Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is the final part of a five-part standalone miniseries that is the perfect jumping-on point for those who have never read Spacemon before. If you’re interested in reading more, you can get caught up on the entire Spacemon saga here!
Captain Deva Zheleznaya stood tall at the head of the table leaning her hands on the chair, her uniform as sharp as the iron gaze of her grey eyes, focusing intently on the task ahead of her.
Isolde Gudsky, Pokemon Battling Champion, sat by the frost covered window, her long dark hair straight and still as the eye of the winter storm outside, casually inspecting the Pokeballs on her belt containing the most highly trained Pokemon in the galaxy.
Police Inspector Viktor Gorovich paced back and forth across the room, his long coat trailing behind him as grey and messy as his hair, smoking a cigarette as he constantly checked his datapad for an update.
The Knight Commando, Major Abram Lebedenko, stood within his massive white armored suit in the corner of the room, patiently polishing the shield of his Aegislash.
Lieutenant Anastasia Long fiddled with her sniper rifle, cleaning the barrel and calibrating the weapon with the same precision, care, and grace with which she operated it.
Together, the five of them waited into the wee hours of the morning as they traced the mad Doctor Young back to his lair using the tracking device they had previously managed to embed him with. Soon the rogue scientist’s deranged experiments on abducted civilians and captured soldiers would come to an end.
“Got him!” Inspector Gorovich shouted. Everyone else leapt to gather around him. “He’s no longer on the move. He must have reached his lair now. His identity has been flagged at all of the local hospitals, and there’s no way he could possibly remove that tracer without access to his own lab after you shot him right in the shoulder with it, Anastasia.”
The Lieutenant smirked and nodded back at him.
“So where is he, then?” Captain Zheleznaya asked the Inspector.
“Let’s see,” Gorovich looked closer at the datapad. “According to this, he’s in between the district zones of Nolnaya City. Right in the center of all his attacks, but it’s strange. There’s nothing out there but empty snow, unless …” the Inspector furrowed his brow, then switched the display to vertical view. “Of course! He’s in the sewers! That’s how he’s been getting around without being seen, he’s using the tunnels!”
“Eugh,” Anastasia waved her hand. “That lair must have some stank, then. Not exactly what you’d call sanitary lab conditions, I’d say.”
“Most of the sewer tunnels are all frozen this time of year,” Isolde Gudsky observed. “There are a lot of old tunnels underneath the city that haven’t been in use for hundreds of years. A number of wild Pokemon find shelter from the winter down there.”
“Stench or no,” Captain Zheleznaya asserted, banging her fist on the table. “We are going down there. It will have to be on foot, would that I could fit tanks down there to crush him with.”
“You’re angry,” Major Lebedenko observed.
“Good. It’s time to finish this.”
“Your mission is to secure this perimeter,” Lieutenant Anastasia Long announced to the battalion of men as she highlighted the area on the map display. “You’ll be deploying in teams to maintain control of these locations while we storm the main section here; it’s vital that no one be allowed to escape.”
She wrapped up the mission briefing, then looked to Captain Zheleznaya for any final words. The Captain nodded, and stepped forward.
“Yesterday our enemy committed a brazen attack against us,” their leader began, enunciating her words loudly and clearly as she made eye contact with each man in formation. “You have all been assigned here for training, but as of this moment, you are at war. The enemy has taken our own, as well as the very people we are sworn to defend. I ask you, will you let this stand?”
“No!” came several shouts.
“We will not let this stand,” she agreed sternly. “We will strike back without hesitation or mercy. We will storm the place in which they hide from the light of day! We will get our people back! We will show them the overwhelming might of the Romanov Army, and we will make them pay for choosing to stand against us!”
The soldiers all roared in unison. Even Anastasia couldn’t help but get caught up in the moment.
“Ready yourselves,” the Captain spoke once the volume died down. “We attack at dawn. Dismissed.”
As the Captain stepped away, the men all began to disperse, leaving to go make preparations. As the room cleared out, Anastasia noticed a pair of faces in particular near the back of the formation.
“Drakon! Burya!” she called out. They were the two privates who had managed to escape from Doctor Young earlier that day before being found and rescued in the White Waste by Isolde Gudsky. “Have to say, I’m impressed to see you two out and about already after what you boys went through. Are you sure you’re recovered by now?”
“Still got a broken rib,” Ivan Burya answered her. “But it’s really minor. We’re both all rested and warmed up by now, that’s what’s important. Enough to kick us out of the infirmary, at any rate.”
“I see,” Anastasia commented. “But that doesn’t mean you’re ready. I understand it was quite an ordeal down there. Not every wound is physical.”
“We’re ready, Lieutenant,” Burya said.
“I’ll be the judge of that. Come with me,” Anastasia motioned. She led the pair into the rec room, where she gestured for them to sit while she prepped a few mugs of hot chocolate. “Why don’t you tell me about what happened this afternoon?”
