Anton is in the swamp on foot approaching his target and radios into
Graham. He tells Graham to prepare a landing team once he finds the
plant he's looking for, Anton then records a journal entry about
learning of a ritual cavern where medicine men created a hybrid swamp
lily, and he hopes that the lily holds what he needs to reverse the
aging process. Swamp Thing appears and tells Anton to leave, warning
that is hallowed ground. Anton insists that it's science and ignores
him, and then slips and falls into the brush. He finds the cave entrance
and goes in as Swamp Thing watches.
Inside the cavern, Anton finds the lily and discovers that his radio signal is late. Swamp Thing comes in as Anton reaches for the lily, and the roof comes down on top of both of them. Once Anton recovers, he finds Swamp Thing buried beneath the debris. The scientist digs him free, figuring that the lack of sunlight is restricting Swamp Thing's powers. He doesn't find a second entrance, and suggests that Swamp Thing use his nature powers to generate an earthquake and break them free. Swamp Thing finally tells him that they're going to die, but Anton refuses to accept the end of his life. He looks at the lily and blames Swamp Thing, then figures that Graham will track him down.
As Anton digs, he admits that Graham is a sorry excuse for an assistant, and talks about how he and Swamp Thing were once friends when Swamp Thing was Alec Holland. He dismisses his former friendship as sentimentality and talks about how his academic prowess kept him apart from the other children in school. Anton tells Swamp Thing when his mind takes on a will of its own and Anton suffers from headaches, then talks about how he has to act normal to hide his superiority. To silence his mother's concerns, he learned to act normal. As Anton talks about being a theatrical actor, he imagines a spotlight shining on him as he describes the power holding over an audience. He says that all of his peers--the great geniuses of the past--are dead, and current scientists and their awards are meaningless.
Anton rants about the Supreme Being, asking if anyone is out there. He argues with God, saying that he's the Grim Reaper as well and tells him to show himself. He insists that the laws of physics can be explained by mathematical probability, but then concedes that God must have created him.
Swamp Thing moans in pain and Arcane figures that his time has come. He says goodbye to his adversary as he apparently dies, declaring that he's won at last. Anton sits in the darkness and laments how he is the only one who understands reality, and how he has been dismissed as a madman. He talks about the love of a young woman, and tells Swamp Thing's corpse that was their common bond: both losing their wives. Anton claims that he never meant for Linda to die.
The lantern flickers and Anton realizes the oxygen is running out. He imagines himself autopsying his corpse for a classroom and screams in protest, and insists that he deserves more. Anton figures that he's delirious and comes face-to-face with a skeleton. Anton dismisses it as a skeleton, but the skeleton says that it's Anton and when Anton tries to remove its head, it grabs him back.
Anton finds himself kneeling at his grave as himself as a priest reads his eulogy. The priest doesn't know what contributions Anton made to life, and Anton wonders if he's left nothing to the world of any merit. He admits that he did plenty of damage to Swamp Thing, and says that they would have reached exhilarating heights together. Because of Swamp Things dedication to good, all they did was die together. Anton begs to the swamp and God, swearing that he will utilize his incredible gifts for good if they let him live.
The lantern goes out, and Swamp Thing manages to send a single part of himself outside to the sunlight. He regains his powers and frees himself, and tells the unconscious Arcane that fresh air and the scent of the lily will revive him. Swamp Thing explains that the more talking Anton did, the more he converted oxygen to carbon dioxide and revived him enough to free them. Anton wakes up and Swamp Thing asks if he remembers the promises that he made. He says that he heard him and so did the swamp, but Anton dismisses it as incoherent ramblings and leaves, radioing for Graham.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 20, 2017