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The Deadly Rock — Epilogue
by Tom Nichol

Based on the episode of the same name
in the Adventures of Superman, 1956.

A month had passed since the “Deadly Rock” incident, during which both Superman and his friend Gary Allen had nearly perished after accidental exposure to what had subsequently been positively identified as a small piece of Kryptonite. The scientist who had found the fragment of Superman’s native planet had co-operated completely with the authorities, and had been granted immunity from prosecution as a result. The gangsters who had so shamelessly taken advantage of the scientist had swiftly been tried and convicted of a number of charges, including three counts of attempted murder, and had been sentenced to life without parole.

In the course of the follow-up investigation, both Gary and Superman had been given thorough physical examinations for any possible long-term negative effects. To everyone’s relief, the results of those examinations had all proven negative. In his secret identity of Clark Kent (who had also been exposed), Superman had been examined a second time, in order to avert suspicion. Again, the results had been negative. Finally, the scientist who had initially discovered the Kryptonite meteorite had also been examined, but, once again, the results proved negative.

With the incident now officially closed, and the criminals involved now officially incarcerated, Gary Allen was preparing to leave Metropolis and head home. Before doing so, however, he had a last meeting with Clark, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, their boss, Perry White, and their old friend, Professor Isaiah Adams from the “Project X” incident. Professor Adams had formally retired not long after the incident, but, thankfully had made a full recovery from his own exposure to radiation that had turned out to be partially Kryptonian in nature, and so was naturally interested in this incident and its outcome.

Jimmy, an amateur scientist in his own right, brought up what he felt was the most important: “How come Mr. Allen here and Mr. Kent reacted like Superman does to Kryptonite when they’re not even from Krypton to begin with?”

Perry, who was also an amateur scientist, and who had worked with a rare uranium isotope known as U-183, replied, “Based on my own research, I’d say time and chance would be the most plausible explanation.”

Before Perry could continue, however, Lois scoffed, “Oh, come on, Chief! That doesn’t make sense!”

“Oh, yes, it does, Miss Lane!” Professor Adams rejoined. “You have to remember that Kryptonite was and still is a radioactive substance, no matter where it originally came from. No two people react to
any form of nuclear radiation in exactly the same way, or to the same extent—not even identical twins! The medical records from Hiroshima and Nagasaki bear sad testimony to that fact! Also, remember that our own tests on the piece of Kryptonite that nearly blew up the Project X reactor showed clearly that Kryptonite may actually contain any number of Kryptonian elements. It stands to reason, therefore, that different people would react to Kryptonite differently. We do know, however, that it is an intensely radioactive substance.”

At this point, Gary spoke up: “That brings up another point, Professor. Why would Superman be so much more sensitive to Kryptonite than most other people from Earth?”

“Simply because Superman is from the planet Krypton to begin with,” Perry answered. “That being the case, his own atomic structure would naturally be more sensitive, and more responsive, to substances with the radiation frequency range and distribution of Kryptonite. Don’t you agree, Professor?”

Absolutely, Mr. White,” the Professor replied, nodding. “As Mr Olsen here may recall, when we tested our own sample of Kryptonite, its radiation frequencies turned out to be far higher than anything our science has worked with before or since! That does not mean, however, that Terrans would not be sensitive to Kryptonite – only that it would most likely take far more exposure to produce symptoms of radiation sickness!”

How would it have gotten to Earth to begin with?” Gary queried.

Most likely, as a natural result of the explosion that destroyed Krypton to begin with,” Clark replied. “Even though Kryptonite is from a different planet, the tests that the Professor and his colleagues performed on their sample indicate clearly that it still follows the same natural laws that substances here on Earth do. Such being the case, it stands to reason that a certain amount of Kryptonite fragments would naturally tend to drift in the direction of Earth as a result of Krypton’s explosion. Q.E.D., as the old saying goes!”

Yes, and there’s also the chance that a certain number of Kryptonite fragments may have been drawn along in the wake of the rocket ship that brought Superman to Earth from Krypton to begin with, just like that big asteroid some months ago!”

Perry added. “Again, the laws of probability would make that a virtual certainty!”

Yes, I see your point, Chief,” Lois admitted. “But even with all of that, I’m still puzzled as to how Superman was able to burn up the meteorite we had to deal with in this particular instance!”

We may never know the answer to that, Lois,” Clark answered. “Superman told me later that, given the circumstances, even he couldn’t be certain using that weed burner from the tool shed would work. All he could do was try it and see what would happen. It was a long shot, but I’m sure we’re all thankful that it worked!”

As the others nodded their concurrence, Perry took a Bible from a drawer in his desk. “Normally, I wouldn’t bring Scripture into this,” he commented, “but there’s a verse from the book of Ecclesiastes that seems to apply to these events quite nicely!”

Even Clark seemed surprised. “What verse is that, Chief?” he asked. Opening his Bible to Ecclesiastes 9:11, he read aloud, “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor wealth for understanding, nor favor to men of skill, BUT TIME AND CHANCE HAPPEN TO THEM ALL!” As the others murmured their agreement, he went on, “It seems to me that the principles outlined in the Book of Job would also apply to this case. My point is that we may never know all the answers in such cases, and that there comes a point where we simply have to ‘let go and let God’, as the old saying goes, and I feel that that’s the case in this incident!”

At that point, Gary looked at his wrist watch. “Well, I’m going to have to get going if I’m going to be on time for my flight home,” he commented. With that, after handshakes all around, the meeting concluded, and the reporters and owner of the Daily Planet returned to their regular routine.

Posted: July 28, 2018

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