Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is a spinoff of the sci-fi space epic played using the Pokemon Tabletop United (PTU) system, this time GMed by yours truly. You can get caught up the entire Spacemon saga here!
“The inner layers are made of flame retardant materials, so you should be well insulated if your flamethrower malfunctions, or if you get attacked by a fire Pokemon.” Erik had a proud smile on his face as he showed Axel the armor he built for him. “And the outer plating is partially made from the alloys used in those parts we found out in Sector 34,” the Maverick’s engineer continued, rapping his knuckles against the suit of armor’s chestplate. “The same stuff Ace is made out of. So it shouldn’t restrict your movement too much. The helmet also has an integrated air filter to protect you from ash and other hazardous materials.”
“It’s perfect,” Axel said. “Just what I needed.” The mercenary was quite enamored with his crewmate’s creation. It had blown away all his expectations. “And you got it done just in time for the mission,” he continued, glancing out the viewport at the strands of warp energy surrounding the ship as it flew toward the rendezvous point with the mercenaries.
“It will certainly be a good way to test it out,” Erik said, nodding in agreement. “The only thing left to do is hook your flamethrower up to it.”
“Alright then,” Axel said, rubbing his hands together in excitement. “Let’s get to work.”
The Maverick’s crew gathered at the front of the ship as it dropped out of warp space at the coordinates provided by the mercenaries back on Cacia. They were greeted by the sight of two ships out the front viewport, an Alliance-make light frigate and a Genevan-make bucket about the same size as the Maverick. As the Maverick approached, the ship received a hail from the frigate and Cyrus accepted the call.
Axel immediately recognized the man who appeared on screen as one of the men he, Ace, and Taraka had spoken to back on Cacia: the gravely-voiced mercenary with an eyepatch who had been running recruitment. “Glad to see you could make it,” he said.
Axel smirked. “What? Did you think we were gonna miss this fight?”
The mercenary smirked back. “Of course not. We’re just glad to have a third ship for this. It will make it a whole lot easier.”
“So, what’s the plan here?” Cyrus asked.
“I’m glad you asked,” the man on screen said. “It’s simple really. I have it on good information that Rooker’s got a big shipment coming through here … and we’re gonna take it. Three ships total, one for each of ours. We wait here to ambush ‘em, then we board, take out everyone on board, then claim the cargo for ourselves. Like I said, simple.”
“It is simple,” Cyrus agreed. “I like it.”
“‘Atta boy, Captain,” Axel said, nudging his boss with his elbow. “We’re gonna kick some serious smuggler ass.”
“That’s the spirit,” the one-eyed mercenary said. “Good luck out there,” he added before disconnecting.
“Alright, boys,” Cyrus said, turning to the crew. “Let’s get armed and ready before our ‘friends’ show up.”
Captain Cyrus Drake sat in the cockpit of his ship along with his crew in anticipation of the battle to come. It had been a few hours since they had arrived, and according to the intel they had been provided, Rooker’s ships were due to arrive at any moment now. It won’t be long now, the Maverick’s captain thought.
As if on cue, three ships, Alliance-make buckets to be precise, dropped out of warp space. The two mercenary ships immediately moved in to engage the new arrivals and Anya looked over at Cyrus for orders. “Hang back for now,” the captain said. “Axel, you and me on the guns. Everyone else, strap yourselves in.” Cyrus jumped up from his seat and ran for the gun controls, with Axel close behind.
Looking through the viewfinder for the ion cannons, Cyrus could see two of the smuggler ships engaging with the two mercenary ships, while the third was flying right for the Maverick. “Let’s light ‘em up!” Axel shouted as he opened fire on the approaching ship with the photon cannons, peppering its shields.
As he lined up a shot of his own, Cyrus could see the other ships trading fire. Being far more heavily armed than any other ship in the battle, the mercenary frigate decimated the shields of its target and destroyed one of its engines. The third ship, meanwhile, opened fire upon the Maverick. Fortunately, Anya was a skilled pilot and was able to roll the ship out of harm’s way. Cyrus quickly adjusted his aim to account for the movement and opened fire.
