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New Planeteers - Call of Nature [PG]

Manic Webb

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Being an old-time fan of the original [i]Captain Planet and the Planeteers[/i] cartoon, I've always had my own ideas on how the Planeteers should've handled everything. Finally, I just broke down and decided to write a fan fiction.

What you are about to read (should you choose not to press the Back button) is a more serious, somewhat darker, and completely unheard-of retelling of the [i]Planeteer[/i] mythos-- [b]without[/b] Captain Planet or his green mullet. Here's hoping Ted Turner doesn't sue me.

[center][b][size=4]New Planeteers[/size][/b][/center]

[size=3][b]Chapter 1 - The Chosen[/b][/size]
He was out of practice. He was good. He was a natural. However, it doesn't hurt to brush up on one's skills. He was having trouble focusing lately, so he figured he needed to find a few new targets. He needed easy targets; the same he originally trained with. The Werribee Open Range Zoo. It wasn't too far from his home in Melbourne, and he needed to shoot a few animals. His mind made up, Warner grabbed his camera and walked out the door.

Warner shared a tour through the range with a small group of American tourists. He adjusted to the bumps of the truck as he began to shoot photo after photo.

"Excuse me," a woman asked, "are you a photographer?"

"Well, I take photos," Warner answered humbly. "I'm not a professional, though."

"Oh. Can I see some of your work?" She motioned at his digital camera. Warner scrolled to some of his older photos, and held the camera closer to the woman. "Oh, these are good. My husband, Bobby, is a magazine photographer. We're on vacation to visit some of his relatives, but he insisted on seeing the Werribee Zoo." The woman turned around and tapped a man holding a camera on the shoulder. "Bobby, come see some of this boy's work." The man turned around and looked at Warner's camera.

"Say, you're pretty good."

"Thank you."

"How old are ya, kid?" he asked.

"I'm nineteen. I've been into photography since I was twelve. My grandfather caught me playing with his camera, and he sort of encouraged me."

"You're a natural, kid. Here." Bobby handed Warner a business card. "Name's Bob Miller. If you ever find yourself in the States, give me a call. I might be able to get you a job at Geo Monthly."

"Um, wow." Warner was taken by surprised, and a little flattered. "Thanks. I mean, I'm not sure what chance I have of leaving the country anytime soon, but I'll hang on to this." Warner laughed a little, realizing he hadn't introduced himself yet. "I'm Warner Blake, by the way." They shook hands. "And-- does anyone else smell smoke?"

"Everybody off the truck," the driver said. They did as he said, as a cloud of smoke bursted from the engine. The truck hopped a little. "Right. Didn't see that coming. If you're all willing to walk out a few meters, I can get someone to come out here and pick us up shortly."

However, no one had noticed that a spare tire had shaken loose from the side of the truck. When the tire fell and began to roll down-hill into the watering hole, Warner noticed it was about to trample a duck. He ran after the wheel, stopping it by tripping over it and knocking it down. Warner himself fell into the muddy soil. The driver ran to him and helped him up.

"You alright?"

"Yeah, just a little bemuddled... if that's a word. Is the duck alright?"

"Yeah, he's fine. Thank you. I think the park owes you one." The driver, who is also a guide, peered down at the duck and noticed a small hand ring had fallen onto its feathered back. "Hey, kid. You drop this ring?" Warner took a brief look at the ring, taking it from the driver's hand.

"No, I don't eat Cracker Jacks," he replied. He looked to the other tourists, holding the ring up. "Anybody drop this?" Everyone shook their heads. Warner put it in his pocket. "I'll drop it off at the Lost and Found when we get back."

A young woman grabbed her luggage as she angrily stormed out of her fiance's Madrid home. Just before reaching her car, a he comes walking out the door.

"Beatriz," he shouted. "Beatriz, come back!" She stopped, turned around, and looked him in the eye.

"No, Ramon," She said coldly. "I know what you've been doing, and I can't live with that."

"But I can get help--!"

"Well when that happens, call me."

"You can't leave me! You've got nowhere to go!" There was a moment of silence between them. Finally, Beatriz responded.

