Judith and The Suicide King
Case File – The Savage Dark
Reporting Agent: Code Name – Jack “Savage”
Current Whereabouts: Unknown
Agent Status: Unknown (Active)
“Here, I will skip forward a little. Not much, of course. The general details of the case are important to why we are here, even if they are not the actual reason I agreed to this recording. I will give the important details of the meeting before moving forward.
“Back in the less civil days of collars and heavy predator segregation, Wallabies was a place where marsupials, both predators, and prey, could gather without fear of judgment. The owner at the time, a wallaby named Eucaly, enforced this no discrimination policy with an iron fist. The story that enforced this was of a group of kangaroos who became hostile towards a possum. They harassed her, called her chomper, made disparaging remarks about her parents and things of that nature. Apparently, they ignored his orders to settle down or get out and became physically abusive to their target. That was when Eucaly had them dragged out the back. No one really knows what happened to them, except that they were never seen again. Rumors were whispered of course, ranging from having them shot and dumped in the bay to personally beating them to death. And then having them dumped in the bay. None of it was proven, however. It became something of a haven after that, though it remained marsupial only.
“On the day that collars were outlawed, Eucaly had a huge party and invited everyone: marsupial, non, predator, prey. The crowd was so large it spilled into the streets but he continued to serve drinks to the mammals outside. It became such a party that it was on the news and in every paper, yet for fear of Eucaly it never became anything more than the celebration it was intended to be.
“When he died a few years later, the bar was passed down to someone else with a heavy paw in dealing with trouble makers. And again, to someone else with a heavy paw. And again. And the problem with the heavy-pawed approach is that eventually, even with the best of intentions, those heavy paws become abusive and single-minded. Eventually, that became an opening for the criminal elements to take over without the moral designed to sensor them. As is the case with the current owner and the reason for our meeting that afternoon. Douglas Muste, a relatively minor figure in the criminal underworld. He had not, until the report came in, even pinged my radar as a person of interest.
“With our agents following Stoat, it was only a matter of time before he returned to who we believed was his supplier. It happened as quickly as one might expect with a character like the weasel: the second he ran out of product he went right back to home base. His greeting was less than warm per the agent that witnessed the exchange. After being picked up and carried to Muste by the back of the neck, a heated exchange took place. While we were not able to hear everything, the gist of the tension was the fact that he had been picked up by the ZPD and released too quickly. Muste, being a badger well known for his short temper in the underworld, looked ready to kill Stoat. The agent watching stated that the tension was so thick that it could be felt all the way across the street, ten stories up. But Muste proved to be intelligent to some degree when he carefully refused to provide Stoat with what he needed.
“In a police investigation, this would have closed the case where Muste is concerned. But people like me are not restrained by the need for probable cause. Once it became clear that the weasel had visited Wallabies to obtain more Feral Blue, he was picked up again and very quickly wanted a deal to be struck for testimony. The information he provided was helpful but hardly enough. We were not looking to convict Muste, after all. We were looking to find out where his supply was coming from and to that end, we were looking for something to use as leverage against him. And to do that, we needed a way into the club after-hours. Our reports said that he had an unusual sexual appetite, preferring smaller species for bedmates. Had I known the depth of this appetite, I would never have allowed anyone near him.
“But in the end, the choice was mine no matter who spoke out for or against the idea. So I take responsibility for everything that happened that night.”
“I don’t like it,” Nick groused as he shifted on the bench in the back of the van across from Judy, yanking at the black tactical vest across his chest irritably. He had been wearing it for over an hour now, along with the rest of the full set of what was very similar to the SWAT armor they had been trained in at the ZPD. The only real differences were the color, which was black most of the way through rather than the dark blue of the ZPD, and the addition of a camera attached to the front of the vest. As Jack explained, these were to allow the agents watching from the half-dozen vans that were a part of the operation to offer advice, give direction from blueprints on the building, and so that their actions could not be brought into question afterward. “This is stupid, Carrots. You’re almost famous. They’ll probably recognize you.”
