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 watched the constant coming and going of countless ships in the Zolotaya spaceport as he waited with his crewmates for the Red Riders to arrive. This was easily one of the busiest spaceports the former smuggler had ever seen, which wasn’t at all surprising considering he was on the most populous planet in the entire Galaxy. The Maverick crew’s last visit to the capital of Troyva hadn’t exactly allowed the time to stop and enjoy the view, but now that there was time, Gaster couldn’t help but appreciate just how impressive it all was.
“Howdy there, folks,” the voice of Lars Rickets snapped the former smuggler out of his thoughts. Gaster looked toward the source of the sound and spotted the bounty hunter and his compatriot Floyd Underwood approaching.
“Hello,” Taraka greeted the pair.
“Good to see you again,” Cyrus said.
“Likewise,” Lars replied, giving the captain’s hand a firm shake.
“This is Ace, by the way,” Cyrus said, nodding over to the android. “I don’t believe you’ve met.”
“Hi,” Ace said.
“Nice to meet you,” Lars said as he walked over to shake the android’s hand.
“You too,” Ace replied.
“If only this meeting were under better circumstances,” Gaster said.
Lars nodded. “If only.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” Cyrus agreed. “But how’ve you been otherwise? It’s been a long time.”
“We’re surviving,” Lars told the captain.
“Got a new arm,” Floyd spoke up, holding up his left arm. From hand to just above the elbow, the bounty hunter’s limb had been fitted with a cybernetic replacement. Gaster wasn’t particularly surprised; he recalled the psychic assassin messing the man’s arm up pretty bad the last time they’d all been on Troyva.
“I’m sorry you lost your arm,” Taraka said.
“Don’t be,” Floyd told the monk. “I can punch people harder with this thing.”
Taraka chuckled. “I suppose that is a plus.”
“You bet yer ass it is,” Floyd said. “Now then, speaking of punchin’ people, what’s the plan here?”
“Let’s not get too eager, Floyd. We don’t want to go around punching the wrong people,” Lars cautioned his teammate. “It would be nice to know the plan, though,” he continued, turning his attention back to the Maverick crew.
“Before you arrived, we were discussing going back to the alleyway where that assassin showed up,” Taraka informed the Red Riders. “My psionic senses might reveal some clues for us to follow.”
“If you think it will help, I’m all for it,” Lars said.
“I guess that settles it, then,” Cyrus said. “Let’s get moving.”
“I never expected we’d end up back here,” Gaster said as the group entered the alleyway in Zolotaya’s Old Harbour District where Governor Mikhail Yong was assassinated.
“Here we are,” Taraka said, taking a look around. The damage that Team Vogue, the Red Riders, and the Maverick crew had caused had been repaired and all the blood had been cleaned up, but aside from that, the place looked more or less the same as it had the last time the monk had laid eyes upon it.
“So, feel anything, Taraka?” Cyrus asked.
Taraka shook his head. “Not yet. It might take some time.”
“In that case, why don’t we split up and scour the area,” the captain said. “There might be some other clues lying around.”
“Good idea,” Lars said, nodding in agreement.
“Alright, you two stay here with Taraka,” Cyrus said, pointing at Ace and Gaster. “I’ll go with the Red Riders and check out the other side of this alleyway.”
“You got it, Captain,” Gaster said.
“Alright, let’s see,” Taraka said as the captain and the Red Riders departed. He took another look around and soon a sudden movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention.
“I think I saw something,” the monk told his two crewmwates, beckoning for them to follow. “This way.”
Taraka led them around a corner and soon discovered what he could only assume was the source of the movement. In this small alcove of the alleyway, a Persian was stalking a Rattata. There was also a Murkrow perched on a pole a few meters above them and a Muk sitting in a pile of trash.
“Anyone up for a little Pokemon catching break?” Taraka asked his companions.
“Sure,” Ace said. “I think that Murkrow might be a good addition to my team.”
“Let’s do this,” Taraka said, releasing his Togekiss as the others released Pokemon of their own.
“Sirius, use Fairy Wind!” the monk ordered his Pokemon after the Rattata as it attempted to flee from the Persian. Sirius blasted the Mouse Pokemon with wind, stopping it in its tracks, but this also drew the ire of the predator hunting it. The Persian leapt at the Togekiss with claws bared, but she flew up and out of harm’s way.
“I guess it thinks Sirius is after its meal,” Taraka mused before blasting the Persian and its prey with psionic energy, dazing both.
