A fan site for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game by Margaret Weis Productions
[From the epilogue of Avenging Arach-Knight #4: Atonement]
The whole crime scene at Mott Haven was a mess, but gradually order was being restored. The last agent lost in the rubble of the toy factory had been found, alive, and transported to the hospital. FBI agents from surrounding regions had finally arrived to take over for their fallen brethren, joined by local Mott Haven police. New perimeters had been established, and the investigation was proceeding at an ever-increasing pace.
At the edge of the activity, two men stood aside, momentarily relieved from duty after hours of working the scene. They smoked and drank cold coffee as they looked back on the mess before them.
The older, fat one, a detective, stared at his companion with disbelief. “You telling me that some teddy bears caused this explosion, Carl?”
The taller, thin one, nodded. “I’m saying the bombs were inside the dolls, and not just teddy bears, either. Winnie-the-Pooh themed dolls of all stripes. Just like the Owl dolls that took out the copter. There are a few still unexploded in the wreckage; my team is still diffusing those.”
From his perch atop an adjacent building, Arach-Knight watched the lead bomb squad tech hand the inspector the remains of one of the toys. The bloated inspector turned the doll’s severed head over in his large hands.
“What kinda sicko stuffs explosives inside of a Winnie the Pooh bear?”
The question burned inside Arach-Knight’s core. He knew very well the type of person that did such things. He was the son of one of them. And Flying Tygger went even deeper into the madness than even Arach-Knight had ever witnessed.
“That’s what I wanted to tell you about, Horace. This factory made toys of all kinds when it was open back in the day. Yet all we can find in here are remains of Pooh toys. It’s like someone recreated the Hundred Acre Woods in there.”
“So we have another nut job bad guy with a theme.” He peered back at the wreckage, to where the remains of the foreman’s office jutted out of the debris. “Those webs I see, Carl?”
Carl glanced at the webbing. “Yeah, looks like Spider-Man tangled with whoever was hiding out here before the blast.”
Horace shook his head. “Maybe not. A bunch of these Pooh Bombs were set to go off at that pro-mutant riot downtown. Only one of them did, because some other spider-guy helped the NYPD dispose of the rest.”
Carl took a sip of his coffee. “I heard something about that on the radio. Wasn’t there a fatality?”
Tears of regret formed in Arach-Knight’s eyes. He turned away from the men, looking back towards Midtown. He let out a long sigh.
“Yeah, some little mutant kid, no more than six,” continued the detective. “Parents were normals, and from what I hear they were beside themselves.”
Arach-Knight cut off the parabolic sensor in my mask, cursing his inexperience and slow reactions once more. He walked away from the crime scene to the opposite side of the roof, which faced the East River several blocks away. He could just make out Riker’s Island and the Raft superhuman holding facility in the distance. He stared at if for a time in silence. Finally, a whisper escaped his lips. “Peter would have saved them all.”
From inside his mask, he heard a familiar voice. “You saved hundreds of people today. Doesn’t that count for anything to you?”
His sister’s voice, over the secure comm channel. She must have worked out how he had hacked her texting app, and reverse-hacked her way into his helmet line. He switched to internal microphone, so no one beyond the skin of his mask could hear. “Sarah, I let that girl down.”
For the first time in a long time, Sarah’s voice had no hint of anger, only compassion and understanding. “You disposed of several hundred bombs. You are a hero. ‘Dad’ would be proud.”
He saw Norman standing over his corpse in his mind’s eye once more. You did me proud, son. He swallowed his anger. “You know our father as well as I do. That monster would have planted those bombs.”
Her voice was gentle, sympathetic. “I don’t mean Norman Osborn, Gabriel. I mean the man we both wish really was our father.”
Arach-Knight hung his head. “He would have done better. I have not earned the right to think of myself as his son.” He paused. “I’ve been a pretty lousy brother, too, haven’t I?”
There was a long pause. “I don’t think I will win any awards for best sister, to tell the truth. I kind of hung you out to dry with congress, today. I shouldn’t have done that. What happened to Bridget was my responsibility, because her death was built on my decisions. But I was angry that you weren’t there to share in the decisions, so I blamed you.” Another pause. “I’m sorry, Gabriel.”
Arach-Knight breathed in deep. A huge weight came off of him. He hadn’t lost her, despite his neglect. “I’m sorry, too.”
After an awkward moment, he added, “So, am I still employed?”
Sarah’s laugh filled his ears. “Yes, you’re still president. But we have to make new arrangements. We have to figure out how to accommodate your extra-curricular activities with your day job.”
He glanced back towards the crime scene, now obscured from view by the roof line. “I was going to stop after catching Flying Tygger. But now…”
“Go home, Gabriel. I’m flying into town and should be home in a few hours. The police have the crime scene. The FBI are hunting Bethany Sergeant. There’s nothing left for Arach-Knight to do tonight.”
To the east, the sky suddenly glowed bright blue. Arach-Knight turned, and between buildings he could see the tail end of the largest electric bolt he’d ever witnessed arc out of the Raft. He could almost feel the EM pulse as it washes past him. The city around him went dark.
“Hold that thought, Sarah,” he said, even though he knew it will be minutes before his apartment’s emergency power system rebooted from the pulse, allowing his connection with her to be restored. He switched his suit to flight mode. “I may yet have the chance to atone for my sins against Spider-Man.”