Return of the Copperhead
"RETURN OF THE COPPERHEAD"
The story begins with several scenes of large-scale destruction culminating in a massive train wreck. As this is taking place an announcer, in the manner of a news reporter, is explaining that these disasters have been caused by "The Raven," a master criminal whose identity and purpose are as yet unknown. The State Investigating Committee so far has been ineffective in dealing with this reign of terror and in fact has just lost its chief investigator in the train wreck.
The members of the Investigating Committee are in session and have been listening to this report. Seated around the conference table are MAXWELL, MERTON, WALTERS, LANDERS and NOLAND. Maxwell, the chairman of the committee, speculates that Robert Wayne, the chief investigator who died as a result of the train wreck, must have learned something about The Raven. Walters complains that they are now left in the dark as a result of Wayne's reticence in confiding in the Committee as to exactly what lines he was working on. Maxwell proposes that the Committee replace the dead investigator with his son, who is himself a security person working on a government project and who may be familiar with his father's work. The Committee is split on this proposal, some members feeling that he lacks the experience to handle a large scale investigation such as this, and others feeling that they have no better alternative and perhaps should give him a chance. At this point BOB WAYNE enters the Committee room as a result of the summons from Maxwell, assures them of his ability and accepts the position. Wayne names as his assistant JEFF STEVENS, a long-time associate of his, and in order to keep in touch with developments on the government project that he had been working on he will hire as his secretary JOAN PARKER, the daughter of the scientist on that project. Wayne also mentions that he will be seeing this scientist, PROFESSOR PARKER, later in the day because the Professor was an old friend of Bob's father and has something that Robert Wayne instructed was to be given to his son in the event of his death; something which Bob hopes will be a clue to The Raven's identity.
Later that day, when Bob has come to see him at the Industrial Institute, Professor Parker goes to his car to get these things for Bob. He takes from his car two items: a small chest and a large envelope. Before he can return to Bob he is attacked by two men, COREY and GREG. Parker puts up a struggle and a blast from the horn of his car alert's Bob, who starts to his rescue. Corey and Greg escape with the large envelope and although Bob gives chase they manage to elude him.
Corey and Greg return to The Raven's headquarters, a dark and foreboding tower in a remote area. There they are confronted by THE RAVEN, a masked and menacing figure who is displeased with his henchmen when he finds that the envelope they have brought him is unrelated to his identity. But he is mollified when, on further examination, he finds that they have brought him the plans for a remote control device of a revolutionary nature, which has been developed by Professor Parker. The Raven summons RANKIN, an evil scientist, who examines the plans and explains that they only show the construction of the remote control panel and not of the remote control cell itself, without which the control panel is useless. The Raven instructs him to begin building the control panel anyway and dispatches Corey and Greg to raid the Professor's apartment in order to obtain the rest of the plans and also any papers relating to The Raven's identity.
Meanwhile, the Professor has delivered to Bob the small chest which his father had left for him. Bob has returned to his office to examine the contents, which turn out to be a hood made of copper mesh and a letter from his father which explains that years before Robert Wayne had worn this hood in the guise of "The Copperhead," a man believed to be an outlaw who works for the protection of the innocent, in order to rid the world of a criminal gang headed by a scientific madman. In doing this he had been following in the steps of his father who, before the turn of the century, had donned the hood to rid the land of criminals that the law couldn't touch. In closing the letter says: "I am leaving this secret with you and hope that, should the need ever arise again, you will have the courage to do the same, although the price may be high. Remember, only you and I know that The Copperhead is no outlaw."
Following this Bob calls Professor Parker and arranges to pick up all other plans of the Professor's and place them into safekeeping.
That night, when Corey and two of his stooges are carrying out the raid on Parker's apartment, they are interrupted by a man wearing a copper hood. He drives them off, killing the stooges, but Corey manages to make good his escape carrying with him more of Professor Parker's plans. These plans, however, are not for the remote control cell but rather are the undeveloped outline for a device which Parker calls the Seismotron, which could be a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands.
The following day Bob reports to the Committee of the safeguarding of the plans. When questioned about the hooded person who intervened, Jeff reports the results of his research, based on the eyewitness accounts, which led him to find in the old newspaper files that some years previously the police had been assisted by a man they called "The Copperhead," whose identity was never discovered. After some further discussion of this Bob mentions that he and Jeff intend to provide security for Professor Parker's upcoming test of his control cell to forestall any other attempts to obtain the device.
The following day, from the Municipal Airport, Professor Parker is testing his remote control cell in a light plane, operating the control panel from the airport. Bob rides in the plane to report by radio the results of the operation.
