fay_e: Text: I'm dreaming away, wishing that heroes they truly exist (wishing heroes exist)
fay_e ([personal profile] fay_e) wrote2016-12-11 12:42 pm

true colours (burn those jet pack blues) (5/6)

Summary:(Star Trek and Zootopia crossover) Judy Hopps doesn't do diplomacy. Nick Wilde doesn't do Away missions. Both of them are going to have to make up for what the other lacks if they're going to survive Draconis and maybe save Captain Bogo while they're at it.

Sequel to "the map that leads to you". Features Judy firing big guns, Nick sassing everyone and romance on a planet where reptiles are the dominant species and mammals are not.

Rating: T
Genre: Gen, slices of romance, sci-fi, action/adventure
Warnings for: Fantastic racism, if Nick had a tombstone it would read "dead from deadpan", STAGGERING LEVELS OF COMPETENCY
Disclaimer: If I owned both Star Trek AND Zootopia, I would be paying other people to write this.

Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4

Although the officers Waran had left behind with the skimmer were rushing repairs, they'd spared a guard to keep an eye on Judy.

Earlier, when it was just Judy and she knew she could hold her own, she'd resented the lack of similar attention from Vector. Now, with Nick beaming down to her, Judy worried about how the guards would respond to Nick's presence. Would they be wary? Or would they be hostile off the bat and shoot to kill?

She didn't want that. So she'd retreated to the shadow of the stairwell, where they had to crane their necks to see her. To make sure they didn't do that too often, she savaged the tiled part of the roof, and practiced her aim by skittering bits of tile across the roof. The sound at least kept them aware of where she was that they didn't check on her too often. Hopefully they would just peg her odd behavior as strange Zootopian behaviour.

When the tell-tale lines of transportation criss-crossed in front of her, Judy made sure to time her last throw such that she had the most time with Nick. He'd barely touched down when she tugged him down to flop by her in the shadow of the stairwell.

"Ouch. A better welcome - "

Judy clamped Nick's mouth shut between her paws. "There's armed guards up here." At Nick's nod, she let him go.

"Wow, you bring me to the nicest places," he drawled. He'd dealt with having to keep his voice low by coming in so close his breath ruffled the fur of her cheek. That let her spot the quaver in his words.

"You wanted to come," she stated. Mentioning that fact compelled her to do what she wanted to do since their moment on Ilysia's skimmer - she tugged him to her and kissed him.

It had only been a day - maybe less - since they last kissed, but it felt like a lifetime ago. Perhaps that was what lent the kiss its dizzying breathless all-encompassing quality, where the only things that mattered was Nick and how the fit of their mouths was evidence that he'd come for her, no matter his own unease, and they'd found each other again.

When Nick had his mouth back again he said, "11 out of 10. Seems like you do your best kissing when there's a risk of being discovered."

Nick was right. Judy sighed and dug about for something to throw. "They'll be expecting some noise out of me now."

"You've been singing them the same songs you've defiled my sound system with?"

"Har har. When they start running, follow me and only run the same way as I'm going, understand?"

"What, are you tossing a bomb at them or something?" Nick's eyes went wide at the grenade she was holding in her hand. "Carrots, I was just kidding!"

Judy already wasn't listening. Practice with bits of tile had perfected her aim, and the grenade she'd set aside for the skimmer all this while skittered across its surface to stop exactly where she wanted it.

To the credit of Waran's officers, it only took them a split second for them to recognise the grenade and duck for cover. Judy used that opportunity to dash into elevator, with Nick hot on her heels. Using the sides of elevator as launching pads to get enough height, she angled her leaps so that she hit in succession the close button and the floor of the conference room where she had last seen Bogo.

She barely settled on her feet when Nick tugged her down and threw himself over her, his entire body pressing her into the floor of the elevator. When she wriggled free enough to stick her head out, she saw Nick had his paws over his eyes and was muttering something that sounded too much like "we're going to die" on repeat.

"We're not going to die," she told him in her firmest tones, and wriggled out the rest of the way to get back on her feet.

"Yes we are. You throw like a bunny, didn't they teach you how to toss a grenade properly in the Security track?"

"Oops. I might have forgotten to pull the pin." When Nick peeked out between a gap in his fingers, she sighed, "Remember, Starfleet trained us that deadly force is the last resort. Blowing up their skimmer would have resulted in a lot of casualties."

"That must have been something covered in the Security track only." Nick let Judy give him a hand up, looking at the lit up lift button as he got to his feet. "What's on that floor?"

