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!
It was a quiet evening aboard the UAS Maverick as the ship flew through warp space en route to the planet Nimia in Sector 20 to make a delivery. The concept of evening, of course, meant nothing in space, but that’s what time of day it was according to Galactic Standard Time. However, although it was technically evening, some of the members of the Maverick’s crew were fast asleep as if was the middle of the night and others were wide awake as if it was mid-morning. Their sleep schedules were just as desynchronized as ever.
Captain Cyrus Drake sat in the cockpit of his ship alongside his pilot, Anya Chan, watching the swirling strands of warp energy swirling around the ship through the front viewport as his thoughts wandered. The Maverick and its crew had settled back into a normal routine of delivery jobs ever since Kasey’s departure and the ship was currently on its way to the next paycheck. It would only be a few more hours until it arrived at port on Nimia.
“Captain, the sensors are picking up an anomaly,” Anya suddenly spoke up, snapping Cyrus from his thoughts.
“What kind of anomaly?” the captain inquired.
“I’m not sure,” the pilot replied. “A shipwreck, maybe? We’d need to drop out of warp space to get a better reading.”
“A shipwreck, huh? Could be a good salvage opportunity. Take us out of warp space. Let’s check it out.”
“You got it,” Anya said before cutting the warp drive.
The entire ship lurched slightly as it dropped back into normal space. Judging from the view out the viewport, Cyrus determined that they were in empty space somewhere between star systems.
“Alright, let’s see what our little anomaly is,” the captain says.
“Looks like it is a shipwreck,” Anya said, bringing the sensor readout up on the main screen. “Or at least part of one.”
Looking at the screen, Cyrus saw the profile of what appeared to be a wrecked section of a much larger ship, perhaps a cruiser. Before he could look at the readout in detail, Ace, Erik, and Gaster appeared in the cockpit behind Cyrus. It seemed he and Anya weren’t the only ones awake at the moment.
“What did we drop out of warp space for?” Gaster asked. “Is something wrong with the ship? We’re clearly not at Nimia yet.”
“We detected an anomaly,” Cyrus explained. “Looks like a shipwreck. You up to checking it out?”
“Always,” Erik said. “We still only have two space suits though.”
“I’ll go with you,” Gaster offered.
“Me too,” Ace said. “I don’t need a space suit.”
“Very true,” Erik said, chuckling at the android’s comment.
After a few more minutes, the shipwreck came into view. From this perspective, it was clear that this was but part of a much larger ship. Specifically, it appeared to be the aft section. However, the ship didn’t look like any sort Cyrus recognized.
“That looks like a really old ship,” Ace said as the Maverick drew nearer to the wreckage.
“But that doesn’t,” Erik said, pointing out a small, modern-looking ship docked with the shipwreck. “That’s a Genevan bucket— a recent German design, I believe.”
“Anya, hail that ship and see who’s there,” Cyrus said.
Anya nodded and hit the appropriate button on the console. Several moments passed, but nothing happened.
“They must be aboard the wreck,” Cyrus said. “Take us in, but cautiously. Erik, Gaster, you two go get suited up. Be careful out there.”
Gaster Jameson’s hands tightly gripped his tesla coil rifle as the interior door of the Maverick’s airlock slid shut. His movement restricted slightly by the space suit he wore, the former smuggler wanted to make sure the weapon was at the ready in the event that he and his crewmates ran into trouble.
“Hopefully you won’t be needing that,” Erik said, eyeing the rifle as he placed the helmet of his space suit on his head.
Gaster nodded. “Hopefully … but I’m not taking any chances.”
“Fair enough,” the Maverick’s engineer replied before hitting the button to begin depressurizing the airlock.
After a few moments, the exterior airlock door slid open, revealing the airlock door of the shipwreck. Gaster watched Erik cautiously step forward to take a look.
“No power,” Erik’s voice sounded over the comms in Gaster’s helmet. “Big surprise.”
“Do you think we can power it up with the bot?” Ace spoke up. The android placed his hand on the small combat support bot he had built with Kasey a few months back. The trio had decided to bring it along seeing as they were limited by the number of space suits on the ship.
“You know, that’s not a bad idea,” Erik said. “Good thinking, Ace. Bring it over and let’s see what we can do.”
Not being much use in this particular situation, Gaster stepped aside, giving his two more technologically-inclined crewmates plenty of room to do their think. The former smuggler looked on as the pair ran some cables from the bot into a service panel. Before long, the door control console flickered on.
“Well that was easy,” Ace commented.
“Maybe for you two,” Gaster said. “If we were relying on me to get the door open, we’d have starved to death before I succeeded.”
