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!
Captain Cyrus Drake could feel a slight air of tension aboard the UAS Maverick as the ship approached the planet Paso in the Maravilla system. It was entirely unwarranted; the last time the ship’s crew had been to this planet, they had been falsely accused of smuggling spice! A few members of the crew, namely Axel, had been apprehensive about returning, but the Maverick’s captain had insisted. He had good reason to come back to the place where this whole business had started.
Cyrus’s plan was a simple one: deliver the cargo his crew had obtained during the raid of Rooker’s ships to the Federation officials on Paso as a token of good faith, to show that they were dedicated to dealing with Rooker and clearing there good names. Of course, he would have liked to handle this on another planet, but as the most populous planet in relatively unsettled Sector 32, it was the only place with significant Federation presence.
“UAS Maverick to Paso Orbital Station, requesting permission to dock,” Cyrus heard Anya broadcast over the comms as she flew the Maverick in.
“We read you, Maverick. Please state your business.”
“We’re on special contract to Sector 32 gym leader Darlene Buckley,” Cyrus explained, taking over the comms. “We’re here to deliver contraband cargo obtained during a raid of a smuggler convoy belonging to Anton Rooker.”
“Oh … hmm … I see,” the man on the other end of the comm channel replied, sounding a bit confused. “I had best let Captain Russell know you’re here. You’re clear to dock.”
Axel was feeling rather smug. In some sort of twist of fate, he and his Maverick crewmates were delivering a shipment of illicit goods to the very same pair of Federation troopers they had an altercation with the last time they were here. Neither of them looked particularly happy about it. Captain Russell, the officer in charge of the station, however, was eager to assist.
“We wanna turn this stuff in because we wanna keep all this bad stuff off the streets, Y’know?” the Alliance mercenary told the Federation captain as he glanced over at his two subordinates. “We’re good people who don’t smuggle.”
“Of course, of course,” Captain Russell said. “We’re happy to clear up this whole misunderstanding.”
“Yeah, just a biiiig misunderstanding,” one of the troopers grumbled, glaring at Axel. The mercenary recognized him as the one who had tried to restrain him several weeks ago.
“Exactly,” Axel said, continuing to tease the Federation soldiers. “The whole thing was a huge misunderstanding. I didn’t mean to burn you.”
“Right,” the other trooper replied rather sarcastically.
“Now, now, boys,” Captain Russell said. “No need to hold a grudge.” He then turned to Cyrus “We’ll get all this processed and taken care of right away.”
“That would be most appreciated,” the Maverick’s captain said as the two troopers moved off with the captured cargo.
“I don’t suppose there’s any reward for turning this stuff in,” Taraka spoke up. “We did put our lives at risk for this when we shouldn’t have had to.”
Captain Russell stroked his chin. “Hmm. I’ll see what I can do. If you’ll follow me, please.”
This day just kept getting better. Axel had a grin on his face as he and his crewmates walked back to the Maverick, each of them one-thousand credits richer. It wasn’t as much as they probably could have made by just selling Rooker’s cargo, but getting compensation for their troubles directly from the Federation was far sweeter.
“We got paid for this, you know,” Axel taunted the two troopers as they passed them by on the way back to the ship. He couldn’t help it.
The soldier who had attempted to restrain him scowled back at him. “Stay out of trouble.”
“Oh, I intend to,” Axel replied, his smug smile still on display.
Cyrus just chuckled and shook his head as he stepped through the airlock back onto the Maverick. Axel gave the troopers one last triumphant glance before following the captain aboard.
“So, do you guys think we’re ready to take Rooker on yet,” Cyrus asked as they all headed for the living quarters. “I have to say, I was quite impressed with how all of you performed during that raid.”
“I think we should spend a bit more time training first,” Axel replied. “Our Pokemon need to be stronger before we attempt to take Rooker on.”
“I think we should also restock our gear,” Taraka chimed in. “We could do with a lot more medical supplies, just in case things go badly.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Cyrus agreed. “I’ll tell Anya to bring the ship down to the surface.”
