author:FutureOracle inspired_by_Oculus police_fluffy undercover

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Buddy vs the System: Fiery Conviction

*Pastor*

You despise these creatures from the very bottom of your soul. Not because they were man-made, which most certainly did not make them insults to God himself. If that were the case, then mankind in itself at this very day was an affront, including those who preached from there holoscreens and drones. No, you despise these creatures for representing something that no single person could ever truly deal with: corporate incompetence. Hasbio had the chance to help correct their mistake when the alpha development fluffies broke out, but instead, they turned tail to their headquarters in a richer city sector, hiding away in those neon-lit clouds from those who were wronged.

And while this place was by no means wealthy before, it was clean given the circumstances. But now, a small army of people had to go out into the streets to first torch the herds to help cull the population, and an even larger army of people to clean the mess up afterwards. You were a simple man, leading a small church as a place of hospitality. While organized religion had lost a majority of its power in the current day and age, small congregations that you once led were often a welcome sight. And your place was one of acceptance and peace. But when the break-out happened, you made a horrible mistake.

You fed a small family, consisting of a stallion, mare, and three foals. You sympathized with the creature’s plight, so you offered food, water, baths, and a safe place to rest for them. But where a feral is given such luxuries, and is still allowed to go outside, others would soon follow. One day, you came to your church to find it surrounded by over a hundred fluffies, all filth-covered and riddled with disease. And the family you sheltered, had managed to let some of them in when you forgot to properly lock the doors, judging by how they were wide open. The church had to be closed down, and since you only lead a small group, you lacked the funds to seriously clean it. Despite telling that damned family how they were to not let any others in, or even tell the other ferals about what you were doing, they happily blabbed and even managed to open the doors by themselves. That you found out when news of your arrival reached them, and they pushed their way to you. When a group of Cleaners came by and did their work, the screams served as a sharp by comforting symphony to your ears.

People who depended on your services were left stranded, and the news that reached you about what had happened to some of them left you howling in rage as tears streamed down your face. And all because a corporation couldn’t even put in the minimal effort to keep their precious product in proper cages. And how your kindness to them only led to the most important thing in your life to be shut down. So here you were, a Cleaner, working and saving to one day reopen your church. And as you worked, you found that you were not the only one who made such a grievous mistake. Sometimes, the worst stories came from places that lacked proper sanitation procedures, leading to horror stories of how even hab-buildlings would have half of their residents fall ill, and a good number of them die, from the fluffies and their filth.

You were not a violent man, nor a psychopath. But you had been pushed to beyond your limit for a simple act of kindness. And the only kindness that you gave out nowadays to these vermin was the mercy of a quick death of flame. You were not a violent man, nor a psychopath. But you had been pushed to beyond your limit for a simple act of kindness. And as you worked, you found that you were not the only one who made such a grievous mistake. But that was as far as you went. Torture and sadism would accomplish little, and as broken as you were, there was nothing to gain from skinning a fluffy alive and covering it in salt.

And the worst part, Hasbio had not only managed to still come out with a fluffy model to sell, they made multiple species! How dare they do all of that, while this city suffered because of them. So, you worked the long hours six days a week, finding herds and torching them. Spraying their former nests, now covered with their charred remains, to mark for a sanitation crew to come by. But right now, you feared that out of all of the mutations you’ve seen, there was finally one that managed to improve beyond the normal levels you have seen. And if that one bred and produced more spawn, the city would face another outbreak of fluffies again, but able to avoid Cleaners more effectively. No matter what, that mutant would burn to ensure a clean future.

*Sam*

“I really think you should call it a day, dude. You’ve already torched seventeen nests by yourself.”

“When the shepherd lowers his guard when wolves are nearby, then the consequences become dire Sam. We must purge this filth before they have a chance to grow larger!”

Yay, the pastor was at it again. Your suspicions of him being an abuser melted away like the fluffies’ flesh did when he came around. Instead, you were worried that he genuinely thought of himself as a religious crusader against a blight. While these things did have to go, the amount of pushing he gave himself showed either a man on the brink of breaking, or a man who had made it his mission to spread fiery punishment. And judging from the lack of raving about being a crusader, this guy must’ve had something seriously bad happen to him relating to the fluffs. But hey, he didn’t mind you tagging the nests he got to you as well for a bonus.