Axel immediately followed up with his own volley of shots. The smuggler ship’s shields held up against the combined assault, but there was no way they could absorb the sustained fire for long. The ship fired back at the Maverick flew in closer, but Anya once again avoided taking any hits.
From this much closer range, Cyrus was easily able to shred through the shields with the ion cannons, opening it up for Axel. The mercenary wasted little time in taking advantage of the situation, blasting a hole through the ship’s airlock.
“We’re moving in to board now,” the gravely voice of the mercenary leader sounded over the comms. Through his viewfinder, Cyrus could see the frigate docking with the smuggler ship it had easily disabled. The other two ships, however, were still trading shots.
Shifting trajectory in response to the damage it had incurred, the smuggler ship began to flee from the Maverick, but Anya pursued. With a few well-placed shots, Axel disabled one of its engines, allowing Anya to fly in close and dock with the damaged airlock.
“Alright boys, let’s do this!” Cyrus shouted as he jumped up from his seat. “Axel, Taraka, form up on the airlock! Ace, man the guns and hold the fort down!”
“You can count on me!” Ace said as he took over control of the photon cannons.
Axel tightly gripped the handle of his flamethrower as he moved through the airlock with Cyrus and Taraka. Since he had blasted the smuggler ship’s exterior airlock door open during the ambush, they were easily able to enter. The only thing standing in their way now was the interior airlock door, which was still sealed tight.
“There’s a console here,” Taraka said, approaching the door. Axel watched the monk press his hand against the panel, but nothing happened.
“It must be locked from inside,” Axel mused.
“That seems to be the case,” Taraka agreed.
“If only we had Ace with us; he might be able to hack it open,” Axel said, approaching the console to get a look at it. He certainly had no idea how to do it himself.
“Just try shooting it,” Cyrus suggested.
“You got it, boss,” Axel said. He took a step back, then aimed his flamethrower at the console. “Stand back, Taraka.”
Once the Sinai monk was a safe distance away, Axel squeezed the trigger, shooting a jet of flames at the door console. After a few seconds the console began melting from the heat, then started to spark. About a minute later, the airlock door slid open, albeit rather ungracefully.
“Nice work,” Cyrus said, clasping Axel on the shoulder as he passed by and walked through the door. Axel and Taraka followed close behind their captain into the smuggler ship.
“Oy! Where d’ya think your goin’?!” a voice shouted as they crossed the threshold. Axel quickly grabbed a Pokeball and released his recently captured Shinx as a pair of smugglers appeared from around a corner, guns raised.
Taraka seemed to have the same idea, releasing his new Blitzle. “Blitz, Shock Wave!” As his Pokemon shot a bolt of electricity at one of the smugglers, the Sinai monk stepped back and put up a psionic barrier around the crew and their Pokemon.
Axel aimed his flamethrower at the other smuggler and blasted him with fire, then turned to his Pokemon. “Krieg, use Spark!” he commanded his Shinx. The electric feline ran up next to Taraka’s Blitzle, absorbing electrical energy from her before diving into the smuggler she had already zapped. As Krieg collided with the smuggler, the Shinx unleashed a massive discharge of electricity that caused the man to seize up. The smuggler then collapsed on the floor, twitching. The powerful current running through his body caused the Pokeball on his belt to trigger an emergency release, letting loose a Mightyena.
Seeing the punishment the boarders had dished out on his crewmate, the remaining smuggler threw out his own Pokemon, a Koffing. He then took aim at Axel’s Shinx with his pistol and fired. Fortunately, the psionic barrier Taraka had put up greatly reduced the speed of the rapidly accelerated metal projectile, mitigating the damage.
Meanwhile, the unconscious smuggler’s Mightyena lashed out at the nearest thing it could reach, sinking its fangs into Taraka’s Blitzle. While the monk’s barrier spread the force of the impact over a wider area, the Mightyena’s sharp teeth still pierced through, forcing it to dissipate.
“Use Poison Gas!” the remaining smuggler ordered his Pokemon. The Koffing floated down between Axel, Taraka, and their Pokemon and expelled a steady stream of toxic fumes. Axel made a note to thank Erik for having the foresight to install an air filter in his helmet when he got back to the ship; he was completely unaffected by the gas thanks to the Maverick’s engineer.
