Message and motivation from the author:
When I saw Zootopia, there was a great deal of enjoyment to be had from visiting a world made by Disney. It brought back great recollections from childhood but it also provided a unique spin on this genre of stories and played out in its own way: not with a fainting damsel or royalty, nor with naive but otherwise flawless individuals. It took the form of a modern fable by Aesop to describe core issues within our own society, past and present. I also enjoyed what the film availed an involved viewer with a healthy imagination.
The makers told an unusual story given the genre and normal target audience, but more than that they created a world where more stories were possible. The characters were stripped of many of the skin-deep aspects that may limit our interpretation, and deeper issues were given different faces. While still male/female, prosperous/disadvantaged, and generally Western in scope, the world of Zootopia offers a look at acceptance, prejudice and societal norms and expectations that allows different people to identify with the same characters or scenarios in very different ways.
Judy is a rabbit who wants to make the world a better place as a cop, but her struggles could be looked upon as those of a woman in a male-dominated field, or any other underrepresented group trying to break the mold and fulfill a dream in a non-traditional pursuit.
Nick is a fox who wants to be accepted, but the intolerance he deals with can be compared to anyone who is marginalized by prejudicial discrimination against race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or other tribal identity.
Judy's and Nick's own prejudices about one another show that we all have our biases. We may not show often show hate or fear, but we all carry some level of prejudice. Further, the friendship between these two shows that we need not allow these prejudices to define us, or dictate our personal relationships with each other… also it shows that we can overcome our personal prejudice and evolve our view of the world.
Reaching an understanding of these basic truths will not solely change the world, but it is a place to start from and get a few new ideas and behaviors added to the mix - a way to begin a bubble-up in improved social tolerance. Together Judy and Nick provide a means to look at a number of social issues and examine stories in this vein.
Expectations for the reader:
This is only the first of a long collection of stories I intend to write that cover the lives of both Judy and Nick after Zootopia ends. Each of these stories can cover a few days or several months, and while they all thread together, each story deals with a stand alone topic, and Judy and Nick both deal with their own issues, sometimes together and sometimes apart. I envisioned an entire span of existence following the lives of the two main characters that dealt with the ups and downs of life. While there is a level of excitement included in order to keep the stories entertaining, I will not be writing a series of grand-scale or episodic adventures that show no evolution. Rather my stories will be 'life' adventures: chances taken, tasks employed in, successes had, and failures suffered… all of the vicissitudes that define existence, and told in a linear form so one story follows another, and bridges crossed cannot be undone.
While not recorded as a 'romance', I will employ romantic elements in this compilation as and where I feel it is important. I do enjoy writing bits that have sexual tension or are leading to sex, and will include them as part of the overall story, but only to the extent that they are 'part' of the story and help to make it fun. It is my intention to avoid explicit descriptions of acts of mating for any of the characters. The stories I write that involve this level of mature content will be given the appropriate rating. If the story is at an appropriate level for teenagers or mature kids I will rate it as such.
While love is a binding characteristic in some relationships in the Zootopian world that I am crafting, finding niches for themselves, achieving goals, gaining respect on their path to acceptance and happiness, and the never-ending journey that defines personal growth are the real forces that drive this story and compel me to write.
I have modeled the main characters as much as possible on the archetypes referenced by Disney. Thus Judy is crafted from the hyper-driven, blind-with-peppiness-and-ambition characteristics of Leslie Knope from NBC's Parks & Recreation, with a bit of Superman's righteousness and farm town sense of justice thrown in for good measure. For Nick, it was the lovable antics and great talent of Cary Grant (whose characters I have borrowed from 'To Catch a Thief', 'Holiday', 'Charade' and 'Father Goose') combined with the disaffected loner and somewhat unwilling heroics of Han Solo from Star Wars. Each of these characters will see growth over time, wisdom will be gained, even a bit of jadedness will be thrown in, but each will retain aspects from their initial conception.
