Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is one of several loosely related one-off stories set between the events of the various Spacemon campaigns. You can get caught up on the entire adventure here!
Rena Bordeaux took a deep breath as she stepped off the elevator onto the bridge of the Federation dreadnought known as the FNS Halberd. The marine guard on duty nodded at the Parisian mercenary as she crossed the corridor. Stopping just in front of the door to the admiral’s office, Rena took a moment to stand up straight and straighten her shoulders. She then reached out and knocked. This was it. There was no turning back now.
A silent moment passed, then a sharp, stern voice responded.
“As you may know, the Outer Rim Gym League is being discontinued,” said Admiral Alexandra Graves as she looked at Rena from across her desk. “Losing six Outer Rim sectors to the Romanovs and turning over an additional four to the Confederacy has forced us to restructure the way we handle security in the Rim as a whole.”
“Understandable,” Rena replied.
“Quite,” the admiral said. “The Directorate wants the military to take on a more active role in Outer Rim security, but, unfortunately, our fleets are spread too thin after the losses we incurred during the war, both to the Romanovs and the Mewtwos.”
Admiral Graves paused for a moment to take a sip from a glass of water on her desk. “And that brings me to why you’re here today,” she continued, setting the glass down.
“So you want ze Red Suns to ‘elp you with security on ze Rim?” Rena asked.
“In a manner of speaking, yes,” Graves told the mercenary leader. “With the weakened state of our fleets, the Rim has been slipping back into the lawlessness of the old days and we simply cannot afford to divert any more of our forces from the Romanov border at this time. The navy would like to contract your organization to run security and law enforcement operations in the eight Outer Rim sectors that remain under direct Federation jurisdiction.”
“A bit more zan simply assisting zen,” Rena said, letting out a slight chuckle.
“Correct,” the admiral said. “But the Red Suns are more than capable. You’ve done quite well for yourselves since the battle against the Mewtwos, assembling the largest mercenary fleet in galactic history.”
“We ‘ave Arlon to thank for zat,” Rena said. “‘e laid ze groundwork for what ze Red Suns ‘ave become.”
“Including establishing a strong rapport with the Federation,” Graves said. “Which is what makes your organization the ideal candidate for our needs. We know we can rely upon you to get the job done.”
“So what are ze details of ze contract?” Rena asked, deciding it was time to get down to business.
“Should you choose to accept, the Red Suns would be taking on the responsibilities that once fell upon the Gym League, in much less of a figurehead capacity, of course,” the admiral explained. “Your duties would include combating piracy, assisting the Marshal Service in apprehending dangerous fugitives, eliminating terrorist threats, and dealing with criminal organizations. I believe you have experience in some of those areas.”
Rena nodded. “Zat we do, ma’am,” the Parisian mercenary leader said as Admiral Graves reached for her water glass once more.
“That’s what I like to hear,” Graves responded. “While the League was effective in the past, the Gym Leaders are not properly equipped nor experienced enough to deal with the threats of the modern era. The chaos in the wake of the war has seen a sharp increase in pirate activity and organized crime as well as the alarming rise of extremist terrorist factions. The navy is maintaining planetary defense and warp gate security, but we lack the resources and manpower to effectively combat these threats at this time.”
“Well, Admiral, I think we can ‘elp you with your problem,” Rena said. “Just tell me where to sign.”
“Wasting no time, I see,” the admiral said. “Good. I like that. I appreciate people with the drive to get things done.”
Rena allowed herself to smile. She knew Arlon would be proud.
“You can count on ze Red Suns to get things done, ma’am.”
Rena let out a sigh as she rode the elevator from the GCS Marauder’s shuttle bay up to the habitation deck. It had been a busy day. After several meetings that would change the Red Suns’ future, the mercenary leader was eager for some rest and relaxation and she was looking forward to spending time with her daughter.
“Welcome back, ma’am,” one of the men, a veteran merc by the name of Gil, greeted Rena as she stepped off the elevator. She nodded in his direction as she walked past.
