By: Josh Malecki
"Memories don't mean much to me anymore; with the all of the planes I've traversed and the amount of people I have been, I'm not even sure if they're mine."
"Try to reveal as much as you can." A voice commands through a speaker.
"I walk up to this wooden shack in the middle of nowhere, just an open grassy field and I'm cold, the sky is a blue/purple, I can't tell if it's dusk or dawn because I'm just so tired of…walking? Was I walking all of that time? I take this large pack off of me, what was I doing in the field? Just walking?"
"Focus, Blaq." The voice scolds.
"All I really know is that I'm cold and I'm tired. So I walk up to the door and… I don't know. I don't know for sure."
"What do you mean? What happens when you open the door?"
"I'm not sure, I only remember snippets."
"I open the door and I get blown back by a shotgun. No. I open the door and no one is there so I make a fire? Or was it, I open the door and there's a woman and her daughter next to a fire?"
"Okay, Blaq. You can calm down. That's obviously all we'll get for now. You'll be escorted by the security officers to Dr. White's office for psychological checking. Thank you, Resident Blaq." A door swooshes open as Resident Blaq stands and walks passed two security officers who escort Blaq down the hall to Dr. White's office.
"Ah, Resident Blaq. Back after another mission I see." Dr. White greets as Blaq sits on a soft chair in-front of an elaborate machine of some kind, it is a tall white structure with an arm coming out of it, and the arm had headphones connected to it. "Stay still, please." Dr. White says as he swung the arm over Resident Blaq, pulling down the headphones and placing them over Blaq's ears. "Comfy?" Dr. White asked, Blaq nodded in confirmation. A humming sound came through the headphones, as if Blaq were in a room with the AC running, it was familiar and comforting. Blaq watched as Dr. White turned on a monitor, flipped a few switches on the machine, and diligently took notes, not for a moment taking his eyes off of the information. This is until the door opened and a short and stalky woman walked in.
Dr. White was so focused on the information that the door's sound startled him, he said something to the woman, supposedly greeting her, but she did not look very happy. Dr. White went over to Resident Blaq and took the headphones off, deactivating the machine. "How is she?" the woman asked.
Dr. White folded his arms and raised an eyebrow, looking at Blaq to await confirmation. "Its fine, it's not like I'd know anyway." Blaq answered.
"How do you feel, Resident?" she grinned.
"Exhausted." Answered Blaq.
The woman got in Resident Blaq's face, "Well, isn't that too bad." The woman smiled, her rank breath filling Blaq's nostrils.
"Back off my patient, Helena." Dr. White ordered.
"Excuse me? Do you run this shit, sweetie? Last time I checked, you didn't." Helena snapped.
"Do you have five PhD's? Are you qualified to be trusted with the physical and mental care of Resident Blaq? Do you know what she's been through?" White retorted.
"Well, she's about to go through more because I have yet another assignment." Helena raised her voice and waved around a packet.
"Please, no. I need sleep." Blaq pleaded.
"You really think you can…" Helena was about to start going off on her until she really looked into Blaq's eyes and suddenly, her entire demeanor changed from abrasive to intimidated. Helena slammed the packet down on the table, "Fine! Read this and you're going back into the chamber, first thing tomorrow. I do not want any excuses out of you, Blaq!" she shouted as she stormed out of Dr. White's office.
"We make a pretty good team, huh?" Dr. White smiled. Resident Blaq returned the sentiment as they resumed treatment. A couple of hours later, Resident Blaq was able to leave the office of Dr. White, her mind being almost crystal clear; unfortunately, being in her line of work left major side effects that even the experimental machines and drugs couldn't fix.
Resident Blaq stepped out of the office and was escorted down the hall until she reached the 'Residential Area' of the complex. Blaq looked up to the familiar surroundings, entering the area, the officers stopped at the entrance as this was the only area Residents could roam free, visit each other or go to their rooms to shower and sleep. It was a perfectly square courtyard that spanned fifty yards in each way except height. The center was grassy and open, a perfect place to sit and eat or lay down and read, and sometimes the Residents would even come together to play. On the walls of each side of the area were the rooms of each Resident, each room was situated inside the walls and each was identical in structure. The housing structure was four stories tall, in its entirety it holds sixty-five Residents in all, with twenty residencies on each side of the square. Since it was passed curfew, no one was out except for Resident Blaq, her room was room 301D, the first room on the third floor on the fourth side of the square. Blaq made her way across the grassy center, trudged her way up the stairs and opened the door to her room.
