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The Deserted Village – Epilogue

by Tom Nichol

based on the episode of the same name from the
Adventures of Superman

Two days had passed since the bizarre sequence of events in the town of Clifton, where Lois Lane’s former nurse had helped her to uncover a criminal conspiracy that revolved around the efforts of Alvin and Peter Godfrey to drive away the entire population of that small town, in order to secure a large deposit of hydrozite, a rare and extremely valuable mineral, entirely for themselves. Lois herself had been kidnapped and gassed, and it had only been the timely arrival of Superman that had prevented the Godfreys from succeeding in killing her.

On learning more of the facts concerning her ordeal, Lois’s boss, Perry White, had insisted that she be examined by a doctor to insure that there would be no long-term negative aftereffects. Happily, the doctor had assured both Lois and her employer that she would make a full recovery from the ordeal. As a result, she was now sitting in Perry’s private office, along with Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen, having a follow-up discussion on the events at Clifton.

Of course, the most important thing is that no one was killed in this incident,” Perry commented, “or else the Godfreys would be facing a murder charge and a virtually certain death sentence!” “I know at least a few people in Clifton who’d like to give those two goons a fatal dose of their own poison gas!” Lois commented vehemently.

Now, now, Lois,” Clark responded, “you know as well as I do that that would be just as criminal as what the Godfreys did, if not more so. That’s why we have laws on the books, after all.” Lois still smarting emotionally from the Godfreys’ attempt on her life, nevertheless nodded her agreement.

Speaking of laws,” Jimmy Olsen put in, “what’s going to happen to the Godfreys?” “Plenty, Olsen,” Perry responded, with more than a small amount of steel in his voice, and eyes that were like flint in the anger that they displayed. “At the very least, those two hoodlums will be facing multiple charges of criminal intimidation, extortion and claim jumping! Those charges alone should result in both of the Godfreys facing sentences of life imprisonment without parole—and that’s just on the State level!”

Lois was startled. “You mean they’ll be facing federal charges, too?” she inquired.

“That’s a definite possibility, Lois,” Perry replied. “You see, inasmuch as the primary use of hydrozite is in the making of hydrogen bombs, by law the mining of hydrozite comes under the jurisdiction of both the Atomic Energy Commission and the United States Bureau of Mines.”

“That means the FBI’s also going to be involved, doesn’t it, Mr. White?” Jimmy inquired.

“Yes, because the mining of hydrozite is considered a matter of national security,” Perry replied. “In fact, my contacts at the FBI have informed me that there is a distinct possibility that the Godfreys were planning to sell the hydrozite to at least one foreign government—and an unfriendly one at that!”

Even Clark was startled at this revelation. “Chief,” he asked slowly, “are you saying that the Godfreys could be facing charges of treason and maybe even espionage?”

Yes,” Perry answered solemnly, “and if they’re-convicted on those charges, I’m positive that the U. S. Attorney would demand that they be executed without mercy!”

Mr. White, are you serious?” Jimmy asked, his eyes wide open with shock.

I’m afraid he’s dead serious, Jimmy,” Clark responded. “You see, one of the definitions of treason specified by the U. S. Constitution is that of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. Selling a material like hydrozite, whose only known use is in the making of hydrogen bombs, would almost certainly fall under that definition!”

Exactly,” Perry went on, “and since for an unfriendly foreign government to have such materials in their possession as a result of a criminal enterprise would endanger the security of our country... well, need I say more?”

No, Sir,” the young cub reporter answered, almost in a whisper. Like the others in the room, Jimmy was understandably appalled at the picture Clark and Perry had just painted.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a positive side to this whole affair,” Perry hastily added. “The sheer size of the deposit means that the mining operation required to make it available will most likely pump millions of dollars into Clifton’s economy. The whole area will benefit!”

Let’s just hope the townspeople will put that money to sensible uses,” Clark commented.

With a wry smile, Lois replied, “Oh, I don’t think you need to worry about that, Clark! I grew up there, don’t forget, so I know most of those folks! With the memory of recent events still fresh in their minds, I’m positive those good people will make every effort in that respect!”

Maybe we should do some follow-up articles about this whole affair,” Jimmy piped up, “explore the issues involved—you get what I’m saying?”

Jimmy, that’s an excellent idea!” Lois replied.

I agree,” Perry added, clearly and favorably impressed at his younger subordinate’s initiative. “Tell you what, then—why don’t the three of you work together on this and see what kind of articles you can come up with?”

And why don’t you do an article on the legal aspects involved, Mr. White?” Jimmy added. “With your legal background, along with your being a former Mayor of Metropolis, and your government contacts and all, that ought to be right up your alley!”

As Clark and Lois expressed their concurrence, their boss replied, “All right, I’ll do that. Since it was your idea, Olsen, I’m giving you the job of putting all of this together into a form that the readers of the Daily Planet can make sense of! Mind you, I’ll be helping you every step of the way, but this will give you invaluable experience that will help to make you an even better reporter!”

Grinning from ear to ear, Jimmy eagerly accepted. With that, the meeting broke up, and the four journalists got to work on what they all hoped would be one of the Daily Planet’s finest issues.

Posted June 29, 2017

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