"I last saw Captain Bogo on this floor. Since you're here, do you think you can use the same way you located me to locate the Captain?"

"I'll do one better. If the jamming here is anything like Modimolle, I can work around it so that the Integrity can see all of us."

Nick's words, accompanied by his easy grin, made Judy dare to hope again. "Then the Integrity will be able to beam us all back up!"

"Am I hearing right, Carrots, do you finally want to go back to the Integrity?"

"Only because you're bringing Captain Bogo along." The lift started to slow as the numbers ticked towards to the floor Judy had chosen. "Do you have your phaser?"

"I can't juggle both a phaser and my PADD. You're a better shot than I am."

"Follow my lead then." Judy took cover on one side of the frame of the elevator doors, Nick taking the other side.

The first thing Judy noticed was the blare of alarms as the elevator doors cracked open. She was glad that her ear piece cut some of the sound. With a nod at Nick, she swung into the open doorway of the elevator first with her phaser raised to sweep the corridor.

She gestured for Nick to follow when she was sure the way was clear. They went from doorway to doorway before ending up at the huge conference room that Judy had last left Bogo and Plumi in.

It was empty - it was too much to hope that Bogo would still be here. The conference table again provided convenient cover for Judy and now Nick as they ducked under it to discuss what to do next, since the alarms weren't as strident in this room.

"Is this place good enough for what you need to do to the systems of this base?" Judy asked.

"I've had worse. There's no Draconian Secret Service lurking to make a drop on me, is there?"

"I'll watch out for them. Don't worry about Waran and his officers too."

"If only there was some way to bell those cats. How'd Waran get here? I thought this was Vector's secret lair."

"He said that Plumi had his uses. Oh, and he mentioned that your translator was off so he didn't know where you were."

"So tracking translators was also in his bag of tricks." Nick made a sound of disgust at his PADD. "We're too close to the jammer. It'll be easier to switch off the jammer than set up a local feed to override."

"Do we know where the jammer is?"

"Yes, and I also know where our fellow mice in this cat and mouse game are." He pointed out the other sets of dual blips that were an echo of Judy's, which the map was centered on. "That's Plumi and that's Bogo. If we shut off the jammer and get the Rat Pack together, we can get a signal out to the Integrity to get us all out of here. That'll make sure that both Vector and Waran don't get to them."

"There's two of them," said Judy, and hesitated over what she usually said next. Instead of suggesting they split up, she said, "I wouldn't know what to say to Plumi."

"And I can't do gunfights." His tail curled around her waist, a question without a voice, Together?

She leaned into the contact. Together. "Where are we headed to, Wilde?"

"I'll walk you through it. Give me a tick to borrow another set of eyes." As Judy watched, Nick added AV from the base's security cameras to his already busy screen. She knew he was done when he put in his own earpiece. "That'll let us look around corners as we go. Ready, Fluff?"

"Born ready. Bring it on, Wilde."

They dashed back into the corridor. With the live line between them, the sound of the alarms were filtered so that Judy could focus on the sound of Nick's voice. "Right and then straight ahead."

"And then right on until morning?"

"Let's hope the mission doesn't take that long, or Vector might catch up with two pesky Zootopians."

"I don't know about that, do you have a handy clock to throw at him?"

"Ha! You're welcome to audition for Captain Hook, I like my paws where they are. Take a right here, Carrots."

"I'm not hearing other bright ideas out of you, Wilde."

"When it comes to Vector? Run like hell. But since we're aiming for Plumi first, I have some ideas. I'll need your gun though."

Nick walked Judy through both the plan and the route that avoided the fights. By the time they neared the room Plumi was in, Judy had made her own additions to Nick's plan, particularly the bit about dealing with the Crurotarsi guards at Plumi's door.

The thing about being a small bunny was that Judy often had to calculate angles for an indirect way of getting to high places. That had an unexpected boost of improving her aim and throw when it came to attacks.

It also let her be sneaky. Glad that she had packed smoke grenades in addition to the explosive type she lobbed a smoke grenade now, bouncing it so that it skittered as if it were thrown from another corridor.

As Nick had warned the Crurotarsi simply shut their nostrils, having evolved to hold their breath underwater. Despite the low visibility, they set off through the smoke, like two hunters moving through river silt.

Once they were drawn away from the door, Nick and Judy dashed for it. Judy's experience watching Vector's soldiers open the door had let her identify the hinges as the weak spots. A few choice blasts, and the door listed enough to let a bunny and a fox through.

