mumbled to herself.
The video itself wasn't really boring. Judy was just annoyed that it ate up ten minutes of her time. Victor proceeded to show everyone how to reload the revolver, but at a slow pace. It was understandable so everyone could follow along, but it wasn't like they were full of a room of sloths. If anything, Judy assumed the class had understood the procedure by the fifth time Victor showed them how to reload, the other five times seemed even slower. Regardless, the boring part was finally over and practice was about to begin.
"Alright, now that we have covered the basics on how to swap cylinders to reload, I will be taking you down to the indoor range. Please follow me in an orderly fashion," the Hyena said as the class quickly hopped up, eager to be rid of the class setting. Judy followed the group down the hall, looking in the different class windows hoping to catch sight of a familiar face. Victor then stopped at a door that read quartermaster to pick up eye protection and training rounds before bringing the class to a large room lined with shooting stalls.
"Welcome to the Zootopian Advanced Tranquilizer Training Center shooting range, or ZATT range for short. This is the largest indoor range in the city, supporting over 27 different shooters simultaneously," Victor said as he proceeded to pass out eye protection.
"Excuse me Victor, can you please remind us what we need to score?" Judy asked, seeing none of the other mammals had anything to say.
"Oh yes, Officer Hopps. Since you should have already passed your annual firearms training, you are only being tested on your mastery of this new equipment. You will need to show you are competent in the standard daylight shooting, low light shooting, shooting while moving to cover, engaging multiple targets, and hostage situations. Each will be rated on a scale of one to five, and you need a fifteen or greater to pass," Victor replied.
Everyone nodded their understanding, few broke out into whispers. It was simple enough. "Alright, you can collect some darts and muffs over there," Victor pointed to a nearby table. "Each booth has ammunition stocked there as well. Remember that although these are training darts, you should treat them as though they are the real deal. I will be releasing you now, as I have another class to give. Anyone in this uniform," he gestured to his shirt, "will be able to set you up for firing on the range. Good luck," Victor said as he went back down the hall towards the front.
Judy quickly grabbed a pair of earmuffs perfect for her height and a few clips of training ammunition. She watched as the other mammals ran off to get in line to shoot. There were many mammals in the range, many of whom were from other precincts. Judy didn't know where to begin. She just walked down the range watching the officers take their best shot at a moving target opposite of the wall. She was almost at the end of the range when something caught her eye. She saw someone score a full two clips into the target. Upon closer inspection, that someone was Olivia.
"Hey, nice job," Judy complimented as she tapped her earning a startled response from Olivia.
"There you are! I was worried you got put in some night class." Olivia greeted her with a smile as she removed the earmuffs from her ears and lowered them down to her neck.
"Yeah, I could say the same for you. It felt like the academy back in there. Nobody talked, and everyone just ignored each other."
"I feel you. The same thing for me. Boring class. Boring instructor. I'd much rather just go hooves-on than listen to someone relay what I already know in some monotone voice."
"So how does this whole thing work?" Judy asked gesturing towards the target at the end of the range.
"Oh, the rangemaster showed me how it works, you just select what training you are going for, and hit start on this controller," Olivia said pointing at the small box on the wall beside her. "It calculates your score based on how you do, then you stick your training card in the box and it stamps it." She stuck her card in the box.
"How did you do?" Judy asked trying to catch a glimpse of Olivia's card.
"I would assume you can guess by the way you found me," Olivia said as she showed Judy the five stamped on her card.
"I bet I could do that," Judy said as she loaded a full cylinder into her revolver and hit start.
"A bet you say? How much?" Olivia grinned.
"Bragging rights?" Judy offered with a half smile.
"Come on, at least make it enticing!" Olivia begged as she rolled her eyes. "You're terrible at gambling."
"How about you can pick the movie we see next movie night?"
"Hmmm, it's a start. How about If I win, I pick the movie and the snacks," Olivia replied with confidence.
"Only if the movie is appropriate for Emma," Judy replied.
"Deal," Olivia said extending her hoof.
"Alright," Judy said shaking the hoof. "Now, let's see if this revolver is all it is cracked up to be," Judy said smugly as she hit start and the target came alive. Judy took careful aim and fired three quick bursts of two darts, all of which found their mark. She then swapped the cylinder for a fresh one and proceeded to repeat the action.
