Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is an alternate universe story with one key difference that shifts the entire narrative in an interesting way. You should get caught up on our canonical adventures here first!
All was calm aboard the Helix as the ship flew through warp space. Shandra sat in the the co-pilot’s seat on the bridge, gazing out into the swirling masses of warp energy. Minerva, the new pilot the crew had hired on Delphyne, didn’t seem much of one for conversation, but Shandra didn’t really mind. After the excitement of the past few days, she was glad that things had quieted down.
Since leaving Vandia, it had been one thing after another. Finding Alex stowed away on the ship felt like such an insignificant complication compared to the crew’s recent problems. In light of discovering the girl aboard the Helix, the crew had actually agreed to let Alex stay on the ship; she had nowhere else to go, after all. Surprisingly, even H had been convinced to allow her to stay.
In fact, Shandra was starting to warm up to Alex. She had proven herself to be quite resourceful in the few days Shandra had known her. The girl had a strong understanding of technology that rivaled that of H, Morgan, and even her own, and she could do things with Pokeballs that Shandra didn’t even think possible. The thing that impressed Shandra the most, however, was how Alex had captured that massive Pokemon on Messina like it was nothing.
Shandra had no doubt that Alex would be a valuable addition to the crew, especially if they were going to keep winding up in these dangerous situations. Even so, Shandra, Dmitri, H, and Alex together had still barely been a match for Heilovic. They had barely escaped from the Supremacist captain, and that was only thanks to Morgan.
On that thought, Shandra realized that she had not seen Morgan for several hours. That’s odd, she thought. It was unlike Morgan to not be around, so Shandra felt worried that something was wrong. Shandra felt a strong connection to Morgan that she didn’t feel with her other crewmates, so she needed to make sure that she was okay.
Shandra hopped up from her seat on the bridge and set off to find Morgan. She visited all of Morgan’s usual spots and was surprised not to find her in any of them. That just left Morgan’s room, so she made her way back to the living quarters. Finding Morgan’s door closed, Shandra knocked, but she heard no response.
Given that Morgan wasn’t anywhere else on the ship, it was safe to assume that this was the only other place she could be. Noticing that the door was unlocked, Shandra opened it and stepped into the room.
Inside, Shandra was greeted by the sight of Morgan lying on her bed facing the wall, her back to the door. “Morgan are you okay?” she asked. It was pretty easy to tell that she wasn’t okay, but Shandra wanted to let her know that she was there.
Morgan gave no response. She appeared to be attempting to pretend that she was sleeping, but it was quite obvious to Shandra that she was wide awake.
“Morgan, I know you’re awake.”
Shandra crept closer and kneeled down by Morgan’s bedside. “You don’t have to be afraid of… whatever it is that you’re afraid of,” she said reassuringly.
“But…” Morgan said, still staring at the wall. “What if I’m afraid of… me? I killed all those people… And the ones who didn’t die… They’re ruined...”
“They were trying to do the same to us,” Shandra told her. “It was self-defense.”
“Not them,” Morgan responded. “Only the captain. But I couldn’t… because you were on that ship.”
“I was trying to get H off of that ship,” Shandra told her.
“Why does something like that gate hack even exist?” Morgan continued, ignoring her comment. “How could I do something like that? It felt good… when I watched the ship burn.”
“I guess power kinda gets to your head after a while… But, seriously, are you okay?”
“I’ll be okay… Please… just tell everyone I was asleep.”
“Alright,” Shandra agreed, placing her hand on Morgan’s shoulder reassuringly. She empathized with the pain this memory must have been giving Morgan. “I did want to let you know since you weren’t on the bridge,” she continued. “But we crossed paths with Arlon.”
“I see… What did he say?”
“He found out more information on Armstrong. He wants us to prevent him from being captured or killed by Mr. Silver’s men.”
“I’m guessing this is urgent then.”
“Yeah… We’re actually headed into Genevan space right now to try and find him.”
“Genevan space…? Where?”
