Welcome to another nightmarish installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! It is a sci-fi space epic played using the Pokemon Tabletop United (PTU) system and GMed by fellow TAY author DragonStorm247. You can get caught up on our previous adventures here!
Previously on Spacemon…
The crew of the UAS Helix returned to Parisia to acquire invitations to the Galactic Governance Conference so that they may assist Arlon in acquiring a cyberweapon capable of hacking Mr. Silver’s network. While on Parisia, Dr. Armstrong was able to complete the procedure that transformed H into the next-generation cyborg he had envisioned. Using the newly improved H, the crew were able to convince Mogan’s elected representative in the Genevan Parliament to give them invitations to the conference so that they can show him off to the Galaxy. With the conference still a month away, the crew now begins to plan out their next move.
On the bridge of the UAS Helix, the crew discusses their plan for the next month before the Galactic Governance Conference. Not one for spending much time relaxing, Morgan is insistent that the crew spend the time tracking down one of their leads. “We have an entire month, so we might as well do something productive in that time,” she tells her crewmates.
“I want to pursue the lead from the Mirrored Temple to the galactic core,” Dmitri replies. “Something has been calling to me and I just want to confront it.”
“We can’t go there,” Alex tells him, a distressed look appearing on her face.
“Why not?” Morgan asks her.
“It’s evil,” she quickly responds.
“Why do you think it’s evil?” Morgan asks.
“To be fair, it was the only dark path leading from the mirror. Seems evil to me,” Shane remarks.
“Because it is! We can’t go there!” Alex cries, continuing her argument.
“But Alex, it was you who wanted to go to the other Mirrored Temple in the first place. Isn’t this important to you?”
“And look what happened! I got your Pokemon killed and we could have been brainwashed by that… that thing!”
“But now we know what we’re up against.” Morgan steps closer to Alex. “We’ll be prepared. Sometimes we have to face danger to get close to the things that matter.”
“But what if we’re not? What if it’s worse? What if…” Alex trails off for a moment, as if choking on her words. “What if I don’t want to know anymore? I can’t lose anyone else… not again.”
Morgan hesitates. It isn’t just that Alex doesn’t want them to get hurt; the girl’s own resolve is faltering as well. “We’ll be safe, I promise. And…” Morgan lowers her voice until it is almost a whisper. “I can’t pretend to know what this is like. But I think it will hurt more to have come this far and give up than to keep going and find the truth.”
“But what if the truth hurts more than not knowing?” Alex asks, a pained expression on her face.
“Then at least you know you were strong enough to face it. Pain is part of life, too.”
“But I’ve had too much… I don’t want to feel the pain anymore.”
“If we go to the center of the Galaxy, you have the chance to end this. You’ll have a scar when this is over, but scars fade. Would you rather have an open wound for the rest of your life?”
“Will it make the pain go away?”
“Yes. Not right away, but soon.”
“Do you promise?”
“I promise.” Morgan squeezes Alex’s shoulder reassuringly.
“Okay…” says Alex, a spark of hope returning to her eyes. “I think I- I think we can do this.”
“That’s the spirit.” Morgan turns to Minerva. “Take us to Federation space.”
The Helix drops out of warp in Federation space, making a brief stop before heading for the coordinates in the galactic core to break up the long journey. After the routine inspection required for ships entering Federation space, Morgan suggests that they wait a bit before making another long warp jump. “We don’t want to run the risk of warp madness,” she explains.
“Can we stop on one of the planets here then?” Alex asks.
“Sure,” Morgan tells her.
The particular system the crew finds themselves in has only three planets. There is a densely populated volcanic world as well as an ocean world and an arboreal world, both of which are completely uninhabited.
“Which one do you want to land on?” Minerva asks.
“That one,” Alex tells her, pointing to the ocean world on the nav chart.
“You sure, kid?” Minerva asks. “The chart says it’s pretty rainy.”
“I like the rain,” Alex tells her.
Minerva brings the ship in and sets down on a large rocky island. Alex immediately disembarks from the Helix and heads out into the rain with Dmitri and Morgan close behind. Shane chooses to stay behind to continue messing around with his warp drive while H is under strict orders from Armstrong to rest and recuperate from the procedure to avoid any complications.
Alex attempts to break away from the group and go off on her own, but finds that the others are sticking close to her. Dmitri eventually goes off and releases his Gyarados into the sea, commanding it to help him find some wild Pokemon. Alex thinks this might be her chance to get away, but notices that Morgan continues trailing behind her.