Taraka wasn’t so lucky. “Blitz ... Shock Wave that Koffing!” the monk managed to cough out. His Blitzle obliged and zapped the poisonous Pokemon with electricity.
“Krieg, Bite it!” Axel then ordered his own Pokemon. Fighting through the poisonous haze, the Shinx leapt up at the Koffing and sunk his teeth in.
Cyrus, meanwhile, fired at the smuggler from outside the toxic cloud, landing a shot right in his shoulder. Axel attempted to follow up, firing a burst of flames at him, but the wounded smuggler ducked behind a crate just in time. The smuggler then poked his head out and took a potshot at Taraka, landing a glancing blow to his armor.
“Now you’ve done it,” the monk said, hefting up his quarter staff. He rushed at the smuggler and clocked him in the head with the metal staff. Dazed, the smuggler stumbled backwards, right into Cyrus’s sights. A well-placed shot to the other shoulder by the Maverick’s captain brought him down.
The smugglers may have been dealt with, but their Pokemon were still a problem. The Maverick crew didn’t even get a moment to breathe before the Mightyena leapt at Taraka’s Blitzle, teeth barred. Thinking quickly, Axel put himself between Blitz and the Mightyena and grabbed the attacking Pokemon. Unable to reach its target, the Mightyena sunk its teeth into Axel’s other arm, finding just the right spot between the armor plating. Axel grunted as pain shot through his arm, but he fought through. The alliance mercenary pulled the Mightyena off and slammed it into a nearby crate.
That should keep it down for a while, Axel thought, turning to face the Koffing as it spat a ball of sludge at his Pokemon. “Hang in there, Krieg!” the mercenary encouraged the Shinx, which just barely stood up to the attack. Cyrus then fired a powerful shot at the Koffing, bringing it down.
“Blitz, Shock Wave!” Taraka commanded as the Mightyena picked itself back up. The monk’s Blitzle fired a burst of electricity at the Mightyena, wearing it down.
“Now, finish it with Spark!” Axel shouted. His Shinx rushed the Mightyena, sparking violently as it drew electrical energy from within itself and from the Blitzle. Krieg plowed right into the Mightyena, unleashing an explosion of sparks. When the bright light cleared, the Shinx was standing over the unconscious body of the Mightyena.
“Alright you two,” Cyrus said. “Let’s get moving. We need to capture the bridge. There’s gotta be more of them, so keep your guard up.”
“Just a moment,” Taraka said as he recalled his Blitzle and sent out his Shuppet. The monk then pulled out an antidote for the poisonous gas and gulped it down. Stowing the empty bottle away, Taraka pulled out a potion and handed it to Axel. “Here.”
“Thanks,” Axel said, taking the potion from his crewmate. The mercenary felt revitalized as he sipped the concoction down. He then recalled his Shinx and swapped out to his Alakazam. “Let’s do this,” he said, taking a step toward the corridor that lead to the front of the ship.
As the trio moved down the corridor, another smuggler jumped out at them from a doorway. Axel watched as Cyrus’s quick reflexes kicked in and the captain raised his pistol, took aim, and fired, laying the man out with a well-placed shot. “Nice one, boss,” Axel complimented his employer as he stepped over the smuggler lying on the floor.
“It was nothing,” the captain replied as he led his crew further down the corridor.
The narrow passageway opened up into an open area at the front of the ship, and Axel could see the mercenary ships docked with the other two smuggler ships out the front viewport. He could also see four more smugglers waiting for them.
“Don’t just stand there!” the apparent leader shouted, an Alliance Outer Colony accent quite apparent. “Shoot ‘em!”
The Maverick crew dove for cover as the smugglers opened fire on them. Hearing the ballistic projectiles deflecting off the metal of the bulkhead he was hiding behind, Axel clutched his flamethrower tighter. Once the shots stopped coming, the Alliance mercenary poked his head out to see the smugglers release Pokemon as they moved in, two more Mightyenas and two more Koffings.