Rankin has finished constructing a duplicate control panel from the stolen plans, and The Raven has it mounted in another light plane. Intending to obtain the control cell from Bob's plane, The Raven sends two of his men to take over control of Bob's plane by placing their control panel in close range of the cell and thereby overriding Parker's control. The Raven's men send the test plane toward the upper atmosphere in order to cause Bob to black out. Bob radios Parker for instructions on removing the control cell and the Professor advises him that the cell will self-destruct if it is tampered with. Professor Parker suggests to Bob that he bail out, but no parachute was provided for this. Hearing by radio that the cell can not be removed from the plane, The Raven orders his men to destroy the test plane, and Bob, with the intention of seizing Professor Parker later. While all look on in horror, the heavies send the test plane in a dive toward a huge gasoline storage tank, resulting in a cataclysmic explosion.
Using his gun to smash the control cell, Bob regains manual control of the test plane and pulls out of the dive in time. However, the control panel in the other plane explodes when the cell is broken, blinding the pilot, and it is this plane which crashes.
At the next meeting of the State Investigating Committee Bob makes his report concerning these events. The members of the Committee are distressed when they learn of the destruction of the control cell and caution Bob that The Raven is sure to make further efforts to obtain it from Professor Parker during the time it will take him to construct another. Bob informs them that this will not be the case, since Parker already has a duplicate control cell in the Scientific Laboratories Warehouse, which was an added precaution in case the first one should fail to function. This cell will be delivered to the government later in the day.
The Raven, who is in reality one of the members of the Committee, immediately sends Corey and Greg to the warehouse to obtain this duplicate control cell. Bob arrives at the warehouse to check its security in time to see the heavies entering. As The Copperhead, he thwarts this robbery, capturing Corey.
The Raven learns that Corey is being held for questioning in Wayne's office under guard by Jeff. He sends Greg and another heavy to free him, but Bob returns to his office while they are doing this. Entering as The Copperhead, he battles the three heavys and he and the third heavy become entrapped in an elevator, the controls of which were smashed during the fight. As it rises, The Copperhead climbs through the trap door in the roof of the elevator car and tries to stop its ascent. He is too late to accomplish this, and the rising car crushes the supporting girder at the top. The cables snap and the car plunges to a crash.
The Copperhead, who is partly out of the trap door opening in the roof of the elevator car, reaches up and grabs a supporting girder at the top of the shaft just as the cables break and the car drops from below him to crash at the bottom of the shaft. After making his way to the roof of the building, he returns to his office as Bob Wayne. Bob, Jeff and Joan discuss the events of the previous episode and come to the realization that only the members of the State Investigating Committee knew where Corey was being held, and therefor one of the members must be The Raven, or at least giving information to him.
Later, at Professor Parker's laboratory, the Professor demonstrates his new miniature control cell to Jeff and Joan. During the demonstration a Z-3 tube burns out and Jeff and Joan drive to the electronics store to get a replacement. Corey and Greg, ordered by The Raven to watch the laboratory, follow them and kidnap Joan when she leaves the store. Braving a hail of bullets which he is unable to return for fear of hitting Joan, Jeff pursues the heavies, but loses them. He picks up the trail later and discovers the heavies' car parked near an old building. Further investigation reveals a clue dropped by Joan, and Jeff, because his car radio was shot out in the chase, drives to a phone booth to call Bob. While at the phone booth Jeff's car also develops a flat tire and Bob, as The Copperhead, arrives at the heavies' hide-out.
In an attempt to force Joan to call her father and have him bring the control cell plans to them, Corey demonstrates a speargun operated by a timer which will kill her if she does not cooperate. The Copperhead breaks in and in the ensuing fight the timer, unnoticed in the fracas, is started by accident. The Copperhead overcomes the heavies and as he is untying Joan the speargun fires at his back and the spear embeds itself deeply.
As The Copperhead is untying Joan, the n.d. heavy lying on the floor between him and the speargun wakes and rises quickly behind him to strike him on the head. The speargun fires and it is revealed that it is the n.d. heavy who is hit in the back. Corey and Greg have made good their escape. After untying Joan, The Copperhead leaves and returns to his car, re-emerging as Bob just as Jeff arrives on the scene. Bob and Jeff rush to Joan's rescue, but find that they are not needed.