“Why are you following me?” she asks Morgan, turning around and looking right at her.
“It could be dangerous out here,” Morgan says. “I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.”
“I can take care of myself,” Alex responds. “I just need to be alone for a bit, okay?”
“Alright… if you’re sure. I’ll be on the ship if you need anything.” Morgan turns around and heads back to the Helix, eager to be out of the rain.
Alex finds a spot near a cliff overlooking the ocean, then sits down on a rock and stares out into the waves. After the horrific experience she had in the Mirrored Temple, her resolve was shaken. She had felt afraid of what she might find if she continues to pursue her father’s trail. The thought of whatever lurks in the center of the Galaxy had filled her with absolute dread, but Morgan had restored her faith. Doing nothing is the worst thing she can do now. She had dedicated too much of her life to this and had come too far to turn back now.
She pulls a Pokeball of her belt and stares at it. Inside rests the Pokemon which she had named Leviathan, the massive sea monster she had captured on Messina. She had been worried to use it before, afraid that it wouldn’t listen to her, but she will need its help if they are going to the galactic core. Two Pokemon had died at the Mirrored Temple and, despite everyone telling her otherwise, Alex still blames herself for their deaths. “No more,” she says to herself as she tries to push the pangs of guilt aside. “No one else dies…”
Alex stands up and releases Leviathan from its ball. The rain turns from a drizzle to a downpour as the giant beast emerges before her, floating above the ground and looking down at her. She reaches out to it, the tips of her finger brushing against the underside of its jaw as it backs away from her with a confused look.
“I need your help,” Alex says to the creature, unsure if it can even understand her. She reaches out for it again and this time it doesn’t back away. She begins petting the giant Pokemon and it slowly creeps closer to her. “I want to be friends.”
The Pokemon lowers itself down into the ocean, its eyes now level with Alex. She reaches out with both arms and hugs the giant creature to the best of her ability. “If we’re going to battle together, then we need to train,” Alex tells the Pokemon as she steps away from it. “Show me what you can do! Use Thunder on that rock over there!”
The Pokemon just looks down at her, as if wondering why this tiny little creature is telling it what to do. “We’re going to a dangerous place and we need to work together,” Alex tells it. “Please.” Leviathan continue to look down at her and it becomes apparent to her that she needs to try something else. “I know, I can show you! C’mon out Anubis!”
The Lucario emerges from his ball and looks expectantly at Alex. “Anubis, use Bone Rush on that rock and show Leviathan how we train!” The Pokemon rushes forward with his aura-bone and hits it against a large rock but it doesn’t really do anything. Seeing this, Leviathan begins to lose interest. “You can do better than that!” Alex shouts enthusiastically. “Try again, Anubis!” The Lucario charges the rock once again and this time he cracks it right in two. Seeing this, Leviathan’s attention is once again focused on the girl and her Pokemon, “Great job, Anubis! Now it’s your turn Leviathan; use Thunder!”
Leviathan summons a giant blast of thunder which destroys rocks in a wide radius. “Just try to hit one rock now!” Alex tells it. It tries again and this time releases a much more focused blast. “That’s a good start, but let’s keep trying to get a more controlled attack!”
Back on the Helix, Morgan works on training her own Pokemon, but she is keeping a good eye out for her crewmates to return. She knows Dmitri can take care of himself, so she’s really only worried about Alex. After a while, she sees Dmitri return. He seems in high spirits, having just successfully captured a Tentacruel. Alex returns a while later, completely soaked to the bone, but her mood seems to have improved greatly.
With everyone back aboard, Minerva takes off and brings the crew to the only civilized planet in the system for a supply run before they head for the galactic core. The surface of the planet is mostly molten rock, but several heat-shielded cities on stilts dot the landscape. After picking up some TMs and other supplies, the crew returns to the ship and Minerva brings them into warp space, locked onto the coordinates in the center of the Galaxy.
The Helix drops out of warp space from the nearest warp gate to the coordinates and then jumps back into warp space to travel the rest of the distance. As they draw nearer to their destination, Shane’s mark begins to glow, and the burning sensation from the exposed Warp returns. Shane unplugs the warp drive again, but this time it doesn’t help. He desperately tries to crawl to the comm system, and get some form of help from the crew— from Morgan.
“Hey, is anyone there?” Shane calls out, sounding very much in pain.