I use Judy and Nick as the primary vehicle for each story, however they should be treated as a means to look at broader issues and not an end in and of themselves.
When dealing with the operations of the ZPD (departmental policies, organization, rank-structure, etc.) I have referred to the rules of the NYPD as I understand them from my research, with some artistic license taken for a fictitious world. I am not myself a member of any law enforcement agency, or any law-related program, and thus my words should be scrutinized carefully and not taken as truth or the result of real world observation or direct experience.
A lot of rules in biology including anatomy (eye positions and articulation of joints in particular) and physiology (lifetimes) had to be broken or modified in order to create Zootopia and I want to avoid unnecessary additions to that list. However, some things need to be addressed in order to satisfy population biology and a host of other logistical dilemmas that fans have identified. Here are a few things that I willset as canon for this story in order to address observations in the movie and avoid the Malthusian catastrophe of unchecked population growth, among other problems that fans are so concerned about:
All healthy animals from Judy's size to essentially Bogo's size can expect roughly 80 years, like humans in modern, industrialized nations (Judy was roughly 25 at the end of the movie). Due to their larger size, elephants will have lifespans more closely approximating 100 years. Smaller animals like shrews, squirrels, mice and rats (pretty much all of Little Rodentia) will live approximately 40 to 50 years.
Gestation periods for these animals will also be modified to match with the expected lifespan, so the majority of animals will carry their young for the standard 40 weeks like humans, elephants will have 50 weeks, smaller rodents will be 20 weeks (which fits with Fru Fru's advanced pregnancy after a couple of months). Natural laws of scaling are more logarithmic relative to size but exceptions abound. Bear in mind that these numbers are only for the purpose of telling the story, and are not representative of actual scientific data for actual rabbits, foxes, etc.
Also, the rate of birth, and the number of litters will be modified. I am going to write-off the ticking population counter of Bunnyburrow as broken, and a joke among some townsfolk (it was a joke by the creators anyway and we never saw a hospital with lots of birthing bunnies). The 'Carrot Days' fair only looked large enough to host a few thousand, so the real population of the town is perhaps in the tens of thousands.
Bonny Hopps taking care of 276 rabbit kits by the time one of them is nine seems like an impossibly unsustainable familial arrangement. Since the bunnies waving goodbye to Judy included several rabbits near in age or older than her parents, these could be uncles/aunts or a generation older still. This could offer the possibility of the whole Hopps 'clan' living together and sharing the same carrot fields. In this arrangement, the term 'brothers and sisters' could include actual brothers and sisters as we think of them, as well as all cousins of the same generation. In the film, Bonny said Judy had 275 brothers and sisters, but she never said she herself had 276 kits. If words like 'cute' have been co-opted by bunnies, then familial naming conventions may have species-specific connotations as well.
In this way, Bonny and Stu may only have a few kittens that are strictly the product of their own mating, which allows them to give Judy special attention, while the majority of Judy's 'brothers and sisters' are actually cousins with their own moms and dads.
Given the slower rate of physiological development (Judy is still dependent on her parents at age nine) the time between successive litters would also tend to increase, especially if litter sizes for rabbits are several kits. So Bonny may have only had two or three litters in her lifetime (not small, but not quite leading to the Malthusian disaster as quickly as fans predict).
The result of these biological rules/modifications/adjustments prevent the world from being eaten bare by prey animals, follows the general idea of physiological scaling, is substantiated by what we know of changes to family sizes in developing and developed nations, and accounts for several back-stories. For example: Nick knew Mr. Big's Grandmama, though Mr. Big seems rather old to have had a rather recently deceased grandmother capable of doing her own baking, unless their species ages a bit faster than Nick. In the future this could also result in Judy outliving her shrew god-daughter, or elephant officer Francine outliving Judy.
Now that I have established my rules, let me further state that the name Zootopia and all its associated content are the property of the Walt Disney Company, and any other references to popular culture are made for parody or to offer a link between our world and this one (e.g. Motown Records, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, iPaw, etc.).
