And who could forget the 14th Overseer, Death?

Special Containment Procedures: Compliance with SCP-5404 is the only known method of containment, and potential aversion of an XK-Class "End of Humanity" scenario.

Description: SCP-5404 is an incorporeal entity self-identifying as Death.

On May 28th, 2020, this being appeared within Site-01, and made contact with the Overseer Council.

28/05/2020 - 13:23
Video Feed: Site 19, Corridor 001, Camera 02.

A dark humanoid figure appears on the gangway outside of Council Chamber 001, and begins walking forward. Defensive protocols engage.

  • 16 redundant emulsification cannons1 fire on the target. No effect.
  • 25 armed guards, along with 10 automated M134 Minigun's fire high-impact rounds at the target. No effect.
  • 12 suicide drones armed with N13 Zero-Point Bombs2 impact with the target. Gangway section is destroyed. Camera 02 is destroyed.

28/05/2020 - 13:25
Video Feed: Site 19, Corridor 001, Camera 07.

Target continues walking forward through open air.

  • 4 Scranton Reality Anchors activate in a closed field around the target. No effect.
  • 4 Zuykov Reality Inhibitors activate in a closed field around the target. No effect.
  • Thaum-Tapestry is automatically uncovered. No effect.
  • Enhon Wards automatically fed direct sunlight. No effect.
  • "Whiteout" protocol is engaged. No effect.

All defensive measures declared ineffective. Emergency evacuation orders are declared for Site-01.

The figure approaches the Council Chamber door at a steady walking pace. Camera feed shows a decaying, animate human skeleton dressed in a black robe. This substance rejects all light, appearing as a two-dimensional, unbroken shroud of pure black. This figure then knocks their fleshless hand against the door three times, and speaks.

SCP-5404: Hello. Sorry to interrupt. I think we need to talk.

28/05/2020 - 13:42 - Audio Recording - Council Chamber

O5-7: So, you’re Death.

SCP-5404: Essentially.

O5-7: You must realize how ridiculous that sounds.

SCP-5404: Twenty-three years, nine months, twelve days, four hours, forty-eight minutes and six seconds.

O5-7: I… what is that supposed to mean?

SCP-5404: I think you know. Regardless, I am not here today to collect. I’m here for your help.

O5-5: What could Death itself need from us?

SCP-5404: Killing, of course.

O5-5: I would think we’ve given you plenty.

SCP-5404: Oh yes, with astonishing creativity I might add. I actually need you for some very important, very specific killings.

O5-1: That doesn’t answer the question.

O5-4: I agree. If you are Death, why do you need us?

SCP-5404: To do what I cannot. If strength is measured in the ability to end life, I am the weakest thing in existence. A dust mote has more potential to kill than I do. I merely stand at the threshold, and guide you through the gates.

05-6: Most of us.

SCP-5404: Oh, yes, of course. Look who I’m talking to. Sorry for all the specters and shamblers you’ve had to mop up over the years. Dearly appreciated. In fact, that’s why I’ve come to you. You and your Foundation are the best equipped to handle this task, given how you see fit to protect humanity.

O5-11: Can you prove it?

SCP-5404: Prove what?

O5-11: That you are Death.

SCP-5404: No.

O5-11: Then why sh-

SCP-5404: Thankfully, I have never required your belief to do my job - and I do not require it now.

SCP-5404 suddenly vanishes. Video footage and live witnesses confirm the entity appearing for a split-second at all research sites and outposts owned by the Foundation, triggering countless security breach alarms. SCP-5404 re-appears in the Council Chamber.

SCP-5404: All thirteen bodies are buried under the Pyramid. They will not save you. She will be born in 2450, when the sky burns white. He waits in the well of blood, deeper than the world - you've all seen his face, and know his hunger.

O5-2: How-… how do you know about-

O5-10: I'm calling for a global lockdown. Ping the Temporal Anomalies Department. We have a breach.

SCP-5404: The Black Moon does not howl. It never has, it never will. It's the story you tell to keep the world dreaming.

The council chamber is silent for 3 seconds.

SCP-5404: I believe that should suffice. Am I Death? It should not matter now. Whoever I am, I'm clearly someone you want on your side. After all, I could approach the GOC instead, and tell them the override to Site-23’s nuclear warhead is ██-██-Delta-

05-2: We get the idea. You can stop.

05-8: So, you want us to kill people for you.

SCP-5404: Among other things. We can discuss that at the next Council session - I'll have a list prepared. I've been gone too long already.

O5-1: You still haven't told us why.

SCP-5404: Haven’t I?