“Don’t really see the point,” Lee Drakon said. “Everything’s already in the report. There’s no more information we can give you that you don’t already have.”
“That’s not why I’m asking,” Anastasia said calmly. “I want you to tell me what it was like. Describe what the experience felt like, using your own words.” There was an awkward pause as she handed them their drinks. “Come on, just because you’re big, tough troopers doesn’t mean you don’t have to talk about your feelings and crap.”
“Well, I mean yeah it fucking sucked,” Burya answered her. “Couldn’t see shit the entire time, and everything I heard and could feel just seemed wrong. I felt naked down there without any of my gear and had no idea what I was up against, of course that shit is terrifying. I thought we were honestly just gonna bite it there a few times. Hell, some of us maybe did,” he trailed off, recalling the comrades they had to leave behind. “But that’s why we gotta go back down there; we owe it to them. And now that I actually know what the fuck was going on down there, it doesn’t feel so spooky anymore. I’ll feel a lot better with my gun back in my hands, but that’s just me. You should have seen Lee here,” he jabbed his comrade on the shoulder. “He was there keeping a level head the whole time while I was screaming mine off. I swear, this man must be uncrackable!”
Anastasia turned her attention towards Drakon; the man had been very quiet during this conversation. She could see his hands shaking as he reached for his mug. He turned his eyes away from the both of them, and stared out the window as the blizzard outside began to reach its peak.
“It was …” he eventually spoke, trying to find words. “Bad. Very bad.”
“You don’t have to do this, you know,” Anastasia leaned in. “You can take your time to deal with this, to process things.”
“No, Ivan is right. We’ve got to do this. We left men behind in that place; we have to make it right.”
“I don’t want you on the mission if you aren’t ready,” the Lieutenant said, matter-of-factly. “If you can’t handle it, you won’t be of any use to the rest of your team. You might be better off serving those men by staying here.”
“Well, maybe ...” Drakon retorted. “Maybe I’m not doing this for them. Maybe I’m doing this for me. If I don’t face this now, it’ll haunt me forever. This way, I’ll always remember how I fought back.”
Anastasia looked the man over, considering his present state of mind, then came to a decision.
The first light of daybreak pierced through the snow blowing through the air as the Knight Commando stepped forward in his massive power armor. He stared down the mouth of the tunnel, and it yawned back at him like the abyssal maw of a slumbering dragon.
“The storm is almost over, but the worst is yet to come,” the Major turned back to face his comrades. “Best everyone go inside now. I will take point in the front.”
“The other squads are all in position now, Captain,” Anastasia confirmed as she checked her comms.
“Move in,” Captain Zheleznaya nodded.
Everyone marched forward through the tunnel entrance. The troopers stayed behind to defend the position, while the Captain, Champion, Inspector, Knight Commando, and Lieutenant went on ahead, deeper into the labyrinth.
Major Lebedenko raised his shield, ready for any fire this dragon may spit at them.
The five of them continued down the dark hallways, illuminating the path as they went. Every time they passed a junction, Anastasia would instinctively glance down each branch, watching for movement.
“That thing gonna be any use down here?” Inspector Gorovich pointed to her sniper rifle as they kept walking. It was true the tight quarters limited its effectiveness, but Anastasia was still grateful for the occasional long stretch of hallway around corners.
“We’ll see,” she replied. “Luckily I’m also quite proficient in hand-to-hand combat. Trained in karate and ballet since I was a girl.”
“‘And ballet?’ Seriously?”
“Yeah. The benefits would surprise you: balance, mobility … they should teach it in boot camp!”
“Now that would be a sight … we’re almost there,” the man eyed his datapad. “The Doctor’s signal is close.”
“Which way from here?” Captain Zheleznaya asked as they reached yet another turning point in the labyrinth.
“Let’s see,” the Inspector consulted the map of the sewer system. “Keep going straight, that should take us to his main lab area. I’m guessing the passage to the right leads to where he keeps his subjects.”
Anastasia could see conflict in the Captain’s stance. “If there’s anyone still held there, we need—”
Suddenly a dissonant chorus of shrieks echoed from further ahead, followed by the approach of heavy, clamoring footsteps. The Lieutenant aimed her rifle, getting a better look through her night vision scope as she decided to make use of the hallway’s range while she still could. The enemy in front was another one of Doctor Young’s creations: a person clumsily bonded to … some kind of Pokemon, Anastasia honestly couldn’t tell what kind. She simply fired at the Pokemon’s head, then moved to target the human part when that didn’t seem to do the job.
Moments later, she heard the sound of several Pokemon being released as the tunnel quickly got a lot more crowded. Her target continued to get closer as the turbulence in the room descended into a full out brawl, and right as she was about to pull the trigger, Major Lebedenko in his gigantic armor got in the way of her line of fire. She tried to switch to another target, but couldn’t get a clear shot on anything, so she put down her rifle.