“Parisia. Armstrong is giving a talk there on Friday.”
“I can’t go there.”
“You… don’t have to… You can stay on the ship if you want.”
“As long as I can stay here, that’s fine. I can’t help you.”
“Okay.” Shandra sensed that Morgan needed some more alone time, so she got up and left the room.
As she made her way down the hallway, Shandra noticed Alex stumbling around aimlessly, seemingly a bit tipsy from the sheer amount of time that the ship had been in warp space recently. “Hey… are you okay?” Shandra asked as she approached the girl. “Is the Warp a bit too much? It’s always rough for first timers.”
“Huh?” Alex asked. She was clearly a bit delirious.
“I think you should go sit down,” Shandra told her. “You’re looking a bit… wobbly.”
“I’m not wobbly… You’re wobbly,” Alex responded as she stumbled forward.
It looked like the girl was about to fall over, so Shandra quickly reached out and grabbed her. Alex giggled as she fell into Shandra. “You’re pretty,” she said.
“Uh... thanks,” Shandra responded. It was pretty clear that Alex was out of it, but she still didn’t really know how to respond. “Uh, here,” she continued, attempting to lead the girl down the hall. “Why don’t we go sit down somewhere?”
“Okay…” Alex said breathily. “I’m gonna stop standing up now.” Suddenly, the girl’s knees gave out and she slumped against the wall, pulling Shandra down on top of her.
Shandra’s face was so close to Alex’s that she could feel the girl’s breath on her. “Hi…” Alex breathed out as her cheeks flushed red. Before Shandra got the chance to move, the Sinai girl planted a soft kiss right on her lips.
Shandra quickly pulled away. “Woah there, take it easy,” she told Alex. She didn’t really know what to make of the situation. “Look, uh, just… stay here until we get out of warp space,” she said before getting up and leaving. She needed to make some sense of what had just happened.
Shandra closed the door as she entered her barren warp lab, looking for some way to isolate herself from the crazy that happened to inhabit the rest of the ship. It could hardly even be called a warp lab yet; at times the workshop seemed quite literally like a void of empty space. However, the miniature warp drive she had recently purchased was unpacked in the center of the room, so Shandra gathered some tools, sat down, and got to work installing it.
And yet her mind kept drifting back to a few days ago— that moment in the hallway. That sort of thing had never happened before, and yet it wasn’t entirely unwarranted… was it? She mulled it over, so engrossed in thought that she barely noticed a knocking at the door some time later. She leaned over and pressed a button on a nearby remote to unlock and open the door. H wasn’t exactly the kind of person who cared about personal space, and Shandra didn’t exactly feel comfortable with him snooping around. Fortunately, as the doors opened, Alex popped her head in.
“Uh… hey, Blue?” Alex asked, somewhat shyly. “Inspector Gizmo kicked me out of his Pokeball workshop, so I was wondering if I could… um… work on some stuff here?”
“Feel free,” Shandra told her as she tossed a few of the loose Pokeballs littering the floor in Alex’s direction. “As a matter of fact, I was just trying to figure out how to rig this drive to work when not attached to a ship. I could use someone to talk to.”
Alex caught the Pokeballs and looked them over. “I, uh, could zombie-proof these for you if you want, Blue,” she said as she settled into a spot on the edge of the room. “I haven’t tested it yet but I’m sure it’ll work.”
Shandra chuckled a bit, recalling Alex’s antics when they first met. “You know zombies don’t exist, right?”
“That’s what they want you to think.”
“Who? The zombies?”
“Well, duh, who else?”
Shandra shrugged this off as she continued to work. Purple sparks of warp energy occasionally floated up from the drive, only to fizzle out after a few seconds. “There must be some sort of safety protocol that prevents it from staying active for extended periods of time when isolated,” she said, to nobody in particular.
There was a brief moment of silence as the two continued to work on their projects, but eventually Alex broke it. “So, uh... What’s up with your magic tattoo?” she asked. “Is it always super glowy like that?”
