Welcome to another exciting 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…
Traumatized by the events that transpired on the Mirror Planet, Morgan attempted to rid the UAS Helix of the Pokemon she deemed to be a threat to her life and the lives of her fellow crewmates. Taking H’s Trevenant and attempting to take Shane’s Cofagrigus, Morgan intended to destroy the Pokeballs with the Pokemon inside them. Thanks to Alex selflessly risking her own life to save the Pokemon and Shane confessing his feelings for Morgan, the crew was able to prevent the unthinkable.
The Helix drops out of warp space back into civilized Federation space. After a brief stop to refuel and pick up supplies, the crew gathers on the bridge to discuss where to go next. “Sooo, what crazy planet are we headed to next?” Minerva asks.
“What about that Gardener thing?” Alex asks.
“It is the only thing we have left to investigate,” Morgan agrees.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Shane agrees.
“So where is this ‘Gardener thing?’” Minerva asks.
“It’s at these coordinates in Sinai space,” Morgan tells her, showing her the coordinates Gilgamesh had given her.
A worried look crosses Shane’s face when he sees the coordinates and he quickly exits the room.
“Just take us there,” Morgan tells Minerva. She recalls that the coordinates are in the same sector as where they first met Shane and decides to go after him.
Morgan’s first thought is to go to the warp lab to look for Shane, but she doesn’t find him there. That’s unusual, she thinks. She heads to the living quarters next and checks to see if Shane is in his room. At first glance it appears as if he is not there either, but upon entering the room, she notices Shane hiding away inside the computer, huddled in a corner of the virtual room.
“Shane?” Morgan asks, but he seems to be trying to ignore her. “This is something we have to do,” she continues. “You know that.”
“I do, but…” Shane trails off. He pauses for a moment. “I don’t like it. I don’t know what’s out there.”
“Well, whatever it is, I can guarantee it’s not even half as bad as what was on the Mirror Planet.”
“To me it might be… That’s where I’m from.”
“We won’t let them take you back.”
At that, Shane seems to loosen up a bit. He turns around to face Morgan. “Thanks,” he tells Morgan. “That means a lot.”
“So, are you gonna be okay?” Morgan asks.
“I sure as hell hope so,” Shane tells her. He stands up and returns himself to the physical world.
The crew gathers on the bridge once more as the Helix drops out of warp space in the system containing the coordinates that Gilgamesh provided them. Flying past a couple of gas giants, the ship arrives at a small, uninhabited ice world with what appears to be some sort of Sinai research station in orbit.
Morgan hails the station and a Sinai researcher appears on the viewscreen. Shane quickly ducks behind the console to avoid being seen. The man on the screen is a balding, older looking man wearing a lab coat and some sort of religious symbol around his neck.
“This is a restricted area,” the man says. “State your business.”
“Well, we’re here looking for information on something called the Gardener,” Morgan tells him.
A very serious expression appears on the man’s face. “Who are you?” he asks.
“We were told by Gilgamesh to come here,” Morgan responds.
The man’s expression turns quite sour at the mention of Gilgamesh’s name. “Him… Look, I don’t know what he’s after, but you can just leave. This is a restricted area.”
Shane finally recognizes the man and is overcome by a wave of anger. This was the face he saw so many times in the past, overseeing the agonizing experiments he had tried to forget since his departure.
“We didn’t come here looking for trouble,” Morgan replies. “We just came for some information.”
“What kind of information? The project here is classified. We can’t just freely give out information to whoever just flies in here.”
“Can you tell me?” Shane asks sternly as he steps into view.
“You!” the man shouts. He looks shocked. “What is he doing on your ship?”
“He’s part of our crew,” Morgan tells him. “And he deserves to know what’s going on here.”
“This man is a wanted fugitive. You will surrender him to our custody and we may let you leave.”
“Oh really?” Shane asks indignantly, with a hint of sarcasm. “I didn’t know that. What am I wanted for?”
“Theft of Sinai scientific assets.”
“When we found him, he was being attacked by your nation’s scientists,” Morgan replies sternly. “If we have something you want, we’ll give it back, but he stays with us.”
“You don’t understand,” Shane tells her. “You have me.”
“This man is property of the Sinai Ascendancy,” the man tells Morgan. “You will return him to us, post-haste.”
“He’s not property!” Alex shouts. “He’s a person!”
“He is not, in fact, a person,” the researcher tells her. He then turns to Shane with a slight grin on his face. “You haven’t told them, have you?”