At the next meeting of the Investigating Committee, Bob "reveals" some false information that the Professor is working in secret at a remote location for security reasons. The purpose of this subterfuge is to attempt to trap The Raven's source of information on the Committee. One of the members, Landers, does drive out to this location, an old barn, and Bob confronts him there after following him. As Landers tries to explain his actions Corey and Greg appear and shoot him before he can reveal anything about The Raven. A gun battle results, and Bob is pinned down in the barn by the heavy fire from outside. Greg throws a grenade into the barn and Bob escapes by rolling outside in a steel drum which deflects Corey's shots.
Returning from the barn, Bob is called to Professor Parker's lab where he learns that the Professor was attacked by The Raven himself, who escaped with the Professor's control cell and plans. Parker tells Bob that one of the transistors in the cell was not functioning at the time, and since this type of transistor can only be obtained from one source, Bob instructs the electronics company not to release them without his approval. As The Copperhead, he watches for any suspicious activity at the electronics store, and as a delivery man leaves the store he realizes that it is Corey in disguise. The Copperhead pursues the delivery truck in which Corey and Greg attempt to escape, and as the chase reaches the outskirts of the city Corey lays down an oil slick from some barrels on the delivery truck. The Copperhead loses control of his car and it skids over the edge of a cliff, crashes and explodes.
As he loses control of the car and it starts to skid toward the cliff, The Copperhead opens his door and jumps from it before it goes over. Corey and Greg, however, have succeeded in eluding capture.
Having obtained the needed transistors, The Raven plans to test the suitability of the control cell to his purposes. Professor Parker, however, has realized that the cell cannot be activated without transmitting to the viewing screen of his own control panel, even though he will not be in a position to assume control over it. When Corey and Greg begin conducting the test in a remote area, Jeff recognizes the terrain on the viewing screen and along with Bob races to intercept the heavies. A battle results, but Corey and Greg again manage to avoid capture, this time due to the efforts of the look-out which they had posted in the event of such need.
By the time of the next meeting of the State Investigating Committee, The Raven has threatened J. R. FOLEY, the millionaire industrialist, with sabotage unless he agrees to pay one million dollars. Foley has refused and Bob, although he has no way of knowing by what method The Raven plans to carry out this sabotage, must nevertheless try to protect the most vulnerable of Foley's properties, which he believes to be the Foley Steel Company. Bob leaves the Committee meeting to check on the security at that plant while Jeff returns to Professor Parker's laboratory, where Joan is monitoring the viewing screen in case it should reveal further activity.
When next the viewing screen activates, it shows the heavies loading crates of explosives into a speedboat at a pier on the river. Jeff realizes that Foley's Export Warehouse is located nearby and conceives a plan to bring Professor Parker's portable control panel to the warehouse and assume control of the speedboat when it comes within range. Joan radios to Bob at Foley's factory and alerts him to the location of the heavies. As The Copperhead he races to intercept them and although he is unable to stop them in time he manages to get aboard the speedboat.
Using the remote control the heavies send the speedboat toward Foley's warehouse while The Copperhead attempts to throw all the crates of explosives into the water. Seeing that he will not have enough time to complete the task, The Copperhead starts to jump overboard just as the boat comes within range of Jeff's control panel. When Jeff turns the speedboat quickly away from the warehouse The Copperhead is thrown off balance and instead of jumping overboard he falls backward and the speedboat crashes into the rocks at the side of the river and explodes.
As The Copperhead falls backward he lands on the outer structure of the boat and rolls off into the water before the speedboat hits.
When Bob and Jeff make their report to the Investigating Committee, The Raven realizes that they still suspect that he may be one of the members because they fail to mention how it was that they were guarding Foley's warehouse instead of his factory. The Raven has deduced from the speed with which they have been tracking down his activities that the viewing screen on Professor Parker's control panel must be activating whenever the control cells are activated. Increasing his demand to Foley to three million dollars, The Raven plans to use the control cells as a detonator, which will not give anyone time to thwart his plans.
Posing as a government inspector, Corey tours Foley's factory and, unobserved by Foley, secretes several small but extremely powerful bombs throughout the plant. Before Corey is able to leave, Bob arrives to keep an appointment with Foley and recognizes Corey, but fails to apprehend him. Foley tells Bob that he was with Corey during the entire time he was there, so Bob leaves believing that Corey was probably checking out the factory to learn the best means of attack and that The Raven may decide to abandon the extortion attempt since it is now known where he intended to strike.
