This adventure was started due to a prompt from enragedFingernail. His suggestion was "WRITE A STORY ABOUT HOW A MAN IN A PURPLE SUIT FOUND SUCH A FINE PIECE OF BROCCOLI". It blossomed from there, using characters that I'd previously fleshed out with Zephyrkit. It's become, more recently, almost completely image-based! Persevere, and you'll get to the more picture-friendly sections.
It is a sunny night, symptomatically for somewhere so high in the northern hemisphere. The small group of people who managed to survive the four month days without committing suicide were far and few between - one such person is Laars Laarson, a philosopher of sorts. What he seeks, above all - above even carrying out his Mission - is broccoli.
It has, so far, evaded him, mainly due to the wily antics of the Broccoli Gang and their rivals, the Mull Berries. The groups numbered nine and three, respectively. He is at a loss...
One of the Broccoli Gang, the Waiter - usually an apathetic character - is out tonight. His sights are currently set on Don Huel, leader of the Mull Berries, who is exiting one of his haunts, a small asparagus warehouse nearby the docks. The Don is only in Scandinavia for a day, so now is the sniper's chance.
Looking through the sniper rifle's sights, it looks like the Waiter takes a breath. Calm and steady attributes are paramount for this line of work. As he prepares to pull the trigger, aiming for the Don, his back is trodden on.
It is Laars.
It seems the Waiter gasps - the fact that the unassuming man has found him is surprising, seeing as the the sniper usually goes to great lengths to protect himself from attack, but this gentleman has a vendetta.
Rolling the unresisting form of the Waiter over, Laars regards the slim figure, clothed in yellow, with a circular mask hiding his identity. Grinning unpleasantly, Laars draws a knife from his belt. Knocking the bowler hat off the Waiter's head, he proceeds to saw through the mask's strap - it seems to be unusually tough, and it was a poor decision to attempt it with a blunt knife - and then removes the mask from the man's face.
Beneath the mask is...
A pile of broccoli.
As Laars confusedly regards the pile of broccoli swaddled in some yellow sheets and topped off with a purple bow, a single shot rings out. The philosopher's hand rises, touching the center of his sternum - that chest which was until so recently topped with robes of purple, but now blooms with a flower of the purest red. Touching the tip of his finger to the blossom, it comes away stained. A look of intense agony comes across his face as he sinks to his knees, falling face-down into the bundle of broccoli. His dream is achieved, but at a terrible price.
On a building across the street, the impassive face of a demon in humanoid form watches him, and then folds the scope of his rifle away. His work is done, for now. He shall remain vigilant.
CHAPTER ONE: ON WALRUSES
It's time for the Broccoli Gang to meet once more - they've relocated to a generic metropolis for just this purpose. Tensions are running high, as the Pastor has gotten into a heated debate with the Baker, who does not appear happy with the way that the man is corrupting the Church. No, she says, you're not corrupting enough, fast enough. You need to go for sweeping attacks, she says.
The Pastor mutters something about dumb broads, and how they wouldn't know tactics if they hit them in the face. The Pastor gets a rather sharp slap across the face.
The Baker stalks away from the Pastor, much to the disappointment of the Painter and the Butcher - who were hoping for something more romantic or more violent, respectively.
Perhaps now is the time for some exposition on the nature of the Broccoli Gang... odd, how they'd joined. The Baker and Butcher had for a long time belonged to two rivalling groups, who had waged wars of attrition against each other for no very good reason. Only after a meeting was arranged did a satisfactory conclusion come about, and that was only through some rather intense diplomacy. Nevertheless, eventually the two sides were consolidated into the Broccoli Gang.
The two teams individually were merely devastating. Together, they were forces of nature.
It's the night of the real deal, now, and you're all nervous. Your name is... well, it's not important right now, but you go by the name of The Baker. You used to have a history, but it's gone now - it was cleared right up by some of your friends. Your current job is staking out the loading bay of this museum, where there's an opening gala being set up - it's shaping up to be one of the events of the year. Of course, you don't care one bit about that sort of thing. Not one bit. You're certain you're not going to mess up this job, either, as it would result in more pain than you'd care to experience.
