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!
“What the hell happened to you?” Captain Cyrus Drake asked as Taraka and Gaster walked up the cargo ramp along with the former’s Tangrowth, who was carrying the unconscious bodies of Axel and Dane Lory in her vine arms.
“This asshole,” Gaster replied, gesturing at the leader of the mercenary group known as Maelstrom. “He showed up when we were trying to capture some Pokemon and all hell broke loose.”
“So we finally bagged Dane Lory, huh?” Cyrus asked, eying the mercenary.
“Indeed, Captain,” Taraka said with a nod. “He won’t be bothering us anymore.”
“It’s a shame we don’t have the time to properly deal with this,” the Maverick’s captain continued.
“Why not?” Gaster asked, raising an eyebrow. “What happened now?” Ever since he had been picked up by the Maverick, it had seemed to the former smuggler that one thing just kept happening after another. Life certainly wasn’t boring aboard this ship.
“Something’s come up,” Cyrus replied. “Get Axel to the medbay, then report to the front of the ship and I’ll fill you in.”
“You got it,” Gasster said, nodding.
After seeing their injured crewmate to the medbay and tying up their prisoner in the cargo hold, Gaster and Taraka headed to the front of the ship. When they arrived, they found Cyrus and Anya waiting for them.
“Alright, what’s all the fuss about?” Gaster said, looking back and forth between the two of them.
“We’ve got a bit of a rescue mission on our hands,” the Maverick’s captain explained. He then glanced over at his pilot. “Anya?”
“Right,” she replied. She nodded at Cyrus before turning to Gaster and Taraka. “Someone very important to me has been captured and I need your help to get him out. I owe him that much.”
“I see,” Gaster said. “I owe all of you for rescuing me, so returning the favor is the least I can do. Don’t worry, we’ll help you out. Just tell me who to shoot.”
“Thank you,” Anya replied, flashing a faint hint of a smile. “My friend — Jun — used to work for Markovic before betraying him to save me, and Markovic had him hunted down and captured—”
“Hold on, did you say Markovic?” Gaster interrupted, suddenly feeling anger swelling inside. Markovic was a name the former smuggler was all too familiar with.
“I take it you’ve heard the name before?” Cyrus asked.
“Of course I have,” Gaster replied forcefully. “That bastard is the reason I was stranded on Venbaxxen. If that’s who we’re going up against, I’ll gladly help you. Any enemy of Markovic is a friend of mine.”
“Wait, who is this Markovic guy, exactly?” Taraka asked.
“He’s a Romanov gangster,” Gaster explained. “He hired me to smuggle something for him, then he betrayed me and had my ship shot down.”
“Sounds like a bad dude,” Taraka said.
“That’s not even the half of what he’s capable of,” Anya said. “That’s tame by his standards.”
“So I’ve heard,” Gaster said. “I should have known working for him was a mistake.” The former smuggler let out an annoyed sigh and shook his head. “Nothing to be done about it now. What matters now is getting your friend back. Getting revenge in the process is just a bonus.”
“Well, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get moving,” Cyrus said. “There’s no time to waste.”
“What the hell are we gonna do with that Dane Lory guy?” Gaster asked.
“Like I said, we don’t have the time to properly deal with him,” the captain replied.
“How about we just turn him in to the local authorities?” Taraka suggested. “We can tell them he assaulted us.”
“Good idea,” Cyrus said. “You two take care of that, but be quick about it. Anya, prepare the ship for takeoff. We leave as soon as they get back.”
Gaster gazed out the front viewport from one of the back seats in the cockpit as the Maverick dropped out of warp space at the Sector 34 warp gate. The ship had just jumped across the sector from Araimia and would soon be on its way to Sector 20 near Romanov space. As he looked out into the vacuum of space, Gaster’s attention was pulled back inside by a flashing light on the console.
“We’re picking up a distress call,” Anya said as she brought the info up on screen. “It’s only a couple systems away.”
“Is there a message?” Cyrus asked.
“No,” the pilot responded, shaking her head. “Just a repeated SOS signal.”
“You said it’s not far, right?” Gaster asked. “I say we check it out.” Having recently been rescued himself, he didn’t want to just stand by and do nothing. “It won’t take too long, and we can always bail out if it seems shady.”
“As much as I don’t want to waste any more time, you’re right,” Anya agreed. “If there’s someone in trouble, we should help them out. It could be days before anyone else comes through here.”