Later that day, when Foley calls Bob to say that The Raven has repeated his demands and threatened to destroy the factory, Bob tells Foley that he will send The Copperhead to the factory while he and Jeff cover the surrounding area. After sending Jeff to cover the place indicated by The Raven as the money drop, Bob keeps his appointment with Foley as The Copperhead. Foley has recovered the briefcase which Corey carried while posing as a government inspector and The Copperhead recognizes the small and seemingly innocent device which it carries as the very powerful explosive which it actually is. Realizing that Corey must have planted these bombs throughout the factory, The Copperhead questions Foley about the route they had taken on the inspection tour and then sends Foley out of the already evacuated factory while The Copperhead searches the factory to de-activate the bombs. When Greg arrives at the money drop he finds that there is no money and narrowly escapes capture by Jeff. Angered at these events, the heavies decide to destroy the factory before the deadline that they had given and, while The Copperhead is still inside searching for the bombs, they activate the detonators and the factory is destroyed in a series of explosions.
Reacting to the first explosion in the series, The Copperhead smashes through the nearest window and escapes from the factory before it is destroyed.
Later, Bob and Jeff report to the State Investigating Committee on this incident and the fact that The Raven, angered at Foley for his refusal to pay extortion money, has threatened to Foley that he will make one further demonstration of his power. Since Foley's Export Warehouse seems currently to be his most vulnerable point, Jeff will patrol the area from the water.
After leaving the meeting, Bob and Joan make arrangements to meet Jeff at the warehouse later in the day, after taking care of other business. The Raven, meanwhile, acting on the information that he has obtained as a member of the Committee, dispatches two of his men to the river front to eliminate Jeff. Pursuing Jeff in another speedboat, the heavies attempt to carry out The Raven's orders using rifles and hand grenades but Jeff, through skillful maneuvering, manages to turn the tables on them and they are destroyed by their own methods.
Arriving at Foley's warehouse, Jeff is surprised and captured by Corey and Greg, who are in the process of looting the warehouse. When Bob arrives at the building a short while later, he also is taken by surprise and is knocked unconscious before he enters. The heavies make the mistake of leaving him where he had fallen outside and after they return to their activities inside Bob recovers and changes to The Copperhead. As he is about to enter the warehouse Joan arrives and The Copperhead sends her to free Jeff while he takes care of Corey and Greg. A fight results, which is quickly joined by Joan and Jeff, and Joan is knocked unconscious beneath a large crate containing an experimental rocket which is suspended from a winch. As the fight continues the crate is dislodged and while The Copperhead and Jeff are unable to reach Joan to assist her the crate breaks loose and crashes down.
Seeing Joan's peril, Jeff kicks a steel drum toward her just as the crate falls. The drum catches the force of the impact so that her body is bridged by the crate.
Foiled in his attempt to loot J. R. Foley 's warehouse, The Raven plans to take revenge by contaminating a supply of rocket fuel that Foley has stored for government use. For this purpose LAWTON, a henchman of The Raven, has prepared a chemical which will break down the composition of the fuel. But as Corey and Greg, driving a truck loaded with drums containing the contaminant, prepare to break into the storage tank field, they are discovered by Bob and Jeff, who are on a patrol of Foley 's properties. A chase ensues and Corey and Greg manage to escape only by setting fire to the entire truck loaded with barrels of chemical and rolling it into Bob and Jeff's car, from which they are forced to jump prior to its demolition.
Corey and Greg return to Lawton's chemical company to replace the destroyed contaminant. Bob examines the wreckage and the markings on the barrels lead him to their origin. Jeff guards the storage tank field while Bob checks out the chemical company. When Bob arrives there, he sees that Corey and the other heavies are loading another truck with drums of chemical. He enters the chemical plant as The Copperhead and a fight results, which prevents Lawton from maintaining a safe level of pressure within the tank containing the final batch of contaminant. When Corey and Greg realize their peril they run from the building and order the driver of the truck to get the truck away also, but The Copperhead and Lawton are unaware of this and continue to fight within the building as the pressure reaches the danger zone, causing an explosion which destroys the building.
As they fight within the doomed chemical plant, The Copperhead jumps at Lawton, who is on the floor. Lawton kicks him over his head and The Copperhead lands through the loading door and rolls onto the rear of the truck as it pulls away. Lawton realizes his danger too late and perishes. The Copperhead captures the driver of the truck, but the man is killed by Corey to keep him from talking.
