I do not own Zootopia, that belongs to Disney. This a fan work made solely for the sake of amusement.
The Translation of Dawn Bellwether
Chapter One: The Morning Star
By: Gabriel LaVedier
The buzzing hum of fluorescent lights were Dawn Bellwether's only companions in her small cell. Twenty-three hours a day, with heavily-monitored exercise in the yard, her only glimpse of sunlight. Some of the guards said she didn't deserve it, and would not be so quick to act if someone tried something. It wasn't always a predator. Some of her fellow prey held her in contempt, when she had done it all for them.
She ground her teeth as she looked up at the bottom of the upper bunk. Thrift and laziness had moved the prison to over-purchase bunk beds for medium mammals and so she had one in her solitary cell, giving her some option for sleeping. Mostly she used the empty bunk to store the few things she was allowed, books on subjects the prison shrink had declared sufficiently bland and not prone to cause undue stimulation of antisocial tendencies. Stupid yak. They were banal and sedatebut they were hers, and staved off any madness.
"Those ungrateful wretches..." she said to the emptiness. Her voice came back to her, if faintly, lost in the fluorescent hum. "I did it for them. All of them! Well... the little ones. The big ones could... well, there were bigger sheep and... it was for all prey!" She hit the mattress as her derailed thoughts upset her smooth attempt at justification.
Her internal clock was becoming fuzzy and imprecise. Almost ninety-six percent of her day was spent in the same box, interrupted only by a barred door that looked out onto a wall, with a security camera's unwavering red light reminding her that the unblinking, cycloptean gaze of the ones keeping her there was inescapable. She had only the vaguest notion of day or night, and time of day based on when the prison sent her over-processed mush to choke down.
Her thoughts were consumed by what little she could learn, given that her reading material was very static. Other prisoners were told not to discuss current events too loudly when she was passing, but she still heard things. The insufferable pair, the ones who had ended her plan by being the very thing she had feared, they were still in the public eye. The fox had broken from his place in the world and become a cop. But more than that, the two had become... become...
"A couple!" Dawn spat, sitting up in bed and seething. "I wanted predator and prey to stop cooperating on a daily, social level! And those two, they broke the big taboo and got together! Because... because they... stopped me..."
Dawn stared off into the infinite distance one of her solid walls created. She saw past it, through it, because for the moment, it wasn't there. There were only her thoughts. Her burning thoughts and her abject hatred for what those two were doing. They mocked her, because their affront to the natural order came about almost solely because of her machinations.
They were the final product of her scheming.
Of course, with such important symbols out there, the social consensus was changing. That unendurable sweet and friendly pop star had always promoted peace and harmony between predator and prey, but she was apparently on the forefront of open interspecies relationships by revealing her long-lasting but secret relationship with one of her muscle-bound, glittery dancers.
That openness, she caused that too.
Her perfect plan to make prey rise up and dominate predators with iron fists had brought together two total opposites and allowed the most outspoken proponent of integrated relationships to promote it even harder. Prey and predator were coming together in business, on the street, in the schools and even in the bedroom. She was staring into a funhouse mirror, watching her intentions distorted into their absolute opposite.
She even heard that that accursed Lionheart was out again, no longer mayor but still in politics. The very thought of him made her her shudder and grind her teeth. He had snowed her when they first met, playing on her soft wariness and need for notice. She played into his paw so easily, thinking she would have the clout to enact some of her policies.
She was undone the first day he put her in that little boiler room. And she had to smile and accept his saccharine grin as he smoothly rumbled about cutbacks and staffing troubles. Temporary. He had said temporary. She remained there, plotting her revenge on all carnivores from that shabby little dungeon he had foisted upon her.
Being forgotten and ignored had made the plan easier. No one looked down, no one saw the little sheep going about her business, being indispensable. She was the master cylinder. That lazy layabout lion was certainly good with speeches and had, she had to admit, a crafty and canny political mind. But it was couched in thoughts of power, control and strength. Such carnivorous thoughts, base, brutish and barbaric. She really had just been showing what lay at the heart of thecarnivorous psyche. If it took a drug, so be it. It was still true.
"I knew what I knew... predators are dangerous beasts. Brutes! They still are, it's in the DNA. Nothing can change reality, nothing changes truth. I know it, and they know it deep down. They have no choice but to be base monsters..." Dawn spoke to the emptiness of her cell like she was addressing the crowds she had always envisioned. Cheering prey looking up in awe and reverence, hanging on her every word, nodding in agreement. That had been her dream, the dream she had almost grasped, before it was all stolen away. Stolen by them. THEM.
"They destroyed a perfect plan for a better world, and they not only walk away, they get their disgusting and unnatural happily ever after. No!" She hit the bed again, rising up and setting to pacing. "No... they don't deserve a happily ever after. They don't deserve to be together. They ruined me. They should be apart because nature dictates it, but they should be ripped apart because they deserve to suffer. Oh what I would do to tear that happy little couple of perverted freaksapart..."