“Go! Take Gorovich and see if you can find any captives,” the Captain shouted back to her in between commanding her own Pokemon and throwing a punch at one of the abominations. “We’ll keep pushing through!”
“Affirmative, ma’am!” she called back as she hurried down the right hand corridor with the Inspector in tow.
Doctor Sorin Young sat under the surgical apparatus, cursing his shortage of anaesthetics. The blasted fools had shot him, prevented him from acquiring the perfect specimen. The genius pariah grunted in pain and resentment as he worked to remove the bullet that had been lodged in his shoulder; no one else could see the true potential of his work.
Cowards, all of them. Why couldn’t they understand? He was trying to save them! Their betrayal wounded Sorin worse than the bullet, but he pressed on. He had to. His work was too important.
Right as he attempted to finish extracting the projectile, having previously utilized his surgical laser to painstakingly remove each of the barbs, a sudden bang clashed against the door. It made him jolt upright, jerking the tools carefully inserted into the bullet wound. He let out an anguished howl of pain in his frustration.
There was a second thundering clang against the door, followed by a third that finally forced it down. The Doctor looked up to witness a man in white power armor, that man, flanked by two women he also recognized, enter in through the ruined doorway.
“You!” he sneered as he reached for his control unit. He should have had more time, but he would make do, as always. “So good of you to deliver yourselves to me.”
He pressed the button.
Isolde stepped over the fallen metal door as she glanced around the room. The tunnel appeared to open up into a natural cave of some sort, with virtually no sources of light save for the ones they brought with them. With the floodlights installed on the Knight Commando’s armor by their side, she saw scattered pieces of laboratory equipment here and there, machines with too many attachments sticking out. She was no scientist, but many of them appeared to be in need of maintenance. She also saw numerous empty boxes and crates about … as well as cages. Cages filled with more of those things.
“So good of you to deliver yourselves to me.” Isolde heard an ominous click, followed by several more as the locks on the cages unlatched, their metal doors each creaking open. Out poured a new wave of monstrosities, each as revulsive as the ones from before.
“Zima, Nasty Plot,” the Champion commanded, her Glaceon dashing up dutifully to her side and powering up.
“Do not let them pass!” she heard Zheleznaya shout out, as the horde spilled out towards them. “They must not be allowed to escape into the city!”
“You cannot hold back the tide of progress!” the mad doctor shouted back. “Once my creations have finished with you, we will move on and I will be free of this frozen hell to continue my work!”
Not if I have anything to say about it, Isolde thought to herself. “Zima! Blizzard!” she called out to her Pokemon, signaling to it her intended targeting angles. “Freeze them!” The Glaceon obeyed, unleashing its wintry scattershot blast at the enemy, successfully freezing three of them solid. There were simply too many of them, however, and several of them managed to break through her attack entirely. Four of them, led by some sort of Typhlosion man in the front burning away at the frost, got around them and made a break for the doorway.
“No you don’t!” Major Lebendko roared. Isolde could feel the earth rumble as the Knight Commando charged, his heavy mechanized footsteps going into overdrive like a tank as he ran to the door. He was not quite fast enough though, as all but one of them managed to slip through the exit before he could block it off with his massive armored frame. He tackled the last one, a woman painfully embedded into a Dragonite; held in place by cybernetics, her expression twisted into a permanent state of agonizing fury as the Dragon Pokemon let out a steady low growl. It threw an electrified punch at the Major, sending out sparks as its fist connected with his metal armor plating.
“Zima, help him out! Use Snap Freeze!” The Glaceon prepared to unleash a blast of icy power at the large dragon, but at the last moment another enemy jumped in the way of the attack! This one appeared to man bonded to a Mamoswine, and it used its considerable bulk to block the move, utilizing its ability to absorb the Ice Type attack harmlessly.
“I’ll be fine!” the Knight Commando called back to her as he raised his Aegislash against the draconic monstrosity. “Just focus on protecting yourself!”
Isolde shifted her focus to her surroundings and saw the seven remaining abominations moving to encircle them, raging around them like a whirlwind of danger. She instinctively took a step back, and felt someone else’s back against hers. She took a glance, and saw Zheleznaya doing the same. They nodded at one another, then resumed the battle.
They were outnumbered roughly two to one, so the first thing to do was to start taking them out until that was no longer the case. She took stock of each of the foes surrounding her, analyzing which ones were likely to be the biggest threats. Going clockwise, the abominations seemed to be comprised of a Mamoswine, a Scizor, an Absol, a Hitmonlee, an Infernape, a Skuntank, and a Luxray. Believing anything that could inflict status afflictions on them would be the greatest danger in a protracted fight, she decided to prioritize the last three. “Zima! Blizzard! Then strike again with Snap Freeze!” The Glaceon let loose an incredible barrage of frost and sleet, unyielding and unrelenting as the harshest winter, freezing over and blowing away everything in its path.