The tuckerization of names is meant to provide references to these real-life individuals with animal counterparts.
None of these stories are of proprietary content or meant to provide anything for the reader other than mental stimulation (which I hope these stories do provide).
This first story is meant as a prologue and Judy and Nick are setting the stage for more to come, while the focus is on a few of the more ancillary characters of the film.
So, without further ado, we visit the world of Judith Laverne Hopps and Nicholas Piberius Wilde, two friends and momentarily off-duty police officers at the conclusion of a large public concert given by the Zootopian popstar Gazelle.
"OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH!"
Hearing one friend rave about meeting a celebrity can be annoying. Hearing friends rave in stereo, as Nick Wilde now heard Judy Hopps and Benjamin Clawhauser doing, was bordering on insufferable.
Following the special Celebrate Zootopia Concert thrown by Gazelle, members of the ZPD were invited to come to the afterparty with the star and all the supporting crew and performers involved in the concert. As a ZPD member, Nick was invited to participate, or rather strong-armed into participating by Judy. Big concerts were not his thing, and a press of other animals he preferred to avoid, but he put up with it for his friend. Now they were funneling down backstage to get to the party space, and having been dragged to the front, Nick was among the loudest and most vocal fans.
Naturally the three biggest Gazelle fans on the force were here at the front, though of them, Chief Bogo insisted his excitement was only a passing interest. Judy and Ben did not even attempt to keep a reasonable volume or offer any qualifiers when they expressed excitement. The vocal raving Nick now endured in both ears was sure to drive him mad if the doors did not open soon.
Judy had tried to corral her parents into attending as her plus two (whether or not that was allowed), but they had begged off and taken the bus from the concert to the train station to get back to Bunnyburrow. She understood this was not their thing and had let them go after a kiss goodbye. She had felt a little down that none of her siblings could attend, but at the moment she could only with difficulty keep from screaming like a starstruck preteen at the thought of meeting her favorite pop artist. She clung to Nick and squeezed his arm in excitement.
One of the backstage security guards opened the door and waived the ZPD officers in. Both Judy and Ben were practically skipping while holding their paws to their chins. Nick, Bogo, and a few of the other ZPD officers that opted to attend came in more calmly.
The room had several bright lights, white surfaces, tables with festive decorations, and screens all along the walls showing the record logo of Gazelle's patron company as well some product placement by Preyda.
As Judy entered at the head of the ZPD contingent none other than Gazelle herself came forward to welcome them.
"Hello Judy Hopps," she said with a smile. Peering over the little rabbit's shoulder she spotted the russet-furred fox. "And Nicholas Wilde. I'm Gazelle. It's a pleasure to meet you both."
Judy began quivering and making excited squeaking sounds, Nick gave a warm smile and nodded his head with a polite hello.
"And to all of you," Gazelle addressed the arriving officers as she lifted her head. "Most distinguished guests, it is an honor to have you all here. We are all grateful to you for your dedicated service to Zootopia. Welcome. Please make yourselves comfortable and enjoy."
The contingent of officers began to disperse and mingle about the room with sound engineers, backup dancers, roadies, and even a few executives from the patron company that supported Gazelle. Ben Clawhauser stood next to Judy, having kept his eyes on Gazelle every moment since he arrived. Nick also hung close to Judy as the room began to fill, and Chief Bogo came forward to greet the hostess.
"Hello, and on behalf of my officers thank you very much for inviting us, Ms. Gazelle."
She smiled back.
"Chief Bogo, I am so glad you have come. Please, allow me to get you some refreshments."
Bogo, Judy, Nick and Ben both followed their hostess to one of the bars and we're treated to an assortment of possible libations. Once everyone held a glass of one liquid or another, the hostess attempted to engage the cohort in conversation. Ben and Judy were all but shaking with excitement.
"So glad you agreed to come to the party." She said. "You have done so much to keep the peace these last several months since the scandal at City Hall. I am just so grateful you have kept Zootopia together."
