10 years ago
The Planeteers had been a team for almost eight years. In some ways it seemed that it had not been that long ago that Gaia had summoned them to help her protect the earth. But at the same time, they were getting older and they were starting to feel the pressure from their families and society to "get a real job." They were thinking about the future, about colleges, careers, marriages, families. And they were starting to clash with increasing frequency.
When they had first started as a team, Kwame had been the natural leader. He was older than the rest of them, for one thing. And he was level headed and calm, a good decision maker who was able to pull the team together. But as time went on and the Planeteers grew older they began to challenge Kwame's position- especially Wheeler.
Wheeler had always felt insecure around the other Planeteers. He felt like he got treated like the dumb one. He always felt that his ideas were not respected by the other members of the team. Lately he had begun to become more vocal about his point of view, and was trying harder to influence the others to his line of thinking. It had lead to more than one confrontation with Kwame.
Today they were on a mission to stop a joint effort between Looten Plunder, Dr. Blight and Duke Nukem. The three of them had set up a nuclear reactor on a small island in the South Pacific to refine uranium for making bombs. Apparently they were going to sell them to third world nations with unstable governments. Not only would that make them millions, but in the aftermath of the inevitable devastation Plunder would show up to offer aid- at a price of course.
The atmosphere in the Geo-cruiser was tense as the team made their way to the island. Wheeler had managed to not only get in a fight with Kwame that morning, but with Linka as well. Gi and Ma-ti were wisely choosing to remain quiet and uninvolved.
"We're almost there," Gi announced finally, sounding rather relieved. "Just about ten more minutes."
"So what's the plan this time?" Wheeler asked, sounding a little confrontational.
"I think we need to see what's happening before we develop a plan," Kwame said calmly.
"Let's just take them out. I say we get there, call the Captain and let him destroy their whole operation. And this time we make sure they all get captured and thrown into jail. For good." Wheeler was tired of dealing with the "eco-villains." It seemed they only stopped them just to have them pop up a few weeks later somewhere else with another devious plan. There were enough other sources of pollution in the world to deal with without worrying about a handful of psychopaths like them.
"I don't think we should run in there, guns blazing," Gi said. "We need to examine things first, just like Kwame said."
"She's right," Ma-ti added. "It could be a trap. Dr. Blight has tricked us before in order to capture Captain Planet. Remember that time in Antarctica…"
"Yeah, yeah, I remember." Wheeler interrupted. He looked as if he could continue but Linka gave him a warning look. He sighed and slumped back into his seat. Another idea shot down.
"Those pesky Planeteers have landed on our island," MAL announced to Dr. Blight and her companions as they stood in the control room of the power plant.
"How is it they always know what we are doing?" Duke Nukem growled.
"Who knows?" Plunder said in exasperation. "Let's just finish them off this time, then we won't have to deal with them anymore."
"Sound's wonderful," Dr. Blight said maliciously. "This time I have a plan that will take care of Captain Planet once and for all."
"Just like all the other brilliant plans you've come up with, Doctor?" Duke Nukem asked, not sounding convinced.
Dr. Blight gave him a dirty look. "You should have more faith in me."
"I have faith in you, Doc," Plunder said diplomatically. "But maybe we ought to put an end to the Planeteers before they summon their Captain. Just in case."
"Yeah, I'm with him." Nukem said, folding his arms across his chest.
Dr. Blight looked furious. "Don't you even want to hear my plan?"
"Of course we do," Plunder said. "Go ahead and tell us."
Dr. Blight did not look convinced, but she went ahead with her spiel anyway. "I've perfected a special concentrated pollution formula that is sure to take out Captain Planet."
"You mean that one that smells like roses?" Plunder asked, sounding confused.
"It doesn't smell like roses anymore! Like I said, I perfected it!" She seemed pretty livid now. "Just wait til he shows up, then you'll see!"
"Looks like we're not going to have to wait long. The Planeteers are here!" Nukem announced, pointing at the security monitors.
"Hmph. Let them in, I'll take care of them," Plunder said. There was a hint of something malicious in his voice.
The Planeteers were amazed when the steel doors of the reactor room opened for them. "Did you think we were not prepared for you brats to show up?" Dr. Blight asked, followed by her characteristic laugh and sigh.
"Yeah, this time we're going to take care of you nature nuts once and for all," Nukem added with sinister laugh.
Plunder did not say anything. He looked strangely anxious. There was something dark in his eyes as he glared at the Planeteers.
"We know what you losers are up to, and you might as well go ahead and give up now," Wheeler yelled. He could see some of the other Planeteers roll their eyes at him.
"What we're up to is running a legitimate business. We have a permit from the government to operate this nuclear power plant, and what you are doing is trespassing on private property. So unless you have some legitimate business I would suggest leaving before we call the authorities," Plunder replied smugly.