“I told most of them,” Shane replies. He then looks at Alex with an apologetic look. She looks back with a confused expression.
The researcher’s grin turns to a scowl. “So, why are you here then?” he asks. “Why are you really here?”
“We already told you,” Shane informs him. “The Gardener.”
“How about we make a deal?” the man asks. His grin returns as he shifts his gaze back to Morgan. “You return this… thing… to us and we will reveal to you what you want to know.”
“We can talk,” Morgan replies coldly.
“I look forward to it,” the man responds before the screen goes blank.
Morgan turns to look at her crewmates. “They won’t tell us what we want to know, even if we give them Shane.”
Shane drops to his knees, quite shaken from the exchange, from his encounter with his past. Morgan walks up to him and leans down to help him up. “It’s fine,” she tells him. “We’ll fight them if we have to. We’re going to at least try to talk to them first.”
“Thanks,” Shane replies as Morgan pulls him up. “Let’s go talk.”
Shane steps off the Helix into the station’s docking bay with Morgan, Alex, and Dmitri close behind. The scientist stands waiting, flanked by four guards. “Welcome,” he says as the crew approaches. “I am Dr. Jeremiah.” He motions his men to start moving on Shane.
“I said we could talk first,” Morgan objects.
“What about?” Jeremiah responds. “I believe the agreement was…. hand over your… compatriot… and we will tell you what you wish to know.”
“How do we know that you’re not gonna cross your own deal?” Shane asks.
“Exactly,” Morgan agrees. “Tell us what we want to know first.”
“My terms were to hand him over first,” Jeremiah tells her. “Come now, we can be civil about this, no?”
“There’s nothing civil about this,” Morgan responds.
Shane steps forward and holds his hands up, turning himself over to the scientist. He looks back at Morgan and gives her a reassuring nod. Jeremiah waves to the guards and they move in with restraints, not just for his hands, but for his legs and head as well. Seeing this, a look of alarm appears on Shane’s face and he vanishes.
As if on instinct, the rest of the crew reach for their Pokeballs and release their Pokemon. The guards respond in kind and release their own Pokemon: a Mr. Mime, a Solrock, a Gallade, and a Reuniclus.
The Pokemon seem well trained and disciplined and act on their own. The Mr. Mime focuses on Ebony and launches a blast of energy at the Umbreon. However, the Pokemon dodges out of the way and the blast impacts the floor.
“Jean, use Volt Tackle!” Morgan points at the Mr. Mime and commands her Pikachu to attack. The yellow mouse sprints forward as electrical energy builds up around him. He leaps into the air as he approaches the enemy Pokemon and crashes headlong into it.
“Ebony, follow up with Assurance!” Alex instructs her own Pokemon. The Umbreon runs forward and slams into the Mr. Mime that had attacked her, knocking it back a ways. The Pokemon miraculously stays sanding but it appears quite beat up.
While Ebony is still close, the Gallade takes aim and shoots a wave of thunder at her in an attempt to immobilize her. The attack lands but the Umbreon keeps moving. The Solrock hangs back a bit and launches a powerful Psychic blast at the Pikachu that had attacked its ally. The attack lands dead on and knocks the small electric Pokemon back. The Reuniclus has a similar idea to the Gallade and targets Dmitri’s newly evolved Scizor with another wave of thunder.
“Gigan, use X-Scissor on that Reuniclus!” Dmitri commands his Scizor. The Pokemon fights through the Thunder Wave and flies up to the Reuniclus and slashes with her powerful claws.
Shane reappears in front of the Mr. Mime and hits it with a shadowy attack, taking the Pokemon down. He then quickly runs back toward the others and releases his Cofagrigus.
“Jean, use Electro Ball!” Morgan commands her Pikachu. Jean leaps into the air and throws a large ball of electricity at the Reuniclus, dealing a pretty hefty blow. As Jean lands, the Gallade runs up to him and attempts to hit him in retaliation for its fallen ally, but the nimble Pikachu dodges out of the way. “Keep moving Jean!” Morgan shouts as the Solrock fires a wave of psychic energy at her Pokemon. The Pikachu looks up at the incoming attack and jumps out of the way just in time.
In the meantime, the Reuniclus focuses on Ebony and sends out a large blast of energy just like the Mr. Mime. This time, the Umbreon isn’t so lucky and she is unable to dodge out of the way. Fortunately, Ebony proves to be a tough little Pokemon and takes the hit, but she seems unable to do much else due to paralysis.