"I'm impressed," Olivia said as Judy set her revolver down.
She pulled her card out of the box and revealed her stamp was a five. "I like this thing. It's loud, but has less recoil than the old tranq," Judy said.
"It sure does," Olivia replied admiring the barrel of her own revolver. "Well, as long as you don't spam your shots." She holstered her gun. "We should move on," Olivia said as she collected her things and got out of the way for the next mammals in line to shoot.
"Where to next?" Judy asked looking up and down the range.
"Well, I think the second test is through there," Olivia said pointing to a door to their left.
"Alright, let's go," Judy said as she made for the door. "Oh, Olive, I meant to ask you earlier, but have you seen Ni—" Judy was cut off as she walked into someone wearing a blue shirt.
"Hey Carrots, I was wondering when I'd bump into you."
"There you are Nick, we were just talking about you! Where have you been?" Judy said as soon as she recovered.
"The same thing as you I'd assume. Finishing this training after that bore of a class."
Judy frowned as she added, "I called your cell but you didn't pick up."
Nick frowned back as he pointed to his muffs. "Sorry that my ringtone isn't set to piercing screech." Judy rolled her eyes. "I'm guessing you two were heading to the second stage of training?"
"Yes actually. Did you just finish?" Judy asked.
"Yep, but I'll tag along," Nick responded as he motioned for Judy and Olivia to follow him.
"Olive, we should have Nick join the contest," Judy said as the group found an open range.
"Sure I don't see why not," she shrugged.
"What contest have you two started now?" Nick questioned.
"Whoever gets the highest overall score gets to pick the movie on movie night, as long as it is ok for Em to see," Judy replied. "And the snacks!"
"Seriously?" he whispered to Olivia.
"I know," she pouted.
"I can hear you two!" Judy shouted as she shook her muffs in her paw.
"Well, I don't see why I shouldn't try," Nick reasoned as he set the range up.
"What did you get on the first stage of training?" Olivia asked.
"I got a four," Nick replied with a smirk. "I was kinda messing around and shooting sideways," he said with a grin.
"Nick! You know that's against the ZPD code!" Judy said earning a shrug from Nick.
"Ehh maybe, but it's cool," Nick reasoned.
"Ugh why are you such a kit sometimes?" Judy said face-pawing.
"You guys are two of a kind." Olivia chuckled. "I'm surprised you were able to nail anything shooting like that."
"Well I wasn't shooting like that repeatedly."
"Oh, okay," Olivia nodded with a doubtful tone.
Nick stared at her for a moment before realizing what she was implying. "I didn't cheat!" he shouted. Few nearby officers threw glances their way. Judy awkwardly smiled at them as she avoided the stares.
"Sure, whatever you say Slick." Olivia avoided his gaze as she rolled her eyes.
"Whatever," he mumbled. "Carrots, you are up first," Nick said as he hit start.
"It doesn't look too bad," Judy said as she took aim at the target.
"That's because I haven't turned the lights off yet," Nick said as he flipped a switch plunging the end of the range into total darkness.
"Oh… now I see, or rather, now I can't see," Judy mumbled as she fired her two clips landing just over half her shots. "Dang it."
"It's okay Fluff, happens to the best of us," Nick said as Judy got her stamp.
"It was difficult because the target was moving! What did you get?" Judy asked Nick as she got out of the way for Olivia to try.
"Five," Nick said patting his aviators hanging on his shirt's neck hole. "I told you why I wear these, to save my night vision from the sun. Sure comes in handy," Nick said with a smirk.
"Isn't that cheating?" Judy asked raising a brow.
"Every mammal has their strengths and weaknesses. It's how you use them that makes everyone unique," Nick said in reply.
"Alright, enough with the chatter, it's my turn!" Olivia said as she took her spot and hit start. The target moved back and forth whilst Olivia took her aim carefully.
Nick chuckled and said, "Uhh, any minute now—"
"Shut it!" Olivia muttered. She took her shots. Nearly half had hit the target, but they were accurate shots to say the least. She got her stamp and frowned. Before Nick could say anything Olivia said, "I will hurt you."
