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Before reading, please read Strangers #3.

Strangers: A New Twist #4
August, 1998

Chilling Encounters

Written by Lex
Currently unedited
Created by Steve Englehart
Property of Malibu Comics

'A whole week of this,' thinks Spectral as he soars high above San Francisco in his yellow flame. 'I can't believe we've had a whole week of these strange ice robberies. And we haven't been unable to catch the robbers yet.'

Suddenly he hears an alarm go off below him. "Ha! I've got them now!"

Below in the Montgomery Street Jewelry Store…

"All right, everyone just keep your hands where I can see them," shouts a man dressed for winter in the hot California summer. He and his partners in crime all have futuristic-looking guns. They are pointing them at the people in the store, who all have their hands above their heads. One points his gun at a jewelry case. Instead of shooting bullets, the gun shoots out a blast of white energy. The energy freezes the case until it breaks from the coldness. Glass and jewels fly

everywhere and an alarm goes off.

The robbers work fast to scoop up the jewels while one still holds a gun at everyone in the store. Then…

"STOP RIGHT THERE!" shouts Spectral as he flies into the store and gently touches down to the ground right in front of the robbers.

"GET 'IM!" shouts one of the robbers as the all stand up and begin firing their "ice guns." Spectral dodges their blasts and looks back to see the store windows frozen and breaking. He decides to change to his orange flame.

"You think you're heat can stop us?" says another of the robbers. They fire their guns at him.

"ARGH!!!" screams Spectral as his flame is snuffed out by the cold and he falls to the ground. Spectral picks himself up enough to slowly crawl out of the store.

"You guys finish up here, I'll handle the Stranger." He follows Spectral out of the store with a smirk on his face.

'They snuffed out my orange flame,' thinks Spectral, 'but maybe my other flames will work.' He gets to his feet and concentrates on starting up a different flame.

"That's far enough," says the robber standing right behind him. "Now turn around and put your hands up over your head. And don't even think of burning a flame of any color." He raises the gun up to blast Spectral.

Suddenly a green tail whips the gun from his hand. Both the robber and Spectral look up to a lamp post above them. They see a green skinned man with pointy ears and a tail. He's wearing black, spandex shorts and a black, spandex, sleeveless shirt. He's effortlessly "sticking" to the

pole of the lamppost by his feet.

"'Ello," says the green man with a smile.

The robber drops his jaw in shock at what's just happened. Spectral, using this distraction to his advantage, is able to get his blue flame burning and uses the water in a nearby fire hydrant to drench the robber.

The robber picks himself up and starts to run away. He passes the door of the jewelry store and yells to his friends, "Let's get out of here…NOW!" They take what they've collected so far and run out of the store.

The green man jumps down from the post right in front of Spectral. "You ok, Mate?" he asks, putting one of his green hands on Spectral's shoulder as a sign of friendship.

"Yes, I think so. Who are you?"

"I'm Gecko. I was on the cable car with you when that weird lightning hit it."

"Really? Wow I'm glad to know that there's another good guy from the Jumpstart."

"Jumpstart?"

"That's what we're calling what happened on the cable car. It 'jumpstarted' our lives as The Strangers."

"Yeah I saw you on the news. Too bad about all these ice robberies. This is the first one I've made it to in time."

"They still got away, but I'm too weak to go after them. At least they didn't get away with all the jewels."

"Yes. Well I must be going now. I hope I can work with you, or the other Strangers, again."

"We would love it."

With that Gecko jumps up a few feet and 'sticks' to the side of the building. He effortlessly climbs up to the top, not needing any footholds or anything.

***

In another part of town, in the conference room of the La Brava Fashion Headquarters…

Electrocute and Lady Killer are sitting on one of the room's comfortable couches, talking and waiting for more word on the ice robberies.

"So Candy," says Lady Killer, "what do you think of the all guys in our group?"

"Leon is really funny, Dave is very sweet, and Hugh…well…he always treats me like some sex object. That's the way everyone treated me before the Jumpstart. But now I want to be treated differently."

"And Bob?"