“I’m not really famous, Nick,” she said, rolling her eyes a bit as she looked up at him. She reached over to readjust the heavy vest into the correct position, her gaze lingering on his for a long moment while she did. “I don’t really look like myself right now.”
Seeing the way his eyes moved over her when she spoke told her that she was right about that. The little team of artists Jack provided had done a quick job of making her look nothing like she normally did. The fur of her cheeks were darker by a few shades, her lips were a fine line of blood red, and her ears had been given temporary coloring so that the black tips now ran down the full length. The lavender sweater, which was fully open-back with a snug skirt-like hem hugging her hips and a collar-like neckline, made her look younger than she normally did. And that was saying something. As was the fact that, as angry as Nick was at the moment, his eyes lingered on the way her tail was fully uncovered by the backless sweater for a moment longer than they needed to when she stood as the van stopped. His appreciation of the view pleased her almost as much as the normal appearance of his eyes despite his anger. It softened her reaction, though it didn’t sway her resolve.
“Are you telling me that you don’t want me to go in there?”
“Of course I’m telling you that,” he replied with a sigh and ears that dropped to the side for a moment. It was the expression that she knew meant he knew it was pointless to argue.
“Well, too bad,” she said, confirming his resignation and reaching up to pat his chest with one paw lightly. Now wouldn’t be the time to tell him that the body armor and tactical gear was an oddly effective turn on for her. He just looked so commando and ready for a fight. He looked almost as good as when he wore his ZPD blues. “Because I have a job to do. And if this has anything to do with what happened to you, I want to know why. I want to know who did it and I want them stopped. So, we are in this until it’s finished. Right, partner?”
“Right,” he muttered, frowning as he directed his attention towards the gear that she knew had already been checked four times. His voice lowered so that only she could hear him. “It doesn’t help that I can smell every inch of you right now.”
That caused her ears to heat right up to the painted tips as a rather direct sexual charge raced through her. She had to beat it back, which was something she realized she had to get used to doing if they were going to continue to be partners once all of this was over. And she was determined that she would do everything she could short of not loving him to make sure that they remained partners. She turned her back on him with an intentional twitch of her tail when the rear doors swung open to show Jack on the other side. Flanked by Wolford and a cheetah in similar gear, Jack, who was wearing a trim long sleeve white shirt and tie, was the only other mammal on the field that she could see not wearing the tactical armor.
“All right, Hopps,” he began immediately as they jumped down to join him to join him. “You know this drill. We want visual or verbal confirmation of anything dealing with Feral Blue. Failing that, any sort of criminal activity that will allow us to legally take him into custody will have to do.”
“I didn’t know people like you worried about legality, Jack,” Nick said, staying little more than a pace behind her as they move towards the surveillance van.
“Normally, I don’t,” the rabbit replied without pausing his steps or looking back at the two of them. “But there are players in this game that may use my normal approach to interfere once we’ve acquired the target.”
“Fun,” the fox murmured, his worried but still normal green eyes resting on her for a moment before Jack directed him into the van.
“We’ll be able to keep an eye on Hopps from here,” he said, slapping him on the back when he climbed into the darkened van with its various screens and recording devices. Her own eyes lingered on the inside of the van for a moment. The van was sized for medium mammals, so when Wolfard climbed in behind Nick there was still plenty of room for the cheetah and Jack when he joined them a moment later. When he crouched on the edge of the bed, she moved in to face him as he slipped the tiny recording decide into her ear. “All right. Testing, testing. Wolford, verify that you can hear this clearly.”
“Confirmed. Testing, testing,” the wolf repeated, pressing his paw against his ears to block noise outside of his own earpiece. “Hopps, confirm that you can hear this clearly.”