The Red Suns’ leader looked around at her ship as she made her way down the corridor. Despite being three years old, the Marauder still looked brand new, especially when compared to its predecessor, the UAS Corsair, which had been destroyed when Arlon Jett, the mercenary organization’s previous leader and the father of Rena’s child, had sacrificed himself to defeat a Mewtwo, saving countless lives. That old Alliance-make frigate had already been in use for years when the two of them had first joined the Red Suns many years ago.
Unlike the Corsair, the Marauder was a state of the art Genevan cruiser that had been commissioned specifically for the Red Suns. Like the Corsair before it, Rena had come to call this ship home, but its Genevan design reminded her just a bit more of her actual home. The Marauder was indeed a fitting replacement flagship for the Red Suns’ impressive fleet.
Glad to be back home, a smile crept onto Rena’s face as she reached the door to her private quarters. Her smile grew even wider as she stepped through the door and was greeted by the sight of her daughter Eveline rushing to meet her.
“Mama!” the young girl cried out with excitement as she ran to meet her mother. Her long, dark hair, which was secured in a ponytail, flowed behind her as she bounded across the room.
“Bonjour, mon bébé,” Rena said in her native french as her young daughter threw her arms around her waist.
“I missed you,” Eveline said as she looked up at Rena with her bright blue eyes … her father’s eyes. Although he was gone, Arlon lived on in their daughter. Rena was reminded of him every time she looked at Eveline.
“I missed you too,” Rena said as she scooped her daughter up in her arms and lifted her off the ground. “Oh my, you are getting ‘eavy,” she chuckled. At seven, almost eight years-old, Eveline was certainly not as light as she used to be, but as a professional mercenary, Rena was still perfectly capable of carrying her daughter with ease.
“I am glad you are back,” a booming Romanov voice sounded as Rena carried Eveline further into the room. The mercenary leader looked over to see Kiril Zhukov, her top lieutenant and oldest friend, appear from around the corner. Rena had left him the difficult task of looking after her daughter while she was away.
“Watching little Eveline is not so easy,” Kiril continued. “It makes taking care of Viktor here seem like walk in park,” the large Romanov man added with a chuckle, scruffing up the hair of his son standing beside him. Viktor was a little less than a year younger than Eveline and was a quiet, reserved boy, especially when compared with the boisterous, headstrong girl. Despite their differences, however, the two were the best of friends.
“I can imagine,” Rena laughed. “Zis little one is certainly a ‘andful,” she then said, glancing at Eveline, who was beaming back at her.
“Anyway, how was meeting?” Kiril asked.
“It went well,” Rena replied as she set her daughter down. “Alright, run along now,” she told the girl, motioning her out of the room. “Mama needs to talk with Uncle Kiril about adult things.”
“Okay!” Eveline said cheerfully before skipping away, taking Viktor with her to go play.
Rena smiled as she watched the two leave, then turned back to Kiril. “Ze Federation just ‘anded us a major contract,” she explained.
“Oh? I like the sound of that. Details?”
“Ze navy is spread thin and needs our ‘elp fighting pirates and criminal organizations in ze Rim,” Rena said. “Zat should keep us busy for a while.”
Kiril grinned. “And well-paid.”
“Yes,” Rena said with a chuckle. “Zat too.”
“The target’s name is Jacob Tzaal,” Commander Johnson said as an image of a scruffy-looking, dark-haired, Sinai man appeared on the screen. The projected hologram of the Red Suns’ main point of contact in the Federation Navy gazed around the room as he continued, “A man I believe you have experience with.”
“Oh?” Rena asked, raising an eyebrow. The mercenary leader did not recognize the face of this Tzaal fellow.
“Yes, Ms. Bordeaux,” said the commander. “Tzaal was originally apprehended by the Red Suns on Mechorah about ten years ago with the help of a group of young Pokemon trainers, although you probably know him by his alias …”
“Ze Seeker,” Rena finished Johnson’s sentence.
She recalled the day quite well. The Red Suns, then but a small team of bounty hunters led by a man called Lars Rickets, had tracked the mysterious masked thief known only as the Seeker to the Sinai capital world back in 3604. While on Mechorah, the Seeker had staged a brazen daylight robbery of an artifact from the Ancient Temple in the capital city of Galia. A group of brave young women who happened to be talented trainers had courageously attacked the thief as he made his escape, holding him up long enough for the Red Suns to capture him.
