CLASSIFIED: DO NOT READ
Operations Clock: 7 hours
Wham… WHAM… Wham!
A sailor leans over to a nearby officer and whispers.
"Sir do you… do you think the capt'n's, um, alright?"
"I mean, that was brutal. Never seen anyone lose it like the capt'n there when he saw that passenger we picked up. I mean he went completely bonkers."
Officer shakes his head.
"Sailor, you don't understand, that beeping…" shakes head again. "That infernal beeping would cause anyone to go bonkers. I don't blame the captain for what he did to that grinch. At least we won't have to deal with him again."
"Sir, I don't mean that, I understand why the captain keel hauled him, then left him for the sharks. It does let us appease the Great and Mighty Disney for blatantly stealing Zootopia characters wholly owned, copyrighted and trademarked by them for our own purposes and using them in such things as silly little fanfics… Besides he scared the pants off us with that recorded beeping sound. Though I don't get why the grinch thought that was so funny…" The sailor scratched his head then shrugged, "I get we had to do that to find out where he hid the real Fluff nuke and all anyway, so I get all that… but this…"
The sailor winces at the sounds of sledgehammer breaking rock and angry curses.
"Sailor, that grinch sold that nuke to a bunch of pirates. We had a hell of a time tracking them down and getting it back. The captain just needs to blow off some steam after all that, that's why we're here on this little deserted island."
Both the sailor and officer winced.
"Aye Aye, sir… I get that the Capt'n might want to get his mad out… even if we had to detour to do it… but sir… do we even know why the Grinch traded the nuke to the pirates in exchange for a statue of himself?"
Sailor gestures to the remains of the stone statue the captain was demolishing with a sledgehammer.
'And take THAT!' WHAM! 'and That!' WHAM! 'This is for my first ship!' WHAM! 'I hope you rot in Davy Jones' Locker!' WHAM!
The captain screamed more curses as he hammered away some more. The officer shrugged, watching the captain.
"Who knows, that grinch might just have just been a crazy Fluff obsessed egomaniac."
"True… true… it's probably for the best that he's gone… um, you are sure he's gone right?" the sailor asked nervously, looking over to the side.
"Oh absolutely," the officer said, confidently nodding his head. "We got him, and got him good. We haven't even heard a peep in months from some of the other unfinished dastardly works he'd left behind. They all look completely abandoned. No sailor, that Grinch is gone for good. The captain is even planning a celebratory feast tomorrow in honor of stopping that grinch from hijacking our conspiracy."
"So… there's no chance that this things purpose," the sailor gestures toward the statue remains, "might have been as a distraction?"
Officer starts to shrug again then stops.
"Wait… by distraction, do you mean like a trap?" The officer shivered then glanced at the rather pale looking sailor, "Why on earth do you think this is a trap?!"
Sailor points towards their ship anchored off the tiny little deserted island that once held a tall stone statue of a laughing grinch that was now no more than a brass plaque between two broken legs. A pile of rubble nearing the size of a mountain as the captain was smashing its remains with a sledgehammer.
"Because," the sailor said, going a little paler. "There's some guy that looks a lot like that grinch and is wearing a big pirate hat that's climbing up the anchor line…"
Chapter 15 Teaser – Concerts & Conspiracies
Finnick sat on the roof of his van, overlooking all that he saw before him, and was pleased.
"Hustle them Good By Karma we will."
Zootopia lay out before him in all its bustling splendor from where he'd parked on one of the scenic overlook high up in the mountain side of western Tundratown.
Still pleased with himself for the part he'd played in taking that slap dash set of ideas Wilde's pack of over eager well-wishers had made for him and his bunny and hammering an actual workable hustle out of it, Finnick sipped his beer, then frowned and glared at the bottle.
It was only root beer after all, you didn't go into a hustle drunk, certainly not with what he still had to do for this one tonight.
Overcomplicated was one word for it. Excessive was probably another. But then again, they were trying to hustle Nick Wilde. And that bunny-cop was no slouch in the hustling department either. With a set like that as their targets it was go Big or go home.
Zootopia lit up like a gem as the sun started to set.
The last rays of the day shimmering off the towers of steel and glass at the city's heart. Artificial lights coming to life to take up the slack as the heart of the city continued to beat, headless of the time of day. From there the fading light illuminated the Climate Wall between Tundratown and Sahara Square; shimmering on one side of the towering edifice as stupendously amounts of heat ripped out in visible waves, only for the light on the other side to glint off the breathtaking clouds off snow billowing forth as the city dumped massive amounts of diverted water from the mains into it while they did their inspections.
