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!
Gaster let out sigh of mixed satisfaction and misery as he set his emptied glass down on the bar. He’d really needed that drink. After learning there was a hitman on Scintillia out to kill him, it was the only thing that could calm his nerves.
“Wow, you downed that fast,” Bartrand Blackwing laughed, slapping the former smuggler on the back. “Let me get you another.”
“No, that’s alright,” Gaster told the bounty hunter. While he’d needed a drink, he didn’t want to get himself intoxicated. If there was someone coming for him, he wanted to keep his wits about him.
“If you insist,” Bartrand said. “What about you, friend?” he then asked, turning to Ace. “Are you sure you don’t want a drink?”
“No thanks,” the android replied. “I, uh … don’t drink.”
“I’ll take another,” Taraka chimed in. “I left the order so I’ve got nothing to worry about.”
Bartrand grinned. “Now you’re speaking my language. Another ale on me for my Sinai friend here!”
“So how long have you been hunting this Gulyas guy for?” Ace asked as the bartender poured another drink for Taraka.
“Well I’ve had my eye on the bounty for a few weeks now,” Bartrand explained. “Ever since the Federation upped the bounty on him after his last high-profile assassination. He’s a hard man to find so I wasn’t going to put the effort in track him down, but then, a few days ago, I heard a rumor that he was here. Wasn’t about to pass up the chance.”
“Who did he kill?” Ace asked.
“Who didn’t he kill?” Taraka countered.
“Exactly,” Bartrand said, letting out a loud laugh.
“I meant the most recent killing,” Ace clarified.
Bartrand shrugged. “Don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. He’s killed a lot of people and the Federation’s getting real tired of it.”
“So what does he look like?” Gaster asked.
“Nobody knows,” Bartrand said. “All I’ve got to go off is what his armor looks like.” He pulled out his Pokedex and showed him a blurry photo of a man in black body armor with a distinctive silver line across the faceplate of his helmet.
“Well it’s something, at least,” Gaster said, allowing his eyes to scan the room. He didn’t see any sign of Moric Gulyas. There were rowdy drunk guys, several attractive women, two men playing pool, and even some shady looking individuals conducting a drug deal in the back corner, but no armored assassins. That was good.
Since Gulyas didn’t seem to be around, Gaster loosened up a little. Ace expressed interest in the game of pool being played, so the former smuggler decided to show his mechanical friend how to play. He figured it would help take his mind off things. It did just that ... for a time.
Returning to their friends, Gaster found that Bartrand now had his arms around two women he’d met at the bar. One was an attractive blonde, the other an equally attractive brunette.
“Allow me to introduce you to my new friends,” the Genevan bounty hunter said. “This is Brooke and this is Jade,” he continued, looking from the blonde to the brunette.
“Hey there,” the girl Bartrand had introduced as Brooke greeted Gaster in a rather flirty tone.
“You were in the tournament,” the other girl, Jade, said.
“Oh, uh, you were watching?” Gaster asked, taken aback by the comment.
“It was kind of hard to miss,” Jade said, pointing a red-tipped finger at a holoscreen above the bar, which showed highlights of the tournament, specifically Gaster and his crewmates’ second battle.
Shit, Gaster thought. The qualifying battles were televised?
“That special Milotic of yours was, like, so cool,” Booke said.
“Uh, thanks ... I guess,” Gaster said. He really wasn’t in the mood for flirting. If the battles had been broadcasted, then Moric Gulyas surely knew where to find him! How did I not consider the possibility? he mentally berated himself.
“Can you show us?” Jade asked.
“I’m sorry, but we really need to be going,” Gaster said.
“Indeed,” Taraka agreed after catching the urgent look his crewmate shot him.
“So soon?” Bartrand asked.
“Yup,” Gaster said. “We’ll catch you later.”
With that, Gaster and his two crewmates headed out. However, they’d barely made it five feet out the door before the former smuggler got the distinct feeling of being watched.
Suddenly, a familiar, cold, commanding female voice rang out, “Gaster Jameson!”