“Shane?” Almost immediately, Morgan responds. MARIA is the first to make it to the warp lab, followed shortly by Morgan. She seems uncharacteristically concerned.
With Morgan’s help, MARIA manages to rush Shane to the med bay. There, the robot delivers some pain medication and begins diagnostics. After a few moments, it stops. “Diagnosis inconclusive. No physical abnormalities detected.”
“Yeah, I figured as much,” Shane says. “Still, the pain meds seem to be helping.”
“Do you have any idea what’s causing it” Morgan asks.
“I’m pretty sure it’s this damn mark. It seems like whatever this place is, not even Giratina wants us to go there.”
Morgan glances nervously at the door. “I already told Alex… We have to go. Do you think you’ll be alright if you stay on the ship?”
“I’ll be fine. Either way, I wouldn’t really be much help if I was constantly in pain. Good luck out there.”
“If you’re sure…” The ship begins to slow, and it’s clear that the Helix has almost reached its destination. Morgan looks somewhat frantically between Shane and the door to the med bay. “I… If you need anything, MARIA’s here. Sorry.” With that, she’s gone.
Morgan, Dmitri, and Alex gather on the bridge as the Helix arrives at the coordinates. When the ship drops out of warp the crew is greeted with the sight of a large glass world orbiting a small, dim star. A small moon orbits the planet in turn. “You certainly pick the most interesting destinations,” Minerva tells her employers.
“Well, we had to come here,” Morgan tells her. “We just go wherever our leads take us.”
“Alright,” Minerva says as she brings the ship in.
Dmitri feels a chill running down his spine as the ship draws near. The planet seems to reflect something back at him.
Minerva sets the ship down on the glass plains and Morgan, Dmitri and Alex disembark. The surface of the planet is nothing but glass, with jagged formations of silver protruding up from the ground. Under the glass beneath their feet lies a layer of silver, creating a mirror effect on the surface. A large silver spire looms in the distance, towering over the landscape.
“This place gives me the creeps,” Alex mumbles under her breath as she follows the others, her eyes darting back and forth between their various reflections. She has a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Dmitri also sees the reflections, but his own is that of someone else. The shadowy figure seems familiar, but he can’t quite make out who it is. “Dmitri…” the reflection calls out to him. Dmitri tries to ignore the voice as the group continues on toward the spire. “Dmitri…” it calls out once more, this time pointing at the spire in the distance.
The trio eventually arrives at the base of the spire, and a long flight of mirrored stairs lies ahead of them. Morgan is the first to place a foot upon the steps as she begins to climb. Alex follows closely behind and Dmitri brings up the rear.
As they climb, Alex sees the mirrors around her go dark, the reflections completely fading from view. “There is no one,” a voice faintly whispers. She recognizes it as her own. She reaches out and grabs Morgan’s arm as if to confirm that she is still there.
Morgan feels Alex grab onto her as she hears faint but menacing laughter. “It’s alright,” she says to Alex. “I’m sure there’s nothing here. It’s just a trick.” She hears the laughter again, this time slightly louder.
As they climb ever higher, Dmitri sees the same figure that’s been haunting him since they arrived. This time it appears on the stairs as if it is not a reflection at all. “Do you guys see that figure?” Dmitri asks his companions as he points up to the shadowy figure standing several steps up.
“No…” Morgan tells him, trailing off a bit. “But I’ve been hearing this laughter.” As if on cue, she hears the laughter once again.
“It must be the temple playing tricks on us,” says Dmitri.
“Right,” Morgan agrees. “I’m sure there’s no one there. If it was real, we’d all be able to see it.”
Dmitri looks back at the figure and sees it grinning at him. It slowly fades into view and he recognizes the image of his own brother, Nikolai, who had died many years ago, back when they were still children.
Alex’s eyes dart back in forth between her reflections in the various mirror faces as she hears them whispering to her. “They’re going to leave you, you know.” The reflections sound as if they are taunting her, mocking her. “They’re going to leave you here, aaaalll alooooone.”
Morgan feels Alex’s grip tightening around her arm as if she is desperately clinging onto her. Morgan reaches over with her other arm and rests her hand on Alex’s arm in an attempt to comfort her and keep her from gripping her arm too tightly. It seems to work as Morgan feels Alex’s grip loosen a bit, but she can still feel the girl’s hands trembling.