Bogo spoke for the group. "We've done no more than our duty, ma'am. But we are grateful for your acknowledgement. Events like these prove we're preserving some wonderful things."
"You enjoyed the concert?" Gazelle asked.
Judy and Ben squealed, Bogo brightened but tried to keep his response restrained to a dignified bow of his horned head.
"It was nice." Nick answered matter-of-factly.
Judy and Ben looked absolutely scandalized at his comment and Bogo arched an eyebrow at his newest officer while Gazelle did not seem to take any offense.
"You seem like pop music is not really your style, Mr. Wilde." She stated, eyeing him like someone who knew the difference between those who came to her concerts specifically because they liked her music, and those who came more for the purpose of spending time with a friend who liked her music. She could tell he was more of the latter sort and had an understanding smile for him.
Nick smiled in return. "I enjoy pop music well enough, and I thought you did a great job Ms. Gazelle, I'm just more of a classic rock, or slow-beat kind of fox."
She nodded and leaned forward to whisper.
"Can you keep a secret?" Nick intoned a mild sure, while the other three nodded vigorously and leaned forward.
"I enjoy modern Zootopian artists, but in my own time I really love listening to some more classical music from Marten Gaye or some of Smokey Rabbitson's songs."
Judy's eyes went wide, Ben hiccuped, and Bogo's and Nick's eyebrows went up.
"No kidding," came Nick's reply. "I'm more for James Scaler or Aaric Clipton, but I love artists from Mole-Town too."
His smile suddenly turned knowing and crafty and he looked toward his portly, cheetah friend.
"In fact, Ben weren't you listening to Smokey the other day at the front desk when I came in? You seem like a pretty big Mole-Town fan yourself."
The fox turned the group's attention to the cheetah and Ben's face fell as the spotlight suddenly came his way. Gazelle looked at him with the interest of a fellow enthusiast and Ben hesitantly confirmed.
"Uh… yeah. Yeah I always loved listening to Mole-Town while growing up. Still do."
Judy caught on to Nick's game, trying to draw Ben out here in Gazelle's presence and joined in before their friend could shy away.
"If I recall Ben, a few weeks ago I was coming in after Nick's graduation and just as I got near the front you started singing one of their songs… oh, what was it? 'Through the great vine'?" Judy intentionally misquoted the song title, forcing Ben, the laid back cop but zealous song aficionado, to leap to the bait.
"No, no Judy it's 'I heard it through the grapevine', and I changed a few lyrics to fit the news about Nick. Remember…" and he launched into his own variation of the classic.
It took me by surprise, I must say,
When I found out yesterday,
Don't you know that I heard it through the grapevine.
Not much longer till we get new guys.
Oh, I heard it through the grapevine.
Oh, take charge, make sure they toe the line,
Bunny, bunny yeah...
Bogo put one hoof between his eyes and massaged his tensing muscles. Judy gave an awkward glance at Nick who gave a shrug. Gazelle smiled and took up the beat, finishing the quieter chorus section of the song.
I heard it through the grapevine,
Not much longer till we get some new guys, bunny… Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
"Clever of you, Ben."
Ben froze and turned pale. He had gotten his favorite celebrity to find genuine humor at one of his playful tunes, and had earned a compliment with his name in the response, all in one go. He was suddenly finding it difficult to perform simple things like breathing, focusing his eyes and keeping correct posture. Nick, seeing his companion starting to freeze-up, surreptitiously reached back to tug on Ben's tail. The cheetah instantly straightened, and Nick gave the conversation one last jolt of energy.
"Yeah catchy, but Gazelle is there a particular song from Mole-Town you like most? It would be great to hear you sing it."
Judy was not far behind.
"Maybe you and Ben could sing it together. Ben's voice would really compliment yours."
"That will be enough officers," Bogo interjected. "Our good hostess just spent several hours singing for all of Zootopia, I think she's earned a rest from singing anymore for us tonight."