Freya Frost stood semi-silhouetted against the streetlights of Scintillia with her pistol raised and her stylish black coat billowing behind her. Her three subordinates stood behind her, each casting a long shadow along the ground. “We are here for the bounty on your head,” the leader of Team Vogue announced as she stepped forward, keeping her weapon trained on Gaster. “And perhaps that beautiful Pokemon of yours as well.”
“Oh, give it a rest!” Gaster shouted back as he raised his rifle. Team Vogue may not have been Moric Gulyas, but that didn’t mean he was happy to see them.
“Such a beauty, I must have it,” Freya continued her monologue. “By force if necessary.”
“That’s not how any of this works,” Taraka said, striking up a combat stance with his staff.
“Alright, so I’ll give ya one chance to back out of this!” Gaster bellowed at his would-be assailants. “Do you want to die tonight?! Because that can be arranged!”
“It is you who will be doing the dying tonight,” Freya said calmly.
“I don’t think so,” Ace said, igniting his laser sword.
“We shall see.”
With those words, Freya released her Dewgong and the rest of her team followed her lead. Gaster and his crewmates responded in kind, releasing Pokemon of their own.
“Gerrit, use High Jump Kick!” Gaster barked out an order as his Hitmonlee emerged from his ball, pointing out the Absol belonging to Francis Grimm. Springing forward as he hit the ground, the Hitmonlee leapt at the Absol, perfectly lined up for what would have been a devastating strike.
“Detect!” the British bounty hunter responded. “You’ll need to do better!” he then taunted.
Before Gaster could even react, Marie Meringue quickly gave her Pokemon a command,“Chérie, utilise Protection, puis utilisez Après Vous sur Kyla!” Immediately, her Aromatisse projected a protective barrier around Team Vogue and their Pokemon, then it began channeling energy into Freya’s Dewgong.
“Kyla, Glaciärvåg!” Freya coldly commanded the Sea Lion Pokemon as it prepared to attack. The bounty hunter captain’s Dewgong shot out an icy wave in front of it and rode it forward into battle, heading straight for Ace’s Cofagrigus and Taraka’s Flygon. Fortunately, both Pokemon managed to dodge out of the path of the wave. “Använd nu Dimma!” Freya then followed up with a second command, and her Pokemon shrouded itself in a cloud of mist.
“Enough of this,” Taraka said. “Flicky, fly up and hit ‘em with an Earthquake!” Taking to the sky, the monk’s Flygon flew over the four members of Team Vogue. She then dove back down toward the ground and touched down with enough force to cause a small tremor. A shockwave moved across the ground, hitting all four bounty hunters as well as the Dewgong and the Aromatisse. Taraka then threw up a psionic barrier while Gaster began lining up a shot.
Getting a fix on the Aromatisse, Gaster opened fire. Several shots hit their target, peppering the Fragrance Pokemon. As the former smuggler shifted his aim in search of his next target, a Pokeball suddenly came flying in out of nowhere and an Arbok emerged.
“Naga, Crunch that Dewgong!” Gaster heard Bartrand Blackwing’s voice sound from somewhere behind him. Slithering up to Freya’s Pokemon, the Arbok attempted to sink its fangs into it. Unfortunately, the Dewgong managed to slip away on a sheet of ice.
“I came when I heard all the noise,” Bartrand said as he stepped up next to the three members of the Maverick’s crew. “It looked like you could use a hand, so I hope you don’t mind my butting in.”
Gaster nodded at the bounty hunter. “The help is certainly appreciated.”
“An extra man vill not save you!” Fredric Schwartzenpanzer shouted. “Güterzug, Donnerzahn!”
“Get ready to dodge, Gerrit!” Gaster responded as he saw the hulking German man’s Steelix rearing back in preparation to strike his Hitmonlee, its fangs sparking with electricity. The Iron Snake Pokemon lunged forward and snapped its jaws shut, but Gerrit was too fast and sprang away with his powerful legs.