"I still can't believe Judy did so well on the third stage of training," Olivia said as the group made their way to the last stage of training.
"And I can't believe you both beat me at the fourth stage," Nick mumbled as the group arrived at the hostage training, which was another door with a sign that said "One at a time" above it.
"Who is up first?" Judy asked as she pulled out a few more training darts to load her spare cylinder.
"I think I'm up," Olivia said as she opened the door. "Wish me luck!" she said as she shut the door.
Judy cleared her throat as she looked at Nick. He gave her his full attention and raised his brows. "So, how you doing?" Judy asked Nick as they were waiting for Olivia to finish the shooting.
"In general, or with the shooting?" Nick asked.
"You know what I mean." Judy gave Nick a playful punch in the shoulder.
"I guess I'm doing okay? I mean it's difficult when bad things happen to the mammals you are supposed to protect."
"Yeah, it's just, we haven't spoken much about it since…"
"Yeah." Nick nodded. "If anything, I should be asking you."
Judy responded, "Fine. I'm doing fine."
The door swung open. "Alright Nick, your turn!" Olivia said as she exited the room with a five on her card.
"Sorry Carrots, I have to go prevent bad things from happening to the mammals I'm supposed to protect," Nick said giving Judy a light smirk as he entered the range.
"Oh, did I spoil something?" Olivia asked with an almost excited tone.
"No, nice try," Judy responded. "What did you get?"
"A five, like always," Olivia replied, earning a laugh from Judy.
"Yeah right, you wish. Need I remind you about the second stage?"
Olivia scoffed. "Need I remind you I got a better score?" After a brief battle of wits, Nick exited the range looking pretty happy.
"Let me guess, you got a five too?" Judy asked.
"Nope, I'm just happy with a four. You're up Carrots."
"Alright, see you in a few," Judy said as she shut the door behind her and found a dark range like the one she had seen before. One target had a hostage below it decked out in green paint, indicating it was innocent. The aggressor would move the hostage at choke point to try and shield itself from the shooter. Judy fired her dart into the aggressor's leg, but not before the hostage would have received bruising from being strangled, earning her a four.
"So, how did you do?" Olivia asked as Judy got her stamp. The three quickly made their to the front desk, passing by the range of tranquilizer fire.
"Well I got a five from the first stage, a two from the second, a five from the third, and a four for the final two stages," Judy replied.
"Nice, twenty is not bad. Let me count mine." Olivia said looking back at her card. "Five, two threes, four, and five. Twenty?" Olivia immediately frowned. "That can't be right, a tie?"
"Maybe not. Nick, what did you score?" Judy asked.
"I got a four, five, four, three, four. What are the odds?"
"Apparently pretty high with our group," Olivia mumbled as they reached the front desk.
"Here you go," Judy said handing Johnson the group's cards.
"Thanks. Nice job guys, here are your certifications and licences to use the T1000 R. Have a good one," Johnson said as the three collected their paperwork. The three walked out of the building's admiring their licenses.
Olivia tucked hers in her back pocket. "Whelp, see ya tomorrow!" She waved as she walked off.
"Take care!" Judy shouted. She looked to Nick and asked, "You going again?"
"What? To get a better score?" he asked. Judy shrugged nonchalantly. "Uh… I don't think so."
Judy chuckled. "Of course you'd settle down with the easy score."
"Ha, ha, I'm lazy I get it," Nick rolled his eyes. "Come on, let's get something to eat."
"Emma," Nick spoke up suddenly.
It wasn't like Emma had enjoyed the silence, but it sure was helpful for her work. Nonetheless, the small bunny raised her ears but did not avert her attention away from the paper on the kitchen counter. "Yeah Nick?"
"Do you have any siblings you hate?" he asked curiously.
Emma dropped her pencil and turned her body around to look at the Red Fox in shock. "Come again?"
Nick felt the pair of eyes strike his back, causing him to return the glance. He shrugged at her as he rethought the phrase. "You know, hate. Like, any brothers or sisters you really hate?"
