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!
“Are you sure I can’t convince you to stay?” Anya asked as she stood with Jun at the end of the cargo ramp.
“These are good people, Anya,” Jun replied, referring to the band of mercenaries he had joined up with. “I need to do my part to help them out. They’re counting on me, just like your friends are counting on you.”
Anya let out a sigh. “I know. It’s just … I don’t want you to go. The last time you left, it took four years and you getting captured for me to see you again.”
Jun smiled and put his hand on Anya’s shoulder. “This time you’ll know where to find me. If you ever need anything … anything at all, just say the word and I’ll be there.”
“You’d better mean that,” Anya said, playfully punching Jun. “Don’t you go disappearing on me again.”
“Of course I mean it. Things are different now than they were then.”
“Yes, they are,” Anya said, grabbing onto Jun’s hand. “So you come back to me, alright?”
“I promise,” Jun said, wrapping his fingers around hers.
“Now go on, get out of here before I change my mind about letting you go.” With that, Anya leaned in a planted a kiss on Jun’s cheek. She then stepped back and released her grip, allowing Jun to depart.
After taking a few steps away from the Maverick, Jun stopped and looked back, giving Anya one last glance. “You really have grown up.” He then turned and continued on his way, waving his hand in goodbye as he set out across the spaceport.
By the time Gaster and Taraka arrived back at the ship, the throbbing pain caused by the injuries inflicted by the Sceptile in the forest that Gaster was feeling had begun to subside a bit. He definitely still needed some medical attention, but he had patched himself up well enough such that he almost didn’t notice the pain anymore.
As they walked up the cargo ramp, Gaster spotted Cyrus pacing around the cargo hold on a call with someone via his Pokedex. He seemed to have seen them as well, as he waved them over.
“Thanks again for the heads up, Gordon,” Gaster heard the captain say as he and Taraka approached. “Keep me posted if you hear anything else. Right. Will do. Talk to you soon.”
“What was that about?” Gaster inquired once Cyrus had hung up.
“Nothing good, I’m afraid,” the captain answered. “That was an old bounty hunter friend of mine. It sounds like Markovic wasn’t too thrilled with our little rescue the other day, nor was he happy to learn that you’re still alive.”
“I didn’t think he would be,” Gaster said.
“Well it seems like he really wants you to return to being dead,” Cyrus said. “He’s placed quite the bounty on your head.”
“Oh really now?” Gaster asked, instinctively reaching for his rifle.
“Don’t worry, we’re not planning on turning you over to Markovic,” Cyrus said, clearly noticing Gaster’s reaction. “And we’ll keep you safe if anyone comes to claim your bounty.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” Gaster said, allowing himself to relax. “But if you’re not planning on claiming the bounty yourself, I would really like to get off this planet in case someone else is.”
“If they are, I doubt they’re on Nocturne,” Cyrus said. “This is a pretty safe world … for the Outer Rim, that is.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Gaster said. “We probably won’t see much trouble here.”
“Whatever secret cargo you were transporting must be important if Markovic wants you dead so bad,” Cyrus then said after a moment of silence.
“What makes you say that?” Gaster asked.
“Why else would he have put a two-hundred-thousand credit bounty on you?” the captain asked in response. “That’s an absurd amount of money for just one random guy. If this really was about us rescuing Azarov, then don’t you think he would have put the bounty on all of us? It has to be related to what you delivered for him. It’s the only thing that makes sense.”
“You’ve got a point there,” Gaster said. “But I don’t even know what I delivered.”
“Markovic can’t know that for sure, though,” Cyrus said. “Whatever the case, we’ll make sure to keep you safe until we can figure out what to do about this.”
“I appreciate it,” Gaster said.
“Don’t mention it,” Cyrus replied, giving Gaster a slap on the back. “Now go get yourself patched up. You look like hell.”
Gaster had a lot on his mind as he and Taraka made their way to the medbay. The former smuggler was already paranoid enough after getting betrayed by Markovic, but finding out he now had a huge bounty on his head was just going to make it worse. Every bounty hunter in the criminal underworld of the Galaxy was sure to be after him now. Cyrus did have a point, though. This all had to be related to whatever he had been hired to transport. Part of him wanted to investigate Markovic and find out what he was up to, but right now he just wanted to focus on surviving.
