Chapter 1 The Prototype Inhibitor for Experiencing Alternate Reality
Edited by amx
The cruiser hummed along the street, its two occupants silently scanning the sidewalks as their vehicle slid along the busy streets. Catching several mammals staring at them, the fox gave a quick nod of his head and a two fingered salute to a nearby zebra family waving at him.
"Find some fans?"
The bunny driving the car offered a grin as she shot the fox a quick look as they pulled to a stop at a red light. "I thought you said you didn't have any."
"Think they were trying to wave down the face of the ZPD," Nick replied. Judy rolled her eyes, watching the road ahead. "So, where to for lunch today?"
Judy thought for a moment, drumming her fingers against the wheel. "Brahma Llamas? They have that pred/prey special going on right now. Buy one get one free."
Nick shook his head, offering her a smirk. "I'd prefer to stay away from Bogo if at all possible today."
"Bogo?" Judy questioned. Her eyes fell upon the smirk he was giving her. "Why would Bogo be there?"
Nick shrugged before leaning back in his seat. "You said he was. Light's green, by the way."
Judy's gaze shifted back to the road ahead, pressing on the gas, only to slam on the brakes as the light was still red. An annoyed growl filled the cruiser as her ears fell back against her head. "Nick..."
The fox placed a paw against his chest. "Would I lie about something as important as traffic? The light is green."
"I'm not falling for that a second time," Judy grumbled. They both startled at the blaring of a loud honk and when the bunny's gaze returned forward, the light was indeed green.
Groaning, Judy slumped into herself, vowing to get the snarky fox back at some point in the day. A few minutes of silence passed between them before a loud snort filled the cruiser, followed by a giggling fit from Judy.
"I get it!" she laughed, drawing a slightly confused and nervous look from Nick as the cruiser weaved through traffic. "Bogo! Buy one, get one!" She snickered again, straightening the cruiser from its veering and errant path.
Nick groaned, resting his head in a raised paw. "Carrots, did it really take you that long to get that?"
The snickering stopped, halted by an annoyed glance directed at the fox. "Would you like me to remind you about the rhombus joke from two weeks ago?" Judy asked, a grin settling upon her face.
"Would I like to be reminded of such a terrible memory? No. No, I would not."
"Too late..." Judy chirped merrily, causing the fox to frown. "So," the bunny continued, ignoring the grumbling fox next to her. "Where do you want to eat today?"
"Well that isn't descriptive."
"No. Over there!" the fox said, sitting up while pointing out of the cruiser and down a side street. Judy followed his pointed arm and noticed a large crowd of mammals gathered in front of a storefront. Directing the cruiser through the turn, they slowly pulled up across the street from the store. The growing shouts and voices gathering a crowd of curious onlookers as the fox and bunny appraised the scene, Judy partially rolling her window down to potentially hear what had produced the crowd.
"Want to call it in, Nick?"
The fox nodded. Grabbing the radio, he flicked it on. "Dispatch, this is Officer Wilde. You there Big C?"
Rolling her eyes at the nickname for Clawhauser, Judy continued to watch the crowd, looking for any mischief makers as the radio crackled to life.
"10-4. What's up, Nick?"
Nick paused, his gaze wandering over to the crowd. "We have a possible 10-56 at the corner of 5th and Mane. Keeping an eye on the situation."
"Roger that, Officer Wilde."
Hanging up the radio, Nick leaned over to his partner, settling his muzzle next to her ear.
"So," he cooed, his breath tickling the inner fur of her ear. "What have you heard so far?"
Feeling her cheeks flush, Judy tried to focus on the gathered group of mammals. "Nothing bad. Sounds like they are angry about something, but I'm not sure what yet. Something about a prototype alternate reality device? Know anyone who dabbled in anything like that?"
Nick shrugged. "Been out of the loop for awhile, Fluff."
"So you don't know everyone," Judy smugly replied, the taunt more friendly than fiendish.
"Maybe down to ninety-five percent now," Nick stated, making sure to turn just slightly so that his nose tickled the inside of Judy's ear. The bunny jerked away, smacking his muzzle lightly as he chuckled. "Hey, I thought you liked when I did that."
"Not on the clock, Nick!" she hissed, ears reddening.
"So...off the clock?" Nick grinned...smug expression number twelve...the one he knew Judy loved the most, took hold of his features.
Judy glowered at him, then flicked the handle to the door. "Maybe..."
"Sounds like a yes to me."
"You know you lo-"
"Yes I do, now we have a job to do. C'mon."
The bunny exited the cruiser, the fox shortly following after. Crossing the street together, the pair of officers quickly gauged the crowd. Approaching an antelope standing away from the crowd, Judy waved up at the mammal to garner his attention.
