Granite

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Granite


In early February of 1984 Vito Angelo Conte III was brought into the world in rural Pennsylvania. He was a cheerful baby, the youngest of his generation and an only child. His father, Vito Junior, was a Sergeant First Class in the US Army, an Infantryman since Vietnam. His mother, Collette, was a Staff Sergeant and a Human Intelligence Specialist.

Vito III, or Trip, was close to his extended family, especially his paternal grandfather, himself a World War II vet. The whole lot of them figured Trip would grow up to be a soldier like his parents and grandfather and would fill his head with stories glorifying the military.

Trip grew up around guns and martial arts as a way for him to prepare himself for military service. He took to these, then just hobbies, like a fish to water. His favorite after school activities were wrestling and shooting with his school teams.

As soon as he graduated High School he was off to boot camp to become a Combat Medic in the US Army. After medic school he was assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Batallion 15th Infantry Regiment of the Third Infantry Division, based at Fort Benning, Georgia. It wasn't long before they were getting ready for the invasion of Iraq.

Trip found himself deployed, the only medic for an entire platoon of Infantrymen. He couldn't be prouder of himself than when they first called him 'Doc'. Trip wore that nickname like a badge of honor and did everything he could to live up to the expectations of his soldiers.

The Invasion was rough. Combat was frequent. Trip saw a number of his fellow soldiers injured or killed but was himself lucky enough to escape. This weighed on him, a form of survivor's guilt, but he persevered and fought through it. He was given a few awards including a Bronze Star with V device when he and another soldier protected his makeshift casualty collection point from an enemy attack.

Just before their deployment was over, however, his platoon was tasked with investigating a possible chemical weapon deployment. They donned their Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear and drove out with some Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare Specialists to check it out. They were barely out of their vehicles before the chemical weapons in the air ate through their suits and gas masks. Men all around him started falling out, clutching their throats and attempting to administer their chemical warfare injections to themselves. Despite managing to successfully administer their injections most of the men there died. Except for Trip.

He was found a few hours later by another NBC crew, this time better prepared, alive but unconscious. He was decontaminated and when he was sent for medical treatment the staff found they couldn't penetrate his skin with their needles. Higher ups were brought in. Trip, it was determined, had developed super powers.

When he woke up the young soldier was informed that he was the only survivor of his platoon and that fact nearly broke him. He was inconsolable until an officer ordered him to calm down and get himself under control. Military bearing kicked in and Trip did as he was ordered.

Then things got weird. He wasn't allowed to contact his family, a Top Secret security clearance was expedited for him and he was sent to Fort Bragg. There, Trip was indoctrinated into the world of military super heroes.

It was a strange world to him. Training began immediately to find out the extent of his superpowers. It was quickly determined that Trip was invulnerable and possessed super strength. Then determining to what extent had to take place. After running out of weights at the gym Trip just started lifting whatever they could find, eventually stopping after he lifted a loaded semi-truck. His invulnerability was tested as well, starting with guys attempting to stab him and working their way up to small arms. He refused to let anything larger be fired at him despite scientists telling him it would be fine.

Trip got to train there for a few months before being deployed again, this time with his rank, unit affiliation and name stripped from his uniform and a mask covering his face. He became a force to be reckoned with, using an M240B machine gun with more ease than a regular man with a carbine. When ammo ran out he'd simply club his enemies to death, running headlong into bullets and rockets to get to them.

Because he was so valuable to the war effort Trip didn't get to spend a lot of time at home. He got about two weeks of leave from Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever it was decided he was needed every six months. While in he was deployed with a squad of his fellows from the Third Infantry Division and became good friends with them. Not only was he a powerhouse in combat, he also maintained his proficiencies as a medic and made sure to take care of his guys.

In total Trip spent eight years in the Army from 2002 to 2010, most of that time spent in the Middle East. When his contract was finally complete he left the service intent on going to school.

School didn't work out for him. He found himself unable to focus on what he was studying and oftentimes unable to sleep due to nightmares and combat dreams. His failure at school made him angry and he dropped out.

Having a girlfriend, something that should have come easy to him, never seemed to work out. Trip would get angry and break something and then they would leave him. He never blamed them.

