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!
Alex sat in her room, looking out the viewport at the city skyline, backlit by the setting sun. The Helix been resupplying and refueling on this planet, but the crew was getting ready to head out. The girl leaned back against her bedframe, and waited for the ship to take off. Despite the new advances in her relationship with Shandra, she couldn’t shake the feeling of sadness she felt right now. The crew was looking for her father with her— Alex had been so excited at the prospect of finding him again— but the trail of clues they had been following stopped at the Mirror Planet.
Suddenly, the ship lurched as it took off. Alex watched the cities of the planet fade from view as the Helix ascended into the evening sky, eventually leaving the world behind as a small circle outside the viewport. Deprived of her scenic view, Alex got up and wandered over to the ship’s bridge. Everyone had pretty much already gathered around— apart from H, who was still under strict bedrest orders— and they were discussing their next steps.
“Sooo, what crazy planet are we headed to next?” Minerva asked.
Good question, Alex thought. With her father’s trail having gone cold the girl didn’t have even the slightest clue as to where she and her friends were going to next.
As she looked around the room at her crewmates, it appeared to Alex that they were just as unsure of what to do next as she was. The conference was still several weeks away and, as far as Alex knew, the crew didn’t have anything else planned. If she had her way, they would be continuing the search for her father, but she had no idea where to look. The girl didn’t find anything that could help on the Mirror Planet, and the holoscroll that Gilgamesh had given her wasn’t much help either.
Thinking of the old monk seemed to jog the girl’s memory, and she remembered that he had given them a set of coordinates. “What about that Gardener thing?” Alex asked. Given that they had nothing else to be doing, she figured that they might as well check it out.
“It is our only available lead at the moment,” Morgan quietly asserted, skulking and skimming through the ship’s logs.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Shandra agreed.
“So where is this ‘Gardener thing?’” Minerva asked.
“It’s at these coordinates in Sinai space,” Morgan spoke up. She leaned over the console and plugged in the coordinates Gilgamesh had given her.
Almost instantly, Alex saw a worried look appear on Shandra’s face when she saw the coordinates. Before Alex got the chance to ask her what was wrong, the blue-haired girl quickly backed up and left the bridge in a hurry.
“Hey, where are you going?” Alex called after her. She ran off the bridge, but found the corridor empty. She must have teleported away, the girl realized.
Alex’s first instinct was to check the warp lab; that’s where she always found Shandra. The girl quickly descended to the lower deck and made her way to the labs, but Shandra was nowhere to be found. That’s weird, she thought. Shandra was always in her lab, messing around with the Warp. The fact that she wasn’t there made Alex even more worried than she already was.
Maybe in her room? Alex guessed. She knew that Shandra never used it, but it was the only possible place she could have been. Alex climbed back up to the upper deck, and headed to the living quarters. Shandra’s door was unlocked, which made Alex sure she had to be there.
“Shandra, are you in here?” Alex called out as she stuck her head in the door. There was no response and the door the room seemed to be empty. Where the hell is she? Alex had been sure that Shandra would be here, so she stepped into the room in disbelief. Looking around, she spotted a computer on the desk, casting a faint glow into the room. Alex approached it, and was relieved to see Shandra on the screen, even if she was hiding away, huddled in the corner of a virtual room.
“Shandra?” Alex asked again, but Shandra seemed to be trying to ignore her. “Shandra, what’s wrong?”
“I just…” Shandra trailed off. “I don’t want to go back to that place.”
Alex furrowed her brow in confusion. “What do you mean, ‘back?’” she asked
“Those coordinates… That’s where I’m from.”
“So?” Alex asked. “That’s where we need to go… And I’ll be there with you, no matter what.”
At that, Shandra seemed to loosen up a bit. She turned around to face Alex. “Thanks,” she told the girl. “That means a lot, but… you don’t understand; that’s where they created me.”
“What are you talking about?” Alex asked, more confused than ever.
Shandra sighed. “Remember how I said I was a glitch in reality?”
Alex thought back to the conversation she had with Shandra just after their victory at the Fighting Gym. “That’s how you can go into the computer, right?” the girl asked, tapping the screen with her finger.