Meanwhile, Ace charged forward into the fray. Moving up to the Aromatisse, he slashed at it with his laser sword, but the Pokemon daintily floated out of reach. Francis then opened fire on the android, forcing him to block with his energy shield and allowing the Aromatisse to slip further away.
“Tombstone, Curse that Aromatisse!” Ace commanded his Cofagrigus as he began to back off.
While Ace’s Pokemon beset Marie’s with its ghostly power, Gaster commanded his Hitmonlee to attack, hoping to knock one of the enemy Pokemon out of the fight, “Gerrit, hit that Absol with Jump Kick!” Leaping forward once more, the Hitmonlee went for Francis’s Absol a second time. The Absol was unable to block the kick this time, but now it had a barrier to mitigate the damage thanks to Marie’s Aromatisse. Even so, the attack had devastating results.
“Gah!” Francis reacted. “Lucifer, eliminate that Hitmonlee! Psycho Cut!” With a swish of its head, the bounty hunter’s Absol let loose a shockwave of psychic energy at Gerrit, shattering right through Taraka’s barrier and cutting the Kicking Pokemon down. If not for that layer of protection, it surely would have been a lethal strike.
“That thing needs to go down!” Gaster shouted as he recalled his unconscious Pokemon.
“You got it,” Taraka said before throwing up a fresh barrier. “Flicky, use Bug Buzz! The monk then commanded his Flygon. Lifting off again, the Mystic Pokemon fired down her sonic attack as she passed over the Absol and the Steelix. The attack did little to harm the latter, but it did a real number on the former. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to take it down.
“Chérie, Pouvoir Lunaire!” Marie responded to the Flygon’s attack. Heeding the command, her Aromatisse fired off a ball of shimmering energy at Taraka’s Pokemon, but it was unable to land the hit.
As the battle raged on, Gaster selected his next Pokemon. Gerrit served his purpose as a lead-off striker, but now it was time to get serious. Gaster grabbed Francisca’s Pokeball off his belt and sent the Milotic out. From where he stood, the former smuggler saw Freya Frost’s eyes immediately snap to his Pokemon and he watched as she licked her lips in anticipation.
“It must be mine,” Team Vogue’s leader said.
“Not gonna happen,” Gaster spat back, narrowing his eyes.
“Naga, use Toxic on that Dewgong!” Bartrand commanded his Arbok as the fight continued. The Cobra Pokemon slithered up to Freya’s Pokemon and spat a blob of toxic venom right in its face.
“Kyla, Retirera och använd Norrskensstråle!” Freya commanded her Dewgong in response. The bounty hunter captain’s Pokemon disengaged from the Arbok that was now attempting to entangle it, then fired a beam of rainbow light from its horn. The attack struck with surprising power, leaving Bartrand’s Pokemon badly injured.
Surveying the battlefield, Gaster picked out the most opportune place to strike and commanded his Milotic to strike, “Francisca, use Blizzard!” The icy water serpent proceeded to fire a blast of ice and snow at the Absol and the Steelix, leaving both Pokemon immobilized in a frozen prison!
With those Pokemon off his back, Ace jumped at the Aromatisse and struck with his sword. “God damn it!” Francis cursed before opening fire on the android. Ace quickly raised his shield and deflected the incoming shots as he backed off once more
“Spread out and attack!” Freya barked. “Marie, healing NOW!”
“Right,” Marie replied as she moved to a safe distance. The french bounty hunter then issued a string of commands so fast that Gaster could barely keep track “Chérie, utilisez Vibra Soin sur Lucifer, puis utilisez Cœur Soin et Après Vous sur Kyla!”
“Not so fast!” Ace responded. “Tombstone, Night Shade!” he commanded his Cofagrigus in an attempt to take Marie’s Aromatisse down before it could heal the rest of Team Vogue’s Pokemon. The Coffin Pokemon blasted her target with ghostly energy, but the attack wasn’t enough to bring it down.
Still hanging on by a thread, the Aromatisse shot a pulse of healing energy at the frozen absol, then it floated over to the Dewgong to cure it of the Arbok’s venom. This ended up taking the last of its strength. The Curse Tombstone had inflicted on it earlier in the fight had finally overtaken it.
