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 on the entire Spacemon saga here!
“Fascinating. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.”
“So you don’t know what it is then?” Ace asked the Ghost Gym Leader, Adrian Avallach. “It was on some kind of altar, so it seemed important.”
“Oh, I don’t doubt that it is,” Adrian replied. “Or, at least, that it was. Even if it doesn’t help us, I’m sure this artifact had some significance to those who built this place.”
“I guess we’ll hang onto it then,” Ace said. “Just in case it does help.”
“Alright,” the Gym Leader said, nodding at the android as he handed the bony artifact back to him.
“Anyway, were you able to figure out a solution for getting through that ghost fog?” Gaster asked.
“I’m afraid not,” Adrian informed the group.
“That’s unfortunate,” Gaster replied. “I don’t think we found anything either.”
“Do you think the miners might have removed something from this place?” Taraka spoke up. “Perhaps some sort of tool or key that will allow us to pass?”
Adrian nodded. “It’s a possibility.”
“That’s not a bad idea, Taraka,” Gaster said. “Maybe we should return to the surface and ask.”
“I agree,” Ace chimed in.
“Then it’s decided,” Adrian said. “You three return to the surface and see what you can learn while I remain here and continue investigating this place.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Gaster told the Gym Leader. “We’ll see you soon.”
“Alright boys, here’s your cut from the delivery job.”
“Thanks, Captain,” Gaster said as he looked down at the confirmation message of the transfer of three-thousand credits displayed on his Pokedex screen.
Having returned to the Maverick upon arriving back in town to heal their Pokemon before continuing their investigation, the former smuggler and his two crewmates had also taken the time to check in with Cyrus to let him know what was going on. The captain had also given them their share of the payment for the supply delivery that had brought them to Devil’s Landing in the first place.
“Sure thing,” Cyrus replied. “Anyway, if you three looking to keep investigating, I’ve got a tip for you.”
“Oh?” Taraka asked.
“Apparently, while you were underground, the mining company that funds the colony decided to return,” the captain explained. “I guess they heard that the Gym Leader showed up to investigate. That’s what folks in town are saying.”
“I can’t imagine the colonists are too happy with them since they all but abandoned them after the ghost attacks started,” Gaster said.
“Oh, they definitely aren’t,” Cyrus chuckled.
“I guess we should visit the mining company headquarters here then,” Ace said. “They might know something.”
“That’s what I was thinking,” Gaster said to the android, nodding in agreement.
“Let’s get going,” Taraka said. “Thanks for the tip, Captain.”
Cyrus nodded. “Don’t mention it.”
A cacophony of angry voices filled the air as Gaster approached the mining company headquarters in Devil’s Landing with Ace and Taraka. Rounding the corner of the block, the former smuggler saw a small crowd of colonists had gathered outside the building. It was clear that word of the corporation’s return had spread and, by the looks of things, the colonists were not pleased with them.
“You have some nerve coming back here after abandoning us!” Gaster made out a man’s voice shouting as he and his crewmates drew near.
“They’re pretty angry alright,” Taraka observed as the trio passed the crowd.
“I can’t blame them,” Ace said. “I’d be mad too if I was abandoned like they were.”
“That’s scumbag corporate fat cats for ya,” Gaster said. “They don’t care who they screw over. Let’s try to make this quick. The less time we have to spend around this place the better.”
As the trio approached the front door, they were stopped by a pair of security guards. One was a tall, dark-skinned man with a shaved head. The other was a slightly shorter man with a curly ginger beard who looked a bit red in the face.
“No protesters allowed inside,” the bearded man said gruffly, blocking the doorway.
“We’re part of the Gym Leader’s investigation team,” Gaster told the guard. “We need to speak with whoever’s in charge.”
The two guards looked at each other, then back to Gaster. The bearded one gave him a scrutinizing glance that seemed to drag on and on. After an uncomfortably long moment passed, the guard nodded.
“The boss said he was expecting you,” the guard said, stepping out of the way. “Go on in.”