Plumi's small size would have let him skitter out through the same hole if he wanted, but he seemed too busy staring at Nick in shock. Nick had taken advantage of Plumi's shock to cross the conference room and shake Plumi's hand. "Senator Plumi! I'm chuffed to see you again!" Then Nick switched to Draconian, which Judy's translator churned as, "But I don't suppose you're basking in our presence, are you?"

Plumi was startled into replying. "Seeing Starfleet officers lingering in Vector's base is like seeing a Crurotarsi up a tree. Not impossible, but surely uncomfortable?" Compared to Nick's smooth speech, Judy's translator added pauses to Plumi's response. "What can I do for you today?"

"What can't you do?" said Nick in Standard. "I mean, you have already lied to us."

The pace of the translator sped up as Plumi babbled at length in his own tongue. "What do you mean? When have I lied?"

"The thing about Bellycrawlers is that they're legless, too tiny to be able to have long limbs, or too large to hold themselves off the ground for long. Which of these are you? After all, you run fast enough to walk on water."

"I don't run fast," Plumi protested.

"Is that so? Then you should be a pretty easy target. Ensign Hopps, shoot him please."

Nick and Judy had discussed this - Judy was aiming to miss though her shot may have been too close to Plumi's foot. Plumi dashed away on all fours, too fast for most to see how he ran. But he was still slower than a rabbit, who could see his belly didn't touch the ground.

Plumi seemed to know he had been had, peering at them cautiously from around the chair back he was gripping with all four paws. Nick adopted a casual slouch against another chair sized for Crurotarsi, elbow propped up against the seat. "We all know that you've been pretending to be someone else all this while. Or to use a local phrase, wearing others' skins. I'm pretty sure Vector has his doubts too."

"S'ken Waran told me specifically that you had your uses," Judy added, deliberately keeping up her usual cheer. "I wonder what would Vector think if I shared that comment with him?"

"Maybe instead of finding out, you ought to come with the officers from Starfleet that don't have violent reactions to being tricked." Nick tossed off a flippant wink to go with his casual tone.

Plumi unhooked his claws from where he'd sunk them into the chair back. "Where are the Starfleet officers going?"

"We're beaming back to our starship after we take care of some things," said Nick.

Even with Nick's pilfered security feed, it wasn't possible to avoid all the fighting on the way to the jammer. Especially when the shoot out involved the only route to the control room containing the jammer.

It made sense to Judy for Vector to have a choke point just before the control room, though logic might not be what the others would appreciate. Plumi looked like he wanted to skitter off again at the sound of gunfire, if it weren't for Nick gripping his shoulder tight enough that his claws were pricking the cloth.

So Judy kept her observations to herself as she examined the gun fight from their cover from the very end of the corridor. Waran and his men were further along, having taken cover along the branches along the corridor. At the other end, in front of another set of blast doors, was a group of Crurotarsi. Much like at the pier they had entrenched themselves well, and Waran and his men seemed disinclined to rush them. She checked the weapons that she could see - they were either guns, or explosives with more destructive power than what Judy had.

Maybe that was the problem. "Nick, you said that I needed five shots with a phaser to get through Crurotarsi skin. What about a grenade?"

"Might hurt if it got into someone's eye, might cause some broken ribs, but I think the Crurotarsi can take it. You actually thinking of pulling the pin this time, Hopps?"

"I don't like it, but Waran wants to get into the control room too. We need to give him a helping paw." She observed her angles and picked her grenade. "Duck."

Plumi actually did what he was told this time, or maybe it was Nick's firm paw on his shoulder that made him comply. Judy threw the grenade and also dove for cover.

Even with the experience of training that taught her to clap her paws over her ears, the roar of the explosion was loud. Judy had the luxury to let herself recover before she stuck her head back around the corner to see how Waran had taken advantage of the distraction.

She ducked back down when she saw the handheld launcher that one of Waran's soldiers was holding. With the living Crurotarsi shield scattered by Judy's grenade, Waran was going for the big guns.

The resulting explosion left a huge hole in the blast doors. Waran and the other soldiers that weren't involved in hand-to-hand fights clambered through the hole.

Judy glanced at Nick, who nodded his agreement. If they were going get to the jammer, now was the best time.

They dashed down the corridor, Judy in the lead. With Nick behind her she picked her route more carefully, skipping her habitual leaps. It meant more dodging, but they still made it to the control room in good time. Within, Waran and his soldiers were more concerned about the security controls and keeping an eye out for much larger Crurotarsi that the smaller Zootopians and Plumi went unnoticed.

