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Strangers: A New Twist #6
October, 1998

Do You Have a Deathwish? (Part One) - Life and Death



Written by Lex
Edited by James Pedrick
Created by Steve Englehart
Property of Malibu Comics

"Ms. La Brava, do you have any comments about the governor’s race now that the issues have turned to ultras?"

"I don’t believe that there is any ‘ultra issue.’ I also believe that Mr. McCoy is wrong in his view that all ultras need to be regulated. All ultras are not ‘evil.’ Take, for example, us Strangers, or Hardcase, or Prime or The Squad a couple years back. We are all trying to make the world a better place as best we can."

"But the Demolition Squad got powers and look what they tried to do with them the other day."

"You’re confusing the matter. 59 people got powers from the Jumpstart. It’s what we’ve chosen to do with those powers that is important. We Strangers chose to do good with our powers. Other may choose to not do good, or they might go into hiding. It’s all a matter of a person’s

outlook on life."

"What do you feel should be done about the ultra issue, Ms. La Brava?"

"I think that we have to do the best we can to stop the ultras who choose to do bad things with their powers. The point I’m most concerned about is not forcing laws on all ultras. We are just regular people who have gotten special gifts. We don’t need to be suppressed or sent away to concentration camps for our ‘protection.’ That would be a step backwards in getting rid of segregation for good. We don’t need more of that."

"Look at what the good ultras can do and have done. The Strangers, for one, have saved the Golden Gate Bridge and shut down an ultra crime boss. We can do so much for this state, this country, and this world, so don’t oppress us. That’s all we ask."

Lady Killer, Grenade, and Yrial sit at a small table with microphones. They are in a large room overflowing with reporters and television cameras.

***

"Here you go Mrs. Josephine. You have a nice day now."

"I certainly will, David. It was very nice of you to keep your bakery open even though you are now a Stranger."

"Anything I can do to help my community. Plus I couldn’t deprive everyone of my famous baked bread."

"You’re such a good boy."

"Mrs. Josephine takes her bag of bread loafs and leaves. A few minutes later a much younger lady walks in. She is wearing a green sweater and tight blue jeans. She looks about Dave’s age.

"Hey hansom, been awhile hasn’t it?"

"Angela!"

"It was so great hearing from you the other day. I’m glad my Grandpa told you to call me. Anyway, I decided to come see you and your famous bakery."

"Oh this bakery isn’t famous."

"Oh yes it is. Where did you learn to bake so well?"

"Well that was my minor in college. My major was philosophy but I love to bake so I went into this business."

"Wow, a philosophy major. What kinds of philosophies are you into?"

"Theories of probability and a little paleontology."

"What would those be?"

"Well I spent lots of time with theories of what happened to the dinosaurs."

"Oh, you must’ve been a dino nut as a kid."

"Yeah, didn’t grow out of it either."

"What are the theories of probability about?"

"Well they basically say that anything can and will happen given the right circumstances."

"Can you give me an example?"

"Sure, just a sec." Dave reaches under the counter and grabs a glass and then fills it with water. He goes to her and puts her hand straight up in the air. "Ok now hold it really still. I’ll put a drop of water on your hand. Now see how it trickles down your hand there?" Dave wipes the wetness from her hand. "Now what would happen if I did that again?"

"It would go the exact same way."

"Ah…let’s see." The new drop of water falls a different direction down her hand. "There, ya see? That’s probability. The drop didn’t go the same way because of little contours in your skin, the small hairs on your hand, tiny imperfection in the skin."

"Imperfections in my skin?"

Dave gives s flirty laugh. "Not that your skin would have any imperfections."

"Oh, of course not." They both burst out laughing.

***

"Okay students, put your books away. It’s time for the test!"

The whole class whines and does as the teacher says. She hands out the test sheets.

"Okay, you may begin."

Zip-Zap uses his ultra speed and finishes the test in 10 seconds.

"Finished!"

***

"Wasn’t that a great movie, Bob?"

"It was excellent, Candy. But I must admit I looked at you more than the movie."

"Oh you." Candy blushes. "I’m glad they still had Titanic here. I saw it once when the people who built me were taking me out for a test run. I’m glad I got to see it now that I can think for myself and understand what is going on in it."

