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, come take a look at this.”
“What now?” Cyrus asked, looking over at Taraka. The two had just finished seeing Axel to the medbay when Anya’s voice had sounded over the Maverick’s comms.
“I guess we had better find out,” the monk replied. Despite being a bit beat up after being attacked by that giant Garchomp, Taraka followed Cyrus to the front of the ship. His curiosity was outweighing his desire to see to his injuries at the moment. The pain medication he had taken would suffice for the time being.
“I managed to get that signal cleaned up, at least somewhat,” Anya announced when she saw the two arrive at the comms system. “It’s still garbled, but I’m pretty sure that it’s a distress signal. The source is only a few kilometers from here.”
“A bit suspicious that it was so hard to detect, don’t you think?” Cyrus asked. “Especially all the way out here.”
“There could be a number of reasons for that,” Taraka said. “I think we should go help whoever it is. We’re good people, aren’t we?”
“I’m with Taraka,” Anya agreed. “We can always leave if there’s trouble.”
“Fair enough,” Cyrus said, nodding at the pilot. “Fly us over the origin point so we can scope it out first.”
“You got it, boss,” Anya said.
Taraka followed the two to the cockpit and sat himself down in one of the back seats. He looked on from behind as Anya fiddled with the controls, preparing the ship for takeoff. Moments later, the Maverick lifted off the ground and began flying toward the source of the distress signal.
“Look there,” Cyrus said, pointing at the viewport as the ship got close to its destination.
Peering out the viewport where the captain was pointing, Taraka could see part of a crashed ship wedged between two rocky outcroppings just ahead and off to the starboard side. “I wonder who could have done that,” the monk said. “Do you think it was that Garchomp?”
“I doubt it,” Anya said. “That looks like some serious blast damage. I’m pretty sure this ship was shot down.”
“By who?” Taraka asked, not expecting an answer. None came.
As Anya flew the ship in closer, Taraka spotted what looked like makeshift fortifications surrounding a campsite near the crashed ship. Judging from their recent encounter, Taraka assumed the fortifications were to keep out wild Pokemon.
“Someone must still be alive down there,” Cyrus said as the Maverick passed over the downed vessel. “Anya, bring us down so we can check it out.” The pilot nodded, then brought the ship back around. A few moments later, the Maverick touched down a short distance from the wreckage.
“You up to checking this place out?” Cyrus asked Taraka as he stood up.
Taraka nodded. “I’m alright,” he said. “Axel took the brunt of the Garchomp’s fury.”
“Alright, let’s go,” Cyrus said, nodding to the door.
Taraka followed the captain to the cargo bay and the two of them descended the cargo ramp. As they crossed the desert sands, Taraka spotted a man step out from a makeshift shelter. He was short and had a stocky build. He pulled out a rifle as Taraka and Cyrus approached and aimed it at them.
“Are you guys real or mirages like the last three?!” the man called out to them.
“Hello, friend,” Taraka said, carefully taking a step forward. “We are very real. What brings you out here to this remotest of remote places?”
“I crashed here and I’ve been trying to survive for two months,” the man said without lowering his rifle. “Are you friendly or am I gonna have to shoot you?”
Taraka took another step forward and raised his hands to show that he was unarmed. “There will be no need for that,” the monk said calmly.
“So you’re friendly?”
The man lowered his rifle and slung it back over his shoulder. “Then I can be friendly too.”
Taraka smiled. “That’s good. I do not need any more trouble today.” The monk motioned at the injuries the Garchomp had given him.
“Need any help, stranger?” Cyrus asked. “We picked up your distress signal. Or at least I assume it’s yours.”
The man nodded. “I could certainly use some help if you have room on your ship,” he said.
“We’ve got room if you don’t mind sharing a cabin,” the captain replied.
The man let out a slight chuckle. “It’d be better than here.”
“Anywhere would be better than here,” Cyrus said, joining in the laughter. “There’s nothing here but sand and dragons.”
“Tell me about it,” the man said. “What do you think all this is for?” he asked, motioning to the fortifications surrounding his camp. “Certainly not to frighten off tourists.”
