Nick entered the ZPD building, in a surprisingly decent mood. It had been almost a year since the Nighthowler incident, and he had since become one of the ZPD's most capable officers, along with his partner Judy Hopps. He walked through the lobby and up to the front desk, where Clawhouser was watching the latest Gazelle music video, and took off his sunglasses. "Morning Clawhouser," he said, "I'm guessing Judy and I are on patrol again?"
Clawhouser paused the video. "Actually, Chief Bogo wanted to see you about a special solo assignment", Clawhouser said. "He's in his office."
Surprised, Nick ascended the stairs to the offices, and slowly approached Bogo's door. He knocked, and heard a gruff, "come in." Nick opened the door and saw Bogo at his desk, reading through his papers. But he wasn't the only person there. Sitting in one of the chairs facing his desk was a sheep with black wool, and a zpd uniform. "Ah, I'm glad you finally arrived, Officer Wilde", Bogo said nonchalantly. "I have someone who wants to meet you." Nick slowly sat down, trying to figure who the sheep was. His answer came from Bogo. "This is Officer Bartholomew, one of our best cops. Now I know what you're thinking, Wilde, but Bartholomew has been with us long before Bellweather had even been hired."
"Yes," the sheep began, almost startling Nick. "I had been on assignment during the Nighthowler incident, and took no part in it. Besides the obvious, 'black sheep of the family' cliché, rest assured that I'm on your side, and I have a...special assignment you'd be interested in." He smacked a file onto the table between the chairs, and Nick took a look inside. Inside were many strange things, including drawings of what looked like a room with nothing but a dentist chair and a screen facing it, some sort of lab test result talking about a wolf being turned into a gorilla, and a sketch of said test, with a wolf in a private security uniform on the left, and a gorilla in a punk outfit on the right. Seeing Nick extremely confused, Bartholomew let out a small grin. "Let me explain. You see, I am in charge of the Zpd's more...sensitive cases, most of which include long term undercover operations. For some of these, we use a special method: hypnotizing undercover agents into believing they're completely different people."
Nick couldn't believe what he was hearing. Undercover? Hypnosis? How was all this possible? And more importantly, why was he the one being told all this?
As if sensing his questions, the sheep continued." We use a special chamber designed for this program called the replacement room, since it 'replaces' you with someone else. It suits you up, uses a special screen to hypnotize you, and handles all the other details. And I want you to become an operative, Officer Wilde." Nick's eyes probably couldn't get any wider. "Don't worry, the decision is entirely your's, and you will be fully paid 2x your usual yearly sum upon extraction."
Nick was hesitant. This sheep just wanted him to give up everything? "Uh, Chief, I'm not sure about this, I mean, what about-"
"Officer Hopps has just been informed," Bogo bluntly replied. "While amazed at the circumstances, she says it's your decision, and she'll be fine by herself. Besides, to the public, you will simply be on a much needed extended vacation." Bogo showed Nick the message, signed with Judy's signature. It was official alright, and Nick supposed it would be helping the city. And there would be a lot of money...
"Fine, I'll do it."
Officer Bartholomew clapped his hands together. "Excellent! Unfortunately, the location of our base must remain secret, even from our own operatives, in case any of them become compromised. So, once we exit the building, put this blindfold on." The sheep handed him a blindfold, and gestured for Nick to follow. He said a small goodbye to the chief before being led to the building parking garage to a van...a van covered in graffiti decals, the largest being a green and purple "MIND BLOWERS" done across the sides. As he opened the door, Bartholomew explained it. "Would you honestly expect this scrap heap to be part of an massive undercover operation?" Nick shook his head before putting the blindfold on.
The drive was long and winding, and Nick didn't see anything. At certain points, he could find out where the van was, such as hearing rain or feeling the temperature drop rapidly. After what felt like an hour, the van stopped, and the door opened. Nick went to take the blindfold off until a hoof like hand grabbed his arm. "Keep it on. Not until I say so." Nick mentally sighed at all the secrecy, before taking Bartholomew's hand and following him into a building. He could feel metal beneath his feet, and the whirring of a number of doors. Soon Bartholomew's hand disappeared, and he was pushed into a room with a door whirring closed behind him. An intercom turned on.
"Take it off," Bartholomew said.
Nick got to his feet and removed the blindfold. He was in the room from the photo, only it somehow seemed even more clean and sterile. The walls were a solid titanium white, with no markings or cracks at all. (Nick couldn't even find the way he came in.) In the middle was the dentist chair, facing a large television screen. Remove your uniform down to your under garments and sit it. The Replacement Room will do the rest." Nick did what he was asked and soon approached the chair and tried making a joke to break the tension. "So how's this gonna work? Is a pocketwatch gonna come down from the ceiling and tell me I'm getting sleepy?" As Nick sat in the chair though, metal clamps popped out and snapped over his arms, legs, and neck. He instinctively struggled before the screen ahead of him turned on, displaying a large colorful spinning swirl. Nick couldn't help but watch as a pair of headphones were placed on him by a metal arm.
"Relax," a soothing voice said. "You are in no danger. This is just a part of the process." Nick slumped down in his seat, taking in every word. Every worry he had melted away. It was just so soothing...
"Officer Nick Wilde of the ZPD, please take your mind, your personality, your memories, and your interests, mold all of it together, and put it in a mental safe. The safe will lock and be hidden away, and will only open when a special combination of words is said by one of a few certain people. Do you understand?"