After closing and locking the door, she took off her signature large brimmed black hat, her huge black leather trench coat and the maroon scarf that obscured her face, the purpose of obscuring her face wasn't to hide herself from anyone but herself. She took the rest of her clothes off and walked into her bathroom, turning the shower on. As she waited for the heat to rise, she looked at herself in the mirror and even naked, she couldn't tell who or what she was, yet again reminding her why she obscures her face.
The shower gives Blaq time to think clearly and she thinks back to some of the only clear memories she has. Back to when she first arrived here, she was treated pretty roughly back then, the interrogations could get intense, far worse than they were now that she had established herself as the most valuable of the residents kept here. She remembers the time she fell in love and when she finally expressed it, the man she loved was hit by a speeding truck; her lover's blood splattering on her chest. Blaq's eyes opened, her face expressing nothing but dread, that wasn't her memory anymore, it wasn't her real life that she was remembering. Blaq quickly clambered out of the shower and opened the medicine cabinet, taking a translucent green bottle containing white gel capsules. Blaq's breathing became calm again after she took the pill as she looked in the mirror and reminded herself, "Even your clearest memories are tainted."
Resident Blaq then finished the shower and went to her bed, opening the nightstand she took another pill to help her sleep. She looked out her circular window and sighed because tomorrow was another day, another mission she had to take on. She might not even be 'she' by the end. Blaq then went over to bed, curled up in her covers and went to sleep, hoping for a dreamless night.
It didn't feel like it was much longer before all of the lights in Blaq's room turned on and became extremely bright, forcing her awake. A voice came through a speaker in her room, the same voice as before during the interrogation, "Resident Blaq, get yourself prepared and come to start your mission." The voice blared.
"Okay." Blaq answered as the lights went back to normal and she got herself ready for the day, as she wrapped her scarf around her face, she went down the stairs, crossed the grass again and ran into her friends, Residents Holly, Pan and Tom.
"Hey!" Holly greeted as Blaq walked passed them, almost as if they weren't there.
"Must be a mission, Blaq only gets this way when on missions." Tom whispered to the rest of the group.
"I hope she's alright, they've been putting her through some pretty tough missions lately. Been too drained of energy to even come hang out with us." Pan added.
"Wait, how could you tell Blaq is a she right now?" Tom asked.
"I can just feel it, it changes often but today she's a she." Pan answered.
"How does that work again with Blaq?" Tom asked.
Holly was on point with a quick response, "Blaq's missions always have her traveling through different times, universes and dimensions. So, her body and mind warps from one reality to the next constantly. One day she could be in a mission as a housewife, another she could be a man climbing a mountain to find something that'll help Helena on whatever quest she's on. Blaq's identity just changes without her control, she can't stand it and goes by whatever gender she's called that day instead of really caring about what she is in the real world. For all we know, under that thick clothing could be a guy under there, but Blaq just doesn't care like other people do. She goes on about her life, letting others worry about that kind of thing."
"That must be a hassle." Tom said.
"Is it a hassle if you're just apathetic, though?" Pan retorted.
"Guess not, I'm just worried for her sake."
"We all are." Holly sighed, placing a hand on Tom's shoulder.
Blaq continued down to the hall where the officers escorted her to the 'Mission Chamber'. The inside of the chamber was pitch dark, no way anyone could see within it.
"How are you this morning, Resident?" the voice asked.
"I'm alright, just wish sleeping gave me any kind of solace." Blaq answered.
The voice chuckled, "Well, that's one thing you have in common with the mundane, I guess."
"I guess." Blaq said, waiting for her mission parameters.
"Okay, Resident. After Helena Reyes reviewed your last mission and how incoherent your answers were, we're sending you back to the coordinates as the past couple of days but with changed variables to help you remember. The room will fill with a new antidote from Dr. White, no need to do anything special, just breath it in, then you'll be back in that other world before you know it."
"I understand." Resident Blaq confirmed.