Emma looked at Nick confusedly as she pondered the question. She blew the air out from her cheeks and said, "Wow, uh… I mean, there's certainly a few that I dislike. But I wouldn't go as far as to say I hate them."
Nick's expression slightly fell, but he immediately recovered with a half smirk as he stated, "Well for arguments sake, let's say there are a few—or at least one, sibling that you really hate." He tucked his right arm behind the couch as he turned his body halfway, in order to look at Emma fully.
"Umm, okay?" she hesitantly agreed as she furrowed her brow.
"So, now you've got this brother or sister, or even, multiple brothers sisters you really hate," he recapped with a slightly drawled tone. "Now, you and this sibling of yours, you really dislike each other. What would drive you to the point of killing them?"
Emma blankly stared at Nick for a few seconds. "What?"
"I can hear you Nick!" Judy shouted from the bedroom as the door slightly cracked open. "You might as well just ask me for help!"
"I don't need help, I need a second opinion!"
Judy pushed open the door and walked out with a smug grin. She flattened out her purple checkered top as she walked down the hall. "Okay, do I need to call Dr. Quillington?"
Nick turned around to face his work as he slowly clapped his paws. Emma had found the joke amusing and laughed, whilst Nick rolled his eyes. "You should have your own show," Nick said sarcastically.
"Without you? That would be dull," Judy retorted as she walked over to the couch.
"Now that, is indeed true."
Judy sat down next to Nick and smiled. "Don't need to stroke your ego."
"You love my ego."
"Only sometimes." Judy shook her head. "Now, what's this about a second opinion?" Nick grunted in response as his ears fell. "Aww, is Nicky having problems with the DR assignment?"
Nick sighed as he frowned at Judy. "Of course you would enjoy my sorrow, you sadist."
Judy chuckled at the insult as she leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms across her chest. "Last I recall, you were bragging to Liv and I about how the first case was, 'super easy', and the second one was a, 'walk in the park.' Now, how's the rest of the assignment going?" Judy asked mockingly.
"Horrible," Nick mumbled. "I just can't find the clues to piece this together. Some of these just seem so vague."
"Perhaps the crook took your advice in the art of con," Judy wagered with a smug grin.
Nick glanced over to her and frowned once again. "Teasing isn't going to help."
"Oh? You want my help?"
"Didn't I make that obvious?"
"Snide comments aren't really a good way of asking."
"Alright," Nick gave in exhaustively. He pouted as he asked, "Can you please help me with our assignment?"
Judy happily grinned as she nodded, "Of course." She leaned over and rested her chin on Nick's shoulder as she looked down at his work. "What do you need help with?"
"Case number four."
"Really? That one was so easy!" Judy overexaggerated.
"Carrots," Nick gave his mate a stern glare.
She responded with a smug grin. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding. That one was hard too." Nick groaned as he shook his head. "Hey, just be glad Olive isn't here. She'd have a field day with this." Judy smiled at the brooding Fox before her. It was time she helped him out. "Okay, first of all, it isn't the sister. I know just they had issues but the file clearly states she was still out of the district on the day Larry died."
"I know… but it's just hard to piece this one together. They all have good motives," Nick reasoned as he picked up a sheet of paper, pointing to the evidence.
"That is true. But remember what Fuli said, 'motives are just the heart of the crime—"
"—And it's up to us to create the backbone,' I know, I know," Nick interjected with a small smile. Despite the persona of disliking such a motto, it was inspirational. Fuli was certainly a good instructor that had inspired Judy. "So, what can I look at?"
"Well, what do you think is missing?"
Nick raised a brow at the question. What could she have meant by that? He quickly looked over to the sheets of paper as he pondered the question. He glanced over the clues he had just recently looked at, but now he looked at what they could be missing. He looked at names, evidence, dates, and nearly scanned everything. After a solid forty seconds, Nick shrugged. "I'm beat, what is it?" Judy smirked as she leaned over and pointed at a sheet. She pointed to a picture with a female jaguar. "That's his mate, what about her?"
"Ex," Judy corrected.
Nick cocked his head to the right. "Ex?"
"Ex," Judy nodded.
Nick groaned dumbfoundedly as he pawed his face. "Ugh, ex-mate."
