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Spacemon: Frontier - Chapter 66: The Bounty

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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!

BANG!

“How has he not been found yet?!” Nikola Markovic demanded as he slammed his fist down on his desk. “How hard can it be to find one ship?! It’s been six months!”

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Accustomed to their father’s outbursts of anger, neither of the Romanov crime lord’s sons flinched ... unlike several of the other men present. “This Gaster Jameson has proven to be an elusive target,” calmly stated Luka, the elder of the two Markovic brothers. His younger brother Emil, meanwhile, remained silent, watching from the corner where he stood.

“The men have been trying, Boss,” said Gennadi, one of Nikola’s top lieutenants. “We’ve got all the usual bounty hunters on it.”

Nikola let out an angry sigh. Gennadi may have been fiercely loyal, a trait the crime lord greatly appreciated in his men, but he was an idiot. “They’re not trying hard enough, it would seem,” he said coldly, his raw rage having given way to seething anger. “If, after all this time, the usual bounty hunters have turned up nothing, then clearly they are not enough. We need the best, the toughest, the most ruthless.”

“None of them have answered the call,” Emil finally spoke.

“Then make them,” Nikola said, turning to his son. “By whatever means necessary. Double the bounty. Put the word out: four-hundred-thousand credits for whoever brings me Gaster Jameson, dead or alive.”

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Emil nodded. “Yes father.”

“Will doubling the bounty really be enough to entice anyone new to join the hunt?” Luka asked.

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“It’s a start,” Nikola said. “But you are right; to get the best of the best we need to do more. We need to speak with them directly and entice them with advanced payment and a larger reward.”

“Is there anyone specific you have in mind, father?”

“There is, in fact. Luka, reach out to our contacts in the Union. Let them know Nikola Markovic wants to hire Moric Gulyas.

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“... right away.”

“As for you, Emil,” Nikola said, turning back to his other son. “Contact the best bounty hunters in the Rim and get them on board.”

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“As you wish.”

Nikola leaned back in his chair as he watched his sons and the rest of the men file out of the room. Gaster Jameson had evaded him for too long, but that would soon change. He would make sure the man died, one way or another.

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The pale blue glow of the holoscreen was the only source of light in the darkened starship cockpit. Eyes reflecting the screen as they scanned the lines of text it displayed, feared Romanov assassin Moric Gulyas read over the message he had been sent. A curious contract had been sent his way and he was intrigued to say the least. Moric had killed for the Koscheis, he’d killed for the Xiannus, he’d killed for the Yongs, and he’d killed for crime lords all across the Romanov Union and the Outer Rim, but he’d yet to kill for Nikola Markovic. The employer, however, wasn’t what made this particular job stand out from those he had worked in the past. No, it was the nature of the contract that struck Moric as unusual. In all his years as a professional hitman for hire, he’d never been offered a job quite like this.

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The message from Markovic’s son Luka, which had been forwarded to Moric through one of his underground contacts, was a request to take up a six-month old bounty that had yet to be completed. The mark, a smuggler called Gaster Jameson, had obviously wronged Markovic in some fashion; the man wanted him dead real bad. The bounty had recently been doubled from two-hundred-thousand credits to four-hundred-thousand, but Moric was been offered an additional half-million to take on the contract— one-hundred-thousand in advance and the remaining four-hundred-thousand upon completion.

Moric wondered what some nobody smuggler could possibly have done to earn such a high price on his head or why it was necessary to bring in someone with his skills. The assassin didn’t normally take contracts on people of this sort, but the money was too good and too easy to turn down. Moric had killed Koscheis, he’d killed Xiannus, he’d killed Yongs, and he’d killed countless dangerous high profile targets; some smuggler dumb enough to cross Nikola Markovic would be like target practice.

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His mind made up, Moric sent a brief reply to Luka’s message. He wasn’t much for conversation. Four words were all that was needed.

I accept your terms.

With that taken care of, Moric fired up the engines and his ship roared to life. Gaster Jameson would soon be dead. He just didn’t know it yet.

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Freya Frost sat on the bridge of her ship, frowning at the picture displayed on the holoscreen. It was of a wanted man, apparently wanted very badly based on the price on his head. She knew that face from somewhere, but she couldn’t quite place it. It apparently belonged to a man called Gaster Jameson, but that name didn’t ring any bells. She sighed, and decided to just continue reading his profile.

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As a rule, Freya tended to avoid publicly available bounties, especially the ones with high rewards. High rewards meant more competition, and therefore more chances that dumb luck would lead to someone else claiming the bounty. Such an outcome was unacceptable for Team Vogue. They were not going to waste time and resources only for another to receive the prize. However, it was different this time. This bounty had been posted quite some time ago with no success. This Gaster fellow remained at large, and it seemed the one who wanted him was getting impatient. Only a few hours ago she had received a message from Emil Markovic, son of the infamous Romanov crime lord Nikola Markovic, specifically requesting Team Vogue to join in the hunt. Among the listed perks included a not-insignificant advance payment as well as the promise of a reward far greater than the original bounty was posted for. It was certainly a tempting offer.

“But where have I seen you?” she murmured.

“Everything alright, Mademoiselle?” asked Marie, who had been lounging in the pilot’s seat.

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Freya’s head jerked up in surprise. She had forgotten the rest of the crew were here on the bridge as well. “Yes, fine,” Freya confirmed. “We may have a new job.”

“Better be bloody interesting,” Francis muttered. “Or we may as well rename ourselves to the Team Vogue Postal Service. We’ll get you your bloody mail in half the time and double the boredom.”

