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Star Of Fate — Epilogue
by Tom Nichol

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

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: It has now been nearly 2/3 of a century since this episode was first written and filmed. Please bear in mind that numerous changes in both civil and criminal laws have taken place since that time. Even so, I sincerely hope you enjoy reading this epilogue!]

Ten days had passed since the arrest of Dr. William Barnack in connection with an ancient Egyptian jewel box, which, when it was finally opened safely by Clark Kent of the Metropolis Daily Planet, had been found to contain one of the largest and finest star sapphires known to man. Three other persons, including the Planet’s Lois Lane, had opened the box, despite being strictly warned not to do so, and had been “stung,” in effect, by a hidden needle in the lock mechanism. That needle had proven to contain one of the most powerful poisons in existence, first placing its victims in a virtual state of “suspended animation” before ultimately killing them a few hours later. Only the intervention of Superman, who had flown to Egypt and retrieved a specimen of the legendary “Pyramid Plant”

from the base of the Great Pyramid in Giza, from which the antidote had ultimately been derived, had prevented, not only Lois Lane, but also Dr. Barnack’s secretary, and antique dealer John Whitlock’s store clerk, from perishing. In addition, Dr. Barnack had been arrested for the attempted murder of Jimmy Olsen, the Planet’s cub reporter and photographer, and had been ordered held without bond.

Now, in Planet Editor Perry White’s office, Lois, Jimmy, Clark, Whitlock, and Dr. James Wilson of Mercy General Hospital, were discussing the case, with a view to preparing a special supplement for the following Sunday’s edition. In addition, Mr. Whitlock’s son, Tom, arrived just as the discussion was getting under way.

Dr. Wilson explained that Tom was an intern in the toxicology department at Mercy General Hospital, and had been working to analyze the poison that had so nearly killed Lois, his father’s clerk and Barnack’s secretary. “It’s one of the most unusual and complex poisons I’ve ever encountered,” Tom commented, “and there is a possibility that a derivative of this poison might be usable as an anesthetic, although it’s still too early to be sure. The fact that a serum derived from the Pyramid Plant serves as an antidote to the poison is even more interesting!”

So what’s going to happen to Dr. Barnack?” Jimmy inquired.

“Plenty, Jimmy,” Clark replied, his jaw muscles bulging angrily, his eyes turning hard as flint. “For one thing, in addition to the charge of trying to murder you, he’ll be charged with trying to murder poor Mr. Whitlock here as well!”

“Plus, he’ll be facing two charges of armed robbery,” Lois added forcefully, “and Mr. Whitlock was the victim in both of those cases as well!”

By this time, the antiquarian had an uncomfortable expression on his face. Seeing this, Jimmy repeated the explanation Mr. Whitlock had given him earlier, which, in turn, had led directly to his confronting Dr. Barnack, who, in turn, had attempted to kill him.

Clark responded, “You needn’t worry about any claims that Dr. Barnack might make against you, Mr. Whitlock. You see, Lois and I both saw in the mirror during the bidding that Dr. Barnack was holding a gun to your back—which does, in fact, constitute armed robbery. Isn’t that right, Chief?”

Perry White, who was a trained lawyer as well as a newspapermen, replied, “Yes, it does, Clark—and it also renders any claims of ownership of the box he might make null and void. That being the case, Mr. Whitlock, you had every right to retrieve the box, since, in fact, he stole it from you! On top of all that, he’ll face three charges of what the law calls ‘wanton endangerment,’ meaning that he placed Miss Lane here, your own clerk, and his own secretary in mortal danger from the poison, and did nothing whatever to assist them!”

Not to mention a charge of grand theft,” Jimmy added, “since he stole $10,000 worth of jewels from Mr. Whitlock’s safe! Put all of those charges together, and I’d say Dr. Barnack will be facing a sentence of life in prison without any possibility of parole!”

“Exactly!” Perry replied, as a look of relief came over Mr. Whitlock’s face.

Just one more thing, Clark,” Lois added. “Where did you get that tape on your thumb that you used to break off that needle in the box’s lock-spring?”

For answer, Clark pulled a roll of adhesive tape from his coat pocket and showed it to her. The words, “DOUBLE-SIDED” were clearly printed on the outside of the metal case. “You can find this in most any drug-store or medical supply store, Lois,” he explained with a smile, “as I’m sure our two medical friends here can verify.” The two doctors nodded vigorously.

“Okay,” Lois responded, her curiosity satisfied.

As the discussion began to wind down, Mr. Whitlock shook his head sadly. “It’s a pity, really—seeing Dr. Barnack’s career come to such a shameful conclusion! He had everything going for him—a brilliant teacher and researcher, a tenured faculty position at Metropolis University—and now it’s all going down the drain! What led him to make the mistakes that he did? Didn’t he realize that his actions would ruin him?”

Personally, I’d say he let his so-called ‘brilliance’ go to his head, sir,” Jimmy shot back. “He wanted only what HE wanted—and to blazes with what anybody else thought, said, or did!”

“I agree with you, Mr. Olsen,” Tom Whitlock commented. “In my opinion, he either was never taught, or else he flat-out ignored or rejected, the principle that with power or wealth or talent of any kind goes a proportionate responsibility in the use of that power or wealth or talent toward others. There’s a verse in the Bible that covers this point very well--’Of him to whom much is given, much WILL be required’! Not CAN be—not MAY be—but WILL be! Dr. Barnack arrogantly chose to reject that principle—and now he’ll pay for that rejection for the rest of his life!”

As the others in the room nodded their agreement, the meeting concluded, and the four journalists went to work on what would be one of the strangest stories in the Metropolis Daily Planet’s history.

Posted: July 17, 2020

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