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!
As the UAS Maverick flew through warp space, Gaster sat at the table in the Maverick’s living quarters, watching a holoscreen displaying a security feed of the med bay, where Nikola Markovic was currently strapped to a chair. The crime lord’s wounds had been seen to so that he would live long enough to experience being stranded on an uninhabited planet. Now the only thing left to do was wait.
“You gonna talk to him or what?” Cyrus’s voice sounded from behind the former smuggler. Gaster turned his head to see the captain standing behind him along with Ace and Anya.
“What for?” Gaster asked.
“Don’t you want to question him before we dump him on some random planet?” Cyrus asked in response, glancing over at the holoscreen.
“What do we have to ask him?”
“I don’t know, like why he betrayed you?” Anya offered.
Gaster shrugged. “I don’t exactly care why he betrayed me, I just know he did.”
“You’re not even a little curious?” Cyrus asked the former smuggler. “The guy seems to want you dead pretty bad for some reason. You can’t tell me you don’t find that even a little strange.”
“That is a little odd,” Ace chimed in.
“That doesn’t even begin to cover it,” Anya said. “I spent fifteen years on that station. I saw and heard enough to know that this is extreme, even for him.
“I guess it’s worth asking,” Gaster said, standing up from the table. “Let’s go have a talk with him then.”
“Hey, Marky Moo!” Gaster shouted as he entered the med bay with his crewmates. “Whaddya got against me?”
“Huh?” Markovic asked as he looked up at his captors.
“What exactly did I do that made you put such a big price on my head?” Gaster clarified as he pulled up a chair in front of the gangster and took a seat. “Why do you want me dead so badly?”
“You knew too much,” Markovic bluntly said.
“Too much about what?” Gaster asked.
“What do you think?” Markovic asked, his lips forming a slight smirk.
“Don’t get coy with me,” Gaster said.
“What was the job you were on for him, Gaster?” Ace asked. “That must be what he’s talking about.”
“I was hired to smuggle some sort of goods to the Outer Rim from Romanov space,” Gaster explained. “I didn’t know what I was transporting and I didn’t care to know. After I delivered the package, they shot my ship down and I crashed on Venbaxxen.”
“You were meant to die,” Markovic. “But then you didn’t.”
“Alright, fine then,” Gaster said. “What were the goods I was smuggling for you?”
“Something that was supposed to be kept hidden,” the gangster replied. “No loose ends. That’s why we hired a disposable outside contractor.”
Gaster frowned. “I’m not taking that as a good excuse.”
“Well now we are both loose ends,” Markovic said, chuckling.
“Alright, Marky, enough with the cryptic bullshit,” Gaster said, folding his arms in frustration. “You can either tell me what I want to know or I can expedite your death. Which is it gonna be?”
Markovic simply laughed. “Killing me would be merciful compared to the fate that awaits me now that I’ve failed to silence you.”
“Well, you know, that’s just fine with me, actually, because killing you will feel really good,” Gaster told the gangster before looking over at his crewmates. “Anya, would you mind taking us to the nearest inhospitable planet? Any one will do.”
“Anya?” Markovic said, glancing at the Maverick’s pilot. “I thought you looked familiar. You look so much like your mother, you know. It’s a pity she had to die.”
“You shut up about her,” Anya said, her voice colder than Gaster had ever heard.
“Ah, yes, it all makes sense now,” Markovic continued, his smirk widening. “Now I understand why a dead smuggler showed up in my club to rescue Azarov.”
“You’re gonna be the one who needs rescuing, pal,” Gaster said, pulling the gangster’s attention back to him. “Assuming you survive the fall, that is.”
“Killing me won’t save you, you know,” Markovic taunted his one-time smuggler.
“Don’t care, it’ll make me feel good,” Gaster said.
“Very powerful men will come for you.”
“They’ve been coming for me,” Gaster countered. “I don’t think letting you live is gonna stop that.”
“You don’t know who you’re dealing with,” Markovic said.
“Look,” Gaster said, placing his hands on his knees. “I still wanna dump you on an inhospitable planet, but maybe if you tell us what we want to know, I won’t kick you off the ship five-hundred feet above the planet’s surface and I’ll even leave you a gun.”
“Alright,” Markovic said. “You want a name? I will give you a name ... Boris Yong.”
Quiet filled the air as Gaster processed the name he had just been given. He knew the Yongs were a powerful family in the Romanov Union, but the only one he’d had any experience with was the now-dead governor of Troyva. The name Boris didn’t ring any bells.
“Never heard of him,” Gaster broke the silence.
“You will soon,” Markovic replied. “If you live long enough.”
“I don’t plan on dying,” Gastser said. “If this Boris Yong comes after me, I’ll kick his ass, just like I kicked yours.
“You do not wanna fuck with the Yongs,” Anya said. “Not again. Not after what happened last time.”
“Well I don’t think we have much of a choice,” Gaster said. “If what he said is true, then we’ve already crossed this guy, whoever he is.”
“Your employer, I assume?” Cyrus asked, glancing at Markovic.