"Bob…he is so nice to me. He's the only guy to ever make me feel like a true lady."

"Oh I see, do you like him?"

"Yeah I do…a lot," giggles Electrocute.

Brrrrrrring brrrrrrrrrrring. Lady Killer reaches for her cellular phone on the table in front of them.

"Hello?"

"Hi Elena, it's Dave. I just had a run-in with the ice robbers and I would've been a popsicle if it weren't for a new ultra hero. And get this: he's from the Jumpstart!"

"Really? Well that's great! Get back her as fast as you can. We need to plan now to further handle this situation."

"On my way."

***

"…and then this green guy whipped the gun from my hand with his tail."

"An interesting story, but that is still no excuse for not getting all the jewels from that store like I wanted."

"But Boss..."

"No 'buts'! You screwed up for the last time!" The man comes out of the shadows and puts his large hand on the robber's shoulder. "You will be an example." From the large man's touch, the robber turns into solid ice. The large man then lifts his fist and hits the frozen robber, shattering him into many pieces. "Now I want the rest of you to capture these 'Strangers' and bring them here."

The rest of the ice robbers leave. "Are you sure that's a wise thing to do boss?"

"My dear Grip, I hired you for muscle work, not your opinion. Plus I want to get them out of my way. So says, The Chill!"

***

"From the information we've been able to gather so far, the ice robbers, and whomever their boss is, are in one of these warehouses," says Lady Killer, pointing to a map of San Francisco. We'll have to do a warehouse by warehouse search. And keep it quite, if we make too much noise in one place someone in another one might hear and leave before we can get there."

"Ok," says Grenade, "when do we go?"

"In just a minute, I have to talk to Leon." Lady Killer goes into another room with Zip-Zap. "Leon, it's almost time for school to start."

"Yeah so?"

"Well I'd like you to go and get an education."

"What?! No!"

"Leon, you're only 13. You still have more to learn. Now this doesn't mean you won't still be a Stranger. You'll go to school and I'll tell your teachers and principle to excuse you if there's an emergency."

"Fine," sighs Leon. "It will give me a chance to hang with kids my own age. And with these powers I'll be very popular."

"Good," says Lady Killer smiling. "Now let's get back with the others."

As she opens the door smoke blows in. She opens the door all the way and sees people in gas masks all over the room and the Strangers lying on the floor. They've been gassed. She shuts the door before she is spotted and goes with Zip-Zap out the back way.

They watch the people put their teammates into a van and drive off. Then they get into Elena's sports car and follow them. The people stop at a warehouse, one of the ones that Lady Killer thought the robbers were hiding in. And they wait. Lady Killer doesn't know what her next

move will be.

Suddenly, "'Ello," says Gecko as he jumps into the back of the sports car. "May I be of some service?"

"Oh my," shrieks Lady Killer.

"You must be Gecko," says Zip-Zap. "Spectral told us about you."

"That's right, mate. I was on the trail of those ice robbers when I saw your car."

"They took the rest of the Strangers into that warehouse," says Zip-Zap.

"Oh really, what should we do?"

"A sneak attack," says Lady Killer in a flash of brilliance.

***

Inside the warehouse the rest of the Strangers are tied up and still unconscious from the gas. They are in a cage next to a table where some of the robbers are playing cards. The Chill appears out of the shadows.

"Very nice, boys."

"Thanks Boss," they say.

"Although you didn't nab all of then, you got the stronger ones. The other two are no threat. You all will be rewarded handsomely for this."

"And how about me, Mate?" yells Gecko as he jumps down from the rafters of the warehouse onto the card table.

"I think it's that green guy, Knuckles was talkin' 'bout 'fore you iced him Boss."

"Well well," says The Chill, "a new player in the game. Ice him boys!"

The thugs pick up their ice guns and start firing at Gecko who uses great acrobatic skill and dodges the blasts right and left. While Gecko distracts them, Lady Killer and Zip-Zap sneak in and start to free the captured Strangers.

"Leon, I've opened the cage, now you get them out of there while I go help Gecko."

"Got it," says Zip-Zap as he runs into the cage and uses his speed to untie his teammates quickly.

