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Test Of A Warrior — Epilogue
by Tom Nichol

Based on the episode of the same name
in the Adventures of Superman, 1955.

A week had passed since the visit of Red Hawk and his father, Great Horse, after the elder Native American’s elevation to chief of his tribe. During that visit, Perry White, owner/publisher of the Metropolis Daily Planet, had been made an honorary chief, since the Planet's association with Superman had helped to prevent Great Horse from being murdered by his arch-enemy, Okatee, then Medicine Man of the tribe.

Clark, Lois, Perry, and Jimmy were discussing a possible follow-up to the story of Great Horse’s ascension to the chieftainship in Perry’s office. Then, to their great surprise, Perry was informed that Great Horse and Red Hawk had returned to the Daily Planet to discuss just such a follow-up! On hearing of this, Perry had been only too happy to receive the two Native American visitors. They both warmly shook hands with Perry and his colleagues, then seated themselves on the large leather sofa in Perry’s office.

Our people were very favorably impressed by the articles which your newspaper published about the ‘Donaga’,” Red Hawk began. “You treated our people and their traditions with fairness and respect. In gratitude for that, we have returned to inform you of subsequent developments that we feel your readers would find to be of interest.”

We’re honored, of course,” Perry responded, “and we would indeed be interested in informing our readers of any such developments you would see fit to share with us! I promise you that we will make every effort to treat any stories that result with that same fairness and respect—indeed, such fairness is the cornerstone of the Daily Planet’s operations!”

The two Native Americans smiled. “Then let me begin,” Red Hawk continued, “by informing you that both Okatee and his son have been permanently expelled from our tribe, and have been barred from ever setting foot on our tribal lands again as long as they live!”

As Perry and his reporters reacted in astonishment, Great Horse explained,”Our tribal council voted unanimously to take this action, which is the severest punishment we are allowed to impose! It is similar to what your churches refer to as ‘excommunication’.”

Just one quick question, if I may, sir,” Jimmy Olsen interposed. “You mentioned Okatee’s son; may I ask what his role was in all of this?”

He was the young warrior in the ‘cave of the Bear’ who came so close to killing you, my young friend,” the old man replied with a grim smile, “just as he would have killed me if I had gone into the cave!” Jimmy’s face paled as he recalled that only Superman’s grabbing the murderous young warrior from behind, and ripping off the claws he was wearing, had prevented him from carrying out his mission. “We have since learned,” Red Hawk went on, “that the claws had been poisoned, by Okatee’s direct personal order! Even a scratch would have been enough to kill both you and my father, had Superman not intervened when he did!”

Jimmy and Lois both gasped in shock as they began to realize that Okatee was more than a “power-behind-the throne” – he was, in fact, a cold-blooded murderer who would not hesitate to kill anyone and everyone who opposed his ruthless insistence on tribal tradition, even if it brought harm to the people he was supposed to serve!

Perry’s face was grim as he digested this news. Then a thought came to him. “What about the ‘test of black smoke’ Jimmy told us about?” he inquired. “I seem to remember that you felt that that also involved poison.”

Red Hawk nodded, his facial expression a mixture of anger and sadness. “Although Superman’s X-ray vision burned it away, we later found that the powder Okatee put into the pipe to produce the black smoke was indeed a poison. So much so, in fact, that even one puff would have killed my father instantly! Such an act is strictly forbidden by our tribal law!”

It’s also forbidden by both state and Federal law,” Perry pointed out grimly.

Great Horse spoke next. “That is why both the State Police and the FBI are conducting an investigation of both of these men. In fact, they are both in jail at this very moment, and have been ordered held without bond!”

Just a moment,” Lois spoke up. “Why is the FBI involved in this?”

Because, under Federal law, any crime taking place on an Indian reservation is automatically classified as a Federal offense,” Perry explained, “which gives the FBI primary jurisdiction in the case. As a matter of professional courtesy, the FBI generally works together with the state and local police in such cases.”

Exactly, Mr. White,” Great Horse replied. “At the moment, the two of them have both been charged with two counts of attempted murder, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Additional charges are possible, however.”

Red Hawk nodded, then picked up where his father had left off. “The decision as to whether they will be tried under state or Federal law has yet to be made. Either way, however, both Okatee and his son would be facing sentences of up to life imprisonment if they are convicted.”

In the case of Federal law,” Perry commented, “they’d be facing a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment—and in the Federal prison system, there is no parole or probation! I suspect, therefore, that they’ll be going before a Federal judge and jury when all is said and done.”

Well, one good thing, at least,” Jimmy commented, “they won’t be around to interfere with you two gentlemen bringing the benefits of modern progress to your tribe!”

That is true, Mr. Olsen,” Great Horse replied, “but, even so, we do not want to lose our traditions entirely! They, too, have a place in the scheme of things!”

As Jimmy nodded his concurrence, Clark commented, “It seems to me that a balance is needed here—a balance between history and progress. After all, it’s often the case that a proper knowledge of history, and respect for tradition, helps to guide us as we strive to take advantage of modern developments.”

That is true, Mr. Kent,” Red Hawk responded, “and that is precisely what my father and I will be striving for in the years to come!”

And you can count on the Daily Planet to support you and your people in any and every way we can!” Perry declared.

As Red Hawk and Great Horse rose to take their leave, the older Native American warmly requested, “Please keep in touch with us. If any of you ever have occasion to come by our reservation, you may rest assured of the warmest of welcomes!”

With that, the two men shook hands all around and went on their way, and the four journalists returned to their normal routine.

Posted: May 28, 2018

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