Judy still led them under the cover beneath one of the consoles. She didn't know how long it would take to find the jammer, since she didn't know what it looked like. Nick did, but he was frowning at the floor.

"What now?" she prompted.

"Carrots, I think the jammer is under the floor."

Judy told herself she must have miscounted the floors on the way down. She looked around and found a hatch under the cover of another console. She pointed it out to Nick, who nodded.

Crossing the busy control room seemed to take longer than running down the corridor, especially when they had to keep to cover. Once at the hatch, Judy focused on getting it open. Nick left Plumi to join in. Judy held her tongue, because Plumi seemed just as intent as they were to keep out of Waran's way, and four paws did make the job much faster.

All the helping paws were useless when the hatch opened to reveal softly lapping water. Judy hadn't miscounted on the way down. The control room was on the same level as the docks Judy had arrived at, which meant that below the control room was water.

Nick had dug out his PADD and kept looking between it and the water. Judy knew it wasn't good when his next comment was wry. "Who'd have thought alien crocodiles would put their most important devices underwater? It's official - this mission is dead in the water. The jammer's a bust."

"How far away from the hatch is it?"

"About 1 metre, but that's not including depth."

"How about our distance from the nearest point where the Integrity can pick up our signal?"

"Judging from the strength of the jamming, we've got maybe about a kilometre before we have a chance. The roof's our best bet - " He paused as Judy started to shed her gear. "Carrots, whatever you're thinking, stop thinking it!"

"Between 1 metre under water, and 1km under fire, I think I'll take my chances."

"It's a metre away if it's stuck just under this floor! If it's placed further away, we have no idea how far it'll be from point to point. We're already in enough deep water, Carrots, without you risking your life diving without oxygen!"

Nick had given voice to the same concerns that had crossed Judy's mind. But the same logic that let Judy size up the shootout in front of the control room was the same logic that made Judy suggest trying for the jammer. There was no translator that would automatically convey Judy's way of approaching the same problem. It was up to Judy herself to make herself understood.

It was a daunting thought, between Plumi's curious attention and Nick's scowl that echoed the expression he'd shown in that first awful argument in Ilysia's garage. For Nick, she would try. "I know what you're saying about the underwater jammer. I trust that you know better than I do where it is. But I know the odds for going after Captain Bogo. They're not good either. He'll be as closely guarded as the control room was, maybe more since Vector knows Starfleet is attempting to get to him. We'll have to fight through that, without Waran's help. As crazy as it sounds, with the gear we have we're better equipped for disabling jammers than storming an enemy base. As an armory officer, that's how I feel we should handle this mission."

Nick's expression had slowly gone blank through Judy's spiel. For a moment she thought he would tell her to go her own way again, would walk away from her as he had before during this mission.

But it seemed that they had both decided to stop walking away from each other. "I don't know weapons," said Nick, as if reporting on the colour of the sky. "But I don't think that suggestion is good enough, Carrots. Do you even know know what the jammer looks like? If there's anyone that should be making that dive, it should be me."

It was the same light-hearted tone of voice he'd used when cajoling her to wear a bikini in their discussion of swimming and beaches. But Judy found she couldn't smile at the fond memory when she saw easily Nick had used it when suggesting he put his own life in danger. Then there was his neutral body language. Had he kept this same expression when he'd bantered with her in a sinking boat? Judy could imagine it now, Nick keeping his tone light and expression neutral so that McHorn would have kept right on patching up Fangmeyer. How long had Nick been shoving his feelings behind a mask? This entire mission? Even earlier? She'd been so focused on what Nick had done that she'd never considered what he felt.

What a fool she'd been.

Judy had been silent long enough that Nick had read her silence as consent. "Let me put this PADD aside, Hopps, and I should be ready for a dip. Skinny dipping will have to wait for another time, I'm not about to risk a roomful of Draconians seeing my junk - "

Nick might have rambled more as a verbal delay tactic, but Judy had let this charade go on for long enough. "There are things covered in the Security track only. I think diving without breathing gear counts as one of them."

"Here I was thinking that you didn't even know how to swim. You don't have to call dibs on all the action if it's not within your skill set. Do you even know what the jammer looks like?"

"You said it yourself, that's the type of heroics that I pull and you don't." She covered Nick's paws still wrapped around his PADD with hers. Only this action betrayed the fine tremble in his paws to her. "Nick, I need you to be what you were for me before, back when I was trapped in an underground cave. I need you to be the voice in the dark, letting me know I'm not alone. Can you do that for me again?"

