Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is the first entry in a multi-part anthology series where each entry follows a different character in the Spacemon universe. You can get caught up on our previous adventures here!
It was a slow day at Aarn Hondo’s junk shop. Dust particles danced in the rays of Erebus’s sun that were flittering in through the windows as the smuggler and junk dealer rested at his desk, tilted back in his chair with his feet up. Hondo lightly stroked the small Skarmory lying in his lap as he mused about his wealth.
Despite the lack of business on this particular afternoon, the man had done quite well for himself on this world. He had quickly set up shop here when it was little more than a makeshift spaceport for like-minded individuals. Most would call them outlaws, but Hondo preferred the term opportunists. Indeed, the junk shop on Erebus had been quite the opportunity for the smuggler. It provided a steady stream of customers and employees.
Not only was Hondo able to make a quick buck selling off his acquisitions to passing space travelers, but many of those travelers also happened to be smugglers like himself. That was yet another opportunity that Hondo couldn’t help but seize. Why waste valuable time and fuel doing the job yourself when you can outsource the work to others for half the cost?
Of course not every person to pass through the smuggler’s shop was the most reliable, but his latest contract had been quite the catch. Hondo had been hired to deliver a mysterious package to Romanov space. Normally the man hated smuggling items into that particular region of the Galaxy, and for good reason— Romanov inspections had a reputation for being very thorough. However, the pay was too good to turn down.
Hondo knew he would probably have to make this delivery himself, as most of his customers could not be trusted with a package of such value. Luckily for the smuggler, the perfect man for the job happened to stroll into his little shop. It wasn’t every day that he crossed paths with a desperate dead bounty hunter with a respectable reputation, and Hondo intended to make the most of such a wonderful opportunity.
“Ah, yes,” the smuggler muttered to himself as he picked up the datapad on his desk and looked over the files he had on Arlon Jett. The Genevan bounty hunter had made quite the name for himself as a member of the Red Suns, one of the most reputable teams of bounty hunters in the Galaxy.
Of course, Arlon Jett had also made the headlines recently for supposedly assassinating some important Federation official on Parisia. Hondo could not seem to recall the man’s name, but it didn’t really matter anyway. What did matter was that Arlon Jett was also reported to have been killed, by his fellow Red Suns no less, the very same day. Yet, miraculously, this man— who was, by all accounts, dead— walked into Hondo’s shop just yesterday!
But— as one would expect of a dead man who was, in fact, not dead— Arlon Jett had been in dire need of Hondo’s services. The man had found himself in the possession of a ship with hardly any fuel and no warp drive at all. Hondo was all too happy to provide. After all, what was the price of a warp drive he had scavenged off a wrecked pirate vessel compared to the payment promised for delivering the package that was now well on its way into the Romanov Union? The best part was that the smuggler didn’t even have to split any of that money with his new bounty hunter friend.
Quite the opportunity, indeed, Hondo though, smirking ever so slightly as he stroked his Skarmory’s metallic feathers. The smuggler had a feeling that the “dead” Red Sun would prove to be very useful to him.
The smuggler’s grin quickly formed into a frown at the sound of the familiar shout wrapped in an Alliance outer colony drawl. Speaking of Red Suns…
“Hondo! Get yer damn dirty ass out here!”
Hondo’s Skarmory flapped into the air as the smuggler stood up to greet his visitor. The metallic bird fluttered around for a few moments before settling down on its trainer’s shoulder.
Hondo stepped around a shelf full of junk to see the current Red Sun’ leader examining his wares. “Ah, Devlin Garth!” he exclaimed, a false expression of delight appearing on his face. “What can I do for you this time, my friend?”
Garth turned to face the smuggler, giving him a familiar scowl. To Hondo it seemed as if the man was more irritated than usual. “I need you to fix my damn ship.”
“Very well, then,” Hondo replied. “What seems to be the problem, my friend?”
“The damn shield system is fried,” Garth explained. Hondo could almost taste the man’s displeasure it was so strong. “Some idiot thought it would be a good idea to trap the Corsair in a minin’ tractor beam.”
“A tractor beam, huh?” Hondo rubbed his hands together excitedly at the thought of making a profit. “I believe I can help you with that, my friend.”
