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!
Taraka was feeling energized as he entered the Maverick’s living quarters. Now that he’d had a good night’s rest, the monk was eagerly looking ahead to the crew’s next adventure.
“Where are we headed next, Captain?” Taraka asked Cyrus, who was sitting at the table in the mess area, sipping a cup of coffee. “Have you found a new job for us?”
“Well since you asked, an old bounty hunter friend of mine is looking for help with a bounty in Sector 24 if you guys are up for it,” the Maverick’s captain said.
“Another bounty?” Gaster piped up from the couch across the room. “The last one didn’t go so well for us.”
“Yeah, let’s put that behind us and not end up in another situation like that,” Taraka said.
“Don’t worry,” Cyrus assured the pair. “It sounds pretty straightforward and it’s totally legit, unlike whatever the hell that mess on Troyva was. All we need to do is capture an outlaw and my friend has already done the hard work of tracking him to a planet. He just needs a team to help him apprehend the target.”
“So we’re just supposed to turn the guy over to the authorities, then?” Gaster asked, eliciting a nod from the captain “They want him dead or alive?” the former smuggler then asked.
“Alive if possible,” Cyrus said. “And we’ll get paid more if he is alive.”
“Is there any more info on the target?” Gaster asked. “What we can expect from him?”
“The target’s name is Jerrik Baize,” the captain explained. “He’s wanted for a string of cargo freighter robberies. The bounty was posted by the Sector 24 gym leader so we know it’s nothing sketchy.”
“Who is the gym leader?” Gaster inquired.
“I’m not sure,” Cyrus informed the former smuggler. “I haven’t been out in that region of space in a long while. The last time I was there, someone else was the gym leader. All I know is that they use electric type Pokemon.”
“Well, I guess if they’re a gym leader we don’t need to worry,” Gaster said. “I say we do it then.”
“I am not opposed to this,” Taraka said, nodding in agreement.
“Alright then,” Cyrus said, getting to his feat. “I’ll tell Anya to set a course.”
Gaster could feel a rush of heat as he stepped off the Maverick out into the blistering sun of Agrosicco, a hot, dry world with little value other than being a convenient refueling stop on the way to and from the Sector 24 warp gate. It was also a good place to hide for those who did not wish to be found. After spending several months on Venbaxxen, Gaster wasn’t exactly stoked to be on another inhospitable desert planet, but there was a job to do.
“So where’s this friend of yours?” Gaster asked as he approached Cyrus, who was conversing with Taraka under the shade of one of the Maverick’s wings.
“Oh, he’ll be along shortly, I’m sure,” the captain replied.
As if on a cue, a man with a short, well-trimmed beard wearing a long duster coat and a tattered cowboy hat stepped out from around a nearby ship. “Cyrus Drake, you ol’ scoundrel!” the man shouted, his slight Alliance Outer Colony accent apparent. Gaster could see a frightening look in the man’s eyes as he approached the three members of the Maverick’s crew.
“You’re the only scoundrel I see around here, Garth,” Cyrus said calmly.
The two men stared each other down for what seemed an uncomfortable amount of time. Is this the captain’s friend? Gaster wondered. Sure doesn’t seem like it.
Gaster’s question was soon answered when Cyrus and the man he had referred to as Garth suddenly broke into a very friendly hug, slapping each other hard on the back. “Good to see ya, buddy,” Garth said. “How’ve ya been?”
“You know me,” the captain replied. “Just as good as always.”
“New crew, I see,” Garth said, eyeing Gaster and Taraka.
“Oh, where are my manners?” Cyrus said, turning to his two employees. “Gaster, Taraka, meet Gordon Garth.”
“Howdy,” Gordon said, tipping his hat at the pair.
“It is nice to meet you,” Taraka replied.
“So you’re a friend of the captain’s?” Gaster asked apprehensively. With a large bounty still on his head, the former smuggler wasn’t ready to trust just anyone right away, especially not a bounty hunter.
“Yeah,” Gordon said with a nod. “The two of us grew up together back on Wharton. We were always gettin’ inta trouble together.”
