|Strawberry Ice Pop|
|❖ Alchemy ❖|
Strawberry Ice Pop (ストロベリー・アイスポップ Sutoroberī aisu poppu) is the name of a high-powered explosive created as a by-product of Czeslaw Meyer's alchemy research either in or prior to 1931.
Strawberry Ice Pop's pure form consists of a pink powder substance which gives off a recognizable red-and-orange flash when it explodes. Prior to the events of December 1931, Czeslaw fashions half of his Strawberry Ice Pop explosives into clay grenades and dynamite sticks, while the other half he leaves as straightforward powder explosives; these bombs contain tiny bottles of the pink powder, the bottles no bigger than a child's little finger. When the dynamite fuses are lit, the light the fuses give off is a unique mixture of red, yellow, and white sparks which resemble a firework.
Although Strawberry Ice Pop was nothing more than a research by-product at the time of its creation, it has since proved to be more powerful than conventional explosives on the contemporary market. The grenades' clay shells additionally boast improved resistance and stabilization upon impact, meaning that the grenades are able to roll a little ways after impact before detonating.
Either in or prior to 1931, Czeslaw's alchemy-based research results in the by-product creation of a new explosive he calls Strawberry Ice Pop. Although this new explosive is more powerful than its conventional peers, its origin as a by-product means Czes does not consider it worth holding onto; instead, he decided to sell Strawberry Ice Pop for cheap. At first he considers selling the explosives to the military, only to instead begin sales negotiations with an organization in a different country. It is during these negotiations that he receives a letter from Begg Garrott, and decides to sell the explosives to the Runorata Family mafia for five hundred thousand dollars.
On the evening of December 30, 1931, the transcontinental express Flying Pussyfoot departs from Chicago's Union Station for New York City. Hidden behind a false wall in one of the second freight car's freight rooms are boxes and boxes of Strawberry Ice Pop, which Czes smuggled on board prior to departure. He is unaware that several members of Jacuzzi's Gang have boarded the train intending to steal this cargo, having been tipped off about it beforehand by the train's bartender and cook.
The delinquents successfully steal Strawberry Ice Pop during the journey's final half, with Donny dumping the smuggled cargo overboard for other gang members to fish out of the river. He retains a small box of grenades at Nice Holystone's request, grenades which Nice has on her when she finds Jacuzzi Splot injured but alive following his showdown with Goose Perkins. Jacuzzi snatches a few grenades off Nice to use against the Rail Tracer, who will later use Jacuzzi's sole surviving grenade to further destroy Dune's corpse.
In the aftermath, Jacuzzi's friends sell their stolen Strawberry Ice Pop explosives to their acquaintances—a mine's old owner and a Hollywood movie technician—under the table. The grenades' clay shells once emptied of their contents sell for two hundred apiece, and the gang earns around a hundred thousand dollars from the heist overall.
Nice keeps some of the high-powered explosives for hers and the gang's use and still has some of the explosives in her possession by September 1933. Dallas Genoard manages to steal at least one of the Strawberry Ice Pop explosives from her the same month, with the exact number unknown but otherwise small enough for him to hide underneath his jacket; the next day, he uses those stolen explosives to carry out a suicide bombing in the Babel Restaurant on the Mist Wall skyscraper's top floor.
In the meantime, Rail buys up all the Strawberry Ice Pop explosives which have been circulating among Hollywood movie technicians and movie operations on account of noticing the explosives' impressive power. When the Lamia assemble in Chicago on Huey Laforet's orders in December 1934, Rail brings a large quantity of the explosives along for the ride.
Rail at first uses the explosives on a small scale against Graham Specter and Renee Parmedes Branvillier while in the city, and later to facilitate an escape from the Russo Family manor. However, when Renee captures Frank, Rail responds to their friend's kidnapping with drastic action. With the aid of Sham's vessels, Rail plants three hundred Strawberry Ice Pop bombs—about half of their entire stock—at various Nebula facilities across Elleson Hill which, via a timed mechanism, go off simultaneously at noon.
Later, Rail uses several egg-shaped Strawberry Ice Pop bombs when several Nebula researchers appear to capture Sham in front of him. Nice, having recognized the scent and sound of the Strawberry Ice Pop bombs and come running, is able with the help of her fellow delinquents to rescue Rail and bring them to the gang's temporary Chicago hideout.
There, Nice informs Jacuzzi of her confidence that Rail's bombs are the same explosives the gang stole from the Flying Pussyfoot. When Rail wakes, and Nice asks where they obtained the explosives, Rail admits to having bought the bombs off of Hollywood and construction sites and that they personally handled the subsequent processing. As a show of thanks for the answer, Nice returns Rail's bomb pouch which contains Strawberry Ice Pop bombs.
Rail, Nice, and Miria Harvent are soon captured by Rubik and other men and brought to Nebula's headquarters. That night, Bartolo Runorata interrogates Nice on the gang's presence in Chicago and the alleyway bombing events that led the gang to find Rail. The next morning, he has Nice and Rail brought before him again; flanked by identical twin bodyguards, and accompanied by other bodyguards and Begg, he turns his attention to Rail and the confiscated bomb pouch on the table between them.
Bartolo states that the 'fireworks' in the pouch—the 'fireworks' he suspects were behind the Chicago bombings—were originally intended for once of his people before they were stolen in transit some time ago. In alluding to how undesirable it would be for the bombs responsible for terrorizing Chicago to be linked back to the Runoratas, he then offers Rail a deal: for Rail to surrender all the bombs in the pouch and any others hidden on their person, in exchange for a yet-to-be-negotiated reward.
Rail refuses. When Renee and her researchers enter the room—after a recently arrived Cal Muybridge has already freed Rail from their bonds—Rail snatches one of the Strawberry Ice Pop bombs from the pouch and hurls it at Renee's team. Nice takes advantage of the ensuing explosion and chaos to grab the pouch along with Rail's hand and bolt out of the meeting room.
Nice, Rail, Renee's team, and others all eventually converge upon the rooftop garden, where Rail attempts to commit suicide by pulling the pin on one of the Strawberry Ice Pop bombs and falling to their death. Jacuzzi manages to catch Rail in time, and the bomb detonates mid-air below them both. In the aftermath of the 1934 arc, Rail travels to New York as a new member of Jacuzzi's gang, bringing the surviving Strawberry Ice Pop explosives with them.
At some point during February 1935, an explosion causes terrible damage to an apartment shared by Czeslaw and his flatmates Ennis and Firo Prochainezo. Rail hears of the incident and decides to pay the ruined apartment a visit a few days later, whereupon they run into Czes. During the ensuing conversation, Rail observes that the explosion only damaged the interior walls and remarks one of their bombs might have been able to bring the "whole place down."
When Rail shows Czes one of their egg-shaped bombs and the tiny bottle of pink powder inside it, Czes grows grim and asks if Rail made it. Rail explains they bought the explosives in Hollywood but heard the explosives were originally stolen train cargo, though they otherwise do not know the explosive's name; Czes identifies the explosive as Strawberry Ice Pop, and himself as the alchemist who created it.
- Strawberry likely derives from the explosive powder's pink hue, while Ice Pop refers to the frozen treat patented in 1924. As Czes was fond of sherbet while a young child in the 1700s, his choice of 'Ice Pop' as a name may suggest his fondness for frozen desserts has continued into the 1930s.