Over the road, you can see the Banker in his disguise. It's actually not a disguise at all, really, as he has just put on a slightly larger top hat than usual. It's rather spiffy, even you have to admit. The Maker set him up with it - speaking of which, he's just stepping out of a limo, looking rather less like an escaped mental patient than usual.
You grab your knife, fashioned from your own torn-off horn, and stealthily creep forwards. A prawn delivery truck, shortly to give people their share of Hors d'œuvres, mysteriously breaks down as it passes within five metres of your body. Despite your garish yellow attire, you still manage to pass between the shadows completely unnoticed. A trainee chef, fresh faced and carrying a bag of onions, turns sallow as he finds himself unable to stay at his previous post of smoking in the cool night breeze. He turns tail and runs - exactly as planned.
Grinning, savagely but without any hope, you attempt to grab the onions that were dropped in his haste. As ever, you fail miserably - sighing, you continue on to the job at hand.
Turning from the spoiled onions, you set your sights on the prawns. Despite your seafood allergy, you decide to advance on the driver and gorge yourself on the delicious food. Somehow, the truck restarts - despite its prior breakdown - and reverses out of the loading bay. With a snarl of rage, an agile leap, and your dagger, you manage to balance precariously on the roof of the escaping truck. Sinking the serrated knife into the hull of the van, you break it open with a screech of metal.
Looking inside, you are confused to see the strange sight of...
...King Prawn, one of the rival mobsters in the city. You look on, aghast, as you see his entourage of lesser minions discussing their heist that is due to be pulled at the gala tonight. The King, usually so alert, is currently fondly regarding the eyes of his wife - a woman almost as spherical as he, and equally clothed in a hideous pink. You wonder what you should do next - reveal your presence, gatecrashing their plans to get a stab at the infamous man, or radioing in the plans to your higher up, so you can integrate them into your own?
You decide to remember what you know at present about your group. You think it'd be best if you didn't also give a run-down on the other groups in the city, because otherwise you'd be there all day - you also conveniently organise your thoughts into mental folders, to allow easy access or skipping for any theoretical brain-pickers.
Formerly a fashion designer involved in a terrible accident, which occured after his storming out of a studio shouting about 'beautiful dresses'. As a result, he lost the use of one of his arms, but fortunately gained nascent psychic powers after the job offer. He stays aloof, most of the time. His colour is VIOLET, or so you'd like to think, and he wears a mirrored mask at all times, coupled with a skull cap.
A vitriolic personality - otherwise known as the Vicar - he affects a religious air, in order to beget awe - unfortunately for him, he has a rather hateful personality. His weapon of preference is a broadsword, which he wields with panache. You think the colour that best describes him is GREEN - he wears a tall and thin mask, with deep green eye slits - perched on top of his head is a pillbox hat.
Normally a very jolly, robust man, the Butcher has been tangentially involved with the majority of disputes in the areas he has been in. He is a berserker, and also sports a tricorn hat. He is most certainly MAROON, has a welder's mask, very nimble fingers, and metal gauntlets.
You've never actually heard him speak, but he presumably does on occasion. He rarely moves beyond a shuffle, but he manages to set up events so that he invariably does not need to. His weapon of choice is a sniper rifle, which somehow folds down into a serving tray when not in use. His colour is INDIGO, he wears a bowler hat, and he has a bit bitten off the bottom of his mask.
A nasty piece of work, something like an automaton. Unlike the Butcher, he appears to take no pleasure in his work, but he nevertheless does it with cold and cruel efficiency. He enjoys blending in at state occasions, and wears a top hat and a wide, froglike mask. His colour is BLUE, and he has some lethal wrist blades. Effectively the group's accountant.
You are, of course, a very pleasant person, but you've got a chequered past that you'd rather not think on. It is enough to say that that part of your life is now finished, and you're now working in organised crime. Much nicer. Food has an aversion to you. You have a rather spiffy knife created from your horn, and your colour is a nice shade of ORANGE. You have a seafood allergy, and a mask with bars over the mouthpiece.
Sometimes referred to as the Artist, the Painter is a regular Casanova. Purported to be the best lover anywhere he goes - you, of course, wouldn't know - he is currently spending his time wooing the wives of politicians. He has a laughing, moustachioed mask, that can get quite eerie sometimes. He uses a Foil, with great expertise, and his colour is A KIND OF PINKY RED.
