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!
Moric Gulyas could feel victory within his grasp. After months of retracing the steps of the elusive Gaster Jameson, the Romanov assassin was finally closing in on his target. Over the course of the chase, Moric had taken what had been a cold, months-old trail and he had cut it down to weeks and now, finally, to only days. His most recent stop, the Outer Rim world Suvilia, had provided him with the information that, for the first time since taking on this job, put him one step ahead of Jameson.
Before Suvilia, Moric had been to Omen after learning from a merchant on Nimia that the crew Jameson was running with had been hired to make a delivery to the planet. What the assassin hadn’t been counting on was the Sector 33 Gym Leader being on Omen. Luckily for Moric, his appearance was not widely known and his list of aliases was long. The Gym Leader had no idea one of the most wanted men in the Galaxy had slipped right under his nose.
From Omen, it was just a simple matter of acquiring access to the Sector 33 warp gate’s logs that brought Moric to Suvilia. It was there he learned Jameson’s crew had been hired for another delivery only a couple days before his arrival. This time, it was to the far reaches of Sector 24. That was why Moric was now en route to the planet Scintillia. Scintillia was the most developed planet in Sector 24 and its close proximity to the warp gate made it the only logical refueling stop on the way back from deep within the sector. When the UAS Maverick inevitably landed on Scintillia, Moric Gulyas would be waiting.
“Get to the ship! Get to the ship!” the poor, unfortunate obstacle shouted desperately.
“Where’d that Steelix go?” yelled another of them. “It was right there!”
“Who cares?” the first shot back. “Ship! Now!”
This bantering amused Freya greatly. The ship these other bounty hunters owned was only parked a hundred or so meters away, so the retreat could work in theory. Sadly for them, Freya had a little surprise in store that might put a damper on their escape.
Not long after Team Vogue had accepted their current assignment, they discovered that they were not the only bounty hunters who had been privately contacted regarding the hunt for Gaster Jameson. In fact, many of the most renowned names in the Outer Rim had signed on. Markovic must have been paying a fortune just in advance payments, but that was none of Freya’s business. In any case, once all of the various groups began to notice that they weren’t alone they became notably more hostile towards each other, resulting in a dramatic campaign of backstabbing and sabotage. Everyone wanted the bounty for themselves and, more importantly, no one wanted someone else to get it first. Team Vogue was no exception.
Marie, who had been in charge of monitoring actions of their rival bounty hunters, had reason to believe that this group of rivals had stumbled across some sort of breakthrough. Freya deemed that it was worth investigating, which had led them to this encounter.
Five scared little obstacles hastily recalled their fainted or frozen pokemon and sprinted to their ship, while one brave idiot stayed behind to hold off Team Vogue’s pursuit. The straggler’s pokemon had been expended earlier in the encounter, so he drew a sidearm and began firing wildly.
Freya ducked behind a boulder to avoid the gunfire. She rolled her eyes at this futile attempt to distract them and simply looked to Francis. He nodded in understanding and ordered his Absol on the attack. For amusement’s sake, the bounty hunter captain began to mentally count down from ten. She reached six when the enemy gunfire ceased.
“Don’t kill him,” Freya ordered as she rose from her position. She strode over to the now-wounded straggler, who now had Francis’ Absol pinning him to the ground. The rest of Team Vogue then assembled to either side of her.
He appeared defiant at first, but then looked up to them with confusion. “You’re not chasing them?” he asked. Freya did not answer, and instead allowed a smug grin to spread across her lips. She raised her right hand and dramatically snapped her fingers.
Right on queue, the ground in front of the five fleeing bounty hunters, who had nearly reached their ship, exploded as Schwartzenpanzer’s steel serpent erupted forth. That was good, Freya thought; she had been hoping she’d timed her finger snapping correctly. The fleeing fools fell backwards, some attempting to get into defensive stances, not that it would save them from the Steelix. Luckily for them, the Steelix had no interest in them. Unluckily though, it did have an interest in their ship. It rammed the ship’s hull, then rammed it again. While its armor was tough, these ships typically relied on energy shielding to protect them from debris in space. Soon enough, the monster breached through and began to savage the much more fragile interior. The former obstacles could do nothing but watch in horror.
