Chapter 15 – The godfather

Nick and Judy entered Big's office 15 minutes later as was agreed upon. Nick quickly kissed the tiny shrews hand as was customary.

"Ahh it's the newest members of my family finally coming to visit me again. I thought you had forgotten about me. Nick I heard great distress and fear in your voice when you asked to meet me. Who has harmed you in this way? I shall personally see that whoever did thiis to a member of my family will regret their decision."

"Terrible mammals have abducted my mother and threaten to torture and kill her if we don't stop investigating Gazelle's murder. And now our Chief Bogo has put us on leave because of the personal connection we have to this case now. We have no access to the ZPD's resources, but we need to find my mother. I hoped that you could help us with your knowledge."

"I am so terribly sorry to hear what has happened to your kin Nicholas. You and Judy shall have all support I can provide you. Someone dishonoring your mother is also an insult to myself as we are family now. How exactly can I help you?"

"We know that my mother was abducted by a member of a hate group called the 'Cow Clan'. However we have no idea where they keep her and we don't know a single member of this group. We need help finding out anything we can about the cow clan."

"Cow Clan you say? I have heard of them. They hate me for some of my activities. I shall grant your wish and help you find a member of the Clan. And I will help you question this member until we find out where they keep your kin. Do not worry Nicholas, we will get her out of the hands of these terrorists."

"Thank you so much Mr. Big. It is very important that the Clan doesn't know that it is Judy and myself trying to find them, otherwise my mother will be in even greater danger."

"Do not worry Nicholas. My employees will handle this with great care. The Clan will never know you had anything to do with this. I will send my employees on this quest right away. Until they return with success I insist you stay here with us and enjoy our hospitality. I will do my best to comfort you in such unpleasant times."

"Thank you Mr. Big. Whenever there is anything I can do for you to pay you back for the help your giving me, just tell me."

"I might have some similar work like what you did for me previously, but we shall see about that when you are safely reunited with your family again."

Judy could see Nick being very unconfortable with what Big had just suggested he would do as payback, but Nick did not dare speak up about it now, and Judy knew now was not the time to question him about it either.

Two of Bigs polar bear employees were sent out to meet an old contact, that might know where to find a member of the Cow Clan. Not daring to refuse Bigs offer to stay with him until they returned, the two officers had dinner with the crime boss. It was an expensive meal consisting of many courses prepared by the Mafia bosses private Chef. After the meal Fru Fru joined them and kept them company. The fox and the rabbit did their best to engage in casual conversation with their hosts, but under these circumstances it was hard.

Judy wished they could just leave and talk the whole thing over, as she was enormously uncomfortable with once again accepting the help of the notorious crime boss. She was also worried about the methods his polar bears would use to 'question' any member of the Clan they could find. But she could of course not voice any of her concerns right now.

4 hours after Big had sent his employees out, Judy could see them return and park their car in the car park outside of Bigs house through the window. She was terrified to see them take a large bag out of the trunk of their car. The bag was moving.

The polar bears carried the bag to the very same spot herself and Nick had stood at the first time they met Mr. Big. They untied the bag and a frightened rabbit became visible. They forcefully removed the tape they had glued over his mouth and pulled out clumps of hair with it. The rabbits muffled pleading now became loud screaming for help.

Judy looked at Nick and Big and saw that both of them looked determined to squeeze any information out of the rabbit. He was about her age, and could have been her brother. Not that any of her siblings were members of the Clan of course, not that she knew of at least. *But still* Judy thouht, *this just isn't right*

She considered excusing herself and calling Bogo in an effort to save the other rabbit in the room. But hearing that she was involved in all this would certainly get herself and Nick fired, likely imprisoned. It would almost guarantee that the Cow Clan would find out about it all and that would kill Nick's mom. It would end Big's career aswell. That last thougth didn't seem too bad to her but the risk was just too great. She had to endure this and hope that things would turn out as nonviolent as they had with Duke Weaselton.

The ice bears had quickly made the rabbit understand that his pleading and screaming would not save him. When he finally fell silent after several violent punches Mr. big began speaking to him.

