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!
Calmness permeated the UAS Maverick now that the ship was safe in warp space. After making sure the autopilot was set for when the ship reached its destination, Anya got up from her seat and exited the cockpit. As she made her way through the comms room to the living quarters, the young Romanov pilot could hear a voice she had not head in several years speaking with those of her Maverick crewmates.
“I appreciate the rescue,” Jun was saying as Anya stepped into the room. He had a few cuts and bruises, but other than that he still looked just how she remembered him, dark hair buzzed short and closely trimmed facial hair. “But, uh, who are you people?” he asked.
“Friends of a friend,” Cyrus replied, nodding in Anya’s direction.
As Jun turned to look at her, Anya saw a surprised look of recognition appear on his face. “Anya, is that you? What are you doing here?”
“Saving your butt, that’s what,” Anya replied, a smile appearing on her face. “It’s only fair after you saved mine,” she continued before running to her one-time rescuer and pulling him into a hug. She was glad to see he was unharmed.
“I came as soon as I heard,” Anya said, breaking off the hug and taking a step back.
“I guess that makes us even now,” Jun said, letting out a slight laugh. “Who would’ve thought you’d be the one saving my life? You’ve certainly grown up since the last time I saw you.”
“Well it’s only been four years,” Anya replied sarcastically. “Would it have hurt you to call once in a while?”
“I am sorry about that,” Jun said. “You know how this life can be.”
“Is that really the only reason?” Anya asked, folding her arms.
“I truly am sorry, Anya,” Jun answered. “I really am glad to see you, though. Without the help of your friends here, I’d be a dead man.”
“I’m glad to see you too,” Anya said, pulling Jun into another hug.
Gaster gazed out the viewport in the Maverick’s main living quarters as the ship approached Nocturne, a small forested planet in Sector 34. It was a somewhat out of the way colony with a handful of settlements that was little more than a refueling stop on most people’s radars. That fact, coupled with the dense forests, made it an ideal hideaway for those who did not want to be found. People like Jun Azarov.
The ship’s newest passenger was actually the reason the Maverick had come here. Azarov had apparently joined up with a small band of mercs with hearts of gold that operated out of Nocturne, and the crew had been kind enough to give him a lift back here. Gaster didn’t particularly mind the detour, though. After being stranded on Venbaxxen for so long, he certainly wasn’t opposed to a little downtime on a far more hospitable planet.
As the Maverick broke through Nocturne’s atmosphere, Gaster was greeted with a breathtaking view of the planet’s lush tree top canopy. As the ship soared over the sea of leaves below, the former smuggler caught sight of the small spaceport settlement they were going to land at, hidden away amongst the trees.
“What a lovely planet,” Gaster heard Taraka’s voice behind him. He glanced over to see the monk approaching. “I imagine we can find some neat Pokemon here.”
“I’m sure we can,” Gaster said nodding. “I’m definitely up for searching for some. I could certainly use the fresh air.”
“Most of the others are still asleep, so it will just be the two of us,” Taraka said.
“Fine with me,” Gaster said.
Once the ship had touched down, Gaster and Taraka headed for the cargo hold. “See ya, Captain,” Taraka said as they passed by Cyrus near the cargo ramp on their way out.
“Where are you two headed?” the captain inquired.
“Just to explore a bit,” Gaster said. “And maybe find some Pokemon while we’re at it. We’ll be back in a few hours.”
“Sounds good,” Cyrus said, nodding. “Happy hunting.”
The light was getting quite dim and Gaster and Taraka walked deeper and deeper into the forest. It was far from nighttime, but the bright midday sun was barely able to break through to the forest floor. Despite the lack of sunlight, it was still quite warm, and the humidity was just shy of uncomfortable.
“I’ve never seen such a dense forest before,” Gaster heard Taraka say as they continued forward. He turned back to see the monk looking up at the canopy of leaves above. “It’s so dark here,” Taraka continued.