“Indeed,” Taraka said. “We had an encounter with a humongous Garchomp on the way here.”
“So you’ve seen the big one, then,” the man said. “We’re well acquainted.”
“So, what’s your name, stranger?” Cyrus asked.
“Gaster the name,” the man answered. “Gaster Jameson. My previous profession may have been a little outside the law, but I’m just looking to get back on my feet. I kind of lost everything after crashing here. Any help is appreciated, and I’ll be able to help you out too.”
“Well don’t worry; we’ve been outside the law too,” Taraka said. “Recently, might I add. We’re good with the law now, though. I’m Taraka Bhaluka, and this is the captain.”
“Cyrus Drake,” the captain said, offering his hand.
Gaster walked up and gave Cyrus’s hand a firm shake. “Well met Mr. Drake and Mr. Bhaluka.”
“Likewise, Mr. Jameson,” the captain said, nodding. “Looks like we’re your ticket back to civilization.”
“Much appreciated,” Gaster said. “Though I suppose I don’t really have much of a choice.”
Cyrus laughed. “Well it’s either come with us or stay here on this rock.”
A smirk appeared on Gaster’s face. “I think I’ll take my chances with you.”
“Welcome aboard the UAS Maverick,” Cyrus Drake said as he and Taraka Bhaluka led Gaster aboard their ship.
“Nice ship you got here,” Gaster said as he took a look around the cargo hold. His rescuers’ ship looked to be in quite good condition, not that he particularly cared what it looked like; he was just glad to be escaping the desert heat of Venbaxxen.
“She’s my pride and joy,” Cyrus said as he led the way out of the cargo hold into the the ship’s main corridor. “We take good care of her, and she takes good care of us. She’s become a bit of a full house recently, though.”
“Must be if you’ve filled up all this space already,” Gaster said as he looked around. There was plenty of room on this ship judging from how many doors there were in the corridor. “Where’s the rest of your crew anyway?”
“Oh, they’re around,” Taraka said. “You already know me and the captain, but we also have our super cool pilot Anya,” the monk continued. Gaster noticed that he seemed a bit loopy. “And then there’s Erik, our maintenance guy and Ace, who is totally a normal person. He just kind of just hangs out in Erik’s workshop. And then we’ve got cool Axel. He’s usually down here burning stuff. He likes to burn stuff. You’re going to hear about him burning a lot of things later. Don’t worry about it, it’s normal. He also likes cute Pokemon. Lastly, our newest recruit is Roland. He is an archaeologist of sorts. He likes rare stuff and shards. He runs away sometimes too. I’m going to the med bay now.” And with that, the monk walked off and entered the room directly to the right of the cargo hold, which Gaster assumed was the medbay.
“What’s the deal with him?” Gaster asked, turning to Cyrus.
The captain shrugged. “Pain meds, I’d wager,” he said. “He and my hired muscle, Axel, had a run in with that big Garchomp.”
“I see,” Gaster replied. “And this Axel character, he’s fond of fire?”
Cyrus chuckled. “Fire Pokemon, particularly,” he said. “But yeah, his weapon of choice is a flamethrower too. He’s alright though, if a bit of an idiot at times. Just don’t get on his bad side.”
“Good to know,” Gaster said.
“Anyway, there will be time for proper introductions later,” the captain continued. “Let me show you to your room.”
“Right,” Gaster said, following Cyrus further down the corridor to the room next to the medbay.
Cyrus opened the door, revealing a small two-bunk cabin. “How’s it going, Roland?” the captain asked as he stepped into the room. Gaster followed and laid eyes upon a rather well-dressed man who looked quite out of place in a place like this.
“I am doing quite well, sir. Thank you,” the man replied, a posh Genevan accent quite apparent. “And, uh, who is this fellow here?” he asked, turning his attention to Gaster.
“Your new roommate,” Cyrus replied. “Roland, meet Gaster Jameson. Gaster, meet Roland Mercette.”
Gaster nodded at the man. “A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Mercette,” he said, offering his hand.