“More like I was always getting you out of trouble,” Cyrus said, chuckling. The captain then turned to look right at Gaster. “You can trust Gordon. He’s the one who tipped me off about the bounty Markovic put on your head.”
“I see,” Gaster said. That was certainly enough for the former smuggler to trust the man. “Well, I certainly appreciate that,” he said, turning to Gordon.
Gordon nodded. “Don’t mention it. Any friend of Cyrus is a friend of mine.”
“Helping you catch this Baize guy is the least I can do to pay you back,” Gaster said.
“Right, we’d best get to it,” Gordon said. “I tracked Baize here, but this planet is very inhospitable. It’s far too dangerous to go out inta the wilds without a good team, so I appreciate the assistance.”
Gaster nodded. “We’ve got your back … or at least I do. I can’t speak for the other guys.”
Gordon let out a laugh. “Cyrus and I go way back. You don’t need to speak for him.” The bounty hunter then glanced over at Taraka. “As for your monk friend here …”
“I am happy to assist,” Taraka said.
“And I’m happy to have your assistance.”
“So do you think there’s a way to bait this guy out?” Gaster asked.
“Baize is here to hide, so I think that’s unlikely,” Gordon said. “I did ask around while I was waitin’ for ya’ll to show up, though. The locals provided some tips on some good hidin’ spots out in the wilds.”
“That’s a start,” Cyrus said.
“Don’t you worry, I’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve,” Gordon said. The bounty hunter then pulled out a Pokeball and sent out a Rhydon. “Primus here can find us a trail to follow. He’s never let me down yet.”
“Alright, let’s see what your Pokemon can do,” Gaster said.
“You heard the man, Primus!” Gordon shouted. “Lead the way and find us a scent!”
And with that, it was time to head out into the desert to find Jerrik Baize.
As Taraka and his two Maverick crewmates trekked across the desert with Gordon Garth, following the bounty hunter’s Rhydon, the monk wondered what the rest of the crew was up to. Erik was helping Axel with some maintenance on his flamethrower rig, which was why their fiery friend wasn’t joining them on this job, and Ace was allowing Kasey to study him— non-invasively, of course. Then there was Anya, but she never really left the ship when they were in places like this. The Maverick’s pilot was probably watching television on the ship or something like that.
Suddenly, Cyrus’s Talonflame, which was circling above let out a cry, alerting the group of something in the distance. Looking around, Taraka spotted some wild Pokemon up ahead.
“Anyone up for catching some Pokemon?” the monk asked his companions.
“Works for me,” Gaster said. “I could use a break from walking anyway.” The former smuggler then sent out his Typhlosion in preparation for the coming engagement.
As the group drew closer to the Pokemon, Taraka was able to make out what species they were. There was a Doduo, a Donphan, and a Camerupt milling about, scavenging the desert floor for food. There was also a Sandslash resting on a rock and a Heatmor on the prowl.
“Let’s say hello, shall we?” Cyrus said. “Peregrine, use Flame Charge!” the captain then called out to his Talonflame up above, pointing out the Doduo. Taraka watched as a fireball descended from the sky and struck the two-headed bird, catching it completely off-guard.
“Rusty, use Toxic on that Donphan!” Gaster then commanded his Typhlosion. Rusty moved up on the Donphan, which had snapped to alertness after Peregrine’s attack, then spit out a toxic cloud at it, badly poisoning it. Gaster then recalled his Pokemon and sent out his Vileplume.
Looking back to the Doduo, Taraka saw it attempting to peck at the captain’s Talonflame with both beaks. The monk quickly put up a psionic barrier to protect the fiery bird, then sent out a Pokemon of his own, his recently evolved Golbat.
“Aday, hit that Heatmor with Swift!” Taraka ordered his Pokemon. The Golbat flew over to his target, then unleashed a volley of energy stars upon it. The Heatmor, however, didn’t appear to be anything but angered by the attack. It ran up to Aday and started furiously swiping at him with its claws, landing several good hits.