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Marie snorted at this. Team Vogue’s leader scowled at Francis, but he did have a point. She had been choosing somewhat safer jobs since … Nevermind that, she thought. These simple deliveries were, admittedly, getting tiresome.

If I choose to take the job, I do believe it will be to your liking,” Freya reassured Francis. “It’s a high profile bounty. Some idiot has gotten himself very much on the bad side of Nikola Markovic and has been evading capture for quite some time. It seems the client’s finally come to his senses and decided to consult professionals.”

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Francis’s eyebrows rose at this. “Very nice!” he exclaimed. “What information do we have on the poor bastard?”

While Freya’s English companion was very excited about this new mission, Marie appeared to be a bit more skeptical. “Markovic? You sure zat man can be trusted?”

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“I’d say that it’s better than some nameless, faceless mystery man,” Francis retorted.

Freya barely suppressed a wince at that jab. She was convinced that disaster hadn’t been her fault. It was the other bounty hunters who had dared to get in their ... no, her, way. They would have been well on their way off the planet long before that thing showed up had it not been for those other cocky buffoons.

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Freya composed herself, then said, “He would not have made it this far in the underworld if he didn’t make good on his promises.”

“Yeah, what she said!” Francis agreed impatiently. “Now come on, tell us about the target!”

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The bounty hunter captain rolled her eyes. She shouldn’t have said anything about the job, now they practically had to accept it. “It has some details here. He looks familiar, but I don’t know where I’ve seen him.”

Schwartzenpanzer, who had been sitting cross-legged on the floor sleeping or meditating or whatever he did, opened his eyes and glanced at Freya’s console. After a moment, he simply said, “Troyva,” then closed his eyes again.

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“Troyva?” Freya questioned.

“Ja,” he confirmed.

She turned back to the holoscreen to analyze the image again and suddenly everything clicked into place. Yes, that was one of the men from the Troyva mission that had gone so horribly wrong. He had been part of the team that wasn’t decimated by the telekinetic monstrosity, which was also the team that had initially interrupted Team Vogue’s flawless plan. Those idiots had caused the delay that resulted in them not being able to escape with the governor.

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Rage suddenly filled her, only to be immediately replaced with grim satisfaction. Oh, this was perfect! She could imagine the encounter now. Team Vogue appears out of nowhere, surprising the unsuspecting band of mercenaries. The ambushed crew is confident and defiant at first, since they’re the bumbling type that think some idiocy like true love and friendship will get them through every encounter. However, in time they realize they are outmatched by the clearly superior Team Vogue. In moments, their spirits are broken and they surrender. Team Vogue snatches their crewmate right out from under them and they are devastated. Should she kill the rest of them at this point? It would be momentarily gratifying and greatly reduce the risk of pursuit by the remaining members, but on the other hand it would be wonderful knowing the survivors’ despair lived on. Maybe she’d just kill one of them, the captain probably. That would cut the head off of the snake to leave the body in disarray. Then, Team Vogue delivers this Gaster Jameson to Markovic and collects a handsome bounty. It wasn’t often that someone offered to pay you to enact your own plan of revenge.

Fate had smiled down upon Freya Frost this day, and she smiled back. Returning to her console she typed out a simple reply to Emil’s offer.

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Team Vogue accepts. You will not be disappointed.


Nikola Markovic sat behind his desk in his office, awaiting an important call. The blinds covering the glass walls were drawn and the door was locked to ensure the utmost privacy. The crime lord could not risk any of his men hearing the conversation he was about to have.

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The light on the comms console soon flashed on to indicate an incoming call. Nikola pressed the accept button and the hologram projector conjured up the image of his employer. The projection of a dark-haired man stood before the desk, thin and not particularly tall, but with a commanding presence. The man gazed upon Nikola with a piercing gaze and spoke with a calm, cold voice.

“Good evening.”

“Good evening,” Nikola replied. “I trust you are well?”

A frown crossed the man’s face, but he said nothing. A long, uncomfortable moment of silence passed before he spoke again. “The smuggler is still alive.”

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“I am taking care of the problem,” Nikola was quick to answer.

No. You have been failing to deal with the problem, and you have been doing so for months now.”

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“I have taken great steps toward finding him. I’ve doubled the bounty, I’ve contracted Moric Gulyas, Team Vogue, and—”

And yet he still lives!

Nikola jumped in his seat, taken aback by the sudden boom of his employer’s voice.

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“You will deal with this,” the man on the other end of the call said, returning to his quiet, yet firm tone just as suddenly as it had exploded with volume. “Now.

Nikola opened his mouth to speak, but his employer had already ended the call.

Shit,” he muttered. This was not good.


Notes: This was a super fun chapter to write. It’s another chapter of non-session material that serves as a prelude to the final “season” of Spacemon: Frontier. I’d known for a while that I wanted to work on a chapter set during the time jump written from the perspective of some of the villain characters to set up for some events in later chapters, but I didn’t know exactly what form it would take. I recently put out the offer to other members of the Spacemon gang to contribute their own writing pieces to the lore and unknown approached me with some ideas he had for a chapter following Team Vogue based on some events in the campaign. I decided to break up the scenes he wrote and integrate them directly into the chapters I was working on and I took inspiration from them as well. This chapter started with the scene following Team Vogue he wrote and I built the rest of the chapter around it using the ideas I’d been kicking around in my head. I absolutely love how it turned out.

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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!

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