“It is good to meet you, sir,” Roland replied, shaking Gaster’s hand. “My services as a craftsman are at your disposal … uh, for a fee, that is.”
“That would require having credits to spend.”
“Oh, I see,” Roland said.
“Don’t worry about that,” Cyrus said. “We’re headed back to Khalimuck and you’ll certainly be able to find employment there or, if you’re interested, I could always use another pair of hands around here. I can’t promise the best pay, but we get by well enough.”
“If it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll stick around,” Gaster said. “You all seem like good people and I know a good opportunity when I see one. After what I’ve been through, I’m not going to risk missing one for the chance of maybe finding something better.”
“Fair enough,” the captain said, laughing. “So, how’d you end up here anyway?” he then asked.
“Well, I’m a smuggler by trade,” Gaster said. “Or, at least, I was a smuggler. I was hired to smuggle something, but I got double-crossed and my ship was shot down. Needless to say, I’m not really keen on returning to that life.”
“I don’t blame you,” Cyrus said. “Anyway, I’ll let you get yourself settled. The bathroom’s on the right once you go through the door at the end of the corridor if you want to get cleaned up.”
Gaster nodded. “Thanks,” the former smuggler said. “I appreciate the hospitality.”
“Don’t mention it,” the captain said before walking out of the room.
The sun shone brightly as Taraka and Gaster stepped out of the Khalimuck spaceport. It was quite pleasant compared to the harsh sunlight of Venbaxxen. Taraka looked over at Gaster to see a slight smile on his face.
“It’s nice to finally be on a planet that isn’t sandy and hot as hell,” the former smuggler said.
“I can imagine,” Taraka replied. “This place must be wonderful after all the time you were in that desert.”
“Oh, definitely,” Gaster said. “Sure, it’s not the nicest planet in the Galaxy, but Outer Rim settlements like this one are like home to me.”
“Well, welcome home, then,” Taraka heard Cyrus’s voice say. The monk turned to see the captain walking up behind them. “Why don’t you two check out the job board and find our next job while I pick up supplies?” Cyrus then suggested.
“Sounds like a plan,” Gaster said in agreement. “The sooner I get back on my feet the better.”
“Alright, I’ll see you guys back on the ship later,” Cyrus said before walking off.
“So, where’s this job board?” Gaster asked, turning to Taraka.
“By the market,” Taraka informed the former smuggler. “Follow me.”
The two headed into town and made their way through the crowded Khalimuck market. Having been to the planet several times in recent days, Taraka knew how to find his way around quite easily. It didn’t take the monk long to lead Gaster to the job board.
“Let us see what we can find,” Taraka said as he reached out to interact with the board’s holoscreen. “Perhaps there will be a task we can easily complete on this planet that pays well.”
“That would be nice,” Gaster said. “It’d be great to make some credits before we leave for a long-term job.”
Taraka nodded. “I will look.”
The monk spent the next several minutes searching through the posted jobs. There were many jobs to choose from, ranging from transporting goods to exploring uncharted worlds for salvage, but the one thing most of them seemed to have in common was traveling offworld. As he was about to resign himself to the fact that there were no jobs that could be easily completed on Khalimuck itself, one caught his eye.
“How about this one?” the monk said. “Some roughians seem to be causing trouble in town and the local authorities have posted a reward for driving them off.”
“That sounds doable,” Gaster said. “What are the details?”
“There’s not much here,” Taraka answered. “Just a description of the thugs and their ship.”
“Good enough for me,” Gaster said. “Let’s do it.”
Taraka nodded. “Very well. Let us inform the captain, but first, there are a few things I want to pick up at the market while we are here.”
“We just need to drive some thugs out, huh?” Cyrus asked as he looked over the details of the bounty Taraka and Gaster had shown him. “You good in a fight, Gaster? Axel’s still recovering from his injuries, Ace is helping Erik with his latest project, and Roland’s definitely not suited for this type of work.”
“I can certainly handle myself,” the former smuggler replied. “My Pokemon are tough and I like to think I’m a pretty good shot.”
“Good to hear,” the Maverick’s captain said. “In that case, I think the three of us can handle this no problem.”
