And who could forget the 14th Overseer, Death?

Special Containment Procedures: Knowledge of SCP-5404 will be limited to the O5 Council. All personnel that witnessed SCP-5404 during it's initial encounter have been fully amnestisized. 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-019 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

O5-1: So, you’re Death.

SCP-5404: Essentially.

O5-1: You must realize how ridiculous that sounds.

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

O5-1: 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 lullaby you sing to the world to keep it dreaming.

The council chamber is silent for 3 seconds.

SCP-5404: I believe that should suffice. Am I Death? That 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 59-Zeta-Delta-

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

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

SCP-5404: Yes, but we can discuss that during the next Council session - I'll have a list prepared. For now, I really must be off. No doubt I've already been gone too long.

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

SCP-5404: Haven’t I?

O5-1: No, you’ve told us how and what needs to happen. I want to know why you're doing this.

SCP-5404: Ah. Well, Overseer, if I 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. I don’t expect they’ll be too much trouble. Mr. Wagner is the German Ambassador to Bolivia, so I expect you'll need a more subtle touch. I don't doubt you're up to this task. Thank you as always for your time. I will return next session.

O5-1: Wait.

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

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've earned your loyalty through my silence.

O5-1: We still have questions.

SCP-5404: And 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.

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 all we have - claims. Omniscience doesn't mean you can't just be lying.

SCP-5404: And again I say it doesn’t matter. My motivations are irrelevant. Were I some apocalyptic trickster or death-loving imp, you'd still do as I ask, otherwise I'd turn to your rivals and-

O5-1: But you didn’t.

SCP-5404: What?

O5-1: Let's say you really do want to save the world - it makes sense you'd come to us. Yet despite all our resources and expertise, all you've asked of us is a few paltry assassinations. You don't need the Foundation for that. 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. I'm betting it can only be us.

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

O5-1: We need to know we're doing the right thing.

SCP-5404: Even if it risks your own annihilation?

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?

3 seconds of silence.

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

O5-3: Are you actually the Grim Reaper?

SCP-5404: I am Death. I have, however, never owned a scythe. 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. When a hummingbird dies, I must fly to catch it in my talons. That's all, though. An animal does not need to be convinced it has died, for it needed no convincing it was alive! Oh, but you humans., you interminable philosophers. You need reason, and argument, and compassion before you accept the truth. Rotting Gods is it tedius.

O5-4: So,has this all been to alleviate that tedium? Is it just some elaborate game, or some form of entertainment?

2 seconds of silence.

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

O5-12: I still don't see why. We have assets in every major government, corporation, and military organization worldwide. Surely we could be doing more to prevent this apocalypse than just murdering people.

SCP-5404: Undoubtedly, though I wouldn't know how.

O5-12 Come again?

SCP-5404: When a person dies, I can see how it effects the future. These ripples in the tide of fate lead to the deaths of others. I have no eyes to see - this is the only way I may perceive the world around me - a causality sonar, if you'd like. It's a requirement for my job - knowing when and where to be when a life ends. To all else, I am blind.

O5-6: So, we're killing people because it's literally the only way you can see things changing.

SCP-5404: Yes, and I'd thank you not to mock me for my handicap.

O5-8: And just what is this apocalypse we're avoiding?

SCP-5404: An absolute one. You may not see as I do, but with your light-bending machines in the deepest basement of Site-19, you've learned of the black-ages to come. You know of the Great Agony, the horrors waiting beyond the stars. Deathless things. I tell you now - humanity survives. If not on this world, if only in slim number, humanity survives. You're all so disgustingly tenacious that the only thing capable of killing you is you.

In 86 years, a child will be born in the town of Salem; an unceremonious event, only witnessed by a single teenager in the back of a Lincoln Sedan. This child will grow to be 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 tell us who they are. Why not resolve this with one murder, rather than 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; it's a raging torrent carrying all the universe along with its current. I am only the Death of Earth, but the river of time extends through all things, 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 actually tried changing fate before. You're the first living people I've ever spoken to - my first foray with uncertainty. I must say, I don't know how you put up with it. So many stubbed toes and bad movies. Still! I'm fairly certain this will 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 doing my damned job. I assure you, this is strictly business.