"I can improvise." She loaded her baggage into her small car, and drove away. She knew she had nowhere else to go, but she had decided that staying put wouldn't help her. She wasn't even driving anywhere in particular. Eventually, she came to a pier. She exited her car, and began to walk around to think about where she could go from here. She looked toward the water, seeing a young mother and her daughter in her direction.

"Carla," the mother warned, "don't stand so close to the edge." Carla didn't listen, however. Losing her balance, the little girl fell into the water. "Carla! Help! Somebody, my baby can't swim!" Hearing this, Beatriz looked up to see a little girl splashing violently. Beatriz pulled her shoes off, knowing they would slow her down, and dived in after her. After a brief struggle, young Carla realized Beatriz was trying to help her, and calmed down. Beatriz lifted Carla to the edge of the pier, where her mother grabbed her and helped her up. Beatriz climbed back onto the pier, gasping for air.

"Is she okay?" Beatriz asked.

"Yes," Carla's mother replied, "she's fine. Thank you...?"


"Thank you, Beatriz. I'm Eva. You just saved my little Carlita."

"Well," Beatriz said with a smile, "at least something's going right for me today." Noticing a small vine of seaweed on her left hand, Beatriz removed it, finding a ring wrapped in it. "Does this ring belong to either of you?" They shook their heads.

In an apartment in a city just outside of Vancouver, brothers Whistler and Kesler were engaged in an intense video game. They had been battling one another for hours, and their scores were nearly even. In a game of martial arts and combat, Kesler was ahead of Whistler by one match. If Whistler wanted to tie the score, he was going to need a new strategy.



"I know this might be a bad time to tell you, but I heard mom and dad registered to get a divorce after you moved in with me last month."

"Nice try, Wiz," Kesler began, never taking his eyes off of the screen, "but I'm not losing this match."

"You didn't lose your pet turtle when you were five. I ran it over with my bike, and buried the body in the back yard." When Whistler said this, Kesler not only remained silent, but lost his concentration. He lost the match. With Whistler's victory, and the score tied, Whistler called his own bluff. "Just kidding, man. I don't know what happened to your turtle."

"That's not funny, Wiz."

"Yes it is."

"Why did I move in with you, anyway?"

"Because it was either me," Whistler replied, "or you stay at home with mom and dad."

"There was also homelessness. Don't forget the streets," Kesler added jokingly.

"You wouldn't have survived a day out there," Whistler said as he began to stand up and walk out the sliding patio/balcony door. "I'm gonna go get some air."

"Alright. I'll rest my thumbs and get a snack." Kesler walked to the refrigerator, taking out several sandwich amenities. He turned around to grab the bread, but noticed there was very little left. "Hey Wiz! We're outta bread. There's only one slice left, and it's--" he scoffed a little "--an end-piece?! Whistler?"

Whistler was standing out on the balcony, pouring a single blue pill out of a small white bottle. He placed the pill in his mouth, letting it slowly dissolve on his tongue. He took a deep breath through his nose, as a rush of energy flowed through him. Just as the pill finished dissolving, Kesler walked out, telling him he's going to the store.

On his way back home, Kesler looked up at his apartment from the street, and saw Whistler talking to a man he's never seen before. Thinking nothing of it, he continued to walk toward the building. However, he noticed one of his shoes had become untied, and stopped next to a tree to tie it. Just then, a ring fell from the tree and bounced off of his head. Kesler picked it up, looking at it curiously. Not giving it another thought, Kesler looked up to see his brother fighting the strange man. Still holding his loaf of bread and the ring, he ran inside the building, up two flights of stairs, and into his second story apartment. The man was holding a gun up to Whistler.

"What did you think, Whistler?" the man asked. "You think you were buy from me on credit?"

"Get away from him!" Kesler shouted, as he lunged at the attacker. As Kesler and the man fell to the floor, the gun fired a single shot, hitting Whistler in the abdomen. With the attacker knocked out from the fall, Kesler crawled over to Whistler, who wasn't responding to his calls.

Not far from Mumbai, a young man named Sanjay raced to Zev's, a nearby restaurant. As he rushed through the back entrance, he pulled a piece of cloth from his pocket to wipe the sweat from his brow. When he approached the wall chart used to sign in, the manager, using his own pen, crossed out Sanjay's name.