The Romanov gangster let out a laugh, but didn’t say anything.
“If you hired Gaster to smuggle something for this Boris guy, what was in the package that had to be kept so secret?” Ace asked.
This time Markovic did answer. “Not what, but who?”
Oh shit, Gaster thought, instantly making the connection.
“So this thing,” the former smuggler said. “This person I was apparently transporting, that the Yongs wanted so badly that they wanted everything cleaned up, including myself … did it have anything to do with the assassination of the governor of Troyva?”
Markovic’s smirk turned into a grin. “What do you think?”
That all but answered Gaster’s question. “Okay, so I was delivering a murder bot. That’s good.”
Gaster held Markovic in the cargo hold by the back of his coat as the Maverick touched down on the planet Orvoth, an uninhabited and inhospitable world, just as the former smuggler had requested. Orvoth was a rugged, mountainous planet in Sector 20. It did have some nicer forested areas, but the nav charts indicated that the entire planet was prone to violent volcanic activity that made every inch of its surface dangerous.
“I’m feeling particularly generous today,” Gaster said as the cargo ramp began to lower. “So I’ve decided to extend the courtesy of dumping you on the nice part of this planet.”
“How thoughtful of you,” Markovic said dryly as Gaster marched him down to the ramp onto Orvoth’s surface.
“What can I say? I’m a nice guy.”
The pair stepped off the ramp into a clearing in one of the forest regions of the planet where Anya had landed the ship. After leading Markovic a good ways from the Maverick, Gaster shoved the gangster’s unloaded pistol and the Pokeball containing his fainted Honchkrow into his hands.
“Now, get moving,” Gaster ordered the gangster, aiming his rifle at him.
Markovic walked a few paces away, then stopped and turned around to face Gaster. “Let us hope, for your sake, that we do not meet again,” the crime lord said.
“Likewise,” Gaster said, giving his former employer a cold stare. For a brief moment, he thought about shooting the gangster right then and there. He ultimately opted not too, deciding to be true to his word … unlike the man he was now leaving to die.
The two stared each other down for what felt like hours before Markovic finally turned and walked away. Gaster kept his rifle trained on the gangster until he disappeared into the forest. Once he was satisfied that Markovic was gone, Gaster made his way back to the cargo ramp.
As he reboarded the ship, Gaster noticed Sikari leaning against the wall of the cargo hold with a smirk on her face.
“Well this has certainly been an exciting little venture,” the former assassin said. “There’s never a dull moment with you people, is there? What are we going to do next? Maybe there are some other criminal organizations we can piss off?”
“How does the Yong Family sound?” Gaster asked.
“Oh, that sounds like fun. You all certainly know how to pick your battles.”
Gaster shrugged. “They seem to pick us.”
“... That’s why I think we should find out more about this guy before we do anything stupid.”
“Doing stupid things is what we’re best at, Captain,” Taraka said jokingly.
Cyrus laughed. “Fair point, but we need to be very careful this time.”
The captain of the Maverick was seated at the table in his ship’s living quarters, sipping his coffee as he discussed with Ace and Taraka what their next move should be. They were already waiting on Gaster to finish dealing with Markovic, so it seemed as good a time as any to do it.
“Agreed,” Ace said, nodding in approval of Cyrus’s assessment of the situation.
As the conversation continued, Cyrus spotted Gaster entering the room, with Sikari a short distance behind. “I take it you’ve seen our ‘guest’ off the ship?” the captain asked.
“You’ve got it,” the former smuggler replied. “That bastard is officially out of our hair now. I don’t imagine he’ll be getting off this rock anytime soon, if ever.”
“I see,” Cyrus said. “Well, we were just figuring out our next move if you’ve got any ideas. This is quite the delicate situation we find ourselves in.”
“Sorry for getting you all mixed up in this,” Gaster said.
Taraka shook his head. “No worries,” the monk said.
“Yeah, it’s no problem,” Ace agreed.
“In all honesty, it seems like we were already mixed up in it,” Cyrus said, echoing the sentiments of his crew.
“Mhm,” Taraka said with a nod. “And hey, you didn’t complain when I was almost getting assassinated,” he added, shooting a glare at Sikari.
“It was only business,” the former assassin said, flashing an innocent smile.
“Yeah, whatever,” the monk replied.
“Speaking of assassinations,” Cyrus said, steering the conversation back on track. “Now we know we’re only mixed up in one thing instead of two since it seems our assassin problem and our Markovic problem were related all along.”
“I guess the question is where we go from here,” Gaster said.
“I was just telling the boys here that I think we should try to find out as much about this Boris Yong as we can before anything,” Cyrus said.
Gaster nodded. “Makes sense. Where should we start digging?”
“What about that Paladin guy we met a few weeks ago?” Ace asked. “Simon Dolohov? He seemed to know a lot about this sort of thing and he said he was investigating connections between politics and organized crime in the Union. We did say we’d tell him if we learned anything that might help him.”