Taraka gazed around at the surrounding buildings as he, Axel, and Ace walked down one of the major streets of Paso’s only city. The three of them had spent the past several hours browsing shops for supplies to help them with their inevitable confrontation with Rooker, and were now on their way back to the Maverick. Taraka’s attention was soon called to a Pokemon battling gym by Axel. It wasn’t an official gym of the Outer Rim Gym League, but it was one of those public battling gyms that followed the league’s rules and regulations.
“What do you say, boys?” the Alliance mercenary asked, stopping in place and turning to the building. “How about we find someone to battle here and test our strength? There’s bound to be some tough trainers here.”
“Sounds like fun,” Ace said.
“I concur,” Taraka agreed. “We could use the preparation.”
“That settles it, then,” Axel said. “Let’s do this.”
Taraka followed as Axel began walking toward the gym. Inside, Taraka could see many trainers duking it out in the designated arenas. Single battles, double battles, tag-team battles; there was lots of variety. There were also a great deal more people watching their friends duke it out.
“Alright, who’s the toughest trainer here?!” Axel suddenly shouted, drawing the attention of several combatants and most of the onlookers.
One of the people watching the battles, a young guy with dusty blonde hair who had the look of a Pokemon trainer himself, quickly approached the three members of the Maverick crew. “If you’re looking for a hard battle, then you wanna fight Bartrand.” He pointed out a gruff-looking dark-haired man leaning up against the far wall. “He’s the toughest trainer here. No one’s been able to beat him since he showed up a few days ago.”
Taraka saw a grin break out on his Alliance crewmate’s face. “That’s exactly who we want to battle, then,” Axel said.
Taraka and Ace followed a little ways behind as Axel led the way across the floor to the far wall. The man the young trainer had called Bartrand looked up as they approached. “Yes?” he asked. From up close, Taraka noticed that the man definitely had the look of a mercenary about him.
“You Bartrand?” Axel asked.
“Yeah, that’s me,” the man said, stepping forward from the wall. Taraka picked up a subtle Genevan accent in his speech. “Bartrand Blackwing,” he continued, extending out his hand. “And who might you be?”
Axel clasped the man’s hand and gave it a firm shake. “Axel. Axel Zuikaku. And these are my crewmates Taraka and Ace.”
“A pleasure to meet you,” Taraka said with a nod.
“We heard you’re the one to beat around here,” Axel continued.
Bartrand smirked. “That’s what they say. You three look like you know your stuff.” He glanced over at the other trainers engaged in battles. “You certainly look tougher than this lot. Let’s see what you’ve got. I’ll take you all on at once.”
Taraka saw Axel’s grin return. “Now we’re talking,” the mercenary said, his voice full of anticipation of the coming battle.
Bartrand led his challengers to an unused battle ring, and the three of them each sent out a Pokemon. Taraka and Ace went with their newly battle-tested electric combo of Blitzle and Shinx, and Ace sent out his trusty Kirlia.
“This is gonna be fun,” Bartrand said, sending out his three Pokemon: a Crobat, a Seviper, and an Arbok. “Alright, Vlad, lead off with Poison Fang!” he quickly shouted a command. “Target that Shinx!” Rapidly flapping its wings, Bartrand’s Crobat darted through the air and sunk its fangs into Axel’s Pokemon, dealing a pretty nasty blow.
“Blitz, Shock Wave!” Taraka commanded his Pokemon in response. “We need to deal with that Crobat right away!” Sparks erupted from the horn atop the head of the monk’s Blitzle as she fired a focused arc of electricity at the Crobat.
“Blade, you too!” Ace ordered his Kirlia. “Use Confusion!” A blast of psychic energy from Ace’s Pokemon drove the Crobat back. It looked hurt now, but it continued to circle above.
“Naga, deal with that Blitzle!” Bartrand ordered his Arbok in response to the assault on his Crobat. “Fire Fang!” The first of his snake Pokemon slithered up to Blitz, flames building in its mouth. It sunk its fangs in, doing a real number on the electric Pokemon.
“It’s time to get even, Krieg!” Axel shouted. “Target that Crobat with Spark!” Boosted with charged up electricity from Blitz, Axel’s Shinx leapt into the air, violently sparking as he collided with Bartrand’s Pokemon. The Crobat was easily brought down by the overcharged attack.