“Just great,” Axel grumbled. He then turned the his Alakazam, taking cover beside him, and gave it an order. “Ryner, use Reflect. Protect us from those projectiles.” As his Pokemon threw up a protective barrier, Axel stepped out of cover and squeezed the trigger of his flamethrower, shooting a ball of fire at the nearest Koffing. Unfortunately, the Pokemon managed to float up and out of the way.
“Now it get’s serious!” Cyrus shouted as he popped out of cover. The Maverick’s captain quickly tossed out a Pokeball, then took a few shots at the smugglers before ducking back behind cover. “Peregrine, use Flail!” he ordered his newly released Talonflame from the relative safety of the console he was crouched behind. His Pokemon dove at the Koffing Axel had shot at and swiped at it with one of his talons.
“Spooperz, Night Shade!” Taraka commanded his Shuppet before throwing up another protective psionic barrier. His ghostly Pokemon blasted the Koffing with dark energy, keeping up the sustained assault against the poisonous Pokemon.
“Nox, deal with that Shuppet!” the Pokemon’s trainer commanded in response. “Use Assurance!” The Koffing rapidly floated toward Spooperz, but the Shuppet was faster and managed to avoid the hit.
“Chomper, hit that Alakazam!” another of the smugglers ordered his Mightyena as he moved in.
“Dodge it, Ryner!” Axel shouted as the mightyena lunged at his Pokemon. The Alakazam swiftly sidestepped, and the attacking Pokemon ran past, skidding on the floor as it attempted to turn around.
The Pokemon’s trainer, meanwhile, aimed his rifle at Peregrine and fired at the Talonflame, which was clawing at his crewmate with his talons. The shot hit the fire bird dead on, and the other smuggler seized the opportunity to get away and take a shot at Cyrus, who had poked his head out of cover. The captain quickly ducked back down to avoid the shots, then popped back out and returned fire, landing a glancing shot on his attacker. He ducked back down again as the two smugglers in the back laid down suppressing fire as they moved in with their Pokemon.
“Ryner, use Icy Wind!” Axel commanded his Alakazam as the smuggler the captain had shot continued to move up with his fellow smuggler’s Mightyena. The powerful icy variant of psychic Pokemon unleashed a blast of freezing air, slowing the Mightyena down, and knocking the smuggler completely unconscious. Axel then shot a burst of flames at the Mightyena, landing a good hit while it was still vulnerable.
Cyrus followed up Axel’s assault with a few shots from his pistol, bringing the Mightyena down. The Maverick’s immediately shouted an order to his Pokemon as he motioned at the Koffing. “Peregrine, use Peck!” His Talonflame swooped down at the Koffing, striking it with his beak.
“Now, Spooperz, Shadow Sneak!” Taraka commanded. His Shuppet flew in and bashed into the Koffing, knocking it out. As it sunk to the floor, the Koffing unleashed a final blast of explosive energy and toxic fumes, leaving the two Pokemon assaulting it injured.
By this point, the other two smugglers and their Pokemon had gotten close, and the Maverick crew had to duck back into cover to avoid their incoming fire. From his position behind the bulkhead, Axel watched as Taraka put up another psionic barrier for protection.
A piercing cry from Cyrus’s Talonflame brought Axel’s focus back to the smugglers. The Pokemon had been hit dead on by the nearest smuggler, but he was miraculously still fighting on. “Ryner hit that guy with Ice Beam!” Axel commanded his own Pokemon. He knew they couldn’t afford to lose Cyrus’s fierce fire bird.
The beam of cold energy struck the smuggler right in the chest, trapping his torso in ice. “Now, finish him with Flail!” Cyrus shouted. Flapping wildly around the partially immobilized smuggler, Peregrine rapidly struck him with his beak and talons, taking him out of commission.
Trying to keep the smugglers off his Pokemon, Cyrus jumped out of cover and fired off a few shots with his pistol. The smugglers fired back, and the leader landed a shot on his thigh. The Maverick’s captain quickly dove for cover again just as another volley of shots flew his way.
