Deck Log Entry # 168 You Be the Jury! Luthor v. Superboy (Part Two)


 

 

“Good morning, all.  Baliff, are all of the parties present?”

 

“They are, your honour.”

 

“Very well.  Mr. Aldrich, your client may re-take the stand.”

 

“Yes, your honour.”

 

“I remind the witness that he is still under oath.  You may begin your cross-examination, Mr. Barton.”

 

“Thank you, judge.”

 

 

 

Cross-Examination of Alexis “Lex” Luthor:

“Good morning, young Luthor.  Or should I address you as ‘Doctor Luthor’?”

 

“I don’t have a doctorate degree.”

 

“No doctorate?  Well, can you tell us in what field you obtained your master’s degree?”

 

“I don’t have a master’s degree, either.”

 

“The field of your undergraduate degree will do, then.”

 

“I haven’t been to college at all.”

 

“No college degree.  The fact of the matter is that you haven’t even graduated from high school yet, have you?”

 

“No.”

 

“Yet, you sit there and expect us to believe that you, Lex Luthor, created a form of artificial life---how did you put it?  ‘Unlocked the secret of life itself’---something that has eluded the greatest scientific minds of our time, and you haven’t even finished high school, yet?”

 

“Yes, because it’s the truth.”

 

 “But, you must admit, it’s difficult to accept your claim.”

 

“Difficult for a simple mind, maybe.”

 

“Well, my ‘simple’ mind would be more likely to believe you, if you could produce even one item of proof of your creation.”

 

“Weren’t you paying attention?  I said the protoplasm was destroyed, along with my notes.”

 

“So you did.  Did anybody else see this living protoplasm?  Did Superboy see it when he rescued you?”

 

“I know he did---with his X-ray vision.  That’s why he destroyed it.  He knew it would make me more famous than him and that colossal ego of his couldn’t handle it!”

 

“You aren’t going to raise an objection to that statement, Mr. Barton?”

 

“No, your honour.  I’ll let the plaintiff’s answer stand.”

 

“Very well.  It’s your call, counsellor.”

 

“Let’s go back to fire in your laboratory, Mr. Luthor.  How did it start?”

 

“I accidentally knocked over a flask containing an inflammable chemical solution.  The lab table caught on fire and the flames spread before I could do anything.”

 

“Clearly, this was a hazardous chemical.  Wouldn’t it have been prudent to keep such containers of dangerous substances safely secured, under proper storage?  Isn’t that the normal protocol---at least for a trained scientist?”

 

“I had just completed work on another experiment.  The materials I had been using were still on the lab table.”

 

“So it was an oversight.”

 

“I didn’t have a chance to put them away.”

 

“You seem to overlook a lot of things, Mr. Luthor.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“A few weeks after the incident didn’t you design a solar tower that was installed over Smallville, and didn’t the intense heat from that structure cause more than a dozen residents to suffer from heat stroke?”

 

“Objection!”

 

“May we approach, your honour?”

 

“Come on up.”

“Your honour, Mr. Barton’s question is immaterial to the matter before the court.”

 

“Mr. Barton?”

 

“Sir, I am establishing a pattern of carelessness on the part of the plaintiff.  Young Luthor’s lack of caution has a direct bearing on this case.”

 

“I’ll allow it.  Objection overruled.  The witness will answer the question.”

 

“I designed that weather-tower to keep Smallville warm and comfortable during the winter.”

 

“But, instead, you almost burnt the town to a crisp!  Isn’t that right?”

 

“It was an unseasonably warm day.  The automatic rheostat on the solar mirror should have compensated for that, but it didn’t.”

 

“Another oversight?”

 

“Unless Superboy sabotaged the mechanism.  I wouldn’t put it past him.”

 

“And a few months after that debacle, you persuaded some of the townspeople to plant seeds that you had developed, did you not?  I believe you called them ‘miracle seeds’.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And what happened when they did?”

 

“Cherry and pear trees grew overnight in backyards.  The farmers had fully grown crops in a single day.  They should have appreciated it.”

 

“But they didn’t appreciate it, did they?  Why was that?”