"Ah-- wha??" Sanjay looked up to see his manager's eyes glaring back at him. "Ramu, listen. I'm sorry I'm late, but there was this thing with my neighbor, and--"

"Save it, Sanjay," Ramu interrupted. "I told you that if you show up late one more time, I was going to fire you."

"But it really wasn't my fault this time. I--"

"No. I've already given you a second chance. In fact, this was your fifth. Get to work, and I'll include today's work on your final pay."



"But I jus?"


"If you would let--"


"Can I at lea--"


"Will you stop doing that?"

"No. Ah! I'm not going to hear any of your excuses, so just know that I have a whole bag of 'Ah!' with your name on it."

Sanjay walked to the sink to wash his hands. After drying them, he wrapped a short, black apron around his waist. Grabbing a pen and pad, he walked into the dining area to take the orders of the customers. The continued normally, although Sanjay was especially kind toward the customers. It's not that he was doing it to get his job back; he just wanted the extra tips. At some point, Sanjay made his way back into the kitchen for a break.

"Hey, Dev." Sanjay walked toward Dev, the cook. "What's going on?"

"Really busy day," he replied while turning on a large rice cooker. "No wonder Ramu wanted you to still work today. We were gonna need the extra help."

"Well I'm leaving early. It's my last day, anyway."

"I don't blame you," Dev said. He reached to a shelf above the stove to grab the sugar, but accidentally knocked a bottle of cooking oil onto the stove. The oil spilled everywhere, causing a small fire to break out. "Ah! Fire!" He jumped back, watching the flame consume whatever food was unfortunate enough to feed budding inferno.

"Stand back!" Sanjay ran to the door, grabbed the fire extinguisher, and put out the fire. "You okay?"

"I'll be fine," Dev replied. Just then, Ramu entered the room.

"What's all this commotion?" He looked around, seeing signs of a fire, and Sanjay holding the extinguisher. "Was there a fire?"

"Yes," Dev answered. "I was talking to Sanjay when?"

"Out!" Ramu shouted at Sanjay. "You're nothing but trouble! I want you out of my restaurant!"

"It's your brother-in-law's restaurant," Sanjay added.

"You think I care? Out!" Ramu looked at the stove, and saw a small ring sitting amongst the foam. He picked it up and threw it at Sanjay. "And take your cheesy costume jewelry with you." Sanjay caught the ring, and took a look at it.

"Where did this come from? A Cracker Jack box?"

Midori always greeted her customers with a smile, whether she knew them personally or not. In this case, however, she knew her personally. It was Kumiko. She approached the register of Lucky Yen Café, where Midori worked. There were tears in her eyes.

"Kumi-Kumi," Midori asked with great concern, "what's wrong?"

"It's Ohagi," she said. Her voice was breaking. "He's breaking up with me!"

"Aww. It's his loss! I told you that guy was a rice ball... and I don't mean that by name only. Why would he leave a girl like you?" Midori looked on, as the Kumiko was too upset to speak. "Listen, Kumi, I don't think I can talk to you right now. Can I stop by your place when my shift is over?"

"Yes," Kumiko replied. "I'll talk to you later. Goodbye."

"Bye, Kumi." As Kumiko walked away, Midori's co-worker, Hiro, walked to the front of the café to talk to her.

"Who was that?" he asked.

"That was my cousin, Kumiko Matsuo. It looks like her boyfriend of three years just broke up with her."

"Wow. That sounds tough."

"I can only imagine."

"You know, Matsuo," Hiro began to say, "if you need to get off an hour early to see to your cousin, I can cover for you."

"Thanks, Hiro. You've always been a good friend."

"Right. Friend."

A bus stopped in front of a boarding house in a Tokyo suburb. Midori exited this bus, walking through the front yard toward the door. She nearly tripped on something sticking out of a mound of dirt. She looked down to see it was only a ring.