“Didn’t we like just tell you about that?” Shandra asked, briefly looking at her arm. Sure enough, Giratina’s mark was convulsing and emitting a soft purple glow, at least more than it normally did. “Oh. It happens occasionally. I’ve more than gotten used to it by now.”
Shandra looked up and was surprised to see Alex right next to her, reaching out to poke her marked arm. Instinctively, she backed away from the girl. “Could you not?”
“Oh… uh, sorry,” Alex said, dejected. “It’s just… like, really cool, y’know?”
“Well, I guess it is pretty cool, but still. Personal space much?”
“You know, the longer you have something cool and special, the less you notice it,” Shandra said after a while. “Like your skill with Pokeballs.”
“I’ve been working with Pokeballs for years; it’s… really not that big a deal. Not like that, anyway,” Alex mumbled, motioning again to the purple markings.
“My point exactly,” Shandra said, smiling. “You’re blushing, by the way.” Her comment only made the girl blush even more.
“Listen…” Alex finally said after several moments. “I… I, uh, wanted to apologize for the other day.”
“Oh,” Shandra said. “It’s alright. As I said, everyone’s first time in warp space is a bit rough.” It’s not like it was bad or anything, it’s just…
Alex’s face lit up as she grinned and teased, “Now look who’s blushing!”
Silence ensued as Shandra quite avidly ignored the girl’s remark, instead attempting to focus once again on fiddling with the warp drive— actions that yielded little more than sparks and smoke. “No, that doesn’t work either, apparently,” She mumbled to herself as she grew even more frustrated with the non-functioning machine.
“Have you tried unplugging it and plugging it back in?” Alex joked somewhat nervously.
While Shandra doubted Alex knew much about warp drives, she took the girl’s suggestion rather seriously. She quickly looked over the device and its components, and realized that she had neglected to connect it to any form of power to begin with. “That would do it,” she said with a sigh as she plugged it into the ship’s power grid. The warp drive flared with power, creating a small ball of warp within that bathes the room in a deep purple glow. A searing pain ran up Shandra’s arm as her mark began to glow almost as brightly, pulsating rapidly as if reacting to the sphere’s energy.
“Ha!” Alex shouted triumphantly. “I knew that would work.” The girl’s glee was cut short as she turned to face Shandra, and saw her curled up on the floor wincing in pain. “Hey, are you okay?”
Shandra barely managed to utter the response “What does it look like?” in a very pointed manner. NO I AM NOT OKAY THIS FUCKING HURTS GET ME MEDICAL ATTENTION.
Hesitating briefly, Alex ran to the intercom by the door and screamed “Somebody help! Blue needs a medic!”
It was only a few moments before Morgan came running into the room with MARIA, the ship’s medical bot, in tow. “What’s going on?!” Morgan shouted as she tried to assess the situation. Before anyone got the chance to answer, Morgan’s eyes locked with the sphere of exposed warp energy and she collapsed onto the floor as well, in what looked like a trance of sorts.
Alex frantically looked back and forth between her crewmates, unsure of what to do. “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?!” she cried, exasperated.
Shandra flailed about for the drive’s power switch, but it was too far out of reach. Alex quickly ran over and promptly shut it off. Suddenly, everything went quiet. Shandra lied still on the floor, breathing heavily.
“I? What? Shandra!” Morgan suddenly cried out, seeming to have regained her senses. Still reeling from the shock, she sat upright. She looked around the room with a dazed expression on her face. “What… was that?” she muttered to herself.
“I’m fine, I think. I’ll put this thing back into a more stable setup later, but right now…” Shandra trailed off as she tried to get up, wincing at the pain still emanating from the mark. She slumped back down. “I’m just gonna rest here a bit.”
“MARIA?” Morgan called. “Would you kindly diagnose Shandra’s condition and report?” The bot whirred, navigating across the room to begin diagnostics.
Suddenly, H burst into the room, his lab coat billowing majestically behind him. “What’s going on here?” the cyborg demanded. “Why has MARIA been called?”