“Ah, so you remember,” the commander said.
“Da!” Kiril said. “I remember giving him one way ticket to prison.”
“While it is true Tzaal was given quite a hefty sentence for his numerous crimes, he managed to escape from Irongate when the system was attacked by a Mewtwo during the war,” Commander Johnson explained. “He was presumed dead until he resurfaced in the Outer Rim a few years ago.”
“So why are we only ‘earing of zis now? Rena asked.
“A good question,” Johnson said. “One with a good answer. We simply did not view Tzaal as a big enough threat. He was someone we believed the remaining members of the Gym League could handle.”
“Apparently not,” Petra Azarov, another of Rena’s Lieutenants, quipped.
“Yes, so it would seem,” the commander said, sounding slightly annoyed.
Rena shot Petra a sharp glance. The Romanov woman looked back at her and shrugged.
“Anyway,” Commander Johnson said after clearing his throat. “Tzaal came back on our radar when we discovered that he’s been spending the past several years building up an underground criminal network in Sinai space and in the Rim, trafficking in dangerous artifacts, relics, and holoscroll components. They call themselves the Seekers.”
“How original,” said Luke Anderson, the third of Rena’s lieutenants present for the briefing.
“Be that as it may, the Seekers have become a bit of a problem,” the commander said. “And they are certainly not doing anything to alleviate the instability in the Ascendancy. That is why we want you to make capturing Tzaal your number one priority.”
“What do you ‘ave on Tzaal?” Rena asked.
“Our intel indicates that there has been lots of Seeker activity on Omen in Sector 34,” Johnson said as the relevant info appeared on screen. “We believe that Tzaal must have a base somewhere on the planet. Your assignment is to locate this base and bring Tzaal and his Seekers to justice. You are authorized to use lethal force if necessary.”
“Understood, Commander,” Rena said. “You can count on us.”
“I know I can,” the commander said with a nod. “Johnson out.”
It was eerily quiet in the spaceport on Omen known as Devil’s Landing as the squad of Red Suns made their way down the street. Rena kept her eyes peeled for any shady characters, but all she had seen so far were grim-faced locals eyeing her and her fellow mercenaries with suspicion.
“What a joyful place you’ve brought us to,” said Kendall, one of the veteran Red Suns Rena had selected for the mission.
“Were you expecting a pleasant vacation, Carter?” Luke asked her with a chuckle.
“Well, no,” the spunky, short-haired blonde woman replied. “But I didn’t expect … this.” She looked around at the various pairs of eyes following the squad as they walked.
“I hear the locals here are quite the superstitious bunch,” Luke said. “Suspicious of outsiders too.”
“Well, with a name like Devil’s Landing …” said Danny, another longtime member of the Red Suns.
Kendall nodded. “Fair point, Martinez.”
“Sounds like a place criminals trafficking in occult artifacts might vant to hide out,” Wilhelm, a more recent recruit from München, commented.
“They say this town was built over some old pirate hideout from back in the day,” Luke said. “Back before Omen became a mining colony.”
“Da,” Kiril said. “I’ve heard stories. Pirate ghosts guarding hidden treasure.”
“I seriously doubt zat’s true,” Rena said, allowing herself to laugh a little. “Zou Lars did mention once ‘e knew a guy zat found a ‘aunted ruin buried under ze mines in zose mountains zere.” The mercenary leader pointed off towards the mountains in the distance.
“Ghosts. Vonderful,” Wilhem grumbled.
“Whatsamatter, Roth? Scared?” Kendall teased the German mercenary.
“Be nice, Kendall,” Rena said, chuckling. “I’m sure zat Wilhelm ‘ere can ‘andle a few—”
The Red Suns’ leader was suddenly cut off when laser bolt shot past, narrowly missing Wilhem’s head.
“Take cover!” Rena ordered the squad as more shots rang out.
Rena drowned out the sounds of battle raging around her as she looked through the scope of her sniper rifle. Scanning the rooftops, she searched for the source of the laser fire raining down on her and the mercenaries under her command.
“Got you,” the Parisian sniper said as she spotted the flash of a shot. She squeezed the trigger, and a body dropped from the roof. That was one down of an unknown number.