“Gigan, hit that Reuniclus again with another X-Scissor!” Dmitri instructs his Pokemon. The Scizor swipes the Pokemon with her claws again and, this time, she takes it down.
“Jean, use Volt Tackle on that Gallade!” Morgan commands her Pikachu. Jean charges at the enemy Pokemon as he builds up electricity around him. He leaps at the Gallade and slams into it. The Pokemon seems unfazed as it fires a beam of electricity at Ebony, however, the Umbreon is quite resilient and the attack doesn’t seem to do much to her. The Solrock locks onto Jean and fires a large blast of Psychic energy at him, finally taking the dodgy Pokemon out of the fight. Morgan quickly switches out to her freshly evolved Dewott.
“Gigan, use Wing Attack on that Gallade!” Dmitri commands his Scizor. The Pokemon flies in for the hit and slices the Pokemon with her armored wings.
“V.O.I.D., finish it off with Shadow Ball!” Shane commands his newly released Pokemon. The ghostly Pokemon builds up a ball of dark energy in her shadowy hands and lobs it at the Gallade, taking it down.
“Ebony, use Faint Attack!” Alex commands her Umbreon. The Pokemon runs over to the Solrock, the sole remaining enemy Pokemon, and slams into it.
Seeing the fight not going in his men’s favor, Jeremiah turns to run out of the room. “Gigan, stop him!” Dmitri commands his Pokemon. The Scizor swiftly flies after the fleeing scientist and knocks him down, drawing a bit of blood with her claws in the process.
The Solrock locks onto V.O.I.D. and fires a psychic wave at the Cofagrigus. The attack hits dead on and deals a heavy blow.
“Herman, use Razor Shell!” Morgan commands her Dewott. He rushes forward at the rocky Pokemon and slashes it with his shell, dealing a powerful hit.
“V.O.I.D., use Shadow Ball and finish it off!” Shane commands his Pokemon. The Cofagrigus unleashes another powerful ball of dark energy, this time aimed at the Solrock, and takes it down, ending the fight.
With their Pokemon defeated, the guards stay out of the way as the crew moves up to where Jeremiah lies on the floor. Shane stands over him and looks down at him. “Now, I’m gonna ask you again,” he says to the scientist. “Tell us about the Gardener.”
“You really don’t know anything do you?” Jeremiah asks him as he props himself up against the wall. He laughs. “What are you going to do to me?” he asks in a patronizing tone.
“What are you most afraid of?” Shane asks in an attempt to sound intimidating. He lifts his marked arm and wills it to start glowing. Jeremiah does not seem impressed.
Dmitri walks up to Jeremiah and places a hand on his forehead and attempts to reach into his mind using his newfound abilities but he can’t really figure out how it works.
“Keep trying,” Morgan tells him. “I’m going to see if I can hack into their computers.” She walks to a nearby console and attempts to hack into it.
Alex thinks this sounds like a good idea, but she doesn’t want to be alone with Morgan due to the fact that she had tried to kill her crewmates’ Pokemon. She silently slinks off on her own to see if she can find their mainframe or something better to hack than some random terminal.
Eventually, Morgan manages to break into the console and find a map of the facility. She brings it up and begins to analyze it to the best of her ability. She sees a strange looking computer chamber and conjectures that it might be where Shane was held when he was here. On the other end of the station, she notes there is a large open chamber that seems to be a large physical space as opposed to the other chamber.
Morgan cannot do much more than theorize about what these rooms are because she cannot read the Sinai language. I wonder if Alex can read this, she thinks. She looks back over towards the others who are a ways down the hall and notices that Alex is absent. Where did that girl get off to now? she thinks. As if on cue, Morgan notices an alert go off on the map in another section of the ship.
“Shane!” She shouts down the hall. “I think Alex might be in trouble! Come with me!” She then hurries off to the location indicated on the map.
“Stay here,” Shane tells Dmitri. “See if you can get him to talk.” He then follows after Morgan.
Alex runs through the hallways of the station searching for some sort of main computer room. She reads the signs on the doors and walls as she passes, but can’t seem to find anything to point her in the right direction.
As she rounds a bend, she suddenly hears an alarm go off. She quickens her pace, but an Electivire emerges into the hallway and blocks her path. Alex curses angrily in Sinai as she skids to a halt. She turns to run in the other direction, but sees a Magnezone barreling down the hall toward her. With no other options, Alex reaches down and pulls out two Pokeballs. She releases her Lampent and her Houndoom on either side to protect herself from the Pokemon closing in on her.