Elena start to head for the battle but… "Gotcha!" yells a man as he grabs onto Lady Killer's arms with his powerful grip. "Twist and turn all you like. NO ONE can break my grip." Lady Killer turns her head and sees a large African-American in a metallic costume.

"Who are you?"

"I'm The Grip. I was on the cable car with you and the other Strangers. The power I got was an unbreakable grip."

"How about we see just how unbreakable your grip really is." Lady Killer lifts both of her legs and uses both to kick The Grip where the sun don't shine as hard as she can. He lets go of her and falls to the ground in pain.

"Good-Good strategy. You can't…break my grip…but you can make me…let go!"

"Oh I can do a lot more then that." Lady Killer removes her skirt and uses it as a whip and hits him in the face with it, knocking him out.

She then turns to see how Zip-Zap is doing.

"Come on guys, wake up," says Zip-Zap. He has them untied and is trying to get them to wake up.

"Uhhhhhh…" groans Atom Bob as he and the other wake.

"That's it!"

"Wh-What happened?"

"Later, right now we gotta take down the bad guys."

Atom Bob gathers strength and transforms the cage into water. "Let's go."

"LET'S SLAM 'EM STRANGERS!!!!" yells Zip-Zap as he, Atom Bob, Grenade, Electrocute, Spectral, and Yrial run to the battle and are joined by Lady Killer.

Gecko, still dodging the ice blasts, stops playing and starts to actually fight. He jumps on one of the thugs and begins punching him.

Spectral, in his orange flame, uses heat to melt some of the thugs' ice blasters.

Zip-Zap gives one thug a few speed punches and he falls to the ground.

Electrocute blasts another with her electricity.

Yrial casts a spell that makes three of the thugs see their worst fears. One sees spiders crawling all over him. Another thinks he's aged to an old, weak man. The third thinks he's falling in a bottomless chasm.

Lady Killer wraps up the rest of the thugs in her skirt.

Grenade and Atom Bob go after The Chill. Atom Bob transforms the floor into a cage around The Chill. He puts his hand on the bars and freezes them until they're brittle and then they shatter.

"This has gone far enough. You are thorns in my side and you WILL be eliminated."

"Yeah right frost for brains," says Grenade as he explodes shrapnel in The Chill's face. It doesn't stop him.

Atom Bob starts to use his power again but The Chill grabs his arm and begins to turn him into solid ice.

"Oh no you don't!" yells Grenade as he explodes harder then before, this time knocking The Chill back and making him let go of Atom Bob's arm.

"You ok, Bob?" asks Grenade.

"Yeah, just a sec." Atom Bob transforms his arm back to normal.

"Wow," says Grenade in amazement.

"Enough of this, this ends now!" yells The Chill.

"Yes it does, Mate!" yells Gecko as he kicks The Chill in his back and makes him fall to the ground with a hard thud. While Gecko stays on top of him, Grenade and Atom Bob pull his massive arms around to his back. Atom Bob finds a metal pipe on the ground and turns it into a rubber pipe to wrap around The Chill's wrists and then transforms it back into metal to make a make-shift pair of handcuffs.

***

A while later, the police have arrived and have started loading all the ice robbers and The Chill into specially designed transports for ultra criminals.

"Thank you so much for all your help, Miss La Brava," says the police commissioner.

"Call on us any time, Commissioner." Lady Killer looks at the criminals entering the transports. "Hey! Where did that guy I fought go? The Grip!"

***

Several blocks away…

'Glad I got away from there,' thinks The Grip. 'I don't want to spend time in jail. But what do I do now? Maybe I should take up that job that I was offered by those weird Aladdin people.'

***

On the other side of town…

"Ohhhhhh…"

"I'm coming, Mr. Bushnell!! I'm coming! You told me you were feeling better ever since that cable car accident. Were you lying to me?"

"Don't…Don't joke with me, Henrtietta. In a very strange way, I DO feel better."

"Then what's all this hoorah?"

"The cancer-the cancer that's supposed to kill me within a week…it's talking to me!"

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