“The warp drive…” Shandra explained. “It… interacted with the mark and…” She lifted her right arm slightly, the mark still glowing faintly and sparking off warp energy. MARIA took the opportunity to scan it for signs of damage.
“Well I suppose you have as much right to fiddle with it as anyone,” H replied. “Go ahead.”
“Can someone please explain what the hell just happened?” Alex asked, still clearly overwhelmed by the situation. She ran over to where Shandra lied and crouched down next to her.
“Does it hurt?” she asked, staring at the shades of blue and purple pulsating along Shandra’s arm. This time, the girl resisted the urge to poke it.
“Yeah… yeah, it does… yeah…”
“You’ve got to get ahold of that thing already,” H told Shandra. “Learn to control it. I’m learning to control what I can do, you need to learn to control what you can do, otherwise you can’t be a fit rival for me. You need to keep improving otherwise I’ll leave you behind and you’ll be worthless.”
“NO MEDICAL CONDITIONS DETECTED.” MARIA announced. “PATIENT IS HEALTHY.”
“H, at least your issues make scientific sense,” Morgan snapped at him, annoyed by MARIA’s lack of a diagnosis.
“Ah, but the Warp does make scientific sense,” H declared.
“Oh, really?” Shandra asked sarcastically.
“I’d like to see you try to explain it then,” Morgan challenged the cyborg.
“I would if I didn’t have other things that are more important to discover. All I can do is wish you best of luck.”
“Honestly, if MARIA can’t find anything wrong I think the best thing would be for me to rest a bit,” said Shandra, turning back to Morgan. “And hope that the pain goes away…”
“I never needed rest!” H interjected.
“Shut up H,” Shandra snapped back at him.
“Very well,” H replied before exiting the room, off to his lab once again.
MARIA began administering pain medication and Shandra felt the pain numb away. The sparks of energy were still flying out from the mark, but she no longer felt the burning, freezing ache. She sat up and began putting the warp drive back together.
Alex lay on her bed, curled up in a ball. The tears had long since stopped, but the girl was still grief-stricken. It’s all my fault. The thought kept repeating in her head over and over.
How could they ever forgive her? Not only had Alex put her new friends in terrible danger, but she had gotten Morgan’s Croconaw and Shandra’s Inkay killed. She could still see the Pokemon as the life was squeezed out of them by those monsters in the Mirrored Temple.
In the short time she had known the them, Alex had grown quite close to the two girls. Morgan was like the sister Alex never had, and Shandra had filled her with feelings she hadn’t felt since her days with Naomi back on Vandia. What will they think of me now? Alex thought. Not only was she devastated over the death of their Pokemon, but she feared that her new friends would hate her forever.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Alex remained silent as the dread overtook her. They’ve come to throw me out, I know it, the girl thought.
Another knock sounded. “Alex?” she heard Morgan call out. Alex curled herself up tighter as the door slid open.
“Alex, are you okay?” Alex heard Shandra ask. There was a shuffling sound, then Alex felt Shandra’s hand on her arm.
They’re not throwing me out? Alex thought. The girl was so sure they were angry with her, but they sounded worried instead. Maybe they aren’t angry after all. She pulled her arms away from her face and looked around. Shandra was crouched down by the bed, giving Alex a look of concern. Morgan stood a bit behind her with a similar expression on her face.
“It’s all my fault…” Alex finally said. Her voice cracked from all the crying she had done.
“What’s all your fault?” Morgan asked.
“It’s my fault your Pokemon died.”
“No, it’s not,” Shandra told the girl, softly rubbing her arm to comfort her.
“We were only there because of me… I was the reason we were there, I was the reason they died. I put everyone in danger chasing my stupid dream.”
“We wanted to be there too,” Morgan told her. “Otherwise we wouldn’t have gone.”
“But if I hadn’t snuck onto your ship, they would still be alive…”
“Even before you boarded our ship, we had dangerous experiences and some of our Pokemon have died,” Shandra told her. “It’s a horrible thing, but it happens sometimes. You being on the ship didn’t change that.”