“Lumiera, use Will-O-Wisp on the big one!” Alex points at the Electivire and her Lampent shoots a ball of flame at the large yellow Pokemon, inflicting a burn upon it. The Electivire doesn’t seem to mind and just keeps coming at her. It gets up close and stomps down hard, causing the entire station to rumble. The powerful quake knocks out both of Alex’s Pokemon and causes her to fall into the wall.
She grunts in pain as her shoulder collides with the wall. Alex pushes herself off the wall and quickly recalls her Pokemon. She attempts to run down the hall past the Magnezone but it shoots a wave of thunder at her. As it collides with her, Alex’s body begins to spasm and she falls to the floor.
The Electivire walks up to Alex and places her on top of the Magnezone. The metal Pokemon floats up high and the two start taking her away. After a couple of minutes, Alex rolls herself off of the Magnezone. In her semi-paralyzed state, she isn’t able to right herself for a landing and she falls hard on her right side.
Alex cries out in pain as she hits the ground. She attempts to get up and run, but, due to her injuries, she can’t stand up in time. The Electivire walks over to her and picks her up again, attempting to put her back on the Magnezone. “Let go of me!” Alex screams at the Pokemon as she begins kicking wildly. She lands a few hits, but the Electivire ignores her and places her on the Magnezone again. It floats her back up and then blasts her with a high pitched metallic sound. Alex cries out in pain as she attempts to cover her ears.
It is at this moment that Morgan and Shane arrive on the scene. They quickly release their own Pokemon to engage Alex’s electric assailants. “Lucien, use Fake-Out!” Morgan commands her Liepard as she points at the Electivire. The swift Pokemon charges forward and gets the drop on the large yellow beast, causing it to flinch. Sensing the attack, the Magnezone activates its magnets and pulls Shane’s Klefki towards it. However, it keeps him at a distance to prevent him from attacking it. It then locks on to Lucien and hits the Liepard with a wave of electricity, causing the Pokemon to stumble.
“K.E.Y.S., use Flash Cannon on the Electivire!” Shane commands his Pokemon. It targets the large yellow creature and fires a blast of light at it. Shane then uses his own abilities to swap places with Alex. He now stands atop the Magnezone while Alex ends up lying on the floor near Morgan.
Morgan fires a blast of psychic energy at the Electivire, then runs over to Alex. She pulls the girl over to the wall and props her up against it. Alex then reaches for one of her Pokeballs and releases her Lucario. “Use Focus Blast,” she manages to get out.
Anubis builds up a massive ball of aura energy and throws it at the Magnezone. Shane quickly teleports himself down to the ground as the blast crashes into the magnet Pokemon. In response, Magnezone flies down into the middle of their three Pokemon and Discharges a massive surge of electricity. The Electivire then follows up by throwing an Electro Ball at K.E.Y.S., leaving the Klefki quite beaten up. Seeing how wounded his Pokemon is, Shane recalls him and releases his Cacnea.
“Lucien, use Fury Swipes!” Morgan commands her Pokemon. The Liepard runs up to the Electivire and claws at its face, finally taking it down. The Magnezone responds by slamming itself into the Liepard, instantly taking the Pokemon down.
“Anubis, use Power-Up Punch,” Alex instructs her Pokemon. The Lucario runs up to the Magnezone and punches it squarely in the eye. Morgan then fires another blast of psychic energy at it to finish it off.
With the fight won, Morgan and Shane recall their Pokemon and rush to help Alex. Together, the two of them are able to get Alex standing up again. However, as soon as she takes a step, her right leg gives out on her. “Easy there,” Shane tells her as he grabs her to prevent her from falling. “Why don’t you just lean on me?”
“Thanks,” Alex tells him as she grabs a hold of him to use as a crutch. The three then resume their search for the Gardener, sticking together this time.
Dmitri stands alone in the hallway with Dr. Jeremiah, still trying to pull information from him. He can’t seem to figure out how to get the Darkrai aura to the work and is doing nothing more than hitting the scientist repeatedly in the forehead.
“Why don’t you just tell me what I want to know?” Dmitri asks him. “Things will go a lot easier if you do.”
“If I tell you, will you stop prodding my face like an imbecile?” Jeremiah asks him.
“Fine, what do you want to know?”
“Tell me about the Gardner,” Dmitri demands of him. “What do you know about it.”