The testing continued until the four inside of the van confirmed their ear and recording devices before Jack addressed the two snipers stationed on the adjacent rooftops. During this time, she double checked the tiny tranquilizer gun holstered in the front of her sweater. The only way it would be found was direct contact, which she planned to avoid, with the drawback that it held only four full strength darts. Not the best protection, but if the report of three medium sized predators inside was right, she wouldn’t need anything else.
Once everyone reported in, she gave one final glance to Nick. Her partner looked as relaxed as a mouse in a room full of angry rhinos, which she didn’t blame him for, but remained unchanged beyond that. His ears stood erect, his tail was still and his eyes were focused on her. Only someone who knew him as well as she did could see the signs of tension below the surface. There was no spark of humor in him and the muscles around his muzzle tightened now and then as he clenched his jaw. It was still a far cry from the protective rage that had possessed him over the last few days. She cast him a small smile that she hoped conveyed comfort before she turned to make her way down the street. She had two blocks to cover on foot.
The bright flash that filled the otherwise dark street startled her, making her spin around to see Nick leaning out of the van with his phone in paw and a grin plastered on his muzzle. Frowning slightly, she narrowed her eyes when he shrugged and turned the screen to face her. Heat flooded her cheeks when she saw her own ass snugged into pink panties, which was a lot more exposed than she thought, on the screen. As his wallpaper.
“If you’re going to wear it, I’m going to remember it. You have a great ass, Carrots,” he smirked, slipping the phone into a pouch of the front of his vest before sliding back into the van. She glared at Jack’s grin when he swung the door closed, reaching back to tug the sweater down over her panties to give herself at least a little dignity.
“All right, mammals,” came his voice seconds later as she continued down the deserted street. “Game faces.”
She had faced mammals larger than the grizzly bear that watched the front entrance to the club, but the very fact that he was there set off warning signals in her mind. Legal businesses didn’t generally need a bouncer to watch over the entrance after hours, least of all one that instantly turned his attention to the slight movement of a bunny walking down the street as though she had guns drawn and was screaming like a lunatic. Honey colored eyes that were anything but warm watched her as she made her way towards him, his paws folded low in front of his open leather jacket in a stance that was anything but welcoming. The low placement of his paws meant that he was ready to reach for whatever weapon he happened to be carrying if she turned out to be a threat.
So, she plastered a big ditzy smile on her face, perked her ears and moved forward with a little sway in her hips.
While he didn’t relax exactly, she could see the consideration on his muzzle when he looked her up and down for a moment. Not the way a mammal looked at another mammal, but the way a mammal looked at product. Which was exactly what she was going for when she stopped in front of him, forcing her nose to twitch as any bunny would when looking straight up into the muzzle of a predator that could step on her at a whim. Bunnies were, after all, skittish around predators.
“You looking for something, cotton-tail?” the throaty voice came, his eyes leaving her just long enough to glance around for a sign of anyone in earshot.
“I’m just looking for a place to keep the party going,” she said, pouring on the country girl from the Burrows innocence. “These big city bunnies have no stamina. Are you… Gonna let me in? The bar closed or something?”
As she asked, she reached into the front of her sweater. Pretending obliviousness to the fact that his paws flinched when she did, she drew out her phone and scrolled through text messages that were a few days old. Pretending they were new was nothing too difficult before she rolled her eyes back up to the bear. Seeming to relax again, the small smile that curled his muzzle wasn’t enough to show teeth. But the glint in his eyes was a greedy, dangerous one as he reached behind him and pushed the door open.
“We’re closed to the public. But Mr. Muste is a real gentleman,” he said, waving her through with one massive paw. “I’m sure he’ll give you anything you need.”
“Really?” she said, bouncing excitedly in place before she hopped towards the door. It was a little annoying that the bubbly bunny act wasn’t exactly too far from her normal personality if she removed the complete moron factor. “That sounds great! Thanks, big guy!”
“You just have a good time,” he rumbled, sliding the door closed behind her. She heard his parting words, which were spoken because he obviously didn’t know that her hearing was several times more sensitive than his. “Stupid bunny.”