“Your Pokemon is impressive, Champion,” the mad scientist raised his voice over the sounds of the fight. “Imagine how much more powerful you both would be if you were closer … if you were one.”
Isolde had to suppress a wave of disgust. She really did not appreciate any more lectures on how to be a better Pokemon battler, it was just insulting at this point. She focused on the fight and exchanged positions with the Captain, trusting her and her Lucario to handle the Ice Type Mamoswine abomination while she whited out the others. “Zima. Nasty Plot.”
The Absol and Hitmonlee aberrations tried to lunge at them, hitting the Glaceon in the way for less damage compared to the amount of energy it gradually recovered from the swirling cold that surrounded it. Isolde felt a confident smirk creep across her face, when suddenly the Infernape thing thawed out of the ice encasing it. It too converged on her Pokemon, winding up its many fists to deliver a series of fiery punches. Although each impact did very little to budge the Fresh Snow Pokemon, they left scorching burn marks all over its body.
“Zima! Snap Freeze!” Isolde reacted before she could even blink. The burned Glaceon unleashed a monumental blast of stored energy that supercooled the air around it as it traveled forth. The Flame horror managed to dodge it, however, and it sailed past it all the way to the other side of the room where it hit the wall, creating a solid layer of ice over a large section of it.
Zima will be fine, Isolde thought to herself as the three foes continued to assail her Glaceon. The Champion’s Pokemon had very high defenses, but the true source of its power was its ability to heal itself over time. In fact, its healing abilities were so potent that they could even outpace the damage done by its ongoing burns. This left it vulnerable to being slowly whittled down by conventional attacks, of course, but these foes were inflicting paltry bug bites compared to those she and her Pokemon were used to.
But there were many foes, and they were not letting up.
All of a sudden the man bonded to the Absol dashed forward, groaning and sputtering as he slashed the Absol’s large claw through the air past Glaceon. Isolde dove away as she saw the blade coming at her, letting out a soft yelp as she hit the dirt. Looking up she saw the Captain quickly turn around, grabbing the blade on the Disaster Pokemon’s head and ramming her knee into the man’s stomach. Then, gripping the blade tightly enough to make her own fingers bleed, she pushed her other hand against his chest and pulled hard, ripping the blade right off. Both the man and the Absol seemed to howl in pain, until she jammed the blade into their chest, hammering it in with her bloody fist. Zhelznaya then turned to Isolde and offered her other, unbloodied hand. “You alright?”
“I think so,” she breathed as the Captain quickly helped her up before returning her attention to the enemy. “Hopefully the others aren’t facing as much resistance.”
Lee Drakon gripped his light machine gun tightly. He didn’t have his Pokemon as they were all taken from him back in the tunnels … back in these tunnels. It was only him, his buddy Ivan standing next to him, and the biggest gun he could find in the armory defending this exit.
Lee had told the Lieutenant he was ready. But he didn’t feel ready now, not really.
“Hey,” Ivan whispered, nudging his shoulder. “Do you hear that?”
Lee listened closely, but perceived only his own breathing and the beating of his heart as it got increasingly louder. He slowly exhaled and tried to close his eyes to focus, but found that he could not. Even with the pitch blackness of the tunnel he was staring down, he just couldn’t bare to shut his eyelids for even a moment: he felt too vulnerable. And so the soldier stood there, struggling to suppress a panic attack.
Eventually, however, he did hear it: the sound of running, scraping, skittering footsteps echoing down the tunnel towards him. Squinting his eyes, he saw a faint light in the distance, like a small flame. As it raced closer, Lee could make it out as a Fire Pokemon of some kind. He pointed his light at it, and saw that it was a Typhlosion, one that had been attached to a person. Behind it were others.
The same as the monsters that took him.
His gun rattled as he lifted it up with his shaking hands. Lee was afraid, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. He leveled his gun at the monsters as he stared them directly in the eyes illuminated under the shining radiance of his flashlight.
He let out a bellowing roar, and pulled the trigger, unleashing a furious hail of bullets down the hallway. Ivan soon joined him, firing shot after shot with his rifle at the approaching abominations with impunity. Most of them fell to the fire, but one of them, the Typhlosion one, managed to leap forward, spitting flames everywhere as it lunged into striking distance.
Lee swept his gun in its direction, creating an arc of hot metal flying through the cold air, barking out numerous obscenities as he pumped the monster full of bullets. It wasn’t until he registered the sound of his own heaving breaths, now audible after the roar of relentless gunfire had given way to empty clicking, that he realized it was over. The Typhlosion creature wasn’t moving, and neither were any of the others. He gave it an experimental kick just to make sure, then brought his breathing back under control.
“Oh no!” Ivan cried beside him as he shined his light on the face of the man that had been bonded to the Volcano Pokemon. “Lee, we just killed Krasnaya!”
“Stay focused,” Lee closed his eyes to collect himself as he reloaded his light machine gun. “There could still be more of them.”