“That’s what you’ve got us for,” Erik laughed. “Now, let’s see here.” Leaning in toward the door console, the engineer went about figuring out how to open the door. “Interesting,” he said after a few moments.
“What is it?” Gaster asked.
“I don’t suppose you can read Romanov?”
Gaster shook his head. “I can’t say that I do. Why? Is it in Romanov?”
Erik nodded. “It would appear so. It’s no big deal, though. I’ll just use my Dex to translate.”
Gaster had to admit, he was quite impressed with the Genevan engineer. It only took the man a few extra minutes to get the airlock open.
“After you,” Erik said, motioning to his companions.
“I’ll take point,” Gaster said, raising his rifle. He lifted a magnetically-charged boot and took a step forward and moved through the airlock of the mystery Romanov shipwreck into a dark corridor.
The flashlights on Gaster’s helmet illuminated the corridor as he looked left, then right. It was a long passageway that seemed to run the full length of the ship, or rather what was left of it. Several doors lined the corridor, seeming to lead further into the ship. The closest one appeared to be slightly ajar, so Gaster approached it, motioning for his crewmates to follow.
As his crewmates moved up behind him, Gaster sent out his Banette, just in case they ran into trouble. He then reached for the door and began to pull on it, but it was jammed.
“Ace, give me a hand with this, will ya?” the former smuggler asked, glancing over at his android crewmate.
Ace nodded, then walked over to assist Gaster. Together, the pair began pulling on the door. After struggling with it for a few moments, Gaster felt something give way. Slowly, the door slid open, revealing the room behind it.
Rifle raised, Gaster stepped forward into the room. He did a quick sweep of the walls and corners, but no threats were apparent. Having determined it to be safe, Gaster allowed himself to take a more detailed look around. The room appeared to be a barracks of some kind, lined with bunks. A few bodies of long-dead men freely floated in the zero-gravity environment, preserved by the vacuum of space.
“Suffocation’s a nasty way to go,” Erik commented as he entered the room behind Gaster.
“I would imagine so,” the former smuggler said, nodding in agreement.
Glancing around the room once more, Gaster noticed a pistol floating between the bodies. Curious, he walked over and snatched it from its suspended state. He gave it a quick look over and then gazed down its sight. It didn’t look like any gun he’d ever handled before.
“Hey, Erik, what do you make of this?” Gaster asked, showing his crewmate the weapon.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” the engineer said as he took the pistol off Gaster’s hands. “I’m not really a weapons guy, but I can say with certainty this definitely isn’t something you can find on the market today. Not surprising considering how old this ship must be.”
Finished looking at the pistol, Erik handed it back to Gaster. “I see,” the former smuggler said, lifting the weapon to get a better look at it. “Well I guess I’ll hang onto it. I wonder if it still works.”
Erik chuckled. “I doubt it.”
“Should we move on?” Ace asked. “I don’t think there’s much else in here.”
“I’d like to see if I can get those open,” Erik told the android, pointing to some electronically locked footlockers at the foot of the bunks. “You two can go on without me. I’ll catch up in a few minutes.”
“You sure?” Gaster asked.
Erik nodded. “Yes. I’ll be alright.”
“If you say so. Come on, Ace. Let’s go.”
After exiting the barracks, Gaster led the way to the next door, Ace and his bot following close behind along with the former smuggler’s Banette. Unlike the last door, this one was sealed properly. However, the door’s console was broken.
“Might be a bit tough to get through this one,” Gaster said to Ace.
“I’ve got an idea,” the android replied. He then proceeded to press some buttons on the command console that he wore on his wrist to operate the bot. Moments later, the bot shot a blast of electricity and the broken open door console. Sparks flew back out of the console from the exposed wires, then the door slid open, though not smoothly in the least.
“Nice work, Ace,” Gaster complimented his crewmate before stepping through the door into another corridor that seemed to lead further into the ship.
As the pair made their way down the corridor, it widened into a much more open hallway. There didn’t appear to be much of note … that is until a sudden movement caught Gaster’s attention. He turned just in time to see a crimson-bladed Honedge flying at him, trailing a red sash behind it. The ghostly Sword Pokemon landed a glancing blow on the former smuggler, but fortunately, it didn’t pierce through his space suit. A second Honedge came at Ace, but the android managed to activate his energy shield before it reached him and deflect its attack.
“Clara, hit that Honedge with Knock Off!” Gaster commanded his Banette as he moved back from his assailant. The former smuggler’s own ghost Pokemon floated up to the Honedge and hit it hard, doing a real number on it.