Dmitri follows the others up the stairs and soon finds himself face to face with the creepy, spectral visage of Nikolai. Dmitri attempts to walk past him and, as he does, he feels a hand on his shoulder. His brother now stands behind him. “Dmitri…” Nikolai calls out to him. Dmitri tries to keep moving up the stairs but the hand tightens on his shoulder.
Alex continues to watch the reflections in fear as she sees images of the rest of the crew behind them. Morgan, Dmitri, Shane, H. Even Minerva and Dr. Armstrong. “One by one…. they will all abandon you,” her reflection says to her in a creepy, but almost sing-songy, voice. With each word one of the crew vanishes from view.
As Alex begins to see fewer and fewer people, Morgan begins to see more. Shadowy figures appear behind her in the reflections as the laughter grows ever louder. Suddenly she feels Alex’s grip release altogether and she turns to see the girl flailing her arms about as if trying to reach out for her.
Alex finds herself swallowed by terror as she sees Morgan fade from view and feels empty air slip through her figures. “I did try to warn you,” her reflection taunts her. “I told you this would happen.” Alex desperately reaches out but grasps nothing. She was just here a minute ago. She has to still be here. The thoughts race through her mind. There is no one there. “No… no… no!” Alex cries out. “Come back!” Tears start to roll down her cheeks as she continues to reach out only to find nothing there.
Seeing Alex falling apart, Morgan grabs onto her and tries to get her attention. “Alex, what is it? Who’s there?” she asks. Alex doesn’t even seem to notice her presence. As Morgan asks this, she sees a pair of glowing red eyes appear behind her in her reflection. It’s the haunting face that has been following her, the face of Trevenant, of Giratina, of Cofagrigus, of the Mirror itself. She hears the laughter again. “It’s me,” the voice says. “I’m here.” Morgan closes her eyes, but she can still see the face. She covers her face with her hands, but she can still see it. Wherever she looks, she can still see it.
Dmitri is still unable to move with the apparition of Nikolai still gripping his shoulder. “What do you want?” Dmitri asks.
“What I want? What do you want?” his brother asks in turn.
“Why are you here?” Dmitri asks.
“Why are you here?” Nikolai returns with the same question.
“To find answers,” Dmitri replies.
“Answers to what?”
“Answers to why you’re following me.”
“I thought this was what you wanted.”
“I didn’t think you would be so creepy about it.”
“And why is that?”
“Because we’re family.”
“Are we now?”
Dmitri falls silent, unsure of how to respond. Part of him knows this is just the temple playing tricks on him, but he so desperately wants to be able to commune with his brother. He never expected it would happen like this.
“Morgan!? Dmitri!?” Alex calls out, desperately searching for her friends, actually using their names instead of the silly nicknames she came up with. It had been a coping mechanism for her, making up names for people, because, as soon as she put their actual names out there, they became people that she could lose. There was no reason for it now that they were gone.
“See, everyone’s gone,” her reflection says to her. “They left you here. Everyone always does.”
Alex runs up the stairs, tears pouring from her eyes. Maybe they’re just around the bend, she thinks. They have to be here somewhere.
“You’re always going to be alone,” her own voice continues to taunt her. “I don’t even know why you’re still trying. You might as well give up. Everyone’s gone. Even you.”
With those last words, Alex’s reflections fade from view. She can’t even see herself anymore. She continues to run up the stairs but she slowly starts to lose perception of her own feelings.
Morgan finds herself frozen in fear as she sees the haunting face no matter where she looks. She sees Alex run away, but she is helpless to run after her. The voice laughs menacingly at her as she hears Alex’s cries of terror. She feels as if she is going to die. But then, her rational side kicks in. She knows this is just illusion and tries to shove it aside. The face still looms in her vision but she looks past it. “It’s not real,” she whispers to herself as she slowly follows Alex up the stairs. “It’s not real.”
She hears the laughter again, but this time the voice speaks to her. “Morgan,” it says. “Little Morgan, of course I’m not real. But that doesn’t mean I can’t hurt you.” Morgan picks up her pace and starts bolting up the stairs after Alex.
Dmitri remains alone on the stairs, trapped in place as he watches Alex and Morgan disappear up the stairs. “Are we really family, Dmitri?” the ghostly figure of his brother asks him. “Are we really?”
“Yes, we are,” Dmitri responds finally.
“And why is that?” his brother asks.
“What do you mean?”
“What are you? What am I?”
Dmitri remains silent, unsure of how to respond.