“Damn bastards,” Luke grunted as he ducked back into cover, laser fire flying overhead.
“At least we know the intel was right, huh?” Kendall said before poking her head out to return fire. “Got one! Two more on the roof of the TM shop!”
“I see zem,” Rena said as she shifted her aim. She fired off two shots in quick succession, dropping one of the men on the roof, but missing the second. Rena then had to drop back into cover as a salvo of laser shots flew her way.
“We need to draw their fire,” Kiril said. “I am useless here.”
“I’ve got an idea,” Luke said. The Alliance merc grabbed a Pokeball off his belt, then sent out the Pokemon contained within. “Kaiju, keep ‘em occupied, will ya?!” he called out as his Tyranitar emerged in the middle of the street.
Immediately, the large, rocky Pokemon drew the fire of the men shooting at the Red Suns. The tanky Tyranitar shrugged off the hits like they were nothing. Stomping down the street, Kaiju roared with rage.
Taking advantage of the chaos Luke’s Pokemon had wrought amongst their attackers, the Red Suns sprang out of cover and into action. Rena picked off the man on the roof she had missed before while the rest of her squad lit up the enemies on the ground. Using the cover his squadmates provided, Kiril charged ahead, brandishing his flamethrower. Those unlucky enough to get in his way were set aflame.
“Run you cowards!” the large Romanov man shouted as the few remaining men turned tail and fled. He then broke out into laughter. “This street is ours!”
“Nice work,” Rena said as she stepped out from cover and approached her comrade.
“Are ve just going to let zem escape?” Wilhelm asked as he followed.
“No,” Rena told him. “We are going to follow zem right back to zeir base.”
“They went this way!” Danny’s voice sounded from up ahead as the Red Suns chased the fleeing Seekers through the alleyways of Devil’s Landing. Rena rounded the corner to see him pointing down another alley.
The squad formed up on Danny’s position, then they made their way down the alley. This narrow path between two buildings led to a T-intersection with another alleyway. The path on the left led to a dead end, but the path on the right kept going.
“Only one way from here,” Kendall said.
Rena nodded. “Let’s go.”
They proceeded down the alley, which soon opened up to a wider courtyard completely surrounded by the back side of buildings. Peering out from a corner, Rena spotted the two men they had been chasing slipping into a darkened doorway on the far side of the courtyard.
“Zere,” Rena announced as she watched the door shut behind the men. “Zey went into zat creepy-looking building across ze way.”
“Alright, vat are ve vaiting for?” Wilhelm asked before stepping out from behind the corner.
“Wait!” Rena barked at him, grabbing the German by the back of his armored vest. She yanked him backwards just as a volley laser fire streaked by.
“Shit!” Wilhelm cried out in surprise.
“Don’t be so reckless next time,” Rena berated the young man. “Otherwise zere won’t be a next time.”
“Sorry, ma’am … and zanks.”
“Just be more careful,” Rena said with a sigh before carefully peeking out with her rifle. “One contact in ze window. And … down.” One shot, and the threat was neutralized.
“This door’s locked up tight,” Danny said as he examined the locking mechanism sealing the door to the Seeker base. As the squad’s tech expert, it was his job to get it open.
“We can just blast it open,” Kiril suggested.
“Not everything needs to be solved with an explosion,” Rena said. “Can you open it?” she then asked Danny.
“Yeah,” he replied as he continued to fiddle with the lock. “I just need my hacking tool. Carter, fetch it from my pack, will ya?”
“What am I, your personal assistant?” Kendall asked as she leaned over and reached into the pack on Danny’s back.
After rummaging around for a few moments, the Alliance woman pulled out a small device and held it out to Danny. As her squadmate reached for it, she yanked it away. “Uh uh,” she said. “You didn’t say thank you.”
“Oh, just shut up and give it to me.”
“Funny,” Kendall said, a smirk appearing on her face. “That’s what your sister said to me last night.”
“Ha ha,” Danny responded dryly, snatching the device out of her hand. He was clearly not as amused as his squadmate. “I don’t need to know the particulars of what you and my sister get up to in the bedroom,” he grumbled as he got to work hacking the lock.
“Alright, cut the chatter,” Luke told the pair.
