Poor Pathetic Planet
By Timothy Shanahan

(Author's Intro: Now I know what you're thinking. "Captain Planet and the Planeteers? Why
a crap show like that?" Well, I just happen to be very environmentally conscious, and I for
one approve of a cartoon that strives to be educational about the harm we are doing to the
environment and each other. I believe that if we all work together, we can make a

Besides, I'm mixing it with Daria, remember? It's bound to get good and twisted.

And now: on with the story...)

Gaia summoned the Planeteers to the Crystal Chamber. "Looten Plunder and Dr. Blight
are destroying an old growth forest somewhere in America," she informed them as the
Crystal Chamber displayed images of the carnage.
"We've got to stop them!" exclaimed Linka.
"Let's go!" added Kwame.

Meanwhile, south of the area being destroyed, Daria Morgendorffer was covering her ears
with pillows in a futile attempt to muffle the sound of giant chainsaws slicing through old
trees. She grumbled. She didn't approve of such environmental devastation, but there was
nothing she could do about it; the whole thing was rigged up by corporate fatcats, kind of
like her parents. She resigned herself to the knowledge that the forest would eventually
have been destroyed by New Age cultists who would plow up the forest looking for
crystals, ironically and self-defeatingly "to harmonize with nature". If only the saws weren't
so damned noisy. She could have blocked out the noise by borrowing Quinn's radio and
tapes, but why the hell would she want to do that? Maybe she could go over to the Lanes'
house and listen to Trent practice. That was somewhat more pleasant; Trent wasn't the
handsomest or smartest guy in the world, but she kind of liked him, plus he was the brother
of her best friend Jane.

Then she looked out her window. To her wondering eyes, a sleek yellow spaceship-like
aircraft landed on a hill. She cleaned her glasses and rubbed her eyes. Sure enough, the
craft was still there. This was too good a mystery to pass up. She phoned Jane.
"Hello?!" yelled Jane over the chainsaw noise. "You'll have to speak up, there's a
humongous racket going on outside."
"I know," Daria hollered back.
"Daria?" Jane screamed. "Is that you?"
"Yeah!" shouted Daria. "Listen, there's something I gotta tell you. You're gonna think this is
nuts, but I just saw a UFO land."
"What?" asked Jane.
"It'll be easier to show you," shouted Daria. "I'll be right there."
Daria hopped into the car. Good thing I've got a driver's license, she thought. She drove it
to the Lanes and picked up Jane, then they rode off toward the hill.

When they got there, Daria pointed at the spaceship. Jane stared in disbelief. "I don't
believe it," she said in shock.
"Told you you'd think it was nuts," said Daria matter-of-factly.
"No, I mean..." Jane tried to say, but was speechless. Finally she found her voice, and
said, "Do you know what this is?"
"Can't say I do," confessed Daria.
"This is the infamous Geo-Cruiser of the legendary Planeteers!" exclaimed Jane.
Daria gaped. She'd heard of the Planeteers. There had even been a special about them
on Sick, Sad World. She remembered the promo well: "The Planeteers - eco-terrorists or
environmental heroes? A Sick, Sad World exclusive!"

Normally, there'd be a commercial break right about now, showing the scene of Daria
covering her ears with a pillow.

"Jane, are you serious?" Daria exclaimed in astonishment. "Do you really expect me to
believe that the Planeteers are in town, and this is their Geo-Cruiser?"
"Exactly!" said Jane. "Don't you remember that Sick, Sad World exclusive they did?"
"I remember it," said Daria. "I just can't believe it."
"Me neither," said Jane. Suddenly, the Planeteers emerged from the forest.
"Okay," said Daria, recognizing the Planeteers. "Now I believe it."
"Who are you guys?" asked Wheeler suspiciously.
"I'm Daria Morgendorffer, and this is Jane Lane," explained Daria.
"Why couldn't we find any Eco-Villains in that forest?" Kwame wondered aloud to the other
"Because you were in the wrong part of the forest," informed Daria. "The part you're
looking for is on the other side of town." She indicated with her finger.
"Oh," the Planeteers deadpanned.
"Let's go," said Wheeler annoyedly as the Planeteers got into the Geo-Cruiser.
"Can we come with you?" asked Jane. "I mean, if we want to prove we're your pals, we
can't take that old gas-guzzler, now can we?" She jerked her thumb at the car.
"We usually don't mind cars all that much," said Kwame. "Still, it's a good idea." He made
a mental note to remember where Daria and Jane parked the car.
"Cool," said Jane. "Besides, I always wanted to hang out with you guys."
Daria and Jane got into the Geo-Cruiser.