O5-7: Really? It doesn't strike me as above board.

SCP-5404: Excuse me?

O5-7: Extending your metaphor: if the river really is so hard to divert, why don't we just drop a bigger rock? All this talk of subtlety makes me think there are other actors at play here. You're always running off at the end of the meeting, communicating with only the council, having us painstakingly cover up every assassination. It feels very much like you're trying not to get caught doing this.

3 seconds of silence.

SCP-5404: Preposterous.

O5-1: What's really going on here, Death?

SCP-5404: Nothing you need to know. This is not a truth I will abandon for your idle threats. I will continue to appear, and you will continue to kill, or humanity will end. That is all. As it has always been for you, and for me, all that matters is the mis-

4 second pause.

SCP-5404: Ah. Sorry, must be going. Seems my time is up.

SCP-5404 vanishes.

Forward: Despite it's claims on on 28/05/2022, SCP-5404 did not re-appear during the next Council Meeting, or at all for the next 7 months. The next, and last appearance of SCP-5404 occurred outside it's usual behavior.
30/12/2022 - 01:23 - Audio Recording - Private Chambers of O5-1.

O5-1 opens their eyes, having been asleep in bed. SCP-5404 is hovering above them, oriented horizontally, bare skull nearly touching O5-1's living face.

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

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

SCP-5404: Nothing. You've done all that's needed.

O5-1: Wait- do you mean-

SCP-5404: Yes. Humanity will survive to, and through, the many ages of horror we both know are coming. You don't have to thank me.

O5-1 sits up in bed. SCP-5404 hovers down, and sits cross-legged across from them.

O5-1: This is somewhat… abrupt. As far as I understood it, we still had a lot more- er, pebbles to drop into the river.

SCP-5404: It was enough. The deaths were not noticed, and the effects were-

O5-1: O7 was right then, wasn't she?

2 seconds of silence.

O5-1: You did all this in secret.

SCP-5404: Yes.
O5-1: We weren't supposed to survive, we're we?

SCP-5404: No.

3 seconds of silence.

O5-1: Then why?

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

O5-1: But you do.

SCP-5404: It doesn't matter anymore. What's done is done. I always knew they'd catch me - the deaths we caused may have been subtle enough to slip by, but the continued existence of humanity is just large enough to draw attention. We succeeded, but now I'm being replaced. These are my final moments of existence. You will never see me again… though, you will see someone very much like me in twenty-seven years, eight months, sixteen-

O5-1: Yes, I know, 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. Since the first time I asked you, nearly a year ago, you've given me excuses and half-truths. You said this was to save your job - yet you just admitted you knew you'd be caught. You could have just let humanity end itself - chances are, given enough time, there'd be a plethora of other creatures - less "tedious" creatures to shepard. Yet you interfered, even though it cost you your existence. Why?

SCP-5404: It… isn’t tedious.

O5-1: What?

SCP-5404: Guiding humans into death. It isn't tedious. Not always, at least.

2 second pause. 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 let that end. Those above me believe the universe would be no more rich or poor for the presence of humans, but… no, it has to mean something, doesn't it? Imagine, if all human life was simply just another cosmic fluke; if none of it mattered!?

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

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

SCP-5404: Yes, well… that took long enough. You really are fixated on probing every secret, you know that? It's almost unhealthy.

O5-1: I'll work on it.

SCP-5404: See that you do. Oh, and in twenty-seven years, eight months a- well, you know, when it happens -tell my replacement a good story, will you? Tell them about love, and loss, and the feeling of wonder. Tell them about life on this strange, horrible, wonderful world. With a little luck… maybe they'll see that it matters 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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