The Climate Wall was one of the modern marvels of mammalian engineering that made the city possible. It was truly a sight to see, especially like it was now, operating at its peak designed output instead of the normal sedate, and yet still impressive, day to day operations.
Even after living in the city for so long, Finnick could still feel a sense of childlike wonder as he gazed out over it all and watched as the paws of mortal mammals and their constructions bent the titanic forces of nature to their will.
Finnick looked at his watch frowning slightly.
They were late.
Well if the plan fell through because they were late it wasn't his fault, and he'd already been paid. Rolling his eyes, he reached over to his phone shot off a quick message (WTF! W.R.U?) and then toggled the app for his vans speaker system, downing a bit more of his not-beer, beer.
What should I listen too?
Street beats weren't right for this… if he wanted to listen to Gazelle he'd be at the concert… no this needed something to fit the occasion, something to fit the glorious view of all the efforts of his machinations, well maybe not all his, but he was the one out here now in the middle of it now wasn't he?
Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi by Carl Slothorff? No… Best not chance calling the attention of the gods to oneself when mortals fiddled with fate and fortune on such scales, otherwise he just might Doom himself. He was superstitious like that.
Sergei Bearkofiev's Dance of the Knights? Finnick snickered to himself, Romeo and Juliet those two idiots might be, but he rather hopped they didn't die at the end of this, otherwise all this effort would be for naught. Finnick snickered. Better not, it wouldn't be good luck.
He flicked through his list.
Ratikovsky's 1812 Overture was a classic, but they weren't to the fireworks just yet. He'd save that for if the two dunderheads actually kissed.
Then he saw it.
The perfect song for the occasion.
Finnick grinned selecting the track, and leaned back as his speaker system kicked on, the subwoofer making a dull Thump that momentarily rocked his awesome van, with its awesome paint job, before settling into a still quiet awesomeness of the first few seconds of the track.
Finnick gazed out over the city past the Climate Wall and the huge Titanic sized iceberg beached on the sandy shores of Sahara Square that the rippling waves of heat were slowly but surely melting.
He had to give it to Mr. Big and his bears; chiseling that monstrosity loose and arranging for it to float down the polar straight only to land right in front of the Palm Resort had been a feat worthy of the hustlers hall of fame. It had been like watching the perfectly thrown pitch in baseball, only on the scale of cities.
But his eyes didn't stop there. They continued onto the distant lights from The Pier amusement park which could just faintly be seen glistening off the water on the south end of Savanna Central.
Finnick downed the remainder of his root beer, flipped the old-fashioned glass bottle in his paw and caught it by the neck, only to proffer it like the baton of an orchestra conductor just as the first sounds of Wolfson Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries boomed out across his view and faint fireworks from the start of Gazelle's concert could just barely be seen all the way across the city.
Still sitting in a relaxed posture, Finnick casually swept his makeshift conductor's baton out to the south, quavering the baton upward with the rising orchestral music as the roiling waves of heat belched forth from the Wall across the sands of their mammal made desert.
He flicked his wrist as the music changed, growing, rising, his bottle baton seeming to sweep forth the snow being generated by the wall to lay it across the artificial tundra. Another change, another almost dismissively casual flick of his baton, a new rising set of strings on top the previous in the music and he looked away from the mammal made snow in search of grander forces to hustle to his whim.
Finnick reached out with his free paw, making a grasping upraised fist and the brass joined the strings as the music boomed forth, rising faster, louder, gaining momentum as he pulled forth with his paw like he was dragging the inshore winds out from the southeast before they reversed for the night; pulling the air over the heated sands of their little desert, pushing some of the heat spewing forth from the wall across the city center and into the already steamy mammal made jungles to the northwest were more diverted water from the mains had been raining continuously since earlier this afternoon.
Finnick stood up, brandishing his baton to the west were other sections of the orchestra would be, adding new notes to join the music while others dipped, only to come back stronger as he raised his free paw, the notes cycling, building upon themselves, rising higher and higher with his outstretched baton in one paw and conducting claws of his other, and the steam from water logged and heat filled forest homes of the Rainforest rose up as if on his command filling the already cloudy sky over the district.