As things kicked off, the Murkrow flew down from its perch at Ace’s Dusknoir with astonishing speed, catching the ghost by surprise. Ace moved to engage the Darkness Pokemon and protect his own Pokemon, while Gaster focused on the Muk. He had his Galvantula stun it with Thunder Wave, then he opened fire on it. The Sludge Pokemon flung a piece of garbage back at the Galvantula, but it didn’t seem to hurt the EleSpider Pokemon too much.
His two crewmates seemed to have their targets handled, so Taraka turned his attention back to his own. The Rattata was still dazed, so he ordered his Togekiss to go for the Persian, “Sirius, use Thunder Wave!” Sending out a wave of electricity, Sirius stunned the Classy Cat Pokemon.
Fighting through, the Persian leapt at the Togekiss again, biting into her with its sharp teeth. “Stop that!” Taraka shouted at it. The monk ran up to the cat Pokemon and bashed it with his staff, knocking it off of Sirius.
Daring to look away again, Taraka watched as Ace attempted to capture the Murkrow. Unfortunately, the bird broke free from the Pokeball. The Darkness Pokemon proceeded to caw at the android tauntingly. This goaded Ace into striking it with his laser sword again, knocking it out.
Meanwhile, Gaster made his own capture attempt on the Muk, which his Galvanula had trapped in a web, but the ball failed to keep it trapt. As the ball burst up, its broken shell landed in the sludge that made up the Muk’s body. The Muk then flung the broken pieces back at the former smuggler, hitting him in the head with one of them.
Turning back to the other wild Pokemon, Taraka watched as his Togekiss continued to tussle with the Persian while the Rattata attempted to escape as best it could. Ignoring the fleeing Mouse Pokemon for the time being, the monk moved in and hit the Persian with his staff again.
“Cyclops, Will-O-Wisp!” Ace then ordered his Dusknoir after the Persian now that his own target was no longer an option.
As Ace was now keeping the Persian busy, Taraka glanced over at Gaster again. He was just in time to see his crewmate successfully capture the Muk. With that taken care of, the former smuggler joined in on ganging up on the Persian.
After their Pokemon had softened the Persian up a bit, Taraka ran in and pressed a Pokeball against the Persian. The Classy Cat Pokemon was pulled inside, but it soon broke out. With a hiss, it began swiping at the monk. Before the Persian could do any serious damage, Ace threw a Great Ball at it, succeeding where Taraka had failed.
That just left the Rattata, which had nearly escaped. “Cyclops, Thunder Punch!” Ace sent his Dusknoir after it. Unfortunately, the attack was too powerful and knocked the Mouse Pokemon out.
“Sorry,” Ace said.
Taraka smiled back at the android. “That’s okay.”
“Well that was a fun little diversion,” Gaster said. “But let’s get back to the task at hand.”
“Indeed,” Taraka agreed. “I’ll try seeing what my senses can pick up.”
Taraka closed his eyes and reached out with his senses. He could feel the lingering psychic energy left behind by the assassin, but it was faint and it certainly didn’t trigger a vision that might provide a clue about who she was or where she came from. However, as he continued to focus, the monk began to feel something. It was like a slight pull that was drawing him in a specific direction.
“I think I’ve got something,” Taraka said, opening his eyes.
“What is it?” Ace asked.
“I’m not sure how to describe it,” the monk replied. “It’s like ... a psychic compass in my mind that’s saying go that way.” He pointed in the direction he was being pulled. “I don’t know if it will even lead to something related to all this, but it might be worth following.”
“It’s not like we have anything else to go on,” Gaster said. “Let’s go get the others, then follow this feeling of yours. I doubt they’ve found anything either.”
Taraka could feel the pull on his senses growing stronger as he walked through the Zolotaya streets with his crewmates and the Red Riders. It had been about an hour since they had left the alleyway in the Old Harbour District and they now found themselves walking down the city’s capital strip. The classical Romanov architecture of the planet’s capital building stood out against the more modern skyline behind it as they slowly made their way toward it.
Eventually the feeling enveloping Taraka became so potent that he stopped in his tracks. “This is it,” the monk announced to his companions.
“This is what?” Floyd asked.
“This is the place my senses were leading me to,” Taraka said.
“What, the middle of the road?” Cyrus asked.
“So it seems. Let me try focusing.”
Taraka closed his eyes and reached out to the point he had been led to with his senses. As the monk cleared his mind, he was suddenly struck with a vision.
A scene of a great duel unfolded in the monk’s mind like something out of a fairy tale. A brave knight like those of the long past history of Humanity’s origin planet was locked in combat with a mighty dragon as a winter storm loomed on the horizon. The beast was unlike any dragon Pokemon Taraka had ever seen before. He wasn’t even sure if it was a Pokemon. The dragon’s strikes were fierce, but the knight stood strong and defended against the powerful blows. As the battle raged on, the storm arrived and the knight greeted it as an old friend. Together, the knight and the storm drove back the dragon and it flew off into the distance.
