It was just supposed to be a normal day.
How could this happen?
The evening was warm and colorful as Judy parked the vehicle a block away from the Sahara Square Workshop, where a group of mercenaries are hoarding weapons to sell to the black market. She and Nick had been chasing their tails for weeks, and now they’ve finally caught up with them. The officers used pistols loaded with non-lethal bullets and a fast-acting tranquilizer. Judy took her handgun and loaded a magazine in it, while Nick did the same along with preparing his other gadgets.
“You ready, Slick?” she asked, pulling back the slide on her firearm.
“You know it.” he replied as he placed his radio on his belt.
“Remember, the raccoon is the priority target. If anything, we catch him.”
“Oh, he ain’t getting away this time. It’s high time he pay for what he’s done.” Nick said, looking at his metal paws.
“Then let’s get going.” Judy and Nick unbuckled their safety straps and left the vehicle, sprinting up to the entrance. The door was locked, but with Nick’s claws, that wasn’t an issue. He slid his index finger between the door and the frame, and cut the bolt out. Judy slowly opened the door with her weapon drawn. Behind the front door, they found nothing. They moved in and proceeded through the corridors and hallways until the found the main hall. It had mostly grey walls with faded brick walls and the orange evening sun casting through the tall, single-pane windows, highlighting the dusty air, while the traditional shop lights on the warehouse's high ceilings cast their own helpful light in the areas where the sun did not touch. The rabbit and fox anticipated eight mammals inside, including the raccoon, all armed. They found four in the open room with a few more going down the hallways with closed crates likely filled with guns. Nick knelt down at the corner with the mammals right around the bend. Judy jumped across the hall and took cover there, ready to show these mammals who’s boss. Nick pulled the pin and held the lever to the flashbang grenade, while Judy kept her non-lethal pistol ready. Judy gave him a thumb’s up, and he replied with the same gesture. He took the lever out gently and mouthed to Judy, “One, two, three.” When he finished, he tossed the grenade out into the open room at the four mercenaries. Judy and Nick covered their eyes until they heard a bang. After the criminals were hit with the bright light, the duo emerged from the corner and fired at their opponents; a white fox, a ferret, a bobcat, and a rhino. Judy fired a few shots at the ferret, while Nick took on the fox and bobcat. After the ferret fell, Judy went down on all fours and charged for the rhino. She bounded towards his head, and kicked him with all her might. He stumbled back towards a disabled assembly machine. Judy took out the special heavy duty syringe designed to be used on rhinos. She quickly jumped towards the beast’s leg and injected the tranquilizer into his leg. Before he could swipe at her, she bounded away from him. He tried to stand up, but the rhino came down with a loud thud, and he most certainly wasn’t getting up.
They saw the rest of the criminals take off in multiple directions, yelling instructions and curses. Judy and Nick were determined to bring them all in.The hallways were whiter than the main rooms, but the flickering lights made them look as ominous as the larger areas. Judy took cover inside a room within the hall, and down the hall in another room were another red fox and a weasel, but the weasel went around the corner, out of sight. The fight turned into a stalemate, with Judy shooting at the fox while he was in cover, and vice versa. Judy knew this could not continue for long. She had to find something to finish this quickly. There were a few wooden crates in the room she was in, most filled with scrap metal. She dumped the contents out of one crate, and stood quiet, listening for the fox’s movements. She heard the fox shift around the corner, and at that moment, she tossed the crate down the hall. The fox fired at the crate out of fear just like she hoped, and she fired a shot down that hall, hitting him in the neck. An instant return shot from the fox landed in the wall right above her head, causing her to flinch. Good thing she kept her ears down. Judy heard the sound of the fox collapsing from the back of the hall, and continued down there looking for the weasel she caught run down there with the fox.
Meanwhile, Nick saw another rabbit take off, but he was unable to follow where it went. There weren’t many exits, so the buck must still be in there somewhere. Nick kept his pistol ready as he walked around, looking around diligently for him. Nick began to brainstorm. “Hmm, exits? Is he under something? Maybe above me?” He looked up at the catwalk. Nothing.
Out of nowhere, the rabbit jumped at him and kicked him into the wall. The buck took off, running down the hall. Not a good idea to run from a guy that still has a gun. Still a little dazed, Nick aimed the gun only for a second and fired a shot down the straight hall at the rabbit. He got hit in the shoulder, and could not make it much farther before he too fell down from the near instant sedative. With a chuckle, Nick made his way back to the hall Judy was in. He noticed Judy’s slow, yet alert posture, and very quietly approached Judy.
