Testing Log: Black Knights Recovered Item 01, Instance 24

"Testing Log, Black Knights Recovered Item 01, instance 24."

That sounded good enough to her. Try as she might, she just couldn't nail down the scientist voice. It didn't matter that she wore a tattered labcoat while she said it, or that she was speaking into a beat up tape recorder. She just wasn't competent enough.

"This is the 24th consecutive pattern executable on the entry keypad, with no tangible results so far." she said to the recorder, but then to herself, she said "One, two, three… four… and five." The runes glowed across the knuckles of the gauntlet.
With it came an ear-piercing screech, enough to destroy her tape recorder's microphone with a plume of smoke. She batted at the gauntlet, trying to get the damn thing to shut up, and after she slid her palm across the faceplate, it finally did. Smoke turned to fire, and she took off her coat to bat at the tape recorder with fury. By the time the fire had ceased, the device was all but ruined, and her last tape was a melting mess on the table.

"God damnit. Stupid piece of junk!" She collapsed into an office chair, sliding halfway across the room as it rolled. It didn't matter how many classes she attended, or how impressive her photographic memory was, or how much knowledge was trapped inside her head. She was never going to be a scientist, or an engineer, or a doctor, or anyone of use around here. She was going to be stuck in the Backrooms for the rest of her god damned life, and it was slowly killing her. Diana picked up a nearby can of Spummy, and tried to ignore the screams as she had a breaktime snack. As she did, her mind began to wander.

Everyone knows the Backrooms don't treat the human psyche very nicely. A smaller, but still dominant proportion of people know that your average supply of Almond Water will clear that up rather well. But it's rare knowledge to know what happens to denizens of the Backrooms who have nut allergies. At least it was a good excuse to stop having to carry her single Epipen everywhere, even if it meant she didn't have one at all. One wrong move and anaphylactic shock would set in, but did it matter? Was living preferable to death down here? Is that kind of sentiment a needlessly dramatic thing to say? This was the kind of thing that kept Archivist Diana Evelynn up at night, if you could say that night even existed here at all.


What the fuck?

She dropped the tin of Spummy and turned to face the noise, and upon seeing the source, fell backwards out of her chair. With luck, a bit of instinct, and perhaps a tad of skill obtained from an elementary school elective in taekwondo, she somersaulted as she fell and came up kneeling, facing the source of the noise. Exactly as you might expect, present was a humanoid figure clad in black armor, with a rifle slung across their back. Before she'd fallen backwards in panic, she'd watched as he emerged from the wall, the textured wallpaper rippling as if fluid, the key sign of a perfect clip. And it was looking right at her now.

The figure stood for a moment, as if scanning it's target for weaknesses, before slowly and methodically tapping away at it's left knuckles. 31132324. As it did, the knuckles briefly glowed blue with energy, before the same shimmering blue energy encompassed the gauntlet of the… something standing in front of her.


This had to be one of the Black Knights she'd heard so much about. The glowing fluid coalesced into a pointed, dagger-like shield that began at the being's elbow but hung almost a foot off the end of his hand. It set up its feet into an asymmetric stance, with arms at the ready, something like a cross between someone getting ready to punch you and someone trying to pick up a cat that certainly doesn't want to be picked up, tense and ready but slowly moving toward Diana with a methodical dedication. Wanting very little to participate in whatever the being had planned, she took a cautious step back, feeling behind her for the desk she'd been working at. It was time for the desk flip maneuver.

In the first stage of citizenship in the Backrooms, before you meet another living soul, you learn several key techniques. One of the finest of these is the desk flip maneuver. You see, most desks in the Backrooms are built in such a way that they have a "front" surface directly adjacent to the "top" surface, sort of a space blocking view of your legs if you were facing the front of someone working at said desk. However, if knocked over, the top surface can quickly become a front and vice versa, with the direction of the desk flipped front to back. This provides a 270 degree area safe from prying eyes or attacks, and you can easily move the open side close to a wall to close that remaining 90 degrees. You learn this through necessity, of course. Without being aware of how to use your newly acquired environment, you don't last long enough to get to the second stage of Backrooms citizenship.