The antelope glanced down, giving a double take when he saw the two officers, nearly spilling his Snarlbucks coffee in the process.
"Oh Officers, uh..." he gave a nervous glance at the gathered crowd. "Hi..."
"Excuse me, my good mammal, would you fill us in on what's going on here?" Nick asked, placing his paws partially in his pockets, keeping both close to his tranq gun and radio while trying to maintain an air of calm.
The antelope caught Nick' gaze and frowned. "Opening day was supposed to be today for the new AR simulator this old goat's made." He motioned his paw towards the front door. "First hundred mammals through the door would get a free try at the thing, but the old sod won't open his doors to us."
The annoyance in his voice was evident along with the glare he sent toward the front door of the building. A hanging sign read, "Fitwik's Arcade" in neon scrawl above a multi-striped awning.
Judy and Nick paused to look at each other. Nick shrugged his shoulder as Judy turned back to the antelope. "And today was opening day for it? Perhaps it isn't ready yet?"
The ungulate gave an annoyed huff. "That's what he's been saying for months now and I pre-ordered the first spot of the day!"
"And I claimed the second!" a bear in the crowd yelled after noticing the officers behind him. The crowd's attention soon fell upon the two smaller officers, an angry chorus of yells and shouts reaching their ears.
"Arrest him for false advertisement!" cried an aardvark with a pocket protector and tape wrapped glasses.
"Yeah, like, get him to open those doors to us!" yelled another, a beard sporting zebra holding a Snarlbucks latte in his hoof. "It's just, like, uncool!"
Casting a glance at his companion, Nick offered his partner a cheeky grin. "Want to disperse the crowd, or shall I do the honors?"
"I'll do it."
"Roger, rabbit, Nick offered to the annoyance of his companion.
"Nick, just toss me already," she huffed, walking in front of him.
"Okay, you're the boss." Nick picked the bunny up and tossed her at a nearby lamppost, a move that they had invented when dealing with larger, unruly mammals or needing to get to a higher vantage point that neither could reach. Coiling her legs, Judy pushed off the post, springing up and forward until she landed on the awning above the entrance to the arcade. Rolling to a stop, Judy took a moment to dust off her uniform before approaching the edge of the fabric.
By that point most of the mammals who had watched the flying bunny with some interest, had their attention focused wholly on her.
"Excuse me! Up here! Can everyone hear me?"Grunts and nods met the announcement and Judy continued. "My partner and I have heard your complaints about what has happened to you." The chorus of muttering grew louder as the group anxiously awaited action to be taken against the store owner. Judy continued.
"We will try and figure this out, however, we need your help. If you would please remain calm and step over to the sidewalk while we talk to the owner and resolve this matter. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. Thank you."
The growing anger erupted into a chorus of angry shouts. Judy lowered her paws, attempting to reassure the crowd.
"I want my money back!"
"I want in!"
"I want donuts!"
The crowd's noise lowered as most turned to the large elephant at the back of the group. The pachyderm looked confused. "What? I thought this was the line for donuts...?" A tiger in front of the elephant rolled his eyes while a sheep next to him slapped a hoof to his face. Shuffling his trunk into his shirt pocket, the elephant withdrew a set of glasses. Holding them in front of his eyes, he let out a loud, 'ohh'. Giving a sheepish smile, the elephant trudged away, careful to avoid stepping on any smaller mammals who had to duck out of the massive, short-sighted mammal's way.
"You'll get all those things back," Judy spoke up, raising her voice to be heard over any din the crowd would make to counter her. "Just form an orderly line and my partner will take down your names and phone numbers and he'll contact you once we are finished speaking with the owner."
Nick's slack jawed look was enough for Judy as she shot him a smarmy smirk.
That's for the Bogo joke earlier...she thought, before mouthing the words, 'It's called a hustle, sweetheart,' before directing the mammals in his direction.
Thirty minutes later, after the last mammal had begrudgingly left, the last name and number taken down, followed by an update to Clawhauser, the door to the building tentatively opened. A sheepish looking panther opened the door.
"Have they all left yet?" he asked in a quiet, tinny voice.
Judy nodded, approaching the feline. "Yes, they have sir. I'm Officer Judy Hopps, and this is my partner, Officer-"
"Oh, I know you two!"
Nick rolled his eyes. Another fan glomp in three...two...his thoughts were cut off as two furry arms wrapped themselves around the fox and rabbit, lifting them high into the air. Nick lightly patted the panther's arm. "Alright Mr. Fitwik, put us down before I have to arrest you for assaulting a police officer."