He prefers the old fashioned way of doctoring - that is, letting his patients die horribly, in new and inventive ways. Nevertheless, whilst not busy at his work he can be a pleasant and intellectual person to chat with. He dual-wields two flintlock pistols. His colour is GREY, and he wears a traditional plague mask.
The less said about this chap, the better. The one who rescued you from your dilemma, during your darkest hour, he is the one who pushed through the joining of the two groups. Apparently possessing the ability to be in more than one place at a time, he has an Omega clasp below his hood, but other than that is bereft of decoration. He does not deign to use a weapon, or, indeed, a mask, instead cloaking himself in a darkness that is impenetrable - occasionally he smokes a pipe, though. His colour is YELLOW, for some unfathomable reason, but also BLACK or WHITE.
You make the decision to radio in to the Reaper, the head of the group. The presence of King Prawn is serious enough to make alerting your leader an issue. The van has parked in an alleyway a little way off from the loading bay, and you take the time to leap from its roof. As the radio crackles, you relay what you've seen to the Boss. He makes a pithy remark, and signs off, after telling you to repeat this to the Pastor. Despite his failings, the Pastor is actually a tactical genius. You suppose.
As you turn your two-way radio off, you think on your target - the Rangoon Diamond, which is being exhibited in the museum. You have your doubts about whether it is the real target, as you have been misinformed on numerous occasions, so as not to allow snitches. You know exactly as much as you will need to know. For instance, you're aware that the Mull Berries are openly attending this function. It strikes you as deeply suspicious.
You harrumph, as you HAD NOT BEEN PLANNING ON DOING SO, but you guess that you could ruminate on the Mull Berries. You guess. You break out your mental filing system once again.
What seems to be a crotchety old man hides an intellect like a crotchety old man's. Despite this, he has actually managed to evade all your assassination attempts so far. If you had to give him a colour... well, all of the Berries really have the same colour scheme - BLACK and DEEP RED. It's rather nice, really. He wears some highly reflective glasses, and has one of those swordsticks inside of an ordinary wooden cane. He is actually quite efficient with it, surprisingly. His wardrobe includes a trilby. His skin is like alabaster, and you're going to go on thinking about it for a while.
Don Huel's top henchwoman - in fact, his only henchwoman, considering that it's a gang of three. She has a rather horrible condition that has resulted in a thin membrane growing across the area where eyes usually reside. Even so, she has an unerring sense of danger, and at some times she notices things far better than those with sight. She's got pretty pale skin too, and likes wearing a fedora. She has an ivory handled revolver, which fires modified needles. It's really quite nasty. Her colour scheme is also BLACK and DARK RED.
As far as you have been able to find out, Mr Hilare is the Mull Berries' messenger boy. He is a TROLL, and has flattish horns and a terrible fashion sense. He is something of a coward, and hasn't even settled on a HAT or WEAPON. He is NOT A VERY PROPER GANGSTER AT ALL. His colour is (surprise, surprise,) BLACK and DARK RED, although he still retains a fondness for GREY-BLUE. He also has a BEE LUSUS, although you have yet to determine its threat potential.
You reflect on what you have been told to do later on, when the heist proper is pulled - the plan is an intricate and complex thing, involving a blimp and an ornamental walrus statue. Luckily enough, your sneaking suspicion that the Rangoon Diamond is not the true target is being compensated by the other members of your posse, who have doubtlessly been told that the Gang have a quite different aim tonight - perhaps it is the Bengal Walrus statue itself, or even the jade frogs that litter the exhibition hall. You're quite sure that you will find out later.
Your role in the plan is a simple one: taking out the staff in the 'back stage' areas, so to speak. The usual staff at the museum - untrained oiks, the lot of them - have been replaced by a set of experienced security teams, each with an individual area or personage that they have to defend. On occasion such problems have actually been introduced by one of the higher up members of the team, although you personally think that it is unlikely such a thing has happened tonight. Too much is at stake - this is probably one of the last jobs you can pull in a large American city without pulling the National Guard down on you, along with those mobsters who don't appreciate having their zones muscled in on.
You reflect that perhaps now is not the best time to be philosophizing on the intricacies of the plan - considering the best plan of action for returning to the museum might be wiser. Then again, there are always alternatives.