The only people he felt he could talk to were his battle buddies but despite their willingness to help it never seemed like enough.

Still, he was left with a desire to become a civilian superhero. Trip adopted the codename Granite, after the dense stone and with the help of a seamstress put together a costume. Dark, matte gray balaclava with wrap around sunglasses or protective glasses worn over the eyes, a skin tight shirt that showed off his musculature, cargo pants in case he needed to store stuff, combat boots, a pistol belt with a holster for a weapon and numerous pouches for magazines and gadgets and finally hard knuckle gloves.

Granite hit the rooftops, jumping from one to the next just like he'd practiced in the service. It was a skill he rapidly improved at once he began using it to get around. Then he'd find crimes and stop them. Nonlethally at first.

Then he saw a man with a knife holding a child hostage, forgot himself as a superhero and put a round through the criminal's brain. After that he found himself having to do all sorts of paperwork in order to actually legally have a gun as a superhero, what with the secret identity and all. He was nearly arrested, too. Then a couple of the bystanders that had arrived to watch the scene started cheering for him. Suddenly he was almost becoming almost a household name.

An ammunition company offered to sponsor him, giving him a bunch to train with and a decent paycheck if he'd use their product. Soon Granite had a couple more offers coming in.

Things were not all great, however. Trip was a mess emotionally still. He put chair through the wall of his apartment when he was startled by an exterminator coming in and was nearly arrested for the damage he caused. Another girl broke up with him after that, too. Then he totalled his favorite motorcycle while trying unsuccessfully to blow off steam, swerving to avoid a minivan that crossed into his lane due to negligent driving.

When he told one of his battle buddies about it they told him that he had PTSD and to go get checked out. Trip went to the VA for help and after a few months eventually got him in to see a psychiatrist. They medicated him and sent him on his way.

His life started settling in to something resembling normalcy. He couldn't live with anyone, he reckoned, due to his anger problems, but he learned to take out most of his aggression on the street, pummeling crooks.

It was while attending a public appearance to advertise his favorite energy drink, now a sponsor, that he met a little girl that confided that her daddy beat her. Thinking back to an Iraqi child he'd met whose father had thrown hot oil on his body Trip instantly became enraged, found the girl's dad and squeezed his hands so that every bone in them broke.

It was a mess. Granite was on the news for all the wrong reasons until it came out that the girl had in fact been abused. The DA decided not to press charges but the superhero was successfully sued for damages and he lost some of his endorsements.

Over time he's started to get better, however. He's occasionally seen a psychologist, but been unable to maintain visits with them due to feelings of guilt, as if he hadn't seen enough terrible things to warrant their help.

Still, time heals and Trip has begun getting better. Sometimes still memories push their way forward and he becomes explosively angry but since the hand crushing incident has found ways to avoid getting in trouble, usually by getting away from whatever caused his rage so long as doing so wouldn't put anyone in danger.

Lately he's been focusing on his image, doing all sorts of good deeds. He recently started the Granite Foundation for Abused Children and devotes a lot of time to neighborhood foot patrols so he can give locals a chance to meet and take pictures with him.

Granite desperately wants to be a good man, but he's deeply broken inside and refuses to do what is necessary to get fixed. He struggles daily with the symptoms of PTSD and relies on medication to keep himself in check rather than going for the therapy that might make a more permanent change.

Granite wants to help others however he can, unless they're what he sees as a 'bad guy.' He's not exactly the type to see things in black and white, understanding that some criminals commit victimless crimes or crimes of necessity, but he's harsh with those he thinks are putting innocents in danger, going so far as to kill or maim them if he can legally get away with it.

He still tries to live up to the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.

INVULNERABILITY:

Blessed with the power to survive nearly anything thrown his way, Granite is nearly impossible to damage. Most forms of damage don't even phase him. Bullets mushroom on his skin or bounce off, knives and blunt objects break when they strike him, electricity doesn't bug him and even loud sounds don't damage his hearing. It might even take some sort of super metal like vibranium or adamantium in order for someone without superpowers to pierce his skin and even then he's somewhat resistant to it.