“Well, yeah,” Shandra answered. “But there’s more to it than that. You see…” She trailed off, seeming to hesitate for a moment. “I’m not really Human…”
“What do you mean you’re not Human?” Alex asked. She couldn’t understand what Shandra was talking about. “Of course you are.”
“But... I’m not,” Shandra told her. “I am an artificially created… thing that was programmed on that station we’re headed to. By all definitions of the term, I’m an AI.”
The mention of AI sent Alex’s thoughts spinning. It didn’t make sense. It couldn’t. AIs didn’t exist, and they were supposed to be cold and emotionless. Shandra felt so real. “How can that make sense?” Alex asked.
Shandra seemed to sense Alex’s inner turmoil, as she stood up on screen. “It fucking doesn’t. I’m a glitch in reality, remember?” Shandra reached out a hand and in an instant she was outside of the computer again; the transition startled Alex, causing her to take a step back and stumble onto the bed behind her. Shandra sat down next to her and pulled her into a hug. “But I want you to know that I would never hurt you.”
Shandra’s words snapped Alex back to reality, and the girl relaxed in her arms. If Shandra said she was an AI, then it was true. Alex always thought an AI would be something like Starnet in the Eliminator films, not someone who felt real, not someone who she could fall in love with. The girl clenched her fists as she shoved all those thoughts away. None of that matters.
“I know,” Alex said finally, looking right into Shandra’s vibrant green eyes. “And I don’t care if you’re an AI. You’re a real person to me, and that’s all that matters.”
The two stayed like that for a while, just leaning their heads on each other.
“What’s it like?” Alex asked. “Going in and out of a computer?”
Shandra just laughed and hugged Alex tighter. “Craziest trip of your life.”
As the Helix dropped out of warp space at the coordinates that Gilgamesh provided to the ship’s crew, Shandra couldn’t help but feel nervous, despite being surrounded by her friends. It felt like a lifetime ago that she fled from this place, not that she saw much of it on her way out. The remote system on the fringes of Sector 12 was entirely uninhabited save for the Sinai research station she had escaped from.
The Helix flew past the large gas giants on the edge of the system, arriving at the small, icy world the station orbited. As the ship approached the station, Morgan reached out to the console and hailed it. Nope. Shandra thought as she quickly ducked behind the console to avoid being seen as a Sinai researcher appeared on the viewscreen. Nope nope nope nope nope. He was a balding, older looking man wearing a lab coat and some sort of religious symbol around his neck. Something about him seemed so familiar, but Shandra’s memory of her time at this station felt fuzzy. Even now, she wanted to forget it all.
“This is a restricted area,” the man spoke. “State your business.”
“We’re here looking for information on something called the Gardener,” Morgan told him.
A very serious expression appeared on the man’s face. “Who are you?” he asked.
“We were told these coordinates by a monk named Gilgamesh,” Morgan responded.
The researcher’s expression turned quite sour at the mention of the monk. It was clear he recognized the name. “Him… Look, I don’t know what he’s after, but you can just leave. This is a restricted area.”
As the man continued to speak, Shandra felt herself filling with anger. The man’s cold expression and harsh tone caused a wave of memories to overcome her. This was the face she saw ever so briefly in the past, overseeing the many agonizing experiments she had tried to forget since her departure.
“We didn’t come here looking for trouble,” Morgan told the researcher, growing more irritable by the minute. “But we’re more than capable of starting some.”
“Easy there, Morgan,” Dmitri said from his vantage point against the back wall of the bridge. “We’re just here for information.”
“What kind of information?” the man asked, his irritation also growing. “The project here is classified. We can’t just freely give out information to whoever just flies in here.”
Enough of this, Shandra thought. She clenched her fists, and stepped out from her hiding spot. “Can you tell me?” she asked, her tone stern and fierce.
“You!” the man shouted upon seeing her, his face displaying a look of pure shock. “What is she doing on your ship?”
“She’s part of our crew,” Morgan told him. “And she deserves to know what’s going on here.”
“This woman is a wanted fugitive,” the researcher responded. “You will surrender her to our custody and we may still let you leave.”
