Lore:The Black Armory Papers
The Black Armory Papers is a Lore book introduced in Black Armory. It is the journal of Henriette Meyrin, one of the founders of the Black Armory, and details the creation of the Black Armory, the Collapse, and the early Dark Age. Entries are unlocked by completing the Gofannon Forge and Bergusia Forge.
I'm a mother to a beautiful daughter. A daughter who talks to people who aren't actually there. Normal kid stuff, sure. Reminds me of my own childhood.
Like when my mother would tell me ghost stories. They fascinated me. Especially the really creepy ones where ghosts would try to communicate with people.
I decided I was going to be the first person to truly make contact with one. Headed to the creepiest part of my house, the basement. I was going to just sit in the dark and wait until something, anything showed up. But, my plan was cut short. Took one hell of a tumble down the basement stairs. Many bruises and a broken arm later, my mother reminded me that ghosts weren't real. That I should stick to what I could see in front of me.
But sometimes you just want to believe in a thing, you know? Because what if it is real? What if this big beautiful universe we barely know is much stranger and more complicated than any of us realize?
Shouldn't we want to look beyond what we can see with our eyes?
I mean—a gigantic ominous ball floats in the sky over other planets and terraforms them. Stranger things haven't happened. If something like the Traveler exists, doesn't it stand to reason that there's more out there we don't know?
So many people treat the Traveler like it's not this completely alien thing that we still know nearly nothing about. Sure, we've benefitted from it immensely. But so many people around the world put their blind trust in it. Their faith, even. To a fault. A huge one.
We've let ourselves become hypnotized by the Traveler into thinking we're all safe. We've let ourselves become naïve about the world around us. We've let our guard down on a personal level. All in the name of achieving world peace and all—we claim—because the Traveler inspired us to do so.
We're comfortable. Complacent. Unprepared for the next time fate tells to wash us all away. And make no mistake, it will.
My daughter's not old enough yet to comprehend the Traveler. But she is impressionable enough to become weakened by it like the rest of society, should I let her.
I will not let her.
We are not alone with the Traveler.
Something else has been detected out there. An anomaly of sorts. I'm lucky to have friends in informative places who tell me these things.
They don't know what it is. But there is something. Could be another Traveler. Could just be a wonky radio wave. Or could be something really bad.
On the off chance it IS something to be concerned about, shouldn't we be prepared to deal with it head-on before it arrives?
But how are we supposed to do that when the means to defend ourselves are not in the people's hands anymore? Don't get me wrong, it's not like I don't understand those decisions. They make sense, but…
Having a child changes your perspective on life. I won't feel comfortable unless I am the one doing something to protect my family. I can't be the only one.
No more sitting around thinking someone or something else will do it for us. I will handle it.
And I won't do it alone. I know just the right people who would appreciate the opportunity to be a part of something like this.
Something that the "powers that be" would never sanction. But like I've said in the past, we don't know what else is out there in the universe. What we, or our children, or our children's children might have to face one day.
We will be prepared.
So this is what success looks like. We three, putting a stake in the ground for what we believe in.
Some may disagree with what we're doing. I don't care. We have to champion all that we hold dear. Who we are: our values, our cultures… all that we believe in as human beings. This is why we founded the Black Armory.
Our works. They're beautiful. All of them. Finely crafted. Made from the strongest of materials. Durable, accurate.
It took me some time to create our first few designs, but I wanted to get them right. Make them distinct, to reflect who we are. Mothers. Fathers. Sons. Daughters. Friends. Lovers.
If the day comes that we need to wield these weapons against—I don't even know what—they'll be there to remind us what we are fighting for, what we are defending. Where we come from.
The Black Armory owes its continued success to them. I am in awe. Helga's formerly from Clovis Bray. She handles the business side of things. Yuki's our resident engineer. Handles the science and mechanics of it all.
Every day I get to admire these women and everything they do right. They put so much of themselves into our work. Their soul, their heritage. And they do it all for the cause.
We've become one big family. I couldn't be happier.
Our forge is up and running. The first of its kind. This is momentous for us. For the Black Armory.
I should be thrilled. "Should" being the key word here.