As they walked down the hallway, the weasel popped out from the doorway a little ways down, and Judy shot first with very quick reflexes into the weasel’s leg. The weasel yelled in pain and he lost his acquisition before he pulled the trigger. The shot from the weasel’s firearm whizzed past Judy into the ceiling. She flinched a little, but not as much as Nick did. She was often more jumpy than he was in situations like this, and this worried Nick. Perhaps, she was getting a little too bold. Too careless. Judy stepped on the weasel’s wrist, causing another groan, and she removed the gun from his hand. She then took out the handcuffs and placed them on the weasel as he lost consciousness. She and Nick grabbed the unconscious mammals in the hall, cuffed them, and put them in a room to clear up the walkway and to make it easier for the rest of the officers to get them in the vehicles. They headed back to the open area to round up the mammals out there and to maybe find the rest of their targets. Judy didn’t know if Nick got any more mammals while she dealt with the wolf, so she asked,
“How many more left?”
“One, maybe two.” Nick replied. “I haven’t seen the raccoon.”
“He’s in here somewhere. We’ll get him.”
“You’re getting a little too arrogant, Carrots.” he said to her, wanting to address her carelessness. “You barely flinched at the weasel, even when he fired mere inches from you.”
“Just doing my job.” she replied, almost oblivious to Nick’s concern. “I want to bring that raccoon in TODAY. If I have to be careless, I will.”
Those words worried Nick even more. “If I have to be careless, I will.” How far was she willing to go? Nick knew full well this was dangerous thinking. “That’s what I’m worried about, Fluff.”
Nick’s ears twitched as he heard something from down the hall. He smelt something too. Whatever was down there, it wasn’t friendly. The fox quickly turned around and fired a shot down the hall at the gray wolf at the other end of the room as it walked around the corner, while Judy was slower to respond. Nick’s bullet wasn’t far off, but the wolf kept his bold stature as he fired a couple shots of his own. Nick watched as they thrusted straight down the hall, towards them, towards Judy. The thought of either him or especially Judy being hurt spiked in his mind. He reached out towards Judy and tried to block the bullets with his hand or take the bullet for her, but they were too fast. He blocked one bullet with his steel hand to protect himself, but failed to keep the other from hitting Judy. Nick watched in fear as it hit her in the stomach, drawing a spray of blood. She let out a cry of pain as it launched her backwards past the doorway and into the main area, her delicate rabbit body hitting the ground hard.
How could this happen?
“Judy!” he cried in anguish. Nick ducked another shot from the wolf, and returned his own, this time hitting the wolf in the neck. He immediately snapped his attention away from the wolf, uncaring if the sedative worked. Nick rushed over to his rabbit. She was on the ground, crying out in pain. Nick was almost frozen with panic. “Judy! Oh my God, Judy!” he said again in shock as he knelt down next to her, dropping his gun.
Fear overtook Nick like a hurricane, his heart was pierced with a spear every second he laid eyes on her. His nightmares had become real. Judy was whimpering in pain as the blood spread through her uniform and leaving droplets on the floor. She was breathing very heavily and quickly with tears running down her cheeks. Nick could barely believe this was happening.
“Nick, Nick, Nick…” she kept repeating his name, breathing far too quickly.
“Okay, okay. Judy, here.” Nick took off his jacket and placed on Judy’s wound. “Keep pressure on that.” Judy grunted and winced as he applied force to the jacket, and she held it herself.
“Nick… It hurts.” she said weakly. Those amethyst eyes were filled with terror and anxiety. She reached her hand up just a little.
“I know.” he said. “I’m right here, Carrots.” he reassured her, taking her hand in his and stroking her head with his other hand. Her hand was losing strength, and Nick was losing his soul. “You’re gonna be fine.”
“Nick, I’m scared.” Judy said to him, her breathing slowing down.
“Just take slow, deep breaths, okay?” We’re gonna get you out of here.” Nick pulled his radio from his belt and spoke into it. “Officer Wilde, we have a 10-108. Officer Hopps is in critical condition. Please respond.” Nick prayed that there would be someone who’d be able to help.
“We have an officer down in the Sahara Square Workshop! Someone, please copy!” Nick could fear only the worst. The dead radio was not helping.
“God dammit, somebody, please!” Nick yelled again, his heart rate rising like a wave.
Nick returned the radio to his belt with a growl, and took his pistol in his right hand. He slid his right arm under Judy’s shoulders and placed her on his wrist, while his left hand went under her knees. She screamed in pain as he lifted her up. Nick felt like his heart was hit with a truck yet again. It was more than he could bear.
