Part 3 The Bounty
“Let me show you out Superman,” offers the professor as he and Superman exit the control room and the lead lined doors close behind them. The professor enters another series of codes into the wall keypad near the control room door and the large windowless steel overhead door leading to the outdoor compound begins to rise letting the fresh air of a spring afternoon filter into the lab. “A beautiful day for flying Superman,” laughs the professor as he and Superman walk towards the open overhead door.
“It certainly is professor,” agrees Superman. “Are you all set for your big trip?”
They stop before the open overhead door facing the lab’s parking lot within the fenced in compound and the professor responds, “Sure am Superman! I’m looking forward to being away from all this for a few weeks; the work has been grueling and the Army won’t be ready to test for a month or more. Eden has offered to remain here alone and make the final adjustments to the computer’s radiation projection sequence model. He’s a real computers wiz so I can enjoy some time off exploring China with a few old colleagues of mine. I don’t know what I’d do without Eden. I even offered to postpone the trip until after we finished the first test phase for the Army so Eden could go too. But Eden was adamant that I go as scheduled. I suppose I’d just be in the way during this phase – it’s all computer mumbo-jumbo. If you don’t mind I’ll leave Eden the procedure to contact you; he’s been with me for years and I trust him with everything except the secret of kryptonite,” says the professor as he looks around. “He’s trustworthy but the thing is he’s only 23 and I’d feel better if he had you to fall back on in a pinch with me away and all.”
“Certainly; have Eden contact me if he needs anything,” offers Superman. “Have you read the papers and seen the cable news this week?”
“Yes; despicable what the news editor’s will print and put on TV to sell papers and boost their ratings! The thug they call the Teflon Boss has the audacity to put up a bounty of 20 million dollars for the capture of Superman – dead or alive! What gall! He wants you defeated and broken to inspire another generation of criminals. Bravado; he’s knows you can’t be subdued or destroyed by any means his thugs and bully’s can devise!”
“I’m sure a lot of other crime bosses nationwide contributed to the pot to destroy me,” states Superman grimly.
“A few rotten apples; they’re all daft,” responds the professor
“Evan Frost is pretty smart. He’s never been convicted. No charges ever stick – he’s like Teflon. I know I’ve put the lid on most of his criminal activities cutting deep into his profits. But, I think the bounty has more to do with the fact that he’s learned I’ve been asked to help the FBI build a case against him. That makes him desperate which means he’ll do anything to be rid of me. Now you know why I don’t visit you more often professor? Our friendship must remain a secret for your personal safety. Eden knows our acquaintance must remain confidential?
Eden has been with me for nearly six years; he’s given me his word that what happens in the lab remains confidential. I trust him completely except with the knowledge of the small particles of kryptonite you gave me to study. That is why after I finish my first phase of testing for the Army I am giving Eden several weeks’ vacation. Then I am free to use my radiation well to analysis and study kryptonite. My attempts thus far to chart kryptonite’s atomic structure have been unsuccessful. The radiation well with its DLP and computers will enable me to chart the atomic structure of kryptonite and most likely provide a means to neutralize its toxic effects on you. That is the real reason I took this grant to build the radiation well in the first place – to study kryptonite. Who knows how much kryptonite is lying around in museums, laboratories, or rock collections unnoticed? It’s a matter of time before some scientist with bad intentions puts two and two together and comes up with four. An antidote must be developed to neutralize kryptonite’s toxic effects on you. Eden has already completed the computer models needed to do the study; he thinks it’s an exercise for a bogus element – a computer exercise to build an elemental model for the radiation well.”
“I trust your judgment professor in regards to Eden; I appreciate the tremendous amount of time and effort you’ve devoted to fill the chink in my armor. I’ll sleep better a night once you discover what makes kryptonite tick; if kryptonite were to falls into the wrong hands – it’s the only thing I fear,” Superman confides to his friend with a concerned expression.
“Your secret is safe with me,” promises the professor. “As I always say: hide something in plain sight and it will always be overlooked. Besides the tiny particles of kryptonite you gave me to study are not of sufficient size to do any harm to you. You have the larger fragments that are lethal to you hidden safely away encased in lead.”
“I guess your right professor,” concedes Superman. “I don’t know who else I could have turned to for help. Well…I’ve got to be on my way; thank-you again for everything. Enjoy your trip! I’ll stop back in a few weeks when you’ve returned to hear all about it.” The men shake hands and with the farewells exchanged Superman blurs and streaks out the open overhead door and rockets up into the blue sky and out of sight in a matter of seconds.
As Eden watches Superman streak out of the lab on the HD screen in the control room he switches the monitor back to his computer encryption work and asks himself, “…kryptonite? What’s kryptonite?”