Welcome to another heart-wrenching installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is the first part of a three-part origin story for the newest player character that has been inserted at this point in the story to provide context for future installments. You can get caught up on our previous adventures here!
“Fresh bread! Fresh bread here!”
“Watch where you’re going!”
“Hot pastries! Right out of the oven!”
“I’ll take three!”
“All natural apples from Sunset Orchard!”
I can hear the sounds of the bustling Mirthal marketplace growing louder as I draw near. I slip through the crowd unnoticed. On these busy streets, it can be easy to miss a small little ten-year-old girl. I quickly sneak by the market stalls, grabbing what I can and shoving it into my bag. A loaf of bread, one of those delicious cinnamon pastries, some pears, whatever the heck that square biscuit thing is. Now all I need is some apples; my favorite.
I squeeze through the crowd over to the apple stand owned by that fat jerk with the moustache and reach out for some nice juicy apples. My mouth waters at the sight of them. He looks away and I seize my chance! One! Two! Three! I can grab one more!
“Not this time, girly,” I hear the gruff voice of the apple merchant as he clamps his giant hand around my arm. “You’re not getting away with any more of my apples you greedy little shit.” He lifts me up into the air by my arm. It hurts.
“Let go of me!” I shout at him as I try to break free.
“Hahaha, you’re not going anywhere this time,” he laughs. “Officer! Over here!” He yells to to the nearby policeman guarding this section of the market. The officer begins moving in and I begin to panic. I reach for my Pokeball with my free hand and send out my Pokemon.
“Ebony, Bite him!” I scream as my Eevee emerges. She leaps up and sinks her teeth in.
“Argh!” the fat merchant grunts. He loosens his grip, allowing me to slide out of his grasp. Ebony jumps down to the ground next to me as my feet land.
“Let’s go!” I shout to Ebony as I charge into the parting crowd. She runs along behind me, right at my heels.
“Come back here!” I hear the merchant’s voice behind me. “Stop her!” I look back to see two policemen chasing after me. They reach for their Pokeballs and send out a Houndoom and a Mightyena. I need to get away now!
I round a corner into an alley, but a fence blocks me from going any further. Oh no! Thinking quickly, I recall Ebony into her Pokeball and jump up onto a nearby dumpster. Then I leap up and catch the top of the fence. I hoist myself over and land safely on the other side.
The Houndoom and Mightyena come barrelling down the alleyway, barking like mad-dogs. They skid to a halt, but the Mightyena slides forward and collides with the fence, causing the chainlinks to rattle.
“Nyeeeaaahhh!” I stick my tongue out at them tauntingly.
“Hey, you! Stop!” one of the policemen shouts as they run into the alley. I turn and dart away.
“You can’t catch me!” I shout back with a laugh as I escape back into the crowded streets of Mirthal.
The sun sinks low as I walk along the emptying streets. The citizens of Mirthal return to their homes after spending the day working and shopping at the market. I slip into an alleyway and press my hand against the rusted door at the base of the abandoned apartment building. It swings open without much resistance, revealing the trash covered stairs.
I slide my fingers along the railing as I ascend, sweeping away the collected grime, revealing the smooth cold metal beneath. When I reach the sixth floor I stop and look at my dirty fingertips. Ugh. Why did I do that? I rub my hand on my top until the dirt comes off.
I make my way down the hall until I find it: the broken window. I climb up onto the windowsill and then leap out, landing on the adjacent rooftop. I stand up, then walk to the edge and climb up onto the short guard wall. I stare down for a moment, looking at the people walking along on the ground. I walk along the wall, one foot in front of the other, arms raised to stay balanced on the narrow ledge. I wobble for a moment before I catch myself. No falling today.
I reach the edge and leap off. I roll as I land, then leap back to my feet. I look out to the forests surrounding Mirthal to see the rays of light shrinking as they retreat behind the distant mountains. I pick up the pace, running along, hopping from rooftop to rooftop. I reach the side of a taller building, and run at it. I kick off the protruding wall back towards the high ledge across from it. I grab ahold, then pull myself up.