“I would certainly hope so,” Garth snarled at him. “Yer little dump is the only place with ship parts in this sector.”
“Dump?” Hondo asked. “I take offense to that. This quality establishment is the finest junk shop in these parts.”
“It’s the only junk shop in these parts,” the Red Suns’ leader shot back. “Now, are you gonna fix my damn ship or just stand there like an idiot?”
Hondo’s frown returned for a brief moment. He truly loathed Devlin Garth, but business was business. “Yes, of course,” the smuggler answered, beckoning Garth to follow him. “I suspect the power supply must have overloaded. I have several shield generators lying and here somewhere.”
The Skarmory perched on Hondo’s shoulder snapped its beak at the Red Sun’s leader as he approached. Garth swatted at it, causing the Pokemon to lift off. The metallic bird squawked angrily as it circled above. After a few moments, the Skarmory landed atop a shelf full of scrap where it continued to squawk at Garth.
“Tell yer stupid bird to shut up,” the Red Suns’ leader growled at Hondo.
“Well, you did agitate it,” Hondo pointed out.
“Do I look like I care?” Garth asked. “Shut yer runt Pokemon up,” he repeated, calling attention to its unusually small size. “Why do you keep it around? You’d be better off puttin’ the damn thing down and gettin’ a real Skarmory.”
“I can assure you, this Pokemon is very capable,” Hondo told the the Red Suns’ leader. The smuggler held out his arm, and his Pokemon fluttered back onto its perch. “And besides, the little guy is quite rare and, therefore, quite valuable.” Hondo reached up and patted the Skarmory affectionately. “Now, my friend, would you like a new shield generator, or are you going to continue insulting me in my own shop?’
“You ain’t thinkin’ of holdin’ out on me, are ya?” Garth asked. The man was starting to get on Hondo’s nerves.
“I was considering it,” the smuggler answered.
Garth’s eyes narrowed and his hands crept down to his belt; one drifted toward the Red Suns’ leader’s holstered pistol while the other wrapped around one of his Pokeballs. “You got a problem or somethin’?”
Hondo’s hand reflexively moved toward his own pistol, ready to draw in case things got nasty. Silence hung in the air as the two men stared each other down, broken only by the sound of Hondo’s Skarmory clicking its talons together.
After several moments that seemed to stretch on for hours, Hondo’s brow twitched slightly, then a grin broke out across his face. The smuggler laughed loudly and pulled his hand away from his weapon. “What are we doing standing around when there is money to be made?”
Garth smirked slightly, and removed his hands from his own weapons. “You always were a greedy little bastard.”
“Yes, yes, of course, my friend. Money it the greatest thing in this Galaxy. Now, come.” Hondo placed a hand on Garth’s shoulder and guided him further into the shop. “Let’s get you that shield generator.”
Hondo led Garth around a few large mounds of piled ship scraps and parts toward the back of his shop. This particular section was where the smuggler kept most of the larger ship components, including engine parts, warp drives, and, of course, shield generators.
“Aha!” Hondo exclaimed, spotting what he was looking for. He and Garth approached a shield generator he had recently acquired. The smuggler smirked, realizing that this shield generator had been salvaged from the same wreck as the warp drive he had provided to Arlon Jett the day before. “This should fix your problems.”
“For yer sake, you’d better be right,” the Red Suns’ leader responded, a bit of his previous vitriol returning.
“Oh, make no mistake,” Hondo replied, flashing a grin as he rubbed his hands together. “And to prove just how confident I am, I will make you a special offer. Normally I would sell a shield generator such as this one for fifty-thousand credits, but for you, my friend, I will make an exception. This fine piece of equipment is all yours for only thirty-thousand credits!”
Of course, he was lying. Hondo gave the same shpiel to all his customers and they always ate it right up. He always started with high price points so that the prices he actually intended to sell his wares at seemed far more reasonable.
Garth frowned. “Only thirty-thousand?” He seemed to be getting annoyed again.
“Well the fee also includes installation,” Hondo explained. “My salvage crew knows what they’re doing.” As if on cue, a couple of the smuggler’s men walked by. “Excellent!” Hondo exclaimed. “You two, get some men and help my friend here install his new shield generator!”