"Okay, deploying gas…now." The voice notified. A slight hissing sound enveloped the room as the gas came through, Blaq pulled her scarf down so she could breathe in the vapors coming in from the vents. "Alright, Blaq, here you go. Dimensional sequence started, transporting in 5…4...3…2…1…good luck, Resident Blaq." The voice said as the black room suddenly went away; Blaq's own self left her body as she was ejected from our reality to another's. When Blaq landed, the sky was that familiar blue/purple and there was no civilization to be seen, the grassy planes were flanked by forests of evergreens and oak trees and nestled in one perfect spot was a wooden cabin with smoke coming through the stone chimney.
Resident Blaq began to slowly move towards the house, black boots crunching on the ground beneath. Blaq made quite a ways until a little girl stepped out of the cabin and spotted Blaq. Startled, the girl ran back inside and before Blaq knew it, the mother came outside with a shotgun in hand. "I don't want trouble, mister! Hands in the air!" the woman shouted.
Blaq pulled the scarf down and raised his hands and answered, "I'm not here to hurt you, I'm lost." He pleased.
"What's your name, sir?" she asked.
"My name is Blaq, I… I don't remember my first name so I just go by my last. What's yours?"
"My name is Georgia, it's really weird for someone to not remember their own first name. What were you in? Some kind of accident?" Georgia interrogated.
"N-no, I was sent here by people, I need to ask you questions. I heard you have answers and that's how you're here." Resident Blaq said.
Georgia squinted her eyes and thought a moment, she then let her guard down, "I don't have much time for things like this, Blaq. So come in and we'll get this over with." She conceded and gestured for Resident Blaq to follow her inside of the cabin.
"Jerrica, go to your room, me and our visitor are going to have a talk." She called out.
"Okay, mommy." Jerrica answered as she quickly went to her room, feeling really intimidated by the presence of Resident Blaq.
Georgia poured the two some coffee, "So, what brings you here?" she asked.
Blaq took a seat by the fire, "The Groβschwester Foundation sent me here."
Georgia's expression became very serious, "How the hell did you find us here, Resident?" she asked in a stern tone of voice.
"I was told to bring you back for containment, Georgia. I was hoping to do it without a fight."
"Containment?! Do you even know what the Groβschwester Foundation does to people like us?"
Resident Blaq looked at the floor, "Yeah."
Georgia's face went to a mixture of anger and surprise, "You…you're someone like me. You've been under their control, subject to their experiments for so long."
Resident Blaq sighed, "But the Foundation… they've helped me to be able to navigate this power."
"At what cost, Resident Blaq? Helena Reyes is a psychopath, she calls herself 'World CEO' for Christ's sake!"
"I need to take you in, now." Blaq answered.
"You know how you're even here right now? Because I let you inside of my head! Hell, you probably don't even remember that you've been here more than once!"
"That explains a lot, actually." Blaq thought aloud.
"This is my domain, I let you in, and I can kick you out!" Georgia shouted as the entire world began to shake.
"Who's the girl? Who's Jerrica?" Blaq asked as he tried to get his bearings.
"She's one of the many lost souls that has come through my mind. You don't think I know what you do for a living? I know you're not just here for me!" Georgia shouted as the cabin began to crack and break down.
"The Foundation can help you both! Wandering souls get set free, they just want to study us!" Blaq pleaded.
"God, the Groβschwester Foundation does have you all fucked up." Georgia shouted as the ground gave way to a white void. "I won't let you make my body a breathing shell, I won't let you use Jerrica's soul!" the entire world was blown up with a holy energy that made Blaq's entire person feel uncomfortable. The blast flung Blaq's projection right back into his own body, causing him to collapse to the ground of the pitch black room.
Blaq then awoke in the backyard of a powder blue house in the middle of suburbia, "This is my gift to you, Resident Blaq. Remember it well." Georgia's disembodied voice whispered over the land. Blaq got up and looked around, he recognized this place. He walked over to the deck, opened the back door of the house and was rushed by a golden retriever, "Cody!" Blaq exclaimed as the dog jumped up to greet him. "Hey pal, how're you doing, huh?" Blaq laughed, running his hands through the dog's soft, curly fur. Cody then hopped off of Blaq to go drink some water, it was weird, Cody always had a specific rhythm in which he would drink water, and this felt so real and it felt so right. Blaq knew that this was just a lucid dream, but at least it was a dream that he could be happy with.