The full orchestra was now playing, as Finnick conducted, and every time it sounded like the music had reached its peak and started to fall, he, their conductor would command it, raising his baton bringing the sections back strong, grander, and the clouds to the west continued to grow, rising ever higher into the sky at his urging.
Higher and higher, building with music, roiling and swelling, darkening with their gaining strength.
But as mighty a city as Zootopia and all the achievements of mammals were, it was but a dot on the face of the world; And natures season, Winter, reigned supreme outside of their tenuous control of their little artificial realm.
The rising clouds of heat laden water towered over the northwest of the city like mighty thunderheads, But they had gotten too big, too high, they had gone past their ability to control; they had entered the part of the sky where Nature's season held full sway.
Finnick made a swift motion to the side, releasing his control on the clouds before it was too late, then flicking his baton up, and new, deeper, heavy brass notes swept over the music shaming everything that had come before with their grander as he pointed toward the sky and the true winds higher up, filled with winter's icy fury, started to grab hold of the clouds, bending them under its might.
But a hustle wasn't about taking want you wanted by sheer force. It was about manipulating others to get what you wanted, sometimes to do what you couldn't.
The music thundering from his vans speakers seemed to have taken on a life of its own, and now Finnick didn't control it. it was too strong for that. So he directed it, nudged it this way and that, urging it with his baton on one side and his outstretched paw on the other.
And the clouds over the city grabbed by nature's fury twisted, folded, gained in power with the music and changed into a true storm as the winters winds started pushing its newborn creation back toward tundratown.
Finnick grinned from his perch atop his van, conducting the music and the growing storm that was slowly starting to pick up speed.
Mr. Big's pitch with the iceberg had been impressive, But Finnick was a true Hustler and it was his turn to take the mound.
The Music Thundered, and Finnick gestured with his baton, feeling the rise of the icy wind, blown forth ahead of the out of control storm, bring with it the first flakes of natural snow.
He gestured with his paw, and a streak of lightning arced across the stormfront facing him, as if to express its rage and power; the music roaring, like the herald of this mighty storm he'd provoked.
Finnick gestured back at the town now before the storm, his baton moving, directing the music, almost seeming to direct the flow of mammals below him as they scamper to and fro preparing for the snow that would soon be unleashed upon them.
The countless snow plows and snow-tracked vehicles moving on the streets below, already working to keep the artificial snow from the mammal made construct from shutting them down, now seemed to positively scurry with effort and all other traffic started dwindling as mammals hurried into their homes to wait out nature's wrath. And Wrath and Fury it was, because the impressive sight of the snow billowing forth from the Climate Wall was dwarfed by the sheer size of what was now coming.
Finnick laughed, flicking his baton, and another lance of lightning arced between the descending clouds, the crackle of dispelling static on a scale beyond mammals meshing with his music announcing the blizzard that was coming like a furiously growing and unstoppable avalanche.
Finnick gesture with his paw and the music responded, the snowstorm lit with lightning, and mammals scampered.
He conducted the music, leading the orchestra with subtle skill; he gestured with his paw, directed the clouds, prodding them to follow his plans; He motioned with his impromptu baton, guiding a line of extra snow plows to work on the narrow deserted mountain road below his spot on the overlook in this nearly deserted part of the town.
A cough behind him broke the rhythm of his performance, and Finnick stopped, spinning angrily to see who had dared interrupt.
"You were supposed to be here, Five rutting minutes ago, Koslov!" Finnick bit out irately. "You would have screwed up everything for plan J if you were much later."
The bear, his face at the same height as Finnick's even though he was standing on the roof of his van, gave a dismissive snort and mumbled something he couldn't hear under the music. His gesture at the Van's speakers and then at the steep, snow covered moutainside next to the overlook, clearly got his message across, saying, 'and you playing around with your little boombox could have ruined the plan.'
Finnick snarled something under his breath that would probably have gotten him punched by the bear if Koslov had heard it over the music. But the bear didn't, and he finally grabbed his phone and turned his speaker system off.
"I know what I'm doing for Karma's sake! I know every bit of this town and that soft little song wasn't going to do Rut-all to anyone or anything! That's why I asked you to bring explosives. You did bring the explosives, right?"
Koslov held up a bag in one of his massive paws.
Finnick nodded. "And what about the climbing gear?"
Koslov held up a bear sized fishing pole in the other paw.