“Oh, really?” Shandra asked indignantly with a tone that reeked of sarcasm. “I didn’t know that. What am I wanted for?”
“Theft of Sinai scientific assets.”
“When we found her, she was being attacked by your nation’s scientists,” Morgan replied sternly. “If we have something you want, we’ll give it back, but she stays with us.”
“You don’t understand,” Shandra told her. “You have me.”
“This woman is property of the Sinai Ascendancy,” the researcher continued. “You will return her to us, post-haste.”
“She’s not property!” Alex shouted. The girl grabbed Shandra’s hand and held it tightly. “She’s a person!”
“She is not, in fact, a person,” the researcher responded. He then turned to Shandra with a slight grin on his face. “You haven’t told them, have you?”
“Fun fact: I have,” Shandra informed the man.
“She’s a person to me!” Alex shouted. “I don’t care what you say!”
The researcher’s grin turned to a scowl. “Foolish girl,” he dismissed Alex. “So, why are you here then?” he asked, turning back to Shandra. “Why are you really here?”
“We already told you,” Shandra informed him. “The Gardener.”
“How about we make a deal?” the Sinai man asked. His grin returned as he shifted 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 replied coldly.
“I look forward to it,” the man responded, just before the call ended and the screen went black.
Morgan turned to look at her crewmates. “They won’t tell us what we want to know, even if we give them Shandra.”
“Yeah, I figured,” Shandra said as she dropped to her knees, quite shaken from the encounter with her past. Alex quickly leaned down and wrapped her arms around her. “Hey, it’s gonna be okay,” the girl said. “I won’t let him take you away, no matter what.”
“She’s right,” Morgan agreed. “We’ll fight them if we have to, but we’re going to at least try to talk to them first.”
“Thanks,” Shandra replied as Alex pulled her up. I guess it’s now or never. “Let’s go talk.”
Shandra stepped off the Helix into the station’s docking bay with Morgan, Alex, and Dmitri close behind. The scientist stood waiting, flanked by four guards. “Welcome,” he said as the crew approached. “I am Dr. Jeremiah.” He lifted a hand, and motioned his men to start moving in, toward Shandra.
“I said we could talk first,” Morgan immediately objected.
“What about?” Jeremiah responded. “I believe the agreement was: hand over your… compatriot… and we will tell you what you wish to know.”
“If I remember correctly, we never agreed to that,” Shandra said. “How do we know that you’re not gonna cross your own deal?”
“I could ask you lot the same question,” Jeremiah replied, extending his arms in a phony welcoming gesture. “Come now, we can be civil about this, no?”
“There’s nothing civil about this,” Morgan sneered.
“We’re not handing her over!” Alex demanded, grabbing hold of Shandra’s arm.
Shandra moved to step forward, but Alex clung tightly to her arm. Shandra looked back at her and gave her a reassuring nod. It’s okay, Alex, I know what I’m doing. Slowly, the girl released her grip, allowing Shandra to go. At the very least I hope so. Stepping toward the guards, Shandra held her hands up, signaling that she was turning herself in.
“What are you doing, Shandra?!” Morgan screamed as she noticed the blue-haired girl walking past her. Shandra didn’t bother looking back or responding. She had to at least look confident in front of her crew, but inside she was trembling. Deep breaths, Shandra. You can do this.
Jeremiah waved to the guards, and they moved in with restraints, not just for Shandra’s hands, but for her legs and head as well. Shandra recognized the terrible octopus-like contraptions that had held her captive at the station so long ago and immediately regretted her decision. NOPE. YOU CAN’T DO THIS. ABORT. Without hesitation, Shandra instinctively closed her eyes and dropped herself into warp space to escape.
Floating in the familiar void of the Warp, Shandra calmed down and opened her eyes. She could vaguely see the scene she just left, twisting and distorting in the violet swirls of darkness like a spectre. She saw the guards send out some Pokemon— what looked like a Mr. Mime, a Gallade, a Solrock, and a Reuniclus— and turned to see her crew do the same. There was no sound— it was like she was watching a highly fluctuating holographic projection. It almost didn’t seem real. Shandra let out a sigh as the battle began to unfold, swimming over to a point behind the scientists. Oh, it was real alright, and at the moment, though she wanted nothing more than to stay hidden in the Warp, her friends needed her help. Deep breaths, Shandra. She closed her eyes and prepared to drop back to reality. You can do this.