It was not long afterwards that the rival bounty hunters surrendered.
Freya glared down at the captured bounty hunter captain. This one was being rather stubborn and wasting her valuable time. She was ready to get serious. “Schwartzenpanzer, bring in one of the other captives. Any of them, I don’t care who.” He nodded, and left the room on their ship which Team Vogue had affectionately named the Interrogation Room. “Now you,” she addressed the rival captain. “I will ask you nicely one last time: will you tell us where Gaster Jameson is?”
“Are you willing to pay for it yet?” he countered.
Freya narrowed her eyes and looked to her two remaining crewmates. “Gag him,” she ordered. Marie stepped forward to comply. “You will have another chance to make the right decision, but not before you suffer the consequences of your obstinance.”
She released her Dewgong, Kyla, to help her with this next part. “Water is a strange compound,” she explained to the captive. “Most liquids condense when becoming a solid. However, when water becomes ice, it actually expands. Are you aware of how much water is inside the human body?” She paused as though waiting for an answer, though obviously none came from the gagged man. “That’s right, a lot. Any idea how painful it is when all of that water suddenly freezes, crystallizing in your veins and tearing apart your internals?” She paused again. “Also correct, it hurts a lot.”
Just then, Schwartzenpanzer re-entered the Interrogation Room dragging a struggling man who was also gagged. “Oh good, perfect timing,” Freya remarked. Without missing a beat she turned to her Dewgong and ordered, “Kyla, frysa den människans högerben!”
Before the man had even fully entered the room a brilliant rainbow light burst from Kyla’s horn and struck the newcomer’s leg. His eyes widened in surprise, then he began to scream against the gag. He dropped to the floor, Kyla’s beam still trained on the now-stiff leg. The Dewgong’s attack was cut off by a signal from Freya, leaving the rival bounty hunter writhing on the ground in pain. The rival captain roared angrily, futilely struggling against his bonds. Good, this was affecting him. It wouldn’t be long now.
Eventually the wounded man’s muffled screams died down, replaced by heavy breathing. It seemed as though he was trying to bend the frozen leg, to no avail. “A word of advice,” Freya offered. “Do not try to move the limb while it’s frozen. You will only end up damaging it more.” He didn’t appear to be listening. She shrugged and turned back to the captain. “Are you ready to tell me what I want?”
The captain made no move in response and simply glared at Freya, eyes wide with rage. She sighed. “Schwartzenpanzer, hold him upright,” she demanded, referring to the bounty hunter who now sported a frostbitten leg. The huge man complied, lifting him easily by the shirt with just his mechanical arm. The bounty hunter groaned in protest, but otherwise did not struggle. Freya turned back to her pokemon and ordered, “Kyla, frysa den manens vänstra arm!”
Another beam of light erupted from the Dewgong’s horn, this time striking the bounty hunter in the left arm. His screaming started again and he flailed in Schwartzenpanzer’s grip. This made it difficult for Kyla to keep the beam trained on her target, but it still did the job. Freya gave another signal to stop, and the bounty hunter was dropped back to the floor. This time he shook and emitted soft sobs.
Freya turned back to the rival captain, who was staring at his crewmate with a distraught look. “You may be able to save the limbs if you treat them for frostbite very soon,” she mentioned. This brought the captain’s attention back on her, expression returning to its previous fury. “With that knowledge, what do you say now? Would you like to cooperate, or does your friend require more punishment?”
The rival captain squinted his eyes shut, then sighed. After several seconds he finally nodded.
Without prompting Marie went ahead and removed the gag. The captain sat silently with his head down, working his jaw now that it could move freely. His eyes rose slowly to meet Freya’s. “You’re monsters,” he hissed.
“Gag him,” Freya said simply.
At this the rival captain lurched forward against his bonds with a terrified expression. “NO!” he screamed desperately. Freya held up a hand to halt Marie, who had moved to reapply the gag. “Moric Gulyas,” he gasped. “We know where Moric Gulyas is.”