Emma, who was witnessing the entire conversation, raised a brow as she was unaware of the connections Nick had made. "I'm having a hard time following," she announced sheepishly.
The two looked over to the young bunny and smiled. "It's an assignment. We were given five cases that had been previously solved, we were tasked to solve them ourselves. It's just that the conclusions and final answers aren't given to us, with the exception of certain missing information so we have to figure it out ourselves. I finished my work earlier," Judy stated proudly.
"Is it like the interrogation practices you guys did yesterday?"
"Well, not really. We are working on solving cases now. Wednesday was just to expand more on our interrogation strategies and things we learned from the Academy days," Judy explained, "But yesterday was to help us practice interrogation techniques."
"Wow, you guys are certainly moving fast. You started Tuesday?" Emma clarified, to which they nodded. "Wow… four days already. Meanwhile I've just been getting my schoolwork done."
Nick scoffed as he looked back at his work. "I'm surprised they still give ya work in the last two weeks."
"It's just unit review stuff. Like unit tests and final projects," Emma explained. "I'm nearly done anyways. Besides, it's just review." She shook her head as she waved her paw. "Never mind that. I'm still confused as to how the ex-girlfriend solved anything."
Nick chuckled. "It's simple. The ex-girlfriend murdered the victim." Emma raised a brow, waiting for the rest of the explanation. "Exes tend to have it out for blood. Her information shows that they haven't been in contact in weeks. I thought they were together because it stated in the interrogation notes she said they were a couple."
"Yes, but family information and other sources say otherwise," Judy added as she grabbed another sheet and pointed to a statement from a coworker of Larry's. "So she's a crazed girlfriend, and likes to perceive the image that they are still together."
"But is that enough to say she's a murderer?"
"He broke up with her and she's a love crazed girl. It's simple to assume that once he started seeing other mammals, like this phone record states," Judy pointed to another sheet, "He was calling a new significant other."
Nick nodded in understanding. "Ah, so this photo, is a photo of him at the cafe with another girl?" he pointed to a picture. "I assumed that was the girlfriend."
"Well, that assumption makes sense. We weren't exactly provided a picture of her," Judy reasoned. "After all, we weren't given photos of anyone. Fuli did say we might've found it too easy because some criminals are recognizable. Personally, I don't agree." Judy hopped up from the couch and stretched for a bit. "But yeah, I was able to deduce that because family and friends talked of their break up prior to the date that cafe meeting happened. Go on, read it for yourself."
Nick quickly sprawled over from the couch as he looked for the sheets of paper. "You know, this would've been easier to solve if I wasn't working backwards. It's hard to come to a conclusion if there are preset guides," he added as he pulled out a sheet. He glanced back and forth between the dates on the paper and the cafe photo.
"Really? I thought a conclusion would be easy to come to if there were guidelines," Emma spoke up. She quickly turned back away and refocused on her schoolwork. "It would make sense, or at least in my opinion it does."
"Well, that's true," Nick said contemplatively. "But in my case, I find it easier to work out a case forwards."
Judy nodded as she walked away from Nick, moving toward the kitchen. "That's understandable. But, 'Sometimes you need to work backwards to move forward.'"
Nick laughed as he tucked away the papers. "Are you going to be quoting the Sergeant for the entire program?"
"It's good advice!" Judy shouted as she arrived at the fridge. She pushed the step stool in front of her and opened the freezer. She began to rummage through the fridge as she said, "You can't deny that it's inspirational!"
"I'm just worried that your, 'Anyone can be anything' motto is going to change," Nick joked as he turned back to look into the kitchen. "Hey, what are you doing?" he asked her.
"Seeing if we have any good frozens left!" she responded.
"Sweet tooth?" Emma teased as she grinned at her sister. "But when I do it, it's bad?"
"Do as I say, not as I do!" Judy joked as she descended from the stool, closing the freezer shut. "Dang it, nothing good."
Nick playful pouted. "Snack later! Come on, I need you back here! I still have one more case to do!"
"Oh come on, you can do it," Judy teased, "You're a big boy!"
Nick rolled his eyes. "I may actually need your help."