Shandra dropped herself back into normal space, and found herself directly in front of the Mr. Mime. Giratina’s mark sparking violently with shadowy energy, Shandra lunged at the startled Pokemon and struck it with her fist. Much to her surprise, the Pokemon fell to the floor, knocked out. They must have hit it already, Shandra thought, seeing her crewmates’ Pokemon surrounding her.
“Jean, use Electro Ball!” Morgan commanded her Pikachu, attempting to cover Shandra as she retreated back toward the others. The electric mouse dashed past Shandra as she ran, and leapt into the air, unleashing a large ball of lightning at the Reuniclus. As the Pikachu landed, the Gallade ran up to him, arm raised to strike. However, the nimble Pokemon dodged out of the way at the last second, causing the Gallade’s fist to collide with the ground.“Keep moving Jean!” Morgan shouted as the Solrock fired a wave of psychic energy at her Pokemon. Shandra was impressed as the Pikachu once more dove out of harm’s way.
Once safely back alongside her crewmates, Shandra reached for V.O.I.D.’s Pokeball, taking the opportunity to release the Cofagrigus onto the field as she surveyed the battlefield. She saw the Reuniclus charge up a ball of energy, then launch it at Alex’s Umbreon. The attack landed dead on, but Ebony stood strong, even if she looked a little worse for wear.
“Gigan, hit that Reuniclus again with another X-Scissor!” Dmitri shouted. His recently evolved Scizor flew at Ebony’s assailant, claws raised to strike. Gigan swiped at the Reuniclus as she passed it, and knocked it out.
“Jean, use Volt Tackle on that Gallade!” Morgan commanded her Pikachu. The speedy electric Pokemon once more charged into the fray, building up electricity around himself. The Pikachu leapt at the Gallade, and slammed into it. However, the Pokemon shrugged off the hit, and fired a beam of electricity at Ebony. Being the resilient Pokemon that she was, the Umbreon seemed unfazed.
Meanwhile, the Solrock locked-on to Jean, and fired a large blast of Psychic energy at him, finally taking the dodgy Pokemon out of the fight. In a quick motion, Morgan recalled the fainted Pikachu and released freshly evolved Dewott.
“Gigan, use Wing Attack on that Gallade!” Dmitri commanded his Scizor, covering Morgan as she swapped Pokemon. The metallic Pokemon flew in close for the hit, slicing the Gallade with her armored wings.
“V.O.I.D., finish it off with Shadow Ball!” Shandra yelled to her Cofagrigus, finally getting her head in the fight. The ghostly Pokemon built up a ball of dark energy in her shadowy hands, and lobbed it at the Gallade, taking it down. That just left the Solrock.
“Ebony, use Faint Attack!” Alex commanded her Umbreon, pointing at the remaining Pokemon. Ebony charged at the Solrock, and slammed into it, knocking it back a bit.
Seeing the fight not going in his men’s favor, Jeremiah turned to run out of the room. “Gigan, stop him!” Dmitri commanded his Pokemon, seeing the scientist attempting to flee. The Scizor swiftly flew after the man, and knocked him down, drawing a bit of blood with her claws in the process.
The Solrock, meanwhile, focused on V.O.I.D., firing a psychic wave at the Cofagrigus. The attack hit dead on and dealt a heavy blow, but Shandra knew V.O.I.D. would be okay. She is a ghost, after all.
“Herman, use Razor Shell!” Morgan commanded her Dewott. The Pokemon rushed forward at the Solrock, and slashed it with his shell, dealing a powerful hit.
Shandra could tell the Pokemon was on the ropes, so she commanded her Pokemon to deliver the final blow. “V.O.I.D., use Shadow Ball and finish it off!” she ordered. The Cofagrigus unleashed another powerful ball of dark energy, and took it down.