Ben suddenly snapped out of his reverie. He felt half-relieved and half-horrified that he might miss a chance to do one of his favorite hobbies with one of the animals he most admired.
Gazelle's response freed him from the turmoil.
"Oh no Chief Bogo, the performance was exhilarating, I would sing more if I could. And it is rare I meet someone who enjoys the songs from Mole-Town as much as I do. Ben, you will sing with me?"
Ben's mouth had dried and his power of speech consequently diminished. He tried to nod, but his neck felt locked in position from nervously-seized muscles. Judy elbowed him in the gut and he coughed out a faint sure.
"Oh good. Here, I have the instrumental version of one of my favorites on my iPaw. Let me put it on speakers and we will sing."
She went to a nearby stereo mount and placed her iPaw in the slot. After a few screen taps a familiar beat started coming through. Nick grinned and started bobbing to the beat while Judy slowly caught on too. Hearing this particular song, Ben's face took on a look of further astonishment. He met Gazelle's gaze and would have been lost in it if not for his reflexive need to sing right when the lyrics were supposed to begin.
The cheetah belted out.
Ain't no mountain high, ain't no valley low, ain't no river wide enough baby.
Ben had a half decent voice, but it was when Gazelle chimed in that everyone around the room took notice.
If you need me call me. No matter where you are, no matter how far.
On cue Ben belted out.
Don't worry baby.
...and Gazelle continued.
Just call my name, I'll be there in a hurry. You don't have to worry…
Now Ben moved closer to Gazelle and the two of them started grooving together as the duet came on.
Cause baby there ain't no mountain high enough. Ain't no valley low enough. Ain't no river wide enough, to keep me from getting to you baby.
The other members of the ZPD were absolutely enthralled. This was Ben Clawhauser: the fat, doofy desk officer who spent his time playing with an app where he pasted his face on a dancer next to Gazelle. Now he was doing an actual duet with her. McHorn and Delgato were slack-jawed, Fangmeyer, Wolford and Grizzoli were similarly stunned, and Bogo couldn't find any words.
Nearest the singers, Nick was still bobbing his head and Judy was grooving along. She preferred more energetic, get-up-and-dance music, but she was really liking the spectacle of Ben singing with Gazelle.
When the song ended, Nick and Judy immediately started clapping and Ben did a bow for them. The whole contingent of officers that had surrounded the scene took up the response and clapped as well. Gazelle gave a bow.
"That was fun, thank you for that Ben." She said to her duet partner.
This time Ben felt pumped from singing and spoke to her without fear.
"Thank you too Gazelle. I've never had someone do a duet with me for one of these songs. So… that's not your favorite Mole-Town song, is it?"
"I am no' sure I have a favorite. So many are so good."
"I knew it. I figure that's the mark of a real fan. If you say you like the group then you must like a lot of their songs for a whole host of reasons."
Gazelle nodded. "Yes, that's why I listen to them so much in my own time. They have songs for almost every one of my moods. What other music do you like?"
As Ben dived into the vast collection of his favored genres and tunes, Nick leaned over to whisper in Judy's ear.
"How about we let things go from here Carrots?"
She looked at him and nodded, then eased away from the conversing Ben and Gazelle.
As Judy and Nick walked away to mingle with the others in the room, Nick could not help but crack a self-satisfied grin at the turnout.
"Ben and Gazelle having some things to talk about. I wouldn't have guessed they'd get on so well."
"I'd never have guessed you would try to play at match-making, sneaky fox." She quipped.
"Match-making? Sneaky? I just wanted to get Ben to at least say something to his pop idol. Maybe he won't play with that dancing app anymore and I won't have to say the avatar looks like him."
She shoulder bumped him and took a sip of the drink she still had in her paw. He grinned back and saluted her with his own glass before taking a sip.