This information actually hit Freya by surprise. Moric Gulyas was a contract killer from the Romanov Union, and a very good one at that. He was an elusive man, renowned as one of the Galaxy’s best trackers and wanted for countless assassinations. His skills at finding the people he was paid to kill were so inhumanly good that some believed he must have inherited latent psychic powers from a Sinai ancestor. Everyone looking for Gaster Jameson knew that he was the man to beat, and finding Gulyas was the next best thing to finding Gaster himself. “Do tell,” she prompted her rival captain.
“It was dumb luck,” the rival captain admitted. “Good for us, bad for him. Ran into him at a settlement on Nimia; he was questioning a merchant or someone like that. Got ourselves into a scuffle. He got away, but not before my guy got a tracker on his ship. We’ve been following him for about a week and a half. He’s been stopped at Scintillia for two days now.”
That was another interesting fact. It was rare that Gulyas stayed in one spot for long. “You sure he didn’t find the tracker and transfer it to another ship?” Freya asked.
The captain shook his head. “Unlikely. It should have deactivated if it was removed from the ship.”
Should. That was an important note. “And I should believe you? You have proof?”
“I do,” he said. Despite the situation, he chuckled. “It’s on the computers of that ship of ours you wrecked.”
Oh. That was annoying. “Right then. Francis, Marie, Schwartzenpanzer; we don’t have time to waste, get them off our ship. We leave for Scintillia immediately.”
Within the hour, the rival bounty hunters had been evacuated and left with their ruined ship, free to carry on however they were able, and Team Vogue left in pursuit of Moric Gulyas. “So you’re trusting their information?” Francis asked after they had broken the atmosphere.
“No,” Freya said. “But Scintillia isn’t far and it’s not much trouble to check. The potential reward far outweighs any risk at this point.”
Freya was honestly more concerned that the rival mercenary had been telling the truth. Gulyas wouldn’t still be there unless he knew he had the right spot. Gaster was either on that planet or would be there soon. There had to be a way to slow Gulyas down, make him step back and think. From her studies of the man, he was rather cautious, and never enacted a plan unless he was sure he held all of the cards. If she could throw a wrinkle into that…
“Speaking of risk, Francis, in twenty-four hours I want you to leak Moric Gulyas’s location. Make it sound like he just arrived at Scintillia. With any luck, this will make Gulyas fall back slightly and rethink things.”
It was simple logic for any competition; if you were in second place near the end of the game, all you had to do to win was to inform all the other players of who was in first. While everyone else focused on stopping the first place player from winning, second place could easily sneak in and steal the prize.
And then there was the fact that Moric Gulyas was a wanted man. Surely announcing his location to the Galaxy would attract those foolhardy, self-righteous bounty hunters who only went after the ‘bad guys.’ Freya couldn’t stand them, but they would serve their purpose.
Moric Gulyas sat in the cockpit of his ship, monitoring the various underground information feeds he was tapped into. The Romanov assassin had been parked on Scintillia for three days now, patiently awaiting the arrival of his prey. Now that he was ahead of Gaster Jameson, the chase had become a waiting game and it wouldn’t be much longer now.
Suddenly, a flash across one of the viewscreens caught Moric’s attention. The slightest hint of a frown formed on the assassin’s face as he read the words it displayed: Moric Gulyas is on Scintillia.
A single word escaped Moric’s lips.
Notes: And here we have another villain-centric chapter that doesn’t follow our heroes at all. As I mentioned in our previous chapter like this, Chapter 66, unknown wrote a bunch of scenes for a chapter following Team Vogue based on some events in the campaign that I decided to break up in integrate directly into the chapters I was working on where they best fit. This chapter is mainly made up of scenes unknown wrote following Team Vogue as they hunt down Gaster, but I bookended it with two scenes of my own following Moric Gulyas to tie everything together. I did have to change some details and add others in unknown’s parts to make sure the timeline fit together logically, but nothing major. All-in-all, I’m very happy with how this chapter turned out. It adds some great characterization to Team Vogue and Moric Gulyas and it makes for a fun change of pace.
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!