As they flew off to the forest, Daria told the Planeteers more about herself and Jane. When
she recounted the camping adventure that went sour due to the psychotropic berries, Linka
shuddered. "Uggghh...that reminds me of that
nightmare with that evil drug, Bliss."
"What happened?" asked Daria.
"My cousin Dimitri was turned into an addict by a drug called Bliss that had been
developed by that monster, Verminous Skumm," Linka recounted. "Dimitri got me
addicted, too. Fortunately, I got...'dried up'?" she wondered, trying to remember the correct
"'Dried out'," corrected Wheeler.
Linka nodded, then continued. "Demitri wasn't so lucky. He...died." She hung her head
Daria nodded gravely. "My parents and sister would probably have wound up the same
way if I hadn't gotten their stomachs pumped," she admitted. "You know the saying, 'There
but for the grace of God go I'? It was meant for folks like me."

Meanwhile, Jane was giving Kwame a rudimentary tour of Lawndale. "That's Daria's
house...that's mine...there's where our cyber-cafe and coffeehouse used to be...and that's
our school, Lawndale High."
"What's going on in front of it?" asked Kwame, pointing to some banners and a sort of
booth in front of it.
Jane Lane remembered. "Oh, yeah, I forgot they were forming a protest against the old
growth forest destruction."
"We might as well land and see if we can help," said Wheeler.

The Geo-Cruiser touched down in front of the school. "Hey, look!" said Kevin.
"It's the Planeteers!"
"Nice to know our reputation precedes us," smiled Wheeler. "They're probably wondering
where Captain Planet is."
"Well, we can't attend an ecological gathering without him, can we?" smiled Ma-Ti.
"Then let our powers combine!" smiled Kwame as the Planeteers raised their rings.
"Fire!" exclaimed Wheeler.
"Wind!" intoned Linka.
"Water!" proclaimed Gi.
"Heart!" finished Ma-Ti.
Beams of energy flowed from the rings, merging into the legendary eco-hero.
"By your powers combined, I am CAPTAIN PLANET!"
Captain Planet smiled. "My adoring public." He landed.

While Captain Planet and the Planeteers signed autographs, Daria and Jane walked up to
the booth.
Timothy O'Neil was handing forms out. "Sign this please," he asked Daria.
"You too." He handed one to Jane.
"What are these?" asked Daria.
"This is a petition to stop the forest's destruction, of course," Explained Mr. O'Neil. "If we
can get enough signatures, maybe we can get them to stop."
Daria grunted. "Something similar happened in the sixties. People thought that if they held
hands together and sang, all the evil people in the world would give up their money and
power and nuclear weapons."
"Worked great, didn't it?" added Jane sarcastically.
Daria looked at the large amount of forms. "For a bunch of folks who're trying to preserve
the environment and keep the forests from being destroyed, you have a hell of a lot of
"Well, you see..." began Timothy O'Neil.

As Mr. O'Neil tried to explain the number of signatures necessary, Captain Planet was
about to have his own problem. He made the mistake of literally bumping into Ms. Barch.
"Oh! I'm sorry," he said, offering a hand to help her up.
"Don't 'sorry' me, you - you man!" she screamed.
Captain Planet burst out into a sweat. The aura of hatred radiating from the woman was a
lot like Adolph Hitler's, whom Captain Planet had the misfortune of meeting during a
time-travel adventure. As he himself had said during the encounter, "Hate and prejudice
are as toxic as any pollutant."
And Ms. Brach's hate of anything male was very toxic.
As Captain Planet doubled over in pain, tryng to get away, Ms. Barch began to rant and
rave. "You men are all alike! You try to impress and woo every pretty young thing you
come across, and years later you dump her for a halter top and a pair of short-shorts!" She
kicked Captain Planet in the nuts and left.
As the great eco-hero slumped to the ground, he grunted, "So much for my adoring public."

The Planeteers, Daria and Jane walked over to him. "Cap!" said Gi. "What's wrong?"
"That woman was exuding so much hatred...I was caught off guard."
"You mean, Ms. Barch?" asked Daria. "That's not hatred; it's borderline psychosis."
"I might as well leave now," said Captain Planet. "The power is yours..."
Linka sighed. "We might as well turn back to the eco-emergency," she decided.
"It's too bad," said Wheeler. "I liked that cute redhead, Quinn, and how she curls that lock
of hair around her finger."
"Forget it, Wheeler," said Daria as they trotted back to the Geo-Cruiser.
"She likes her boyfriends the same way. Believe me, I know."

