|“||Our dream is to become the greatest band of thieves in all of America! We'll never turn ourselves in, and we'll never get arrested, count on it!||”|
Vanishing Bunny (バニッシュバニー Banisshu Banī) is a band of thieves who committed multiple robberies across the United States in the 1920s. They seek to emulate the famous outlaw Belle Starr, and travel in a worn-out canopied truck.
Members[edit | edit source]
Pamela: A young woman in her twenties who serves as the group's driver and specializes in casino hustling. Her gambling skills mark her as the trio's main source of everyday income, and are the reason the Russo Family has a bounty on her head.
Lana: A young woman in her twenties who specializing in petty thefts, specifically purse and luggage snatching.
Sonja Bake: A teenager who specializes in marksmanship, making her the trio's main offensive and defensive asset. She has engaged in shootouts with the police on more than one occasion.
Chronology[edit | edit source]
Formation and Outlaw Career[edit | edit source]
In the 1920s, Pamela – a notorious casino hustler – is passing by when she comes across a group of men attempting to kill Lana, a petty thief. Pamela saves Lana's life, and the two women rob multiple casinos and ticket windows for illegal horse race gambling all over the area.
One day, while traversing the prairie, they come across Sonja Bake practicing shooting her many guns, which she keeps stockpiled in a wagon. With her parents dead, she joins up with Pamela and Lana as their shooter – someone who fends off their enemies via warning shots. The women, now officially a trio, remain nameless until Lana starts referring to them as "Vanishing Bunny." While Pamela tries to keep Lana from using the name in front of other people – and neither confirms nor denies the name – she seems to tacitly support it due to Sonja finding bunnies 'cute'.
As "Vanishing Bunny," Pamela, Lana, and Sonja commit organized robberies all over the country in part to emulate the famous outlaw Myra Starr: the vast majority of the time, they commit petty thefts (such as stealing from gardens) prior to carrying out major robberies and reap most of their everyday income from Pamela's gambling efforts. The times that they do attempt major heists usually devolve into messes that culminate in shootouts with either the Mafia or the police.
Their most dangerous crisis comes to pass when they steal some jewels from a museum's display case and attempt to leave the premises, only to find the museum's front door missing (thanks to a certain couple dressed up as mummies) and a crowd of rubberneckers and police standing by the front entrance. Pamela and company are mistaken as being involved in that incident, and are chased by not only the police over the course of the next two weeks but also the mafia, as a local mafia boss had once carved his and his first love's initials onto the stolen door.
Kidnapping Incident[edit | edit source]
While the three of them are traveling on the outskirts of Newark on the evening of December 30, 1931, Lana proposes that they rob the transcontinental luxury express Flying Pussyfoot for their next big heist, though she is not actually aware of its name until Pamela names it for her. Lana's idea is as follows: all they have to do is stop the train while it is in the middle of crossing a bridge, and thus take over the passenger cars starting from the caboose. Her suggestion that they use explosives to stop the train is immediately rejected by Pamela, and she pulls the truck over to the side of the road so that she can try to find places to stay on a map.
They spend about thirty minutes parked on the side of the road, during which time Lana lectures Pamela on why her train robbery idea is a good one and Sonja naps in the luggage compartment. As Lana and Pamela are busy and Sonja is asleep, no one notices Cazze Runorata – a runaway boy – climb into the luggage compartment and fall asleep.
Pamela finally agrees to at least drive to the site Lana has in mind and drives the car down the road toward a major highway, the Runorata Family manor visible through the trees. Several Runorata cars pass by them, but they neither recognize the cars nor the manor as Runorata-owned.
They proceed to drive all the way into New York state, heading for a bridge running between New York and the Great Lakes. Though their automobile is old and its engine poor, they manage to make it almost all the way there with no problems until they run out of gas, not far from a cluster of hunters' bungalows near the woods. Lana finally discovers Cazze when she goes to fetch one of their gas canisters, and the boy – muddy, but dressed in clearly expensive clothing – introduces himself and admits to being a runaway.