But I didn't ask to build a mobile weapon factory. I didn't come up with the idea. Helga and Yuki did. Suffice it to say, lately we haven't been agreeing on things as much as we used to.
With the "anomaly," they believe now more than ever that we need our work out there. Easily accessible in the moment, they said. In much greater number, they said.
We're growing fast. Too fast. Which means mass production. Which in turn means less control over our work. How it's distributed, who it's distributed to, etc. It means more weapons to defend ourselves, yes, but not in every single person's hands. That was not my vision. Power without control leads to chaos. It's a give and take.
And nothing says less control quite like placing portable weapon printers all around the world. Hell, they're even discussing putting them on other planets.
I guess I always thought this operation would stay more intimate, more focused.
I know that Helga and Yuki are just looking out for the Armory's best interests. Helga's always reminding us—obnoxiously might I add—that until the little green aliens invade, this is as much a business as a cause.
So I signed off on it.
Helga can keep being the semi-cruel one around here. I'll just work harder to preserve our heart.
Today I gave Helga a piece of my mind.
She came to me with another "opportunity" for the Armory. Another chance to increase our production. But this project is really crossing a line for me.
Exos. I never liked the idea of them in the first place. They're not Humans. They don't have a soul. They're nothing but the experiments of Humans playing God. Since when has that gone well? If one day they decide they don't like the rest of us, what recourse do we have? It'll be slaughter.
Thinking about combining that technology with ours makes me sick.
Helga knew how I would feel about this. She absolutely knew. And yet she brought it to me anyway. She even brought up Titan again! They're talking about a potential evacuation. "People will need protection more than ever," she said. "This is the logical next step."
Yuki tried to play both sides as usual. She means well. Always getting between me and Helga when things start to get ugly. She usually knows just how to calm things down, and I admire her for it, but not this time.
This was not the purpose of the Black Armory.
Entry 67, 68
The Traveler is on the move. And they say it's coming here. To earth.
I didn't take the news of Titan's evacuation seriously enough. I should have. I should have listened to Helga and Yuki.
This is bigger than just me. It's about all of us.
If Project Niobe can help Humanity, then it's our duty to press forward with it.
Even if it means working closely with some unsavory types… sometimes that's the cost of protection.
It's only a matter of time now.
They are here. They are real.
I can't believe we were so… right.
…and so wrong. To think that we could stop this. To say we were naïve would be an understatement.
We simply didn't know. Their power. Their strength.
As they draw closer, all we can do is hide and hope that the facility doors will be strong enough. It's utter chaos out there.
Too many put their faith in the Traveler. I don't know what sort of answers people expect from a gigantic ball in the sky. It remains silent, as always.
At least I'm with her. Being with family is what matters in the end.
There is no more hope.
Only the screams of humanity.
Entry 70, 71, 72
The howling is loudest at night.
By dawn, the quiet returns and with it, the horrid smell that brings the dogs.
I long for the moment I can pry those doors open and leave this place.
As I tried to sleep, I realized I couldn't recall the last time I heard a songbird.
Do any yet live? I haven't noticed.
Last night we awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of something pounding on the walls. It roared and stomped and howled in frustration… until it found the doors. They didn't hold.
I never saw it. We were too occupied blindly firing around a corner. I just remember the smell of wet earth, and a sound I've never heard before. Like a machine being stretched and then compressed.
When it was over, we'd lost members of our Black Armory family and the thing—whatever it was—got away.
I lost one of my sisters. Helga…
We had our problems, but she was right about so many things. I know that now.
I wish I could have told her.
My daughter was injured during the attack.
Entry 92, 93, 94, 95
This whole thing was supposed to be about life. And here I stand, not by choice, looking out into the void. Only death stares back.
I'm told to hold my emotions inside. To be strong.
But how? Under these circumstances, who in their right mind could do that?
I'm told this is bigger than me. That I'm not allowed to forget that.
Again, who in their right mind could do that?
Who in their right mind. Their right mind. Maybe that's it. Why I'm considering this. In all my desperation, I'm not really in my right mind.
This whole thing was about life. It still is. It has to be.
So… I'll do it. I have to do it. I have to.
