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!
“Have fun on your little expedition?” Captain Cyrus Drake asked as Ace, Gaster, and Taraka as they entered the Maverick’s living quarters. “Did you find anything?”
“Well, we found the ruins, and they were definitely related to Ace,” Gaster informed his employer. “But it turns out whoever’s been raiding sites built by the same people beat us to whatever was there.”
“Again?” Cyrus asked.
“Unfortunately,” Taraka said. “But we didn’t leave empty-handed either. I had a vision and saw the ones who have been pilfering these ruins. They appear to be a group of highly trained mercenaries.”
“You wouldn’t happen to recognize a logo of a sun with a halo, would you?” Gaster asked the captain. “Taraka said it was on the armor those mercs were wearing.”
“That sounds vaguely familiar,” Cyrus said, stroking his facial scruff. “I can’t quite place my finger on where I’ve seen it before, though.”
“I’ll try to look into it, then,” Gaster said. “If we can find these people, our assassin friend’s employer might pay us some good money.”
Cyrus nodded. “Sounds good, but in the meantime, I’ve found us another job.”
“What is it?” Taraka asked.
“Just another simple delivery,” the captain informed his crew. “The employer just wants us to bring some cargo to Harali in Sinai space. Pretty good pay for a low-risk job.”
“Another delivery, huh?” Gaster asked. “Sounds good to me. These last few jobs have been a nice change of pace after that mess on Troyva.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Cyrus said. “Now, if you’ve got any business left to take care of, now’s the time, otherwise takeoff’s in five minutes.”
“I think we’re good here,” Gaster responded. “Let’s get off this dustball.”
“Damnit,” Taraka heard Gaster grumble as he entered the Maverick’s system control room. While the ship’s warp drive was recharging after the jump to Sector 13, Gaster was working on researching the logo Taraka had seen in his vision. From the sound of things, it wasn’t going well.
“Any leads?” Taraka asked, approaching the former smuggler at the ship’s computer terminal.
“Not really,” Gaster informed the monk. “There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of info on this particular logo out there. I’m not seeing anything about any merc groups associated with it.”
“I’m sure something will turn up,” Taraka said. “It seems familiar somehow, so there must be some information about it.”
“I don’t think you understand,” Gaster replied, sounding quite frustrated. “It’s like these damn people don’t exist.”
“What’s got you so riled up?” Kasey’s voice asked from behind the pair.
Taraka turned around to see the young scientist standing in the doorway. “Just some difficulty tracking down a lead,” the monk informed her.
“Anything I can help with?” Kasey asked.
“I don’t know,” Gaster said. “Do you recognize this symbol?” The former smuggler pointed at the screen, which displayed an image of the sketch Taraka had drawn of the logo he had seen in his vision on Idrinda.
“Let’s see,” Kasey said as she approached her two crewmates. As she leaned in to get a look at the logo, Taraka saw an expression of recognition appear on her face. “Oh shit,” the scientist said quietly under her breath.
“What is it?” Taraka asked.
“I’ve seen this before,” Kasey said. “The orange sun is the Helios Corporation’s logo.”
“Helios?” Gaster asked. “Like the people you used to work for?”
Kasey nodded. “Yeah. Them.”
“Slow down,” Taraka said. “What’s Helios?”
“Some bigshot Alliance military contractors Kasey used to work for,” Gaster said. “She told me about it back at Markovic’s club on Voskova Station.”
“They’re one of the biggest private military corporations,” Kasey elaborated. “Aside from the typical military contracts, private security, and weapons manufacturing, they specialize in advanced military tech research.”
“So super mercenaries,” Taraka said. “Got it”
“Super mercenaries … yeah,” Kasey muttered. “That’s one way to put it.”
“So if this is the logo for a huge corporation, why didn’t my research bring anything up?” Gaster asked.
“Well that’s where the shady bullshit comes in,” Kasey said. “I said the sun was Helios’s logo, but this …” The scientist trailed off as she pointed at the screen. “This is the symbol for their top secret ‘research’ division,” she continued, making air quotes with her fingers. “They called it H.A.L.O., as the logo suggests. That’s where all the shady, questionably legal stuff happened.”
“How do you know all this?” Gaster asked. “Is that where you worked?”
“God no,” Kasey replied. She seemed offended by the notion. “They were the bastards who took my research on ancient tech. They just showed up one day and told me that I was being reassigned and that they were taking over the project. No explanation. No nothing.”
“You’re right,” Gaster said. “That is shady.”
“Yeah, that’s part of why I left,” Kasey said. “I wasn’t a fan of everything at Helios being about for-profit military applications, but I needed the funding. Taking my research away was the last straw, though. That and the guy who owns the company seemed a bit crazy.”