Bogo was pleased to see the evening progress after the spectacle of Gazelle singing with Clawhauser. Many requests came for her to sing again, but she only agreed to a few. Bogo noticed that she seemed more inclined to sing when Clawhauser chimed in to support the request, and especially when he joined her in singing. If their hostess was not giving an encore she was usually talking with some of the ZPD officers, and once or twice with Bogo himself, but she always seemed to find her way back to Clawhauser. The chief found it quite interesting to see the dynamic between his most constant precinct desk officer and Zootopia's most popular pop star. While Gazelle flirted with Clawhauser a little, and Clawhauser in turn appeared duly nervous around her, the interaction was decidedly friendly. The two of them seemed to be genuinely enjoying one another's company and primarily devoted themselves to one-on-one conversation.
Looking over at his newest and smallest officers now and then Bogo noted similar behavior in them. At times Hopps talked with some of the backstage security guards while Wilde spoke with some of the various business animals responsible for Gazelle's representative record company. Much of the time, however, they were talking with each other and seemed content to continue doing so. Bogo was pleased they were getting along and working well together, but he was beginning to grow concerned that they were getting too familiar. Judy constantly leaning into Nick to give a friendly bump was a little too friendly in Bogo's eyes. He did not want to make a scene, but he decided some intervention was necessary.
Walking over to the pair of officers he addressed them.
"Hopps, Wilde. Enjoying yourselves?"
Hopps looked up smiling.
"This is great Chief… Chief… I feel like I should be calling you by your name here, but saying Bogo feels wrong somehow."
"Just stick with 'Chief', Hopps."
"Carrots, trying to get familiar with the brass. How very political of you." Wilde teased. Hopps elbowed him in the stomach, but seemed to lean into him as well. They were touching closely enough that she was under Wilde's muzzle and practically spooning. Bogo stiffened slightly as Hopps righted herself.
"I haven't seen the two of you mingling much. Surely we can all try to engage with our hosts a little more closely."
"Oh we thought Ben and Gazelle wanted a little more one-on-one." Hopps replied. "I've been talking with the security detail. Did you know two of them were at the academy about ten years back? And one of the younger guards said she wants to enroll in the next class. She was even asking me for a recommendation."
Wilde looked up at Bogo and chimed in as well. "I was talking with the suits over by the bar. That black panther, Cita, he's one of the chief executives of the company that represents Gazelle's label. A pretty cool cat, Chief. You oughtta talk to him."
Bogo nodded after spotting the black cat in the suit.
"Glad to see you're both making the rounds. Carry on."
"Oh, Chief. I hope you didn't think we were being unkind leaving Gazelle and Ben earlier." Hopps offered. "He's just such a big fan, and we didn't want him to leave without at least speaking to her. And he seemed to have gotten comfortable enough we thought we should just let it be."
Bogo gave a nod. "I know Hopps. Seems like it's been good for him. They've been talking almost the whole evening. I think I'll get myself another drink. As you were."
Bogo excused himself and went to mingle a little more about the room. He was slightly mollified regarding the interaction between Hopps and Wilde, but their earlier behavior still weighed on his mind. For now though he intended to just back off and watch whether his interjection had any effect, or if the two of them continued to be 'too-friendly'. Besides, if there were any more problems, the precinct on Monday would be a better place to deal with them than here.
Over where Gazelle sat with her constant companion, Ben was going through the story of how he set many of the academy running records before a job-related injury forced him to a desk. While on the mend, some of his bad eating habits began to affect his physicality. In his younger years he had mostly eaten whatever he wanted, and then run it all off. He actually had better stamina than most of his species, and he of course had speed. However, without his mobility those calories had built up into a lot of stored fat and left him grossly out of shape. Thus had Ben stayed working the desk for the last few years. When Gazelle asked if he ever thought of going out and doing patrol again he admitted a part of him wanted to, but felt unsure if he could measure up.
"I just don't think I can match the guys out there now. I mean I look at Judy, and I can't measure up to that. Plus I doubt I'd ever be like I used to be." He said to her. "I was so much… well less, back then than I am now." He said as he patted his stomach. "I've mostly just given up thinking about it."