At the next meeting of the State Investigating Committee Bob mentions that Professor Parker has completed the development of the Seismotron and that the Professor is being protected by government agents, while the plans for the device are in the safe in Bob's office. Bob still suspects that The Raven is one of the Committee members, or at least that one of the members is giving information to him, and Bob is prepared for some kind of attempt to be made to obtain the plans from his office. The Raven, who has been awaiting the completion of the Professor's new weapon, takes action to obtain it in an unexpected manner. Summoning his chief henchmen, Corey and Greg, he lays a trap outside the Committee Building and when Jeff and Joan leave they overpower Jeff and kidnap Joan. Jeff recovers in time to give chase but the heavies shoot his car out from under him and he is forced to jump from it before it plunges over a cliff.
Taking Joan to a deserted building in a run down area of the city, The Raven baits a trap with her by tying and gagging her in a chair in the back room so that she can be seen through the doorway from the front room. The Raven's men then electrify the doorway in such a way that objects passing from the back room to the front will not be affected, but anything entering the back room from the front will be electrocuted. The Raven then calls Bob and demands that the plans be delivered to him by The Copperhead, who must come alone. The Raven plans to release Joan unharmed, after allowing The Copperhead to pass through the doorway to rescue her. Bringing the plans with him, The Copperhead picks up Jeff, who has called in following the destruction of his car, but The Copperhead arrives at the deserted building alone. He enters with the plans, which The Raven examines closely to be certain that they are genuine. Meanwhile, Jeff slips out of the trunk of The Copperhead's car and enters the room where Joan is imprisoned through the rear door of the building.
When The Raven, satisfied that the plans are in order, motions to The Copperhead that he may enter the back room and release Joan, she screams a warning to him, her gag having been removed by Jeff. The Copperhead backs away from the door and Jeff dives through, starting a fight, during which one of The Raven's gloves comes off and The Copperhead sees that he is wearing a signet ring with the letter "W" on it. As they continue to fight The Copperhead is standing in front of the electrified doorway and The Raven throws a stool at him. The Copperhead, struck by the thrown stool, falls backward and a spark shower flashes on, blotting him from view.
As The Copperhead falls backward he bounces off the door frame and falls to the floor without passing through the door. His gun, knocked from his hand, does fall through the doorway and causes the flash of sparks. The Raven and his men make good their escape, carrying with them the plans for the Seismotron.
At the following meeting of the State Investigating Committee, Bob and Jeff inform the members of the loss of the Seismotron plans. They explain that despite having obtained the plans The Raven will have a difficult time constructing the device, since it requires a special radium vapor tube made only by the government. A tube of this type is due to be delivered to Professor Parker and a police escort has been arranged to guard the truck which is delivering it. Bob and Jeff plan to meet the delivery truck outside the city at the King's Crossing Bridge in a small, unmarked panel truck and convey the tube to the Professor's laboratory by a secret route which they have arranged to be guarded also. During this meeting Bob and Jeff have been watching Walters closely and have seen that he is wearing a signet ring of the type described to them by The Copperhead. When the meeting is adjourned, Jeff follows Walters and sees that he makes a telephone call from a phone located outside the Committee Building, but Jeff is unable to overhear what is said.
At The Raven's headquarters, Corey receives a telephone call from The Raven. Acting on The Raven's instructions, Corey and Greg go to the Committee Building parking lot and find the panel truck that Bob and Jeff intend to use. Beneath the truck they attach a radar triggering device, while at the King's Crossing Bridge another of The Raven's men installs a bomb which will be activated by that device. Meanwhile, Bob and Jeff decide to question Walters about his activities and they call him to their office. Walters is outraged when they explain their suspicions to him, and tells them that the purpose of his call was to make arrangements with some private guards to protect the radium vapor tube, so that he could take delivery of the tube at the bridge. Walters explains that the reason for this, as well as for calling from an outside telephone, was that Walters also suspects a leak on the Committee and expected that Bob and Jeff would be attacked by The Raven's men on their way back with the shipment. Bob and Jeff consider this answer to be too contrived, and decide to hold Walters in custody for further questioning, but Walters catches them by surprise when he draws a gun and bolts from the room. Bob sends Jeff after Walters in the elevator, explaining that he will take the stairs in case Walters gets off. After Jeff has left Bob changes to The Copperhead and leaves by the fire escape.
Walters flees through the parking lot and when his escape is cut off by Jeff and The Copperhead, in his panic Walters drives off in the panel truck. The Copperhead and Jeff don't have time to wait for Bob and they take his car topursue Walters. Corey and Greg, who have been waiting in the parking lot, see this taking place and, knowing that The Raven is one of the Committee members, follow along in case Walters needs help. Jeff and The Copperhead take an alternate route leading to an overpass, and when Waiters truck passes beneath it The Copperhead drops onto the roof of the truck. When The Copperhead climbs down to the rear doors of the truck, Corey and Greg see him and begin firing at him to prevent him from getting at Walters. Hearing shots being fired at the truck, Walters swerves to avoid them and drives out onto the bridge, which triggers the bomb and the resulting explosion destroys the bridge with the truck on it.