Inspector Gorovich stood behind the cover of the doorway frame, sidearm drawn and his flashlight dimmed. “Watson!” he released his Murkrow into the room. “Count!”
The Darkness Pokemon flew into the lightless room, then returned after a moment. It cawed back at him exactly once.
“There’s a single contact in there,” he said to the Lieutenant.
“Huh? How can you tell?”
“Murkrow are pretty smart. For instance, they’re intelligent enough to count things. They can see in complete darkness, too. They make dead useful Pokemon.”
“If you say so. Any idea if they’re a hostage or a hostile?”
“It’s not that smart,” Gorovich admitted. “Send out your Pokemon and we’ll sweep the room.”
“It’s really not much use in a fight, I’m afraid,” Anastasia released her Whimsicott, then hoisted her sniper rifle. “But alright. You take point and I’ll cover you.”
Maxing out the brightness setting on his flashlight, Gorovich leapt through the doorway and charged forward, memorizing the layout of the room as much as he could before quickly finding a new spot to dive into cover. He looked back at Anastasia, then poked his head out once she signaled to him that she detected zero movement from the rest of the room. Taking more time to closely scan his surroundings, he spotted a lone figure, female, curled up in the fetal position in a corner near the back. As he cautiously approached, he could hear the sound of her sobbing softly.
“Think we’ve maybe got a survivor over here!” he called back to the Lieutenant. “Get over here, she might need our help!” Moving in to get a closer look, he shined his light on her, illuminating her appearance. Only the back of her head was really visible with the way she was sitting, but even so, her hair struck a remarkable resemblance to the most recent missing civilian. “Miss Rhine? Is that you?” the Inspector asked, confident that he recognized her. “I’m with the Nolnaya City Police Force. Are you hurt?”
The girl did not respond, instead continuing to shiver and cry on the ground huddled against the wall. “Come on, it’s going to be alright,” Gorovich set down his pack to retrieve a first aid kit, and reached out his hand to gently grab her shoulder. He made contact, and suddenly she leapt up and turned around shrieking, revealing the Pokemon embedded halfway within her torso: a Weavile that also began screeching! She swatted at his hand, knocking his gun away and sending it skidding across the floor. The Weavile part of her slashed its claws at him, causing him to leap back instinctively. “Whoa fuck!” he landed hard on his ass.
“Gorovich!” he heard the Lieutenant call out, turning to see her aim her rifle at two more abominations, who had just appeared from around the other corner in an ambush! These ones were rather larger, appearing to incorporate a Blastoise and a Beartic, respectively.
“It’s a trap!”
“These things have human as well as Pokemon brains, remember?” Gorovich shouted as he scrambled back to his feet and tried to put some distance between himself and the Weavile girl. “I don’t know how Young’s controlling them, but I bet they’ve got at least as much cunning as an average person. Be careful!”
“It’s a little late for that, don’t you think?” the Lieutenant shot back as she aimed her sniper rifle at the Blastoise monster and fired several rounds, each impacting against the shell for minor damage.
“Watson, get in there and use Heat Wave!”
“Give it a Helping Hand!” Anastasia commanded her Whimsicott.
The Inspector’s Murkrow let out an angry squawk and, aided by the Windveiled Pokemon, flew into the center of the chaos, unleashing a huge fiery blast. The Beartic was too far away, but the attack managed to hit the other two, burning the Blastoise and dropping the former Miss Rhine.
“Anastasia, your sniper rifle isn’t as effective against that thing’s armored shell,” he pointed at the approaching Blastoise as it launched a violent torrent of water at his Murkrow out of its displaced cannons. “Focus on the Beartic, I’ve got a dumb idea.” Gorovich may not have had his gun, but he did have a spare Pokeball. He threw the Pokeball at the hulking monstrosity, taking care to aim at the Pokemon parts rather than the human ones: a simple task as the Pokemon’s protective shell encompassed the majority of the target. It hit the shell dead on but bounced off with no effect, much like with any owned Pokemon. The Pokeball ricocheted off the sewer walls, and Gorovich lost sight of it as it rolled away on the floor.
“Shit, it was a long shot anyway. Watson! Use Dark Pulse!” He needed a special move to break through the turtle’s naturally high physical defense, and his Murkrow delivered, shooting out a black blast of energy at it, knocking it down for good. He looked over to see the other monster slowly make its way toward Anastasia through her gunfire, until it got much too close for her to use the long range weapon effectively. She dropped the sniper rifle, adopting a combat stance to deliver a powerful and precise chop against the beast. Despite her martial arts training, however, it was clear to Gorovich that the Lieutenant simply had no idea where to strike against such an unnatural opponent. She faltered at the last moment, allowing the Freezing abomination to catch and violently seize her arm. With a sickening twist and a bloodcurdling scream, the Beartic used its ferocious strength to rip the arm right off of her shoulder, sending a spray of blood to paint its snow white fur red. Then without missing a beat, it kicked the Lieutenant away and down to the ground with one of its dangling human legs, and unleashed a Blizzard at Gorovich and his Murkrow. The icy blast depleted what strength the bird Pokemon had left, rendering it completely unconscious. It also knocked the Inspector down on his ass for the second time this day.