“You mean my Pokemon might die too?” Alex asked frantically. The very idea terrified her.
“Well, they’re just Pokemon,” Morgan responded.
“No! They’re not just Pokemon!” Alex cried out. “They’re my friends! They’re my family! They’re all I have left…”
“But you’re traveling with us now,” Shandra said, pulling the girl into a hug. “That means we’re kind of like your family. And we have to stick together.”
Alex recoiled slightly. “But you’re just gonna leave me like everybody else,” she said. She couldn’t deny her feelings for Shandra, but she was too afraid of being abandoned again.
“We would never leave you,” Shandra said, squeezing the girl a bit tighter.
As much as she wanted too, Alex refused to believe it. All her life, everyone she knew eventually left her in the end. “You tried to do it before…” she said. “Everyone always does…”
“Well, to be fair, you weren’t a part of the crew yet,” Morgan pointed out.
“And now you are,” Shandra added. “And we’re not gonna give up on you.”
With her friends’ repeated assurances, Alex came to realize that they aren’t going to leave her. For the first time in her life, the girl began to feel a sense of belonging. Alex threw her arms around Shandra, finally returning her hug as mixed tears of joy and sadness fell from her eyes.
“So, are you gonna be okay now?” Shandra asked after a few moments.
“I think so.”
Author’s Notes: With this chapter, I took the logical step and brought in The Other Guy to co-write since Shane/Shandra is his character after all. I’m glad I did, because he helped push the story more toward deviating from the canon storyline more than it had been. I think it was something that was really needed, as I was playing too cautiously with trying to keep it close to the original canon. I am so glad with how this chapter turned out.
So, what I did with this chapter was pick three different scenes from three different chapters which I felt were important moments for Shane and Alex in the original story and changed them to show the connection between Shandra and Alex forming.
For the first scene, taken from Volume 2, Chapter 9, I added Shandra’s internal feelings as she thought over Alex’s actions with the crew to show readers where we are in the story, and to also show how the Shorgan ship still exists. Clarissa had stated that the F/F version of Shorgan still checks out, and The Other Guy and I agreed that Shane/Shandra, being an AI, probably doesn’t really experience romantic attractions the same way in the biological sense and therefore doesn’t have a gender preference. The moment right after Shandra’s interaction with Morgan was where I started diverting things though. It was a funny little moment in the original, but as I was writing this, it occurred to me that Alex being essentially drunk on the Warp would lower her inhibitions and make her all flirty. It wasn’t originally intended, but I love how well it works.
The next scene was pulled from Volume 2, Chapter 12, and The Other Guy and I rewrote it from the ground up to really change things. Originally, it was an interaction that was between Morgan and Shane (in fact, it was the scene in which Clarissa and The Other Guy revealed the Shorgan ship to everyone), but we made it an interaction between Alex and Shandra instead. I absolutely love the way it turned out. We did have to bring Morgan in, however, since her vision is plot-important and would be consistent across continuities.
Lastly, we have a scene from Volume 2, Chapter 14. This was an important moment for Alex in the original universe, so it needed to stay. The key difference here was that Shandra took the lead on comforting Morgan as opposed to the other way around. Additionally, writing it from Alex’s perspective gave the scene a different feel from the original and helped show Alex’s growing attraction to Shandra.
Overall, I’m super happy with how this chapter turned out. Things are only going to keep diverting from here and it will be interesting to see how things develop.
That does it for this chapter. As always the Spacemon gang and I will be monitoring the comments to foster discussion and answer any questions. Feel free to give feedback and critiques of the writing so I can improve it for the future, or just leave a comment with what you think about what went down in this chapter or what you think might happen next! You can also revisit past chapters, check out the Spacemon Appendix which is a repository of information on all the lore and characters of Spacemon, or like our Facebook page to stay updated on all things Spacemon! Click here for the next exciting installment of Spacemon: Blueshift!