Ascension Epoch created by Michael DiBaggio and Shell 'Presto' DiBaggio.
Marble Madness | Copper Knights & Granite Men (Part 2)
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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
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.
(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.
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
this is Roundtable. Are you still in New York?”
yes.” I tossed a handful of crackerjacks into the air and failed to
catch even one of them.
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.”
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.”
Was she one of those ugly body-building women?”
shot me a deadly look.
meant petrified literally,” Roundtable clarified. “They
were turned to stone.”
I said. “That’s different.”
the civic-minded one, Allen volunteered our assistance right away.
“We’re on our way, Roundtable!”
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.
was mortified. I was appalled. How did I come to associate with such
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.