The smuggler’s Pokemon, meanwhile, sought out different targets. Seemingly well disciplined and trained, the two Pokemon acted on their own, the Mightyena moving in on Taraka’s Shuppet, and the Koffing going for the monk himself. Spooperz managed to float out of the way as the Mightyena leapt up at her, but Taraka didn’t have that luxury. Thankfully, the monk’s psionic barrier managed to absorb a lot of the impact of the ball of toxic sludge the Koffing spit out at him.
Spotting the leader moving up on the left around the other side of a large support column, Axel popped out of cover and shot a quick burst of flames from his flamethrower to halt his progress. Peeking out from around the column, the leader aimed his rifle at Axel, but before he could line up the shot, Cyrus’s Talonflame swooped down at him.
“Gah!” the smuggler leader grunted, swatting the Pokemon away. “Mightyena, deal with that annoying bird! Use Bite!” Heeding its master’s command, the Mightyena leapt up at Peregrine and sunk its fangs in, finally taking the Talonflame down. Cyrus quickly leaned out of cover to recall his fallen Pokemon, then took a few potshots at the leader before ducking back in.
“Spooperz, Night Shade!” Taraka directed his Shuppet after the smuggler leader before running up to the other one and taking a swing at him with his staff. The smuggler ducked down under the staff as it whizzed past his head then attempted to take a shot at the monk with his pistol. With quick reflexes of his own, Taraka sidestepped away to avoid the shot, then dove into cover.
In response to the Shuppet assaulting him, the smuggler leader aimed his rifle at her and took a shot. Fortunately, the reflective barrier that Axel’s Alakazam had conjured earlier shielded her. “Now, Spite!” Taraka commanded. Spooperz’s eyes flashed red, and the smuggler’s rifle jammed up, sparking with dark energy. The smuggler tossed the now-useless weapon aside, then pulled out his pistol and took a few shots at the Shuppet, who simply phased through the wall, out of harm’s way.
“Fumes, use Poison Gas,” the other smuggler ordered his own Pokemon. His Koffing floated into the fray and inflated as it built up poisonous gas, then it spewed it out.
“Ryner, use Icy Wind!” Axel commanded his Alakazam, thinking quickly. Ryner unleashed another blast of freezing air, blowing the gas away, and pelting the smuggler and the two Pokemon near him. Axel then followed up his Pokemon’s attack with a blast of flames from his flamethrower. The ball of fire hit the Mightyena and erupted into a fiery explosion that knocked the smuggler standing beside it out.
“Spooperz, Will-O-Wisp the leader!” Taraka shouted from cover. His Shuppet released a ghostly flame and floated it over to the sole remaining smuggler, setting him alight. The monk then recalled his ghostly Pokemon and sent out his Ponyta.
“Take care of that one!” the smuggler leader directed his Mightyena at Taraka before taking a few shots at Axel. The mercenary’s armor absorbed the hits, and he pressed forward, blasting the smuggler with another jet of flames.
Axel then turned to see the Mightyena skidding past Taraka. The Koffing seemed to be a bigger threat at the moment, so Axel pointed it out and ordered his Alakazam to attack. “Ryner, use Psybeam!” The Alakazam fired off a beam of psychic energy, but the Koffing floated out of the way, then spit back a ball of sludge. Fortunately, Taraka’s psionic barriers shielded him from harm.
“Great, now use Disable!” Ryner hit the Koffing with a ray of psychic energy, leaving it stunned for a moment. It was just enough time for Cyrus to shoot off a volley of shots from his pistol, doing a real number on the Pokemon. Having left himself exposed, the Maverick’s captain took a pistol shot to the shoulder, but he was a tough one. Axel knew it was going to take more than that to keep him down.
“Blaze, Flame Wheel!” Taraka shouted. “Bring down that Koffing!” The monk’s Ponyta charged at the Koffing, surrounded by flames, but the Pokemon floated up and out of the way. It then dropped back down, slamming into the Ponyta. Not having any of that, Blazes’s flames flared up, setting the Koffing on fire. “Now, Ember!” The Ponyta then quickly turned around and spit more flames at the burning Koffing, continuing to whittle it down.