“Alright,” Cyrus said. “What’s one more rescue mission? Anya, set a course.”
“Already on it.”
“The scanners are picking up something,” Anya said as the Maverick flew through the system where the distress signal had originated from. “Bringing it up on screen now.” The pilot hit a button on the console, and the image of a ship flashed onto the viewscreen. “It’s a small ship, no power.”
“Can you hail them?” Gaster asked, looking on over Anya’s shoulder.
“I can try, but I doubt anyone will respond.” The pilot sent out the call, but there was no response.
“Looks like you were right,” Gaster said.
“Take us in,” Cyrus said.
“Got it, boss,” Anya replied. With a slight nudge of the controls, she steered the Maverick toward the mystery ship.
As they got close, Gaster could see the ship come into view. It was a small Alliance-make bucket that looked like it had seen better days, simply drifting along with no power. “You think anyone’s alive in there?” the former smuggler asked, looking over at his crewmates.
“Only one way to find out,” Cyrus said as he got up from his seat. “Anya, bring us in to dock. Gaster, you’re with me.”
“Right,” Gaster said, following behind his employer.
The two headed for the airlock, where they were joined by Ace and Taraka. Taking point as they headed through the airlock, Ace approached the shut door on the other side. “I don’t think I can access the door systems without power,” the android said after checking the door.
“Do you think we can power it up by shooting it with electricity?” Taraka suggested.
“Worth a shot,” Cyrus said.
“Alright then,” the monk replied before sending out his Zebstrika. “We need your help, Blitz,” he told his Pokemon. “Use Shock Wave on that door and give it a good zap.”
Heeding her trainer’s command, the Zebstrika shot off a bolt of electricity. Sparks flew everywhere as it hit, and the door slid open, revealing a dark corridor on the other side.
“Looks like nobody’s home,” Ace said as he peered through the airlock into the dark ship.
“The emergency power’s on, so there’s a chance we may find someone yet,” Cyrus said, noting the active gravity and life support systems as he stepped aboard.
“True enough,” Gaster agreed as he followed the captain. “And even if we don’t, worst case scenario, we salvage this ship for scrap.”
Moving down the corridor from the airlock with Taraka’s Zebstrika lighting the way, the Maverick crew soon arrived at a fork. A door lay dead ahead, while corridors branched off to the left and the right, each leading to another door.
“Which way sh0uld we go?” Ace asked, looking down the two corridors.
Suddenly, Gaster heard a light thud on the other side of the door right in front of them. “Definitely that way,” the former smuggler said, motioning at the door.
Moving as silently as he could, Taraka approached the door and touched the console. Nothing happened, of course, because there was no power. “You’re up again, Blitz,” the monk then said, looking back at his Zebstrika. His Pokemon fired off another bolt of electricity, but this time they weren’t as lucky. The console exploded as the sudden jolt shorted out its circuits.
“Maybe we can melt our way through,” Gaster suggested. He reached for his Quilava’s Pokeball and sent him out. “Rusty, melt your way through this door,” he commanded the Pokemon, pointing at the obstacle blocking their path. Rust began spewing out flames from his mouth, and the door slowly began to glow red hot as the metal warped and melted.
This went on for several minutes before the Quilava stopped. Rusty was clearly running out of juice and they seemed no closer to getting through. “This is going to take too long,” Cyrus said.
“I think you’re right,” Gaster said, recalling his Pokemon. “Maybe there’s something else we can—”
A sudden creaking noise cut the former smuggler off as the door began to slide open. It struggled for a moment due to its partially melted state, but it eventually managed to open.
“Hey, it looks like the fire worked,” Taraka said.
“I think it takes more than just a little fire to make a door open like that,” Cyrus said. “I think something else opened it.”
“Sure, whatever captain,” Taraka said before striding through the doorway.
Gaster looked at Cyrus and shrugged, then followed the monk inside. He scanned the room with his rifle, but it was too dark to really see anything clearly.
“Hey is there anyone alive in here?” Taraka called out.
“Yes,” a woman’s voice answered. Looking in the direction it came from, Gaster saw a young woman who looked to be in her twenties stepping out from the shadows. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a tight bun except for her bangs hanging loosely into her face, and she was garbed in a set of light tactical armor. She also had a pistol drawn, although she held it in a non-threatening way. It was clear to Gaster that she just wanted them to know she was armed. He couldn’t blame her, of course.