As he was bandaging up the wounds he had sustained earlier, Gaster watched Taraka place his Pokeballs in the healing machine. He was really starting to like his new friends, and he felt bad putting them in danger like this, but he knew that they were his best chance of survival. They had his back, so he was damn well going to have their backs too.
Suddenly, Gaster’s thoughts were interrupted when Axel burst into the room. The mercenary had this wild look in his eyes as he approached his two crewmates.”I just had this crazy dream, guys!” he declared, voice full of excitement. “Guys, there’s this place we can go and there’s gonna be this awesome Pokemon! It looks kinda like some vanilla ice cream, but it’s also a fire type and it’s name is Spice Cream and we need to go there!”
Gaster looked back at Axel, baffled and bewildered. “I, uh … Are you okay?” he asked his crewmate.
“I’m better than okay!” Axel exclaimed. “I have seen this amazing fire planet and now we must go there!”
“You sure about that?” Gaster asked incredulously. “You sure you didn’t get any brain damage when you passed out in the water on Araimia?”
“Maybe the med bot is malfunctioning,” Taraka playfully suggested. “Perhaps Erik should take a look at it.”
“I’m perfectly fine, guys,” Axel said. “I just know where we need to go now.”
“And where is that, exactly?” Gaster asked.
“I don’t know.”
Gaster let out a long sigh and buried his face in his palm.
“It’s okay, though, guys,” Axel said. “I know we’ll find out where this planet is. I just have a feeling.”
Gaster shook his head in bewilderment. “If you say so.”
Axel was in quite a good mood as he returned from the marketplace near the spaceport on Nocturne where the Maverick was docked with Gaster and Taraka. He had just picked up a few TMs and was eager to teach his Pokemon some new, more powerful moves, and unlike Gaster, who was still bemoaning the fact that a bounty had been placed on his head, Axel wasn’t feeling bothered by the possibility of some mercenaries coming to try kill them.
“I don’t know what you’re so worried about,” Axel was telling his crewmate as they made their way back to the Maverick. “If anyone tries messing with us, I’ll just burn ‘em.”
“Easy for you to say,” Gaster replied. “You’re not the one with the bounty on his head.”
“Oh, relax,” Axel said. “Everything’s going to be fi—”
The mercenary’s words were suddenly interrupted by a loud explosion in the direction of the spaceport.
“What the hell was that?” Axel asked, looking to his crewmates.
“Nothing good,” Gaster said. “What’s that you were saying?”
“That came from the spaceport,” Taraka said. “We had best make sure the others are alright.”
“Right,” Gaster said, nodding. “Let’s go.”
Axel followed close behind as his two crewmates began running toward the spaceport, where smoke was already beginning to rise. As they drew near, Axel could see people running from the spaceport in panic. Entering the spaceport, the trio was greeted by the sight of an exploded ship. Much to Axel’s relief, it wasn’t the Maverick, not that he didn’t feel bad for whoever the ship belonged to. At the moment, however, Axel was more focused on figuring out what was going on.
Hurrying along to the Maverick, which was parked directly next to the wreckage of the destroyed ship, Axel spotted a few new scorch marks on the side of the ship, but beyond that, it seemed unharmed.
“What the hell happened?” Axel asked, approaching Cyrus and and Ace, who were standing nearby, assessing the damage.
“I don’t know,” the captain replied. “This ship just exploded out of nowhere. This isn’t the kind of planet where that just happens.”
“Do you know whose ship this is?” Axel asked.
“No idea,” Cyrus said, shrugging. “But I feel bad for them, whoever they are.”
“My ship!” Axel suddenly heard a woman’s voice shout.
The mercenary quickly turned around to see the most beautiful woman he had ever seen running over to the smouldering wreckage. She looked about his own age and she had long, flowing, fiery red hair and piercing amber-colored eyes. Axel couldn’t help but approach and offer assistance.
