Angel of Stone


Madi Douglas wiped the sweat from her brow and breathed deeply to calm her ragged nerves. Four years of research hung in the balance. The five wealthy angel investors milling around the lab would either set their unconventional venture up for success or doom it to bankruptcy. No pressure.

Their guests glanced at the hastily tidied lab equipment and focused most of their attention on the two life-size marble nudes—a man and a woman. The fine details captured in the statues were breathtaking: a small surgical scar on the man’s knee, two raised moles on the woman’s chest, and each eyelash on both of them.

Madi stood up and cleared her throat. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you would be so kind, please join me in the center of the lab.”

The prospective investors—three women and two men—walked over, wine glasses in hand, and stood before Madi. She glanced sideways at her partners, Erik Stone and Gwen Gordon, who offered smiles and thumbs up. Madi nodded and turned to the guests.

“Thank you so much for joining us this evening. On behalf of my co-founders, we appreciate your time and consideration of our proposal. Ours is not a typical venture, so we value your discretion regarding what we will show you.”

“Well,” said one of the men, “I don’t see what’s so hush-hush about a startup that creates lifelike statues. The results are incredible, but the product doesn’t seem controversial.”

“You may change your mind about that in a few minutes, sir,” Madi replied.

She nodded to Gwen, who pulled a black sheet off an object the size of a refrigerator to reveal the culmination of their research. The exposed steel frame contained a multitude of electronic parts of various shapes and sizes connected by criss-crossing multi-colored wires.

That wasn’t the interesting part, though. A cylindrical chrome barrel extending at chest height from the side of the machine was three feet long and four inches in diameter. A six-inch-high marble platform sat on the floor eight feet from the end of the barrel.

One woman remarked, “I was expecting a 3D printer. What does this ungainly contraption do?”

Madi smiled. “Your question is timely, ma’am. We’re about to show you.”

She motioned to the door, and a man wearing a white robe walked in. He strode confidently past the investors and stepped onto the marble platform facing the machine. Then he slipped out of his robe and tossed it onto a nearby chair. The man stood fully nude before the assembled guests. He puffed out his broad chest, contracted his washboard abs, and flexed his arms and legs as he assumed the classic pose of Michelangelo’s David. His thick eight-inch cock was semi-erect and rising.

Madi turned to Gwen. “Please power on the device. Let’s show these fine folks what we do here.”
Gwen nodded and tapped a few times on a handheld tablet. The machine began to hum as lights blinked on. After ten seconds, a large green light illuminated above the barrel. Gwen flashed a thumbs-up.

Madi continued. “Please remember the non-disclosure agreements you signed earlier. You’re about to witness something only our research team has seen.” She turned to Gwen again. “Please fire when ready.”

Gwen nodded and consulted her tablet. “The power level is optimal, all diagnostics are green, and the target is locked. Firing now.”

She tapped on her tablet again, and a green laser beam erupted from the end of the barrel, striking the naked man in the chest. He was now fully erect at 60 degrees above horizontal with drops of pre-cum beading at the tip of his meaty cock. The experience was clearly arousing for him.

“The energy transfer rate is nominal,” Gwen continued. “Biomolecular conversion will begin in five seconds.”

The man’s body continued to absorb the laser energy as the investors gaped in wonder. After five seconds, the color drained from his feet as they faded to match the marble platform. The blanching effect climbed his shins and knees before ascending his thighs.

Madi continued. “Once the conversion begins, it takes about ten seconds to complete.”

The marble wave engulfed the man’s erect cock and the twin globes of his muscular ass, continuing up his perfect abs, broad chest, and well-defined back as it petrified everything in its path. The transformation paused at his neck while it flowed down his flexed arms, locking them into place. Then, it resumed rising over the man’s chin, mouth, and nose. His eyes faded to featureless orbs of stone. Finally, the wave flowed through his hair, calcifying each tangled lock. And with that, the process was complete. A few drops of pre-cum dribbled from his rock-hard cock.

Madi smiled. “And that is how we do it, folks. Our statues are incredibly lifelike because they were once real people. Every detail is captured flawlessly in marble to create the most authentic works of art in history.”

“Oh, my!” exclaimed a woman. “So, he’s been… umm, turned to—”

“Turned to stone,” Madi interrupted. “Yes, precisely.”

“That’s incredible,” said a man, his eyes wide in wonder. “Can you change him back?”

Madi shook her head. “Biomolecular conversion is irreversible and permanent by design. That was the goal of our research project. This flawless specimen is now effectively inanimate.” She gestured to the other two statues in the room. “Like them.”

“So they’re dead?” asked another man.

“We prefer not to think of them that way,” replied Madi. “We say they’ve transcended human existence to become art. In our opinion, that is a higher purpose than a normal life.”

“Well, this is the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen, but I’m afraid I’m out,” said one of the men. “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. This is an ethical minefield I can’t afford to cross.”

“I understand,” said Madi. “Thank you for your time, and have a pleasant evening.”

As the man exited the lab, two women talked in hushed tones before turning to Madi.

“The technology is incredible,” one began, “but what is your business plan? If we’re going to invest in this venture, you need a plan to generate revenue.”

“We plan to sell the statues, ” Madi replied. “The human origin of these works of art should drive the price above a million each.”

“But how will you scale it?” asked the other woman. “I have no idea why these people agreed to be turned to stone. Surely, you won’t be able to recruit a steady stream of volunteers for this.”

“I can field this one,” said Erik. “Whether we can source enough subjects remains to be seen. In the interest of transparency, we only have five more volunteers signed up. We haven’t been able to recruit openly, so we believe the fearless people we need are out there. Of course, as you can see from today’s volunteer, we’re extremely selective with physical appearance and certain anatomical attributes.”