Once he was at a safe distance from the attacking Honedges, Gaster aimed the mystery pistol he’d found in the barracks at the one that had attacked him. “Alright, let’s see what this baby can do,” he said before firing. A beam of glowing energy shot out of the pistol and hit the Honedge, but it seemed to have no effect.
“Oh, so that’s what it does.”
Taking a quick moment to see how Ace was faring, Gaster glanced over at his crewmate. Laser sword in hand, the android was squaring off against the other Honedge, holding it at bay while his combat support bot fired off jolts of electricity at it.
Seeing as Ace seemed to have things under control, Gaster turned his attention back to the Honedge his Banette was fending off. “Clara, use Spite to disable that attack!” the former smuggler commanded his Pokemon as the Honedge landed a strong blow. “Now, use Will-o-Wisp!”
As soon as the Banette burned the Honedge with her attack, Ace maneuvered around his bot such that it was between himself and the other one, then threw a Pokeball at the burned Sword Pokemon. The ball hit the Honedge dead on, then pulled it inside as it began to float back toward Ace due to the lack of gravity. It shook once … twice … three times … then it fell still.
“Got it!” Ace said cheerfully as he grabbed the floating Pokeball.
With its comrade captured, the remaining Honedge flew at Ace and struck him in retaliation. “Clara, use Curse on that thing!” Gaster quickly responded. Once his Banette had inflicted her curse upon the Honedge, he pulled out a Pokeball of his own and chucked it at the Sword Pokemon. Unfortunately, this one managed to break free.
“Bastard,” Gaster grumbled under his breath.
“Allow me to help,” Ace said before throwing a ball of his own, succeeding where his crewmate had failed. “Here you go,” the android said, handing over the newly captured Pokemon.
“Thanks, Ace,” Gaster said, giving the android an unused Pokeball in exchange.
Ace nodded back at the former smuggler. “No problem.”
“What’s all the commotion?” Erik’s voice suddenly sounded in Gaster’s helmet. He turned to see the Engineer walking down the corridor toward them.
“We got attacked by a pair of Honedges,” Gaster informed Erik.
“Interesting,” the engineer responded. “They must have belonged to people on this ship,” he theorized.
“Well they’re ours now,” Ace said. “We captured them.”
“Ah, I see,” Erik said. “Well you can show me when we get back to the ship. For now let’s keep up our exploration. Lead on!”
As the three members of the Maverick’s crew continued down the shipwreck corridor, it eventually took a sharp left turn and opened up into a large room. A massive hull breach immediately captured Gaster’s attention as they entered. The hole, which stretched across almost the entirety of the far wall, provided an unobstructed view of the dark void of space.
Prying his eyes away from the hull breach, Gaster took a look around the rest of the room and saw that he and his two crewmates were not alone. In the corner, the former smuggler noticed a man in gray armor accented with blue lights crouched down, checking something out. His back, which had a large riot shield strapped to it, was turned to the trio and he had yet to notice them.
“We’ve got a guy here,” Gaster said over comms, pointing the man out to his crewmates.
“What should we do?” Ace asked.
“I think you should keep out of sight for now, my friend,” Erik told the android.
“Good idea,” Ace agreed before ducking back around the corner.
Once the android was out of sight, Gaster took a cautious step forward, rifle at the ready, just in case, but not aimed at the man either. He then flashed the lights on and off a few times to get the man’s attention. Slowly, the armored man stood up, then he turned around. He too carried a rifle, but he did not raise it. Instead, he waved at them, then began to approach.
Moments later, the man established a commlink with the members of the Maverick’s crew. “Hello,” he greeted them, speaking with a slight Romanov accent. “I didn’t expect to run into anyone else here.” Gaster couldn’t get a read on the man’s expression through the glowing blue cross-shaped visor of his helmet, but he spoke in a tone that sounded quite friendly.
“Yeah, well it came up on our scanners and we thought we’d check it out,” Gaster told the man. “Find anything interesting?”
“This whole ship is interesting,” the man said. “It’s an old Romanov Dominion warship … or at least half of one. I’ve got a penchant for Dominion-era anything, so when this ship came up on my ship’s scanners, I just had to check it out.”
“I see,” Gaster said. He didn’t know much about the Romanov Dominion other than that it was the government the Romanovs had before the Union, before the war with the Federation a few hundred years ago.
“So what are your names?” the man asked. “I am Simon. Simon Dolohov.”
“Oh, my name is Joseph,” Gaster lied, not sure if he could trust this Simon fellow despite his friendly demeanor. He then motioned at Erik. “And this is my friend Esteban.”
“Well met, Joseph and Esteban,” Simon replied, offering a handshake.
Gaster nodded back at the man and gave his hand a firm shake. A moment of silence then elapsed before anyone spoke further.