“What pests,” Freya said. “Kyla, Glaciärvåg!” Rejuvenated, the bounty hunter captain’s Dewgong shot a wave of ice along the ground toward multiple targets. Ace’s Cofagrigus and Gaster’s Milotic managed to dodge to either side of the incoming attack, but the wave struck Bartrand’s Arbok dead on, knocking it out.
“Damn,” Bartrand said as he recalled his Pokemon. He then proceeded to draw two sharp metal blades. “Time to get serious.”
“Indeed,” Taraka said, nodding in agreement. “Flicky, use Earthquake!” The monk’s Flygon began to dive down from the sky, but a volley of gunfire from Francis and Freya prevented her from touching down to make her attack.
Meanwhile, Marie skipped over to the frozen Absol and applied a restorative that freed it from the ice. “Payback time,” Francis said, a wicked grin forming on his face. “Lucifer, take down that Flygon with Play Rough!” Leaping up at Taraka’s Pokemon as she made her pass, the Absol pounced and knocked her to the ground, then knocked her out with a decisive slash of its blade.
“Damn it, we need to take that thing out!” Gaster shouted. “Francisca, use Aqua Ring then blast that Absol with Water Pulse!” As his Milotic shrouded herself in a healing veil of water, Gaster lined up a shot on his target. He then opened fire, unleashing a volley of shots alongside his Pokemon’s Water Pulse attack.
“Press on through the pain!” Francis barked at his Pokemon. However, before the British bounty hunter could give the Absol another order, Ace charged him and stabbed him with his laser sword. He then took a swing at Marie while Bartrand moved in on Freya and lunged with his blades.
In the chaos that ensued, Gaster made a dash for better cover while Taraka managed to swap out to his Tangrowth and reinforce his barrier. The monk proved to be just in time too, as Freya’s Dewgong unleashed a terrifyingly strong Blizzard attack on Ace and his Cofagrigrus. Without the barrier’s shielding, it surely would have left them both immobilized by ice … or worse.
As dangerous as the Dewgong was, however, Gaster still viewed the Absol as the biggest threat. “Francisca, blast that Absol with Frost Breath!” the former smuggler commanded his Milotic.
“Dodge it!” Francis Grimm responded as Francisca made her attack.
Despite its injuries, the Absol still moved swiftly and nimbly, avoiding the chilling blast of air with ease. Unfortunately for the Disaster Pokemon, it had multiple enemy combatants to deal with. In avoiding the Milotic’s attack, it put itself within striking distance of Ace. The android was quick to seize the opportunity and slice with his sword.
“Gah!” Francis grunted in frustration before opening fire on Ace. This time, he aimed low where the android couldn’t easily block. This dirty tactic caused Ace to trip over himself, allowing the bounty hunter’s Absol to slip away. Ace wasn’t about to let it get away, though.
“Tombstone, Night Shade!” the android shouted from where he lay on the ground. One last attack from his Cofagrigus finally brought the Absol down.
“Nice work!” Taraka told the android. “Now let’s focus on that Steelix before it breaks free!”
“Good idea!” Gaster agreed, shifting his aim toward the frozen metal serpent.
By this point Schwartzenpanzer was hitting the ice trapping his Pokemon with his mechanical arm in an attempt to free it. “Vake up, you spineless slag!” the German man barked at the Steelix as he repeatedly bashed the ice with his metal fist. A volley of laser fire from Gaster soon forced him into cover.
“Roma, use Giga Drain!” Taraka commanded his Tangrowth to attack the Steelix now that Schwartzenpanzer was out of the way.
“You too, Tombstone!” Ace chimed in once back on his feet. “Hex!”
“You’re all useless!” Freya berated her subordinates as she moved back from the advancing Bartrand. With two of their Pokemon down and the third immobilized by ice, she was clearly frustrated with them.
“Güterzug!” Schwartzenpanzer bellowed at his Pokemon. With a mighty roar, the German bounty hunter’s Steelix broke free and it reared back, ready to strike.