With the battle won, Shandra glanced around at the guards; she was ready to fight them too, if necessary. However, they didn’t move from their positions on the edge of the battlefield. Shandra angrily walked up to where Jeremiah lay on the floor, and the guards stayed out of her way. She crouched down beside the researcher, looking at him with contempt. “Now, I’m gonna ask you again,” she said coldly. “Tell us about the Gardener.”
Jeremiah propped himself up against the wall. “You really don’t know anything do you?” he asked, laughing. “What are you going to do to me?” The man’s voice rang with a patronizing tone.
Shit, what are we gonna do to him? Shandra wondered briefly. She lifted her marked arm and willed it to start glowing. “What are you most afraid of?” she asked in an attempt to sound intimidating. Jeremiah did not seem impressed.
As Shandra stood up, frowning at the Sinai scientist, Dmitri walked over and placed a hand on Jeremiah’s forehead. Oh, okay, you’ve got something? Shandra thought as she backed away, figuring the Romanov was attempting to use whatever powers he had gained on the Mirror Planet. Unfortunately, after several moments, all Dmitri appeared to be succeeding at was looking like an idiot.
“Keep trying,” Morgan told him. “I’m going to see if I can hack into their computers.” She walked over to a console a little ways down the corridor and began playing around with it.
Shandra turned her attention back to Dmitri, who was now repeatedly slapping Jeremiah on the forehead in an attempt to do… something. Shandra couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle at the sight.
“Shandra!” Morgan’s voice suddenly snapped Shandra to attention. “I think Alex might be in trouble! Come with me!”
Shandra looked around her and saw that, sure enough, Alex seemed to have disappeared. She was just here! she thought in dismay. Where could she have gone? “Stay here,” Shandra told Dmitri. “See if you can get him to talk.” She then ran after Morgan, following her deeper into the station. If something bad happened to Alex, Shandra would never forgive herself.
Footsteps echoed through the maze of corridors as the two ran through the station, eventually coming to a stop next to a locked door. For some reason, Shandra could have sworn there were fewer hallways. Guess it’s too bad that I wanted to forget about this place, now that I need to remember it. Morgan pulled up a map of the ship she had downloaded, showing an alarm on the other side of the door, but neither of them could decipher enough of the Sinai script on the door’s console to navigate its menus.
Suddenly, from the other side of the door came the unmistakeable sound of Alex screaming in pain. Shandra tensed up, and instinctively grabbed onto Morgan, teleporting the both of them to the other side of the door. Shandra immediately reached for K.E.Y.S.’s Pokeball as she took in the situation. Alex lay curled up and spasming on top of a Magnezone, while a nearby Electivire had just turned around to apprehend the new intruders.
Morgan quickly released her own Pokemon, and, along with Shandra, the team engaged Alex’s electric assailants. “Lucien, use Fake-Out!” Morgan commanded her Liepard, pointing at the Electivire. The swift Pokemon charged forward, getting the drop on the large yellow beast and causing it to flinch.
Sensing the oncoming assault, the Magnezone activated its magnets and pulled K.E.Y.S. towards itself. However, it kept the Klefki at a distance to prevent him from attacking. It then locked-on to Lucien and charged up a wave of electricity, blasting it outward to hit the Liepard, which stumbled and spasmed a bit from the jolt.
“K.E.Y.S., use Flash Cannon on the Electivire!” Shandra commanded her Pokemon. The Klefki didn’t need to be close to hit anything. He targeted the large yellow creature, and fired a blast of light at it. Shandra then used her own power to swap places with Alex; she needed to get the girl out of harm’s way.
From her new perch atop the Magnezone, Shandra watched Morgan fire a blast of psychic energy at the Electivire before running over to Alex. She pulled the girl over to the wall and propped her up against it. Oh thank God, Shandra thought with relief; Alex was safe. From her new resting place, Alex pulled out one of her Pokeballs and released her Lucario. “Use Focus Blast,” the girl grunted. It sounded like she was in pain.