"Don't they put these in boxes of Munchee-Munchee Candy?" she asked herself. She held onto the ring, intending to give it to the little girl who lives with her mother a room in the room next to Kumiko's. Midori knocked on the door a few times, to find the landlord waiting on the other side. He greeted Midori, and led her to Kumiko's room. Midori knocked on Kumiko's door. "Kumiko? Kumi, it's Midori. Are you awake?" Midori opened the door, expecting to see Kumiko asleep on the floor. Instead, she found Kumiko dead. Midori let out a loud scream, disturbing everyone in the house.

When the police arrived, they found Kumiko's body stretched out on the floor; mouth foaming, and a couple of blue pills in her hand. The police explained it as a drug-related death. Midori approached one of the officers, inquiring the drug.

"It's a new drug called Bliss," the policeman said. "It's a man-made chemical that's being sold on the streets in these blue capsules. Craziest thing-- I hear there are deaths by this stuff all over the world."

"Do you know where she could've gotten it from?" Midori asked.

"Considering this neighborhood, I wouldn't be surprised if her dealer was a guy named Rigger. We've been looking for him for about a few weeks. We know the area he deals in, and that he's a foreigner. If it makes you feel any better, Ms. Matsuo, we're very close to finding the guy who did this to your cousin."

"A foreigner named Rigger?" Midori wanted to make sure her information was correct.

"Yes. Possibly American. I'd advise you to keep away from him, miss."

"Thank you, officer."

Moving to a new country is a lot to ask of anyone. Nevertheless, it had been a week since Warner encountered an American photographer named Bob Miller, and his options were open to anything. After all, it was a job, and there could've been a chance it paid higher than Russell Family Portraits. Problem was, he lost the business card.

"Where on Earth did I put that card?" Warner began to look through his laundry, believing he never took the business card out of his pocket that day. He eventually found the pants, but more than the business card waited inside. The funny looking ring was also inside. "Heh. Forgot to give this back." He took a good look at the ring, and noticed a familiar symbol on top. "It must be a kid's ring. Look at this lop-sided heart--"

A bright light shined from the ring, engulfing Warner. He tried to fight its influence, but he soon found himself in a motionless trance. Different images then began to pass through his mind: his neighbors, nearby animals; but four visions stood out above the rest. One was of a beautiful Spanish girl, standing in the ocean; the next was a Canadian boy, falling from a great height; the next was a young man from India, his surrounding ablaze; the final was that of a Japanese woman, standing alone on a mountain top.

Warner had no idea what these visions meant, but he knew he had to find out.[/size]
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Excellent start to the story, very well written. I like that while the tone of the piece was definitely serious, there were a few moments of clever humor sprinkled throughout. There was definitely some laugh-out-loud moments in here; I'd highlight them all, but you know, laziness.

The characters were introduced about as well as could be expected, too. Nice, short vignettes that help you get the gist of them, and leave you wanting a bit more. Excellent work, I'm looking forward to the next part. :)
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  • 2 weeks later...
Here's the second chapter. Just a warning: this short story is going to be a tad longer than I anticipated.

[b][size=3]Chapter 2 - Bliss[/size][/b]
It's more than revenge. It's about justice. His name was Rigger, and Midori Matsuo never wanted him to see the light of day ever again. Her plan was very simple, although very hands-on. She was to find him, incapacitate him, and call the police. In her mind, it was what was needed to get her cousin's murderer sent away; but hers was a plan of rage, not sensibility.

For one week, she waited and searched the alleys and streets around her late cousin's neighborhood. One night, she found him. He was holding a small dog and standing in front of a pet store that had just closed. He pretended to knock, faking the role of a returning customer. As a teenager approached him, Midori stood nearby listening in.

"Excuse me," the teenager said, "but the store is closed."

"That's a shame. I wanted to return this pet food vitamin stuff they sold me." Rigger reached into his pocket and pulled out a small bottle of the drug bliss. "It disagrees with my dog's system."

"My dog uses the same vitamins. If it's not too much trouble, I could buy them from you." The exchange was made. The teenager opened the bottle, looked inside, and a look of satisfaction came across his face. "A friend of mine uses the same dog vitamins. Do you think this store still has them in stock?"

"No, but I know a convenience store not too far from here that sells better pet food for cheap." The two parted ways for the night, unaware they were being watched.