"What would you do?" A mirthful voice rang out around the room, emerging from nowhere and yet echoing from everywhere. "I hear that time and time again. But when I ask they just clam up. No one wants to own up to what they woulddo. But I suspect you would, Dawn."
"What's that? Who's there? Damned guards, don't do this to me! I don't want to see that stupid yak before I'm scheduled to!" Dawn cast fearful eyes around the room, looking for speakers or similar devices, rushing to the door to see if anyone could be seen retreating. She was holding her sanity well, or thought she had been. She was nowhere near the level of hearing voices. It hadn't been that long.
"Oh I am not one of your minders. But I have had a casual eye on you, Dawn Bellwether. You're fascinating, truly you are," The strange voice teased. "Driven, ruthless, even... predatory..."
"No! Don't you even dare say that!' Dawn glared hatefully around the room, gaze casting hatefully about. "I was acting like a prey animal, protecting myself from predators. I did what I had to do!"
"Did it to the hilt, loving every minute of it. You didn't just react to fear, a stimulus-response activity. You savored the things you did, the panic and chaos... the anticipation of Judy Hopps being torn apart by the tod that now shares her life and his her perfect match," the strange voice said, with a smooth and grinning tone.
"Who are you? How do you know all this?" Incapable of actually mounting an objection to the mysterious voice, Dawn needed to fall back of solving the mystery of its origin.
"Names... such permanent and yet ephemeral things. Naming a thing makes it a true thing, special and noted. Yet those names can fade away, until it becomes a nameless, noted thing to be named all over again..." the source of the voice moved through the room, as if a mammal was casually walking around, invisibly and intangibly.
"Fascinating. Then give me one of yours so I know what I need to tell that obnoxious yak in my next couch session," Dawn huffed, stalking around the small room herself, tracking the bodiless voice.
A subtle wavering in the air grew more and more present, coalescing by small amounts into the form of a small, gray sheep ewe, of about Bellwether's age, dressed in a simple gray robe, her eyes blank white, and a playful smile pulling her lips. "I have been named many times. Given names but never presented one. Why should I let anyone else think they make me special? I already am."
Dawn regarded the other sheep with a critical eye, her expression dismissive. "Really? Being my species? My imagination got really small in this stupid cage. So what are you supposed to be? Some kind of demon?"
The other ewe scoffed, waving her hand dismissively and sending Dawn tumbling back into a pained heap. "Don't you dare attach such pitiful trifles upon me. Gods, devils, petty nothings compared to what I am. I am older than any such things. Older than your society. Older than your intellect. I watched the sun dawn on your kind. But you need a name to easeyour mind. Call me Morning Star, if it will ease your mind to know I have a name."
Dawn cared little for the pain in her twisted limbs. It was less important than the revelation it wasn't an hallucination, her own mind eating itself out of isolation. This strange creature was real. Painfully real. She was some ancient... thing... a manifestation of pure age, of ancient arcana. Her capabilities were unknown but seemingly potent. "Why... why are you here?"
"Ahh, yes. Down to business," Morning Star said. "I am here because I am an ancient being. Beyond anything you can understand. I watch this world. I watch all worlds. You may be amusing creatures but even I can get bored. If it suits andamuses me, I will come into any place I think some desperate seeker will find me. Anyone with a dream or desire they say they will literally do anything to reach. I test their mettle, to see how literal their prideful and passionate insistence really is."
It took Dawn some time to process the speech, which she did as she slowly rose to her trotters, eyes never leaving the strange creature. "You're a fairy tale. I heard about you, once, around a campfire. You live far from us. We have to come to you."
"I move by my will alone. Sure, it's fun to watch your kind crawling and scrabbling through hostile wilderness. But if it is to my will, I'll come straight to the heart of civilization to see who I want. And I want to see you, Dawn Bellwether. The hate in your heart burns so bright that it wants to rip apart a couple that is perfect, not for the bigoted reasons you could list for days on end, but because they beat you at the game you thought was yours and yours alone to win, and through that found one another. I could tell you, in minute detail, how every thing you did and said made them come together more and more, until now they may as well be one mammal..." Morning Star taunted.
"No!" Dawn cried, grinding her teeth and seething through them. "No. Just get to it. What kind of test do I have to pass? What do I need to do? Sell you my soul or something?"
"Oh yes, now the ignorance," Morning Star laughed. "What would I need with the petty scrap of ephemera you creatures call your soul? It's worthless to me, and seems barely of any use to you. This isn't a business transaction, this is my whim. My fiat. Frankly, I just want to see what you would do when I offer you everything you want. You'll do anything to get your will, right? If I never told you the actual price, would you still take your heart's hate?"
"Exactly what I want... but you won't tell me what it costs?" Dawn asked, a brow quirked. "That's a deal for suckers. I need it in writing, with terms and conditions. I don't put my name down unless I know what it'll cost me."
"The eternal politico!" Morning Star laughed, slowly strolling around dawn with a grin. "There's a fine line between cautious and paranoid. You don't sign on the dotted line for Honest John the weasel with a used car because you know you can't trust him. You can't trust me, but you should. I'm a being of inestimable power. If it pleased me to trick you, a mere contract wouldn't matter. If it pleased me to be honest, a contract would be worthless. You must take me at my word because you have no choice. I don't need to tell you how it will be accomplished. You said you would do anything if I can tear them apart. Will you?"