“Then let us clean up the town,” Taraka said.
“After you,” Cyrus said, motioning toward the door.
Gaster led the way as the trio departed the Maverick to seek out the ship belonging to the thugs. The search wasn’t particularly hard, as the vessel was conveniently parked beside the Maverick. Scanning the area, Gaster spotted three individuals hanging around by the ship, two male and one female. The bounty stated there were three thugs, and these people all matched the provided descriptions.
“Looks like they’re all here,” Gaster said to his new crewmates.
“Then let us deal with them now,” Taraka said. With his Togekiss by his side, the monk approached the thugs. About halfway between their ship and the Maverick, Taraka stopped and called out to them. “Hey, you!” he shouted, getting their attention. “We hear you’re causing trouble for the town. We’re going to have to ask you to cut that out.”
All three of the thugs laughed. “Or what?” one of the two men, who had a thick brown beard, sneered at the monk. “Are you gonna make us or somethin’? What’s a monk like you gonna do to us?”
“Alright you guys, we can do this the easy way or the hard way,” Gaster said, walking up beside Taraka. He pulled out his Pokedex and held it up so that it was clearly visible. “If you don’t listen to us and kindly get off this planet, I push a few buttons and some very powerful contacts of mine will come destroy you, your ship, and your entire lives.” The smuggler was bluffing, of course, but he was hoping he could scare these small time scumbags off without resorting to violence. It would make things easier.
Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to believe him. “Oh really?” the woman in the group asked in an incredulous yet taunting tone.
Oh well, it was worth a shot, Gaster thought. Must be out of practice.
“Too afraid to fight us yourself small man?” the woman continued before letting out an almost maniacal-sounding cackle.
Gaster’s eyes narrowed and his hand began to drift toward his Pokeballs.
“We can provide a fight if you’re looking for one,” Taraka said before blasting the bearded man with psionic energy, sending him into a daze. “Sirius, Fairy Wind!” the monk then commanded his Pokemon as the man staggered backwards. His Togekiss flew up to the stunned man, blasting him with a huge gust of wind that sent him stumbling backwards.
“What the fuck is happening?!” the bearded man called out in confusion as he stumbled around, fighting to maintain his footing.
“Your worst nightmare,” Gaster said threateningly before releasing his Shuppet. “Clara, use Will-O-Wisp on that one,” he ordered his ghostly Pokemon. He pointed out the other man in the group of thugs just as they all began to send out their own Pokemon. As he pulled out his rifle and lined up a shot, his Shuppet let loose a ghostly wisp of flame at her target, setting the thug afire.
Just then, the thug’s newly released Zangoose leapt to its trainer’s defense. Razor-sharp claws, bared, it sliced through Gaster’s Shuppet, doing a real number on her. Damn, it must have been a dark type move, Gaster thought. Let’s get rid of that, shall we? “Clara, use Spite!”
As the Zangoose stumbled back from the unexpected retaliation, Gaster quickly lined up a shot on it. Unfortunately, as he pulled the trigger, the Pokemon dodged out of the way, causing the laser bolt to strike the ground instead. As he tracked the Zangoose in his sights, attempting to line up another shot, Gaster made note of the other thugs’ Pokemon: a Skarmory and a Nidoqueen.
The combatants in this brawl were all moving too fast for Gaster to line up a decent shot. He simply stood back and observed it all down the sights of his rifle. He watched the dazed thug regain his senses and order his Skarmory to unleash a devastating attack on Taraka’s Toekiss, only to be taken down by a well-placed shot from the captain, who had snuck up on his flank.
Gaster then saw the monk bravely put himself between the Skarmory and his own Pokemon, then send a ghostly flame its way in much the same way his Shuppet had done. Taraka then had his Togekiss back away from the Skarmory and the Nidoqueen, both of which posed a big threat to her, and then attack the Zangoose.
“Take that damn thing out!” Gaster heard the Zangoose’s trainer shout. “Zangoose, use Rock Tomb!” Heeding its trainer’s command, the Pokemon ripped up a chunk of the ground, then lobbed it at Taraka’s Togekiss. The rocky mass struck dead on, leaving the monk’s Pokemon with a nasty gash, but she miraculously stayed up, ready to keep fighting on. Taraka, it seemed, however, was not going to take any chances, and recalled his Pokemon.