“No kidding,” Gaster said, letting out a slight laugh as he too gazed upwards. It was indeed dark. The layers of lush boughs and branches above had all but blocked the sun entirely. It was almost as if they were in a cave made of trees. “I wish my cybernetics allowed me to see in this darkness,” Gaster continued after a moment. “Sadly, I didn’t get that upgrade.”
“Perhaps a fire Pokemon will help light our way,” Taraka said, shifting his gaze from the canopy above to his crewmate.
“Good idea,” Gaster agreed with a nod. “It’s a good thing I brought one along.” He reached for one of his Pokeballs and sent out the Zubat he had captured when he and Taraka were exploring that volcano not too long ago.
As soon as the Zubat emerged, the area around the two companions was illuminated by the glow emanating from her body. “Keep close and give us some light, Morgana,” Gaster instructed his Pokemon, who obediently followed along as they continued on their way.
As Gaster and Taraka proceeded forward along the trail they had followed from the spaceport, the trees grew closer together and the underbrush grew more dense. Eventually the trail faded away as they got further and further away from the spaceport, swallowed up by the brush. The average explorer may have turned back at this point, but Gaster was confident in his survival and tracking skills and he and Taraka decided to press on in hope of finding some Pokemon.
It was the Pokemon, however, that found them. After the pair had gotten pretty far from the trail, Gaster began to hear a rustling in the bushes. “Hold up,” the former smuggler said, stopping in his tracks. “Do you hear that?” he asked, turning to Taraka as he readied his rifle.
“I do,” Taraka said. The monk reached for a Pokeball, and sent out his Togekiss.
Seconds later, a pack of three Mightyenas emerged from the bushes, circling around the two companions and their Pokemon. Taraka barely had time to throw up a psionic barrier to protect them before the large alpha leapt forward, smashing into Gaster’s Zubat and shoving her to the ground.
“Sirius, use Fairy Wind!” Taraka quickly commanded his Pokemon. The monk’s Togekiss unleashed her attack, driving the alpha back and opening up a window for Gaster to get off some shots. He quickly fired off a volley at each of the three Mightyenas in rapid succession, but he was unable to land a hit.
“Morgana, hit the big one with Confuse Ray!” Gaster then commanded his own Pokemon. Now back in the air, the Zubat sent a beam of energy at the leader of the pack, momentarily stunning it.
One of the others let out a howl and circled around the flank them while the third leapt up at Taraka, gnashing its teeth menacingly. The monk quickly pulled away just before the Pokemon could bite down on his arm, then countered with a psionic flame, burning his assailant. The alpha, meanwhile, snapped out of its dazed state and attempted to catch Morgana in its jaws. Fortunately, the Zubat was able to fly up and out of harm’s way.
Gaster then fired off another shot, hitting the alpha dead on and bringing it down. “Morgana, take care of the one moving behind us! Use Leech Life!” Gaster then ordered his Zubat. With the alpha no longer nipping at her, Morgana flew overhead, then dove down to attack.
All the while, Taraka and his Pokemon were keeping the other Mightyena busy. Another Fairy Wind attack did a real number on it, and thoroughly pissed it off. The Mightyena lunged at Sirius, but Taraka knocked it down to the ground with his staff. For a moment, it struggled to get to its feet before succumbing to its burns.
That just left one more Mightyena to deal with. As it continued to try and get at his Zubat, Gaster fired off another volley of shots, landing a few hits on it. “Morgana, Confuse Ray! He then ordered.
“Sirius, use Yawn!” Taraka followed up with an order of his own.
The two pokemon unleashed their attacks, leaving the Mightyena dazed and drowsy. Gaster threw a Pokeball before it got a chance to react, but it broke out almost immediately. The Mightyena let out a low growl, then lunged forward, but in its dazed state it collapsed to the ground and passed out. As it slept, Gaster pulled out another ball and threw it. This time, he was successful, and the ball fell still on the ground.