“Well hello there, young lady. How can I help you?” he asked her.
“You could un-explode her ship,” Gaster said before the woman had a chance to respond. The former smuggler’s tone was quite sarcastic. “I’m sure that would be nice,” he continued, walking up to the pair.
“We’d be more than happy to help,” Axel said to the woman, ignoring his crewmate’s comment. “Do you need a ride somewhere?”
“That’s very kind of you to offer,” the woman replied. “But it will certainly take time to get this all sorted out.”
“Waiting won’t be a problem for us,” Axel said.
Before he could say anything else, Axel suddenly took notice of two shady-looking men standing around nearby. “Oh man, I think we got the wrong ship,” he heard one of them say, his voice faint at this distance.
“The boss is gonna kill us,” the other said.
“Oh, whose ship were you targeting, then?!” Axel then heard Gaster shout at the pair. It seemed he had heard them speaking as well. Axel looked over to see his crewmate aiming his rifle at the pair.
“Oh shit!” one of the two shady characters shouted before they both took off running, prompting Gaster to open fire.
Thinking quickly, Axel sent out his Charizard and hopped onto her back. “After them, Ritsu!” he ordered her as his Pokemon lifted off. “Cut them off!”
This proved to be unnecessary, however, as Taraka threw out a Pokeball, releasing a massive Wailord with rocky hide right above the fleeing men. Without any water beneath it, the large Pokemon dropped, pinning both men beneath it. That works, Axel thought as he directed Ritsu to land.
“Nice work there, Taraka,” Axel said, stepping back onto the ground near the monk’s Wailord. “Now let’s find out who these bastards are.”
Giving the two men trapped beneath Taraka’s Wailord a glance, Axel spotted a familiar insignia on their clothes. “Maelstrom,” the mercenary spat, scowling as he looked down at the two men.
“They work for that Dane Lory guy?” Gaster asked. “Didn’t he get locked up on Araimia?”
“The boss got busted out,” one of the men under the Wailord said, looking up at Gaster. “And wants his payback. Claiming the bounty on you is just icing on the cake.”
“Well, it looks like you went and messed that up,” Gaster replied.
“Yeah,” Axel agreed, hefting up his flamethrower to fire. “And now we’re gonna end you and send Maelstrom and your boss a message.”
“Hold on,” Taraka said, pushing Axel’s flamethrower back down. “We can’t just go killing people in public. Let’s turn them in to the authorities.”
“Just so they can escape?” Axel asked the monk. “Look where that got us last time.”
“It’s just a risk we have to take,” Taraka said.
“Your friend here has a point, you know,” the redheaded woman said. Axel was caught a bit off guard as he hadn’t seen her approach. “And besides, you can’t get information out of them if you kill them. I would very much like to know where their base is so I can make them pay for blowing my ship up.”
“Good point,” Axel said. “I didn’t think of that.” The mercenary then turned to the two men, still pinned beneath Taraka’s Wailord. He nodded at the monk, and he recalled his Pokemon. Grabbing one of the men by the collar of his shirt, Axel lifted him off the ground “Tell us where your base is,” the mercenary told him.
“We’re not telling you shit,” the man spat back
“Where’s your base?!” Taraka suddenly shouted, thumping his staff on the ground with surprising force, causing the man still on the ground to hop back.
“Yeah, we’ll talk! We’ll talk!” the same man cried. “Please don’t drop your Wailord on us again!”
“Where’s your base then?” Gaster asked, putting his boot on the man’s chest and pushing him down.
“Don’t you be a snitch,” the man Axel was still holding told his comrade.
“Fuck this shit, man,” the other replied. “We don’t get paid enough for this. I didn’t sign up to get crushed by a giant rock Wailord.”
“I don’t think I know anyone who would sign up for that, but okay,” Taraka said.
“Exactly,” the man Gaster was pinning down said. “So if you promise not to crush me again, I’ll tell you what you wanna know.”
“Alright pal,” Gaster said. “Where’s Maelstrom’s base?”