Turning back to his own Pokemon, Gaster ordered her to attack. “Clara use Night Shade on that Nidoqueen!” he shouted to his shuppet. Clara unleashed her ghostly attack, but the Nidoqueen didn’t seem particularly bothered.
“Take it out!” the Nidoqueen’s trainer ordered. “Poison Jab!”
“Disable that one too!” Gaster shouted before the blow was struck. With the last of her strength, the former smuggler’s Shuppet left the Nidoqueen with a parting gift before she fainted.
Meanwhile, the two thugs advanced forward, firing off their weapons. They landed a couple of shots on Taraka and Cyrus, but they were only grazing blows. Cyrus fired back with far greater accuracy, landing a direct hit to the female roughian’s shoulder as Taraka threw up a psionic barrier to protect them from the gunfire.
While his crewmates had the two rogues occupied, Gaster seized the opportunity to recall his downed Shuppet and send out his Cinccino. “Alright, Lulabelle, let’s even the odds,” the former smuggler said. “Use Sing!” His Pokemon ran forward, positioning herself between the Nidoqueen and the Zangoose, then let out an ear splitting cry that left the two enemy Pokemon in a daze.
That just left the Skarmory, whose trainer was down and couldn’t issue orders. Gaster trained his rifle on it to see it spray out spikes everywhere, then rush Taraka, slashing him with one of its sharp metallic wings. The former smuggler quickly fired off some suppressing fire, buying Taraka time to back away and strengthen the protective barrier around them all. However it also drew the attention of the thugs.
“Focus on that one!” the woman, who had seemed to take command of the situation after the apparent leader was knocked out, shouted at the Skarmory as she pointed at Gaster. Even though it wasn’t her Pokemon, the Skarmory obeyed her command and shifted its focus to Gaster. The former smuggler quickly dove out of the way as the metallic bird flew at him, but its razor-sharp wing feathers still grazed his leg.
Ignoring the pain, Gaster rolled over and got up into a kneeling position as the Skarmory flew around for another pass. “Lulabelle, use Tail Slap on that Zangoose!” he ordered his Pokemon after quickly assessing the situation. His Cinccino ran up to the dazed Zangoose, and smacked it hard across the face twice with her tail. The Zangoose quickly snapped to attention only to be brought down by a well-placed shot from Gaster’s rifle.
With one more threat neutralized, Gaster scanned the area with his rifle. The female thug and the captain were trading shots as they ducked in and out of cover behind crates scattering the spaceport. Cyrus managed to land another hit on her, but she got two on him. The captain got down behind a crate so as not to get himself killed.
Meanwhile, the other thug was focused on Gaster’s Cinccino. He was firing off shot after shot, but the agile little Pokemon evaded most of them, only taking a couple of hits. “Lulabelle, hide behind that Nidoqueen,” Gaster instructed his Pokemon. She would be safe there as long as the Nidoqueen didn’t snap out of its daze. “Now, use Baby-Doll Eyes on that damn Skarmory,” he commanded. The smuggler then turned and fired on the metallic bird himself as it flew in for another attack.
The Skarmory was then stopped short when Taraka sent out a Beartic right in front of it. “Arctos, Icy Wind!” the monk commanded his Pokemon. The large bear let out a mighty roar as he unleashed a gust of freezing air, causing the Skarmory’s metallic feathers to frost over. The metal bird tried its best to take evasive action, and sprayed out more spikes as it flew off.
This, however, got the female thug’s attention. She fired a few shots off at Taraka, but luckily his psionic barrier kept him safe. While the woman wasn’t looking, Cyrus peeked over the crate he was hiding behind and fired off a shot. It hit the woman right in the back, knocking her to the ground. She wouldn’t be getting up any time soon.
