||Ace Morgan, Rocky Davis, Prof Haley, Red Ryan, Corinna Stark, Algernon Stark, Chu, the Slaves of Chu.
||Last issue (COTU 69), the Challengers ventured to the Ozark Mountains to investigate a murderous “wild man”. They met Algernon Stark, mad scientist, and his beautiful daughter, Corinna. Scotching the villains, Prof took a bullet for the team. Corinna slapped him in a cryo-unit and offered to take his place...
Now Corinna pulls new winter-weight uniforms from a chest: purple with yellow stripes and fur collars. Red objects to everything she does. Rocky is smitten. Ace takes charge: they need a doctor for Prof. But a thunderstorm has washed out the bridge: they’re trapped on the mountain. At the castle, Algernon Stark revives and trips a booby trap pit. Red falls in and avoids electrocution. Rocky runs for the generator and punches Algernon. Lightning hits the castle, making the generator explode. Prof and Algernon are missing from the ruins. Where could they be? The old haunted Lovecraft place. There the local people, the Slaves of Chu, dance by firelight and worship Chu, a hooded figure. Chu sucks the “life-force” from Algernon, killing him. Corinna flips. The Challs are mobbed by cultists, though Red gets away. Ace, Rocky, and Corinna are bound as Chu explains his origin: he’s a prickly-green alien, one of the Togga, the Conquerers. He crashed here 80 years ago and enslaved the locals. He channels the life-force into a spore, and it grows into another alien. Chu will suck the life-force from the Challengers and infuse enough spores to enslave the world. Red crashes in, but sickens at a tentacle touch. Rocky gets free and punches Chu, but the alien escapes in the dark. The Challengers crush the remaining spores and go hunting Prof. They find his cryo-unit, but Prof is gone! To be continued...