“Very little, unfortunately,” the scientist replies. “We only found it. We’ve been studying it for the past few years now but… it’s been difficult.”
“Do you even know what it is?”
“It’s the thing that seeded the Galaxy with life,” Dmitri tells him.
“Yes, but do you know what it is?”
“That’s why we came here. To find out.”
“Oh,” the Jeremiah tells him, a slight grin returning to his face. “If you have run of this station, and it sounds like you do, then you will find out soon enough. As to how it works… good luck.”
Morgan, Shane, and Alex step into the large open chamber the map pointed them to. Their combined effort to crack the computer systems had led them here, to what the map referred to as the “Source Room,” roughly translated. As they enter, they see a large mechanical sphere. Morgan instantly recognizes it from the vision she had seen when she gazed into the Warp.
Morgan walks up to a large crack in the sphere and peers inside it. Inside she sees what looks like ancient computers with some sort of big crystal object in the center. As she looks at it, a vision of this crystal glowing appears in her mind. But now it’s dark, dead.
Shane stands back from the object, as Alex is still leaning on him, and stares at it. Something about it feels familiar to him. I must have seen it when I was here before, he rationalizes but he can’t shake the strange feeling. He leads Alex over to a nearby console so that she can lean on it. Once he is unburdened, Shane moves in close to the object to get a better look.
He sees the damaged computer parts and gets the sense that when this sphere was intact it would be very accommodating to someone such as himself. However, as it is now, the architecture is too badly damaged to even house any sort of data.
Morgan pulls out her Pokedex and calls Dmitri. “Dmitri, come to our location and bring that scientist with you,” she tells him. The group only has to wait a few minutes before Dmitri arrives on the scene, pulling Jeremiah along with him.
“What... is this?” Shane asks the scientist as he points at the sphere after Dmitri makes him repeat to the others what he told him.
“This… was the Gardener,” Jeremiah tells him.
“Was?” Shane asks.
“It doesn’t look to be Gardening any more, does it?” Jeremiah asks smugly.
“What did you do to it?” Morgan asks sternly.
“We found it. We studied it. We tried to salvage what we could from the damage.”
“Was the crystal dead when you found it?” Shane asks.
“It was dying, certainly.”
“Was it dead?” Morgan asks more forcefully than Shane.
“We didn’t kill it, if that’s what you’re getting at,” Jeremiah responds. “We saved it.”
“It’s dead, how can you have saved it?”
“Where is it now then?” Alex asks.
“You haven’t asked about the other half of this facility, have you?” Jeremiah returns with a question of his own. Both Morgan and Dmitri turn to look directly at Shane. Jeremiah turns to Morgan. “What do you know about artificial intelligence?” he asks her.
“True AI doesn’t really exist,” Morgan replies. “All currently developed AI-”
“Correction,” Jeremiah interrupts. “Human-developed AI. We are not advanced enough to develop a true thinking intelligence. At least… not on our own.”
Morgan turns back to Shane to see a look of confusion on his face. She then turns back to Jeremiah and takes a swing at his face. He sidesteps and Morgan trips past him. Her face still red with rage, Morgan composes herself. “You experimented on another sentient being!?”
“We found this,” Jeremiah responds calmly. “Badly damaged. Nonfunctioning. We salvaged what we could and built something from its core.”
“Doing what you did… Even doing that to Pokemon would be considered cruel!”
Shane looks at Jeremiah with a cold, serious expression. “I guess I’ve been asking the wrong question,” he says. “Who am I?”
“Do you really not know yet?”
Shane looks over at the damaged shell of the Gardener and then back to the scientist. “I’m starting to piece it together, yeah. I just need to hear you say it.”
“You are, or, at least, were, the Gardener.”
Session Notes: That was a fantastic twist! According to DragonStorm, he had that twist planned since a couple of sessions after Shane’s player joined the game back in session 4 of Volume 1! That’s impressive.
So Shane is what’s left of the Gardener. That has some pretty serious implications! And it totally explains how he’s an AI given flesh and blood. I’m so pumped to see it all come together!
And now let’s talk about how I got the shit beat out of me this session. Poor Alex, she’s gonna need some serious medical attention, again. That Electivire and Magnezone really messed her up good.
Post-Chapter Challenge: What a twist! Shane is the Gardener!
Come up with a plot twist for one (or more!) of the characters of Spacemon. Something they don’t even know about themselves; something that will surprise everyone with its twisted twistiness.
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!