“Yeah, yeah,” Danny said. Moments later, the door slid open. “There. You’re welcome.”
“Let’s move,” Rena said. “Wilhelm, take point. And be careful zis time.”
The German merc nodded. “Got it,” he said as he stepped through the door.
Sniper rifle slung over her shoulder, Rena drew her pistol as she followed Wilhelm inside. She was good with a long-range weapon indoors, but these were some exceptionally tight quarters they were entering.
The squad moved down a narrow hallway, then up a staircase before reaching a more open space. Stopping at a doorway, Wilhelm motioned for the others to hold up while he peered through. After a few moments, he waved for them to follow, then stepped through. Carefully sweeping the corners, the Red Suns crossed the room to a closed door on the far side.
“Be ready for anything on ze other side,” Rena cautioned the squad before nodding for Danny to open the door.
The squad’s tech expert hit the button and the door slid open, then Wilhelm led the push into the next room … right into a group of Seekers with weapons drawn. “Get to cover!” the German merc shouted to his squadmates as their enemies opened fire.
Rena dove behind a nearby couch, then attempted to throw up a psionic barrier to protect everyone. Unfortunately, she was too late. Wilhelm’s body dropped beside her as blood poured from the holes the Seekers’ armor-piercing ballistic rounds had ripped through him.
“Merde!” the Red Suns’ leader shouted in frustration as the sound of gunfire raged around her.
Rena’s gaze lingered upon Wilhelm’s lifeless eyes for a few seconds before she popped out of cover and began returning fire. Lining up a shot with her pistol, she aimed right between the eyes of one of the Seekers and pulled the trigger. The shot struck dead on, dropping the man where he stood.
“This one’s for Roth!” Danny shouted as he downed another.
Moments later, the air fell still and the sound of gunfire subsided. The last of the Seekers had been taken out. That’s when Rena noticed the woman sitting calmly in a in the corner of the room. She looked to be in her late fifties or, perhaps, early sixties and seemed entirely unfazed by what had just transpired. As Rena made eye contact with this woman, she felt a shiver run down her spine. Something about her just felt … off.
“Who are you?” Rena asked as she approached the woman.
“One that for the spirits speaks,” she replied in an almost sing-songy voice. It left Rena deeply unsettled, though she could not quite explain why.
“Where’s Tzaal?” the Red Suns’ asked.
“Ah, the one who seeks,” the strange woman said, a creepy smile appearing on her face.
“Ze Seeker, yes,” Rena said.
The woman’s eyes drifted to a door opposite the one the Red Suns had entered through. “Within, he lies in wait.”
“You ‘eard ze woman,” Rena said, turning to the surviving members of the squad.
“Yes, let’s listen to the creepy hag,” Kendall said dryly.
“It’s zat or stay ‘ere,” Rena said with a chuckle, glancing over at the strange woman.
“This meeting foretold by fate,” the woman said, her creepy smile widening.
“Right,” Kendall said. “Point taken.”
The squad formed up on the door, then they stepped through. In the next room, Jacob Tzaal stood waiting, flanked on either side by two more of his men.
“So you have come,” he said.
“Come to bring you in,” Kiril said.
“I doubt that,” Tzaal said before nodding to his men.
The two Seekers quickly raised their guns, but the Red Suns were quicker. The pair of men dropped to the floor without even firing off a shot.
Tzaal showed no reaction. He simply stared the mercenaries down, and three projections of himself appeared in a circle around him. Rena recalled this same trick from their encounter with him on Mechorah all those years ago. She fired her pistol at the image of Tzaal at the center of the circle, but the shot went right through.
“Now you die!” the three remaining images of Tzaal spoke in unison. All of them charged forward with surprising speed, bypassing the psionic barrier surrounding the squad.
One of the images struck at Luke with a blade, leaving a gash along his arm as he deflected it away. Luke grunted in pain and backed away as the others returned fire. The projection dissipated under the combined assault just as another came at Kendall, blade raised to strike. Before it could reach her, it was consumed by a rush of flames from Kiril’s flamethrower.
Now only one remained. Rena turned toward Tzaal as he lunged at her with his blade. The Parisian mercenary raised her hand and let loose a blast of psionic energy at the Seeker, disarming him. Seizing the opportunity, Rena dove at the man, tackling him to the floor.