“Are you friendly?” the woman asked, her tone defensive, but not aggressive.
“We’re not here to kill you unless you’re going to try to kill us, I can promise you that,” Gaster answered.
“Nope, not gonna do that,” the woman replied, lowering her pistol.
Gaster nodded, then lowered his rifle. “You seem to be in a bit of trouble here.”
“I am in a bit of trouble, yeah,” the woman said. “Uh, this old ship is not working anymore. I’m a scientist, you see, but I, uh … I don’t have the budget that I used to, so the ship has gotten kinda run down and, as you can clearly see, it no longer works. Uh, I already said that, didn’t I?” She let out a nervous laugh, understandably a bit distressed by the situation. “If you’re here to help me out, then I’m glad you guys are here.”
“Well, if you’re not gonna kill us, then I don’t see why we can’t lend a hand,” Gaster said, a half-smile on his face.
“Just so we’re clear, I’m not the one who burned the door,” Taraka said.
“Technically, I didn’t burn it either,” Gaster said. “I ordered it burned, but I didn’t burn it.”
“This is why we can’t have nice things,” Cyrus said, walking into the room.
“It’s okay really,” the woman replied. “The ship was already falling apart. It’d be really cool if I could join you on your working ship, though. The power is really running low.”
“We noticed,” Gaster said as he glanced around the room once more. “So you’re the only one on this ship?” he asked, turning back to the young woman.
“Yes,” she replied with a nod. “I had a staff, but I couldn’t exactly afford to pay them anymore.”
“Well, I see no reason to leave you stranded here all alone,” the former smuggler told the woman. “I was stuck on a desert planet until these guys rescued me,” he continued, motioning at Cyrus and Taraka. “So I understand how you probably feel right about now.”
“You don’t look like a murderer, so I think we can find some room on our ship,” Cyrus said.
“Thank you so much,” the woman replied. “I’m eternally grateful. You’re welcome to salvage whatever you can from this old bucket of bolts as payment.”
“You don’t need to worry about paying us back,” Cyrus told her. “We’re always happy to help out those in need. That said, I’m not going to say no to free salvage.”
“So, do I get to know the names of my rescuers?”
“Cyrus. Captain Cyrus Drake,” the captain said, holding out his hand to the woman. “And these three are Ace, Gaster, and Taraka,” he continued, motioning at the three members of his crew with his other hand.
“Nice to meet you, Captain Drake,” she replied, giving his hand a shake.
“Just Cyrus will do,” Cyrus said, letting out a laugh. “And you are?”
“Kasey,” the woman answered. “Dr. Kasey Coulson.”
“A doctor, huh?” Gaster asked. “Aren’t you a little young?”
“I get that a lot,” Kasey said, letting out a laugh of her own. “But you really go far when you’re as smart as I am … Uh, not that I’m trying to brag about my intelligence or anything.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Cyrus said. “One of my crew likes to brag, so we’re more than used to it. Now, what do you say we get off this floating junk pile before it shuts down entirely?”
A smile appeared on Kasey’s face. “No complaints here.”
“Welcome aboard the UAS Maverick,” Captain Cyrus Drake said as he stepped back onto his ship.
“Oh sweet, you have functioning lights,” Kasey said as she stepped aboard behind the captain. “This ship is way better than mine.”
“Heh,” Cyrus chuckled. “I think you need to raise your standards a little.”
“My ship was in disrepair long before it stopped functioning,” Kasey replied. “I forgot what it’s like to have a ship in working order.”
“Well, then I think you’ll like it here,” Cyrus said. “The Maverick is my pride and joy. We take good care of her, and she takes good care of us.”
“It is a very nice ship,” Kasey said.
“It’s a bit crowded, though,” Gaster said as he and Taraka pushed a crate full of salvaged materials through the airlock. It was loaded up with an advanced, if a bit beat up, shield core — the one component of Kasey’s ship that was still in decent condition — as well as several thousand credits worth of scrap materials the crew had managed to recover.
“It’s true,” Cyrus agreed. “We do have a bit of a full house here, but I’m sure we can find somewhere to stick you.”
“Perhaps she can bunk with Anya,” Taraka suggested. “It might be more comfortable for her to share a room with the only other woman on the ship.”
“Wait, what now?” the pilot’s voice sounded. Cyrus looked over to see Anya entering the corridor from the living quarters.
“Kasey, meet Anya, our pilot,” Cyrus said, introducing her. “Anya, this is Kasey. We picked her up from that ship. She’s going to be your roommate for a while.”