"What you are really trying to do is enrich uranium for making nuclear warheads!" Gi said angrily.
"Oh, really? I suppose you have some actual proof of that?" Plunder asked. The Planeteers were silent. "I didn't think so. That's alright, I already took the liberty of calling the authorities. You would be surprised how quickly they respond when a group of suspicious looking people are trying to break into a nuclear facility."
The Planeteers looked up at the row of security monitors to see a large group of what appeared to be commandos approaching the facility.
"No way!" Wheeler said. "He's not gonna turn this around to make us look like the bad guys."
"What are we going to do? Those commandos will be here any minute." Linka asked nervously.
"I think there is only one thing we can do," Ma-ti said. The others looked at him knowingly.
"Then let our powers combine…" Kwame began in his usual manner. "Earth!"
"Fire!" Wheeler yelled holding up his hand.
Before Linka had a chance to use her ring a shot rang out through the room. Linka crumpled to the floor, bleeding profusely. There was a moment of all out confusion before anyone figured out what was going on.
Plunder stood across the room, holding a Beretta M9 pistol in his hand. He seemed to be almost as shocked as everyone else. He was used to letting his mercenaries do his dirty work for him. His hand was a little shaky as he held on to the firearm.
Wheeler did not seem to notice Plunder at first. He ran over to Linka, kneeling on the floor next to her. "Linka, babe, are you okay?"
Linka moaned softly, but that was her only response.
"Who…" Wheeler started to ask angrily, when he looked up to see Plunder and Blight standing above them on a platform. Plunder was still holding the gun in his hand.
"You son of a…" Wheeler growled, now overcome with anger.
"Hey, great shot Plunder, I didn't think you had it in you," Nukem said with a hearty laugh. Dr. Blight was silent as she stared at Plunder with a bizarre mixture of shock, admiration and concern.
"This time you've gone too far, Plunder!" Wheeler screamed. He aimed his ring at the platform where Plunder was standing. "FIRE!" he yelled.
The jet of flames melted several support beams of the platform, causing it to nearly snap off the wall. Dr. Blight slipped and fell nearly 12 feet to the concrete floor below, landing with a sickening thud. Plunder managed to hang on to a railing but he dropped his gun in the process. Several large chunks of metal came crashing down into the control panels below.
"This is it. This time I'm putting a stop to your schemes once and for all." Wheeler's eyes flashed with anger.
"Wheeler, don't give in to your anger." It was Ma-ti's voice. It barely registered in Wheeler's mind though. He held out his hand, as if to use his ring again when he felt Kwame's hand on his arm.
"Wheeler, you're going to cause a disaster," Kwame said, his usually calm voice sounding tense. That seemed to snap Wheeler back to reality more than Ma-ti's words. There were warning lights flashing, and the gauges on the control panels all seemed to be dangerously headed toward red.
Wheeler relaxed his arm, though his fist was still clenched. He turned his attention to Gi, who was attempting to control the bleeding from Linka's chest. "We've got to get out of here. She needs to get to a hospital fast," Gi said anxiously.
"Good idea," Wheeler said. "You guys get her to the Geo-cruiser. I'll finish things up here."
"Wheeler, you don't have time to worry about them, you need to leave!" Kwame said.
"Fine then. Leave me here." He was resolute.
The others looked at him worriedly. "We'll give you five minutes," Kwame said. "But we cannot delay getting Linka to the hospital."
"That's all I need," he said as he made his way toward Plunder.
As the other Planeteers carried Linka out of the building Wheeler heard the voice of someone he had forgotten about- Duke Nukem.
"Too bad about your girlfriend," Nukem said, laughing.
Wheeler spun around to face the radioactive villain. "You think that's amusing?" Wheeler's voice was dark.
"I think it's amazing a trust fund, pretty boy like Plunder actually had the nerve to do what someone should have done a long time ago. And now I'm going to finish you off." Nukem shot a blast of radiation towards Wheeler, who ducked behind a counter to avoid being hit. The blast hit a computer station instead.
"Nukem are you crazy? You're gonna blow this place up!" Plunder screamed. He had made his way off of the dangling platform and was kneeling next to Dr. Blight, who had not moved since she had fallen off of the platform.
"Do you think I care?" Nukem asked. "A nuclear explosion sounds wonderful to me."
"That wasn't the plan…"
"Yeah, the plan was to make you lots of money right? Maybe Plunder Industries can start specializing in nuclear decontamination instead."
"You double crossing…"
Wheeler took advantage of the in fighting between his enemies to make his way across the control room and retrieve the gun that had fallen to the floor. He picked it up in his hands and aimed it towards Plunder. It felt odd to hold a weapon like that. His hands were a little shaky.
"Apparently you're not the only one who's decided to step up the game, Plunder," Nukem said, motioning towards Wheeler.
