From the Annals of the Paragon Society

Web of the Spider Cult: Chapter One

Museum Mayhem

1936, Centropolis.

The team from the Paragon Society consisting of Helen White, Buck Boaz, and Pandora Chase has been out of town and just returned to Centropolis. Helen invites the team back to her townhouse, but when they arrive they see her front door is busted open. Upon a quick investigation, they find the body of Dr. Ernest Breakspeare dead in her study, presumably from the blowdart in his neck. His other hand is clutching a golden disk. Examining it, Helen identifies it as Aztec in origin, and reads the glyphs on the disk as a name – Tzitzimime – which relates to a minor celestial goddess. They also find his diary, a ticket stub from Mexico to Centropolis, and a bus ticket from Centropolis to Boston. A window (leading to the garden) is open. Nothing seems missing, though Buck finds some plants disturbed outside in the garden, like someone ran from the house.

Buck calls the police, while Pandora calls some friends at the paper to find out about Breakspeare – he has a good reputation.

The police arrive, lead by Inspector Victor Galloway. They ask the usual questions of everyone separately. Helen leaves out mentioning the golden disk or the diary, Buck is not so close-mouthed. The police depart (without comparing notes) and thus leave to two bits of evidence in the group’s possession.

Museum of fine artsIn the morning Helen calls the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and tells them of Breakspear’s death. The woman is shocked and offers to have Dr Hibbert – his boss – call when he gets in. Later his secretary calls and ask that we meet him tomorrow. They group flies to Boston.

They go to meet Dr. Oswald Hibbert, and find out the museum – specifically the Aztec collection – was robbed two weeks ago, around the time some crates arrived (they are currently in the basement). The group asks questions, and finally show him the golden disk. As Hibbert takes it, the door bursts open and a group of Aztec Warriors enter, shooting blow-dart guns. Helen grabs for the disk, but misses as Hibbert ducks under his desk. Pandora draws her gun and shoots one of the Warriors. Buck cracks his knuckles and punches one of the Warriors. Pandora shoots the third. As they take a breath, they hear breaking glass outside. Buck and Helen rush outside, and see another Aztec running down the hall into the museum. Aztec warrior Pandora helps Dr Hibbert from under his desk, and asks him if he knows what happened. A frantic chase through the museum ensues! Helen and Buck dodge passers-by, workmen, museum guests, and Buck catches a priceless vase before it could smash to the floor. Eventually, Buck tackles the Aztec, knocking him out. Buck carries him back to Dr. Hibbert’s office and ties him up.

The group (dragging Hibbert along) follows a map found on the Aztec down to the basement. The basement is full of old exhibits, parts of new exhibits, conservators’ workbenches, and several large crates. All of the crates were shipped from the Riverside Warehouse Company, New Orleans. Pandora notices a lot of knots in the wood of the crates, and Buck pops one into a crate. There is a yell, and Aztecs leap out of all of the crates. The Aztecs again attack with blowguns. One of them shoots at Pandora who ducks at the last moment and he shoots his compatriot instead! Pandora and Helen both shoot at them, as Buck wades into the middle of them, takes a drink and attacks all the Aztecs. After some more shooting, the Aztecs are all taken down. The group then examines the crates, finding food, water gourds, and the stolen artifacts. Spider hand The group notes all the Aztecs have a spider tattoo on the backs of their right hands.

The group returns to Dr. Hibbert’s office and Helen tries to question the remaining Aztec. He curses the team, and suddenly contorts in pain, dead! A small spider climbs out of his clothes and runs away. Buck recognizes it as a Mexican Black Widow, but it gets away.

To be Continued…



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