The club smelled like a predator’s playground. Not like a Bug Burger or seafood place where predators frequented where the scent was just like any other passing smell in Zootopia. The scent that came from the old, dark finished wood was far more territorial. Strong musk, almost like someone wandered the relatively small but otherwise classy looking club to piss in every corner or rub their chin against every chair at every round table. The fact that it was deliberate was obvious because aside from the smell everything was shining and clean. Even the tieless suit of the wolf was spotless when he stopped her from moving past the door with a raised paw and a frown.
“Hey now, be nice to that little bun,” came the gruff voice from the bar itself, drawing her eyes to the badger standing behind it. The black fur was meticulously groomed and sleek, cut across his muzzle and forehead by the white stripes expected of his species. Pitch black eyes focused on her with a pleasant smile as he waved her forward. “I mean, what? Do you think she slipped past Mike in that? Come on over here. What can I get you, bunbun?”
She managed to shyly lower her lashes when his gaze raked down her body as she walked past the wolf who simply grunted and moved back to his seat next to the door. One quick glanced told her that Muste was alone in the room aside from bodyguards: the wolf next to do door she had already encountered, another sitting on the far side of the room with his jacket pulled open far enough for her to see the side arm in his shoulder holster, and a third sitting at the end of the bar with a bored look on his muzzle. This only confirmed in her mind that there was something in this club worth that amount of firepower, which caused a rise in excitement rather than fear. That made it easy to look pleased even under his gaze when she jumped up onto a barstool three times too big for her light form.
“You sure I should be in here?” she asked, giving him an opening to tell her to leave and hopefully removing doubt that she had her own reasons for being there. “This place looks pretty dead. You don’t think the owner’ll mind, do you?”
“Ah, sweets,” he said, smiling so wide that she could see almost every tooth in his stubby muzzle, “you’re looking at him. Douglas Muste, at your service.”
“Careful, Hopps,” Jack warned lightly in her ear piece.
“Julie,” she said brightly, then lowered her voice and muttered the made up full name as if ashamed of the rest of it. “Julie Roots.”
“Visiting from BunnyBurrow, or moving into town?” he said, waddling away from her behind the bar and returning a moment later with a bottle of whiskey. A hard drink to start with, but typical of someone who wanted to get some dumb country party girl drunk she figured.
“Visiting. Vacationing, really,” she replied, swaying her feet freely as she slowly turned the large stool back and forth. Expose her vulnerability, her naivete, her lack of real connections in Zootopia. “Just getting away from the country for a while. I managed to find some does here in the city willing to put me up for a few days. But they crashed early and left me to find some way to entertain myself.”
She was aware that the eyes of every predator in the bar were on her, most noticeably Muste’s. The expected lust for small females was in his eyes, but there was something else in the way he looked at her that made the fur on the back of her neck itch. She watched him pour the dark amber liquid into a snifter before she slid it towards her. The risk of her next action was well known to her, but she still wrinkled her nose and covered her mouth with one paw.
“Ew, no!” she shrieked, drawing away from it. Seeing the confused and slightly insulted frown crossing his muzzle, she huffed a bit and leaned back as though she were the offended party. “I can’t drink that! I’m all-erg-ic.”
Saying the last part as if he should have known that already, she lowered her ears and tugged them over one shoulder in a way that Nick seemed to find sexy.
“Allergic?” Muste asked, looking less than convinced as he drew the glass back across the back towards himself.
“Drinking makes me sick,” she stated, playing the dumb bunny roll as she ticked her ‘symptoms’ off on her fingers. “I get dizzy, I throw up, and I wake up with terrible headaches feeling I slept with dirty crammed into my mouth.”
The act worked perfectly, which she was proud of. The badger glanced at the wolf at the end of the bar, rolling his eyes at the idiotic bunny who was describing normal reactions to getting drunk as he downed the glass himself without so much as a wince. Slamming the glass down, he turned eyes that were half amused and half irritated towards her.
