Swamp Thing watches from the brush as models pose at Arcane Gardens, presenting emeralds. Anton takes the stage and reminds everyone of his artificial emeralds. He hesitates when he notices an attractive model, Vanessa. Anton says that he will submit his emeralds to analysis to prove that they're the equal of the natural emeralds that Columbia produces. Afterward, Anton tells Graham to work the crowd while he takes care of some business. He approaches Vanessa and says that she's the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. Anton invites her to dinner and offers to create an emerald for her, and she says that she's intrigued. He says that the machine belongs to Adam Martinelli and the man is living it up in New York because of him.
In NYC, Martinelli is going into his apartment, when a man, Pony Tail escorts him to a nearby basement entrance and shoots him dead.
In the swamp, Swamp Thing checks the water and stares at it in shock.
A group of Columbian guerillas have gathered in the swamp. Their leader, Armendariz, is on the phone to the Columbian government. He tells them to stay out of his business and hangs up.
Swamp Thing finds chemical runoff from Anton's complex. The next day, he tells Will that all of Anton's spills have been cleaned up and yet something is poisoning the swamp. Will offers to check in Houma, and Swamp Thing explains that nature is calling out to him from some distant place but he can still hear it.
Anton and Vanessa are having dinner and Vanessa says that she'll let up on her career only when someone takes her place. He then shows her his artificial emeralds and describes the chemicals he uses to create them. They kiss and then Vanessa returns the conversation to the machine. Anton shows it to her and they continue kissing. After sex, Anton assures her that there's plenty more where that came from. Vanessa says that he has to return to her hotel to take a call, and tells him that she wants to keep it simple between them. She kisses him and leaves as Graham comes in, and offers to follow Vanessa in case she's trying to take advantage of Anton. Anton refuses and orders his assistant out.
Anton drives Vanessa to her hotel, and Armendariz and his men grab her and take her to their camp. Armendariz says that he has no intention of hurting her if she follows instructions. As Pony Tail looks on, Armendariz gives her a tracker to wear so that he'll know where Anton is. He says that if Vanessa doesn't stay next to Anton at all times then he'll kill her family. Swamp Thing watches from the shadows as Vanessa reluctantly agrees. Once they leave, Armendariz tells Pony Tail that in 24 hours Anton will no longer be a threat to the Columbian government.
Graham tells Anton that Martinelli is dead and someone took the blueprints to the machine. Anton isn't surprised, and tells Graham that there's a larger game being played. He says that when the time comes, they'll have as much help as they need. Anton tells Graham to hang around as Vanessa comes in. She glances around nervously and Anton gives her an emerald that he made specifically for hers. He realizes that something is wrong and asks Vanessa if they're in with her. She shows him the tracker and explains that they threatened to kill his family. Anton apologizes for involving Vanessa, and then tells Graham to accompany Vanessa out of the country to safety. He says that he will soon join Vanessa, but she figures that he's like her and would never give up his life for her any more than she could. Vanessa kisses him on the cheek and leaves, and Anton tells Graham to take care of Vanessa while he'll have all of the help that he needs.
Will tells Swamp Thing that Anton is manufacturing synthetic emeralds and has had buyers in and out all week. Swamp Thing figures that it's connected to the barrels of chromium that he saw at the complex, and warns that if the barrels leak then it could destroy the entire region.
That night, Armendariz and his men drive through the complex gate and open fire, taking out the guards. Swamp Thing and Will sneak in, and Anton sits calmly in his lab. Will gets into a bulldozer and drives the guerillas back, and Swamp Thing attacks them from the rear. The barrel of chromium is knocked loose, and Swamp Thing catches it and throws it away to safety.
Will and Swamp Thing go to Anton's lab and they find Anton studying an artificial emerald. Swamp Thing figures that Anton set the whole thing up for him to protect Anton, and says that Anton is trying to force the Columbian government to turn over their rain forest to him. Anton points out that he'll be able to leave the swamp, and Swamp Thing warns him that what he's doing threatens Nature across the world. He destroys Anton's machine and crushes the artificial emeralds, and says that it's for Anton's own good.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 7, 2018