As the Geo-Cruiser soared over the levelled forest, Kwame shook his head sadly. "Have
you ever seen so much destruction?" he asked.
"Not since Beavis and Butthead," Daria informed him.
"Who?" asked Ma-Ti.
"You don't wanna know," replied Daria. She winced at the memory.

The Planeteers touched down outside the desolated area.
"We're going in," said Wheeler.
"You two better stay with the Geo-Cruiser," Gi told Daria and Jane. "It'll be safer. We're
Of course, a few seconds after the Planeteers entered the forest, Bleaks walked up to
them with a shotgun and a pissed-off look.
"Well, well, well," he sneered. "Looks like I caught me some Planet-pests!"
"Actually, we're just - " Jane tried to explain.
"You're just comin' with me," said Bleaks as he aimed the gun at Daria and Jane.
"So much for safer," quipped Daria unhappily.
Bleaks ushered them into a clearing where Dr. Blight and Looten Plunder were working.
"Look what I caught sneakin' aroun' the perimeter!" said Bleaks. Daria was surprised that
someone who looked and talked like Bleaks even knew a word like "perimeter".
"Excellent, Bleaks!" smiled Plunder. "You'll get a raise for this," he lied.
"An' I found the Planeteer's blinkin' cruiser!" added Bleaks proudly.
"The Planeteers are here?!" exclaimed Plunder.
"I'll order the robots to attack them!" announced Dr. Blight.
"You don't really have to destroy the forest, you know," said Daria.
"I'm not going to listen to Planeteer philosophy!" said Plunder arrogantly.
"What Planeteer philosophy?" Daria deadpanned. "All I'm saying is that if you don't
destroy the forest, someone else will. Most likely some New Age group in search of
crystals, and the irony is they'll do it to be in harmony with nature."
Plunder blinked. "Why - that's absolutely right! I never thought of it like that before!"

Meanwhile, the Planeteers had come across the giant robots.
"How're we gonna stop these things?" asked Wheeler.
Suddenly, the robots turned in their direction.
"Uh-oh!" exclaimed Wheeler. "They've seen us!"
"We can't stop them by ourselves!" said Gi. "We need a team-beam!"
"Then let our powers combine!" commanded Kwame. "EARTH!"
Energy beams fired from the Planeteers' rings, forming Captain Planet. "By your powers
combined, I am CAPTAIN PLANET!"
The hero made short work of the robots, easily recycling them into raw steel.
"Now to stop the minds behind those machines!" He flew off to capture Dr. Blight and
Looten Plunder.
He saw the villains sitting down. "Okay, you three, your evil plan stop right here"
To his surprise, the Eco-Villains were sitting on tree stumps, very drunk, while Daria and
Jane chattered away, buzzed on Jolt Cola.
"...and I mean, the thing is, all those P.C. types say that violence doesn't solve problems in
the real world," said Jane.
"Yeah, I mean, that's why animals in the jungle use their diplomatic negotiation skills to get
food, right?" asked Daria in a buzzed but still cynical voice.
"Shishter, I hear ya," said Dr. Blight drunkenly.
"I'll drink to that," agreed Plunder, chugging chardonnay straight from the bottle.
"Me too, Mr. Plunder," grinned Bleaks, guzzling a beer.
"By Gaia," groaned Captain Planet, the closest he could get to swearing, "you're all
"Hi, Cap," said Looten Plunder drunkenly, getting to his feet. "We was jush (hic) talkin'
here with your palsh. They're great (hic) conshervationalish."
"He means 'conversationalists'," corrected Daria.
"Yeah, like I (hic) shaid, 'conshervationalish'. Hic."
"We'll take them to jail, Cap." chirped Jane.
They managed to get back into the Geo-Cruiser with the Eco-Villains, which
Captain Planet sent to jail.

", anyway," said Daria, "once they were convinced that my attitude was sufficiently
politically incorrect, a little alcohol was enough to weaken their resistance."
"Amazing," smiled Kwame. Then his expression soured. "Also a little disturbing. Why
must you be so cynical?"
"Hey," shrugged Daria, "it helps."
"Maybe we'll meet again someday," said Gi as the Geo-Cruiser's hatch closed.
Daria stared up at the Cruiser as it left.
Then she said, "God, I hope not."