Midday sun streamed through the windows of Zootopia Precinct One office of Chief Bogo. It gave the room a cheerful feeling, one that clashed rather starkly with Bogo's mood. He half-listened to the radio sat on the edge of his desk while thumbing through report after report.
"Arrived on scene," the radio crackled. Bogo recognized Officer McHorn's baritone voice and gruff tone with ease. "Looks like a ten-fifty. No visible injuries."
Bogo's ear twitched but he otherwise didn't look up from the report he was reading. Ten-fifties were traffic accidents. By the sound of things Bogo inferred that McHorn had found a fender bender at best, or a drunk driver at worst. Either way, no casualties meant less paperwork, which in his mind was a good day.
"Dispatch copies that, McHorn, do you need paramedics sent?" Clawhauser radioed back from the front desk.
Paper crumpled in Bogo's grip as he folded the report over to the second page, crimping the paper between his thumb and forefinger around the staple. He propped his left elbow on top of his desk and leaned into his open palm while he read. He found a strange comfort in the daily routine. Hearing the radio chatter of his officers on the streets of Zootopia, helping make the city a better place. Or some other platitude that whichever politician got in front of a camera this week thought up.
"Dispatch, negative on the meat wagons. No injuries, just damaged fenders and egos."
Bogo reached over to the radio without bothering to look. He picked up the hand unit and held it to his muzzle. "You're on an open channel, McHorn."
"Copy that. Sorry, Sir."
Bogo sighed and returned the radio to it's cradle. He loved his officers and was proud of each and every one of them. To be in Precinct One meant being the best that Zootopia had to offer. Even Clawhauser, despite what could generously be called poor physical fitness, fit that strict requirement. There wasn't a better dispatch officer in the city, nor a more amiable personality.
"Dispatch to Hopps, we have a possible ten-fifteen downtown." Clawhauser said
"Ten-four, Dispatch, what's our twenty?"
A pause of dead air filled his office while Clawhauser confirmed the address. Bogo peered over the rims of his glasses at the radio for a moment then went back to his report. Ten-fifteen meant a disturbance. Disturbance was a wild card that mean anything from a pack of rowdy children bothering the citizens around them, a heated argument between a feuding couple, or an armed robbery.
Usually it was just a customer mad at some hapless shopkeeper.
"Dispatch, Hopps, proceed to Silver Springs Plaza."
"Copy that, Dispatch. Our E.T.A. is three minutes."
Bogo made a thoughtful hum and took a moment to stretch out his neck. Silver Springs was a nice area of Downtown with a large fountain in the center of a pedestrian walkway that people liked to toss spare change in for luck. It was also a favorite place for gutter punks—the dissociative teenagers who rebelled by rejecting social norms like school, jobs, and daily showers. They often hung out around the fountain, begging for spare change, drinking out of conspicuous brown bags, or generally causing a fuss.
He had nothing against gutter punks or their spare changing ways. If anything, Bogo found their antics somewhat entertaining. Seeing who gave them change, who ignored them, and who tried to start problems with them was interesting. Plus they were the best practice for hi officers in dealing with unknown situations and histories.
To that end, Bogo had given Hopps and Wilde the area for most of their patrols. Hopps, while a fine officer, still had a lot to learn about the city, even after living there for almost a year. Wilde, on the other had, was a native son of the city. He claimed to know everybody, a claim that Bogo had little reason to doubt. And, at least as far as the gutter punks were concerned, Wilde had a way of milking them for reliable information.
Of course Bogo was well aware of Wilde's dalliances of petty cons. If he had any evidence of wrongdoing he'd throw the book at the mouthy fox. But Bogo had to admit, having a cop with Wilde's knowledge and connections was invaluable. There was a delicate push and pull to his efforts that the water buffalo had learned to respect. According to Officer Hopps, Wilde often let petty criminals pass: bootleggers, hustlers, the so-called 'harmless' crooks. In exchange they fed him information. Where the dealers were, where drop off points were for weapons, money, or other paraphernalia.
'Let the hustlers hustle,' the fox would say with that smartmouth grin splitting his muzzle from ear to ear. 'The little fish will happily play along if we give them space.'