Judy gave Nick a glare, though she was just as relieved when the feline quickly placed them back on the sidewalk.
"Sorry, it's just...my cousin was-"
"One of the missing mammals?" Nick surmised. Cutting off the blinking feline, he continued. "So, what's this I hear about you not opening your doors today...mister?"
"Fitwick. Martin Fitwick and I do apologize for this whole mess...oh dear." The panther sighed, scratching at the back of his head. "I'm sorry. It took longer to set up the programming for the latest A.R. device and by the time I was finished, the crowd had formed outside and I was too frightened to open the doors. None of my employees dared to try and make it through the crowd so I have nobody to run the arcade today."
Judy gave the arcade owner an apologetic look. "I can understand how awful this would be for you. Though you still owe those mammals the promise you made to them."
"I know, and I will, Officer," Fitwick replied. Now that the machines all up and running, I won't have to worry about it tomorrow." His eyes lit up in delight as he clapped his paws together. "Oh, would you two like to try it? Be the first ones to test it out?"
Both rabbit and fox glanced at each other with raised eyebrows before Judy cast her gaze upon the taller mammal. "We're kind of on duty so I think we'd have to-"
"Oh it won't take more than thirty minutes, Officers..an hour tops!" the cheerful feline laughed. "Now come, come! I want to show you this device!"
Nick looked delighted as he followed after the taller mammal, turning to hold the door open for Judy, who looked much less enthused.
"Come on, Carrots. Just think of it as research for the case. When else would we get to do this on the city's dime?"
Judy huffed. "We shouldn't be doing any playing around on the city's dime."
"Don't tell me you're not intrigued to know what got all those mammals' pants in a twist."
Judy kept silent, walking past her partner into the well lit entryway of the arcade. In all reality, Judy was interested in seeing what had caused the near riot outside the building. Glancing around, she saw a myriad of arcade machines. Air hockey tables lined the center of the area, while various arcade machines of all types and sizes, from rodent sized to elephantine proportions sat in different areas of the building.
She heard Nick whistle behind him. "You have quite the setup here, Mr. Fitwik."
"Thank you," the feline replied. "It's taken me nearly two decades to set all this up. I have everything from Wreck-it Rhino, to Prance Prance Revolution...I even have an old model of TurboTime over there in the corner."
Nick's eyes lit up, his ears standing perked as he spotted a particular machine nearby. Rushing towards it, he turned, casting delight filled eyes on his partner. "Carrots, he has Super Smash Mammals! We've got to come back here and play a round."
Giggling at the fox's kit-like happiness, Judy offered him a grin. "Alright...we can come back here...after work."
Nick quietly fist pumped and smiled before walking back to Judy's side. "Want to make a bet when we play?" Nick quipped as he rejoined his companion.
Scoffing, Judy hip-checked her partner. "Please, you're looking at the Burrows champion of Smash Mammals with Samus Rabbitan. You're going down."
"That isn't even the best machine I have here," Fitwick cut in before Nick could offer the perfect retort to her comments. "This is the one that everyone has been wanting to be in, and one that I've worked on for years to perfect."
He waved his paw, gathering their attention towards several laid back, comfortable looking seats of all sizes and shapes. "Behold! The Prototype Inhibitor of Experimental Alternate Reality!"
Nick and Judy stared at the reclined chairs, looks of bewilderment on both their faces. "The what?" Judy asked, facing the panther.
"The Prototype Inhibitor of Experimental Alternate Reality!" Fitwick beamed, only to huff in annoyance a moment later as his shoulders slumped. "I call it P.I.X.A.R for short. When you sit in the seats, you can experience any number of alternate realities that you manually input into your stations. Follow me." Waving them towards the cushions seats, he pointed toward a large control panel set into the armrests of each device. "Here you can see all the controls that you can use to set up the experience you want to have. You can even have multiple mammals share the experience together."
"What is...how does it work?" Judy asked, curiously picking up the headset, turning it around to look at it, inside and out.
"Once you've inputted what you'd like to experience, selected the number of participants...you place the headset on and press start. You'll then be able to live through an experience of what you chose. The best part? It will be completely new each time as your own memories and thought patterns can be attuned to the device to give the most accurate experience possible."
The feline was positively elated in describing the machine and it showed. His tail whipped about excitingly behind him like a kit at a candy store, or Flash looking at a new Furrari to replace the last one Nick and Judy had impounded for speeding.
"This is the cutting edge of alternate reality currently in Zootopia. And it would delight me to no end if you two would be the first to try it out...free of course," he added at the end.
"I'm sorry, sir, but we don'-"
The crackle of a radio crashed through the bunny's statement.
"This is Officer Wilde. My partner and I are going 10-7."