Gaster nodded at the man, then stepped through the door with his two crewmates close behind. Once inside, the former smuggler turned to face his companions. “That was easy,” he said.
“Well it would seem that we’re expected,” Taraka replied.
“That must mean that they know something,” Ace said.
Gaster shrugged. “Only one way to find out. Just let me do the talking. I’ll get whatever we need to know out of ‘em.”
“Works for me,” Taraka said, nodding back at him.
A few moments later, the trio found themselves outside the office of the mining company executive in charge of the operation on Omen. A smiling secretary greeted them from behind a desk as they approached.
“Good afternoon,” she greeted them in a cheery tone that Gaster could tell was a forced. “How may I help you?”
“Yeah, we’re with Sector 33 Gym Leader Adrian Avallach,” Gaster said, taking a step forward. “We’re here to speak with the man in charge here about the goings-on in the mine. Apparently we’re expected?”
“Ah, yes,” the secretary responded. “Mr. Phillips said you would be coming. He’s waiting in his office. Head right in.”
“Thank you,” Taraka said to the woman as Gaster reached for the door handle.
Opening the door, the former smuggler was greeted by the sight of a fat, slimy-looking executive in a three-piece suit. He looked exactly how Gaster would have imagined a greedy Alliance corporate scumbag to look. A smirk forming on his face, Gaster stepped forward to address the man. He knew he would have no qualms with squeezing some extra money out of him.
“Alright, mate. So we’ve got some good news and some bad news,” the former smuggler announced. “The good news is we found your problem. The bad news is its a little worse than we might’ve originally thought. Now, as of right now, we don’t have any credits in our pockets for this job. If you’re willing to put down a down payment and help us out with a bit of information we need, we might be able to help you out here.”
“Who the hell are you people?!” the mining executive demanded, casting his gaze over the three strangers that had just barged into his office.
“Well, Mr. Phillips,” Gaster began to explain, using the name the secretary had given. “We’re here with Adrian Avallach, the sector Gym Leader. We’re working with him to clear out your infestation.”
“If you’re here with the Gym Leader, then what the hell do I need to pay you for?” Mr. Phillips responded. “The Federation pays the Gym Leaders to handle these sorts of situations.”
Gaster frowned. He may have been a smooth talker, but the former smuggler didn’t have a good answer for that one.
“We could still use some information about what happened,” Ace said. “That is why we’re here.”
“What do you want to know?” the executive asked.
“Well ... we want to know about the events surrounding the opening of whatever sort of tomb you guys stumbled upon,” Gaster told him. “What happened, who was there, that sort of thing.”
“There’s not much to tell, really,” Mr. Phillips said. “Operations were running smoothly, but then the miners dug into some buried ruins. They went in to check it out and that caused ghost Pokemon to appear and start attacking.”
Of course he blames the miners, Gaster thought. Typical. In his experience, the people on top of the corporate ladder always shifted the blame on to those at the bottom. The former smuggler was skeptical that all the blame lay at the feet of the miners. There was just something about Mr. Phillips that gave Gaster the sense that he wasn’t being entirely truthful.
“Look, pal,” Gaster said, folding his arms. “We can’t help you if you don’t help us so … we want the whole story, not whatever narrative you’re trying to sell us.”
Ace nodded in agreement. “If you found something down there that could have caused this, you need to tell us.”
“Alright, fine,” Mr. Phillips said in an annoyed tone. “When the miners uncovered the ruins, I directed them to investigate and see if there was an opportunity to make more money. The ghosts started attacking once they went inside.”
“I see,” Gaster said. “And not because you had them take anything out of the ruins?”
“As far as I know, nothing was removed from the ruins.”
Gaster nodded. He could tell the man was being truthful this time, as slimy as he was.
“I could arrange for you to speak with the miners if you like,” Mr. Phillips continued.
“I don’t think that’s necessary,” Gaster told the executive, shaking his head. “That’s all for now. We’d better go speak with Adrian and get him up to speed.”
Without waiting for a reply, the former smuggler turned and headed for the door, his two crewmates close behind.