Yuki is in the lab. It's happening right now.
My anxiety is out of control. The universe is getting smaller every day as humanity is dismantled piece by piece. If we don't stop the bleeding, what will become of us? In the end, all my reservations about manufacturing guns are gone. We have no other choice.
It's so important the Black Armory succeed, and yet I awoke this morning with a truly selfish thought in my head: What if I turned and ran? Yuki could take the reins. Or whoever. Let someone else carry on.
Then I had some coffee. Cried a little. But I'm done wallowing in self-pity now. Too much is at stake.
I hope everything goes well, rushing the process might not have been a good idea. This sort of thing has never been done here on Earth. We're definitely not going to be able to call Clovis Bray in case of hiccups.
My life's work is in Yuki's hands now.
I'd like to hear the birds sing again. I hope they escaped.
I sealed that damaged entrance as best I could. The busy work helped me ignore what was happening in the lab. What's still happening.
But we can't stay here. They're going to attack again and this time, we won't make it.
There's no time to finish the process in the labs. We'll have to do it from the road.
We leave at dawn.
I buried her remains this morning.
Yuki and I had a short ceremony.
No time to look back. We have to leave.
Entry 99, 100, 101
It's noon and the trucks are finally loaded. A late start. Dead crows on the ground this morning. A bad omen.
Only Yuki, myself, and three more of our Black Armory family remain. Well, the five of us and… the Exo. I only caught a glimpse of her so far. So much is riding on that metal and synth body.
We woke her today. I can't look her in the eye…
The birds are missing from the sky. We're going to head to the airport and then try to pick the safest destination.
I was the last one out of the lab. I wonder if I'll ever see it again.
The Exo has so many questions for me. I have some for her, too, but our current situation isn't the time or the place. We took fire on the road this afternoon. Fortunately, they were not as heavily armed as we were.
My fears of putting weapons in the hands of everyone have come true. Humans just can't be trusted. WE HAVE THE SAME ENEMIES, YOU IDIOTS! Even as the bones of civilization are picked clean, we continue fight one another.
Trucks are stuck. We may need to proceed on foot.
Travelers are heading in the opposite direction now. I'm questioning my decision to abandon the lab.
It's just one of many decisions I'd like to have back.
Entry 104, 105
Well, today was horrible.
We had some downtime, so Yuki wanted to test the Exo's new functionality. This was the entire purpose of the Exo in the first place. Project Niobe. Helga's great experiment to make our weapons more deadly through a sort of on-the-spot phase transition of the guns. In other words, a walking, talking forge.
Years ago, it was just an idea. Now, it's a reality. Seeing the Exo discover her ability was… well, thrilling. It was nice to feel something other than dread for a few minutes. And a few minutes was about all we got.
We were sloppy. While the Exo practiced using her ability, we were ambushed by… I don't even know what they were.
They were definitely not regular Humans. They had… abilities. That the rest of us don't. We took one down, we thought. But then his little red drone lit up and he was on his feet again.
We kept firing. They didn't expect to run into an armory on foot, so they ran.
But not before killing some of us and wounding Yuki.
She promises I'm still stuck with her, though. I'd be lost without her.
We traveled all night to put as much distance between us and our attacker as possible.
The Exo is carrying Yuki now. It's clear she doesn't have long.
She's asked me to leave her behind.
This family is all we have left. We will do no such thing.
Entry 108, 109, 110
Yuki… is dead. It didn't happen like I thought it would.
One of the men who had attacked us returned. This time with an offer. He wanted the Exo. He had seen what she was capable of back at the truck. How she turned our weapons into something even more deadly with nothing but her hands.
The Exo stood, willing to sacrifice herself for us.
I was horrified, but before I could say anything, Yuki lied and said she had the Obsidian Accelerator. That it was in her backpack.
The man approached her cautiously as she quickly looked at me. That one last look. The same one that had calmed me down so many times. She reached for the backpack as the man drew near.
The Exo grabbed me and gave me cover as the grenade exploded, shielding me from the flaming shrapnel. Then she helped me up and we ran. I looked back once.
The man's red drone was shining its terrible light about the carnage looking for its master.
He'll get up again. He knows what she can do.
