Part 4 Achilles’ Heal
Minutes after Superman leaves the professor Larson reenters the control room. Eden turns from his work and cheerfully says, “It was great to see Superman again; it’s been months since he’s paid you a visit.”
“Superman is busy these days – terrorists – all kinds of maniacs – Evan Frost. It’s a wonder he even had time for the brief visit today,” explains the professor. “Do you still keep Superman’s visits confidential Eden?
“Of course professor Larson; no one would believe me anyway,” jokes Eden. “No seriously professor; I am loyal to you; I appreciate the opportunity to work with you and everything you have done for me.”
“I know Eden; it’s just all this business with Evan Frost and the 20 million dollar bounty on Superman,” explains the professor.
“Superman is indestructible; you would have to be a fool to challenge him; whoever tries to collect that 20 million will be sorry,” consoles Eden.
“I only wish…,” replies the professor, but stops short.
“What did you say professor?” asks Eden with interest.
“Oh…nothing important; I have to renew my passport so I’m leaving for the day. Sure you won’t change your mind and tag along with me to China? The Great Wall – The Forbidden City – The Emperor’s Terracotta Army,” offers the Professor. “I’m leaving Saturday morning!”
“Thanks again for the offer; but I need to finish writing the computer program if were going to be on schedule for next month,” reminds Eden.
“I guess your right. I’m worthless when it come to computers; thanks goodness for you Eden. Now if you’re talking nuclear physics or rocket science I’m your man,” jokes the professor.
Eden laughs and says, “See you tomorrow Professor Larson. I’ll lock up when I leave and set the alarm.”
“Bye Eden; I’ll need a ride to the airport Saturday,” says the professor as he leaves the control room.
“I’ll bring the coffee,” replies Eden before the lead doors close.
Eden watches the professor on the HD screen as his white Escalade leaves the compound and the motorized gates closes as his car leave the compound. “…kryptonite? Superman has a weakness?
Eden quickly returns to his screen and keys in a query of the lab’s mainframe using the work kryptonite…no matches found. I wonder if I spelled it right. I guess he would not leave it on the mainframe. He’s not that careless. What did he say to Superman? He hides things in plain sight so they will be overlooked. Well then, it’s off to the sample room!
Eden leaves the control room and walks past the sealed radiation well to the far side of the lab. He stops before a single metal door that has black letters on it that reads: Sample Room; he stops before a keypad next to the door and enters a sequence of numbers and the doors buzzes and the lock disengages. He enters the room and triggers a motion detector and the lights overhead snap on. The room is large and chucked full of metal shelves containing boxes of all shapes and sizes – some made of metal – some of cardboard. Each shelving units has a small metal ID plate with a letter affixed to it. Eden quickly makes his way to the shelving unit displaying the letter “K.” He scans the shelf and finds a small lead box with a white tag attached to its handle that reads in cursive: kryptonite. It can’t be this easy! Eden removes the lead container and sets it on the floor; he opens the box and finds two items in the small lead box: a flash drive and small lead foil envelop. He pockets the flash drive and opens the foil envelope and finds a thick piece of rectangular glass 4” long x 1” tall infused with numerous small green glowing particles. This is kryptonite? So this is the chink in Superman’s armor? Is it a coincidence that kryptonite is the same color as money?
Eden puts the glass plate back into the foil envelop and returns it to the box; he closes the lead box and returns the box to its proper place on the shelf. Eden leaves the sample room and quickly returns to the control room and inserts the flash drive into the computer console. It’s a log! The professor’s data on Superman! Eden quickly accesses the log and scans through it and finds a few interesting excerpts:
23 October 2004: kryptonite:
Green Kryptonite: DEADLY TO SUPERMAN; kryptonite causes Superman immediate physical pain and debilitation and will kill him within a matter hours with sustained exposure. Kryptonite is a radioactive isotope; it is a fragment of Superman’s home world of Krypton. In the last days of Krypton, a chain reaction within the planet’s core caused a build-up of enormous pressures. These pressures fused the minerals inside Krypton into the new, radioactive, super-actinide element kryptonium. Furthermore, the pressure grew to be too much for the planet’s mantle to contain, and Krypton exploded in a violent eruption. The resulting kryptonite is the ore of kryptonium, and it is best known for its green hue. Even if the planet Krypton had not exploded, the radiation from the kryptonite would have eventually killed all the inhabitants in what the Kryptonians called the Green Death. Kal El, AKA Superman escaped to Earth before all life on the planet was extinguished.
29 December 2004: effects:
Though the radiation from kryptonite is somewhat harmful to all life over extended periods of time, it is especially harmful to Kryptonians, most notably Superman. Kryptonite radiation rapidly fills Superman’s cells and painfully drives out the solar energy he stores from our sun robbing him of his superpowers and rendering him completely helpless. Prolonged exposure to kryptonite would most likely be fatal to Superman.
1 January 2005:
The only known sources of kryptonite on Earth are a few large fragments that were attached to the rocket ship that brought Superman to Earth. This fragments or meteors weigh approximately 2 pounds each; storing kryptonite within a lead container shields Superman from the elements crippling radiation. Superman has agreed to lend me several particles of the element so that I can study the element’s atomic structure and devise a way to neutralize the toxic effects it has on Ka El.
5 January 2006: Radiation Well
I have not been able thus far to map kryptonite’s atomic structure. The alien element has resisted all conventional analysis to date. I started construction of the radiation well I need to analysis kryptonite; government grant for an elemental amplifier was a lucky break. I will at last be able to try to unlock the secret of kryptonite and hopefully neutralize its deadly effects on Superman. The construction will take at least a year; I just hope I win this race against time before someone discovers kryptonite and uses it against Superman.
Eden turns from the screen and picks up early edition of the Daily Planet and sees Evan Frost’s angry face on the front page. The headline reads: 20 MILLION $ FOR SUPERMAN – DEAD OR ALIVE!
Eden turns the HD monitor onto FOX NEWS; Brit Hume is interviewing an angry Evan Frost outside the Federal Courthouse in Metropolis. “That man is a menace to society! He’s not even from this planet. Superman has falsely charged me a number of times. Each time I have been exonerated. As for the bologna about the bounty – I was not serious,” winks the Teflon Boss exaggeratedly at the camera. “I was completely misquoted.”
Brit counters, “Well why not officially retract…” Eden switches off the monitor and stares at the headline again and say softly, “20 million dollars – that’s a lot of money.”