***

‘It’s been a while since that cable car accident, and I feel so great! The cancer that was killing me was supposed to kill me weeks ago but I’m feeling better than ever. If the Strangers got ultra powers from it then I must’ve gotten my cancer cured. What a miracle.’

"Oh you don’t know the half of it."

‘Oh no, that creepy voice again. At first I thought it was from my cancer but it just can’t be. How could it be talking to me? It must be my imagination.’

"Oh, I’m real Mr. Bushnell. I am very real!" A large, dark figure comes out of the shadows of the room.

"Who are you?"

"I, that was once a cancer growing inside of you, am alive. I am the wish for death. I am Deathwish!"

"What’s all the noise in here!" Mr. Bushnell’s private nurse, Henrietta, bursts into the room. "Oh Good Lord!" she shrieks.

"Ah, a life to feast on." Deathwish walks over to Henrietta. "You see, I feed on life. Any life will do." He puts his hand on her neck and begins to absorb her life force. Her body begins to shrivel but stops and begins to glow. A strange energy fills the room.

"Something is wrong," says Deathwish with a worried look on his face.

Suddenly Deathwish explodes in a blast of black smoke. The explosion crumbles the entire building they are in and the sound is heard all across town.

***

Bob and Candy hear it from the theater they just walked out of.

"Let’s go check it out," says Bob as he transforms his clothes into his Atom Bob costume. He also changes Candy’s clothes into her Electrocute costume.

***

Dave and Angela stop laughing when they hear the explosion. Dave sees the water in the glass he’s holding ripple.

"Hmm. Impact tremor from the explosion. Must’ve been a big one. There might be some injured people so I better go." Dave turns on his yellow flame and flies out of his bakery.

"Call me!" yells Angela after him.

***

"Ms. La Brava, can I get one more question."

"Sure, I…" She sees a man walk up to her. "Yes?"

"There’s been a disturbance on Powell. An explosion I think. They want the Strangers there."

"Okay. I’m sorry everyone but we have an emergency. I’ll have to ask that it not be filmed because you might get hurt if there’s any trouble." Lady Killer, Grenade, and Yrial quickly exit the building.

"Just a sec, I have to call Leon’s school."

***

A few minutes later the principle of the school runs down the hallway to Leon’s classroom. "Sorry to interrupt but there is an emergency for Leon. You have to meet the rest of the Strangers at this address." He hands a piece of paper to Leon.

"Alright!" Zip-Zap rushes out of the room at full speed. He gets to the site of the explosion at the same time Atom Bob and Electrocute arrive. "So wuz up?"

"We’re about to find out Zip."

"I’d like to know too," says Spectral as he lands beside them.

Suddenly they hear a terrible scream. A large, dark figure appears out of the smoke. "Nothing can defeat Deathwish!"

"Deathwish, huh," says Atom Bob. "Did you cause this explosion?"

"Ah more meat, but you are familiar to me. I know. You rode the cable car too. It is what created me. Now I shall feast on your life!" He reaches for Zip-Zap but he just ducks and runs at super fast speed.

"Stay away from him Zip," says Atom Bob. "So you were on the cable car."

"Yes. I was a cancer in an old man. Now I live. I live to kill!"

"You’re just cancer tissue brought to life," says Spectral, thinking out loud. "I think I know how to deal with you." He changes to his green flame. "If I can make you grow too big to sustain yourself then you’ll be destroyed and that’ll be the end of you. You won’t be able to kill anyone."

He shoots a column of green flame at Deathwish. The monster grows larger and larger.

"Hah! You can destroy the tissue if you like but you can’t kill the desire!"

"It’s not working," says Spectral in agony. "I don’t have enough power!"

"Let me give you a hand," says a man who jumps into the air above Spectral and then falls down on top of him. Instead of landing on Spectral the man falls inside him. Suddenly Spectral’s power increases ten-fold and Deathwish grows too big. The monster explodes in a poof of

smoke.

"What just happened here?" asks Electrocute.

"Sorry to surprise you like that." The man "hops" out of Spectral’s body. "My name is Boost. I was on the cable car when the Jumpstart happened. I got the power to jump inside anyone and boost their ultra power." The man looks no older then early twenties, possibly even eightteen or nineteen.

"Well…glad you showed up."

***

A few feet away some black smoke floats into some of the wreckage. It finds the unconscious body of Mr. Bushnell and enters him through his mouth.

"They haven’t seen the last of me."

To be continued…

 

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