“Roma, use Grass Knot on it!” Taraka reacted. The monk’s Tangrowth quickly shot out a bunch of vines at the Steelix, wrapping them around its massive head. She then pulled down, slamming the Iron Snake Pokemon down to the ground with the aid of its considerable body weight.
“Francisca, use Hydro Pump!” Gaster followed up with a command of his own. His Milotic blasted the Steelix with a powerful jet of pressurized water, further whittling it down.
“Kyla, Glaciärvåg!” Freya responded to the focused fire. Her Dewgong sent a wave of ice along the ground at the Steelix’s attackers.
The wave swept over Taraka, Roma, and Francisca, doing some serious damage. The Milotic resisted the attack, but the same could not be said of the other two, especially the Tangrowth Fighting through the pain, Taraka backed off and conjured a psionic flame in each hand. He then propelled them forward inflicting burns upon the Steelix and its trainer.
As the monk retreated, Ace advanced forward to continue engaging Team Vogue directly alongside Bartrand. Ace managed to land a good hit on Marie while Bartrand kept Freya and Francis occupied. Unfortunately, Bartrand took a direct shot to the shoulder from Francis in the process.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve gotta drop out here,” the wounded bounty hunter said before throwing down a smoke bomb. Thanks to his cybernetic eyes, Gaster was able to see through the smoke cloud and watched as Bartrand seemed to disappear into thin air. Were he not fighting for his life, the former smuggler would have taken the time to wonder how the man pulled it off, but there were bigger things to worry about right now.
At the present moment, Team Vogue were driving their remaining Pokemon to make a push. Freya’s Dewgong blasted Ace’s Cofagrigus with an Aurora Beam while Schwartzenpanzer’s Steelix moved in on Taraka’s Tangrowth and clamped its jaws around the Pokemon, sinking its superheated fangs in.
“Roma, get out of there and regain some energy with Giga Drain!” Taraka called out to his Pokemon. The monk’s Tangrowth managed to slip away from the Steelix but she was unable to land her attack, leaving her quite vulnerable.
Gaster knew he had to do something. “Francisca, use Blizzard!” the former smuggler commanded his Milotic with urgency. Coming to the rescue, Francisca unleashed a powerful arctic assault that once again left the Steelix trapped in ice, this time alongside its trainer.
“Tombstone, Will-o-Wisp!” Ace directed his Cofagrigus after the Dewgong before making a dash for Schwartzenpanzer in an attempt to take the German bounty hunter out of the fight before he could free himself.
Francis attempted to lay down some suppressing fire on the android as he ran, but he couldn’t get a good shot at his current angle without hitting Marie. “Get out of the way, Marie!” the British bounty hunter barked at his teammate, but by then it was too late and Ace had made his attack.
“Stay focused!” Freya ordered her subordinates as they started to argue.
Gladly seizing the opportunity, Gaster opened fire on the distracted bounty hunters, laying them all out with a barrage of laser fire. Francis managed to quickly scramble back to his feet and into cover, but Freya and Marie were both down for the count.
“Fuck!” Francis shouted before peeking out to fire off some shots.
“Tombstone, Ominous Wind!” Ace commanded his Cofagrigus as soon as Francis emerged from cover. The vicious blast of air that spewed out from Tombstone’s coffin swept the man off his feet and sent him flying backwards. He made one pitiful attempt to stand, but he collapsed and fell still.
With all four members of Team Vogue down or otherwise incapacitated, only the Pokemon remained. The Steelix was still trapped in Ice, so that just left the Dewgong to deal with. Gaster refocused his aim on the Sea Lion Pokemon just in time to see it unleash another Blizzard. As the blast of ice and snow buffeted Taraka and his Tangrowth, the monk focused all of what remained of his barrier in front of him in order to shield them.
As the snow cleared, Taraka stumbled backwards, exhausted. “I can’t keep going on,” the monk said. “And Roma can’t either.” He recalled his Tangrowth and began to move back from the battle.