Dawn shifted nervously, caught inside the orbit of the stalking spirit. Even if she was made up like a sheep, she stalked and arrogantly asserted herself like a proper predator. "It's a disgusting abomination, and it needs to end."
"That one more than any other?" Morning Star asked.
"That one more than any other," Dawn confirmed, nodding firmly. "They are the manifestation of my failure, and the mockery of everything I tried to do."
"I love it when your kind are open with their selfishness, pettiness, bigotry and hate. It's so raw, so real, it cuts through all the things you tell yourselves. You're a small folk, and here you show it. Then say it openly to me, make it explicit, without any coy aversions or prevarication." Morning Star stopped before Dawn, blank, white eyes staring into her gaze. "Say to me, 'I will do anything to break the couple of Nicholas Wilde and Judith Hopps, and I will not, from this point forward, attempt to reverse myself or withdraw my statement.'"
It was unnerving, staring into the infinite whiteness, a depth piercing far beyond what the artificial skull could hold. Dawn had to shudder as she was stared at, and commanded to recite a formula without any input on the matter. Still, she took a deep breath and recited, "I will do anything to break the couple of Nicholas Wilde and Judith Hopps, and I will not, from this point forward, attempt to reverse myself or withdraw my statement."
Morning Star stepped away with a flourish, laughing and rubbing her hands together. "And so it begins! Now I can tell you exactly how this will happen."
Dawn stepped back, feeling emotionally drained as the heavy and intimidating atmosphere broke, leaving her in a kind of light daze. "Are you going to kill one? Make them hate each other? Maybe make one have an affair?"
"Oh no, are you kidding? I don't screw with minds that directly, it's not any fun. I may as well just set up the world as I want it, and know everything. Hardly entertaining. And I don't kill directly, again, no fun at all. I like entertainment," Morning Star said.
Dawn shook her head, gaping in disbelief. "This is crazy... you have power! Use it! Rip them apart! Throw them into a forest fire or something!"
"Do not tell me how to use my powers, you dust-crawling worm!" Morning Star roared, voice reverberating powerfully, bouncing off the walls and cowing Dawn into huddling submission. "This is my entertainment and my will. The solution is simple. Your scheme brought them together. I will undo your scheme. Or rather, you will undo it."
"Wh-wh-what do you m-mean?" Dawn stammered, her heart pounding in her ears. That terrifying cry hadn't just rocked her body. Her entire being was shaken and unnerved.
"You said you would do anything. Would you undo your whole scheme? You could modify it, but the universe is very resilient, and things can go out of control. The only guarantee of success is to never do the one thing that you know would bring them together," Morning Star noted.
"Do I need to recite something again, let you undo what I did?" Dawn asked, some hint of her steel edge seeping back into her voice.
"Oh I already know what I'm going to do..." Morning Star waved a hand, slicing through the very fabric of the universe, creating a wavering slash filled with writhing colors of every hue, including alien tones that had never been seen before. "You're going back. Back before the plan. Before Doug and those badly broken bleaters you had working for you. Before you were even the Deputy Mayor. All you have to do is resist the urge to undertake your plan. Show me how much you want to split them apart!"
Dawn looked on the strange portal, fascinated by the bizarre colors. "I can end them. I'll remember them, I'll work to tear them apart in every sense..."
"There is... one catch..." Morning Star noted with a grin. "I can't very well send you back exactly as you are, with perfect knowledge of every little detail. You wouldn't give a true accounting of yourself. I cannot forcibly change your mind but I can reset it to what it was on the timeline."
"And what does that mean for me?" Dawn queried with a suspicious eye.
"Watch your tone, but it's a valid question," Morning Star cautioned. "You will be exactly as prejudiced as you were. No more, no less. The state you were in, it will be that state. Not this one. You will feel about predators exactly as youdid at that point."
"Then nothing changes..." Dawn said darkly.
"Oh how little you remember..." Morning Star chuckled. "You will remember them, remember their relationship. You'll recall your plot, your cohorts, but you won't remember the very minute details. No lottery numbers or sports scores or anything like that. And just to make it more interesting I changed one moment. A single, small, powerful moment."
"Stacking the deck against me?" Dawn asked, stepping boldly up to the tear.
"I don't need to. This isn't anything you should care about. But every life is full of moments, every moment has a choice. A muzzle could make someone choose to break. A scar from a bully could make someone choose to never give up. One moment, one choice. I changed one actor and the moment passed so differently," Morning Star sighed, almost wistful.
Dawn stood, determined, even haughty. "No little moment is going to change what I am, what I think, and what I'm going to do."
Morning Star stood behind Dawn, grinning a huge grin and showing off predator fangs. "Oh I forgot to tell you..." She gave Dawn a shove, sending her screaming and bleating into the swirling colors. "It wasn't a moment of yours I changed!"
To Be Continued...