The next night, Midori departed her job and went shopping for new clothes: black leather pants, a black tank top, a mesh top, boots, and a long jacket trimmed with a faux-fur collar. She put them on that night, complimented with a spiky hairstyle. Knowing the closest store to the pet shop that would be closed that night, Midori arrived, waiting for the man known as Rigger to show up. She was prepared, as her long jacket concealed a small metal pipe. She didn't buy it specifically for the purpose of confronting Rigger, however, as she happened to be an ept amateur plumber who replaced this pipe with a new one under her kitchen sink.

"Who're you?" Midori turned around to see Rigger standing before her. He was much shorter than she imagined, and much less imposing. He didn't even look very smart.

"My friend sent me," she responded. "He said this was the store to go to for good, cheap food... for my cat." She turned toward the store, pretending to look inside for the owner. "It looks like they're closed, though. Do you work here?" Rigger looked up and down at her. She was attractive. As far as he knew, she was just some kid on her way to a rave. He turned slightly and checked his surroundings for the police. It was clear, but that was no reason to be less cautious.

"Yeah, I know the owner. I think he might still be in. Come around the back of the building, and I'll see if I can help you out." He led her around the side of the small building and to the very narrow alley behind it. Rigger reached into his pocket for a bottle of bliss. He didn't take it out, however, as he was waiting to see the money. "Got yen, kid?"

"I think so..." She reached into her jacket and grabbed the steel pipe. Her grip tightened. She said one last thing as she took a deep breath. "...but I'd rather give you this!" Midori let free a fierce ki-ai that would otherwise startle her opponent into an unprotected state of mind. Rigger, however, had a gun. He caught the pipe with the opposite hand of his attacker, pulling a gun with his other.

"Give me one reason why I shouldn't splash your brains against the wall right here."

"I'll give you four," a mysterious voice said from behind Midori. When she and Rigger checked to see who it was, four crows flew toward Rigger, eventually surrounding his face and squawking in his ear. While he was distracted, the mysterious stranger grabbed Midori by the hand. They swiftly ran from Rigger, using the crows to distract him. The crows eventually departed, however, and Rigger chased down the two attackers. Running out of options, and fearing Rigger would find them, Midori and the stranger ran into a nearby rave and began to blend in. With the excitement of the chase over, Midori and the stranger stopped to get a good look at one another.

"Thank you," Midori shouted over the music, "whoever you are."

"Warner," he replied. "I'm Warner Blake, but just call me Warner."

"I hardly know you--"

"Don't worry about it, miss...?"

"Matsuo." Despite the music, the moment became awkwardly silent. After a few minutes, Midori looked at Warner, the door, and back at Warner. "I think it's safe, now. He's probably stopped looking for us." They left the party, which was fine for Warner, as he wasn't a person who enjoyed going to many social gatherings. They began to walk down the street together, heading toward the train station. "I want to thank you, again. You saved my life."

"It was nothing"

"You're not from around here," Midori asked with a curious smile, "are you?"

"No," Warner laughed. "I guess the English was a give away. I'm from Australia."

"Oh. I hear it's a very lovely country."

"Thanks. It is. Listen, I--"

"How did you do it?" she asked.

"Do what?"

"The crows. You sent the flock of crows to distract him, didn't you?"

"No, it was a murder," Warner corrected. A look of fear came across Midori's face. "A flock of crows is called a murder. It's one of those strange names they give bird groups, like a gaggle of geese, or an unkindness of ravens."

"Raven flocks are called unkindnesses?"

"Yeah. I think buzzards are called wakes, too."

"That's weird."

"Really weird."

"Still doesn't answer my question, though." They shared a brief laugh, which settled by the time Warner was ready to give his answer.

"Really, I just have a way with animals." As Warner looked into the clear night sky, he felt his hand leave his side and become held in Midori's grasp.
"Thanks, again. I have to go, though." Midori began to slowly walk away, but Warner put his hand on her shoulder to slow her down.

"Wait, listen! I-- that is, if you need anything... You look like you could use some help."

"It's not your concern, Warner."

"I disagree." He paused for a moment as Midori gave him a curious look. "I just-- you won't believe why-- I saw you in a dream."