Tzaal quickly slipped from Rena’s grasp and scrambled for the knife. Rena grabbed his leg just as his fingers closed around the handle and yanked him back, causing him to lose his grip and sending the knife sliding along the floor. With his free foot, Tzaal began kicking wildly. Rena a rush of pain as the Seeker’s boot collided with the side of her face and everything went blurry for a second.
The next thing Rena knew, Tzaal was on top of her, hands around her throat. She flailed her arms around in an attempt to throw him off, but it was no use. As she gasped for air, Rena felt Tzaal’s body suddenly go limp, then she saw the tip of his knife pierce through his throat.
“Get off her!” Kiril barked as he threw the Seeker aside.
“You ‘ave my zanks, Kiril,” Rena said once her breathing slowed to normal.
“We can’t be having another boss die on us,” the large Romanov man said as he pulled her to her feet.
“Looks like our job is done,” Danny said as he prodded Tzaal’s lifeless body with his foot. “Let’s go get Roth and get out of here.”
“Right,” Rena said, nodding.
The squad returned to the previous room, where they discovered the strange woman was gone, along with several of the Seekers they had downed. Specifically, the ones that had still been alive.
“What the hell?” Kendall asked. “Where did they go?”
“Who cares?” Luke asked as he picked Wilhelm’s body up off the floor. “Let’s call up Johnson and get paid.”
“Da,” Kiril agreed. “Let’s get out of this place.”
“Agreed,” Rena said. “Zis place gives me ze creeps.”
“Well I must say, Ms. Bordeaux, I am quite impressed,” Commander Johnson said. “As always. You did fine work taking down Tzaal.”
“We aim to please,” Rena replied.
“We’re still receiving reports of Seeker activity in the Rim, however” the commander continued, folding his hands behind his back.
Rena locked eyes with the hologram of the commander. “Oh?”
Johnson nodded. “Unfortunately so. The good news is that the death of their leader has dealt them a heavy blow. They won’t be recovering anytime soon.”
“Zat’s good to ‘ear.”
“Indeed. In the meantime, I have a new assignment for you.”
“What is it zis time?” Rena asked. “More pirates?”
“It seems we’ve got more big players emerging in the Outer Rim criminal underworld,” the commander said as a bunch of information appeared on the screen. “They call themselves the Quasars,” Johnson continued. “They’re trying to corner the technology black market and proving to be a real pain in the Federation’s rear.”
“I see,” Rena said as she skimmed to intel on display.
“And there’s more,” Commander Johnson said as the screen changed to display new information. “Seems the Yongs have been crawling out of the woodwork. A group led by one of Boris Yong’s sons has been taking over crime rings up in Sector 35 and causing Command some concern.”
“And you want us to deal with zem?” Rena asked.
“Precisely,” the commander said. “The Quasars, the Yongs, the Seekers … We want you to keep these groups in check, maintain the peace within the Rim.”
“I think we can ‘andle zat,” the Red Suns’ leader said.
“I know you can,” Johnson replied. “That is why we are giving your organization significant leeway to deal with the situation as you see fit.”
Rena smiled. “Your confidence in us is flattering, Commander. We won’t let you down.”
“I’m happy to hear that,” said Commander Johnson. “Good luck out there. Johnson out.”
Rena leaned back in her chair and gazed out the viewport at the stars. This contract with the Federation was certainly paying off. A bright future lay ahead for the Red Suns and she knew that Arlon would be proud.
Author’s Notes: Man, is it good to have this done. I started working on this piece back in December, and after six months of working on it on it off, it’s finished. Ever since it was confirmed that a Spacemon sequel was happening, I knew I wanted to write something exploring what the Red Suns got up to in the years between the campaigns. This piece is set roughly 8 years after the events of the original campaign and is explores how Rena dealt with being the leader of the Red Suns. It’s also packed full of ties to every Spacemon campaign that exists right now as well as almost every piece of writing featuring the Red Suns, from charters, to events and more. It took a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to write, but once I did, everything came together so nicely. There’s so much more I could say, but I think the writing speaks for itself. I hope you enjoy reading it.
That does it for this story. 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!