Finnick examined it for a second, wonder if this was some sort of joke, then turned to face the bear maintaining a reasonable expression and not curse.
"And why, by the all that's furry, did you bring that?" There that was nice and calm, "How the hell am I supposed to get up or down the mountain with that?!"
Instead of replying verbally, Koslov took the end of the fishing line which didn't have a hook, but was tied in a loop and dropped it over him, pulling it tight as it fell past his crossed arms, cinching the line tight over his coat at the level of his stomach.
"Hey! What the Hell you think you're doing?! I thought we agreed not to go with the plan where I was tied up as bait! I told you I have a better way than that to get them to-"
Koslov grunted, then reeled in the line, lifting Finnick right off the roof of his van. He swung the rod out to the side, Finnick swinging and cursing a blue streak under the upheld end of the large fishing pole. Then Koslov hit the reel released and Finnick dropped a foot with a lurch before the bear put some pressure on the fishing line turning Finnick's plummet into a slower more controlled drop to the ground.
But right before the fox got his feet on the ground, the bear reeled him back up to face level.
"That's how." Koslov more grunted than said, an almost invisible smirk to his normally emotionless expression.
"You bears and your godsdamned fishing obsessions!" Finnick snarled, before taking a moment to think. The setup did seem to work, though he'd much preferred normal climbing gear. With a snarl to himself, Finnick pointing a claw at the bear. "If word gets out to anyone about this, and I mean anyone... I'LL BITE YOUR FACE OFF! Even if I have to use a Ladder to do it! Mark my words bear!"
There was a noncommittal grunt from Koslov.
Finnick looked toward the edge of the scenic overlook to the mountain below.
"And if you cast me like some trout bait, I'll do worse than Just Bite your face off!" He snarled menacingly.
It might have been his imagination but Koslov almost seemed to grin.
"Right, let's get this the hell over with, hand me that bag." Finnick said gesturing and the bear passed it to him. Finnick checked is contents, then slung it on his back.
"Come on, let's hurry up before I end up looking like one of Nick's damned pawsciles. We still need to get to the trap site and ready the bait. Plus I for one want to get the fuck out of this cold and warm up."
Koslov gave short nod and started heading toward the edge of the overlook, Finnick swaying back and forth under the end of the fishing rod.
"Hey and why the hell were you late?" Finnick asked as he swung, arms still crossed irritably.
The bear mumbled something gruffly.
"What was that?" Finnick said, angling his ears to hear better and bear grumbled again, this time even more gruffly.
"Wait!" Finnick looked up at the bear in shock, "Did you say you had a date?!"
Koslov didn't reply but the white fur over his cheeks turned ever so slightly pink, and the fur, now that Finnick was looking at it, looked ruffled as if it had been hurriedly cleaned. Then Finnick noticed what looked like the remains of a lipstick smudge at the far edge of his muzzle, a bear sized, kiss shaped lipstick smudge.
Finnick choked back a snicker, pointing at the bears cheek.
"Y-You, might have um, oh hells," he choked back another snicker, "You might have missed a spot cleaning up."
Koslov's bushy eyebrows furrowed as a paw went up and touched the spot Finnick was pointing at, before the bear brought his paw in front of his face.
Then, unbelievably the big brute of a bear, seeing the smear of lipstick on his paw did full on blush.
Finnick couldn't hold back any more and doubled over, clutching his stomach as he laughed.
He laughed good and hard like he hadn't since that little goody two paws bunny had hustled Nick back when they'd first met, laughed right up until his stomach flew into his throat as Koslov released the reel catch, sending him plummeting downwards over the edge of the mountainside.
Really? Did you think that after all that waiting it would be that easy? *snicker*
And to think that you fell for that little trap and then are going to walk into an even Bigger trap knowing it's a trap! *Laugh*
Better luck next time! Better keep an eye on your watches!
Chapter 15 - IT'S A TRAP!
Secret Squirrel Division Report:
Cimar of Turalis WildeHopps & Irual, – hustled into beta reading and editing.
Classical Music Community – Currently infuriated at the cavalier abduction and use of their great historical works.
Warner Bros. – the squirrels apparently got side tracked watching Bugs Bunny's What's Opera Doc.
Inscription on Brass Plaque by broken statue:
My name is Zanzarokzymandias, Grinch of Fluffing Grinches;
Look upon my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!