"Excuse me?"

"A dream. I saw you in a dream, and I was led to you." Warner took his hand off of Midori's shoulder, and stepped back a little. She took a good look at him, noticing his somewhat darker skin complexion.

"Is this one of those dream time things? I read about the Aboriginal belief system when I was in school, and--"

"No," Warner laughed nervously. "I don't know much about the dream time or my mom's culture. She and my dad passed when I was very young. I was raised by my Scottish grandfather."

"Oh. I'm sorry."

"It?s alright." Warner looked down at his hands, contemplating the significance of his ring's powers. "I think there might be some kind of connection between us."

"I understand, now." Midori walked away, believing Warner was attempting to pick her up. "It's nice that you saved my life, but that doesn't mean I'll do whatever you say just because you're a mysterious foreigner."

"No!" Warner ran to catch up to her, holding his ring out for her to see. "That's not what I meant. It's this! This ring! It has this-- I can-- let me show you. Heart." A wave of emotional energy pulsed through the ring, calling forth stray cats that gathered around Warner's feet.

"H-h-how?! How?"

"It's my ring," he said. "I just found it one day, but it has this weird power. I know it looks like something you can find in a box of cereal, but it's how I found you. It's what I'll probably need to find [i]them[/i]." She looked into his eyes, searching for sincerity. She believed him, and more importantly, she recognized his ring.

"Come with me."

"So," Midori began, "what exactly can this ring of yours do?" She handed him a cup of tea as she sat across from him at her table. They were in her apartment. Warner adjusted his sitting position several times, not being used to sitting on the floor.

"Well, it sorta lets me communicate with animals."

"Is that how you made the crows attack Rigger?"

"Yes, but I didn't really force them to do it. I can let animals know what I need, and they sorta decide whether or not they'll help me."

"So those crows could have refused to help you save my life?"

"The guy [i]did[/i] have a gun."

"Can it do anything else?"

"It lets me feel the emotions of other people, if I want. It also led me to you."


"I don't know. When I first put it on and said 'heart,' it showed me pictures of you and three other people. Your picture was the last one I saw, so I remembered it clearer. You were standing on top Mount Fuji. I could tell, because I've seen pictures of it."

"I've never been to Mount Fuji."

"I figured as much, but it led me to Japan."

"I have the same ring."

"You do?!" Warner stood up in excitement. "Maybe it has the answers I need."

"Could be," Midori said as she stood up and began to look through a small bowl in the kitchen. It was the bowl she kept her spare keys and trinkets in. "Maybe you were just sent here to find the ring. It's obvious I don't know what you're talking about." She found the ring and held it up. "Here it is. Funniest thing. I found it in the ground near my cousin's boarding house. I thought it belonged to the little girl who lived there." Warner walked toward her and began to examine the ring. She put it in his hand to help him look closer at it.

"I doubt it," he said. "--being sent to find the ring, that is. If I only needed to find your ring, why would I get a vision of you?"

"Because I was the person keeping the ring."

"But I found you while you're life was in danger. Normally, I'd pass that off as a coincidence, but I have a ring that lets me talk to animals, so I'm guessing fate plays a role." He handed the ring back to her. "Plus I think my ring would've lured me to your apartment, if this is where the ring was the whole time."

"Is there something wrong with it?"

"I don't know." Warner scratched his head. "I wasn't getting the same jittery feeling I got when I put my ring on. Besides, I need you to tell me what that looks like in the center." Midori slowly held her hand out, intending for Warner to put the ring on her finger. He gently held her hand, sliding the ring onto the appropriate finger. Midori turned the ring upward, looking inside the center.

"It looks like the Earth." With those words, a small tremor began to shake the apartment building. Shocked, Midori dropped the ring and took several paces back. "I caused that! I know I did! I felt it! That ring isn't right." Warner kneeled down, picked up the ring, and put it on his finger.

"Earth." Nothing happened. "I was afraid of this."

"What? Afraid of what?"
"I can't use your ring. I think you're the only one who can use it."

"Well I guess that ring just won't be used. Who would make a ring that causes earthquakes?"