As Walters swerves the truck to avoid the shots, The Copperhead loses his grip and falls from the truck before it starts onto the bridge. Walters is killed in the explosion, and Corey and Greg drive off before Jeff can arrive to assist The Copperhead.
When The Copperhead and Jeff return to the city, The Copperhead slips away and returns to his office before Jeff can get there. When Jeff arrives Bob asks him about what happened with Walters and Jeff explains the events of the previous episode, adding that the radium vapor tube was brought to the government warehouse, where it will be held until sent for. Bob and Jeff report on these matters to the State Investigating Committee, and the remaining members are optimistic about the progress that they will be able to make with The Raven now dead.
At The Raven's headquarters, the heavies have decided upon Corey as the new leader of the gang. In order to continue with the plan originally devised by The Raven, Corey dispatches Greg and two other heavies to the government warehouse to obtain the tube, which Rankin will need to complete the Seismotron. When Greg and his men arrive at the warehouse they find a truck being loaded with boxes marked for delivery to Professor Parker. They are unable to distinguish which one of the boxes contains the radium vapor tube, so Greg contacts Corey by radio for instructions. As Corey replies, telling Greg to take the entire truck, he is startled by the entrance of The Raven, who reveals that Walters was in fact trying to save the shipment, but since Wayne and the members of the Committee believe that The Raven is now dead this can be used to advantage. Greg and his men, at the warehouse, are taken by surprise by Bob Wayne, and the two heavies try to escape in the truck after Greg is knocked out. Bob jumps in the back of the truck as it pulls away and while he is struggling with one of the men for possession of a gun the weapon is fired and kills the driver. Bob is knocked from the back of the truck just before it crashes and the other heavy perishes. When Greg reports back to The Raven's headquarters he states that when he opened the boxes that were left behind he found that they were empty. The Raven realizes that this had to be a trap that had been set to capture his men, and that the radium vapor tube must still be at the warehouse. He orders Corey and Greg to take some of their men back to the warehouse quickly, before anyone realizes that they are aware of this.
While Joan picks up Bob, Jeff drives to the warehouse to keep an eye on things there, but he is captured by the heavies who have already arrived there to search for the radium vapor tube. Bob drops Joan off at the Professor's laboratory and drives to the warehouse. The heavies locate the tube and place it in a truck, then are about to kill Jeff when The Copperhead enters in time to save him. A fight results, during which The Copperhead is knocked unconscious, but Jeff holds off the heavies by firing at them from behind the cover of some crates. Corey tells one of his men to drive the truck into the crates that Jeff is hiding behind, but as he tries to do this Jeff shoots the man. The Copperhead, meanwhile, starts to recover and stand up just as the driver slumps over the wheel, causing the truck to turn in the direction of The Copperhead. The Copperhead realizes what is happening just in time to see the truck coming directly at him, but his back is to the wall and the truck crashes.
As the truck comes at him The Copperhead dives under the front of it so that it passes over him without harming him before it crashes. Corey and Greg make a fast retreat, realizing that the crash must have destroyed the tube, and when The Copperhead and Jeff examine the contents of the truck this is found to be the case.
Bob and Jeff report to the State Investigating Committee concerning the destruction of the tube and the need to arrange for another to be sent. A plan is worked out to have it brought in by an unguarded train, so that the criminals will not suspect that it carries anything important. Using the information that he has gained as a member of the Committee, The Raven plans a counter move, by means of which he also plans to eliminate Professor Parker. Rankin has prepared a tube which appears to be the radium vapor tube but is actually an explosive device that will detonate when the heat of the Professor's machinery cracks the glass and the gas inside the fake tube is exposed to the air. The plan is to attack Bob and Jeff as they bring the tube from the railroad depot and switch the tubes without letting them know, then allow Bob and Jeff to escape thinking that they still have the real tube.
When Corey and Greg waylay Bob's car on the way from the rail station, they find that only Bob is within it. The reason for this becomes apparent to them when Jeff arrives moments later in another car and drives them off with a hail of bullets. Pursued by Jeff and Bob, the heavies are forced to use the fake tube as a hand grenade when they run out of bullets. This blows up the highway in front of Bob and Jeff, and they are forced to give up the chase. But Corey and Greg double back in time to observe them from a distance, and see Bob discard the box that was supposed to contain the real tube. Corey and Greg report on this to The Raven, who understands that this was another trap set to catch his men. He is forced to jeopardize his identity by calling Professor Parker and, as a member of the Committee, finding out from him how the tube will actually be delivered. The Raven learns that the tube will arrive at the city airport soon, and arranges to have Corey and Greg, as well as another man in a second car and a pilot with a small airplane, meet at the airport to steal the tube and kidnap the Professor.