You remember what you were charged to do by the Reaper - filling in the Pastor on your plans is never fun, but it's necessary. You pull out your radio, while glancing at the stationary prawn truck that is further down the alley.
Keeping your voice to a whisper, you radio in to the Pastor. It seems he's busy laying explosive charges, even though the Butcher is usually the one who takes care of that. Luckily enough he is not too busy to be informed of the alteration to your plans - unfortunately it also seems that he isn't too busy to give you an earful at the same time. Ranting about obsessions and carelessness, he begrudgingly adds a single 'well done' in regards to the excellent sleuthing you had carried out. It's a rare treat, and you are simply... ecstatic. Yeah.
You take your preferred route back to the museum, along the rooftops and over the alleys. Despite your garish dress of yellow, whilst you are in the faintest of shadows you can succeed in remaining inconspicuous. You've always been rather pleased with this skill, but you know that it's actually due to the outfit - even the Banker can blend in, and he is wider than he is tall and wearing a large silver and blue chain.
As you reach the nearest of rooftops to the square that the museum is located in the middle of, you stand up straight - were there a theoretical camera behind you, it would catch the dramatic pose of a person on a mission. Alas, there is only the tapestry of your mind with which to do such feats. Considering the scene before you, you notice a flicker of light in the adjacent city block to you.
Drawing out your FAITHFUL COLLAPSIBLE SPYGLASS, you zoom in on the flicker. However, it appears that this is unnecessary - as you do so, the electric lights for that block shut down. This then spreads to the next block - and the next - and the next. Soon, the entire district has been plunged into darkness, with the power grid completely offline.
Startled, you remain unsure as to whether this is part of the plan or not. Turning your sight back towards the museum, you realize that not the whole district is down - the museum remains brightly lit by spotlights, and it appears that the majority of guests have arrived. It looks like everyone is in place, save for you. You acknowledge the fact that you should probably be getting on with things, and venture towards your allocated spot, which is located in...
...hold that thought. Perhaps you shouldn't yet venture towards your station, as it seems that things might be remiss. Once again you unholster your two-way radio, and call in to check it with the Butcher. Pastor is too tetchy for this sort of problem, and it's far too unimportant to bother the Reaper with.
He says that there is nothing to worry about. This worries you greatly - you wonder as to what precisely he is planning. Nevertheless, you sign off, suspicious. It seems that other facets of the plan are going smoothly, though - the airship is bearing in on the museum's location, and it sounds like a shot has been fired in the museum. Nothing can go wrong. Nothing. Your certainty is cast-iron. So secure, in fact, that you decide to hold off going to your proper position for a while and instead choosing to go horsing around some more.
First on your list of frivolity is to find a maker of candlesticks - whilst the Maker did create some very skinny dresses during his tenure as a fashion guru, you suspect that this stray thought is going for something more literal. You think you might as well annoy him anyway, despite - or perhaps because of - the fact that he is unable to respond to any provocation. This can get aggravating, but you always feel sure that he is more annoyed than you, even if he does not let the smallest sign of it get past his mask. You've teased him often enough about removing it, which he has responded to by ignoring you, or, sometimes, blasting you with telekinesis. He cannot remove your own mask, even when charged to by the Reaper - it was part of the terrible and tragic past that you carry around with you. It is really sad.
Eventually you surmise that you should get to the set position directly. Creeping down the unlit fire escape, you look out across the square. Since the single shot fired earlier, it has been completely, eerily silent. You frown, as a stray thought makes you realize that neither the Maker or the Banker actually use guns. Nevertheless, you travel over the small area of square that you need to traverse in order to reach a wall of the museum. The sheer walls of the neo-classical facade loom over you, a deliberate attempt to awe and intimidate on the part of the museum's architect.
Drawing your knife, you employ your unusual style of climbing hand-over-blade up to your destination. A short time later, and you've arrived. Feeling that this is a sensational victory, even though it is nothing out of the ordinary, you once again turn on your faithful radio to check that plans progress apace. Calling the Maker first, you are only marginally concerned that there is no noise over the line. Gabbling in your nervousness, you tell him to prepare a candelabra to celebrate tonight's heist.