"Fine, then apologize for bragging like a kit," Judy stated snobbishly.
Nick raised his brows as he smirked. "You want me to apologize?" he asked with a chuckle.
"It would be nice to hear the one and only Sick Nick apologize for once," Judy said with a grin. She made her way back to Nick and stood before him with her arms crossed.
"Okay, fine, I am sorry," he said defeatedly.
Judy stared at him skeptically. "Eh, sounds forced."
Nick let out a conceded sigh as he stood up from the couch. He looked at Judy in the eyes as he said, "Alright. I am sorry for bragging and belittling you. I am not the greatest DR of all time, that role was specifically made for you and you only." He closed his eyes as he let out a small disgruntled noise. "There, happy?"
"Yes," Judy answered as he opened his eyes. She unfolded her arms and revealed she was holding something in her right paw. Of course, it was the ever so famous carrot pen. She waved around teasingly as she added, "I am very happy."
Nick scowled at the familiar object and mentally made a note to snatch it away from Judy sometime later. It was funny how something so small had affected their relationship greatly. It gave off mixed feelings, in a way. Nick and Judy loved messing around with the pen and using it to each other's gain, while also to tease one another. It also provided a pretty convincing evidence in a pinch. But aside from all the happy smiles and fun times, Nick was fairly upset at the amount of times Judy had used the tool against him. Granted, he had his fun once or twice, but he rarely got the chance to utilize the tool since Judy had it on her all the time. It only proved to be an annoyance when it wasn't in his favour, hence the mixed the feelings. In the end, Nick would always find a way to loath the tiny item.
"Alright… alright, now that you've had your fun, can you help me?" he asked softly as he sunk back down into the couch. He had enough embarrassment as it was, he couldn't bear anymore teasing.
"Sure!" she responded as she tucked away her pen. "But first, I gotta settle my sweet tooth. We don't have any pawpsicles," she said disappointedly.
"Sorry, I haven't had time to make any," Nick explained with a shrug. He offered, "I'll make some now?"
"Nah, it's alright." Judy shook her head. "Get your wallet and keys," she ordered, "Em, take your homework to go!" She walked away from the living room and hurried over to her and Nick's bedroom. She quickly came back, tucking what presumably would be her wallet into her purse and playfully rolled her keys on her finger. "We're heading out!"
"Sweets?" Emma inquired excitedly.
"Not exactly," Judy answered. "Not really a sweet, but more like a baked good."
"So, what do you think?" Gideon asked with a wide grin as he saw her down the cup.
Olivia licked her lips as she lowered the empty cup in her hoof. She cocked her head slightly to the right as she pondered the taste in her mouth. Her skeptic look had left Gideon worried. Of course, she was teasing him. She slowly rolled her tongue around in her mouth as she eyed Gideon dubiously. The anticipation was killing him and she was enjoying the demise. Olivia dragged the moment on as she stared at up at the ceiling, pretending to look contemplative.
"Oh pity's sake, just tell me already!" he shouted impatiently.
"Wow, is that how you treat your customers Gids?" Olivia questioned with an obviously faked hurt look on her face. "And a loyal customer such as myself? I am… speechless."
"Hardy har," Gideon rolled his eyes. "You know that I got this hot chocolate maker for you. The least you could do, is tell me how it tastes!"
"I did," Olivia grinned smugly.
"No, you didn't?"
"Yes, I did."
"Do you seriously want me to recap the conversation we just had? You are too cruel Olivia." He scowled at the small Moose.
"I'm serious, I already answered the question." Gideon looked at her puzzledly. "Speechless?" she recalled with a smirk.
Gideon's eyes widened as his scowl developed into a smile. "Woo hoo!" he cheered ecstatically. He turned around and said, "Lindsay?"
"Yes, boss?" she said as she poked her head out from the kitchen.
"Can you get Olivia and I some hot chocolate before you clock out?"
"Sure thing!" she replied as she walked over to the hot chocolate maker.
Olivia's eyes widened as a realization set in. "Wait, clocking out?" She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone out of her jacket. "Oh, right, I forgot you closed early on Fridays," Olivia said as she lowered her phone. "I thought it was eight," she turned her phone around and revealed to Gideon it was six o' clock.