“So are you the only one on your ship?” Gaster finally broke the silence. “We tried to hail it when we first arrived, but didn’t get a response.”
“I am,” Simon answered. “I didn’t respond because I wasn’t aboard my ship. I didn’t even know anyone else was here until you showed up just now.”
Before Gaster got the chance to say anything else, Simon’s gaze seemed to suddenly shift to look upon something behind the former smuggler, as if drawn by a sudden movement. “Did you see that?” the Romanov man asked.
Turning to look, Gaster saw that Ace had stumbled partially out of hiding. So much for that, he thought as he slapped his palm against the visor of his helmet.
Ace, for his part, looked to be rather panicked, but Erik gave the android a reassuring nod, which seemed to calm him down. He pulled himself together, then emerged from hiding.
“There’s an explanation for this,” Gaster said.
Simon simply laughed. “A friend of yours?” he asked, his friendly demeanor undiminished.
“Uh, hi,” Ace said.
“And who might you be, my friend?” Simon asked.
“I’m Ace,” the android introduced himself. “I’m not Human. That’s why I didn’t want to come out.”
“I can see that,” Simon said. “But don’t worry. I don’t bite.”
“Well I’m glad to hear that,” Ace replied. “But I’d still appreciate if you wouldn’t go around telling everyone about me.”
“Yeah, we’d all appreciate it,” Gaster chimed in. “We like to be discreet ... if possible.”
Simon nodded. “I understand, my friends.”
“Thanks,” Ace said.
“Of course. Of course.”
“So you seem to know something about this ship,” Erik spoke up after a brief silence. “Have you come across many Dominion shipwrecks?”
“I’ve come across a few over the years, but they’re pretty rare,” Simon explained. “After over two-hundred years since the war, most have been found and recovered already.”
“Do you know what destroyed this ship?” Ace asked.
“Or where the other half is?” Gaster added.
“The Federation, most likely,” Simon said. “It was probably destroyed at some point during the war. As for the other half, it’s probably a long way from here now. If it’s still around that is. The reactor would’ve been on the front half of the ship and if it went critical … the front half of the ship would’ve been blown to oblivion.”
“Have you explored the rest of the ship already?” Ace then asked.
“I’ve been here for a while and I’ve combed most of this wreck, but the interesting bits of Dominion warships are on the front half. The bridge, the reactor … not to mention that this ‘half’ of the ship is actually a smaller section.”
“We found some personele cabins back that way if you want to check them out,” Gaster told Simon, pointing back the way he and his crewmates had come from.
“It’s a little gruesome,” Ace added.
“I’ve seen gruesome things before,” Simon replied. “Thanks for the tip, though. I’ll be sure to check it out before I leave.”
“So where are you headed next?” Ace asked the man.
“I was on my way to the Union when I came across this shipwreck,” Simon explained. “That is where my investigation on behalf of the Paladins has led.”
“Paladins?” Ace asked.
“They’re a mercenary organization,” Gaster informed the android. The former smuggler had heard of the Paladins, but had never encountered one before now. They were supposedly firm believers in law, order, and justice. They weren’t exactly the type of people Gaster had associated with in his past life.
“We are more than a simple mercenary organization,” Simon said. “The Paladin order is dedicated to doing what is right … to making the Galaxy a better place.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Gaster said, not particularly impressed.
Ace, however, seemed intrigued. “So what are you investigating?” he enthusiastically asked the Paladin.
“I am afraid I cannot say much,” Simon answered. “Suffice it to say that my investigation into the Romanov criminal underworld has revealed disturbing connections to the world of Union politics. As a Templar of the order, I have taken it upon myself to see where this thread leads.”
“That’s funny,” Ace said. “We’re also interested in some shady political things in the Romanov Union.”
“How curious,” Simon replied.
Gaster shot Ace an annoyed glance out of the corner of his eye. He very much wanted to avoid bringing up their involvement with that mess on Troyva several months back, but it was too late now. Gaster sighed, then turned back to Simon. “We kinda got involved in some … things.”
”What kind of things?” Simon asked, sounding quite suspicious.
“Let’s just say we were a bit too close to ground zero during the assassination of the governor of Troyva,” Gaster told the Paladin.
Simon nodded his head. “Hmm. I heard about that incident. The whole thing was rather mysterious, if I recall.”
“Yeah, and we’re afraid of being accused of doing it,” Gaster said.
“As far as I know, no one has been named as a suspect yet,” Simon replied. “At least not publicly.”
“We think we know who did do it, though,” Ace said.
“And who might that be?” Simon inquired.