With the threat neutralized, Taraka was able to send a wispy psionic flame at the Nidoqueen, which still lay on the ground in a daze. Things seemed to be under control on that end of the battlefield, so Gaster shifted his focus to the remaining thug. He commanded his Cinccino to attack him, but then the Nidoqueen stomped in out of nowhere. Things weren’t under control, after all. The Nidoqueen took a swing at Lulabelle, but, thankfully, Taraka’s psionic barrier mitigated the damage.
“Lulabelle, use Tackle, then get out of there!” Gaster shouted to his Pokemon. The Cinccino attempted a retaliatory strike against the Nidoqueen, but went flying past instead. She then quickly scurried away before the Nidoqueen could hit her again. A salvo of gunfire pursued her as she ran, striking the ground all around her, but she managed to avoid getting hit. The remaining thug shooting at her was then swiftly dispatched by Cyrus with a well-placed shot. Gaster was impressed by how accurate the captain still was despite having been hit a few times.
“Arctos, Brine!” Taraka’s voice suddenly rang out. Gaster turned to see a torrent of water raining down on the Skarmory, forcing it down to the ground. With a loud metallic clang, the Skarmory collapsed in a heap. Now only the Nidoqueen remained.
Gaster quickly aimed his rifle at the final hostile Pokemon and fired off a few shots as Taraka recalled his Beartic and sent out a Glaceon. “Hod, Icy Wind!” the former smuggler heard the monk command the newly sent out Pokemon. As he landed a couple hits on the Nidoqueen, Gaster saw the Glaceon run up to it and blast it with bone-chilling air.
The Nidoqueen let out an angry, pained roar, then charged right for Taraka’s Pokemon. The Glaceon was sent flying back into the side of the Maverick as the Nidoqueen barrelled into him. “Lulabelle, quick, finish it with Swift!” Gaster shouted. His Cinccino heeded his command and unleashed a storm of stars, brining the Nidoqueen down before it could do any further harm.
With the battle won, Gaster breathed a sigh of relief. Things had gotten a little tense there for a moment. Shouldering his rifle, Gaster ran over to Cyrus. “You alright?” he asked as he offered the captain a hand.
“Yeah,” Cyrus said as Gaster pulled him to his feet. “It takes more than a few gunshots to bring me down,” he said, slamming his fist against his body armor.
Gaster gave the captain a nod, then turned to the unconscious thugs. “What do you wanna do with them?” he asked.
“Let’s turn ‘em in and claim that bounty.”
Notes: And there’s another chapter done. Since Roland’s player ended up missing so many sessions, I brought in another player with the intent of bringing the party up to four members. Roland’s player ended up dropping out of the campaign a couple weeks later after missing more sessions, including this one, so Gaster’s player, unknow67, ended up being a replacement player instead. It was an amicable parting and a smooth transition to a new player, so it all worked out. Axel had to miss this session, unfortunately, so it was just Novi and our new player.
I was actually really excited when unknown pitched his character concept of a stranded smuggler with the Survivalist class because the party had ended the previous session on an uninhabited desert planet. It just worked out so perfectly for him to be stranded on the planet they were already on. Narratively, it was a bit odd for them to just suddenly pick up his distress signal, so in the writing I provided some extra reasoning for why they went to the planet, as you saw last chapter, to make the events of this chapter not just come out of nowhere.
Even though there were only two players, there was some great RP this session between Novi and unknown. I did add a few scenes with interactions with Cyrus and Roland to make it all flow better and I’m happy with how that all turned out. Since I didn’t yet know Roland’s player was going to drop out, he stayed around as a character on the ship for a while.
As we didn’t have Axel, we decided not to advance the plot and just do stuff to get Gaster some money since unknown spent all his starting money. We ended up with a fun little combat encounter against some generic thugs. And that’s about it, really. Hopefully you enjoy the newest member of the crew.
Post-Chapter Challenge: The Maverick seems to be picking up a lot of people in need lately, huh? What if you’re next? Come up with a character that might exist in the Spacemon universe that gets rescued by our heroes and joins the crew! Who are they? What’s their personality like? How did they get stranded, lost, or otherwise in need of a ship? What role will they fill on the ship? I’m interested to see what kind of characters you come up with!
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!