Time to get out of here, Shandra thought as the Lucario lobbed a massive ball of aura energy at the Magnezone. She quickly blipped herself down to the ground as the attack found its mark. In response, the Magnezone flew down into the middle of the three Pokemon attacking it, and unleashed a massive discharge of electricity. The Electivire then followed up by throwing a ball of lightning at K.E.Y.S., leaving the Klefki quite beaten up. Seeing how hurt her Pokemon was, Shandra recalled him as Morgan continued to bark orders at her Pokemon. The Liepard ran up to the Electivire, and leapt up at it, clawing at its face in fury and finally taking it down. The Magnezone paid in kind by slamming itself into Lucien, instantly knocking the Liepard out as well.
“Anubis, use Power-Up Punch,” Alex grunted to her Pokemon. The girl’s Lucario charged at the Magnezone, and punched it squarely in the eye. Morgan then fired another blast of psychic energy at it to finish it off.
With the danger passed, Shandra dashed over to Alex’s side. “Are you alright?” she asked. The girl nodded, but remained silent; she looked pretty shaken up. “I was so worried,” Shandra continued, pulling Alex into hug.
“Ow, ow, not so tight,” Alex said, wincing in pain a little as Shandra embraced her.
“Sorry,” Shandra apologized, loosening up a bit. The two stayed there for a moment, but Shandra eventually broke away and pulled Alex to her feet. However, as soon as Alex took a step, her right leg gave out on her. Shandra quickly grabbed the girl to keep her from falling. “Easy there,” Shandra told her, reaching around the girl’s back. “Why don’t you just lean on me?”
“It wouldn’t be the first time. Thanks,” Alex said as she reached around Shandra’s neck to help support herself. Hobbling along, the three then resumed their search for the Gardener, wandering down the unfamiliar hallways together this time.
Eventually, the trio found their way to a large open chamber that Morgan’s map pointed them to. With Alex’s help, reading the map was a lot easier. Immediately upon entering, the thing that stood out to Shandra was a large, dimly lit mechanical sphere in the center of the room. There was a mess of cables extending out from it, sprawling out in all directions along the floor and hanging from pipelines that crept along the ceiling.
Shandra stayed back from the object, as Alex was still leaning on her, and stared at it from a distance while Morgan approached it. As she watched Morgan investigate the sphere, Shandra couldn’t shake the feeling of familiarity it stirred in her. I must have seen it when I was here before, she rationalized, but that didn’t seem right to her.
“I need to go check that thing out,” Shandra said, lead Alex over to a nearby console. “Are you going to be okay here?” she asked after helping the girl lean up against it. Alex nodded, so Shandra approached the sphere to check it out for herself.
Upon closer inspection, the object appeared to be very damaged. Shandra peered into a large crack on its surface and was greeted by the sight of badly damaged ancient computer parts with some sort of big crystal object in the center. What is this thing? Shandra wondered. Something about the crystal made her think that it should have been glowing, but it was completely dark. She got the sense that when this sphere was intact, it would be a very sophisticated computational system— quite accommodating to someone such as herself. However, in its current state, the sphere seemed too badly damaged to house any sort of digital architecture.
As Shandra continued to investigate the sphere, she heard Morgan calling Dmitri on her Pokedex. “Dmitri, come to our location now, and bring that scientist with you,” she said.
A few minutes later, Dmitri arrived on the scene, dragging Jeremiah along with him. “What... is this?” Shandra asked the scientist rather forcefully, pointing at the sphere.
“This is, or at least was, the Gardener,” Jeremiah answered.
“Was?” Shandra asked, somewhat confused. This piece of junk?
“It doesn’t look to be Gardening any more, does it?” Jeremiah asked smugly.
“What did you do to it?” Morgan asked 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?” Shandra asked.
“It was dying, certainly.”
“Was it dead?” Morgan asked, approaching the scientist in a fit of rage.
“We didn’t kill it, if that’s what you’re getting at,” Jeremiah responded. “We saved it.”
“It’s dead, how can you have saved it?”
“Where is it now then?” Alex asked from the console she was leaning on.
“You haven’t asked about the other half of this facility, have you?” Jeremiah returned with a question of his own. Aaaand here we go. Shandra felt all eyes fall on her at the man’s words. “What do you know about artificial intelligence?” Jeremiah asked, turning to face Morgan again.