Out from the toxic smoke, the Donphan came charging, right into the middle of the group, then stomped down hard, making a quake beneath its feet. Taraka was fortunately far enough away, but the same could not be said for some of the others. Gaster’s Vileplume was left pretty beat up and Gordon was knocked off his feet.
Gordon’s Rhydon managed to avoid the attack as well, but that put him right in the path of the Camerupt. The volcanic camel spit out a jet of flame at Primus, but the Rydon dodged that too. “Primus, use Bulldoze on it!” Gordon commanded his Pokemon as he got to his feet, then the bounty hunter opened fire on the Camerupt with his pistol. Primus charged at the Camerupt, but it maneuvered out of the way just in time.
Meanwhile, the Sandslash ran into the fray. The small, spiny Pokemon sprinted up to Gaster’s Vileplume and slashed at her, leaving a nasty gash. Gaster quickly let loose with his rifle in a wide arc, blasting not just the Sandslash, but also the Donphan and the Heatmor, with laser fire. The Heatmor was brought down instantly while the other two were left much worse for wear.
Seeing an opportunity, Taraka ran in and threw a Pokeball at the Sandslash. The ball pulled the Pokemon in, but it soon broke open. Cyrus had more luck. The captain threw a ball at the Donphan and, after a few moments of shaking, it successfully captured the Pokemon.
As for the captain’s Talonflame, it was still tangling with the Doduo. Cyrus had refrained from issuing any more orders so as not to risk knocking the Doduo out, but the two-headed bird was still on the offensive. Gordon soon got it off Peregrine’s back by capturing it with a Great Ball.
“Primus, use Rock Blast on that Camerupt!” the bounty hunter then commanded his Rhydon. Primus shot off several rocks at the Camerupt, three of which were direct hits. The Camerupt let out an angry grunt, then blasted the Rhydon with a quake, doing a real number on him. A well placed shot from Gaster’s rifle soon brought the Camerupt down.
Now only the Sandslash remained. “Aday, use Leech Life!” Taraka ordered his Pokemon. The Golbat flew in and made his attack, and the Sandslash reacted by creating a quake, however nothing was close enough to be hurt by it.
“Ficus, use Sleep Powder!” Gaster commanded his Vileplume. Ficus moved in, then released a cloud of powder that sent the Sandslash right to sleep. “All yours,” Gaster said, turning to Taraka.
The monk nodded, then threw a Great Ball at the dozing Pokemon. Unlike before, the ball fell still as soon as it pulled the Sandslash inside. Putting it to sleep had certainly done the trick.
“Well, that was a fun little diversion,” Gaster said while Taraka and the others collected their new captures. “Now how about a little rest?”
Taraka nodded. “That sounds like a good idea.”
After several hours on the trail, following the senses of Gordon’s Rhydon, the four companions found themselves at a standstill. Primus had suddenly stopped in his tracks. The Pokemon let out a grunt and started jerking his head from side to side.
“What is it?” Gaster asked, looking to Gordon.
“It seems like he’s lost the trail,” the bounty hunter said.
“Well that’s just great,” Gaster grumbled. He let out an annoyed sigh, then lifted his goggles off his eyes to wipe away the sweat that had been building up.
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” Gordon said. “I’m sure Primus’ll pick it back up in no time.”
“Hey, what’s that over there?” Taraka suddenly spoke up. Gaster looked in the direction the monk was pointing and saw a rocky outcropping in the distance.
“Could be a good hiding spot, ya think?” Cyrus asked.
“Indeed,” Taraka agreed.
“Ya’ll wanna take a look?” Gordon asked the group.
“It’s certainly better than waiting around for your Rhydon to find the trail again,” Gaster said.
“Fair point,” Gordon said.
As the group approached the rock formation, it seemed to Gaster like it was a cave entrance. Two rocky pillars that had been eroded over the centuries rose up from the ground, casting shadows over the wide mouth of the cavern. If he had been the one hiding out on this world, this was just the sort of place Gaster would have taken shelter in. It provided shelter and cover, it was hard to find, and it was a particularly defensible location.