“Is there any reason they’d be looking for ancient artifacts?” Gaster asked.
“I don’t know,” Kasey told the former smuggler. “But if they were interested in my research, then I don’t see why they wouldn’t be interested in other ancient tech. Whatever the case, they’re up to no good.”
“I agree,” Taraka said. “We should tell the captain about this.”
Gaster nodded. “Good idea.”
“So that’s what we’re dealing with, huh?”
The Maverick’s captain had a serious expression on his face as he processed the information he’d just been given. Taraka rarely saw his employer like this; Cyrus was typically in a lighthearted mood on most days.
“Yup,” Gaster said. “Think we have anything to gain by entangling ourselves with these folk?”
“We’ve already entangled ourselves in a political murder,” Taraka spoke up. “How much worse could things get?”
“Oh boy, you don’t wanna know,” the former smuggler replied.
“Well, I think we should look into this,” Taraka said. “I don’t know why, but this all feels very familiar and I want to know why.”
“Oh shit, I remember where I’ve seen that logo before,” Cyrus suddenly said. “It was on Meridian when we delivered the artifact from the ruins in the swamp on Salvix to Peter Baker’s private villa compound.”
As soon as the captain said that, it jogged Taraka’s memory. He hadn’t really paid it any attention at the time, nor did he have a reason to, but now that Cyrus mentioned it, he remembered seeing the logo from his vision on the uniform of the guy who collected the artifact from them on Meridian.
“I knew that logo looked familiar,” Taraka said.
“Wait, hold on,” Gaster said. “Who’s Peter Baker? You’ve mentioned that name before.”
“He’s an eccentric Alliance billionaire who hired us to recover something from an old ruin,” Cyrus told the former smuggler.
“He’s also the majority shareholder of the Helios Corporation,” Kasey added. “And eccentric is not the word I would use to describe him. More like crazy.”
“I don’t know how I didn’t make the connection sooner,” Cyrus continued. “As soon as you told me about your encounter with our assassin friend on Zintau that job came to mind. It all makes sense now.”
“So what exactly did you deliver to him?” Gaster asked.
“I’m not sure,” the captain said. “Some kind of ancient tech. It was a from a ruin related to the one where we found Ace, if I’m not mistaken.”
“So should we call up our assassin friend and let her know we found the people she’s looking for?” Gaster asked.
“We don’t even know how to reach her,” Taraka pointed out.
“I say we go to Meridian and investigate this ourselves,” Kasey said.
“I agree,” Taraka said, nodding.
“Hold on a minute,” Cyrus said. “Let’s make sure we know what we’re getting into before we do something crazy.”
“So what do we know?” Gaster asked.
“Well, we know that Helios is collecting artifacts from ruins built by the people who created Ace for potentially nefarious purposes,” the captain said. “We know they indirectly hired us through Peter Baker to that end, and likely Maelstrom too, if our encounter with them on Freyeon is anything to go by, as well as using their own in-house mercs to collect artifacts.”
“And we also know that the assassin’s employer doesn’t want these artifacts to be collected,” Taraka added.
“So the question is what do we have to gain from getting involved?” Gaster asked the group.
“Artifacts?” Taraka suggested. Then, a realization hit him. “And holy crap, if we end up in their facility, that could very well be the modern place where I’m supposed to receive my last vision!”
“And, if they’re collecting artifacts from my time period, going there might help me find out where I came from,” Ace spoke up. The android had been quietly listening the whole time, but had said little until now.
“This is definitely the kind of tech I don’t want to see in the hands of Helios and people like Peter Baker,” Kasey said. “We’re the only ones who can do anything about this and take them down.”
“It seems like we have plenty to gain, then,” Gaster said. “I’m all for fucking with an Alliance corporation, so if we’re doing this, I’m in. Besides, the assassin’s employer might send some credits our way.”
“I guess that settles it,” Cyrus said. “After we make our delivery to Harali, we’ll head to Meridian.”
Gaster sat relaxing on the couch in the Maverick’s living quarters. Cyrus had taken Ace, Axel, Erik, and Kasey to help deliver the shipment they’d brought from Idrinda, so things were pretty quiet on the ship.
Hearing the doors slide open, Gaster glanced over his shoulder to see Taraka entering. “How’s it going?” the former smuggler asked the monk.
“I am thinking of going out to search for Pokemon while we wait for the others to return,” Taraka said. “Would you care to join me?”
Gaster shrugged and stood up. “Why the hell not? I could use some fresh air anyway.”
Taraka nodded. “Then let us depart.”