He will be looking for us.
Yuki… I'm so sorry.
Three days later. Still numb. It's unbearable.
It's just me and her now.
She and I spent the night under the wing of a crashed jet. I realize now as I write this that I haven't seen a plane in the sky. Not once since we set out. This is not the world I knew.
Every time I look at her, I'm thinking about it. This is not the world I knew.
Entry 115, 116, 117
The airport isn't safe anymore. The control tower is ablaze and the monstrous sounds on the wind will keep us from investigating any further.
We walk parallel to the roads and lie down in hiding when we hear other travelers. My legs are sore and my mouth is dry from answering her barrage of questions. There's so much of this world that she doesn't understand, and so much I want to tell her, but I just can't. Not right now. Yuki's death has weighed on us both, yet she retains an innocence. I'm trying so very hard not to ruin it.
We came across the remains of a petrol-burning car in the forest and she asked if it could still be alive. I had to explain it was never alive. Those machines had no souls. I instantly regretted saying that, because it only lead to more painful inquiries. I told her I had a headache and needed some quiet.
When the sun is up, we're wary of other Humans. When the moon rises, we worry about worse creatures. We're on a road to nowhere now, and I was always paranoid, but I can't shake the feeling that the man I let escape is watching us.
Going further inland would be a mistake. That has become clear from the increasing destruction we're encountering. I'm hopeful that if we can make it south to the Mediterranean Sea, even if it means going through the Alps, we might be able to find a small boat. An island sounds perfect, and I think Corsica should be the end goal. But with our luck it will be beset by some sort of invincible sea monsters.
Nostalgia overcame me today. We came upon an amusement park I used to love, back before all this.
But now, nature had begun to lay claim to this place. Fortunately, I could still describe most of it in detail.
I showed her where I liked to eat, where I rested my weary feet, and even a petting zoo, where I'd appreciated the beauty of exotic animals. I started to tell her stories about when I was here with my family… but a scratch in my throat made me stop. I suppose these wounds are still bleeding.
Entry 142, 143, 144
My head has been down as I walk through this new world with such an inquisitive young soul. Her gaze is often to the sky, and today we were rewarded with our first living creature in a while. A butterfly. She was lost in its beauty. The wings fluttered past her bright eyes and this wreck of a world fell away. It reminded me of Hugo's Vere Novo. Reciting poetry in this devastated world felt cathartic.
I told her that she has so much in common with this beautiful winged creature. Butterflies start as so much less and make themselves something more.
Perhaps if either of us had any tears, we would have cried.
I thought I saw one of those small drones pass over us today. We were picking berries and watching out for more butterflies when I thought I caught a glimpse of the damned thing.
I made her promise: No matter what happens, if they catch you, you must not trust them—not ever.
These are difficult days and nights. It's slow traveling off the roads, and we're on each other's nerves now. She observed that "the other people from the Black Armory were nicer." I snapped at her, but… she's right. At least these days, anyway.
The barrage of questions continues. She wants to know why she's special. Why we needed her here. Where she comes from. I still can't muster up the answers. I find it easier to bury my face in this journal or pretend to be asleep than to face her questions. We are still quite a ways from the shore.
Entry 150, 151
I put this journal aside for a long time. I've been too tired to write in it. My clothes are looser, and she is concerned that I'm "shedding mass." This is not how I ever wanted to get to know her.
At night, I started singing to myself to calm my nerves. She paid rapt attention and shortly asked me to teach her the song, "Le Temps Des Cerises." She asks how I know it, but I'm in no condition to talk about him. It's just an old family tradition I tell her.
Is it lying? I wonder if it really matters now.
I tried to answer some of her questions. About the Black Armory, about life before the end… about what I believed in. About what makes us who we are. About what makes her who she is.
If you don't know where you come from, how can you know who you are? Our past defines us more than we are willing to admit.
All this—all that is lost—I'm telling her that she should care for it. Our past is precious and needs to be remembered.
I tell her this realizing that I'm the one holding back. I'm the one keeping secrets. I'm the hypocrite. Stopped me from being able to even look at her.
Someday, probably soon, she'll be the only life our legacy has left.