“That’s alright,” Gaster told his crewmate. “We’ve got things under control now.”
“You fools haven’t von yet,” Schwartzenpanzer taunted from where he stood trapped in ice. “Team Vogue vill destroy you.”
“Oh, shut up,” Gaster dismissed him. “Francisca, blast that Steelix with Hydro Pump!” The former smuggler’s Milotic shot the trapped Steelix with another water jet, doing some real damage, but also angering the beast.
“Yes, Güterzug!” Schwartzenpanzer shouted as his Pokemon broke free from the ice in rage. “Crush zem!” The Steelix reared back as if to strike, letting out a mighty roar, but then it collapsed, having finally succumbed to the burns Taraka had inflicted upon it.
“Scheiße,” Schwartzenpanzer grunted, just before Ace clocked him in the face, knocking him out cold.
“Nice,” Gaster said. “That just leaves—”
The former smuggler dove for the ground as an Aurora Beam shot straight at him. As he hit the ground, his laser rifle went sliding way out of reach along the ground. Gaster quickly rolled into a kneeling position and unslung his tesla coil rifle from his back. As Gaster lined up his shot on the Dewgong, Ace struck with his sword, delivering a decisive blow. Gaster immediately followed up with a shot from his rifle, finally taking the Dewgong down with the powerful electrical arc.
“We did it!” Ace cheered victoriously.
“Barely,” Taraka said, breathing out a relieved sigh. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Not yet,” Gaster told the monk. “I need to make sure they get the message.”
Before the three crewmates made their exit, Gaster left a short and sweet signed note in the coat pocket of Freya Frost. It simply read four words …
I told you so.
Notes: This chapter was the real meat of session 51. After doing the qualifiers in the earlier part of the session, the party went with Blackwing to get drinks and he imparted some more exposition onto them. In game, it was kind of funny as Taraka was the only one who drank. Ace obviously can’t, and unknown made the decision not to have Gaster drink after learning there was a hitman after him. I did change that for the writing because having Gaster say he needed a drink was such a good way to end the previous chapter. I did keep the spirit of unknown’s choice alive by having Gaster limit himself to one drink. The rest of the opening scene is more or less the same as during the session, just presented better. I had Blackwing tell them more about Gulyas, who was simply Unnamed Romanov Hitman at this point in time. I was mainly trying to throw the party off from my planned surprise of Team Vogue. It’s not a surprise for readers as we’ve had some bonus non-session scenes building up to this moment, but it worked great for the sake of the game.
And all this leads to the second scene of this chapter, which was a surprise guest GM appearance from DragonStorm! I knew it was going to happen, of course, but it was a surprise for the players. He would sometimes quietly listen in on sessions so there weren’t any questions as to why he was lurking in the Discord voice chat. They were surprised when, at the right moment, he unmuted himself and said, “Hello, I will be your doom for tonight.” DragonStorm helped me develop the concept of Team Vogue, down to their builds, so it was nice to have someone familiar with them come on to run them while I managed the rest. It was hard to manage everything during their first appearance back on Troyva, so the help was appreciated this time. All I had to do in the fight was manage Blackwing, who I had team up with the party to make it an even 4v4. If I’m being honest, DragonStorm ran Team Vogue better than I ever could. That said, there were some errors we both somehow missed. The big one is the second time Taraka’s Flygon used Earthquake. It failed to clear the evasion of all its many targets, but it actually should’ve hit the Steelix and the Absol because they were frozen, meaning they couldn’t apply evasion. I noticed it only on listening back to the recording to write this chapter and was baffled that no one caught it in game. I don’t think it would’ve changed the outcome of the fight much, though. There was also an obscene amount of crits during the battle. Granted, both Freya and Francis have builds that increase crit chance, but even then it was a lot of crits, both sides of the battle included. I did cut out a big chunk near the end, rearranged a lot of stuff, and changed some details because it was starting to drag on. It was fine in game, but it wouldn’t have been good for the writing. The outcome is the same, but we just reach it a little faster with a bit more excitement. Overall, I love how this chapter turned out.
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!