“Yeah, and I think there’s also a saying or something about how working and pushing too hard will make a man break down that much faster. Just give yourself like, a ten to fifteen minute break. There’ll still be fluffs here to take care after you relax for a bit.”

Thank goodness that reason could still reach him, though the time it took for him to actually unclench his flamethrower and find a spot to sit down at was a little too long. Oh well, it made sure that he wouldn’t just drop dead from exhaustion. As uncomfortable as people could be around him, he was still a good person.

*Buddy*

Another week, so much time spent staking out the building, so much time trying to avoid close contact with the ferals, and so much time spent hiding far away from the Cleaners. But now, you had him. Apparently, Josh enjoyed working the early morning shift. Considering how he mostly kept clean, it would have been impossible to find him had he not drugged those poor fluffies. To a normal human, Mad Hatter’s Tongue would’ve given them a couple of hours of the highest high, if their bodies accepted it. But to these fluffies, their poor brains couldn’t handle it. The Cleaner that came by around noon was confused by the sight of twitching, drooling fluffies just laying around, though it did make their job easier.

And you knew that Josh wasn’t an abuser, or at least a serial one. What you suspected was the reason was also why the man had committed so many crimes and got away with them. He just wanted to see what would happen, so his connection to his acts was minimal. Drug trafficking, elaborate heists, robberies, there wasn’t a human factor to his crimes so much as a reaction factor. There was definitely something wrong with the man, but that would be for the prison to figure out. At least the number of people and fluffies dead by his own hands was generally kept at a minimum.

But here he was, standing right before you. Feeding a drug you didn’t recognize, but most likely highly illegal, to the poor audience before him. Of course, at a safe distance. Slowly, quietly, you approached him from the side. Time was of the essence, and you would prefer to have the nearby hidden police craft grab him after you subdue him without interacting with any local authorities.

“Hey little guys, I got a brand new nummie for all of you to try out! It’s chocolate flavored.”

“Is nummie poopie? Wooks wike poopie.”

“No, no, no. It’s definitely not poop, it looks like it but tastes really good!”

The worst part about hearing all of this was that without any background knowledge, you would’ve sworn this was a kind human helping out some ferals. But an actor needs to play their role to get the audience reaction they want, and Josh played his to a T. Still, the arm of the law had the surprise this time. With careful aim, you used the shock-catch you had hidden and hit him in the left side of his ribs. Success!

“What the - oh hell no! Did you think that I’m just walking around unprepared?”

What. The shock device may have had some controversy to it, but it usually guaranteed a target being subdued due to the device penetrating the skin and - he’s wearing a protective vest. Damn it, even laying low, the man still has his bases covered! You had other gadgets to use, but the man is off before you could bring them up. And you knew he had discovered Hasbio’s police project when he spotted a fluffy not eating his peddled drug. Thankfully, the shock-catch had a tracker in it, so with careful positioning, you had your infiltration gear on and you began the chase. Running him until he was tired was out of the picture, but with small size and general camouflage among the ferals, surprise was on yours.

*Pastor*

By the grace of God himself, you finally found the mutant again! Though seeing a man running away from it was odd, since a good shout was enough to scare away a fluffy if it was getting too close. But no matter, your early morning patrol today would have to be put on hold to purge the odd fluffy. Though whatever happened to its genetics in the womb, had graced it with just enough stamina and speed to outrun you while you were in the Cleaner suit. But like hell would you take it off to chase after something that carried who knows how many diseases.

However, minutes after seeing it run away, it hit you. The mutant was chasing the man, and the man was tugging at something on his chest. Was it a damn rogue scientist, trying to finish what Hasbio started for who knows what reason? Oh, you were not going to let that happen. You wouldn’t let the man be infected by his creation, but a good torching of the wayward creation and a very stern talking to those who tried to profit from corporate failure would satisfy you. And reporting him to the authorities for nearly worsening the situation. As you passed by a large unmarked vehicle, you checked the Cleaner Information Network to find fellow co-workers nearby and see who spotted the man.

*Sam*

This would be the last early morning shift you would ever take. The loss of a few Cleaners had caused chaos in the scheduling, and as a result, you and a few others had to pick up the gaps while the city scrambled for more people to hire. At least the abandoned building you were checking out was clear of any infestation. But before you could mark it off on your tasklist, an average looking man came running to you. Weird, people normally gave Cleaners a wide berth, for obvious reasons. Well, you better - GAK!