She scooted closer as she spoke. "You seem like you miss it Ben."
"I do some days.' He admitted. "Sometimes Judy will tell me about her day after hours when she's still hanging at the front desk. I think back to when I was on the beat like her and how I used to be able to run down any perp. I busted quite a few. Now I can barely run up the stairs to stop someone barging into the Chief's office. I look down at my hind claws at times, and I remember how I used just taper all the way. Now… well I can barely see my hind claws." He looked down at himself and his expression turned melancholy.
"I think you could get some of that back, Ben. Maybe you won't be as fast, but I think it would help you to try."
"The Chief isn't going to waste time on me doing that." He said. Gazelle covered her mouth in surprise, and Ben realized he may have misconstrued the point he was trying to make about his superior.
"Oh, no I don't mean that he wouldn't care. He and I work well together and he's a good boss. He'd just prefer having an officer he knows and depends on at the front. I don't think he'd want to send a good desk officer to the beat and have to train up someone else to handle the front. Especially a desk officer that's as out of shape as I am."
Gazelle nodded and began playing with the shield stitched into Ben's shoulder.
"If you want to be something else, you should let him know. I am sure he would let you do it if you prove you can handle the work. Maybe you could get back to training for a few months and then you would ease right back into it."
Ben lapsed into thought and Gazelle spoke to some of the other nearby party goers who wanted to talk to her. Even as she spoke to others nearby she kept her hoof on Ben's shoulder and it made him feel comforted.
"What do you think the Chief wanted?" Nick asked. Judy looked at him with a confused expression.
"To make sure we were interacting. We solved the case all those months ago, and a lot of this party was touted as being in recognition of our work. I'm sure the Chief just wanted to make sure we were showing gratitude."
Nick looked askance at the Chief, who was standing at the bar with Mr. Cita.
"Carrots, I don't think that greeting was just to get us to mingle. He had a look like he saw something he didn't like when he got near us. Especially when I pushed against your back."
"Relax Nick. If he had really been upset, he would have spoken with fewer words and ordered us around more." Judy took another sip of her drink and squeezed her eyes. "I should have gone with a virgin. My glass is still half-full and I already feel a bit dizzy."
Nick chuckled and reached for her glass. She twisted away. Nick sighed.
"Carrots, you just said you were feeling dizzy."
"I'm a big bunny now. I can handle it." She said defensively. Nick shook his head.
"Well now you're buzzed and being silly, so someone's gotta watch you to make sure it doesn't get any worse."
"Well you're my partner. Isn't that a big part of your job? Have my back?" She teased.
Nick sighed again, put his arm around the little rabbit and led her to a couch to sit down. A nearby water buffalo saw it all and was not pleased.
Later, as the party wound down and the room began to lose some of the guests, Bogo decided to call it a night. He had conversed with Mr. Cita, as well as several of the background dancers. He noted that most of these fellows were muscular enough they could have put on ZPD uniforms and fit right in among his predominantly predatory contingent. One of the dancers, he learned, had actually been a volunteer firefighter before going into the music business. That had been an interesting side story.
Now, having heard almost an hour of stories about a naive young Gazellina trying to break into the Zootopia pop scene as 'Gazelle', he decided he had been entertained and regaled enough for one night. Though he found the stories intriguing, he knew he needed to get home to his family. Setting his empty glass on the bar, Bogo thanked the dancers and Mr. Cita again and said he needed to be getting home. The panther shook his hoof and thanked Bogo for coming.
As Bogo made for the exit he espied Clawhauser with 'Gazellina', still sitting together and talking. Though other animals were part of the little circle that always seemed to surround the pop icon, the talking was primarily between the hostess and the cheetah. Bogo realized he had been remiss and turned to walk back to Gazelle and thank her for a great evening.