Lana immediately suggests that Vanishing Bunny kidnap him and ransom him for money, a plan which Pamela reluctantly agrees to only because she thinks they have a better chance of pulling it off than a train robbery. However, she advises Lana to not tell Cazze that they are technically kidnapping him. Thus advised, Lana telephones the Runorata Manor and demands that they deliver ransom money to Bungalow #1 (and under no circumstances call the police).
Once the trio arrive at the cluster of bungalows, they are dismayed to find two trucks parked in front of Bungalow #1 and light spilling out of its window despite the fact that the bungalow ought to have been unoccupied. With the bungalow's occupants staring at them from their windows, Pamela and Lana investigate Bungalow #3 instead and find its interior drab, but most importantly, empty. They decide to make Bungalow #3 their temporary place of residence for the next half-day, but Pamela has a crisis of faith and asks Lana on whether or not Vanishing Bunny should give up on the ransom idea after all.
Their conversation is interrupted by the Boy Who Wants A Family and the rest of the Retrieval Team from Jacuzzi's Gang. One of them, a girl called Melody, calls Pamela and Lana kidnappers and asks them to fill her in on what they were talking about forty-seven seconds ago.
Pamela has no choice to admit to the plan, but Melody has no interest in ratting Vanishing Bunny out to the police; after all, she and her friends are about to be complicit in a train robbery of their own. Not only is she willing to turn a blind eye to the kidnapping, she views Vanishing Bunny's scheme as a way of killing time until the robbery takes place.
Vanishing Bunny and the Retrieval Team spend the next few hours together in Bungalow #1, during which time Pamela and Lana learn that the train the gang is targeting is the Flying Pussyfoot itself and that two of the gang members are staff aboard the train. When Sonja wakes up from her nap, Lana accidentally lets it slip that Sonja is proficient with guns in earshot of the gang. The delinquents all demand to bear witness to Sonja's target practice, much to Pamela's discomfort, and she is all the more unnerved to learn that everyone in Cazze's house owns a gun. What is more, he will be allowed to use guns once he turns thirteen.
Meanwhile, Lana is brooding over her slip of the tongue until she has the 'bright idea' to have Vanishing Bunny 'tag along' with the gang's train robbery and make an escape during the ensuing confusion – they can simply leave Cazze at the bungalows. As she looks around, she notices the bodies of two Lemures – men dressed in unmarked military uniforms – lying on the ground twenty meters away. She then comes face-to-face with Cookie the bear, right as Sonja shoots a broken branch for her target practice.
At Lana's scream, Pamela rushes over to find Lana passed out over the two Lemures, with an odd depression in the grass nearby. She rouses Lana – who does not know what creature 'attacked' her – and moves the Lemures to the back of her truck; with only thirty-three minutes and thirty-two seconds before the Flying Pussyfoot is due to pass over the bridge at the earliest, Melody urges the Retrieval Team to prepare to move out.
While the delinquents ready their trucks, Pamela writes down a note saying that Cazze is "next to the bridge with some youngsters that happened to be passing by," and that the collectors should put the ransom money in "this box" and send the box floating down the river. She empties out a box, places the note inside, and leaves it in the entrance of Bungalow #3 in the hopes that it will be enough to "fool them." Lana thinks she should be more concerned about the 'creature' that attacked her, but Pamela explains that she remembered the significance of Cazze's surname: he must be a member of the powerful Runorata syndicate. Since Lana had demanded the Runoratas not contact the police, chances are that the Runoratas will punish Vanishing Bunny by their standards should they be caught.
Vanishing Bunny finishes readying their own truck and follow the delinquents' trucks down the road to the river, neither group noticing when their little convoy passes by Serges and his Lemures. They reach the riverbank with twenty-one minutes and thirty-one seconds left until the train is due, where Pamela and Lana watch Sonja and Cazze play with the delinquents and discuss what to do next. They could leave Cazze with the delinquents and make a run for it, but Pamela does not like the idea of implicating the delinquents as the kidnappers.