“The Garm system,” the man said. “In an old mining station. You can’t miss it.”
“Nice,” Axel said. “I don’t think that’s too far from here. We can raid Lory’s base while he’s not there.”
“Well if you wanna get him, you should wait til he’s there,” the mercenary he was still clutching by the collar said.
“Oh, look who decided to be helpful,” Axel replied. “And you make a great point. I guess I won’t kill you then.” With that, he tossed the man onto the ground next to his comrade.
By this point, the local authorities had shown up, having responded to the explosion in the spaceport. Having got what they wanted out of the two Maelstrom mercenaries, the Maverick crew turned them over. Time to get back to the business that really matters, Axel thought, looking to the redheaded woman.
“Your ship’s not looking to good,” Axel said to her as they all walked back over to the wreckage.
“Well, I can see that,” the woman replied rather dryly.
“Perhaps we help give you a ride somewhere, young lady,” Axel said.
“That would be appreciated.”
“Well, I think that can be arranged, young lady. And what is your name so I stop calling you ‘young lady?’ My name is Axel and these two are Gaster and Taraka.”
“Nice to meet you, Axel,” the woman replied, offering her hand to shake. “My name is Persephone.”
“Persephone?” Axel asked as he shook her hand. “Nice name. So, Miss Persephone, this might sound like an odd question, but do you happen to know of a fire planet where we might be able to find a special fire pokemon?”
“You’re right,” Persephone said. “That is an odd question to ask.”
“Well, you see,” Axel replied. “I feel like this meeting is fate. I had a dream while about such a planet, and I feel like this is fate telling me that you’re the one I’m supposed to meet to take me to this planet.”
“Don’t mind him,” Gaster chimed in. “We need to reprogram the med bot.”
This seemed to amuse Persephone, as she let out a laugh. “It turns out that I happen to be on my way to a fire planet,” she said. “But, unfortunately, my ship has been destroyed.”
“Well it just so happens that we have a ship,” Axel said.
“I noticed,” Persephone replied, glancing at the Maverick. “You did offer me a ride, after all.”
“Yes, yes I did,” Axel said. “We’d be more than happy to bring you to this fire planet.”
“I will gladly take you up on your offer.”
“Hey guys, I just invited her along on the trip,” Axel said, glancing over to his two crewmates. “I hope you’re okay with that.”
“Whatever,” Taraka said. “We’ve got like fifty people on the ship as it is. It’s fine.”
“We’re not the ones you need to be asking,” Gaster added. “Better clear it with the captain first.”
“Oh, don’t worry about the captain,” Axel said. “I’m sure he’ll be fine with it.”
Axel was feeling excited as the Maverick prepared for takeoff. Soon he would be on his way to the fire planet he had seen in his dream, and soon he would find that Pokemon he had seen. He could feel it. To top it all off, he would be accompanied by a beautiful woman. Today was a good day.
The mercenary and his crewmates hadn’t forgotten about Dane Lory and Maelstrom, though. Jun Azarov and the band of mercenaries he ran with would be staking out the mining station in the Garm system Lory’s mercs operated out of for them while they were checking out the fire planet, and would let them know when he returned. It was a little thank you gift for saving Azarov’s life.
“I have to say, you are certainly one of the more interesting group of individuals I’ve come across in my travels,” Persephone said as Axel, Gaster, and Taraka were wrapping up the brief tour the ship they were giving her.
“And you are quite interesting yourself, Persephone,” Axel said, attempting to flirt with her.
“Be careful, he’s our troublemaker,” Taraka jokingly warned Persephone before heading off to his room.
“I’ve never been a troublemaker a day in my life!” Axel proclaimed.
“Yeah, keep on telling yourself that,” Gastser said. He playfully slapped Axel on the back before he too walked off, leaving the mercenary alone with Persephone in the living quarters.
“So tell me about this fire planet, Persephone,” Axel said. “What business do you have there?”
“It’s called Pyraxia,” she replied. “It’s an inhospitable world of volcanoes and vile swamplands said to be home to powerful and rare fire type Pokemon. That’s what I’m looking for.”