Ace seemed to hesitate for a moment at the question. “Well, see ... we weren’t exactly in a position to know her name.”
“Have you heard about people with weird powers manifesting, or at least a specific person with weird powers?” Gaster asked Simon. “Not like what the Sinai monks can do, but, like, actual psychokinesis and mind control.”
“I’ve heard rumors in the past several months about a new player in Romanov Space,” Simon said, a grim tone seeping into his words. “An assassin that’s shaking up the entire criminal underworld and making people like Moric Gulyas seem like pushovers. The few witnesses who have survived described encountering an individual with super powerful psionics unlike anything anyone’s ever seen before.”
“Yup, that sounds right,” Gaster said. “We’ve met them.”
“Then you are lucky to be alive.”
“Yeah … Yeah we are.”
“And yet you continue to investigate this individual. I commend your bravery.”
Gaster chuckled. “It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve barrelled headfirst into an extremely dangerous situation. We’re too curious for our own good, I suppose.”
Simon let out a booming laugh. “They say curiosity killed the Delcatty, but I disagree,” he said. “Perhaps we can help each other out with our investigations.”
“We’ll definitely help you!” Ace said. “And in return, if you ever hear anything about this person you’ll tell us, right?”
“You have my word.”
Cyrus was lounging in the captain’s quarters when he heard the sound of his crew returning. Sticking his head out the door into the Maverick’s main corridor, he saw Ace, Erik, and Gaster emerging from the airlock.
“How’d it go?” the captain asked the trio. “Did you find out who that other ship belonged to?”
“A Paladin, apparently,” Gaster replied.
“Oh, a Paladin, huh? I met one a few years ago.”
“His name was Simon,” the former smuggler elaborated. “Does that ring a bell?”
“I can’t say that it does,” Cyrus told him. “But I’m sure he’s a trustworthy guy. The Paladins have a reputation as respectful, honorable mercenaries. They’re known as do gooders, seekers of justice, and all that.”
“I like the sound of these people,” Ace said.
Gaster shrugged. “Eh, they’re a bit stuck up if you ask me, but they’re okay.”
“So what did this Simon fellow have to say?” Cyrus asked his men.
“Well he said the shipwreck was a Romanov Dominion warship,” Erik told the captain.
“Wow, it must be pretty damn old then,” Cyrus said.
“He’s also investigating some shady shit in the Union,” Gaster added. “And Ace let slip about our involvement in that Troyva clusterfuck.”
“Good thing he’s a Paladin,” Cyrus said. “We know we can trust him with information like that.”
“Yeah,” Gaster agreed. “And he said he’d let us know if he found out anything about … whatever it was that killed the Governor. We exchanged contact info with him, so if you get a call from a Simon Dolohov, expect some news on that front.”
“Excellent,” the captain said. “Seems like this little detour paid off, but now it’s time to get out of here. We need to make sure still complete our delivery to Nimia on schedule.”
Notes: And here we are, back into session material. This chapter covers the majority of session 46. Novi wasn’t able to make it, but we still had two players because this session also marked the final player roster change of the campaign. ClarissaGavin, who played Morgan in the original Spacemon and was a guest player in the role of Ace a while back in this campaign, officially joined as a full-time player, once more taking up the mantle of Ace as opposed to building a new character. It was a little sad that he’d already finished his main character arc a couple sessions earlier, but it was still nice to bring him back to the main spotlight as a PC once again. And with this, I finally had a stable player roster. From here on, I had Clarissa, Novi, and unknown as players until the end of the campaign.
As for the meat of a session, I had this idea inspired by something in the Spacemon sequel campaign to have an old Romanov Dominion shipwreck for the party to explore. This was all based on lore that had been recently developed by DragonStorm at the time. Speaking of DragonStorm, I also used an NPC he built for me, Simon Dolohov. The Paladins come from a Post-Chapter Challenge answer from a past reader on an original series chapter. The challenge was to create a faction and he went above and beyond so we just had to canonize it. DragonStorm built a character shortly after that and was like you can use this if you want. He appeared here in the campaign a bit after that and now, months and months later, he’s finally appearing in writing.
I needed someone to inform the party about the shipwreck and Simon seemed a perfect candidate. This also allowed me to steer the party toward the final main plot thread that had yet to be resolved. Clarissa rolled really horrible on Ace’s stealth check to stay hidden, which caused some hilarity. Fortunately for the party, Simon is a chill guy.
Post-Chapter Challenge: From first conception to first appearance in a chapter, Simon took like a year to finally appear in written form. With that in mind, I challenge you to come up with a cool NPC that can be easily be inserted into a Spacemon storyline regardless of context and likely won’t appear in written form for over a year!
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!