Up here, the wind is much stronger, blowing my hair into my face. I brush it back with my hand so I can see out over the forests. I grab Ebony’s Pokeball off my belt and let her out. She looks up at me with her adorable brown eyes, her ears flopping around in the wind. I sit down next to her and place her in my lap. “Look, Ebony,” I say as I point at the sun sinking behind the mountains. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
We sit there together for a while admiring the view until the sun fully sets. It reminds me of home. Back where Daddy and I used to live, the sun was always sitting just behind the mountains, casting a beautiful sunset over the plains and the city. I miss it. Sometimes I wish I could just go back there. But I can’t. Daddy’s gone forever and Ebony and I have to take care of ourselves!
I stand up and take one last glance over the buildings and treetops, then I walk to the far side of the building and descend the fire escape with Ebony close behind. At the bottom, we turn the corner deeper into the alleyways and go through the hole in another abandoned building to the hideout.
“What took you so long?” Neela asks when she sees us enter. I look over to see an annoyed expression on her face.
“I had to lose the police first,” I explain. “And then I stopped to look at the view.”
“What’re you doing attracting the police for?” she asks as she walks over. “Let’s see what you got.” She opens my bag and begins digging through it. “Bread, pastries, pairs… four apples? really? You pissed off that stupid fatass again, didn’t you? You’re supposed to be careful, not greedy! That’s how you get caught!” She hits me on the back of the head.
“Ow!” I cry out. “What was that for!?”
“For being stupid!”
“Calm down Neela,” Amir tells her. “It was an honest mistake. You did a good job Alex, but seriously, try to be a bit more careful next time.”
“Okay,” I reply. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s no big deal this time, just don’t make a habit of getting caught. Now let’s eat, then we can do more battle practice.” He turns and and looks across the hideout. “Jamal! Fareed! Get over here!” he shouts. “Alex is back with the food!”
“Ebony, use Quick Attack!” I shout. Ebony runs forward and dives at the Trubbish. Her head bashes against him and sends him flying back.
“Oscar, use Double Slap!” Amir commands his Trubbish.
“Dodge it, Ebony!” I shout. My Eevee jumps to the side as the Trubbish strikes once! Twice! Three times Ebony dodges, but Oscar manages to get off a couple hits.
“Nice work,” Amir compliments us. “You two are really starting to get the hang of this. But we’re not done yet!”
“Ebony, Quick Attack again!” Ebony runs forward again, but this time Oscar ducks out of the way. “Darn!”
“Oscar, Take Down!” The Trubbish springs back up and collides with Ebony knocking her to the ground. Amir wins again.
“Awww,” I grumble as I walk over and pick Ebony up. “Good job, Ebony.” I pull her close for a hug and she licks my face.
“You did good today, Alex,” Amir tells me, a slight smirk on his face. “You get better every time. Maybe you’ll win next time,” he says with a laugh.
“You really think so?” I ask.
“Sure,” he says. “Just keep practicing and I think you can do it. Alright, Fareed, you’re up next.”
I step back and sit down on the ratty old mattress that I use as a bed and watch as Fareed battles against Amir’s Trubbish using his Teddiursa. The two Pokemon exchange blows as Amir shouts tips and words of encouragement at Fareed.
Amir is the ringleader of our little group, and the oldest. He’s sixteen and everyone looks up to him. Lately he’s been helping me, Fareed, and Jamal to be better at Pokemon battles. Fareed is only one year older than I am. He’s kind of quiet.
“Not bad, but you still have a ways to go,” Amir says after taking down Fareed’s Teddiursa. “Jamal, you’re next.” Jamal steps up and releases his Starly. Jamal is twelve and good with computers. Sometimes he teaches me things. I’m pretty good with computers too. Messing around with technology is a good way to pass the time, especially Pokeballs.
