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Jet Ace — Epilogue

by Tom Nichol

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

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: At the time this episode was filmed, the so-called “Cold War” between the United States and the Soviet Union (as it was then known) was in full swing. Several scandals surrounding the theft of the secrets of the atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb had already occurred. As a result, attitudes toward any crime that might endanger the security of the United States were understandably, if not unavoidably, quite harsh. This is reflected in the writing and filming of this episode from the second season of the series.]

A week had passed since Captain Christopher White had given a severe beating to Steve Martin, the now-former reporter for the Metropolis Blade, the chief business rival to the Daily Planet, after Martin’s repeated attempts to steal a test report which Captain White had written concerning the performance of several new jets being considered for purchase by the United States Air Force. Those attempts had culminated in Martin’s kidnapping and attempting to murder Captain White in an explosion and fire which had destroyed the cabin (owned by Daily Planet Publisher Perry White, who was Christopher White’s maternal uncle) where Chris had been staying.

Only the timely intervention of Superman had prevented Martin’s vicious plot from succeeding. A few days later, Martin had been exposed when Captain White and his superiors had staged a fake test of one of the very same jets which had been the subject of Captain White’s report.

In the aftermath of these events, Martin had been arrested and formally charged with a number of crimes, including arson, kidnapping and attempted murder. Because of Captain White’s military status, Martin was now being held in Federal prison without bond. The hoodlums hired by Martin had also been arrested and were also in a Federal prison awaiting trial.

Captain White was now in General Summers’ office, along with Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, and, of course, the general himself. Perry White began the meeting by referring to his nephew’s still-bandaged knuckles.

(Thanks to Brad Shey for erasing Larry Blake from this image with his Photoshop skills.)

How are your hands doing, Chris?” he inquired.

Chris grinned as he replied, They’re doing okay, Uncle Perry. The doctor says he should be able to remove the bandages in another day or two.”

As the others in the room expressed their relief, Jimmy Olsen piped up, “Did those test reports you wrote get to the military authorities OK?”

Oh, yes, Mr. Olsen,” General Summers replied, firmly yet courteously, “they’re already in the proper hands, I can assure you of that!”

As Jimmy nodded in acknowledgment, Lois Lane inquired, “What’s going to happen to that schlemiel Steve Martin?”

Plenty, Miss Lane!” General Summers shot back, his face, like Perry’s, becoming as hard as flint, their eyes blazing with fury. “In addition to the obvious charges of kidnapping, arson, and attempted murder, he’ll be facing charges of treason and attempted espionage!”

Jimmy and Lois each did a double-take. Chris thereupon explained that Martin had stated that he planned to take the test reports with him as he fled the country. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he planned on selling those reports to whomever might be interested, for whatever price he could get—and, believe you me, that would have been plenty!”

Inspector Henderson, who had just arrived at the meeting, thereupon added that his own Department’s investigation into Steve Martin’s background had disclosed that Martin had a long criminal history, in the course of which he had developed a surprising number of criminal contacts, both in this country and abroad. While it might have been possible for Martin to sell to the reports to various rival jet manufacturers, it was virtually certain that whatever sums he might receive would pale into insignificance compared to what he would have received had he managed to take the reports out of the country with him. This fact, Henderson concluded, formed the basis of the Federal charge of attempted espionage which had now been lodged against Martin.

But what about the charge of treason?” Lois asked.

Her employer, who was a lawyer as well as a journalist, replied, “You need to remember, Lois, that one of the definitions of the crime of treason specified in the U.S. Constitution is giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. As General Summers here can tell you, selling those test reports to a foreign power—and especially a hostile one—would most certainly qualify in that respect!”

Yes—absolutely!” General Summers added, as Lois nodded her understanding.

“As you may know, there have already been several such incidents over the past few years, not the least of which involved selling the secrets of the atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb to Russia—acts which J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the FBI, rightly referred to as, ‘the crime of the century’!”

Exactly!” Perry went on. “As a result, my legal contacts in the U.S. Attorney General’s Office have told me quite bluntly that they intend to seek the death penalty for Steve Martin, as well as for Martin’s accomplices, all of whom will be charged as accomplices before, during, and after the fact!”

As the meeting prepared to conclude, Clark added, “By the way, Chief—what about that cabin of yours? I mean, I hope you had it properly insured!”

“I most certainly did, Mr. Kent,” Perry replied with an appreciative smile, “and I am already having a new cabin built to replace it!” As the others in the room grinned in response, the meeting officially came to a close.

As it turned out, because of the sensitive nature of the test reports, as well as the fact of Chris White’s military status, it was eventually decided that Steve Martin, and his literal partners in crime, would be tried in a military court-martial. They were all convicted, and were most firmly sentenced to death. Less than a year later, after their appeals had all been adamantly rejected, Martin and his cohorts were all executed by a firing squad at the Federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. For similar reasons, the Daily Planet’s coverage of the case, and its outcome, were all kept to a bare minimum.

Posted March 5, 2024

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