At the sound of screams, Pamela and Lana leave their truck to investigate the woods a little ways up the hill, where they find a large military tent and several vehicles parked nearby. A radio is perched on one of the cars, a cipher lies on the table underneath the tent. and blood stains one of the tent corners. Lana discovers a discarded grenade and promptly keeps it for herself, thinking it might come in handy should the 'big shadow' come back.
Pamela and Lana exit the tent and prepare to head down the hill, only to spot Serges holding a knife to Cazze's throat and five or six other armed Lemures clustered around the delinquents. The two women anxiously discuss possible means of rescuing Cazze, but a young man dressed in a tuxedo – Gabriel, one of the Runoratas tasked with retrieving Cazze – joins them and warns them not to be rash.
A new chaotic element enters the mix when Cookie the bear exits the delinquents' large truck and rears up on his hind legs, surprising all present. Lana shrieks that this is the creature who attacked her, and Gabriel darts down the hill to take out two of the Lemures. At the same time, Gabriel's identical twin Juliano bursts out of the forest on a motorbike, Pamela's box attached to the bike's back.
The twins immediately claim Cazze from Serges' clutches, but tensions rise when the two Lemures from the bungalows arrive with their guns locked and loaded. Lana sees Cazze's partial rescue as the perfect opening for the grenade, which she unpins and flings down the hill. It releases a colossal amount of white smoke as soon as it reaches the group on the bank, and Cookie and the twins use the cover to their advantage and knock all of the Lemures sans Serges out.
Pamela and Lana descend the hill in cautious fashion, just in time to overhear Gabriel remark that the kidnapper who placed the telephone call was a woman. He sends Juliano off to fetch Cazze from where he is celebrating with the delinquents in a clear move to leave himself alone with Lana and Pamela, and Lana promptly, tearfully, confesses that it was her idea to kidnap Cazze and hers alone. She asks that he send only her to the police, but Gabriel would rather not; instead, he fishes around in his wallet and offers a half-dollar coin as Cazze's ransom payment.
Lana hurriedly accepts it, agreeing to Gabriel's condition that they never reveal Cazze's ransom was such a paltry sum. Gabriel walks off to join Cazze and Juliano while Sonja rejoins Lana and Pamela, relieved to see they did not fight. Lana passes out at the sight of Cookie; shortly after, Serges – alive and bleeding in a drifting boat – prepares to gun down all of the riverbank occupants with his submachine gun. However, he is distracted when an injured woman leaps off the Flying Pussyfoot, and is subsequently knocked out by a falling crate.
Post-Incident[edit | edit source]
In the aftermath of the incident – still the early hours of December 31, 1931 – the three Vanishing Bunny members say a simple goodbye to Cazze and the delinquents before fleeing the scene in their truck as fast as possible. They come across a severely injured man collapsed on the road and hugging his sniper rifle during their getaway – a man who unbeknownst to them will upend their lives as they know it.
Lana points out to Pamela that the man's black suit is quite classy, and they decide to take him to a nearby doctor in the hopes that he will give them a nice sum of reward money as thanks. The doctor informs them that the man's eyes have been damaged to the point of blindness; realizing that the situation is more serious than they thought, they elect to stay until he regains consciousness.
Once the man wakes, and once he calms down from the shock of losing his sight, he introduces himself as Spike and asks Lana if Vanishing Bunny would be willing to take him somewhere. His assurance that Vanishing Bunny will be able to make some money out of it if "all goes well" leads Lana to agree without consulting the others, and Pamela reluctantly consents to drive him for the time being.