"Yes, I know what time I close my shop, thanks for the recap," Gideon replied smugly.
"Shut it," Olivia frowned as she tucked her phone back into her jacket.
"Why would the time matter anyways?" he asked curiously. His tone fell soft as he asked, "You have somewhere to be?"
Olivia shook her head. "No, I was just surprised that I would've stayed that long. Seems like most days I find myself losing track of time as I work here."
"But you don't."
She scoffed as she gestured to her sheets of paper scattered on the table. "You know what I meant."
He nodded as he smiled at her. "Anyways, now that I have a hot chocolate maker, can I expect some more frequency here?"
"What? Aside from the fact that I've come here everyday so far?" she quipped.
"I'm sensing commitment issues Olive," Gideon teased.
"Never been a settle down girl," she shrugged. "Sorry to to disappoint Gids. But 'speechless', was just for the fact that I'm amazed a maker like that junk over there could actually produce good hot chocolate."
Gideon pouted as he glanced back to the maker, which was currently occupied by Lindsay. "What's wrong with the maker?"
"It looks like a boiler from the 70s," Olivia commented as she cocked her head to the right. "It has the industrial look."
Gideon was about to object the claim, that was until he tilted his head slightly to the right and saw what Olivia was talking about. "I… ah… gotcha. Yeah, you're right." He chuckled as he looked back to her.
She laughed at his reaction. "Glad you're starting to see things from my perspective." She let out a sigh of content and cleared her throat. "But, yeah, Sahara Sweets has some good hot chocolate. I get my beverages from there nearly every morning. Much like Judes and Nick do."
"Ah, so I still have a long way to go?" Gideon inferred.
Olivia shrugged. "I'm just filling you in. I mean, it would take awhile to convince the entire gang to hang around here. They all seem attached to the place."
Gideon's ears rose alongside his brows. He avoided eye contact as he awkwardly nodded. "Yeah… the gang…" He cleared his throat as he offered a warmful smile to Olivia, attempting to cover his reaction. "But hey, I roped you in, right?"
Olivia nodded with a playful grin as she raised the empty cup. "And with this? I'm really fighting against this shop Gids." The two shared a laugh. "You certainly don't make it easy."
"I can't deny that," he nodded. "I am quite the persuasive fellow."
"Your drinks," Lindsay announced as she placed the two cups of hot chocolate on the table. "Enjoy!" she stated as she departed from the table. She made her way back behind the counter, and into the break room.
"Thanks!" he shouted. "Well, here's to more baked pies!" he said as he raised his drink.
Olivia chuckled. "Cheers!" The two clinked cups and sipped their hot beverages happily.
Their cheerful moment was soon interrupted by the sound of bells chiming. Gideon immediately said, "Ah, we're closed! But we can make an…" his voice trailed off as he turned around. "exception." He smiled at the familiar faces.
"Wildehopps," Olivia greeted as she poked her head out, exposing herself to the three's line of sight.
"Olive?" Judy replied, slightly shocked.
"No, it's some other small Moose you know," she sarcastically replied. "What happened to, 'too busy for movie night'?" she questioned them.
Judy gestured to her sister and mate. "They are."
"Wouldn't expect you to stay late," Nick commented. "I mean, you don't work here do you?"
"It's not late," Olivia corrected. "They close early on Fridays. And do all foxes make the same dumb joke?" she asked Gideon.
Gideon grinned as he stood up from his seat. "I'm assuming ya'll want something to eat?" he jerked his thumb over to the counter.
"They do," Nick pointed to the two bunnies. "I'm just here because I was promised some help."
"With what?" Olivia inquired. "The DR assignment?" she teased as she eyed the familiar folders tucked under Nick's arm. Her grin was imminent and there was no stopping it.
Nick narrowed his eyes whilst he, Judy, and Emma moved toward their table. "This is why you wanted to eat here, isn't it?" he asked Judy. "To torment me?"
Judy shook her head and shrugged. "I didn't know she would be here."
"Aww, Slick Nick's having trouble with some cases?" Olivia said mockingly. "I assume Judy is holding your paw as she helps you?"