Despite his weak eyesight, Bogo spotted a red individual on the other side of the room who could only be his sole fox officer. Hopps was nearly draped over Wilde's shoulder and looked pretty drowsy. The fox officer was walking her slowly towards Bogo and the door. Stopping a moment near Clawhauser and Gazelle, Bogo saw them bid the seated pair farewell and then resume their walk in his direction. Though Bogo could see that Hopps was tired, he did not altogether approve of how she seemed to cuddle up against Wilde. The water buffalo kept his gaze on the two as they approached, looking to see how much more they would push boundaries. Wilde gave a lackadaisical salute as he drew up in front of the Chief.
"Good night Chief. I'm going to get the Hero of Zootopia back to her place while she's still conscious."
Hopps looked up and covered her mouth with a yawn.
" 'Been a great party Chief. Mm' I remember now why I don't usually drink… this stuff puts me right on my tail. I only had one drink and halfway through I started yawning." As if to emphasize her exhaustion she yawned again.
Bogo furrowed his brow and pursed his lips, fighting the yawn she was making him feel.
"And you, Wilde? Feeling well enough I hope?"
Wilde looked up again and nodded.
"Yeah Chief, I'm fine. I'm just gonna drop this drowsy bunny at her place and then go home myself. This was fun. We should all do this more often."
Bogo scrunched up his lips and gave a tight nod.
"Carry on, Wilde."
Wilde made his way passed Bogo and out of the room, holding Hopps close to him. She leaned into his waist and help his hip. As Bogo watched the pair leave he became resolved over what to do. He did not like this part of his job; it involved getting into the personal matters of his officers, and he hated embroiling himself in their private affairs. Nonetheless, he was sure Hopps and Wilde were edging toward dangerous behavior, and he had to head off this impending disaster before it progressed any further. For now he knew he had to let things lie. He could not haphazardly punish officers based on suspicions. Truth be told, he believed that Wilde would do just what he said: get Hopps home and then go home himself… this time.
Monday… that was when things were going to be dealt with seriously.
Before heading out, Bogo went to give his thanks to the hostess. After exchanging some kind words of gratitude and sincere wishes to see each other again, Clawhauser stood as if to speak. When Bogo shifted his gaze, the cheetah seemed to become tongue-tied and had several false starts. Clawhauser looked to Gazelle who prodded him lightly. Turning back, Clawhauser spoke at last.
"Chief I want to return to active patrol duty. I have a plan for how I'm going to get there, and I want you to consider it seriously. I'll have a complete work up ready to show you on Monday."
Bogo lifted his eyebrows.
"It's been a few years Clawhauser. Are you sure about that?"
"Like I said, Chief. Let me show you the work up on Monday and keep an open mind about this."
Bogo gave a nod to his subordinate, a final goodbye to the hostess, turned, and left.
Leaving the stadium among several other late night party goers, Bogo's mind started kicking around all the things coming his way.
Monday: preliminary department budget reports, another report from Far End, warning Hopps and Wilde to keep it professional, and now Clawhauser wanting to go back on the beat… what a day that's going to be.
Bogo grimaced and walked on.
And so begins the first story.
This first chapter, of quite a few still to come, was originally meant to be a one-shot, but I decided a little more was needed to set the scene before I really get into the stories I originally conceived. This first tale deals with how a few incidents of apparent flirting at the Celebrate Zootopia Concert leads to some rather serious issues in Zootopia Precinct One, both for the primary characters in the movie and some of the ancillary players. While Judy and Nick will be prime instigators for what happens, they are still just a means to an end. The collective stories about their colleagues are the more important force to drive the action.
Before anyone starts reading between the lines unnecessarily, let me restate that this is not a romance. I already promised you there will be romantic elements, but the point of this story is what goes on in this world and the allegories we can use from it to examine our own.
I am sorry to say that my stories come slowly, especially with all I have going on at my work these days, but I hope to update again soon. I also hope that you enjoyed this first little dip into my Zootopian-derived world.
Any comments, critiques or questions are welcome, and I hope you come back for more soon.