“Are you sure we shouldn’t talk to the miners?” Ace asked as he and his two Maverick crewmates made their way to the checkout counter in the Devil’s Landing general store with the supplies they had just picked up.
“I just don’t think it will reveal anything new,” Gaster replied. “The miners are all local labour and the locals are all pissed at the company. Not to mention that this place seems to be a pretty tight-knit community. If the miners took something out of the ruins that caused the ghost attacks, I’m sure they would have come clean by now.”
“I guess that makes sense, but it still couldn’t hurt to—”
Ace cut off mid-sentence when he felt a sudden tugging on the bottom of his cloak. He looked down to see a wide-eyed little girl standing there.
“Uh, hello there … child,” the android said, unsure of how to react.
The girl smiled and pointed to where the strange bone artifact from the ruins hung from Ace’s belt, underneath his disguise cloak. “What’s that?” she asked in a tone of voice that Ace could only describe as creepy. Somehow, this girl knew the artifact was there even though it was completely concealed.
“Uh, what do you mean?” Ace asked, trying to act as innocent and unsuspicious as possible. “What? That? It’s, um, nothing.”
“That’s a bit of a rude question to ask there, little girl,” Gaster said, coming to the android’s assistance.
“Yeah,” Ace agreed. “Where are your parents?”
“Somewhere,” the girl replied.
“Somewhere where?” Ace asked.
“Not here,” the girl giggled cryptically.
“We can see that,” Gaster told her. “Now run along and stop bothering my friend here. Come on guys, let’s go.” The former smuggler began walking toward the front of the store and motioned for the others to follow.
“Right,” Ace said, nodding.
“You don’t know how to use the bone charm,” the girl said as the trio began moving off.
“Wait, you know what this is?” Ace quickly turned back toward the girl and procured the artifact from under his cloak. “What do you know about it? How do you know about it?”
“My new friends told me aaalll about it,” the girl said in an unsettling, almost sing-songy tone.
“What friends?” Ace asked her.
“The ghosts, silly,” she giggled.
“Oh my God, we’re so sorry!” a woman’s voice suddenly shouted. Ace looked over in the direction it came from to see a woman in her thirties or so running over, closely followed by a man about the same age.
“We’re sorry about her,” the woman said once she reached them. “Alyna, what did we tell you about wandering off?” she continued, looking down at the girl, who was, presumably, her daughter.
“No, no, it’s fine,” Taraka replied. “That’s fine.”
“She’s always been a bit … different,” the man explained. “Even since before we adopted her. We apologize if she’s caused you any trouble.”
“Oh no, she hasn’t,” Taraka assured the couple. “It’s all fine. I just finished my pilgrimage. I’m pretty different.”
“Oh, I see,” the man said, seeming unsure of how to respond.
“Alright, come along now, Alyna,” the woman said, leading her daughter away. “Let’s leave these nice men alone now.”
As they walked off, the little girl turned her head and looked back at the trio, flashing them a cute, yet creepy and deeply unsettling smile. “You have to bleed on it,” she said with a giggle before rounding the corner of the aisle with her parents.
Once they were gone, the three members of the Maverick’s crew shared an awkward glance. “Well, that was kind of freaky,” Gaster said.
Ace felt the same way. That had been a strange and unsettling encounter, especially given the fact that it had been with a little girl. But at the same time …
“Is that really what we have to do?” the android wondered aloud.
“I hope not,” Gaster said.
“It’s okay,” Taraka replied. “I’m really good at bleeding on things, guys; don’t worry. I learned it in a book. Everything’s going to be fine.”
Notes: This was a fun little change of pace from the spooky ruins. This chapter covers the rest of session 48 … I think. It’s been a long time and I’ve juggled things around a lot. In any chase, after not really figuring out what to do with the thing they got in the mausoleum, the party decided to head back to the surface to gather more info, and I threw some fun RP situations at them. I wanted to add a bit of mystery and different flavors of spookiness. Not much more to say about this one. Hope you enjoyed it.
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!