Nick was gripping his PADD tight enough to leave claw marks. She held his gaze, waiting for that gentle reassurance she'd had the privilege of seeing so many times before in those eyes so green.

He finally nodded. "You've already proven how awful the dress uniform looks when it's sopping wet," he quipped. "Thanks for helping me avoid becoming a fashion disaster."

"I don't know, Wilde. I could still give you a hug after I get back to the surface." Judy shed the last of her gear. "Count on it when I get back, Nick."

"There's an awful lot of water in your fantasies, Hopps. What's next, me walking around in a wet white shirt?"
Unlike the interview with Tsiny and Higgins, Judy didn't manage to cover Nick's mouth fast enough. "I am so sorry that you had to hear that," she said to Plumi, whose translator was extremely unhelpful in this situation. "Nick, could you be serious for five minutes and tell me how to disable the jammer?"

Nick who had no sense of shame at all was unfazed. "Feel like pushing your luck?" He had picked up one of the explosive charges she'd piled next to him. "How about blowing up the jammer? If you could make a little baby explosion -"

"Please." She plucked the explosive out of his paw. "Since it's underwater, I can make a proper explosion that wouldn't even rock the floor. Just lead me to the right place."

"You're the boss. Ready when you are, Carrots."

"Heading down now. Keep an eye on Plumi too." With the right explosive charges in her paw, Judy slipped feet first into the water.

Water replaced air as Judy plunged in. The water was cool, but refreshing rather than chilly. It was like being in the submersible again, when she'd dived into the water to avoid the blaster fire. Despite the river silt eddying across Judy's line of sight when she opened her eyes, she could see electronic lights in colours she'd seen on Nick's Comms station laid out below her. Other that those lights and the square of light from the hatch, it was dark.

She popped her head out of the water. "I see the controls on the floor. I can swim to it," she said into the mic of her earpiece. She didn't dare to shout up, with Waran and his soldiers still around. They might have gone by unnoticed due to their size, but sound was another matter.

"Alright, Fluff." Nick was using the earpiece too to speak directly into her ear. "When you swim down, angle towards your right. I'll tell you if I need you to make correction."

"Got it. Keep broadcasting, Wilde." Judy took a deep breath, and dived again.

At first, she heard nothing but her own strokes in the water. Then her earpiece came to life. "You're on the right track. Just keep going."

She quickened her strokes at Nick's reassuring voice, which continued, "You've got me without my log of petty misdemeanors. But since you have to hold your breath laughing might be a terrible idea. You're a little over Carrots, to your left a bit."

While she adjusted, Nick said. "So. How about beaches for swimming? You're doing fine, you're directly over the jammer so just dive."

Judy dove. All the while Nick was listing beach locations. Just as Nick said " - and the beaches on Risa are supposed be the best - ", Judy's free paw slapped the control panel. She curled so gravity won over buoyancy and she was able to rest on the controls. That left her with both paws free to secure the explosive charges. She set off the timer, then adjusted herself to crouch on the controls.

"Though the dolphins swear by Zadar IV and you know what Carrots? This is long enough."

She leapt for the hatch. The water resistance cut her jumping height in half, but with the jump start she was covering the distance much faster than with just swimming.

"You can't hold your breath as long as a dolphin. It's time to surface, Carrots."

Judy knew that. Without her focus on the mission she could feel the slowly escaping bubbles from her mouth and how her lungs were burning.


She could see the light of the hatch, but she was losing momentum from her leap. She kicked the water.


She burst through the surface, and finally allowed herself to gasp for air. At the sound Nick peered over the edge of the hatch.

"I got it," she managed, but she wasn't sure if Nick was listening when he'd reached down for her. She reached back, took hold of his paws and let him help her up.

Nick yanked her out of the water hard enough that they both fell onto land. Adrenaline had left Judy that she lay a sodden, soaked mess draped over Nick. As they lay there, they could feel the slight thump from the explosion beneath them.

"Who said the explosion wouldn't even rock the floor again?" Nick was grinning up at her as if it didn't matter they were in the middle of an enemy base. "That's false advertising, Fluff."

"I did make good on my promise to hug you as soon as I got out," Judy replied, and gave him a soggy squeeze. As he chuckled, she lifted her head to check on her surroundings. Her gear was in its pile and -

She bolted upright. "Where's Plumi?"