“I know it hurts, sweetie. I’m gonna get you out of here, alright?” he said to her. She gave him a nod. He kept the pistol at the ready while Judy rested on his arm. He ran down the same hall he shot the wolf in. After carefully stepping around the unconscious mammal, Nick turned the corner and ran down the room towards the exit as fast as he could while maintaining Judy in his arms. She continued to wince from the bumpy ride. He gave her another comforting look. “Just hold on.” he whispered to her. She reached up with her free arm and touched his cheek.
“Don’t leave me…” she said again.
“Never. Never will I leave you.”
They headed into another area with wider corridors. He saw a window to the outside. A small beat of hope grew within him as he ran to it. As he approached a corner, Nick was hit square in the jaw, causing him to fall on his back and to tumble forward, and Judy to fly across the room. She grunted loudly when she hit the ground. Nick got on his hands and knees and looked up, and there was the raccoon in the same tactical military vest as his henchmen. The raccoon kicked him in the face, and Nick fell on his back. The raccoon stepped over him and aimed the shotgun right at his face. The mammal's reddish-brown eyes communicated to the fox he was ready to pull that trigger. Nick quickly grabbed the muzzle of the gun and directed it away from himself as the raccoon fired the shot. Nick stood up and threw a jab at the raccoon’s face. Nick threw another successful blow, but the third was ineffective; the raccoon had blocked it. They got into a fistfight, and it was one the raccoon was winning. Judy wished she could help, but her injuries made that impossible. All she could do was watch in fear and clutch her wound. The raccoon hit Nick in the jaw yet again with the shotgun, and threw him aside so he could aim his gun at the rabbit. Judy’s fear spiked at the sight of the barrel. Was this her time? The raccoon pumped the shotgun, prepared to kill.
“No!” Nick yelled as he sprung to his feet and reached for the gun. He covered the barrel with his hands, and tried to push the gun towards the sky just as the raccoon pulled the trigger. With a spark of light and a loud bang, Nick’s steel fingers were gone. He was involuntary forced away from the blow, but he managed to stay on his feet and gaze at his fingerless hands in shock. He had grown to appreciate them; almost as much as his biological hands. His only real advantage was now gone. Could he even continue at this point? He looked over at Judy, and the expression of horror was all he could see. He was outmatched, but he still had to fight. For Judy. There was no other choice.
The raccoon snarled as he attempted to pound Nick over the head with the shotgun. The fox turned around and tried to keep the raccoon busy, but he was in a losing fight. Blow after blow, Nick was losing his vitality. The raccoon dazed Nick with another blow, and he ripped out a knife, slashing Nick across his abdomen, creating a spray of blood all over the wall and leaving a deep gash on him. The laceration drove a scream from Nick, and each and every sound traumatized Judy to the core. The sound of the shotgun, the splatter of blood, and her partner’s agony, it was more than she could handle. The raccoon slammed the fox’s head into the wall while Judy continued watched in horror with red, teary eyes.
“Nick!” she called out in agony with all the energy she could muster. Nick could no longer focus on his enemy. The raccoon uppercut Nick again with the gun, and he was knocked down, unable to continue. His energy was spent. With a chuckle, the raccoon pointed the gun at him, walking closer as the fox turned on his stomach and tried to crawl away.
“No. Nick, please get up… please…” Judy’s voice was weak. The raccoon kicked the fox, bringing out another whimper from him and showing the blood among the floor. Using what little strength she had left, Judy leapt forward and climbed over Nick, shielding him with her body. It may be a futile attempt to protect him, but it was all she could do. “Don’t hurt him.” she whispered, tears running down her eyes.
“Judy…” Nick said weakly, barely able to speak. “Save... yourself...”
“Looks like this’ll be easier than I thought.” the raccoon said arrogantly with a slight snarl in his voice as he stepped closer to them, placing his boot in the small puddle of Nick’s blood. Judy knew their time had come. She and Nick were done for. “Bye-bye, bunny.” he said again as he pointed the gun at them, ready to pull the trigger. It was too late. No one could save them now. The fox and rabbit had reached the end of their road. All the times they spent together, all the memories they’ve had, it all led to this. It all ended here. Judy hugged Nick’s neck and gave him one last kiss on his cheek. “I’ll never leave you.” she whispered into his ear. She closed her eyes and looked away, knowing what was going to happen, aware of her fate. The world felt dark, and it would soon be that way…
At least they would be together.