Cities in Peril

When Calatonia and Zootopia are in danger of facing an illegal recession, ZPD Officers Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde bring in Johnny on the case. But when he goes undercover, will he stay focus on the case or get distracted and put his families and friends and the cities into risk?

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4. Settling In

Johnny was surprised as he and Nick got out of the police car outside a flat building while Judy still stayed in.

            “Welcome to my place, Johnny boy.” Then the sly fox turned to Judy. “Well, see you tomorrow, Carrots.”

            “See you at the station, Nick,” the rabbit said before she drove off back to her apartment.

            Johnny was still confused. “Wait a minute, Officer Wilde. You mean you guys dragged me all the way to Zootopia and you’re not even going to take me to this internship?”

            “Well, Officer Hopps and I have been outside Palm Industries for so long that they’re bound to notice us the nearest five miles,” Nick said. “But don’t worry; I’ll give you the directions tomorrow. Now, let’s get upstairs.”

            Johnny noticed how small the entrance door was but he felt lucky he was able to squeeze through it. By the time he followed Nick up to his apartment, he thought he could have just jumped up to the balcony but he knew better than to do that to his host. He didn’t want to make a mess and get both of them kicked out by the landlord especially before his mission tomorrow.

            Johnny was impressed when he went into Nick’s apartment. It wasn’t massive; it had a small lounge with only two bright blue sofas with a small TV next to the small kitchen area. Nick also said the other two rooms were his bedroom and his bathroom. Johnny thought it was nice though. It was better than the room he was living in at Homes for the Homeless and he considered himself lucky to squeeze into the apartment without breaking anything, though he did bump his head on the ceiling. As he rubbed his forehead, he watched Nick fiddle with one of the sofas, which he turned it into a sofa bed. It had the pillows and the bed sheet.

            “This is your bed,” Nick said to Johnny. “Try it.”

            Johnny got on the bed and it felt comfier than he thought it would be. “Yeah, this is great. Thanks, Officer Wilde.”

            “Since you’re going undercover,” Nick said, “you must call me Nick. Officer Wilde will blow the whole cover and don’t call me Mr. Wilde either because Mr. Wilde was my father. Got it?”

            “Got it, Nick,” Johnny said.

            “Now, is there anything you need before I leave you?”

            “No, Nick, I’m good, thanks,” Johnny said.

            “Okay. Well, pleasant dreams, Johnny.” Then Nick turned the light off and left the gorilla in peace.

            But Johnny felt like he couldn’t afford pleasant dreams for tonight. He couldn’t get tomorrow’s mission or how its failure could affect others including himself out of his head. He tried to think of what Judy and Nick said to him in the car as they were driving but the worries still got the better of him.

 

 

Luckily, Johnny managed to get some sleep in the end and in the morning he felt focused for the mission. He felt better after the pancakes Nick had made for their breakfast. After they finished, Nick gave him the paperwork for entering the internship, a notepad to write down what he will learn in his lessons and the directions to Palm Industries.

            Johnny read and understood the directions. Though he was still unconfident about the mission, he knew there was no time to argue when Nick came out in his police officer uniform. He stepped out of the building when he did.

            “What if I come back here when you’re not finished on duty?” Johnny asked.

            “Hmm, good question,” Nick said. “I’ll call you to let you know if I’m approaching home. If I don’t ring, come to the police station and wait for me there. And remember, the more clues, the better chance we have on this case. Good luck.” He patted the gorilla on the back before he went off. Johnny turned around, took one last deep breath for self-confidence and walked the other way.

 

 

It took Johnny no more than half an hour to reach Palm Industries. He was impressed with the building when he saw it. The skyscraper looked beautiful in its colour-creamed paint and its fifty five floors and the gardens with its tall and striking trees, colourful plants and gleaming green grass looked like a jungle. He found the entrance and saw two Amur leopard guards outside of it. He went to them and showed them the paperwork for entering the internship. He did his best not to break a sweat as he watched the guards go through it. Before he left, he read the paperwork and understood it but he started to wonder if his new cop friends made a slight mistake.

            “Head to the reception area,” one of the guards said. “That’s where the other internees are waiting.”

            Johnny felt relieved as he headed inside the building. So far, so good, he thought. He was impressed with the massive reception area. It looked very grand with its wooden walls and comfy waiting sofas and big stone-made fireplace.

            Before Johnny could say hello to the others, the internee instructor, a snow leopard, whistled. He and the others gather in front of him.

            “Good morning,” the instructor said. “I’m your instructor, Mr. Snow. How are you all feeling?”

            “Good,” the interns said.

            “Are you looking forward to learn about business?” Mr. Snow asked.

            “Yes,” the interns said.

            “Great. Then follow me.”

            Johnny and the interns went into a boardroom and they sat down in a row of tables. Mr. Snow went to the far end of the room and started to introduce them to the internship of Palm Industries.

            As Mr. Snow wrote down on his flipchart sheets everything he explained to the interns what Palm Industries stood for, Johnny was writing down everything on his pad of paper. He was paying real attention to it. Even if he wasn’t on this mission, he was still enjoying it. He felt like he was learning a lot not just in business but some useful life skills as well.

 

 

When it came for the interns’ lunch hour, Johnny had to go for a bathroom break. After he finished, he heard a sound. It was coming from the ladies’. He knocked on it. “Hello?”

            “I’m stuck!” cried a female voice. “I can’t get out and I don’t know how long it is until the lessons begin again!”

            Johnny thought he knew he recognised that voice. “Laura, is that you?”

            “Yes, it’s me!” Laura the zebra cried. “Help me get out!”

            Johnny tried to open the door but it wouldn’t. He tried to knock it down but he had no luck. He inspected it but couldn’t find anything wrong with the hinges and the key hole wasn’t even locked. Then he quickly looked around the room to see if there was someone or something that had locked her in on purpose, but he couldn’t work out who or what or how they did it.

            “Don’t worry, Laura,” Johnny said. “I’ll go and tell Mr. Snow. He’ll help.” He ran back to the boardroom. He tried to tell Mr. Snow about it, but he said that the lesson needed to begin immediately. He only hoped that someone would hear Laura while he focused on his lessons.

            By the time the lessons had finished by five o’clock, the guards arrived with Laura. She still looked very upset. She tearfully explained to Mr. Snow about how she was locked in the females’ and didn’t know why. Mr. Snow was not sympathetic and said he had no choice but to kick her off the internship.

            “Mr. Snow,” Johnny said. “I suggest that you reconsider…”

            “You have done very well today, Johnny,” Mr. Snow said. “Don’t make me have to kick you off this internship as well as her.”

            The gorilla just sighed as he watched the guards escort the internship’s first failed intern of the year. As he left, he tried to work out whether the company trapped her in there on purpose. Then he got a text from Judy telling him to meet her and Nick at the Vegan Grill Restaurant.

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