Nick slumped further down as he did what was asked by the pretty souding lady and made himself a blank slate. "Mind...safe...locked away..."
"Good. Now just relax. You will be a new animal soon..." The swirl changed color, and words started flashing beneath the colors. Nick, or the fox, as his name was locked away, could barely even see them before they disappeared and reappeared elsewhere on the screen. They stuck in the fox' s head, as the voice started up again as a small pill appeared in front of him. "Take the pill," the voice said, and he swallowed it down. "Good. When you awake, your body will have adjusted to become omnivorous. But for now, focus on the screen." The fox did so as the chair started to moved. It tilted forward and rose, with arms turning to the sides a bit, raising the fox' s arms. The fox just focused on the screen, his own eyes swirling.
"Your name is Ryan Woolstein. You are a ram, an herbivore and prey. You live in a zootopia apartment with your roommate. "
The words stuck in the fox' s head as a space opened up in the floor in front of the chair.
"You have been in the underbelly of the city for as long as you have lived, and have become quite street savvy, and quite the bruiser."
The fox nodded as two metal arms rose from the pit, carrying a large ram costume. It was somewhat fat with many layers of wool. The hands and feet had hooves for fingers and toes, and a small cotton ball tail. Before it rose over the fox, a vacuum pack was placed over his tail, sucked all the air out making it like a rat tail, and getting rolled up and stuck right above his butt. The suit rose over him, the cuffs unlocking so he just fell in. The fox flexed his fingers, and adjusted the suit. It fit him perfectly, and gave him a massive gut. The voice continued. "You're a large ram, and proud of it. You might sometimes say that it's mostly wool, but you're proud of your big gut either way." The fox rubbed his belly happily. "Mmm...big gut..."
The space below the chair disappeared as the fox sat back down and was recuffed. He just stared happily at the screen, as a space above his head appeared. A mask of a ram appeared, with two large horns and a large cocky grin. The headphones were removed for a second, as the mask came down and became skin tight. It acted as a second skin, following the fox' s every movement. Two contacts were placed in his eyes, making them appear to be that of a sheep or ram. A paperthin collar was placed inside the neck of the suit, giving the fox a more rough and tough voice, with a minor sheep accent. As soon as it was perfectly adjusted, the mask fused with the suit, leaving the fox stuck inside. The headphones were placed back on him. "You are a ram. You are a thug. You are a criminal. You are a ram..."the fox, now ram, repeated the words over and over, before the headphones finished up his personal history and code phrases that would cause him to do certain things. "Now Ryan, you will fall asleep and awaken in your small apartment Downtown. You will forget all of this. Ready? 1,2,3, and sleep..."
The fox closed his eyes...
Ryan woolstein woke up in his same old dingy bed room with a mix of a yawn and a bleat. He scratched his butt before getting up, getting dressed (some cargo shorts, a "Herd-attack" band t shirt, and an XXL red hoodie), and stomping into the main room. His roommate was making breakfast, some fruit salad with grass on the side. Ryan thanked him before sitting down and watching the news.
After some 'inspiring story' involving farming, an ad came on about joining the Zpd. The fact it existed was enough to get Ryan to grab his sides in bleating laughter. "Hey, Theo, look at these idiots! Thinking people actually wanna join the stinking ZPD! HA! What a stupid bunch of bozos."
His roommate washed the dishes from breakfast. "Oh I don't know, the work they do is important, Ryan. Besides they're better than whatever group you were with last night."
Ryan sneered. "Hey, my guys ain't corrupt! So shut up and mind your own business. Besides, all we do is take things we want. Whatever the word for it is. "
"If you insist. But just so you know...." the black sheep looked at the back of his roommate's head. "It's called a hustle, sweetheart."
Ryan suddenly started twitching violently and grunting before slumping forward with his tongue hanging put and his eyes glazed over. Bartholomew approached him with a tape recorder. "Ryan, I want you to repeat every said at your friends' meeting last night word for word, okay?" The sheep nodded blankly as he monotonously repeated everything he heard about what crimes they were going to do soon. Bartholomew recorded it all and put it in an envelope, planning to put it in a special drop location for Intel. He turned back to Ryan. "Thank you Ryan. Now, tonight after dinner, you're going to 'trip' going down the stairs taking the trash out. You'll believe you hurt something and be bedridden the day after. You will forget all about your meeting. Understand?" The ram nodded. "Good. Now snap out of it, and continue watching tv." As soon as he finished, Ryan woke up and continued watching tv. Bartholomew left for the drop point. It had been a few weeks since Nick had gone undercover, and things were going well. He had already been of great use taking down criminals. Bartholomew acted as his handler, making sure he stays out of any real danger. His official job was as a courier, while his ZPD paychecks were sent to a private bank account. Although as it turns out...'Ryan' was a bit too rowdy for a roommmate. At least for Bartholomew. Yelling all the time, never cleaning up after himself, extremely lazy...
"Only for a year..." Bartholomew thought.
In a room in the same building as the Replacement Room, a deer watched screens showing the inside of the apartment Ryan and Bartholomew were living in. Wilde adjusted well to his new life, and things were working well. However, the deer believed he could do more with a partner, and went to a filing cabinet, filled with files on all Zpd officers. He pulled out one for a certain rabbit, and began reading.