“So why did you come to a bar if you’re ‘allergic’ to drinking?” he said, his tone a little less friendly but a little more confident at the same time.
“Oh come on, I’m not an idiot,” she scoffed, earning a snicker from the wolf across the room. “I know how things work in the city. My doe friends told me.”
“And what did your doe friends tell you, little bunny?” he said, leaning across the bar with a glint in his eyes that made her glad she was armed.
“That you can get ‘special refreshment’ in bars,” she said, tugging on her ears as she looked at him coyly. “You know, the not always legal kind.”
As expected, he slammed shut like a clam in ice water. His blunt face went cold; the sort of cold that the cop in her wanted to react to. That special ice of someone who suspected they were being set up, which crept into his voice when he spoke. “I’m not sure what you’re getting at, kid. There something you want?”
“Yeah!” she laughed, dropping her paw away from her ears to place both on the bar as she leaned close to him. “I want some…”
Then she stopped, a worried look coming over her face as she leaned back a bit and looked between him and the wolves slowly. “Wait a minute. You guys aren’t cops, are you?”
“Why would we be cops?” he asked, and she almost missed the tick of his eyes to the wolf near the door. The light sound of paws on wood told her that he had moved to cover the door while the wolf on the far side of the room did the same to the bathroom. Finally, the wolf at the bar stood and put himself between her and the entrance to the kitchen. That explained the number of wolves.
They were looking a lot less like bodyguards and a lot more like a trap.
“Drugs!” she cried when he came around to stand in front of the bar stool. Though there was an inkling of fear in her, but it was minor compared to the startled fear she played out for the badger. “I was talking about drugs! If you don’t have any, that’s fine. I just didn’t want to say it if you were cops, okay?”
The act seemed to work as he relaxed slightly, though she couldn’t help the tension that rolled through her when he reached into his pocket. It wasn’t a weapon he pulled out, but what she saw did make her stomach lurch and her heart quicken. The tiny baggie, filled with light blue powder, brought back quite a few memories. Not all of them were bad and some she wouldn’t have changed for the world, but the reality of being one step closer to the source of what led to Nick’s condition struck her. Luckily, her dazed and fascinated face seemed to further appease Muste as he dangled the little bag in front of her muzzle.
“Well, I’m not a cop. And I may have exactly what you’re looking for,” he said, her eyes following the bag for a moment when it was pulled away. She snapped them back to him when he closed his paw over it.
“What is it?” she asked, a question that wasn’t entirely played out.
“Hopps? Is it blue?”
“The ultimate high,” he replied, a feral grin creeping up the length of his muzzle. It was when she saw his tongue slide out over his lips slowly, leaving them noticeably wet, that she realized why his gaze had made her fur want to stand on end. “For me. The last high for you, my tasty little idiot.”
She realized that the gray wolf at the bar had moved into the kitchen, her eyes ticking in that direction in time to see him close the door. Her eyes moved to the other wolves, who had similarly closed themselves off from the main bar. The sound of locks clicking had her frowning, and the harsh sniffing had wide violet eyes turning to Muste as he sucked the content of the baggie in through his nose.
“It’s Feral Blue!” she shouted, her paw darting into the front of her sweater as the badger's eyes widened in surprise as because of the drug. “He took the whole… Hmph!”
Her words were cut off and the tranquilizer gun she had just gripped flew out of her paw when she was knocked off of the barstool by the large paw of the badger. Winded, stinging from the bite of claws in her shoulder, she managed to roll to the side to avoid the pounce from the slower mammal when he charged after her.
“I knew it!” he snarled, his pupils already blazing as the drug started to take effect. “You little… Rrgh! Little…”
Whatever he had intended to shout at her was lost when he lost his ability to think, dropping to all fours as he shook his head, She knew the effects. He would be confused. Probably enraged. She could…
“We’re moving now, Hopps,” came Jack’s voice as she bolted towards the far end of the room. “Snipers, cover the… Wilde? Wilde!”