About an hour later, the pair stepped off a shuttle just outside the large forested park in the southern district of Madira, the capital city of Harali. It was a pleasant expanse of nature in the heart of a bustling urban center, a natural woodland surrounded by an artificial forest of concrete and steel.
“You don’t see places like this in the Alliance,” Gaster commented to Taraka as the two entered the park.
“I guess you could say we Sinai are more in tune with nature,” the monk replied.
“I see,” Gaster said.
Gaster and Taraka walked down the main path through the park for several minutes before veering off into the brush to begin their Pokemon search. Eventually, the pair arrived at a grassy clearing where they found a few wild Pokemon. Gaster spotted three individual Pokemon: a Sentret, a Solosis, and a Venonat.
“Any of these catch your fancy?” Gaster asked.
“I’d like to catch that Sentret,” Taraka said.
“Alright,” Gaster said. “I’ll try for either of the other two, I guess.”
Gaster sent out his Salandit and Taraka sent out his Togekiss, then they moved in to attack.
“Sakuya, use Smog on that Solosis!” Gaster commanded his Pokemon before opening fire. Several laser bolts hit the Solosis, then it was engulfed by a cloud of burning hot poisonous smog from the former smuggler’s Salandit. The Solosis responded by blasting Sakuya with psychic energy, but that took up the last of its strength and it fell to the ground.
“Guess I’m catching the Venonat then,” Gaster said. He looked over at the Pokemon to see it unsuccessfully attempting to spray Taraka’s Togekiss with poisonous powder.
“Sirius, use Thunder Wave on the Sentret!” Taraka commanded his Pokemon, ignoring the Venonat. The monk’s Togekiss zapped the Sentret with electricity, causing it to seize up, then Taraka blasted it with psionic energy, sending it into a daze. The poor Sentret attempted to bounce up on its tail at Sirius, but she flew up and out of harm’s way
Seeing as Taraka seemed to have things under control, Gaster took aim at the Venonat, then opened fire, drawing its attention away. “Sakuya, use Poison Gas!” the former smuggler then commanded his Salandit. Sakuya moved up and belched out a cloud of poisonous gas at the Venonat. The small bug looked quite confused as the gas began to affect it. Salandit toxin was so potent, even poison type Pokemon were not immune to it.
Panicked, the Venonat shot a psychic blast at Sakuya, leaving the Salandit dazed, then it tried to flee. Gaster lobbed a Pokeball after the Pokemon, striking it dead on. The ball pulled the Venonat inside, then fell down into the grass. It shook a couple times before falling still, and the Venonat was caught.
Meanwhile, Taraka was still working on the Sentret. “Sirius, use Fairy Wind!” the monk ordered his Togekiss. Sirius blasted the Sentret with her attack and it could do nothing but writhe on the ground, immobilized by electricity. Taraka quickly ended its torment, capturing it with a perfectly thrown Pokeball.
“That was easy,” Gasster said as he walked over to collect his new Venonat.
“Indeed,” Taraka agreed. “Let us continue our search.”
The sun was beginning to set over Madira as Gaster and Taraka boarded the Maverick. The pair hadn’t had any further success during their Pokemon search and decided to head back when they received word from Cyrus that the delivery had been made. There was no point in keeping everyone waiting.
“Good timing,” Cyrus said as the two walked up the cargo ramp. “We just got back a few minutes ago.”
“Everything go smoothly?” Gaster inquired.
The captain nodded. “That it did. I’ll transfer your shares of the pay once I get our cargo situation sorted out here.”
“Take your time,” Taraka told him.
“I intend to,” Cyrus said. “Do me a favor and tell Anya to fire up the engines and set course for Meridian.”
“Will do, boss,” Gaster said as he walked out of the cargo hold.
Notes: This was such a satisfying chapter to write. It’s nice to see plot threads come together. It took a bit of work to get it to fit the way I wanted. There was a mishap with the recording so there was no audio for the first half hour, but between the video and the recap past me provided current me once I realized the audio wasn’t recording, I managed to closely approximate what was lost. Then there were separate conversations the players had with Cyrus and Kasey that I juggled around and mixed together to get everything to flow in the way that made the most narrative sense.
This chapter covers the events of session 40, another one with just Novi and unknown. There were no guest players and Alec and Axel hadn’t officially dropped out yet. Plot was happening, though, so I had to feed the players who were present some of the plot details I’d prepared for Kasey. I needed to bring all the info the players had together and steer them to the next big story plot I’d prepared. I did a pretty good job in game, but I think I did even better in writing. Other than that, we didn’t do much this session because I was still waiting on having more than two players before doing any major plot things.
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!