Plunder looked up at Wheeler, who was glaring at him. "I doubt you even know how to use that."
"Do you want to find out?" Wheeler yelled. The room was growing increasingly louder as various alarms and warning signals were sounding. Wheeler was breathing heavily as he contemplated the options before him. As much as he wanted to see Plunder punished for harming Linka he could not bring himself to pull the trigger. There was something in him that would not allow him to shoot an unarmed man.
"Ha, I didn't think you had it in you," Plunder said with a smirk.
"Get up, you're coming with me. I'm going to make sure that you are brought to justice this time." Wheeler tried to sound as intimidating as possible, but the nervous sweat running down his face was ruining the effect.
Plunder rolled his eyes. "Please. Just give it up. You and I both know…"
"Don't worry, I'll help," Nukem interrupted Plunder's tirade. He shot another blast of radiation towards Wheeler. This time it hit the main control panel.
"You fool!" Plunder yelled.
That blast was finally enough to set off a deadly chain reaction. The room was plunged into darkness, illuminated only by dim emergency lighting and flashing red lights. "Five minutes until core meltdown," MAL announced.
Wheeler lunged for Plunder, pinning him to the ground. "You're coming with me!"
"Fine!" Plunder yelled in exasperation. "Do you really think I want to stay here?"
Wheeler grabbed Plunder's arm and pulled him to his feet. "Let's go," Wheeler ordered.
"What about Dr. Blight?" Plunder asked.
"What about her? She's already dead," Wheeler said without a hint of sympathy. It was not as if she did not deserve it after all that she had done.
"You're not really gonna leave her for dead, are you?" Plunder asked, sounding appalled.
"What other choice do we have, this place is going nuclear in five minutes!" Wheeler yelled.
Plunder turned around, as if to go after Dr. Blight. "Oh no you don't," Wheeler yelled, grabbing him by the arm. Wheeler's fingers dug so deeply into his flesh that it sent a flash of pain down Plunder's arm. "This time you're coming with us. You're going to pay for your actions!"
"What? You're crazy, let me go!" Plunder screamed, struggling against Wheeler's grip.
"No way," Wheeler argued. "Somebody's gotta pay for this." Later he would regret this decision. He could have found a way to bring Dr. Blight along too. But at the time he was too focused on revenge and escape.
He kept dragging Plunder along, who now looked helplessly back at Dr. Blight's lifeless form on the floor. "Babs!" he called anxiously.
Wheeler was too focused on escaping to notice Dr. Blight's fingers move slightly. It did not escape Plunder's notice however. "She's still alive, you have to…"
His voice faded away as the heavy metal doors of the containment room slammed shut. Dr. Blight regained some level of consciousness, even though her mind still felt fuzzy. As she watched the containment doors close she knew that there was only one place left for her to go.
Dr. Blight pushed herself up onto her elbows, pain shooting from her arms up through her shoulders as she did so. She gasped, not quite strong enough to muster an actual scream. There was broken glass all over the floor that dug into her palms as she tried to push herself up.
"God damn those Planeteers," she hissed, her voiced strained with pain.
She glanced at the wall of gauges above her. She had less than five minutes to get herself to the blast proof bunker. At least she hoped it was blast proof, but assuming she actually made it she would find out soon enough.
Grabbing a hold of a railing, she managed to stand herself up. She made her way down the narrow corridor that led away from the reactor to the lab. The flashing red warning lights coupled with a slight concussion were making her feel incredibly dizzy.
"You've got two minutes and 12 seconds left before meltdown," MAL's computerized voice informed her.
Normally she would have some sarcastic comment to yell at the computer, but it was taking all that she had just to focus on walking. It seemed that every part of her body was in pain. Her hands were leaving trails of blood on the wall as she tried to steady herself. She could feel some kind of fluid running out of her nose and ears, which was never a good thing.
She could see the doorway to the reinforced bunker now. "One minute left to meltdown." She could still make it. A sudden surge of adrenaline helped her push the rest of the way down the hall.
She never would know how close she came to not making it. As soon as the door to the bunker closed she passed out, her body exhausted from having exerted every bit of energy it possessed.
Once Wheeler made it to the Geo-cruiser, Plunder in tow, they wasted no time getting out of there. Even pushing the aircraft to top speed they did not totally escape the shockwave created by the blast.
"Hold on!" Gi screamed, attempting to navigate through the shockwave. The plane was shaking furiously, enough to make everyone on board very worried for their safety.
"Do you morons really think this solar powered piece of fiberglass is gonna make it through a nuclear blast?" Plunder screamed.
"You know, maybe we should have left you there!" Wheeler yelled back, furious.
"Why not? You left Dr. Blight there to die…" Plunder said darkly. "It doesn't matter whether you kill one person or two… It still makes you a killer."