Bob, Jeff, Joan and the Professor all meet at the airport to take delivery of the tube. After they have gotten it the Professor mentions that one of the Committee members called him, which startles Bob, but just as the Professor is about to name the Committee member Corey and Greg spring from concealment and attempt to take the tube and the Professor. Professor Parker surprises them by jumping them, then as Bob and Jeff take over and start chasing them, he and Joan duck through the terminal building. Corey temporarily gives Bob the slip and comes up on the Professor again, but Professor Parker puts up a struggle again and sends Joan back inside the terminal with the tube. Corey knocks out the Professor and one of his men drives up in the second car. The heavies place the Professor in the car, but as Corey starts to get out to go after the tube Bob arrives on the scene. Corey tells the driver to get them out of there but as the car starts to pull away Bob dives in and struggles with Corey. As Corey and Bob grapple for possession of Corey's gun it fires toward the front seat, killing the driver. The car, out of control, runs onto the landing strip just as the heavies' plane is taxiing to take off. Bob and Corey are too intent on their struggle to see what is happening, and the car and airplane crash together and explode.
As Bob and Corey struggle they fall out of the car, knocking Bob out, just before the crash. The Professor, who was unconscious within the car, is killed in the crash and Joan is so shocked by this that she is unable to put up any resistance when Corey returns to the terminal and takes the tube from her. Greg also gives Jeff the slip and the heavies make good their escape.
Having obtained the final necessary component, Rankin completes the Seismotron and The Raven plans to put his operation into high gear. Before doing this, however, he decides that he must eliminate Bob Wayne and Jeff Stevens because they are too close to finally discovering the true identity of The Raven. He therefor has Corey plant a bomb in Wayne's office while the Investigating Committee is in session. The meeting of the Committee is an unpleasant one, with the members expressing their dissatisfaction with Bob's handling of the investigation and Bob, for the first time, openly declares to the Committee that one of them is The Raven. When Bob, Jeff and Joan return to the office following the meeting, through a stroke of luck they discover the presence of the bomb and Joan throws it out of the window where it explodes harmlessly in mid-air. When they examine the covering that the bomb had been wrapped in they find that there are impressions of some kind on it and Joan examines it in her father's laboratory. What she discovers there leads them to find that the covering, and possibly the bomb, had come from Tony's Service Station, and Bob sends Jeff there to check on this. Bob remains at the Committee Building to keep an eye on the Committee members and when Noland leaves the building Bob follows him, as The Copperhead.
The Raven, however, is a step ahead, having contrived to overhear the conversation in Wayne's office, and has already dispatched Corey and Greg to assist Tony. When Jeff arrives there, the heavies are waiting for him and a gun battle results. Noland arrives on the scene, unaware that he is being followed by The Copperhead, and Noland leaves when he sees what is happening in the garage.
The Copperhead remains to help Jeff, but in the course of the fight he is knocked unconscious beneath the auto lift. Tony is killed by a shot from Jeff, but as he falls he activates the lift which begins to descend toward The Copperhead lying beneath. Jeff, pinned down by the shots from Corey and Greg, is unable to come to the aid of The Copperhead and the lift crushes to the floor.
Regaining consciousness moments before he is crushed by the lift, The Copperhead manages to remove himself from its path. Jeff is unable to prevent Corey and Greg from escaping due to his having exhausted his supply of ammunition.
The Copperhead arrives back at the Committee Building moments before Jeff and by the time Jeff gets there Bob is back in his office after having hastily concealed his disguise in the desk. When Jeff enters Bob questions him about what took place at Tony's Service Station and Jeff relates the events of the previous episode. Bob and Jeff attend a meeting of the State Investigating Committee and confront Noland with their knowledge of his suspicious activity, but Noland states that the accusation is ridiculous and that just because he has his car serviced at a particular station he cannot be held accountable for its operators. Also during this meeting Bob states that Joan Parker is searching through her father's papers in an attempt to find his notes relating to a device that would nullify the power of the Seismotron by reversing the power output when it is used. The Raven is frantic to prevent this and arranges to purposely give Bob a clue that will keep him occupied while the heavies raid Parker's apartment to steal these papers. Later, while Bob and Jeff are in Wayne's office searching through some of Professor Parker's notes, Bob gets a call from Noland who says that he has a clue to The Raven's identity and wants to meet with Bob immediately. Bob leaves Jeff in the office to guard the papers while he meets with Noland. When Bob arrives at the agreed upon place he finds that Noland is dying from a gunshot wound. Before Noland dies he tells Bob that he was attacked by The Raven himself and that Bob was correct about the signet ring, except that instead of the letter being a "W" it was an "M". Bob exclaims that he must have seen it upside down and Noland realizes that Bob must be The Copperhead, but Noland dies before he can reveal the identity of The Raven.