The Beartic took a menacing step toward him, and then another as it snarled and groaned at the same time with its two mouths. Overcome with fear, Gorovich didn’t even try to stand up; he just scurried backwards with his hands and feet, slowly sliding away from the towering monstrosity along the cold floor. He ran out of room when his back hit a wall, and he felt his hand brush against something cold and metallic. He grabbed at the object, hoping it was his gun.
It was the empty Pokeball he had thrown.
These things are native to the area, he thought to himself as the Beartic loomed over him. Maybe Doctor Young wrangled some wild Pokemon for his earlier experiments. It was a desperate hope, but it was the only one he had; with no weapon, Pokemon, or backup, he was practically a dead man. He threw the Pokeball as fast as he could, hitting the Beartic in its primary throat. This time the ball opened, sucking the monster’s Pokemon parts inside before landing on the floor beside the previously attached man.
It shook once … then burst open, releasing the disparate pieces all over him. Forcibly disconnected from each other, the human and the Pokemon writhed impotently in a pile of body parts. Inspector Gorovich wiped the fluids off his face and picked himself up off the ground, then rushed over to the Lieutenant’s side, grabbing the first aid kit out of his pack along the way.
“Come on, now,” he knelt by Anastasia’s side as she seized and sputtered, and attempted to stabilize her. “Stay with me ...”
“Vira! Use Aura Sphere!” Captain Zheleznaya commanded her Lucario as she grappled with the blend of man and Scizor. In the corner of her eye she saw her Pokemon’s attack connect with its target, the Mamoswine with the soldier embedded into its mammoth head that was blocking them off from Major Lebedenko.
Zheleznaya was forced to keep the majority of her focus on her own opponent, however. Although they were on roughly equal footing in terms of strength for the most part, one wrong move meant the Scizor’s powerful pincers would easily remove a hand, or worse. To make matters worse, while she was capable of holding the pincers away from herself, the abomination had an additional pair of human arms to contend with; she simply couldn’t pin all of its limbs at once. Examining her target, it seemed that all of its vital connections and cybernetics keeping it together were efficiently if inelegantly routed through the Pincer Pokemon’s metallic exoskeleton, protecting it from up close tampering unlike with most of the other monstrosities. In fact, the only unarmored bits were the human head and arms jutting out of the thorax carapace.
Standing slightly taller than the Scizor, the Captain leveraged her height to clinch her opponent, giving her the opportunity to drive her knee up into the human head’s chin. She then threw a left hook, rocketting her fist through the side of its face, then finally pushed it away. It was enough to drop most people out of a fight, but these things were not most people; the Pokemon half appeared to register the pain as it cried out in anger, but it seemed otherwise unfazed by the head trauma to its other half.
This wasn’t good. Zheleznaya needed a weapon that could penetrate its reinforced steel carapace and provide some range against those deadly pincers, but she had nothing on hand at the moment after her pistol had run out of ammunition.
“You’re too weak, Captain!” she heard the Doctor laugh over from the little barricade he had set up for himself. “You will never be powerful enough to best my magnificent creations in your current form. Just accept it. Let me remake you, you will thank me for it in the end, when I fulfill your destiny. You were meant for this, Captain ...”
“Just ignore him,” Zheleznaya heard Isolde speak in between issuing commands to her Glaceon behind her. “He’s trying to get to you, and enrage you.”
It was working. She regarded the abomination before her as its two heads hummed and murmured in unison, unable to suppress the sheer revulsion growing inside of her. Such a fate felt utterly wrong. Death would be a mercy here. Then, the abomination advanced toward her to get within range once more. She looked over to her Pokemon, but it still had its hands full with the Mamoswine, and she knew Isolde was busy holding off two Fighting Type monstrosities with her Glaceon. Zheleznaya braced herself for the worst.
“Deva!” came Major Lebedenko’s call from the other side of the room, as he threw his Aegislash in her direction. “Take Uriel!” She saw the Knight Commando then resume wrestling with the massive Dragonite. The Royal Sword Pokemon sailed through the air, over the Mamoswine and Scizor. Zheleznaya reached out her hand, catching the blade by the handle as the Aegislash guided itself to her, the shield gently levitating itself into her other hand.
The Scizor lunged forward to crunch at her head with its large claws once and for all, but she raised the shield and blocked it, then, without missing a beat, used the shield to batter them away. Zheleznaya followed up with a second shield bash, this time to both of the abomination’s heads. As it staggered back, she steeled herself and thrust her arm forward, sword in hand, roaring with determination. This was what felt right. She could feel the spectral steel penetrate through its armor, piercing its vitals. She twisted the blade, and pulled. The monster fell.