“I am nothing,” his brother says. Suddenly the figure before Dmitri transforms into his fallen Metang. “I am nothing and gone. You have no brother. You have no Metang. You have nothing. And in the end, you will be nothing.” The figure fades to black, and then evaporates into the fog surrounding Dmitri, allowing him to pass and follow the others up the stairs.
Alex feels herself slipping away, feels her senses falling away from her. She considers giving in and fading away, but then something inside her clicks into place. She recalls the time she had given up before… and how she had survived. NO! the thought echoes in her mind. I will not die here!
Feeling returns to her once more and her own body becomes visible to her again. She finds herself standing on the stairs… alone. The thick fog of abandonment swirls around her. She looks behind her only to see endless stairs descending to the bottom. She looks up toward the top of the spire and sees endless stairs ascending into the fog. Although she has survived, she feels completely abandoned and a rush of uncontrollable tears overcomes her.
Morgan eventually catches up to Alex and finds her sitting on the stairs, sobbing into her hands. She attempts to grab the girl as she continues running, but she doesn’t appear to even notice her. Morgan struggles to drag Alex up the stairs, but is unable to get her to move. Luckily, Dmitri is not far behind and, together, the two of them are able to pull Alex along with them.
Now dimly aware that she is being dragged along, Alex stops crying and begins to look around. All she can see are blurry and shadow figures pulling her. She’s not quite sure what the figures are, but she has a faint hope that they are Morgan and Dmitri.
They eventually arrive at the summit of the spire and find some sort of apparatus. Before anyone can take a look at it, the air begins to feel as if it is swirling around the summit, emanating the same sensations that had been plaguing them since they arrived. Morgan hears the laughter swirling around her, images of the horrifying face peering at her from the Mirror. Dmitri feels death and oblivion spiraling around him as he sees the reflections of everyone he ever knew that died fade away to nothingness. Alex hears the sounds of her own sobbing despite the fact that she had long since stopped. Everywhere she looks, she sees a reflection of herself overcome by tears.
Trying to push these feelings aside, Dmitri approaches the apparatus and examines it. It appears to be some sort of abstract representation of the star system they are in with rings representing the planet, sun, and moon. He begins to play around with it and, as he does so, the celestial bodies begin to move. Dmitri aligns the rings, and the moon eclipses the sun above the spire.
As the sky goes dark, a bright point of light appears on the moon and begins to trace lines of light in a pattern across its surface. As the moon begins to glow brighter, it moves closer to the planet. The light starts shifting and it appears as if the moon itself is opening. A beam of light strikes the top of the spire and a figure of darkness descends from moon. As it draws near, the sensations they had all been having begin to intensify.
The figure touches down on the spire and Alex hears the sobs change to a blood-curdling scream of pain. Dmitri finds himself overwhelmed with pure nihilism and the complete annihilation of the Galaxy. Morgan hears a chorus of menacing laughter, the same voice she had heard before as well as that of everyone she has ever known. Slowly, all of these sensations begin bleeding into each other and each of them feels the fears of the others.
The figure looks at the three Humans surrounding it and extends an arm, reaching out with its hand. A wave of darkness casts out from it and engulfs them. “Why?” Dmitri asks. “Why do all of this?”
Why not? Dmitri hears a voice inside his head; his own voice. All things must come to an end.
One by one, each of the trio begins to drift off. Alex is the first to go, as nothingness closes in around her. Dmitri soon also begins to fade. Morgan is the last to go, witnessing an aura of dark illusions emanating from the figure. She tries to run, but she quickly falls to the floor and out of consciousness.
Session Notes: Well this was quite the session to be missing two players. But we really needed to do something big this week in order to be able to get everything DragonStorm has planned for this volume in before the semester ends. Shane’s player was at PAX East and we don’t even know what happened to H’s player. We made up an easy excuse for why H wasn’t available but it was a bit harder with Shane so his player helped me to work him into the narrative for the write-up.
So yeah, shit went down this chapter. I finally got the opportunity to RP with my Shiny Primal Kyogre! I’ve ranked up my command skill twice since catching it certainly helped get it under control. And then we went to the Mirror Planet. That got really dark… rai…. I think this chapter should provide you with some serious insight into these three characters’ fears. For now, we will leave you in suspense, but the concluding chapter of this week’s session will be here in the next couple of days.
Thanks to ClarissaGavin (Morgan’s player) and The Other Guy (Shane’s player) for helping out with the writing in this chapter!
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!