“You’re probably gonna lose like everyone else,” Neela taunts Jamal.
“Oh, shut up,” Jamal fires back. “You’ve only beat Amir once!”
“That’s one more time than all of you.” Neela is fourteen. She can be kind of a jerk sometimes, but at least she’s nicer than most of the kids back at the orphanage were. I hated it there.
Jamal’s battle takes quite a bit longer. It’s a close one, but Oscar finally takes down Jamal’s Starly. “Not bad at all,” Amir tells him. “If you’re a bit more aggressive next time, you’ll probably win.”
“Awesome,” Jamal responds. “Hey, I downloaded the new Eliminator movie earlier. We should watch it.”
“Nice,” Amir tells him. “Let’s watch it now. Fareed, Alex, Neela, you in?”
“Yeah!” I tell him. I hop up from my mattress and quickly run over to join them in front of our crappy old holoscreen. “Eliminator is awesome!”
“Stupid thing!” I shout. “Why don’t you work!?” I slam the damaged Pokeball down onto the table in frustration, sending a few loose screws cascading to the floor. I pulled open every panel on the inside, I made sure all the wires were connected, but it just refuses to work.
A loose wire suddenly sparks. “Argh!” I shout as I let go of the ball. It thuds as it hits the table.
“Whatcha doin’?” I hear the sound of Neela’s voice. I look up from the table to see her standing over me.
“I found this Pokeball when I was out earlier,” I explain. “I’m trying to fix it.”
“Well it’s nothing to yell about. It’s just a stupid Pokeball.”
“It’s not stupid,” I tell her. “If it works, I can sell it. Just like the last one.”
“Sooo, you actually know what you’re doing then?”
“Of course I do,” I declare. “I’ve been collecting Pokeball scraps as long as I’ve been here and fixing them. I learned how to do it on my own.”
“Well, I guess you had to be good at something…”
“Hey, I’m good at other things too!”
“Relax, Alex. I’m just messing with you.” She messes up my hair and then walks away. Back to work…
I jiggle a few wires around and press the casing back into place. Suddenly the light on the button blips on for a second, signaling that it’s receiving power again. “Ugh, finally.” I breathe a sigh of relief. “Why didn’t that work before.” I tighten up the screws and set the ball down on the table.
I don’t even have a moment to relax before Jamal bursts into the hideout shouting as loud as he can. “The cops are coming! The cops are coming!”
“And you led them back here!?” Amir shouts back at him. “What the hell were you thinking!?”
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Jamal sounds desperate. “I freaked out! I didn’t know what to do!”
“We need to go now!” Neela shouts. “The cops have been looking for us thanks to all the market raiding we’ve been doing lately. We got too greedy! We’re going to be in major trouble.”
I shove the Pokeball into my bag and then run over to join the others. “What do we do?” I ask.
“Neela’s right,” Amir declares. “We have to get the hell out of here!”
Suddenly, a group of policemen burst in through the hole in the wall, Houndooms, Mightyenas, and Manectrics in the front. “There they are!” One of them shouts.
“Shit!” Amir shouts. “C’mon, follow me!” He starts running and we all follow close behind. We run through the door on the far side of the hideout and down the dark hallway. We quickly turn around the corner toward the door. Amir throws his weight against the boarded up entrance and breaks through to the other side. “Quickly!” he shouts as he beckons us through.
We run out into the street, but suddenly one of the police Mightyenas darts around a corner, cutting me and Fareed off from the others. It starts running after them. “You two, go that way!” Amir shouts at us, pointing the opposite way down the street. He then turns and follows Neela and Jamal down another alleyway with the Mightyena close behind.
Fareed and I take off down the street, but a Manectric cuts us off in front, forcing us down an alley. It barks angrily behind us and starts sparking off bolts of electricity. I feel my body begin to spasm as one strikes me in the back, knocking me to the ground. I feel everything go numb.
