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Petrified. Literally. | Copper Knights & Granite Men (Part 1) 
While visiting New York on business, three oddball superheroes are called in to investigate a most unusual robbery.
By Mike DiBaggio Posted in Copper Knights and Granite Men on November 2, 2019 3 min read
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Story: Michael DiBaggio | Illustrations: Shell Presto

I hate New York, and I’ve put on enough shows there for that to mean something.

Like any place, it has its high points—Duke’s Smorgasbord and my favorite cathouse on 49th, for example—but overall it’s too crowded, the people are rude, and it smells like a dump. If it ever had any charm, it ran out long before I was born. All the old, glorious architecture was erased over a century of warfare and what they raised in its place was a monument to the death of aesthetics. Broadway was a bore. Anyway, once you’ve played Carnegie Hall, you’ll never again be satisfied with just being in the audience. But the worst thing about New York is that something bad always happens to me there, and this time was no different.

Matt (that’s Matteo Mancini, a.k.a. the Promethean, to you) was there to check up on the Challenger Foundation’s property. I told him a simple email would suffice, but he said there was some question about whether the newly sovereign city would maintain its “special arrangements” with the Foundation, so he insisted on making the trip in person. I accompanied him in my usual capacity as charismatic, good-looking celebrity, essential for distracting reporters and secretaries while Matt and whatever petite potentate we were visiting slipped off for private discussions. Allen Adams—the Atomic Ranger—was there to be the visible muscle and the butt of my jokes. But as it turned out, there would be need for our more peculiar talents, too.

About a week into the trip, the three of us were walking the length of the island, taking a break from all the glad-handing with oily politicians, when the emergency circuit on my phone rang. Knowing that it was the dispatcher from Roundtable, a sort of mutual aid network for superheroes, I turned up the volume so that my colleagues could hear.

“Amp, this is Roundtable. Are you still in New York?”

“Unfortunately, yes.” I tossed a handful of crackerjacks into the air and failed to catch even one of them.

“There’s an emergency call at the Metropolitan Museum. I already alerted the locals, but this might be out of their league. A group of thieves smashed into a secure area and stole an expensive suit of armor called the Prince’s Emblazoned.”

I noticed the Promethean’s eyebrow cock at this, but he said nothing, and I didn’t interrupt. Roundtable went on: “No positive IDs on any in the group yet, but we received footage of the attack and there is a woman with green hair who petrified security and bystanders.”

“Petrified? Was she one of those ugly body-building women?”

Matt shot me a deadly look.

“I meant petrified literally,” Roundtable clarified. “They were turned to stone.”

“Oh,” I said. “That’s different.”

Ever the civic-minded one, Allen volunteered our assistance right away. “We’re on our way, Roundtable!”

He started undressing in public, right there in the middle of the Hudson Promenade. An instant later, he was hovering fifteen feet above us, his Life Preserver flashed into “battle colors” and his gold skin glowing like the big, radioactive jerk he was.

I was mortified. I was appalled. How did I come to associate with such a person?

He smirked down at me. “You still remember how to fight, superstar?”

I could only sigh.

The story you’ve just read is an excerpt from Copper Knights & Granite Men, the first volume in the Challenger Confidential series. Buy the book online or learn about the other ways you can support us.

Amp Atomic Ranger Promethean

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