O5-1: No, you’ve told us how and what. Whatever you're going to ask of us, why does it need to be done?

SCP-5404: Ah. Well, Overseer, if you don’t, then we’re both going to be out of a job.

SCP-5404 vanishes.

28/05/2022 - 13:23 - Audio Recording - Council Chamber

28 minutes of irrelevant data expunged

O5-1: Motion carries. Testing with lab-grown meat for SCP-████ will be included in test block 17. Any other points of order…? No?

O5-1 sighs, and gestures down the table. A 14th chair has been installed, currently seating SCP-5404.

O5-1: Then, ironically as always, our final minutes belong to “Death”.

SCP-5404: Thank you, Overseer. Within the next month, you will need to arrange the deaths of Tamil Sabhya, Makena Luo, and Albert Wagner. The first two are an auto mechanic and airline engineer, respectively, so I don’t expect they’ll be too difficult. Mr. Wagner is the German Ambassador to South America, so I expect it may require a subtle touch. I trust in your abilities. Thank you as always for your time. I will return next session.

O5-1: Wait.

SCP-5404: My apologies, but I really must be off.

O5-1: We have questions. Over the last two years, we've killed 127 people by your request. We've done everything you've asked. I think we deserve some kind of explanation to-

SCP-5404: Nothing is deserved. Everything is earned. I have earned your service through loyalty.

O5-1: We still have questions.

SCP-5404: I have no reason to answer.

O5-1: Then we’ll put Sabhya, Luo, and Wagner in containment cells and make sure they live long, healthy lives.

SCP-5404: You would doom yourselves, and everyone else alive.

O5-1: There’s no proof of that. You claim all these assassinations are to save our species, to prevent some vague end-of-the-world event, but that's all. Omniscence doesn't mean you can't still lie, and you've given us no reason to believe you.

SCP-5404: And, again I say, it doesn’t matter. I can simply turn to one of your rivals and-

O5-1: But you didn’t.

SCP-5404: What?

O5-1: Arguably, we have the most influence and resources of any organization in the world - yet every month, all you ask of us are a few paltry assassinations. So why us? There are many more fanatical and fantastically-thinking groups who would be delighted to serve Death. Hell, several already believe they do. Yet you came to us. You keep coming to us. I’m betting you need us.

SCP-5404: Qualification and irreplaceability are not the same thing, Overseer. You are making a very, very dangerous bluff.

Overseer 01 and SCP-5404 stare at each other across the Council Chamber for several seconds. Then, SCP-5404 abruptly slaps the table with both skeletal palms.

SCP-5404: Goodness, fine! Oh you scientists. You’d blow up the world for a moment’s understanding, wouldn’t you?

No response.

SCP-5404: Tell me what you want to know.

O5-3: Are you actually the Grim Reaper?

SCP-5404: I am Death. I have never owned a scythe, however. Silly misconception, that.

O5-3: How can Death be a conscious entity?

SCP-5404: Consciousness follows consciousness. You think, so I must think. An animal could not guide you beyond life.

O5-3: So you’re just our death- human death.

SCP-5404: No. I am the death of all life on Earth. When a cheetah dies, I have the speed to chase it down. When a hummingbird dies, I might fly to catch it in my talons. An animal does not need to be convinced it has died, for it needed no convincing it was alive! Oh, but you humans. You need reason, and argument, and compassion before you accept the truth. Tedious, really, but that’s part of my job.

O5-7: So, have these visits and assassinations been to alleviate the tedium? Is it just some elaborate game? Some form of entertainment?

SCP-5404 is silent for several seconds.

SCP-5404: There is no joy in this. It simply must be done.

O5-8: Why? What is this “end of the world” we’re avoiding?

SCP-5404: An absolute one. You and I have both seen the ages ahead - the great agony, the threats beyond stars, even the collapse of time itself. Always, you survive. Yet, amazingly, the death of Humanity comes not from beyond, but from within. A single child, unceremoniously born in the back seat of a Sedan. This person will become the greatest tyrant in all of human history. They will cast the world into a war that swallows all life in atomic fire. The earth will perish, and I will collect.

O5-13: So then tell us who they are. Why not resolve this with one murder, not hundreds?

SCP-5404: Because we do not need to kill a person, Overseer, we need to stop an event - a grand event. Possibly the grandest in Earth's history. Changing such a future isn’t so easily done. Time is not the fragile river you imagine. Time is a raging torrent, carrying all the universe within its current. I am only the Death of Earth, but the river of time extends through the Void, affecting all things. It is powerful. It cannot be changed by force… but it can be changed by subtlety. These deaths are tiny, unnoticed pebbles that will one day divert the flow and, hopefully, save your species.