“Fareed, help me!” I shout to my friend but he stares at me with a panicked look on his face.
“I’m sorry…” He turns and runs, leaving me lying in the street.
“Fareed!” I scream after him, arm outstretched. It’s no use. He doesn’t come back. Tears stream out of my eyes onto the pavement as the policemen close in on me and pick me up off the ground.
“Looks like your friends got away,” one of them says. “But you’re coming with us little lady.”
“What do we do, Ebony?” I ask my only remaining friend. My Pokemon companion sits in my lap, looking up at my somber expression. “What do we do?” We sit together in the cold dark alleyway.
The police took me back to the orphanage. That terrible, terrible place. It was worse than I remember. They were so mad at me for running away, and for getting in trouble with the police. They didn’t really care about me. They never cared about me.
I ran away again. The same night they brought me there, I slipped out the window and never looked back. I went back to the hideout but it was empty. I think the others went back later and got their stuff. They didn’t leave any clues about where they went. So now I sit here alone with Ebony and I don’t know what to do.
“Why would they just leave us behind?” I ask, tears pooling in my eyes. “How could they do this to us!?” Ebony just whimpers softly. I’m cold and tired and hungry. I spent the last of my Pokeball money days ago, and we can’t go back to the market to steal food because they know to look for us now.
Days become weeks as we wander. We sleep in cardboard boxes and old rags. There’s hardly any food, we have to eat trash to survive. We sit together in the cold, dark alleyway eating discarded scraps of food behind a restaurant.
Suddenly a pair of eyes appear out of the shadow. A sad pair of purple eyes. A little gray Pokemon cautiously approaches us. “Hey little guy,” I say to him. I hold out what little food I have left. “Are you starving too?” He slowly walks up and grabs the food. He begins to nibble on it.
“What kind of Pokemon are you?” I ask as I pull out my Pokedex. I scan him and it tells me he’s an Espurr. “Espurr, huh? You’re a cute little guy. Want to come with us? We can search for food together.” I pull out my one remaining Pokeball, the one I was fixing the day the police came. I hold it up to him and he tries to bite it. He thinks it’s food, but he accidentally pushes the button and it pulls him in. The ball shakes briefly and falls still. “I think I’ll call you Loki…”
Ebony and I resume our search for food with Loki, our new Pokemon friend. We have to move on because the restaurant got shut down. Weeks become months as we drudge on. Food becomes more scarce. I keep my friends in their Pokeballs to keep them going. The rain comes and I get sick. I can’t keep going. I can see the light slowly dimming…
Am I going to die?
Author’s Notes: Holy crap, this is done. I have legitimately been working on this since the end of April. It’s gone through like a five or six iterations since then but I finally got something I feel proud of. It made the most sense to split this story into three parts so I still have a bit more to write but they should all be done before Volume 3 begins.
Alex’s backstory is insanely detailed. Ever since character creations I’ve just been building it up and developing it, but finally I get to share a bit with you. The hardest part distilling it down to the key moments in her life. Arlon has a very specific defining moment as a character that was the logical choice for his Origin Story, but Alex is different. Many life experiences shaped her into the person you see in the main storyline, and I picked the ones I felt were the most important.
Each part will focus on a series of points in her timeline that are clumped pretty close together, while the parts themselves are a bit more separated along her timeline. This particular part takes place over a six-month period. The main focus is a gang of street kids she was part of. That’s where she learned how to work on Pokeballs, how to be stealthy, how to be acrobatic, and the basics of Pokemon battling. But it’s one of the key things that fed into her abandonment issues. She finally had something resembling a family again and it was taken from her. And at the end, we see her first near-death experience. I hope you enjoyed, and look forward to sharing the rest of this story with you.
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 Spacemon Appendix which is a repository of information on all the lore and characters of Spacemon, or like our Facebook page to stay updated on all things Spacemon! Click here for the next exciting installment of Spacemon!