"I'm not a kit," Nick frowned as he stood beside Olivia. "Besides she already gave me the snide remarks and made fun of me."
Olivia glanced over to Judy and rose a brow. "Really? Dang it."
"Gideon, I'm clocking out!" Lindsay shouted.
Gideon turned back and smiled. "Alright, have a great evening!" he shouted.
She walked out from the room with a purse in her paw and a small smile. Lindsay walked past the counter and said, "Thanks, you too! You too Olive… " She stopped in her tracks as she scanned around the shop. "Oh, hi!" she greeted everyone.
Nick raised his brow at the Red Fox while Judy and Emma smiled. "Oh, hello! Who's this?" Emma asked.
Gideon stepped forward and gestured to her. "This is Lindsay, my newest employee—"
"First employee," Olivia coughed.
"—she's great!" Gideon continued. "She's been working for a few days."
Lindsay awkwardly maneuvered herself away from Gideon. "I‒uh, nice to meet you all."
Nick's suspicious eyeing seized as he asked, "Have we met—"
"Yes," Lindsay hastily answered. "Uh… I would like to apologize for the… question I asked you. I didn't mean to be so," she glanced back between Judy and Emma. Her face was beat red and her throat was paining. "forward," she finished. "I'll see you tomorrow," she said to Nick.
Gideon rose a curious brow at Lindsay's behaviour. "Ah, yes, until tomorrow!" he shouted as Lindsay left the shop.
"Wait…" Judy spoke up. "Was she the fox who—"
"Yes," Nick nodded with an awkward smile.
Olivia glanced back and forth between the two. "Feel like I'm missing something," she stated skeptically.
"You've met?" Gideon asked.
"We'll fill ya in later," Nick answered. He pulled out a chair from a nearby table. "How about we move onto some pies?"
"Right, the sooner we help Nick, the better!" Olivia shouted.
Everyone laughed at the joke, leaving Nick to furrow his brows at the small Moose. He could've been given fifty cases to solve in a day, and he would do it. Sergeant Fuli could ask him to be a target for training and he would fall through. Bogo could throw him into Zootopia's Asylum and ask him to take on every insane mammal inside and he would attempt it. But no matter what, Nick would never be able to put up with Olivia Venisont. He was amazed that Gideon was able to put up with the small Moose just for an hour, let alone an afternoon.
"One of these days, Olive," Nick muttered.
"And I look forward to it," she quipped as she brushed aside her tuft of fur.
"Alright, alright, I'll whip us up a big ol' chocolate pie," Gideon announced. "And I'll even pour some hot chocolate for ya'll."
"Oh, hot chocolate?" Emma asked with a smile.
Olivia smirked as she said, "He got it for me!" She shook her head. "He's trying to woo us one by one." Nick and Judy glanced at each before stifling their chuckles. Both of them had the same comment to make, but neither chose to do so. "What? What's up?"
Judy vigorously shook her head. "Nothing." She cleared her throat as she pulled out two chairs from a nearby table and brought them toward Emma. "How about we work on the assignment?" she asked once she and Emma sat down.
"Are you done Liv?" Nick asked as he plopped his work onto the table, covering Olivia's sheets.
She immediately leaned forward as she brushed off Nick's folders. "Yes, in fact, I am," she stated proudly. "Finished 'bout an hour ago. Gids can even attest to that."
"It's true!" he shouted from the counter.
"Alright, alright, I get it!" Nick quickly spoke. "Can we please move onto the real work here? I'm kinda getting tired of this."
"That's only because you're the center of attention, but in a different way," Judy explained snidely.
"Exactly," Nick agreed, "and I don't like it."
Emma chuckled at his response. "Well, whenever it's you, I'm sure everyone could enjoy the moment for a little bit longer."
Nick rolled his eyes as he sighed. He was never going to catch a break. "Ugh… I knew I was going to regret this decision." He angrily opened his folder as he started to pull out his sheets.
"Oh come on!" Judy whined. "You know you love it!"
Nick set down his papers and chuckled. He looked over to his mate, wearing a smile that he soon copied himself. "Do I know that?" he asked questionably. He eyed Judy for a moment before adding, "Yes, yes I do."