“Sorry for this bud, but I need to keep a guarantee that isn’t going to run out quick.”

What the hell! This guy was strong, he just did some weird martial move and basically had an arm around your neck. The suit should’ve prevented - oh crap. A hissing noise was all that alerted you that whoever this person was, they were most definitely not a normal one. A vibro-blade cut through your suit’s helmet connection, and with a pull he exposes your bare head as he once again starts to restrain you. And what the hell does he mean by keeping a guarantee?! From who?!

*Buddy*

Sometimes, it feels like that reality itself loved abusing fluffies. For in your situation right now, the criminal you had finally found had taken a Cleaner hostage, one arm held tight around their neck and the other holding a vibroblade. Even if he wasn’t taking them hostage, the Shadow Man had brought a wrinkle into the operation. If the Cleaner spotted a fluffy talking like a human, and spouting off the required law quotes, questions would be asked and trickle up to the city’s leaders. And unlike last time, Hasbio had no outs. Bringing a private police force, even if it consisted of fluffies, into another city without letting them know was a bit of a violation of continental law.

“Where are you little fluffy? Scared of the big, bad cleaner? Or is it something else?”

Damn his mocking tone, it sounded way too light and jovial for the situation. While enjoying the fact that he had a hostage, there was a certain glee in his eyes that made your fluff run cold. The poor Cleaner was starting to get worried about the man shouting to a fluffy that wasn’t there while waving about a blade that could easily sever their head. Beads of sweat were starting to fall off, and the eyes screamed a message for help. But the arm around the neck was keeping a chokehold on them, preventing nothing more than gasps to come through. And the room this confrontation was happening in was too open for you to sneak around to get him from an unnoticed angle.

However, the best solutions sometimes really do come from the oddest of places. As you kept racking your brain on what to do, you heard shouting.

“Wretched fiend! First you create an abomination that would bring the city to its knees, and now you seek to escape punishment by holding an innocent hostage?!”

Damn your luck, it was that religious nutjob of a Cleaner. Their suits probably had access to some sort of network, and a sudden disruption probably attracted one over. Though now the situation was even worse for you! Three humans, two who must never know why you’re here, and one you had to subdue. And one of the two was being held hostage by a career criminal. The shouts began between the two of them, and your frustration grew along with the volume. However, your concentration on the matter knocked over some nearby loose trash, causing new noise. As Josh turned to look, the nutjob moved. Wow, he was a speed to a normal Cleaner like you were to normal fluffies. Leveraging his momentum meant he crashed straight into his coworker. A dull impact for her, but a full force not softened by a padded suit for the criminal.

However, you weren’t the only one packing little tricks. Also, this wasn’t the first time the Shadow Man was tackled by a heavier opponent. With graceful dodging and a pull from a pocket, both Cleaners get covered in a tar-like substance. They would be fine, though the helmetless one would need a thorough shower. Josh makes to once again get away, but this time, you are ready. A second shock-catch, aimed right at his Achille’s tendon, brings the shadowy speedster to a knee. And while the only possible witnesses were currently unable to see, the call was made. The only good grace about the current time was that few people would be up and about, and this part of the city barely had any people around. Still, while Josh was pulled into the van, you hoped that those two Cleaners didn’t see enough to cause problems. Because if word got out about Hasbio’s stunt here, the price to pay would be great.

‘Days Later’

*Sam*

Even with the reports made, there was little news. Due to all of the shit happening so fast, neither you or the pastor could make out any strong visual factor about the guy who nearly sliced your head off. Poor pastor though, he thought that he nearly killed you with his stunt, and let away what was in his mind a mad scientist. Guy definitely had a few things loose in his head, but he meant well. Same couldn’t be said for the jackoff that held you hostage though. Thankfully, no sign of him was found anywhere after the report, so he hopefully skipped out of this city and into another one to hide. Cleaners were the defense force for this city against filth, so any actions against them without provocation were illegal with high fines for the minimum level.

Still, wherever the guy went, he also took with him the mutant fluffy that the pastor had been raving about. Honestly, good for everyone. The guy needed a win every now and then, and it was one less fluffy problem for the city. Of course, considering everything that happened, and how you had been saving for a while, the only things you worried about were maximizing your vacation time for all it was worth.
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Nobody: the pastor is just doomguy for fluffies