Taraka opened his eyes, feeling more confused than anything. What he had seen made no sense to him at all.
“What is it?” Gaster asked, having noticed the expression on the monk’s face.
“I, uh … saw some stuff.”
“Anything useful?” Cyrus asked.
“Well,” Taraka said, taking in a deep breath. “Apparently in ye olde Romanov times, uh, knights fought dragons.”
“What?” Lars asked.
“I know what I saw,” Taraka said. “A knight was fighting a dragon and they beat it when a storm came in.”
“Maybe your vision was metaphorical,” Ace suggested.
“Metaphor or not, this was completely irrelevant to our objective,” Gaster said. “I know there’s an old patriotic song called ‘The Knight and the Dragon’ from the Dominion era, but …” The former smuggler shrugged as he trailed off.
“Didn’t expect you to pull a factoid like that out of your ass,” Cyrus remarked.
“I’m full of surprises, Captain,” Gaster said. “You should know that by now.”
Cyrus chuckled. “Indeed.”
“If you wanna know, I picked that one up from some Romanov mercs I met out in the Rim years back,” the former smuggler explained.
“I see,” the captain replied. “Anyway, this lead seems to have brought us nowhere. The only thing we have left to go on is Boris Yong. We are right outside the capital so we could go pay his office a visit.”
“I don’t know,” Ace said. “That seems dangerous.”
“The captain is right, though. We have nothing else to go on,” Taraka chimed in.
“But what if that assassin is there?” Ace asked.
“Then we shoot her,” Cyrus said.
“Because that worked out so well for us last time,” Gaster pointed out.
“This time we know what we’re dealing with,” Lars said.
“He’s right,” Cyrus agreed. “She caught us off guard last time, but this time we’ll be expecting her.”
“Fair enough,” Gaster said. “Let’s do it.”
“Alright then,” the captain said. “The only question now is how we’re going to get an appointment.”
“We can go in saying that we have information about the location of Markovic,” Gaster suggested. “If Markovic is right and this Boris guy is after him, then I’m pretty sure he’ll be interested in what we have to say.”
“Well that’s not untrue,” Cyrus said. “It could work.”
“Assuming he knows that Markovic betrayed him,” Lars jumped in.
“If he’s as dangerous and powerful as Markovic says, then he almost certainly knows,” Cyrus told the bounty hunter.
“But what are we going to do when we go in?” Ace asked. “We can’t just go in there and kill him.”
“We need to be careful,” Lars said. “For all we know, Markovic could have been lying.”
Cyrus nodded. “That’s true. I say we just go in and see what happens. We’ll find out what he knows, then figure out what to do from there. And if that assassin shows up, well ... I hope you’ve all got some dark types on you.”
Taraka grinned. “What do you take us for, Captain? We’re prepared. I’ve got both of my strong ones on me for just that reason.”
The captain gave the monk a strong slap on the back. “That’s what I like to hear.”
Notes: And here begins a fun two-part arc. Session 55 was a longer one so it made sense to divide it into two chapters. They are closely related, though, which is why I made it a two-parter instead two distinct chapters. The last bit of session 54 is also included in this chapter, but I blended the events in with those of the following session in a way that made more sense. We had taken a two week break for Christmas, so it was a little slow getting back into the swing of things. At the end of session 54, the party met up with the Red Riders on Troyva and went back to the scene of the crime to look for clues. The session was wrapping up, so my plan was to have them go confront Boris Yong next time. They were still not fully decided on doing that, so I tried to push them in that direction. They went to look for more clues. But there wasn’t a whole lot I could give them. Thankfully, Novi’s player tried to use his Oracle abilities to see if he could find anything. I used that to move them to the location where they needed to go and provide a fun vision to end the session.
When we reconvened for session 55, the first thing the players decided to do was look for Pokemon. For the writing, I felt it made more sense for this to happen in an old dirty alleyway in a more industrial area of the city than one in the pristine area surrounding the capital. That and it made more sense in terms of narrative progression. This chapter wraps up with all the in-character conversation that led up to me finally persuading the players to go visit Boris’s office and them figuring out a plan for how to handle the situation. Everything else will have to wait until the next chapter.
Post-Chapter Challenge: It’s been a while since we had one of these. I have a simple question this time. What the heck was Taraka’s vision about? If you already know, then make something up!
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!