With wide open eyes, Judy looked in horror at her partner when the radio crackled a "10-4" back at them. Nick placed his paws behind his back, rolling back and forth upon the balls of his feet. "So...looks like we do have some free time now."
"Nick! We can't accept gifts of anything! We're police officers!"
Nick smirked. "This isn't a gift. We're simply reviewing the authenticity of this device for our current investigation. We wouldn't want to have to call all those unruly mammals and say the device doesn't actually work? We need to test it out."
Judy glared at her husband hard enough to melt a glacier in Tundratown, though it didn't do the least bit of good against her partner.
"Fine..." she finally huffed, crossing over to the machine and jumping up onto the seat. "But I get to choose the experience and it won't be the fluff you're hoping for."
Nick's tail began wagging furiously. "Fine by me, Fluff!" Hopping into his own seat, he began messing with the controls as a giant TV screen turned on in front of them. A pair of curtains appeared from behind the TV, slowing moving around until it surrounding them in their chairs.
"It's for privacy while experiencing the P.I.X.A.R machine," Fitwik explained. A welcome screen flickered onto the television, followed by an options menu. "You can choose what you want by using the ball in the armrest to navigate through the choices."
Judy nodded, quickly learning how to navigate the pages until a massively long list was produced on the screen.
"Whoa..." she said, in awe of the choices, her tail flickering as she bit down on her lower lip. There were so many choices to choose from, with several gaining her attention immediately.
"As you can see," Fitwik stated, "I've tried to replicate as many possible situations and jobs for any mammal to do or be in. I have everything from experiencing the life of police officers like yourselves, to assassin's...historical events such as the founding of Zootopia to the first mammal colony on the moon. Even situations from your favorite movies are all listed in here." The panther leaned forward and held a wider grin while placing one paw next to his mouth, whispering to the two of them. "I even added your exploits into the machine so that folks could know what it is like being you two."
"That's so..." Judy started.
"Charming..."Nick finished for her. The panther stepped back with a grin. "So, tell me...which situation would you like to experience first?"
Judy scrolled through the choices. So many to choose from... Finally, after several minutes, she clicked on the category offering 'Historical Events'. Scrolling past 'Savage Mammal Case', she caught site of a choice that made her grin.
"I'd like that one for us, please," she stated, leaning back into her seat.
"A marvelous choice!" Fitwick exclaimed.
Nick leaned towards Judy. "Why did you pick the Zootopia Peace Treaty, Carrots? That's about the most boring topic you could have chosen."
Judy offered him a playful grin. "You'll just have to find out, Slick."
The fox gulped, suddenly worried at what he might experience as he placed the headset over his ears. It entirely blocked out his sight, even dimming his hearing as he wriggled his ears in annoyance.
"Alright, now relax," the soothing voice of Fitwick stated calmly. "Get comfortable as the next hour or so will be like nothing you've ever experienced before!"
Suddenly, a screen inside the visor lit up, catching both mammals by surprise. They instinctively reached out towards each other, holding each other's paws as they slowly became enveloped into the swirling colors that swiftly hypnotized them into slumber; the last sight they saw was a green verdant field and a group of mammals clad in ancient clothing gathered around them...
AN: So, this chapter begins the second annual "Zootopia Collaboration Project" here on . Last year was the "One Hundred Kisses" Collaboration which went very well, so, here we are again for another round of once a day postings from some of your favorite authors. This year is a bit different, as instead of one story, there will be a total of 48(!) different stories of varying lengths combining together into 160 chapters, all fitting into this overarching theme using the PIXAR machine to enjoy these experiences. There are also a total of 30+ authors/artists working on these projects, so when their chapters and stories are posted, make sure to check out their pages and read their stuff as it is amazing! On Deviantart and Ao3, artwork will also be posted alongside several of the chapters that has been provided by artists contributing to this Collaboration. So don't forget to check those sites out as well and thank the artists for their time too!
To clarify on the setup of these stories, they will be told in 1-5 chapters of 2-5k words in length. So mini-stories that you can easily review or read anytime. Also, each author, as these are their own stories, will be posting them to their own sites as well so if you have a favorite story, you can easily access it there as well. Most will be based upon Nick and Judy using the PIXAR machine to experience these alternate realities where they don't know each other and live through these experiences separately, but together. Other times they will not be using the machine. You will be able to tell the chapters apart, as an introduction will always come before when they are using it. :) I hope you'll enjoy all the wilde times ahead. :D
So for now, buckle up, as this project will, if all goes to plan, will be posting until Christmas.
PS: For those wondering about SpiderFox...its one of the stories in here so at last it will be completed for all those who've been asking about it. XD