"Dispatch, Wilde, subject spotted. Female, badger, cargo pants and a fetching hoodie that really compliments the grease stains. Yeah, she seems pretty worked up about something."
"Copy that, Wilde, do you require backup."
"I think she'll need a bit of detox. Looks like she's just had a bad batch of Nip or something. Gimme a sec."
"Got, be careful."
Groaning, Bogo pinched the bridge of his nose, thick fingers nudging his glasses further up his snout. Wilde's lackadaisical attitude towards protocol always rubbed off on other officers. Wolfard, Fragmire, and Delgato in particular had a bad habit of letting their professionalism slide with the fox. The prank wars between the four officers alone had been his personal Hell over the last twelve months.
"Standby," Hopps' voice crackled through the radio.
Bogo resisted the urge to grab his radio and demand a report. He had played the game too long to jump to action. It was also that experience that had made him trust his gut. And the sinking dread he felt slowly building was one that always put him on edge.
'Trust the officers on the scene.' He reminded himself. Bogo stared at his radio, and it stared back at him. The red, unblinking, unyielding light seemingly studying his every twitch and breath. Seconds ticked by turning steadily into minutes, and soon Bogo was letting out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding.
"Dispatch," Hoppe's voice popped over the radio once more after those terse several minutes. Bogo barely noticed how heavy the papers felt until the back of his hand touched his desk. "Subject is very agitated. Wilde's trying to talk—Miss! Miss, please step back!"
Static overtook the radio.
Bogo stood and quickly stepped out of his office. Turning left out of the door he walked at a brisk pace toward the stairs. He could see Clawhauser at the front desk, clutching the microphone in his paws like the world depended on it. The station bustled with activity, from officers booking new arrests to civilians filing criminal complaints and paying tickets. None of it mattered to the Chief, though, and as he slipped behind the reception desk he put a heavy hand on Clawhauser's shoulder.
Clawhauser shook his head. "Not yet sir, I think–"
Static blared over the radio, cutting the conversation off. Worry dug its claws deeper into Bogo's gut while they waited for anything. Yet for seconds, then minutes, the radio gave nothing more than silence punctuated by loud static bursts.
"Chief?" Clawhauser whispered, his gaze cast up at Bogo. The water buffalo only made a terse nod, patting at Clawhauser's shoulder.
"Dispatch," Hopps' voice broke through the silence after several minutes. She paused for a cough, only to continue through gasped breaths. "S… up. Subject...ile, re—...stile."
"Negative Hopps, you broke up. Please say again, I repeat: Please say again."
"Dispatch, I say again," Hopps started, sounding more breathless than before. "—Ackup. Repeat, Subject is hostile. Send Backup!"
"Copy that," Clawhauser respond, then immediately switched to a different channel. "Fangmire, Grizzoli, backup requested at Silver Springs Plaza. Suspect is a female badger, hostile, proceed with caution."
"Dispatch, Fangmire, we copy that."
"Shots fired! Shots fired!" Hopps shouted over the radio.
Bogo heard the wheeze in her breath. She'd been hit. He grabbed the microphone from Clawhauser's paw before the cheetah could so much as blink. "Copy your double-zero, assistance en route." Bogo switched the radio quickly to all channels and took a breath. "All units, Station One. Shots fired and officers down at Silver Springs Plaza."
A chorus of affirmatives flooded the radio, but Bogo paid them no mind. "Clawhauser, I want information updates as you get them and EMTs on the scene before I get there."
"Yes sir!" The rotund dispatcher answered, already dialing the nearest hospital.
Bogo sprinted from the desk towards the garage. The keys for his personal cruiser feeling like lead in his pocket with every step. He barreled through the door to the parking garage, running for his car faster than he had in ages. The door to his cruiser opened with a groan as the bull all but threw himself into the drivers seat.
Only a moment later his sirens were blaring as he skidded out into traffic, two other squad cars tailing close behind.
Grabbing his dashboard radio, Bogo held the receiver to his lips and pressed the transmit button. "Hopps, Wilde, come in, what's your status?"
Only static answered his question.