Diana quickly crouched, and as the combatant released the pent up dedication in it's heels, pulled the front of the desk down as it charged. She then scooted the desk's open side as close to a wall as she could muster, as the first strike from the enemy nearly knocked clean through the surface of the desk in a single blow, the sharpened point of energy making it 3 inches clear of the inside of the desk. But the improvisation had only begun. This method was a great first attempt because it fooled many entities, and the ones that weren't had little care. But it clearly wasn't going to stop the being banging holes into her favorite desk for long. Then, like a flash in the dark, an idea.


She tapped the code into the gauntlet, and without fail the runes glowed in turn.


A strange fluid began to drip from the cracks in the gauntlet, welling upwards as if pulled by a force opposing gravity, before falling up in droplets onto an invisible, rounded surface inches above her hand. CRUNCH. She shook it, and as more fell out, it began to take shape, coming to a point some distance from her fingers. CRUNCH. She watched as the last of the fluid hardened into a crystal structure halfway between a shiv and a buckler. CRUNCH. As the surface of the desk gave way, her left arm came up instinctually to meet it, and the blow glanced off and punctured the wall behind her. The arm that came within inches of putting her eye out, shortly followed by her brain, was embedded in the drywall of the Backrooms behind her. She took this opportunity to kick the mostly destroyed desk out from under her, knocking the figure halfway across the room in the process.

Standing up while the dark figure recovered, she planted her feet into a forward position, her arms placed low but facing front, her left side facing the figure, shining shield and black clad arm forward. She watched as the person quickly but calmly righted themself once more, mirroring her position and perhaps exceeding it with flawless execution. It's copying my Taekwondo stance, she thought, moving slowly to the left, an action yet again mirrored by her opponent. As she turned, she read the glowing text now emblazoned on the chest of the mysterious figure.


This pacing went on for a short time, but it felt like an eternity to Diana. They made 2, no, 3 rotations in total, eyes locked, before she stepped poorly on a remnant of the broken desk and stumbled slightly. This, it seemed was all it needed to see an exploitable weakness, and with haste it leapt forward with inhuman agility, abandoning all pretense of martial prowess. Through the stumble, she ducked, tucking as a fully extended punch ending in a shining icicle of death went through the air she'd inhabited just moments before with a precise speed she'd never seen demonstrated by a human being. Once more the powerful strike of her enemy gave it a handicap; the punch held such power that it had sunk into the wall behind, leaving the enemy unprotected. Scrambling to an upright position, she firmly palm-striked the entity in the side of the faceplate, a not so subtle indicator that she wasn't going to be toyed with without repercussions. The head of the being slowly rotated to face her, and she stared into cold, vacant eyeholes and saw nothing to engage with, before it turned it's attention back to wresting it's weapon from the wall.

Seeing an opening, she used this opportunity to turn tail and flee out the exit. It was 10, maybe 15 seconds later that she heard the Knight finish up in the next room, a metal-on-metal "shlunk" of his weapon coming free, followed by a clunking set of footsteps whose rhythmic pattern was accelerating. She ducked left behind a corner and waited, taking a single deep breath, and held it as the footsteps became louder, the entity drawing closer. Wait for it… she thought on some subconscious level, not wanting to reveal her position too soon. Just as the closeness of the Knight was becoming too unbearable, she stepped swiftly around the corner, arm outstretched. She held aloft the weapon at head height, point toward the enemy, and braced herself as the Knight sprinted headlong into it, the point firmly placed somewhere in the frontal lobe of the thing chasing her. The moment the last bit of resistance was felt, the moment it finished passing through metal and then bone, the moment she knew that strange, flickering blade had pierced deeply into the enemies brain, all the movement of the thing inside the armor abruptly ceased, only subject to momentum and gravity.

Panicking, Diana shook her now blood soaked hand, freeing the point of the weapon her recovered gauntlet had created from the cranium of her pursuer. The armored husk fell to and then through the floor in an instant, swiftly gone as soon as it came. If she didn't see the blood and what she assumed, although squeamishly, was brain matter on the end of it and in pools on the floor, she might've thought the past… one, maybe 2 minutes of this encounter were all in her head. But it couldn't have been. She took a few steps backwards, and when her rear met a wall, she slid down it until she sat on the floor, her arms spread wide at her sides as she took heavy breaths.

What the fuck? What the fuck was that? What the actual fuck was that?

And that was what Archivist Diana Evelynn thought, over and over again, until her adrenaline lost it's battle against fatigue, and she fell into a fitful sleep.