SUPER STRENGTH: Granite is capable of feats of superhuman strength. In fact, he's known to be able to lift approximately 40 tons or a loaded semi truck. He uses his strength to leap onto multi-story buildings and jump from one rooftop to another as a means of locomotion. In combat he pulls his punches when not wanting to kill foes that do not possess superhuman resilience.

SUPER STAMINA:

It's hard to tire out Granite. His powers have granted him the ability to push himself for hours where even the fittest athlete might burn out in minutes. He can perform at peak for forty eight hours straight before needing rest. His muscles don't break down when he uses them so he finds himself unlikely to ever reach muscle failure due to use alone.

ARSENAL:

Despite rarely using guns for anything other than fun, Granite has a bunch of them. While on patrol he carries a heavily customized Glock 20 10mm automatic that he regularly has to jump through hoops to maintain licensing for.

He owns a small business as a Class III firearms dealer, selling weapons directly to police departments throughout the state. He doesn't actually make any money off the company in order to keep weapons inexpensive enough that local tactical teams can keep importing machine guns, short barreled rifles and suppressors through him so that Granite can have access to them.

In his civilian guise Granite owns a number of guns that he competes with in 3 Gun and Cowboy Action Shooting.

BATTLE BUDDIES: Having spent a good deal of time in the US Army, Granite's made a number of friends for life. Some of these guys even know his secret identity. He keeps in touch with them regularly using social media and email and trusts them to always have his back. When they go through rough times he's got their back and vice versa.

DRIVING: One of the things that Granite felt was very important to superhero was getting around quickly. So he spent much of his time on leave from the Army that he didn't visit his family at a variety of race tracks learning how to drive ridiculously fast as safely as possible. He usually rented the cars he drove, but he could afford a Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle of his own and learned to drive the hell out of it.

Because he doesn't have to fear hurting himself in a vehicle he takes risks that others might not and it's paid off in his training. Granite can drive like a bat out of hell. While he's not good enough to be a professional he can easily outdrive most street racers and police officers.

His time in the service also taught him a lot about operating HMMWVs. He can put the trucks through their paces and maneuver them through extreme circumstances without losing control or having them rolling over.

FIREARMS: Growing up in a military family that collected guns made sure that Granite knows how to handle them safely and efficiently. His experience in the military and as a competitive shooter made him quite adept with them. Finally, getting superhuman strength and stamina lead to him becoming an even better marksman as he can hold incredibly stable firing positions and prevent recoil from affecting his shooting with any handheld weapon system.

Granite spends a lot of time and money on the range. He doesn't really need weapons the way other heroes might, but he really enjoys shooting and collecting firearms. He participates in a couple of different shooting disciplines, 3 Gun and Cowboy Action Shooting. As one of the more skilled competitors he is capable of rapid, accurate shooting under intense pressure at a variety of ranges.

HAND TO HAND COMBAT: Granite grew up learning how to fight and never stopped studying. His paternal grandfather taught him the CQC he learned at the hands of W.E. Fairbairn and Rex Applegate during World War II. His father taught him karate he picked up after serving in Vietnam. To round himself out Granite even wrestled in high school and studied Modern Army Combatives. Even without his powers he's a dangerous and capable fighter.

MEDIC: As a soldier in the US Army Granite was trained as a combat medic. Part of his training included becoming a Basic Emergency Medical Technician in addition to Tactical Combat Casualty Care. In garrison he worked in a Troop Medical Clinic and learned a great deal of clinical medicine from the providers there. After leaving the service he has advanced his training to become a paramedic and works in a hospital emergency room from time to time.

MILITARY SKILLS: Soldiering teaches one any number of skills and Granite made sure to learn as many of them as he could. He's trained in a bunch of things including using Claymore mines, land navigation, wheeled vehicle operation and maintenance, basic survival techniques, numerous weapon systems, bayonet fighting, demolitions, drill and ceremony and calling in artillery and air support strikes.

SPONSORSHIPS: Currently, Granite has corporate sponsorships from a variety of companies that pay him to advertise and/or use their products. There's an energy drink company whose product he started using even before they paid him. A motorcycle manufacturer that pays him to ride a tricked out race bike they put together especially for him. There's even an ammunition company that provides him with tens of thousands of rounds every year so he can keep in practice.