The monk’s rapid-fire orders seemed to draw the attention of the Mightyena, which leapt up at him, teeth bared. Luckily for Taraka, the last remnants of Ryner’s protective barrier kept him safe. A few shots from Cyrus’s pistol later, the Mightyena was lying knocked out on the floor.
The others seemed to have the Pokemon under control, so Axel shifted his focus back to the smuggler leader. “Ryner, use Ice Beam!” the Alliance mercenary shouted. “Take him out!” The Alakazam fired off a beam of cold energy that struck the smuggler dead on, knocking him out. Glancing back at the others, Axel saw the Koffing collide with the wall thanks to a powerful swing of Taraka’s staff.
“That was one hell of a fight,” Cyrus said, chuckling as he limped out from cover, clutching his wounded shoulder.
“Are you alright, Captain?” Taraka asked, rushing over to assist him.
“I’ll live. Let’s round these guys up, then get back to the Maverick and check in with our friends.”
“I think they’re doing just fine,” Axel said, looking out the front viewport. The mercenary ships had undocked from the smuggler vessels, and the ships had completely ceased firing upon each other. It was clear that the mercenaries had successfully captured the smuggler ships.
“Well, I’ve gotta say, I’m impressed,” the gravelly-voiced mercenary leader said. “You did much better capturing that ship than I expected.”
Axel let out a chuckle. “I told you it wouldn’t be a problem.”
The mercenary leader smirked. “That you did.” He then stepped back and motioned towards several crates full of Rooker’s cargo. “As promised, here’s your payment. This share of the stolen cargo is yours to do with what you will.”
“It’ll do, I suppose,” Cyrus said. “We tend to stick to the more legitimate side of business in the Rim.”
“Well, I’m sure you’ll find a use for it,” the mercenary leader said, extending his hand.
“I’m sure we will,” Cyrus said, clasping the mercenary’s hand and giving it a firm shake. “It was a pleasure doing business with you.”
Notes: This was a fun session. The chapter was a bit tedious to write since it has been a good while since I wrote a full-session chapter. This one encapsulated all of session 8, plus a tiny bit of session 9. I also remembered to record from the beginning this time since I started leaving reminders on the Roll20 screen so that I wouldn’t forget to record. It worked for session 8, but I forgot again for session 9. Session 8 ran a bit long, so we ended right after combat finished and we dealt with the aftermath of the fight at the start of session 9. Obviously I didn’t record any of the RP that might have happened, but once the recording started I had the foresight to recap the important bits for my future self. Fortunately, not too much was missing.
Onto the actual content of the chapter, IR was absent again, so I ran the session with just Axel and Novi, and gave them Cyrus as a helper. I actually had a complete build for him and his Talonflame by this point so it wasn’t too hard. I also prebuilt the smugglers and two different Pokemon. Although in going back to write, I wish I built a couple other Pokemon to make things less confusing. At this point, I still hadn’t set up the recording process to capture video of what was going on in Roll20, so I had a bit of trouble keeping track of some things with just audio. I think I did a pretty good job producing a cohesive final result though. I also played around with the initiative order and the exact details of the battles to make it more believable. I’m very happy with how it turned out. As for the armor, it was something to narratively explain some of the things Axel gets from the Firebringer class, namely immunity to being burned. This is the session where I actually gave it to him, but I have of course worked its acquisition into the chapters already to make everything flow better. That’s one of the things I love being able to do now that I’m writing the chapters well after the actual sessions. I also went ahead and worked the gasmask Axel had since the beginning of the campaign into the armor since the Koffing using Poison Gas in this chapter was the first time it had actually come up.
Post-Chapter Challenge: The last challenge I gave was to come up with an antagonist for the Maverick crew, so this time how about you invent an ally for them since they’ve seemed to have made some new ones recently? It can be someone tied to one of the crew member’s past or someone entirely new. The choice is up to you! The campaign is still ongoing, at least for another couple months or so, so if I like your idea I might include them in some capacity.
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 rest of the Spacemon saga, join the Spacemon Discord server, or like our Facebook page to stay updated on all things Spacemon! Click here for the next exciting installment of Spacemon: Frontier!