On the way to Spike's destination, Vanishing Bunny take one of their pit stops and Sonja carries out her daily shooting practice. From the sound of her shots alone, Spike recognizes the gun she was using as the top-notch weapon Villar-Perosa M1915; with Sonja delighted to have found someone else she can talk to about guns, and Spike needing a diversion to help him get over his newfound blindness, Spike begins training her in the art of sharpshooting. Over time, the practice becomes less of a diversion and something more serious, with Spike growing genuinely invested in passing on his own sharpshooting techniques.
Vanishing Bunny eventually arrive at Spike's destination, a city where Senator Manfred Beriam lives, and proceed to become involved in 'several incidents' around town. With Spike interested in working for Beriam and with Lana intrigued by the certain wealth a Senator's job promises, Vanishing Bunny's criminal activities are put on hold for the next three years: Pamela and Lana work honest jobs as housekeepers on the Beriams' estate, while Spike continues to train Sonja in sharpshooting – a skill which Senator Beriam puts to good use.
Vanishing Bunny thus remains inactive until February 1935, when Lana informs Pamela that – according to a Beriam subordinate – a big Mafia family is apparently planning on hosting a three day party for the grand opening of a casino in a new skyscraper's basement. Lana believes that this is a prime Vanishing Bunny target, and suggests the following: Pamela could attend the party and make a huge amount of money via cheating at gambling, Lana could then steal the proceeds, and the two of them could then make a flawless escape.
Pamela points out that Lana overhead this from one of Beriam's subordinates, meaning that the Senator is likely planning to oversee a major police bust of the party. After all, the Senator is infamous for his hatred of the Mafia – and frankly, Pamela does not find Lana's story about a huge casino and huge Mafia get-together very believable. Lana insists that everything she heard about Ra's Lance is true, and at the mention of the skyscraper's name, Sonja interjects that Spike may have a sharpshooting job for her there.
Sonja's words alarm Pamela to her core, and she decides to attend the casino party after all; not only is she worried for Sonja and hoping to keep a better eye on her while there, she now wants to earn enough money to give her and her friends the means to escape from Beriam's clutches. She does not know whom or what Beriam wants Sonja to shoot at the party, but she is highly afraid that it may be something living.
As the first day of the casino party approaches, Pamela drives Lana, Sonja, and Spike along the coast while an unusual amount of birds circle around the city. Spike asks Pamela "what brought this on" and if she wants to 'get in on' the casino party; not wanting to reveal her true motives, she demurs that she just wants to try her luck again for "old time's sake."
On the first day of the party, Pamela spends her time blending in with the crowd and cheating at gambling. Her casino hustling skills are called out by a guest named Nader Schasschule, whose name shocks her: he has the same name as Sonja's childhood hero. Their confrontation is interrupted when Chané Laforet and Leeza Laforet attack Nader in front of Pamela's very eyes, but Rail comes to Nader's rescue and leads him and Pamela over to Czeslaw Meyer and Shaft.
Rail brings Pamela, Czes, and Nader to the Genoard manor on Millionaires' row, where Pamela demands Nader's life-story. It is morning of the next day by the time Nader finishes, and the two exchange tense words over Sonja and what Nader means to her. (Over in the Beriam manor, Lana frets over Pamela's safety to a much more nonchalant Sonja). Pamela is at least willing to fill Nader in on what Senator Beriam is up to, and Nader wonders if he can still fulfill his childhood promise to be Sonja's hero.
The second night of the casino party passes without incident for Pamela, Lana, and Sonja, but with so many moving pieces at play, everything is building up to the third and final night of the party.
Vanishing Bunny's current situation is as follows: Senator Beriam plans on having Sonja shoot someone or something on the third night of the part, but whom or what the target is is at present unknown. Pamela is currently earning money at the casino via cheating, hoping to earn enough money to give Vanishing Bunny the means to escape Beriam's control. She is worried both for Sonja's safety and afraid that Beriam might want her to shoot a real person (or otherwise put the patrons in danger); in the meantime, Lana is holding down the fort at the Beriam manor.