“Yes,” Madi added, “length, girth, and the angle of the dangle are critical criteria when selecting male subjects. Not every guy measures up, and our statues must exceed our buyers’ expectations. Female candidates also need to meet strict aesthetic requirements.”

“I see,” said the remaining man. “So you have the technology, and you might have the people. I assume you also have a sufficiently large addressable market for the products.” He stroked the stubble on his chin before continuing. “This has the potential to be quite lucrative, but my concern is around the legality. The government will shut this down as soon as you go public. You’ll end up in prison, along with anyone who invests in this venture.”

“A sizable chunk of the money we raise will go toward legal fees,” Erik replied. “We plan to prove informed consent on the part of our subjects. Each of them signs a contract before their conversion. We’ll also argue that the resulting statues enhance the public good as valuable works of art. We’re confident we’ll prevail in our legal efforts, but it won’t be cheap.”

“How much investment are you looking for?” the man asked.

“Twenty million dollars,” replied Madi. “As Erik alluded, half of that will go to the lawyers. We can’t sell our products until we’re clear from a legal standpoint. Another 40% will be invested in the technology. The last 10% will be allocated to recruiting and marketing.”

“Okay,” said the man. “Twenty million dollars in exchange for what?”

“10% of the company,” Madi replied.

The man shook his head. “That’s nowhere close to enough. I’m out.”

“Thank you for your consideration,” said Madi.

The two women conferred briefly as the man left the lab. One of them turned to Madi.

“I’m afraid we’re out as well. It’s just too risky from a legal standpoint. Thank you for the demonstration. If your venture does get approval, give us a call. We’ll want to buy some of your statues.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” said Madi. “Thank you for your time.”

The women nodded and exited the lab. Madi and the others could feel their dream slipping away.

Only one woman remained from their five guests: the eccentric billionaire art collector Claudia Knight. She’d been quiet up to this point, watching the demo and the subsequent discussion with a wry smile. Her angular face was framed by shoulder-length gray hair, accentuated by an emerald green cocktail dress and black heels. She was known to be quite a snappy dresser.

Claudia took a sip of wine and examined the newly minted statue from every angle, pausing to stroke its erect marble cock. She dragged her index finger beneath the tip, collecting the remaining ooze of pre-cum before licking it clean. The brief interlude extended into an awkward silence before Claudia finally spoke.

“Well,” she remarked, nodding appreciatively. “He was certainly good to the last drop. Anyway, back to the matter at hand, you’ll need more than twenty million to fund your company.”

“Oh?” replied Madi. “And why is that?”

“Lawyers are ridiculously expensive. That’ll be doubly true for something unprecedented like this. You’ll also need a team of high-caliber scientists and engineers to improve your technology—more power in a smaller, sexier device. Not to mention public relations to calm fears about what you’re doing. Plus, an experienced team of well-compensated recruiters.”

“How much money for all of that?” asked Madi. She was already wincing before she heard the answer.

“Fifty million.”

Madi’s shoulders slumped as she turned to her friends. “It may be time to kiss this crazy dream goodbye.”

“Not necessarily,” said Claudia, taking a leisurely sip of wine before continuing. “I’ll invest fifty million in exchange for 25% of the company. The four of us will be equal partners in this adventure.”

Madi’s jaw dropped. “Seriously? You would invest that much?”

“Of course. It’s an easy decision, to be honest. This has far more potential than you realize. I have powerful connections in the modeling and fitness industries. I’ll make a few calls and have fifty suitable volunteers in this room tomorrow. We can find thousands of adventurous people willing to become statues—perhaps more! You’ll have a stable pipeline of subjects and virtually insatiable demand for your products. By the way, I’ll also be your first CEO.” She gestured to the newest statue. “And this X-rated David will go in my office.”

Madi raised an eyebrow and turned to Gwen and Erik. “Are you guys okay with this arrangement?”

“Absolutely!” exclaimed Gwen.

“Totally on board!” added Erik.

Madi turned back to Claudia and extended her hand. “Welcome to the team, Claudia. You’ve single-handedly saved our project.”

“It certainly deserves to be saved,” Claudia replied as she grasped Madi’s hand. “Does our scrappy company have a name?”

“PetraTec,” replied Madi.

“Ah, an excellent choice!” Claudia rubbed her hands together. I believe this calls for a drink—or two or three. I know a fabulous cocktail bar downtown. I’m buying, of course.”

“Lead the way, Claudia,” said Madi with a grin.

The four business partners exited the lab. The three statues remained behind, intrepid vanguards heralding a new era in art and technology. PetraTec’s future was bright.

Copyright 2024 Olivia Zoe Quinn

Photo by Veit Hammer on Unsplash

Story notes

This vignette is a prequel to the other PetraTec and StoneSport short stories I’ve published. It’s a glimpse into a pivotal moment in the company’s early history, where things could have gone either way. Fortunately, Claudia stepped in and saved the venture.

In future installments of this story, expect to see more of Claudia Knight, Madi Douglas, Erik Stone, and Gwen Gordon as they fight to make their artistic dreams a reality, rewriting the definition of art in the process.

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Olivia Zoe Quinn lives in Ohio with her dog and two cats, who mostly get along. She is pursuing her BA in Creative Writing while working part-time in a lingerie shop. She may be found after hours standing motionless among the mannequins. Olivia is the Editor-in-Chief of Stone Cold Stories and an Associate Editor at Rock Hard Press and GAZMYK Magazine. Olivia is the author of the upcoming sci-fi erotica novel, StoneSport Chronicles: Volume 1, due out in the fall of 2024.

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