"Your group has abducted the mother of Nicholas here, and he is a member of my family. Tell us where you took them or face the consequences."

"I have no idea what you're talking about!"

"I can see the tattoo under your fur. Where is your organizations headquarters? I will not ask this friendly again."

He rabbit remained silent.

"Alright. You have brought this upon yourself."

Big signaled his employees to open the trap door to the ice water below them. One of the polar bears took the rabbit by his ears, something that Judy could emphasize would be extremely painful. The rabbit was held over the freezing water and Big repeated his question.

"Please Sir, I swear I don't know where the headquarters is or where they took this foxes mother. I have a family Sir, please just let me go!"

"A family you say? Maybe I shall ask my employees to go find them and question them aswell if you don't speak?"

This merciless threat finally made the rabbit speak. He told them they had taken the vixen to an old warehouse in downtown zootopia. Judy wrote down the adress and by the look on Nicks face she assumed he knew where it was. Judy was hopeful this less than legal interrogation she was witnessing would now finally be over. Big adressed the rabbit again.

"You have helped me very much today. As compensation I can assure you that your family will remain unharmed. But I cannot risk you talking to the other Clansmen about what happened here. I need you to be silent."

When he spoke the word 'silent', the Polar Bear let go of the ears of the rabbit that was still dangling above the ice water.

Judy jumped forward trying to stop the inevitable, but she was too slow and could only hear the splash of the rabbit falling into the water. "Nooo! Why did you do this we need to get him out of there!" she screamed in terror!

She was prepared to jump after the rabbit in an effort to save his life, but Nick quickly grabbed her arm to stop her. The polar bear put the lid back down over the trap door. When it was closed Nick let go of Judy's arm and she ran out of Big's office into the cold.

Nick was running after her shouting an apology towards Mr. Big and thanking him for his help. He barely managed to jump into Judys parents' car before she drove off.

"How could you let this happen Nick! We just witnessed a murder and did nothing to stop it! We are police officers for crying out loud! How are we any better than the Clan if we let this happen!"

"Calm down Judy. I understand you don't like what just happened but it was necessary. That rabbit was a terrorist Judy. A member the group that killed Gazelle. If Big had let him go he would have told the Clan what we did and they would kill my mother in revenge. They would kill us in revenge. They would kill your family in revvenge. They would kill Big in revenge. Would you like that to happen?"

"We are murderers now Nick. And I don't think your mother will get out alive if they find that rabbits corpse!"

"Carrots! Calm down! You are not a murderer. There is nothing you could have done to stop this. And it will take quite some time for the Clan finds out he is missing, but still we need to get my mother out of their before they do."

"Nick. We have found out where they keep your mother your way. But we will not free her that same way. I will not accept any more of Bigs 'help'. I wish mammals like Big would not exist at all. We have teamed up with a terrorist to find terrorists. That cannot continue. We will free your mother, this time we will do it the polices way, without anyone else getting hurt in the process. If you insist that we accept any further help from Big, I will call Bogo right now and tell him everything that happened here. I might still do that as soon as your mom is save."

"Alright carrots. But we cant accept help from the police either. Don't you think they will ask how we found the location? And if we do it the polices way we will surround and storm the building. That gives them plenty of time to make their threats a reality. We cant accept anyones help."

Judy considered Nicks words for a moment. He was right, telling anyone about this would get them into even more trouble. They could not take the risk.

"Ok Nick. Its gonna be just the two of us. We got through the first Nighthowler's case together. We will get through this aswell."

Soon after they arrived back at Nicks apartment.

They decided that it was too late to try and rescue his mother right now, as they were both very tired and had no equipment. Nick knew the warehouse they would have to infiltrate, and he drew up a plan how they would get in. His superb knowledge of Zootopias sewers and back alleys would come in handy in making that plan a reality. Nick also called several contacts from his years as a hustler to sell him the equipment they would need the following day. Both of them then went to bed early so they would be well rested for the upcoming mission.