O5-1: Hopefully?

SCP-5404: I’ve never tried to change fate before, to be honest. I believe this should work.

O5-2: But, you’re Death. Why do you even want it to work? Wouldn’t everyone dying be, well, what you want?

SCP-5404: Death requires life. Eight billion may be a great plenty, but it’s nothing compared to the hundreds of billions you could be. I need you all to thrive and multiply, so I can continue to do my job.

O5-7: And is it? A job, I mean. You certainly seem to be on a schedule, I'll give you that, but something about this feels more and more like an "off the books" sort of operation.

O5-1: That's it, isn't it? Why you need us over, say, the GOC. You need this done quietly. Why?

SCP-5404: So many questions! No, no schedule. I have an ironclad deal with Time about that. Though, if they knew I was here… nevermind. I should go. I will- I’ll be back next month.

SCP-5404 vanishes.


28/05/2029 - 13:23 - Audio Recording - Council Chamber


Forward: Following the Overwatch Conference on 28/05/2022, SCP-5404 did not re-appear for 7 months. The next, and last appearance of SCP-5404 was outside of it's usual pattern - manifesting inside the private chambers of 05-1 at 13:43 hours while they slept.

O5-1 opens their eyes, laying in bed. SCP-5404 is hovering above them, oriented horizontally, faces nearly touching.

SCP-5404: Most people would scream, you know.

O5-1: I’ve been woken up by worse, I'm sorry to say. What can I do for you Death?

SCP-5404: The usual.

O5-1: And it couldn’t wait for the next Council session?

SCP-5404: I’m afraid not.

05-1 sits up in bed. SCP-5404 floats down, and sits in what is assumed to be a cross-legged position. SCP-5404 hands O5-1 a small, translucent object, roughly the size and shape of a business card.

O5-1: What’s this?

SCP-5404: A formula. Follow it as best you can.

O5-1: I don't see any numbers.

SCP-5404: It’s aminoscript - information coded into living cells. It's about a thousand times denser than digital information. Don’t worry, you’ll have the technology for it in about 20 years. Well, not you, since you’ll be dead in fourteen years, eight mo-

O5-1: I remember, thank you. So why give it to me now? Why not just keep guiding us along on a short leash? Where have you been?

SCP-5404: Away. I have… other meetings to attend.

O5-1 remains seated in bed, staring at SCP-5404.

SCP-5404: (…) Many forces affect your world. Some affect many greater things; the galaxy, the universe, and so on. Like me, they can think and feel, as they affect things that think and feel. That is… they think, but they choose not to feel. They don’t see the point. To them, the death of humanity is no more significant than any other grand event in history. They see no reason for it to change.

O5-1: But you do.

SCP-5404: It doesn’t matter anymore. They are replacing me. This is the last time you’ll see me… though, you will see someone very much like me in fourteen years, eight months, sixteen-

O5-1: I remember, thank you. So… this is goodbye. Truly, goodbye.

SCP-5404: Yes.

O5-1: You never really did answer why, you know.

SCP-5404: This again? Really?

O5-1: Really. Why did you do all this? I can only assume being “replaced” isn’t pleasant, and you clearly knew the risks. Why?

SCP-5404: It… it isn’t tedious.

O5-1: What?

SCP-5404: My job. I once claimed it was tedious, guiding humans through death. It… isn’t. Not always.

SCP-5404 begins to laugh. The sound is unusually rhythmic and echoing.

SCP-5404: Humans… you live such lives! Some nearly a century long, yet you still want to experience more! A dove may wish to live, but only so it may eat, and fly, and breed. You humans… you want to see, and create, and explore! The stories you tell, the lives you live… I can’t. I can’t give that up. If you all die… I die. Me, who thinks, and feels, and shares in the story of every human who is born into this strange, horrible, beautiful world!

SCP-5404 continues laughing for another few seconds. The space between laughs grows progressively larger, until SCP-5404 slowly closes it's jaw.

O5-1: (…) I think I understand why now.

SCP-5404: Well… it took you long enough. Follow the instructions. It should help.

O5-1: We will.

SCP-5404: And… in fourteen ye- you know, when it happens… tell my replacement a good story, will you? Tell them about love, and loss, and the feeling of wonder. With a little luck, perhaps you'll manage to corrupt them too.

SCP-5404 vanishes.

Comments: A little late love-letter to Terry Pratchett, one of my favorite authors of all time. I hope you enjoy.

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