While she slept, a vision came to her, too surreal to be a nightmare but too horrible to be a dream. She watched, helplessly, as she stared down the sights of a gun and shot, putting bullets into people who, by their attire, are clearly not on fair footing. Killing innocent people. Over, and over, forever.

Junior Archivist Diana Evelynn woke with a start.

She put her hand to her head, feeling the beginning of a dehydration headache, and stared at her black left hand, before placing her other against the wall and attempting to stand up. Her attempt would have worked under normal circumstances, but this time, she felt unbalanced, and stumbled, falling on her left side with a loud thunk. Strangely, she felt little pain, and a soft sensation on her shoulder. Rolling over onto her right side, she felt along her arm, running her hand up the length of the Black Knight gauntlet, rising past the elbow pad and… no way. Her shoulder was encompassed by a large metal pauldron that certainly hadn't been there when she put on the suit's arm. She frantically pulled out her phone, turned on the front camera, and examined the new addition.

The pauldron on her left shoulder hung with significant weight, and featured flanges in its metalwork, although was rounded to fit the shoulder itself. Along the edges, it glowed faintly with blue light, and as Diana focused in on it, it became apparent that it was growing, incredibly subtly as it were. If it weren't an irreplaceable commodity, she'd have dropped her phone out of shock right then and there, but she placed it back into her pocket gently. She tugged on the shoulder plate, trying to pull it off before it got any further. No dice, it was stuck firmly on there. She checked for straps, buckles, anything she could loosen to remove it, and found nothing. No amount of panicked struggling could remove the creeping equipment climbing its way around her body. After a short amount of pulling, twisting, and leveraging against the wall, she laid down on the floor, arms and legs spread eagle, and simply breathed.

Without considering the implications of what it might do to her the longer it grew, she also knew that the gauntlet was what must have brought that Knight to her before, probably with some sort of tracking beacon she'd engaged accidentally. That must have been the cause of the earsplitting noise that broke had broke her favorite tape recorder. She thought for a moment about her little lab-like accommodations near the outskirts of the M.E.G. outpost she frequented. It was probably a terrible idea to return. If she wasn't being tracked right now, she knew that location would never be safe from Knight activity again. She hoped she hadn't just invited an attack on the outpost itself. With the uncomfortable heat of the new clothing and her worry, she'd begun to sweat, another reason she'd need to find her way to some water quickly. She wiped her brow with her left hand, when she noticed a small glowing object on the back of her hand.


She looked at it for a second, attempting to examine it at different angles, but it turned as soon as she did, floating perpendicular to the floor and pointing one singular direction. Oh, of course. She stood up, brushed her tattered labcoat (that it seemed she'd never be removing at this point), and checked the direction. It pointed down the nearest hallway, the direction away from whence she'd came. At corners it turned, and she followed the trail for some time before it came to a dead end. The 'compass' still pointed directly at the wall, although it shook slightly. It was a few moments later that she noticed it wasn't shaking itself, her hand was slightly vibrating. The sensation ran up her arm and across her whole body, and got stronger the closer she moved to the wall. She tried placing her hand against it, but it passed directly through, rippling like the surface of a pool of water, but the sensation representative of a much more viscous fluid. Viscous enough, in fact, to resist her attempts to remove her hand. She stepped back and pulled, but it only drew the wall out like an elastic sheet, and the farther she stretched it, the more force pulled back, until she was pulled directly through the surface.

Her first perfect clip, unlike any she'd performed prior.

She stumbled and fell upon exiting, but it wasn't a new level. The walls were the same as they'd always been, with little difference to where she'd been but the lack of entrances and exits. Same fluorescent hum, same low light. The only difference being a small black crate, slightly ajar. After recovering, she crawled the short distance between the wall and the box, not even strong enough to put in the effort to stand. Curiously, she slid the lid off and found several small, black cylinders and an equal amount of black plastic packets. Diana took a cylinder out of the container, and found a small seam around the rim. Twisting off the top, she inspected the contents. A liquid, to be sure. Not Almond Water. Fresh water. She placed the edge to her lips and drunk deeply of the can's contents, spilling a good portion onto her as she did. After drinking nearly a liter of fresh water, she sat back, reclining for a moment. With her new, upward facing position, she saw a phrase written on the wall above the crate, glowing with blue runes as always. But another thing was there too, a new addition she'd never seen accompanying the runes before.

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