“Vira!” she focused on her Pokemon now that she had dealt with the immediate danger in front of her. “It’s time to finish this! Annihilate that Mamoswine with Focus Punch!” The red Lucario’s fist began to glow as it focused its aura. Recognizing the incoming threat, the Twin Tusk aberration promptly charged forward to bulldoze its way through the Aura Pokemon in an attempt to flinch it before it could finish charging its attack. The Super Effective move barreled all the way up to the Lucario, but at the last moment, Zheleznaya jumped in the way of the stampeding Mamoswine, rebuffing it with the Aegislash in her hands. Her Lucario then executed its finishing move unmolested, while Zheleznaya followed it up with a quick flanking slash along the massive Pokemon’s underside, bringing it down for good.
The Captain released her grip on the Royal Sword Pokemon, allowing it to float back to its rightful wielder, who was presently working to subdue the great Dragon Pokemon with his crushing, mechanized grip while evidently taking great care to avoid critically injuring the woman implanted inside of it. She then turned to look at the Champion, who was still busy freezing the Infernape and Hitmonlee monstrosities solid with her burned, but uninjured Glaceon.
“Go on,” Isolde offered a casual glance back to her. “I’ve got these handled.”
Captain Zheleznaya marched her way up to the makeshift barricade of stray lab equipment the Doctor had hid himself behind, feeling her blood slowly boil over with wrath. She tore away the trays and tools as she flipped the table, and cast her burning steel gaze down upon the man as he furiously mashed at the buttons on his handheld device.
“B-but … Imp-p-possible!” he leered back at her through the iridescent green lenses of his goggles, sweating despite the frigid temperature in the room. “How? My creations were p—”
Zheleznaya slammed her bloody fist into his face. His legs collapsed under him, and she grabbed him by the collar and picked him back up. Then she hit him again.
She beat the raving madman’s skull over and over, unflinching in her fury, as his features became more broken and his protests gave way to pleadings and eventually screams.
“Deva,” spoke a gentle voice, one she did not quite hear. She hit him again.
“Zheleznaya!” this time more stern, and she felt a large metal hand grab hers, firmly holding back her rage. “That’s enough.”
She realized just how hard she was breathing, and stopped.
The sun shone high in the clear sky above Nolnaya City. The storm had passed.
“You were conducting a routine training exercise out in the White Waste when a rogue snowstorm hit and cut off all communications,” Captain Zheleznaya addressed Privates Lee Drakon and Ivan Burya. “Lost and stranded in the wilderness, you were fortunate enough to be discovered by GBC Champion Isolde Gudsky during one of her Pokemon training excursions. She graciously offered you shelter from the storm, then aided you on your way back to base. No other incident of note took place, is that understood?”
“Good,” she nodded, then turned to face Isolde. “And you?”
“I catch your drift,” the Champion nodded back at her, then shrugged. “If anyone asks I’ll just say I helped them learn the true value of courage and hard work, or something.”
“I’d say these two certainly demonstrated those qualities last night,” the pair beamed at the rare piece of praise. “Good work. You’re dismissed.” The two troopers saluted her and trudged off to their duties. “And you did good, as well. Thank you, Isolde.”
“Don’t mention it. This has all been … interesting,” the Champion smiled back at her. “I should probably be headed home, now that the storm is over. If you ever need me again, though …”
“Of course. Take care of yourself.”
“And you as well,” Isolde waved back as she began walking outside.
Zheleznaya then made her way over to the armory where she found Inspector Gorovich and Major Lebedenko chatting about the fate of the mad doctor’s surviving experiments.
“Many of them were killed in the fight down there, but a few are still alive, for now,” Inspector Gorovich said to the Knight Commando. “It’s a shame, they’re in no state to return to their lives, given their current … condition.”
“Have faith, comrade” Lebedenko replied to the shabby detective. “Our scientists may yet be able to help them. Especially if Doctor Young ends up being sentenced to the project of reversing the process … even if he must be subjected to the fate of his own work. His crimes are surely worthy of a laboratory sentence.”
“You always were an advocate of poetic justice, Major,” Zheleznaya chimed in. “Some of his victims have a chance because he’s still alive. Because you stopped me.” There was a distant hint of regret in the following silence. “I only wish we could have done something more. They were all subjected to his twisted designs … we will not have saved anyone if they can’t be helped now. If we had only stopped him sooner, then maybe—”
“We stopped him, Deva,” Major Lebedenko stopped her. “We brought him to justice. That matters. We saved all of his would-be future victims.”
“He’s right, Captain,” Inspector Gorovich nodded. “Don’t blame yourself for anything. Going on what we know now, that madman had already done his dirty work on all of them by the time we even knew what was happening. If anything, this is on me, I’ve had these case files for a month now. Which reminds me,” he presented his hand out to her to shake. “I wanted to thank you, Captain. I couldn’t have solved this without you.”