“You got it, boss!” One of the men responded.
“Now then, my friend, where were we?” Hondo asked, turning his attention back to Garth as he rubbed his hands together once more. “Ah, yes, that’ll be thirty-thousand credits.”
“Alright,” Garth replied, pulling out his Pokedex. “This damn thing better be worth it.” With a few quick button presses, the Red Suns’ leader transferred the funds to Hondo.
“You can count on it, my friend.” Hondo grinned at Garth. “I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am out here if I was selling faulty wares.”
“Yer a true slimeball, Hondo,” Garth said, patting the smuggler on the shoulder.
“Please, I prefer to be called an opportunist.”
“Whatever floats yer boat.” The Red Suns’ leader turned away, ready to depart from the shop. “Now I gotta go make sure yer men don’t ruin my ship,” he told Hondo as he began to walk away. “I’ve got some big operations on the books.”
As he watched the man leave, Hondo’s eyes fell upon the empty space once occupied by the warp drive he had given Arlon Jett. “Hold on a second,” the smuggler called after Garth.
“What is it now?” the Red Suns’ leader asked, glancing back at Hondo.
For a brief moment, Hondo considered telling Garth that his former Red Sun compatriot Arlon Jett was still alive. The Red Suns were a rapidly growing force to be reckoned with in the Outer Rim, and he and their leader didn’t exactly get along very well. He realized that sharing Arlon’s fate with the Garth might improve his standing with the man. On second thought… the smuggler thought. It was highly likely that this new might just end up pissing Garth off again. Not to mention that having Arlon Jett as an ally might not be such a bad idea. If the man was clever enough to fake his own death, he could be quite useful to Hondo.
“Well?” Garth’s voice snapped Hondo out of his thoughts. “What is it?”
“Oh, it’s nothing, my friend,” the smuggler answered. “I simply thought you had forgotten something.”
“Yer a real idiot sometimes, you know that?” And with that, the Red Suns’ leader strode out of Hondo’s junk shop.
A smirk appeared on the smuggler’s face once Garth vanished from view. He was feeling good about his decision. Even if Garth was in the more powerful position than his new bounty hunter friend, Arlon was much more pleasant to work with. Hondo also couldn’t help but shake the feeling that the Genevan bounty hunter might just be his best customer-turned-employee yet.
The smuggler stroked his Skarmory once more as he settled back into his chair. He put his feet up on the desk once more and leaned back. Hondo was in a good mood. The past few days had been very good for business. Very good, indeed.
Author’s Notes: Man, it’s good to come back to this series. Even though we wrapped up the campaign (for now, as the sequel is definitely happening and we’re getting hyped for it), I never really was able to let it go, at least not with so many stories left untold. That’s where Profiles comes in! This is going to be a seven part anthology series exploring stories from various NPC characters from spacemon who didn’t get enough time to shine as I would have liked. Each entry will, of course, follow a different character and have a unique feel to it. What I really tried to do with this piece is capture the essence of Hondo’s character, and I hope to continue capturing each character’s essence with each entry.
It actually took a few iterations before I decided what I wanted to do with this piece. I was originally going to focus on the package he wanted the Dunsparce crew to deliver and go into where he got it and all that, but I didn’t really know where to take it, so I decided to just make it about a day in his shop. From pretty early on I knew I wanted to give Garth a cameo because I felt he didn’t have enough “screen time” in Volume 1, so I decided to have him show up shortly after his first little appearance in the first chapter. I thought it’d be neat if Morgan’s little stunt with the tractor beam actually had more consequences and it worked perfectly. I also really wanted to do something with the Skarmory that DragonStorm gave him in Tempore Ex Machina (which you wouldn’t have read yet if you’re a first time reader following the recommended reading order). He completely misremembered the actual size of Skarmory, something that no one picked up on until months later, and when I pointed it out we came up with the idea that it was a rare pygmy Skarmory and that Hondo has a penchant for rare things. I thought it’d be funny if Garth was a total asshole about it as he tends to be, so that’s where the only real sort of conflict we get here. And then I wrapped up with a little tease of coming Red Suns activities.
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!