The all too familiar snarl of an enraged fox came through the earpiece, almost causing her to miss her landing when she jumped onto one of the tables as the now fully savage Muste seemed to become aware of his surroundings. She crouched where she was, nose twitching but otherwise still to avoid drawing his attention as she listened with fear twisting her guts.
“Eyes on Wilde! I need eyes on Wilde! Swift?”
“I see him! He’s moving toward Wallabies’!”
Survival almost wasn’t enough to distract her as she listened, but the fact that a large black nose dusted with blue powder lifted to the air and a whining growl sounded from the savage badger. Black eyes focused on her and his muzzle pulled back into a ferocious snarl before he charged the table. Just like her feelings for Nick had remained when she had been under the influence of the drug, it seemed rage carried over as well. The heavy body of the thickly build predator slammed into the edge of the table full force as he lunged for her just as she jumped to the next table in the room.
“I can’t catch him!”
“You’re a fucking cheetah!”
“He’s tossed his vest! He’s moving on all fours! Damn it, he’s fast!”
The shattering of glass ashtrays and clatter of silverware as Muste clawed his way up onto the adjacent table was her warning to move again. She waited him out this time, crouched low as she watched him until she saw the thick muscles tense as he bunched his hind legs. Springing to the side just as he charged, she managed to skid to a stop right on the edge of the table as the less graceful mammal went spinning off the edge with a howl of fury. She gave herself a full two seconds to look around, trying to locate her lost side arm.
“Don’t lose sight of him! We’re on our way. Team B, report. Do you have eyes on Wilde?”
“Negative, Alpha. Wilde Card has not entered the perimeter.”
“We’re turning the corner now. Eyes open!”
“Roger. Wilde Card spotted. Headed straight for the front door.”
“Take the guard! Take the guard!”
Judy moved again when a clawed paw slapped down on the table inches from where she knelt, forcing her to scramble back to the edge of the table. Seeing the badge struggling to climb the smooth wooden surface again, she placed herself at the opposite edge and jumped, high. She came down full force, the impact causing the base of the table to kick out, driving the edge up under the predator’s muzzle with a ‘whump’ that sent him stumbling back. The solid smack might have been more satisfying, had she not been as worried for Nick as she was for herself.
She scampered back to the bar while Muste recovered from the blow, eyes searching frantically for the tranq gun. The badger’s feral side seemed to be fully in control now and his recovery time was narrowing. She barely managed to skitter up the side of the bar and over the other side before he slammed into the bar full force, causing the entire bar to vibrate. Stubborn and sturdy as badgers tended to be, this didn’t slow him down much.
“Target one down. Target two is still upright, but Wilde Card is too close.”
“Wilde is… It would take too long to explain.”
The roar of pain from the other side of the door had Judy popping her head up over the bar just in time to see the twin doors explode inward. The grizzly who had allowed her entrance crashed through, the hulking form stumbling over the steps as he spun around and tried weakly to dislodge… Nick. Her muzzle dropped open when she realized that Her Fox was on the bear, his feet planted on the huge shoulders and both arms wrapped around the huge muzzle from behind in a desperate attempt to keep it closed. The fact that the bear had seven darts sticking out of his chest had more to do with his sudden fall in the center of the room than Nick’s hold did, but that didn’t make the fox look any less fierce when he rolled off and came up on all fours facing the badger.
“Jack!” Judy cried, bolting out from behind the bar when she realized Muste had climbed on top of it. “Damn it, everyone! Get in here!”
The second the growling mustelid gave chase, she knew she couldn’t stop it from happening. The feral eyes of her lover stared past her at the animal that threatened his mate, his muzzle twisted into a snarl that instantly distracted the badger from his intended prey. She had no time to react beyond throwing herself out of the way as the two larger predators charged each other, clashing in a fury of claws, teeth, and blood.