“True AI doesn’t really exist,” Morgan replied, the words causing an instinctive wince from Shandra. “All currently developed AI can’t-”
“Correction,” Jeremiah interrupted her. “All Human-developed AI. We are not advanced enough to develop a truly independent thinking intelligence. At least… not on our own.”
Morgan stared down the scientist, the young woman’s hands clenching into fists in her rage. Morgan walked up to Jeremiah and took a hard swing at his face, drawing some blood from his quickly swelling lips. She raised her fist again as Jeremiah spat some blood onto the floor, but held herself back from a second swing. “You experimented on another sentient being!?”
“We found this,” Jeremiah responded, annoyed at the state of his rapidly deteriorating situation. “Badly damaged. Nonfunctioning. We salvaged what we could and built something from its core. We built-”
Morgan clocked him in the face again, and Dmitri did nothing but hold him in place. He seemed to be considering letting go and, instead, trying to restrain Morgan. But then Jeremiah could escape, right?
“Doing what you did…” Morgan spat, tears dripping their way down her cheeks. “Even doing that to Pokemon would be considered cruel!”
Shandra quickly stopped her from giving the man a third blow. After gently shoving Morgan aside, she looked at Jeremiah with a cold, serious expression. “I guess we’ve been asking the wrong question,” she said. “Who am I?”
Jeremiah laughed. “Do you really not know?”
Shandra looked over at the damaged shell of the Gardener, 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.”
A long silence filled the room as the revelation of Shandra’s past set in. God... Shandra was trying so hard to process everything. Fucking... She looked over at the wrecked sphere for several more moments, as if sizing it up properly for the first time. Dammit. This entire endeavor had led to nothing but this now non-functioning mass of computers, and they had no new leads from it. Oh, and I’m supposedly a being who seeded the entire motherfucking Galaxy with life. Surprise! She then turned back to Jeremiah before finally speaking. “I don’t suppose you would mind if I take my home back, right?” she asked, turning back to Jeremiah.
“I don’t really have a choice, do I?” the scientist less asked than observed.
“No, not really.”
And with that, Shandra and Dmitri walked over to the sphere, unplugged it from everything, and began rolling it toward the door.
Author’s Notes: Whew! It’s finally done! This chapter was an endeavor to write, that’s for sure. The original chapter was one of the longest chapters in all of Spacemon, so it was brutal to go through and adapt. Plus The Other Guy and I didn’t have a whole lot of communication for a while so we didn’t get to finishing it as soon as originally planned!
There’s a whole lot going on in this chapter, even though we’ve seen most of it before. The events of Volume 2, Chapter 19 were very important to Shane’s character, as well as the overall plot, so the same had to hold true for Shandra. Of course there are a few details that are different, and there was lots of opportunity to focus on writing specifically from the perspective of particular characters. We added a bit to the beginning of the chapter to make it flow nicely, and then fed into a scene from Alex’s perspective that originally was an exchange between Morgan and Shane. This time, it’s Alex who goes to comfort Shandra and, in the process, learn about her being an AI. I referenced the exchange from Volume 2, Chapter 15 in which Alex learned about Shane’s/Shandra’s computer powers, and then fed into the revelation. Given the romantic relationship between Alex and Shandra, I felt it important that she heard it directly from Shandra. I also got to play around with the dissonance within Alex from her both being afraid of AI and being in love with one. I really like how it turned out.
The part where Alex ran off was great because it gave an opportunity to show Shandra’s worry for the girl, and once again gave new meaning to her using Ally Switch. It was also fun to swap the whole thing from Alex’s perspective in the original to Shandra’s. Speaking of Shandra’s perspective, it was really fun writing the battle against the psychic types from her perspective because I got to show what it’s like to use Phantom Force in this universe.
Also of note, I pulled in a few bits from the beginning of Volume 2, Chapter 20 at the end to make for a good ending. The final scene also shows Morgan going off the deep end a bit after all the craziness in the previous chapter of Blueshift. Across the chapter we see her a bit more withdrawn from her crewmates than in the canon universe, and a lot more aggressive. In this universe, she actually succeeded in punching Jeremiah in the face. Even though this story focuses on the relationship between Alex and Shandra, I think it will be fun to see where we take Morgan’s character.
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!