 

“Everyone in this courtroom knows why.”

 

“Refresh our memories.”

 

“It rained especially hard that night and the plants became overnourished.  They grew to gigantic size.”

 

“And?”

 

“The trees expanded so swiftly that several houses and barns were torn apart.”

 

“Another mistake, Mr. Luthor?  Or was that Superboy’s fault, too?”

 

“I didn’t anticipate the effects of an oversaturated water table on the seeds.  O.K., I screwed up!  Is that what you wanted to hear, Mr. Barton?”

 

 

 

“Earlier, you testified that, after you accidentally started the fire in your lab, Superboy happened to flying overhead.  Were you aware of this at the time?”

 

“Yes.  I spotted him in the air from an open window.”

 

“In fact, you called to him for help, didn’t you?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And in response to your cry for help, Superboy discharged a blast of super-breath into the lab, to extinguish the fire.  Is that correct?”

 

“Yes, that’s what he did.”

 

“And you stated that the gust of wind created by Superboy’s super-breath knocked a bottle of acid into a flask containing a formula from another one of your experiments.”

 

“That’s right!  Both containers broke on impact and when that happened, the acid and my formula mixed together, creating a corrosive cloud.”

 

“You believe my client did this on purpose.  What reason could he possibly have for doing such a thing?”

 

“How many times do I have to say it?  He was jealous of my genius and afraid that I would become more famous than he was!  He wanted to destroy my creation to keep that from happening.”

 

“Your creation.  You mean the protoplasm you claim to have brought to life in your lab?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“But isn’t it a fact, Mr. Luthor, that you told Superboy that the fire destroyed the protoplasm?  The fire that you started by your own carelessness.”

 

“Er . . . um . . . I don’t remember.”

 

“Come, now, son.  The truth is that this artificial life---if it ever existed---was destroyed by the fire you caused, and not by the corrosive cloud created by my client’s super-breath.  Isn’t it?”

 

“All right!  All right!  Maybe it was the fire.  But what about my hair?  That was his fault!  Because of that alien creep, I have to go through life as a hairless freak!

 

“Young Luthor!  I warned you about those angry outbursts of yours.  One more temper tantrum like that and I’ll charge you with contempt of court!”

 

“Once more, I apologise for my client, your honour.  It won’t happen, again.”

 

“It had best not, Mr. Aldrich.”

 

“I’m almost done with my cross-examination, anyway, judge.  Mr. Luthor, I’m curious about something.  When you were standing in front of the open window, calling for Superboy to rescue you from the fire, why didn’t you just jump out the window?”

 

“I ran back into the lab, to try to save the protoplasm.  By the time I turned to the window again, the fire had spread to that wall.  I was cut off.”

 

“So, at that point, you were trapped, with no way to escape.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And that gust of super-breath that Superboy sent through the window, did it put out the fire?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“So Superboy saved your life!

 

“ . . .  “

 

“I’m done with this witness.”

"This looks like an appropriate time to call a recess, gentlemen.  We'll resume at the next session.  Court is adjourned!"

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The Baron said:

I suppose you're trying to avoid any "comic book science" stuff, i.e., Superboy might have provided Luthor with advanced fire-figthing tech that he picked up while visiting the planet Pootwaddle, or Luthor might've invented super-advanced fire-fighting tech himself.

Well, no. If Superbody or Luthor did, it failed rather spectacularly. 

I think the important point is that Superboy saved Lex's life. Ideally, he should have used his superspeed to enter the building rather than trying to blow it out like a candle. As we know here in Southern California, fires thrive on winds. I wonder if Superboy, being a teenager, has the same immature brain as an Earth-born teenager.

Lex was obviously secretly jealous of Superboy's powers (secretly even to himself). His motives are always self-serving. If I recall correctly, he was more interested in flexing his scientific muscles in order to become famous and widely appreciated than in helping mankind. Because he is only interested in self-promotion he attributes these same motives to Superboy, who we know is mainly selfless. As I have seen in life, a selfish person will always assume that anything someone does must be their job. They can't imagine anyone providing assistance unless they have to do so. They would never do anything they weren't required to do. Therefore, Superboy must have been jealous of Lex because Lex was jealous of him.