"You're right." Warner sat down, giving an expression of both curiosity and fear. "Who created these things? Why do we have them? I don't know anything about these rings, and neither do you."

"Do you think none of the people in your vision know?"

"One of them has to know. If not them, then the answer has to come eventually."

"So you're saying we have to find them all?"

"We?" he asked.

"Yes," she replied. "We. You don't just save a girl's life, tell her she has a magic ring that causes quakes, speculate about a higher power, and then just walk away. Somebody gave me this ring, and I intend to find out why."

"So you're going with me to find the next person in my vision?"

"You saved my life. Going with you is the least I can do." She held his hand, slipping her ring back into her palm. She looked curiously into the ring, but she didn't intend to put it on. "What's our next destination?"

"Over the ocean, I guess. I'm getting vibes from the East, and it feels pretty far. It might go over the international date line. I'll see if I can get a closer reading. Heart" Warner didn't envision a person's image, this time. Instead, he saw a body of land toward the horizon at the end of a large ocean. "I'm getting some sort of location. I know it's land, but that's all I can see."

"Well where on Earth--" Realizing she had said the word the empowers her ring, Midori went silent and placed her hands over her mouth. She then noticed her ring was glowing, but there were no tremors. "My ring's doing something weird. Look." She held her hand closer to Warner, causing a wave of energy to leave her ring and enter his. She then began to share in his vision, which became much clearer. The horizon became lower, as the line of sight in the vision became much higher. They were rising, as if looking through the eyes of a bird or space shuttle. They could see the entire planet, as if from space. "I can see a-- I think our rings are doing something together."

"Is it going to show me the person I was just looking fo--?" The vision brought them closer to the ground, giving them the sensation of falling at an incredible speed. They looked down to see North America. They flew over the continent, going farther and farther north. "Well, I think I know where we're going."

Kesler sat in his brother's hospital room. He leaned his folded arms on the rail along the side of the bed, waiting for him to wake up. However, Whistler was not going to wake up. He was in a coma.

"I swear," he said to his sleeping brother, "this guy's going away for a long time when the trial starts." Just then, the doctor walked into the room and stood silently behind Kesler. Kesler saw his shadow, and looked behind him. "What's the news?"

"Well," the doctor said, "he'll survive the stomach wound just fine. If he were awake, I'd just suggest he try not to move too much unless he were in therapy. However--"

"The coma?"

"Your brother hit his head hard when he fell down. I don't need to tell you how that's affecting his recovery, but there's more. Did you know Whistler to ever use drugs?"

"What? No!"

"We found traces of a bliss in his system. Using too much of it causes permanent damage to brain activity. I think the bliss might have had a strong hand in your brother's coma."

"But--" Kesler began to choke up. He wiped the tears from his eyes, stumbled out of his chair, and ran down the hospital stairs to the lobby. Once he was outside, he stopped to take a breath. Not willing to go back to the hospital, Kesler began to walk back to his apartment.

In downtown Vancouver, Midori and Warner were walking and searching for a place to rest and eat. Warner was reading a brochure filled with interesting facts about the city.

"Hey," Warner said while walking and still reading the brochure, "did you know Jackie Chan's [i]Rumble in the Bronx[/i] was actually filmed here?"

"Why didn't they just film it in New York?" Midori asked.

"Apparently, filming here is a lot cheaper. In fact, most American movies that take place in New York are filmed in Vancouver with stock footage of the New York skyline and Time Square edited in. Same with Seattle. The movies have been lying to us."

"Hm. I'll have to remember to tour British Columbia more thoroughly the next time I leave the country." Midori looked up and saw a sign belonging to a popular franchise of cafés. "We've passed by at least three of these coffee places since we arrived in this city. Maybe we should just stop and eat here."

"Works for me." The two sat in the café and drank tea. The whole time, Midori switched between looking out the window and staring at Warner. Warner noticed, and began to feel nervous and self conscious. "What?"

"Nothing." Midori quickly looked down at the table. "I just-- I want to know. How do you know what to do? You seem very sure that you need to find the other people in your vision."

"I don't know. I think it's the ring." Warner also began to look down at the table. "I just feel like I have to find these other people."