The two shook hands.
“Now if you’ll excuse me,” the Inspector stretched his arms and legs as he spoke, then gave the box containing the retrieved tracking devices two small pats. “I’d better get these babies back to the precinct. I’m going to enjoy rubbing this in the Chief’s face … it’s not every day an Inspector solves ‘seven different individual cases’ on his own all in the same day!” He flashed a smirk. “Well, almost all on my own. See you around, Captain.”
“I’d best be on my way, as well, to return to Novmoskva,” Major Lebedenko stated. “I’ve already contacted Command to inform them what happened here, but I suspect they’ll be wanting a formal debrief.” He gently rested his giant hand on her shoulder. “You did good today, Deva. I’m proud of you.”
“Thank you, old friend.”
The three of them exited the armory and into the hallway, where Zheleznaya stopped, glancing over to the infirmary door further down the corridor.
“How is she?” the Inspector asked.
“I understand she’s awake now, but,” Zheleznaya paused. “I haven’t seen it for myself, yet.”
“Well, don’t let us keep you any longer, then. Go.”
The two men turned and went on their way, leaving the Captain standing outside the infirmary, preparing to deliver a speech, one that she herself had been on the receiving end of years ago. Taking a deep breath, she turned the handle and entered the room. Inside she saw Anastasia, lying upright in one of the beds, hugging her Whimsicott tightly to her chest with her one remaining arm.
The sniper turned her head as the door opened, looking back at her with a pained look in her eyes.
“Lieutenant Anastasia Long,” Captain Zheleznaya announced. “In light of your heroic service to our people, I sincerely thank you on behalf of the Romanov nation. You will be awarded with the Romanov Medal of Sacrifice, in recognition of the wounds you sustained in serving your country. Additionally,” she allowed herself a brief moment of silence respecting the ceremonious weight of the moment. “In times past, the severity of your injuries would have merited you an honorable discharge. This option is still available to you, but with today’s advances in medicine and technology we can offer you restoration, enabling you to return even to full combat ability. Either way, the choice is yours.”
“Cool,” Anastasia said weakly after taking a minute to absorb everything. “Can I get a robot arm? Those seem pretty neat.”
“Of course. And you won’t have to come to a decision right away, feel free to take your time to think about it. Thanks you for your service, comrade.”
“Nah,” the Lieutenant replied. “I heard this one story about a certain officer that really inspired me, so I think I’ll stick around. Just get me a shiny robot arm and like, a week off or whatever, and I’ll probably be fine.”
“It won’t be that easy, Anastasia,” Zheleznaya took a seat in the chair by her bedside. “Rehabilitation can take a long time, especially to get back into fighting shape. And it won’t be painless, either.”
“Thanks for the heads up, in that case,” Anastasia smiled at her.
“Now get some rest, Lieutenant. You’ve earned it.”
Captain Deva Zheleznaya, First Rank, sat down at her desk.
She began to reflect on the events of the previous day, when she heard a knock on her office door. Even as inundated as she had been over the past thirty-six hours with new arrivals, this new visitor took her by surprise: he appeared to be a very high ranking officer, flanked on either side by two soldiers whom she did not recognize.
“Judging by the fact that none of my men escorted you into my office, you must be directly from Romanov Supreme Command,” Zheleznaya hazarded an educated guess, noting the insignia on the man’s arm, and stood to salute him.
“That is correct,” the man stated, his gravelly voice radiating with intensity. “We’ve had our eye on you for quite some time.” He produced an envelope and placed it on the desk. “We were ... most impressed by your handling of this incident.”
“What is this?” Zheleznaya picked up the envelope.
“Your promotion,” the man answered, as she opened it, his piercing cybernetic eyes emitting a chilling glow. “And your newest assignment.”
Removing the rank insignia from the envelope, she held it in her hands for a reverent moment before moving on to the accompanying letter.
“This is an honor, Sir. Thank you.”
“There have been reports of insurgent terrorist activity in the annexed territories targeting essential infrastructure, both military and civilian. We believe they may be based on Octavia, but intelligence suggests coordinated operation across multiple planets within the sector. You will be given a ship, the RSS Neviziniye, as well as substantial latitude to deal with this crisis and maintain stability in the sector as you see fit. Find these insurgents. Root them out. Crush them. These are your orders.”
The two guards stepped up to assist her, removing the old rank from her uniform and pinning on the new one. When it was done, she looked up, back at the officer. “When will my ship be ready?” she inquired.
“Immediately. Congratulations, Counter Admiral. Now come with me. There is work to be done.”
Counter Admiral Deva Zheleznaya marched forward, steeling herself for whatever trials the future may hold for her.
Editor’s Notes: And so concludes this exciting miniseries! DragonStorm really outdid himself with this one. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.
That does it for this part. 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 piece! 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!