Wheeler jumped up from his seat, fist clenched, arm drawn back. "I really don't want to hear you accuse me of anything! You tried to kill Linka, and you should be glad you didn't or you would be dead right now."
"Well then, I guess we're not so different are we? We're both willing to kill when it suits us."
Wheeler, finally unable to control the rage that had been building inside swung hard at Plunder, hitting him squarely in the jaw. Plunder could not say that he didn't see it coming, but it was worth it to get under Wheeler's skin like that. He was pretty sure his jaw was broken, and he could taste blood in his mouth. "Nice hit, I didn't think you had it in you," Plunder snapped. He was not about to let up now, he was enjoying being so cruel.
Wheeler probably would have done some serious damage to Plunder then, if Kwame and Ma-ti had not held him back. "Wheeler, you know this isn't going to solve anything," Ma-ti said in his usual "violence is not the answer" way.
"Yeah, well it will make me feel a hell of a lot better!" Wheeler yelled, struggling to get at Plunder.
"Will you all calm down!" Gi yelled. "It's hard enough to navigate without all of you moving around in here."
"Fine." Wheeler said with a huff. "Plunder will get what he deserves when he rots in jail for the rest of his miserable life."
"Don't count on in it," Plunder said. "You may have youthful idealism, but I have friends in high places. We'll see who wins in the end."
It took everything he had in him to keep Wheeler from lashing out at Plunder again. Instead he turned his attention to Linka, who was still unconscious. She was looking very pale, but the bleeding had slowed down some. "Linka, babe, are you okay?" he said softly, holding her hand.
He really wanted her to respond. When she didn't he almost felt as if he could cry, but he managed to hold back his feelings for the sake of everyone else. He brushed her hair gently out of her face. "Come on, babe. Stay strong. You're gonna make it." Silently he willed the Geo-cruiser to fly faster, while at the same time swearing revenge if Linka did not make it.
The fallout from the explosion was horrible, both literally and figuratively. On the physical side, the nuclear blast left the former island paradise totally uninhabitable. Probably for thousands of years. It was exactly the kind of ecological disaster the Planeteers had been trying to avoid.
The United States Marines who responded to the blast managed to capture Duke Nukem, who they placed in a secret underground containment unit somewhere in the Nevada dessert. The Planeteers handed Plunder over to the United Nations Peace Keeping forces. Dr. Blight was assumed dead, a victim of the blast. They figured that at least they would not have those eco-villains to deal with anymore, though they doubted that was worth the price they paid.
The political fallout was another thing altogether. It was the thing that drove the final wedge between the Planeteers.
Plunder had not been joking when he told Wheeler that he had friends in high places. He owned the controlling interest in several media conglomerates, and put the pressure on them to twist the story against the Planeteers. They were portrayed by major news outlets as "eco-terrorists," crazy liberals who cared more about the environment than human life. Plunder himself managed to escape any criminal penalties, though it cost him a fortune in attorney's fees and bribes.
His plan worked better than he had hoped. There was an enormous public outcry against the Planeteers and calls for them to disband. The U.S. government took on a full investigation of their activities, alarmed that they seemed to be operating outside of any legal controls. Of course Plunder managed to provide the special committee in charge of the investigation with all sorts of witnesses to the Planeteers' recklessness.
Within a few months the Planeteers went their separate ways. Ma-ti was the first to leave. Disillusioned with the governments of the western world, he decided to return to his people and a simpler way of life. Gi was next, giving into pressure from her family to go to college and earn a respectable career. Kwame and Linka decided college was the way to go as well.
Wheeler simply decided to work, and to try to distance himself from the Planeteer name as much as possible. He convinced Linka to move in with him, her brush with death finally making him brave enough to truly declare his love to her. Besides, it took several months for her to recover from the gunshot and subsequent surgeries, and she really needed his help. He supported Linka through college, and they were married shortly after she earned her bachelor's degree.
Plunder could have left it at that. The Planeteers had split up. They were not going to be bothering him anymore. But he wanted revenge. He did not just want to give them a bad reputation, he wanted to see them suffer. This time, though, he was not going to act rashly. He was going to bide his time, to watch every move they made.
And even if he did not feel that they had done enough to him personally to warrant that kind of revenge, he felt as though he somehow owed it to Dr. Blight to avenge her death. Those Planeteers would travel halfway around the world to save a whale, but they left her laying injured on the floor to die.
It wasn't as if the two of them had been in love or anything like that. But they were… close. They had been through a lot together. Looten Plunder did not have many people that he could call friends, but she was one of them. And her death really bothered him, more so than almost anything else that had he had ever experienced.
So after everything had settled, his name was cleared and the Planeteers split up, Plunder started planning his ultimate revenge.
Author's note: I don't really know why this story is so dark and angsty. I'm not the dark and angsty kind of person, I'm actually pretty happy with life. Maybe my writing is a way to get out those kind of feelings? I dunno.