“Nice,” Gaster said as he claimed his prize. “Good work, Morgana,” he continued. He looked over at his Zubat to see her glow beginning to intensify. Her form grew in size, and when the glow died back down to its previous brightness, Gaster was looking at a Golbat.
“This is proving to be quite the successful venture for you,” Taraka said, looking up at the Golbat.
“Yeah,” Gaster agreed. “But let’s see if we can find a Pokemon for you to catch before we head back.”
The monk nodded. “I agree.”
“I wonder how deep these woods go,” Taraka mused as he and Gaster paused for a rest. It had been quite some time since they had fought off the pack of Mightyena, and they have progressed further into the forest. It seemed now as if they were in the deepest darkest part of the forest. The light of Gaster’s fiery Golbat was the only source of light now.
“Very,” Gaster replied. “I don’t think we should go any further. We can look for more Pokemon on the way out.”
“A good idea, I think,” Taraka said, taking another look around.
That’s when the monk saw it. Just behind his crewmate, Taraka spotted the form of some creature creeping down the trunk of a tree. “Look out!” Taraka shouted as the Pokemon leapt at Gaster. Taraka hastily threw up a psionic barrier as Gaster turned to look behind him. The shield managed absorb the brunt of the impact, but Gaster was still caught unawares and knocked to the ground.
Now that the Pokemon was out in the open, Taraka could see it for what it was. Their assailant was a Sceptile, but one that appeared specially adapted to this low light environment. It was a dark blueish-green shade, and its eyes were a deep crimson shade. The leaf blades on its arms also looked extra sharp.
Wishing to drive the Pokemon back from his crewmate, Taraka sent a psionic flame its direction. The Sceptile jumped back, avoiding the orb of flame, then scraped its blades against each other, as if sharpening them.
“Let’s not have any of that,” Taraka said. “Sirius, use Charm!” The monk’s Togekiss swooped in, but only managed to succeed at distracting the Sceptile. At the very least, she bought Gaster some more time to get back on his feet.
Once he was standing again, Gaster switched out to his Cinccino and ordered her to attack. “Lulabelle, use Thunder Wave! Try to immobilize it!” His Pokemon shot out a bolt of electricity that left the Sceptile stunned for a moment. Fighting through as sparks ran along its body, the Sceptile lunged at Lulabelle, slashing through the remnants of Taraka’s protective barrier with its razor-sharp blades.
“Now, Encore!” the former smuggler issued another command. Lulabelle did her thing, leaving the Sceptile dazed. However, the success was short-lived. Snapping back to alertness, the vicious reptile darted between Gaster and his Pokemon, slashing at both of them with its blades. The attack sent Gaster to the ground, unconscious, but his Cinccino had hung in there. Lulabelle quickly darted away, then let loose a Swift attack. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to do much.
This is not good, Taraka thought. I need to do something. Thinking quickly, Taraka recalled his Togekiss and sent out his Beartic. “Arctos, Play Nice!” the monk commanded. Rushing the Sceptile, the Beartic pinned it beneath his massive weight, subduing it. Struggling to break free, the Sceptile swiped at Arctos with its blades, landing a couple good hits.
Taraka slowly crept up, hoping to attempt a capture while the Sceptile was pinned, but, with a burst of strength, the Sceptile shoved Arctos off. It then dealt a nasty gash to the Beartic before retreating back. “Arctos, Icy Wind!” Taraka ordered before shooting out another psionic flame. The Sceptile, however, adeptly maneuvered between the attacks, avoiding both. It then circled around and struck Arctos again, bringing him down. It then shifted focus to Gaster’s Cinccino. With another strike, she was brought down.
“Not good,” Taraka said as the Sceptile turned to face him. He recalled his fainted Beartic, then ran to Gaster’s side. The monk grabbed the first Pokeball on his crewmate’s person that he could find, and released its inhabitant. That turned out to be Krokorok. It certainly wasn’t the best choice, but Taraka didn’t have time to pick something else. He then tossed out a Pokemon of his own, releasing his Ponyta behind the Sceptile.