"I see." Midori took a sip of her tea and looked up at Warner again. "What do you do?"


"With your life, I mean. What do you do when you're not getting strange visions from magic rings?"

"I used to take family pictures at a local chain of studios. I also took a few college courses on photography, but I had to drop out because I couldn't afford the tuition. I decided to stick with my job, save my money, and go back to school later. I was out practicing when I found my ring."

"Oh," Midori said.

"What about you, Matsuo?"

"I'm a cashier at a small café. I originally got the job to pay for rent, until something better comes along. By the way, it's Midori."


"You've been calling me Matsuo this whole time. I appreciate the formality, but you don't have to keep it up."

"Oh. Listen, I--" Before Warner could finish his sentence, he felt a pulse of energy coming from his ring. He looked down to see it glowing. "The next guy!"


"My ring! The next person is nearby! They must've just passed by, or something." Warner put his cup down and stumbled out of his seat. "I'll go get some lids for our tea."

Kesler walked into his apartment, and closed the door behind him. Just before he had the chance to sit down, there was a knock on his door.

"Hold on. I'm coming." He opened the door to see a man and woman on the other end. It was Warner and Midori. "Can I help you?"

"What do you know about a ring?" Midori asked him.

"I'm sorry--" he responded, "a ring?"

"Yes," she proceeded, "A ring. Small, rounded top, fits on your finger."

"Who are you people?" Kesler asked. He began to slowly step back.

"Are you sure you've got the right place?" Midori asked Warner.

"Um, yeah. Pretty sure." Warner began to scan the apartment for other people. Kesler quickly backed up and picked up the phone.

"Who are you?" he demanded. "I swear I'll call the police!"

"No!" Midori shouted. "We're not hear to hurt you!" Warner looked toward the kitchen to see the ring sitting on the counter top.

"That," Warner said as he pointed to the ring. "That ring. That's what we're looking for." Kesler, still holding the phone, walked to the kitchen and picked the ring up.

"This ring?" he asked.

"Yeah," Warner answered. "That one. We were--"

"Well you can have it back!" Kesler threw the ring at Warner, who failed to catch it as it hit the floor. "I didn't steal it! I didn't know it was yours!"

"No! No!" Warner knelt down and picked the ring up.

"We're looking for the ring's owner," Midori added.

"I-- I jus-- I just found it." Warner had his other hand out, as if signaling them to stop from across the room. "It fell out of nowhere and hit me on the head, alright?"

"No, look..." Warner held his hand up and showed Kesler his own ring. "My name is Warner. This is Midori."

"We're not hear to hurt you," Midori added. "This will sound unbelievable, but Warner found a magical ring while taking a guided tour through the outback. The ring gave him this strange vision that led him to me in Japan, where I had a ring exactly like his, only it causes earthquakes. Now it's led us to you, because you're the person who found the third ring; and we think at least one of the other two people in Warner's dream have the answers to where these rings came from." After an awkward pause, Kesler finally spoke up.

"You're both nuts." He began to dial his phone. "I'm calling the police, so I suggest you leave right now."

"Heart!" A pulse of energy flowed from Warner's ring as he began to look into Kesler's emotions. "You're scared. Something terrible happened to someone close to you, and you're both afraid and scared for your own life." Startled, Kesler stopped dialing.

"You don't know me!" he shouted. "Anybody could figure that--"

"Now you're afraid I'm right." There was another moment of silence in the room. During this time, Midori reached into her pocket and took out her own ring. She placed it on her finger and decided to use its power to prove to Kesler that her story was real.

"Earth." The building began to shake for a few seconds. Midori held her hand up high, to show Kesler that her ring was glowing the whole time.

"Who [i]are[/i] you people?"

"We don't know," Warner responded. He tossed Kesler's ring back to him. "That's why we're here."[/size]
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  • 3 weeks later...
[font=trebuchet ms]Wow, I'm a Captain Planet fan too, and I gotta hand it to you, this story is turning out pretty great. You should really think about sending this to Turner Studios here in Atlanta, it'd give the whole "Captain Planet" thing a new and better image. Can't wait for the next installment![/font]
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