“Oooh, me too,” Axel said, his eyes lighting up. “What a coincidence. I love finding rare Pokemon. Especially fire types.”
“Ah, a man after my own heart, I see,” Persephone said. “There are few who truly understand the raw power and majesty of fire Pokemon.”
Axel felt his heart beat just a little bit faster with every word Persephone spoke. The more he learned about her, the more he liked her. Never before had he encountered someone who appreciated fire types the way he did, nor had he encountered such a beautiful woman.
“You know, Persephone, if you ever get sick of this common room you can come to my room at any point in time,” Axel said.
Persephone’s red-painted lips formed into a subtle smile, and Axel thought he saw her wink at him. “Maybe I’ll take you up on that offer.”
Notes: This was a fun session, and a fun little chapter to write. This chapter covers the first half of session 26. I was initially planning on including the whole session in this chapter, but it started getting a bit long, and I realized it made more sense to put the rest of the events of this session in the same chapter with those of the next session for reasons that will become apparent in the next chapter. Anyway, this chapter introduced a plot hook DragonStorm and I cooked up, which I had been sitting on for a while, but it specifically concerned Axel, so I had to wait for him to be present for a session first, and he’d missed the past few. But of course, I still didn’t get to have a full party as Alec missed this one. But I knew I had to throw the hook out while Axel was here. As a little bit of enticing bait to make sure he’d show, DragonStorm teased him a bit during the week, mentioning that we may or may not be going to a special fire planet with cool fire types this session. For those not in the know, in a previous (and somewhat short-lived) PTU campaign that DragonStorm GMed that wasn’t Spacemon and in which Axel, Novi, and I were all players, Axel ended up with a fire shifted Vanillish that he named Spice Cream. It was pretty awesome, and every time we visited a volcanic planet in Frontier he hoped to find one again. Naturally, DragonStorm’s teasing made him think that’s what he find. So then in game he started raving about the fire planet at the start before I even introduced the plot hook. I was amused and decided to roll with it, so I bullshat it into the plot, saying it was a dream. Axel took that and ran with it, coming up with this dream about Spice Cream. Then the other two players in attendance rolled with that and had some funny reactions, and a great bit of RP happened. I was proud of them, even if it was silly and dumb.
And on to the plot hook. Persephone was actually a character I ran in a non-Spacemon PTU campaign that The Other Guy GMed in which DragonStorm and I were both players and I decided to give her a cameo in Frontier much like I did with the campaign I mentioned above and my character Blackwing. However, this cameo is a bit larger. She was meant to be a quest giver to introduce a plot hook, the fire planet, but knowing Axel has been a womanizer in this campaign there was a chance he’d try to flirt with her too, and he bit that bait harder than I expect. It was hilarious actually. This was also a chance to throw Dane Lory back into the mix and to reveal the bounty on Gaster’s head. It came together all quite nicely, I think.
The bit with the Wailord was fun, especially since Axel the player hadn’t been present when it was captured and didn’t know about it. He was confused and surprised for a moment, but that couldn’t make it into the writing since Axel the character had been present. Then, when they tried to interrogate the mercs, Axel rolled awful on command, while Novi rolled very well. He rolled so well, and then was like “Where’s the Riddler?!” It was a good time.
One final thing to mention, the opening scene was one I added just to tie off the events with Jun and Anya for now. In the game I just briefly mentioned that he’d been dropped off, but I wanted to do a brief scene for it, and give some more backstory. I’m having fun revealing character history without explicitly saying anything. Anyway, enough rambling from me. Next chapter we visit Pyraxia, so look forward to that.
Post-Chapter Challenge: If it wasn’t clear, Persephone was introduced as a potential love interest for Axel, and that seemed to work out well right from the start. In a past challenge where I had you come up with rivals for the PCs, some of the suggestions were also clearly intended to be potential love interests. I figured why not have you guys actually come up with love interests. This challenge is to come up with a love interest for someone on the Maverick’s crew. You can pick one of the PCs or one of the NPCs on the ship. I’m interested in seeing what 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!