Waran and his soldiers dove for cover as shots rang out. Someone ducked under the console that Nick and Judy were hidden under. But it wasn't one of Waran's soldiers. It was one of the Crurotarsi that was leaning under the console. His jaws parted just enough to let sharp teeth fill their view.

Judy grabbed Nick's phaser and spun the settings before firing off five shots on 'Kill'.

The Crurotarsi jerked backwards as his shoulder burst into a bloody mess. That let Judy see Vector, recognisable by his gold chain, standing by her pile of gear. Beside him, his other soldiers not involved in the fight with Waran and his soldiers had their guns trained on Judy and Nick. Plumi was barely visible in Vector's shadow.

Vector made sure Judy was looking at him before deliberately stepping on her rifle to snap it. She clenched her paw in Nick's uniform in frustration, where Vector couldn't see. She couldn't repeat her first lucky shot without getting shot full of holes, and thanks to Plumi her gear was in Crurotarsi hands.

Vector waited as if he had all the time in the world for his own soldiers to finish their fight, and even start dragging the Squamata officers and their injured away. That included the first Crurotarsi that had tried to nab Nick and Judy from under the console, who was swearing weakly as he was pulled away.

Then Vector finally addressed Nick and Judy in Standard. "Since you've proved your mettle, I'll make a request - turn the jammer back on."

The explosion Judy had set off was slight enough that the Draconians must not have noticed there was no jammer to switch off. Nick ignored Judy's worried look to wriggle back to his feet. "Look, my fellow Starfleet officer and I are really winded from our dip in the water, we won't be able to make another dive - "
Nick's attempt to negotiate ground to a halt as the Crurotarsi unlocked the safety of their guns with audible clicks, typical of weapons that used bullets.

"I've already made my request. If you do not accept, the next time won't be a request."

"We're already tired from switching the jammer off the first time!" Nick protested. "We'll die before we even managed a repeat."

"Maybe if the choice was between drowning and switching off the jammer, you'll find enough incentive do it."

"We blew up the jammer." Judy cut in, getting to her feet to stand by Nick. "There is nothing to switch on. You can have one of your officers to confirm -"

Vector nodded to his soldiers. "Throw them down the hatch."

"I think not."

The sound of Bogo's voice had never been so welcome. Behind the Crurotarsi, Judy glimpsed Bogo, Higgins, McHorn, even Delgato along with what seemed like most of Security. It was with the assurance his Starfleet officers had his back that Bogo trained his phaser rifle on Vector. "Deal's off," Bogo told him curtly.

"You agreed to three days - "

"If you let my officers go. You were about to threaten my officers again, and I've had enough of that. Deal's off."

Vector let out a growl that boomed loud enough to fill the room. Bogo didn't even twitch.

"Now let my officers go," said Bogo. "Or I will take you up on your first offer to shoot you. Please, do give me the excuse."

Vector growled again, but he made a cutting gesture. His soldiers lowered their rifles.

Bogo hmphed. "Wilde, Hopps, with me. Integrity, we're heading back. Energise!"

The confusing jumble of Vector's control room was replaced by the familiar insides of the transporter room. Those who didn't often go on Away missions found the transition jarring, with the sudden jump from danger to safety leaving their senses reeling. Not so for Judy. The transporter room grounded her. The return to the transporter room was the first sign of mission accomplished, of letting down her guard. It was where she counted the successes, as she did now. She'd made it back to the sanctuary of the ship without injury. They'd destroyed the jammer, which let Captain Bogo call in reinforcements and escape from Draconis. And Nick - Nick was still right beside her. That was the sweetest success of all.

She had to share that moment with Nick. Had to leap at him and throw her arms around his neck to hold him close. He hugged her right back, letting her momentum spin them around and leave them dizzy and laughing.

Bogo stepped out of their way before they bumped into him. "Wilde, Hopps, I'd appreciate if you kept your celebrations private. If you start making out on the transporter pad, I'm beaming you back onto Draconis."

Nick dipped Judy at the end of their next turn. "Sir, are you giving me permission to ravish Ensign Hopps if we take this to my quarters?"

Amidst the wolf whistles from the rest of the team filing out of the transporter room, Bogo huffed his displeasure. "What part of private don't you understand, Lieutenant?"

Judy reached up to cup Nick's face and turn his attention back to her. "Hopps going in for the kill!" Delgato hooted as he passed.

Judy was far more interested in the way Nick was smiling down at her. "Thank you," she told him.

Nick's voice, with its warmth, was fast becoming the best touchstone to let her know when all was well. She knew the mission was over when he replied, "You're welcome, Carrots."

Part 6