"Hey, dude, how're you doing this?" Blaq quickly turned to see his friends, Holly, Pan and Tom.
"What is going on here?" Blaq asked.
"Here's the thing, hon, we don't know. Residents aren't allowed to have dreams so I guess whomever it was you found, was able to reactivate yours somehow. Especially astounding seeing that a couple of hours ago there was a big fuss about you being completely out cold." Holly said.
"This woman that was super powerful, her name was Georgia, she was harboring an entity named Jerrica. She was a powerhouse of holy energies and was able to shoot me out of her mind without any problems." Blaq explained.
"I guess she reactivated your ability to dream, better yet, to lucid dream. I guess we're all so sensitive to one another's energies that we all got drawn here." Pan said.
"We get it, you're an empath. Biggest question to me is how're we going to use this?" Tom added.
"Use this? It's Blaq's dream!" Pan said.
"Yeah, but they're gonna find out and take it away somehow. This could be our chance to bust outta here, set all the other Residents free, too!" Tom replied.
"It's all up to you, Blaq. What's the plan?" Holly asked.
Blaq patted Cody on the head, scratching the dog's remarkably soft ears as he pondered, "Georgia had some choice words about the Groβschwester Foundation that made me think. I think that there's something more about this place that is very wrong. I'm going to put blockers up to make sure that no one knows my dreams have been reactivated. Wait for me to make contact; we're going to find out what's going on with this place." He decided as the group disappeared from his dream.
"Wake up! Wake her up, Dr. White, right now!" a shrill voice pierced Blaq's ears.
"He…I feel like a he today." Blaq answered in a shaky and quiet tone.
"Oh, thank god!" Dr. White solaced.
"What happened to you, Resident? What kind of mystical power could have possibly had you in such a state?" Helena Reyes asked.
"Georgia…she destroyed her own soul with a large amount of holy energies. The absence of any soul ejected me from her mind too suddenly, I wasn't ready for it." Blaq lied.
"Your adventures exasperate me to no end!" Helena shouted, throwing her arms in the air.
"Helena, please, you are upsetting my patient." Dr. White beseeched.
"This stuff scares me, Dr. White. We almost lost our catalyst to control the mystic powers of the universe and the key to its true secrets!"
"Helena, I'll update you once he is well again. Until then, I'll have to ask you to leave."
"Fine." Helena huffed, "Just don't have those ignorant pigs follow me too close again or I'll find a way to hurt their lives worse than they're already hurt." She threatened.
"What did the security officers ever do to you? You're becoming irrational!" Dr. White argued as Helena left the room. "It's alright, Blaq. Crazy lady's gone." He comforted, helping Blaq into a sitting position.
"I feel very light headed, doctor. I'm going to have to request a day off or a couple of days off." Blaq said.
"I agree, Resident Blaq. I'll escort your to your room myself and we'll get you in bed." Dr. White offered. Blaq got up and pulled up his scarf as the two made their way over to the Residential Area. Blaq stumbled up the flights of stairs leading to his room until finally they arrived.
"Thanks, Dr. White." Blaq thanked.
"Remember, Blaq. Lots of fluids and rest, it was a pretty hectic day for you. Have a fun staycation!" Dr. White said as he closed the door behind Blaq.
Now standing alone in his room, Blaq focused his mind, "Holly, can you hear me?" he asked, focusing on Holly's own specific wavelength, looking out of his circular window to Holly's which was across the way.
"Yes, I'm here." Holly asked, appearing in the window, looking at Blaq.
"Contact Tom and Pan. I got some days off, we're going to bring the Groβschwester Foundation down to its knees." Blaq smiled from across the way as Holly smiled back and focused to contact the others.
Thank you for reading the pilot issue of Resident Blaq! Now, this is a rough draft through and through but this is the beginning of what will eventually be an entire book! That being said, this is the ONLY Resident Blaq thing that I'm going to release to the public until the book comes out. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and I hope that you'll purchase the book in the future (whenever that is). Until then, SDU: Special Defense Unit and Tiger-Man LIMITED will continue December 10th as we near the conclusion of Season 2! Stay Tuned…