The Sceptile went for Gaster’s Krokorok, delivering a powerful blow that almost took him down immediately. Snarling back at the Sceptile, the Krokorok sank his teeth in, taking a nasty bite out of it. The Sceptile shook the Krokorok off, then swiped at Taraka’s Ponyta. That proved to be a mistake. While it delivered a nasty blow to Blaze, the Sceptile was paid in kind with a burn. The Sceptile then turned back to Gaster’s Krokorok and attempted to strike it again. Jimothy, however, managed to dodge out of the way, then threw some sand in its eyes leaving it blinded.
Taraka quickly seized upon the opportunity and revived Gaster. “Blaze, use Ember!” he commanded as he nursed his crewmate back to consciousness.
With its eyes blinded, the Sceptile was unable to avoid the rush of flames. A horrible sound escaped its mouth as the tongues of fire seared its scaly body. It began flailing around violently, and eventually managed to land a hit on Gaster’s Krokorok, bringing him down.
“Ember again!” Taraka ordered. With another burst of fire, the Sceptile was really starting to feel it now. Taraka attempted a capture, but the Sceptile broke free.
“It’s not weak enough yet,” Gaster grunted. He recalled his two fainted Pokemon, then sent out his Gloom. “Ficus, use Sweet Scent.” The Gloom let out a strong fragrance that distracted the Sceptile, causing it to collapse from the paralyzing effects of Lulabelle’s earlier Thunder Wave attack.
Before the Sceptile could get up, Taraka put it to sleep with his psionic abilities. The monk then followed up with another Pokeball. This time, the capture was a success! Taraka breathed out a sigh of relief. That had not been an easy fight.
“That thing was a real piece of work,” Gaster chuckled between grunts of pain. “I’m glad it’s on our side now.”
“As am I,” Taraka said, nodding. “Now, let’s get you back to the ship.”
Notes: Alternate Title: The Pokemon Hunting Adventures of Gaster and Taraka, Part 3. This was a fun little session. Axel missed again, as did Alec, so it was just Novi and unknown again. I added an extra player and still ended up with a two player session! So yeah, I just generated a random planet and they went hunting for Pokemon. For the sake of narrative, I had it be the planet they were going to drop Jun off. I added some expansion in the chapter, including a brief scene explaining why they went to the planet and just some extra dialogue, plus a scene to pick up right after the end of the previous chapter’s events just to tie that plot point up a bit and give a little glimpse into the backstory of Anya and Jun. I’m actually pretty proud of that opening scene. I feel like I did a real solid job of giving some details about the history of these two characters through dialogue without anything seeming forced or too explainy. I did consider adding one other scene with them, but decided to leave it for the start of next chapter for the sake of this one not ending up too long, plus I wanted to just get this one done and posted. As for the planet itself, I got forest and forest for the biomes and dark for the common Pokemon, so I came up with this idea for a planet with dense forests with a canopy so thick that it’s like a cave of trees. I saw the name Nocturne when using a planet name generator while writing and I thought it was an appropriate name for a dark type planet. In the initial part of the session they didn’t roll too well so I just threw some Mightyenas at them, but then they went deeper in and searched again and Novi rolled a 1. DragonStorm was listening in on this session and when that happened he messaged me suggesting a dark type shifted Sceptile, so that’s what I made. It hilariously messed them up worse than Markovic’s men in the previous session, but they caught it in the end. And that was it. A fun little session while waiting to have more players for the next plot hook I wanted to throw at the party. Look forward to that next chapter!
Post-Chapter Challenge: I had trouble coming up with a good title for this chapter, but I finally came up with a pretty good one by falling back on my old friend alliteration. Canopy Caverns totally sounds like it could be the name of a level in Donkey Kong Country. Rare did love their alliteration in those games. I actually think it’s a cool name for a cool location on a planet. We’ve done challenges for coming up with planets before, but this time I want you to come up with a cool location on a planet. Perhaps a unique natural formation, or an interesting ruin, or a cool Human settlement. Go wild!
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!