From his car, Bob radios to Jeff at his office to send a police ambulance to the scene and also to pick up Maxwell and Merton and hold them in custody until Bob can question them. But just at this moment another call comes on the radio from Joan, who tells Bob that her apartment building is surrounded by The Raven's gang and that her telephone is inoperable. Before Joan can finish the call The Raven, Corey and Greg have entered her apartment and hear her calling for help. They search through the Professor's papers and find the plans for the anti-Seismotron device while they are also planning to take Bob by surprise, but The Copperhead shows up sooner than anticipated and overcomes the guards that The Raven had placed outside the building. But, when The Copperhead starts to enter Joan's apartment through the window from the fire escape, he finds that he is confronted by The Raven and his chief henchmen, and they fire every bullet in their guns directly into The Copperhead, who then falls ten stories to the pavement.
As The Copperhead falls from the fire escape Bob Wayne arrives in response to Joan's call for help. He finds that Jeff Stevens is in The Copperhead's disguise, having found the copper hood in Bob's desk while Bob was meeting with Noland. Bob is unable to help Jeff, who was dead even before he hit the ground, and Bob removes the hood. While Bob goes to see if Joan is all right, The Raven and his gang escape, carrying with them the plans for the anti-Seismotron device. Bob explains to Joan, who was unable to see what was taking place, that Jeff was murdered by The Raven while trying to save her.
As a last, desperate measure, Joan, following some notes left by her father, constructs a directional finder that will trace the location of the Seismotron, but only within a limited range. Meanwhile, Bob calls Maxwell and Merton into his office and, with only two suspects left, he manages to convince them that he finally knows which one of them is The Raven. However, he makes the mistake of turning his back on them momentarily, and he is struck from behind and he falls unconscious. When he revives he finds that both men are gone, one of them having presumably kidnapped the other. He soon hears a news report saying that The Raven has threatened to destroy the city unless he is paid a huge ransom, but The Raven makes the mistake of specifying his first target, and Bob and Joan drive to that location and get a directional fix before the Seismotron has built up to full power.
Following the directional fix, Bob and Joan manage to locate The Raven's headquarters, a dark tower in an outlying area of the city. They see that it is heavily guarded, but lack the time to summon help. Bob reveals his secret to Joan and dons his disguise for the final time, and they attack the tower. While Joan, using Jeff's gun, manages to hold off the lookouts posted around the tower, The Copperhead manages to find an unguarded route to the roof of the tower, where The Raven and Rankin have set up the Seismotron. The Copperhead takes The Raven by surprise but, just as The Raven reveals that he is now aware of the true identity of The Copperhead, Corey and Greg arrive on the roof. In the resulting battle all of the remaining heavies are killed in various ways, except The Raven, who manages to slip away unnoticed. The Raven has a small airstrip nearby and manages to escape in his plane before he can be stopped, but fate intervenes and The Raven flies through the beam from the Seismotron and he is destroyed in mid air. The Copperhead and Joan free the only remaining member of the State Investigating Committee.
Later, at Bob's office, Maxwell congratulates Bob and Joan on finally putting The Raven out of business and says that he is pleased that Bob has decided to accept the position of chief investigator, permanently. He also mentions that although it is still not known who The Copperhead really is, the Governor has completely cleared him of any charges that could be brought against him, in gratitude for his help in clearing up the worst crime wave the state had ever seen. After Maxwell has left Bob tells Joan that, hero or not, The Copperhead has gone into retirement, but the matter is left in some doubt when a police siren is heard racing through the city streets. Joan reaches into Bob's jacket pocket, removes the copper hood and drops it into Bob's desk drawer, and the story ends.
NOTE: some revisions were made after this synopsis was prepared.
Written in 1981 but presented here publicly for the first time, this document was intended for private use only and is not to be reproduced or distributed except with consent of the copyright holder.
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