Gaster took a step forward into the mouth of the cavern, but Taraka suddenly put his arm out in front of him, preventing him from proceeding. “Wait,” the monk said in a serious tone. “Look.” Taraka pointed at the ground, drawing Gaster’s attention to a tripwire running between the cavern wall and the nearest rock pillar.
Cautiously, Taraka picked up a rock off the ground, then tossed it onto the tripwire. Immediately several large boulders fell down from above right where Gaster would have been standing if Taraka hadn’t blocked him.
“Crafty bastard,” the former smuggler grunted as he put his arm up to shield his face from the dust and sand the boulders had kicked up. “Thanks, Taraka,” he said once the dust had settled. “Good eye. I owe you one.”
“Well, we definitely know this is where Baize is hidin’ out if it’s rigged with traps,” Gordon said. “Let’s all be careful here.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Gaster said.
Proceeding with caution, the four companions began moving into the cavern, carefully stepping over the tripwire between the two rock pillars. Only a few minutes passed before Taraka saved them again. “Get down!” the monk suddenly shouted.
Without hesitation, Gaster ducked down, just as a gunshot flew overhead. The former smuggler quickly moved into cover, then peeked out to see where the shot had come from. It didn’t take long for him to spot the man aiming down the sights of a rifle at the back of the cave entrance. Ducking back behind the rock he was hiding behind as the man fired another shot, Gaster grabbed Rusty’s Pokeball, then sent him out. Taraka got the same idea and sent out his Ponyta while the man with the rifle released a Pokemon of his own.
“Rusty, use Smokescreen!” Gaster commanded his Typhlosion. As Rusty released a cloud of smoke right on his position, Gaster stepped out from cover and aimed his rifle. Thanks to his cybernetic eyes, the former smuggler could see clearly through the smoke. While they couldn’t see him, Gaster could see quite clearly the man, presumably Jerrik Baize, and his Pokemon, a Mightyena. He quickly lined up a shot on the Mightyena and pulled the trigger, landing a direct hit.
“Jerrik Baize!” Gaster heard Gordon shout from behind him. “We can do this the easy way or the hard way! Surrender now or end up in a world of hurt! The choice is yours!”
“Go to hell, bounty hunter scum!” Baize shouted back.
“The hard way it is!” Gordon replied. “Let’s get him, boys!”
“Blaze, use Flame Charge!” Taraka commanded his Pokemon. The monk’s Ponyta suddenly charged past, right through the smoke, then slammed into the Mightyena in a fiery explosion.
“Banzai, use Bite!” Baize responded. His Mightyena chomped down on Blaze, but Taraka quickly threw up a psionic barrier, shielding his Pokemon from harm.
“Primus, use Rock Blast!” Gordon then commanded his own Pokemon. His Rhydon stomped forward through the smoke cloud, then fired off several rocks at Baize’s Mightyena. Two made contact, launching the Pokemon backwards into the cave wall.
Gordon himself, meanwhile, moved up on the right while Cyrus moved up on the left. Both men opened fire with their pistols, hitting Baize from both sides. “Fuck!” Baize cursed as he ducked back into cover. Once the firing had stopped, he poked his head out to return fire. His rifle sprayed out ballistic projectiles in a wide arc, landing shots on Cyrus and Gordon as well as Taraka’s Ponyta.
“Rusty, use Heat Wave!” Gaster shouted. The former smuggler’s Typhlosion ran forward, then spit a massive wall of fire into the cave. The flames enveloped Baize’s Mightyena and even singed the outlaw himself as he tried to slip back into cover. When the flames dissipated, Gaster fired off a shot at the Mightyena, then followed up with a second, bringing it down.
With the Mightyena dispatched, Cyrus and Gordon moved up on Baize’s position while Gaster hung back to cover them. Gaster kept his rifle trained on Baize’s hiding spot while Taraka moved up to heal his Ponyta.