“I’d much rather have my privacy,” Anya grumbled. “But I understand. I wouldn’t want to room with these boys either.”
“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” Taraka teased.
“Nice to meet you, Anya,” Kasey said, letting out a laugh. “So is this your whole crew?” she then asked, turning back to Cyrus.
“There’s also Axel, my hired muscle, who’s currently knocked out, and Erik, our engineer, who we’ll have take a look at this fancy new shield core you’ve given us, and then there’s Ace, who you’ve already met. Ah, here he is now.” The captain motioned at the disguised android as he brought the last crate of salvage through the airlock.
“You know, I have to say that’s quite the fancy bot you’ve got there,” Kasey said. “I’d love to get a look at it.”
“Wait, what?” Gaster asked. He sounded dumbstruck, as anyone most certainly would be in his situation. The crew hadn’t yet shareed Ace’s secret with the former smuggler.
“Oh, sorry, was that supposed to be a secret?” Kasey asked.
“How did you—?”
“Robotics is my field of expertise,” Kasey explained. “I knew as soon as I got a look at your bot here.”
“Ace just isn’t any old robot,” Cyrus said, looking back and forth between Gaster and Kasey. “He’s a sentient being with real thoughts and feelings. We found him in an old ruin some months ago. I think you can understand why we’d want to keep his identity secret. They’ll be time later for us to explain everything, but we don’t have the time right now.” The captain took in a short breath, then looked right at Kasey. “We were on our way to rescue someone when we picked up your distress signal. We can’t really afford to waste anymore time.”
“I understand,” Kasey said, nodding. “If you’ll allow me, I’d like to help. It’s the least I can do to thank you for rescuing me.”
“You know how to use that, then?” Cyrus asked, eyeing the pistol holstered at Kasey’s side.
“I used to work for an Alliance paramilitary organization,” the young scientist answered. “I’ve had special forces training.”
“Well aren’t you full of surprises,” Cyrus said. “We could certainly use someone with your skills around here.”
A grin appeared on Kasey’s face. “I’d be happy to help.”
Notes: Well this was a fun little chapter. The opening was the last few minutes of the previous session, which I decided to move to this chapter because I thought everything would flow better. It was mostly in the session just to tease the plot I had prepared for the following session. We rehashed it a little bit at the start of the next session because we wanted to wait for Axel before deciding what to do with Lory, but he ended up needing to miss another one, so I left the choice up to Novi and unknown. So, Markovic was a Romanov gangster character I came up with that I wanted to use in the campaign as one of the many plot arcs and at some point before introducing him I decided to tie him to Anya’s backstory to give her some more depth, and then when unknown joined the campaign and pitched Gaster as a character I realized it worked out perfectly for Markovic to be tied to his backstory as well.
Anyway, onto the real substance of this chapter. Aside from the opening scene, everything is from the first part of session 24. As we had lost Roland’s player and Axel’s schedule was becoming a bit iffier, I decided to bring on a fourth player. Kasey is played by my buddy Alec, who conveniently uses his name as his online handle. He was just getting into tabletop at the time and wanted to join my campaign. I helped him come up with a character since he was very new to the system, and he decided to try out running a female character to get better at roleplaying. He sort of joined in last moment so I kind of had to shoehorn Kasey’s introduction into the beginning of the session as I had already set up a session plan before he joined.
As for writing this chapter, it was a bit hard to hear what was being said in a couple places. Alec and I were in the same room for this session, so the audio in the recording was a bit janky. I think I did a good job of getting it down though. A funny thing happened in this session too. We introduced Ace as a robot, and that’s when I realized that while unknown knew Ace was a robot out of character, Gaster had never learned that in character. So in coming back to write this chapter I had this be when he found out. It worked out nice as Kasey is a robotics expert and can build robots like Erik can. I also decided to leave this chapter as just being about Kasey’s introduction, and have the part of the session I actually planned out be its own chapter
Post-Chapter Challenge: So, now you’ve met all the player characters in Frontier. We’ve only just learned a little bit about her here, and there’s still some mystery about her. She has special forces training, and she’s a scientist specializing in robotics, and I will tell you that her backstory is connected to the plot somehow. Since I’m feeling terribly uninspired in coming up with a challenge for this chapter, how about you come up with some theories about Kasey? Who do you think she is, and how do you think she’s related to the plot?
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!