IIRC, Luthor did have his own lab using the technology and material of the time. However he was only able to have his scientific breakthroughs via Superboy's gift of his advanced lab and esoteric resources. Thus Luthor's success was achieved only with Superboy's help.

Consciously he created *****spoiler***** to thank Superboy but subconsciously he wanted to prove that he could do something that Superboy could not.



ClarkKent_DC said:

The Baron said:

I suppose you're trying to avoid any "comic book science" stuff, i.e., Superboy might have provided Luthor with advanced fire-figthing tech that he picked up while visiting the planet Pootwaddle, or Luthor might've invented super-advanced fire-fighting tech himself.

Well, no. If Superbody or Luthor did, it failed rather spectacularly. 

 

 

To clarify - I am assuminmg that the Commander is assuming that the relevant laws and technology available on Earth-One at the time are the same as those on Earth-Prime at the same period, unless otherwise specifically stated.

The Baron said:

ClarkKent_DC said:

The Baron said:

I suppose you're trying to avoid any "comic book science" stuff, i.e., Superboy might have provided Luthor with advanced fire-figthing tech that he picked up while visiting the planet Pootwaddle, or Luthor might've invented super-advanced fire-fighting tech himself.

 

Well, no. If Superbody or Luthor did, it failed rather spectacularly.

 

 

To clarify - I am assuminmg that the Commander is assuming that the relevant laws and technology available on Earth-One at the time are the same as those on Earth-Prime at the same period, unless otherwise specifically stated.


Sure. But, to clarify my point: If either Superboy or Luthor installed any advanced fire-fighting tech in that laboratory, then it failed, because there was still a fire that wiped out everything in the room! 

You assume correctly, Baron.  I am following the same conceit that DC followed in those days---that normal life on Earth-One was identical to that of the real Earth---the same laws, customs, public figures, level of technology, and so forth.

Now, I grant, there are any number of elements in the Superman mythos---such as the ability to travel into the past---that would pretty much decide this civil case from the get-go.  (These same elements would, if applied realistically, would warp the standard of life on Earth-One beyond being on a par with the real Earth.  For example, if Superman's ability to travel through time were addressed with even token realism, Earth-One would have no "great mysteries"---no Lost Colony of Roanoke, no Mary Celeste, no Flight 19, no Judge Crater or Amelia Earhart or Glenn Miller.  All of these famous disappearances would be solved.  For that matter, there would never be an unsolved murder in Metropolis.)

But in order to have some semblence of drama, I've chosen to ignore the more fantastic implications of the Superman mythos and stick to depicting Superboy's powers and Luthor's genius in the more routine ways they were featured in the stories.

I don't remember but did the accident with his little sister Lena happen before or after this?


Philip Portelli said:

I don't remember but did the accident with his little sister Lena happen before or after this?

Luthor still had his hair and was still a good guy when Lena had the accident in his lab which gave her extra-sensory perception.

So that would give credence that Luthor didn't run a safe lab.

Given the speed that Luthor turned on Superboy and the severity of that hatred, Lex obviously had issues with his self-image and comparing himself with the Boy of Steel. Had the fire not happen, how long could he have lasted as "Superboy's Pal, Lex Luthor" before his true feelings burst through?

Along those lines--what if working in the lab changed Luthor's personality?  It's possible that breathing in fumes from his various and sundry experiments caused a chemical reaction in his brain that turned him evil.

Or not.  That sort of story leads to retro history of the worst kind.

Philip Portelli said:

So that would give credence that Luthor didn't run a safe lab.

Given the speed that Luthor turned on Superboy and the severity of that hatred, Lex obviously had issues with his self-image and comparing himself with the Boy of Steel. Had the fire not happen, how long could he have lasted as "Superboy's Pal, Lex Luthor" before his true feelings burst through?

No, Luthor was keeping secrets long before the fire. He was obsessive-compulsive, narcissistic and self-loathing all at the same time!

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