“Well, we’ve certainly learned something,” Gaster said. “Who’s to say if it will help him or not, but it couldn’t hurt to ask him if he knows anything about this Boris guy. Let’s give him a call.”
“Hello, friends,” the familiar friendly voice of Simon Dolohov greeted the members of the Maverick crew as his face appeared on the comms screen. Gaster hadn’t got a good look at the man’s face through his visor during their first meeting, but the friendly expression he wore was just as the former smuggler would have imagined.
“Hi again,” Ace replied.
“Ace,” Simon said, nodding at the android. “Esteban, Joseph,” he continued, looking next to Erik and then to Gaster.
The former smuggler couldn’t help but chuckle. He’d forgotten that he’d given the Paladin false names. “It’s Gaster, actually,” he corrected Simon. “And this is Erik. Apologies for not giving our real names before, but we’re tangled up in some shit and we weren’t sure if we could trust you when we first met.”
“Worry not,” Simon said. “I understand.”
“My name is actually Ace, though,” Ace spoke up. “And this is our friend Taraka and our captain, Cyrus,” he continued motioning at the other members of the crew that were present.
“Hello,” Taraka said.
“Well met, both of you,” Simon said. “Anyway, I assume this is more than a courtesy call?”
“That’s right,” Gaster said. “We believe we have some information that might interest you.”
“Oh?” Simon asked, sounding quite intrigued.
“We think a Yong is behind the assassinations in the Romanov Union,” Ace said. “The ones done by that scary psychic lady.”
“That’s … disturbing,” Simon said after a few moments. “Many of her victims have been Yongs. A Yong targeting other Yongs … That’s low, even for them.”
“Well apparently not too low,” Ace said.
“Tell me, why do you think a Yong is behind these assassinations?” the Paladin asked.
“It’s a long story,” Gaster said. “Let’s just say we captured a certain Romanov gangster and he told us that he was hired by a Boris Yong to smuggle a certain psychic-powered assassin to the Outer Rim from the Union.” This explanation left out some key details, but Gaster decided it was better to only share the pertinent information for now. “Ever heard of Boris Yong? Because we sure haven’t until now.”
“Boris Yong, you say?” Simon replied. “He’s not a member of the Family I’m particularly familiar with. What I do know is that he became the new Minister of Utilities on Troyva when the previous holder of the position became the acting Governor after the assaassination of Mikhail Yong.”
“That’s a little suspicious,” Ace said. “An up-and-comer, perhaps?”
“Perhaps,” Simon replied.
“It would explain why he’s assassinating people,” Ace mused.
“Maybe,” Simon said. “But going after his own family … that’s not the way the Yongs operate. Something doesn’t add up. I’ll need to do some more digging. Let me see what I can find out about Boris, then I’ll send whatever I find your way.”
Ace nodded. “Thanks. We’d appreciate that.”
“No problem,” the Paladin said. “I’ll be in touch.”
Notes: After two long and action-packed chapters, it was nice to have a shorter one with no combat. This chapter covers the last few moments of session 53, which made more sense as a separate chapter from all the fighting in the previous one. I also included the first few moments of session 54 at the end of the chapter because it felt like the chapter needed to be a bit longer and, after I wrote the rest of the chapter, I realized it made more sense to use it to close this chapter than to open the next one.
The first couple of scenes were written from some RP that closed out session 53 after the players had escaped with Markovic as their prisoner. I did play around with a few different variations of the scenes before arriving at the final versions. The RP at the end of the session was kind of all over the place, so it took me a while to figure out what was discussed in what locations and who was present for what. The actual content is all there, though. I used Cyrus to push the party in the direction of questioning Markovic because they weren’t going to otherwise. The problem was that I needed to get them to do it so I could advance the plot. This was one of the reasons I’d planned on having NPC crew members on the ship from the start of the campaign. Just in case I needed to push the party in a particular direction. I did add in some extra pieces of dialogue to flesh things out. At the time of the session, Anya’s history with Markovic hadn’t really been fully established, but it made sense to involve it in the chapter. The main point of this moment, though, was to finally put some of my cards that I’d been holding onto for a while on the table though. It was rather satisfying to reveal that Gaster’s backstory was tied into the plot arc that began on Troyva. The psychic assassin scared the shit out of the players, so they’d been avoiding that plotline for such a long time. By this point in the campaign, it was the only material I had left, so I needed to push them toward it. Revealing the connection was the perfect way to drag them back in!
To wrap things up for the session, they dumped Markovic on an inhospitable planet as planned. I randomly generated a few options and then picked one that fit the bill. There was a tiny bit of RP here, but I added in a few more details to make it a more meaningful scene. The session ended with a throwaway line from Sikari, but I expanded that to a brief conversation between her and Gaster to conclude the scene.
The last two scenes are from the beginning of session 54. Most of the content of the scenes is just directly adapted RP. I added a few bits and pieces here and there to make everything flow. For instance, I made a callback to Gaster giving Simon false names, which was something I’d forgotten about in the session. At this point, the players now had everything they needed to know to begin pursuing the final plot arc. It’s going to be an exciting ride, so strap in!
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!