The sponsorships add up to a lot of money. Granite is easily a millionaire.

SUPER JUMPING: Using superhuman strength to jump around may come naturally to some powered beings, but to Granite it took a lot of work. A lot of work. When first learning his powers while in the Army he would regularly go out to empty ranges to practice hitting his marks while leaping through the air. Now, after years of practice and semi-regular use, he's quite good at hitting what he aims for and landing without causing damage.

VEHICLES:

Granite is a big fan of going fast, especially because he can go as fast as he wants and not worry about getting hurt if he crashes. With all of his earnings from being a corporate shill the superhero has put together quite the collection of fast cars and motorcycles. He's got a garage with a full time attendant. His preferred vehicle for patrolling or responding to emergencies is a custom race motorcycle.

ENEMIES:

You can't be a superhero without making enemies. Granite's made a bunch and as public a figure as he chooses to be they can find him when it's time to strike out. This means that it's not always safe to be around him, especially when flamethrowers, explosives and automatic weapons come out.

He's even got an arch enemy, Mr. Meticulous, a villain with the power to become intangible for short periods of time. Meticulous is a mercenary with one rule: once payment is guaranteed so are results. The man leads a crew of operators, many of them former military, called Effortless Perfection. They're well armed, extremely ruthless and highly successful. Meticulous and Granite have tangled on many occasions but Granite's never been able to apprehend or kill his adversary. In turn, Meticulous has allegedly taken out a contract to kill Granite, even going so far as to light a building on fire so that Granite would rush in to save people and setting off explosives to drop the building and hopefully suffocate the hero to death. Granite survived by sharing an oxygen tank with a firefighter before bashing his way to freedom. As a result of that attempt Granite experienced severe heat exhaustion, nearly heat stroke, and had to be driven away in an ambulance.

HEAT CASUALTY: As silly as it sounds for a man fire can't burn, Granite is still affected by heat. Possibly more so than an average person. During his time in the service he suffered heat stroke and nearly died and ever since has been more susceptible to heat injuries. Because he's invulnerable he's very hard to treat for heat injuries as it's impossible to start IV lines on him.

INVULNERABILITY: With his invulnerability comes problems with getting patched up. Any cuts he sustains will have to have bandages suffice for closing them as suturing his skin and flesh is impossible. Broken bones? He'll need to try to pull them straight himself, or find someone else with super strength to do it for him and then pray they can find a splint that won't bend or break. Needles? Forget it. If medication can't be taken orally it might as well not exist for Granite.

PTSD: Granite has seen a lot of action as a soldier, as a medical professional and as a superhero. After enough time it adds up. He suffers from intrusive thoughts that bring him back to bad places and traumatic memories. Often times he's unable to sleep due to hyper awareness or nightmares.

He's easily angered, making it difficult for him to maintain romantic partners as he can be quite terrifying when upset, something that happens all too frequently. Granite has even nearly been arrested on more than one occasion both in and out of his costume for outbursts and threats of violence against others.

He avoids being in the center of crowds when not in costume, avoiding places like grocery stores and shopping malls during peak hours. He doesn't attend concerts or movies.

Despite being physically invulnerable Granite is still emotionally susceptible. If he had to work anything resembling a regular job for more than the few hours a week he works at the hospital it's likely Granite would be unable to support himself.

He's on medication for his problems but so far has not seen a psychologist for longer than one or two sessions. Granite feels he doesn't deserve their time when there are others who've experienced far worse than he has.

PUBLIC FIGURE:

Granite does a lot to maintain his public image. He shows up at grand openings of various sorts, advertises extensively and makes other public appearances. This has enabled villainous types to know where he'll be and when so they can attempt to time their dastardly deeds with when he's otherwise occupied. Granite is currently trying to build up his network of superheroes so that he can hopefully get other people to cover his patrol areas when he's away for public reasons.


Fun Fact:

Granite has responded to medical emergencies in addition to crimes and disasters. He's responsible for helping to deliver children on two different occasions.