“Primus, use Bulldoze!” Gordon commanded his Rhydon. The rocky drill Pokemon charged in to attack, forcing Baize out of cover. The outlaw opened fire as he attempted to move behind another rock, but he was met with a hail of gunfire from Cyrus, Gaster, and Gordon. Lining up Baize’s back in the center of his crosshairs, Gaster squeezed the trigger. His shot struck true, hitting Baize directly in the back, bringing him down.
Holstering his pistol, Gordon walked over to where Baize lay. “Should’ve taken the easy way, pal.”
“You’re going away for a long time, Baize,” the Federation marshal said as Gordon Garth turned Jerrik Baize over to him.
“Fuck you!” Baize spat.
The marshal ignored the outlaw and turned his attention to the Alliance bounty hunter. “Your reward, Mr. Garth,” he said, transferring the credits promised for the bounty. “Fifteen-thousand credits.”
“Not a bad take,” Cyrus said. “That’s almost four-thousand each.”
“Thanks again for the assist,” Gordon said as he transferred an even share of the reward to each of the three members of the Maverick’s crew in the room. “I have to say, Cyrus, your new crew is pretty good in a fight.”
“You better believe that,” Gaster said. “Remember it if you decide to collect that bounty from Markovic.”
“Don’t you worry,” Gordon told the former smuggler. “I only take legitimate bounties these days.”
“That’s a good idea for your sake,” Gaster replied.
Gordon laughed. “I learned my lesson. I went straight after I got out of prison. No way I’m going back.”
“What were you in for?” Gaster asked.
“What wasn’t I in for?” Gordon said in a joking tone.
“Gordon here was a genuine space outlaw,” Cyrus said with a laugh. “Ever heard of the Gold Sun Gang?”
“The name rings a bell,” Gaster said.
“We were the most feared outlaws on the frontier of the Alliance-side Outer Rim,” Gordon said boastfully. “But times have changed and I’ve paid for my mistakes.”
Gaster sighed. “Haven’t we all?”
“Had a rough go at things?” Gordon asked.
“Let’s just say I’ve gone straight too,” Gaster said. “My smuggling days are over.”
“Well I’m sure Cyrus here will get your life turned around,” Gordon said. “He was the only one of our group of friends back on Wharton with the sense to choose a legitimate line of work.”
“You’re too kind, Gordon,” Cyrus said. “Now, who’s up for a drink?”
“Now we’re talkin’!” Gordon exclaimed. “Drinks are on me, boys!”
Notes: Here we have another fun little stand-alone chapter. There’s no real plot advancement, but it’s a contained story all on its own. This chapter covers the events of session 38, another Gaster and Taraka adventure. I still hadn’t gotten final confirmation that half my players had dropped out, so I whipped up a side plot for the session. If you remember, the character Gordon Garth appeared briefly (by mention only) already in a scene in the chapter where Persephone was introduced. Cyrus was finishing up a call with him when Gaster and Taraka returned from their Pokemon hunt and, as was mentioned in this chapter, informed the captain about the bounty on Gaster. We finally got to see him in the flesh here. He’s got a pretty interesting backstory that also helps flesh out Cyrus as a character too.
In terms of writing, there’s nothing too interesting to mention. I changed a few details to make things flow better, fleshed out some conversations by adding more dialogue, and other simple stuff like that. While listening to the session, I noticed my mic audio was rather low for some reason, an issue which persisted for the next 10 or so sessions. I guess I didn’t notice during the actual sessions for a while. I just had to turn the volume up to hear myself and deal with everyone else being loud. Other than that, the writing process went nice and smooth. I’m quite happy with how this chapter turned out.
Post-Chapter Challenge: So we saw the gang apprehending an outlaw in this chapter and Gordon Garth used to be an outlaw back in the day. With that in mind, I’m challenging you to come up with your own space outlaw! We’ve done something similar in a past challenge about what you’d be wanted for if you were a Spacemon character, but this time the goal is to come up with a serious character who could possibly make an appearance. What’s your outlaw’s name? What sort of crime do they do? What Pokemon do they use? Do they run in a gang or work alone? Have they been captured or killed or are they still at large? I’m looking forward to 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!