Maybe one day I won't be such a coward. Maybe then I'll tell her everything.
Entry 157, 158, 159
We've arrived at the shoreline. There's a small, organized camp here. Unfortunately, all that floats, and some things that don't, have already set to sea. There will be no boating away from Europe. Corsica is off the list for now.
I've had an anxiety attack. A woman with a drone has shown up at camp. She seems to be law and order here.
She made a point of being impressed with our charged Black Armory weapons. Does she have good taste, or does she know more than she lets on?
We can't take the risk. We'll have to leave soon.
Today some young children and their parents asked if Ada wouldn't mind holding their hands and talking to them. Apparently this is their first encounter with an Exo. She takes to them with ease. Makes them feel comfortable like it's nothing. Her innocence shines. She has such a good heart.
She enjoys playing with the children. She's quite good at "hide and seek," a skill I'm more than happy to let her hone. The children love her playfulness. There are two other Exos in this camp, and three of them have become fast friends.
Seeing her experience others makes me realize that she deserves to be free of me, but I can't resolve to let her go.
Entry 170, 171
Last night, the peace of the refugee camp abruptly ended. Thunder and lightning reverberated in our ears. The people with drones fought a battle in the camp against other people with drones. She and I took this opportunity to escape by following the shoreline for a few miles.
I know why they're here. I recognized one of them. The man from before. The one with the red drone. The one who killed Yuki.
They are here for the Obsidian Accelerator. We have to leave.
We watched the camp burn from the cliffs. I saw the people with the drones fan out in all directions. I could follow the paths they cut through the darkness by the flickering of their drones' light.
There's no time for anything else, and despite her concerns, she has opened up to me.
I'm removing the Obsidian Accelerator and sending her down the road. They can come and get it from me. Not her.
This is likely goodbye…
When those people and their drones found me alone at that deserted intersection they demanded to know where you were. I offered them the Obsidian Accelerator. I gave it freely.
You promised you would leave me, and you did… but you never said how far you would go, did you? You stayed close enough to watch through your scope.
As the man took aim at my head, I heard the shot and assumed I was dead. But it was him who was dead, not me. You were so far that none of us knew where to look.
The second man winged me with one of our own weapons. He began to gloat about that, but another round from you shut him up. Two more thunderous shots, and their drones were as dead as they were.
I saw the glare from your scope disappear, and I knew you were heading away. I know you must feel guilty, but don't. It was I who wronged you.
I grabbed the accelerator and got as far from the shouts of the aggressors as I could. They've been on my tail. By now, you're long gone and I've lead those people back inland.
But I'm done running. The end of my story is close, as it probably should be. So I guess it's time I tell you a few things about, well, you. The end of your life should have followed its natural trajectory. I'm ashamed I changed it for selfish reasons.
Does the name "Adelaide" bring you any flicker of recognition? It is your birth name, and you heard it every day of your life until the day I sent you without your consent into a new world.
You became Ada-1 when I robbed you of your end. I've loved you since before you were born, and in trying to give you everything, perhaps I've robbed you of a final human experience: a dignified death.
I know I will not see you again. If you want to know about your past, know that you were born a second time in the Niobe Labs. When you were wounded at the labs and I saw you were losing your fight, I did what I always did when the chips were down: I… created something. You, Ada-1. From what I had almost completely lost. I did it out of fear of losing you forever. I charted the course of your life and made decisions that were yours to make, not mine.
I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me for that.
I was naïve. Looked too often to the past. I just couldn't let any of it go. I never did have much respect for the natural order of things. And Helga, well… she was the opposite of me. She only wanted to grow the Armory, to see its full potential. And Yuki helped make that vision possible. The two of them spent as much time looking ahead as I did looking back.
I realize now that there's a balance to life. You look backward a little, you look forward a little. But most importantly, you live in the here and now. You appreciate what you have, because you never know when it'll all be snatched from you.
Learn from our successes and our missteps. Be bold. Do not fear the future. Respect the past. And never forget where you came from. And try never to fear death, if you can help it. I know I don't anymore.
You know what's funny? I never considered how lucky I was for the time we had together. The envy of all the mothers who ever lived.
I got to love you twice.