“Two can play at that game,” Bartrand said as he recalled his fainted Pokemon. “Viper, finish that Shinx with Poison Tail!” the Genevan merc’s Seviper slithered up, brandishing its razor-sharp tail, and lashed out at Krieg, bringing him down.
“Your turn now, Ryner,” Axel said, swapping out to his Alakazam. “Now, use Psybeam!”
“You too, Blade,” Ace joined in. “Confusion!”
The combined psychic assault was more than enough to bring down Bartrand’s type-disadvantaged Seviper. “That just leaves one more,” Taraka said. “Get that Arbok with Shock Wave!”
“Naga, fight through!” Bartrand shouted as his Pokemon was blasted with electrical energy. “Strike back with Crunch!” His Arbok lunged forward, snapping its jaws as Blitze, but Taraka’s Pokemon hopped back and out of the way.
“Now, Ryner! Finish it with Psybeam!” Axel ordered. His Alakazam fired off one last psychic beam of energy, bringing the Arbok down.
“Well, that was a quick fight,” Bartrand said as he recalled his Pokemon. “You three are tough, but I probably could have pulled it out if you hadn’t used an extra Pokemon.”
“You never said we only had to use one,” Axel pointed out.
Bartrand chuckled. “How right you are. Those observation skills will serve you well in the real world.” The Genevan mercenary extended his hand to shake those of his victorious challengers. “It was a good battle nonetheless.”
Taraka nodded. “It was indeed.”
“You know,” Axel said. “We could use a good fighter like you to help with our current contract.”
Bartrand laughed. “I’m flattered by the offer, but I’m afraid I have a contract of my own that requires my presence here on Paso.”
“I understand,” Axel replied. “Well, good luck to you.”
Bartrand nodded. “And to you as well.”
Notes: And here we have another short chapter. It was refreshing after the length of the previous one. That one ended up being a slog to write, but this one I was able to churn out in about 24 hours. It really helped rev up my motivation. Novi happened to be running a bit late, which was what got me mixed up on starting recording. As mentioned in the last chapter, not much was actually missing. I only had to fill in a few details at the beginning.
The party decided they wanted to turn in the cargo they got from the raid during the previous session, so I had them go back to where it all started. Bringing back the Federation soldiers they previously fought was fun and brought out some good RP. In the opening scene I framed it similarly to the opening scene from Chapter 2. I sort of wanted to evoke a full circle vibe with this session/chapter since the first story arc was wrapping up.
We actually did start the buildup to the final mission at the end of the session, but that will get pushed to the next chapter, along with the mission itself. The players wanted to get some more training in so they headed down to the planet’s surface to find some random trainers to fight. I didn’t feel like relying on a generator, so I actually just used my character from a previous PTU campaign I was in with Novi and Axel that was GMed by DragonStorm since the trainer and Pokemon levels were about on par with this campaign’s party. It was just out of convenience at the time, but in coming back to write this I decided to make it a full cameo and use his name and Pokemon nicknames and base the character himself on the source character. He was only named Blackwing in the campaign he was from, but I did use him again in a short-lived text RP where I did give him a first name, which is the name he has here. His trainer build is actually a precursor to the build of my character in the Spacemon sequel campaign, so I actually have this headcanon now that the two are related. In fact, I ended up developing quite a big headcanon for a one off cameo character, so now I wanna bring him back in a future plot arc for Frontier.
Post-Chapter Challenge: Cameos are fun! Blackwing’s appearance was a small cameo that the players who were in the campaign he was from appreciated. In fact, this is but the first of many cameos that will happen in Frontier! There will be appearances by or allusions to other Spacemon characters you may know, and some cameos from non-Spacemon characters. Today’s challenge is to come up with a cameo of your own. If you want to include a Spacemon character, remember this series is set 40 years before the original series. If you want to include a cameo from a campaign you’ve been in or from some other work, that’s fine too. All you need to do is come up with a reasonable explanation for their involvement in the story and a way to properly flavor them for the Spacemon universe if they aren’t originally from Spacemon.
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!