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There is a dark room under a mountain in the far north where a man stands pressed against a corner. Something is spinning in the center of that room, something dark. He screams out his daughter's name before his body is pulled from the wall and into the darkness. There is an explosion, and the room collapses.

Years earlier, the man lies broken in an alley, the fire escape he had dropped from still ringing from the shock. Inches away from his grasp, a little girl looks at him with horror in her eyes as she is approached by something that moves towards her slowly, one hand outstretched and fluid leaking from its empty eyes. The man reaches for the girl, but his body fails him. He is forced to sit and watch as the rotted corpse of a thing that might have been a man pulled the little girl into pieces. She screams until the thing removes her face, and then they disappear.

It is 1979. A breach of containment occurs involving a low-level reality bender who had killed three people in a car prior to being contained by filling their lungs with liquid mercury when they wouldn't let him pass during a traffic jam. The reality bender is shot and killed by Dr. Calvin Desmet, who later investigation would show was defending himself when the entity attacked him. There was, however, no surveillance footage found of the incident, and although the incident took place several floors up, the entity's containment cell seemed to have been broken into from the outside.

The investigation clears Dr. Desmet, who returns to work.

A man lingers on the edge of darkness for just a moment. His body is broken and his eyes burn. He sees the face of a little girl, her eyes bleeding and her hair being pulled back into the black maw of a dead-eyed corpse. He screams her name but he makes no sound. The vision fades, and suddenly he sees infinitely many little girls - some of them dying but many more alive, growing old and never having to watch as she is consumed by a monster while her father watches, unable to do anything but weep.

He sees the monster, the dead-eyed thing, and traces a line in the air between the world he had left and another world - a world of filth and corrosion and death. He sees, if only for an instant, the thread between the two; a glowing fiber that draws them together. He looks past that thread and sees others, hundreds of thousands, millions, trillions, a number stretching towards infinity that he grasps all at once, and then he follows them down, back down towards his world.

In his mind's eye, he cuts the threads.

Years later, the man sees the threads again, though not now from the eyes of one tumbling into the darkness; instead he sees them from the eyes of a serrated knife.

In the moment before he is dragged back into a cage he reaches out and grabs not just the threads, but the spools where those threads originated. With one deft motion he pulls across them, splitting them and emptying their contents into the void beneath him. The threads disappear. He smiles.

The next morning, a note came from within SCP-1322. The translated message was simple: "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?"

The cost of what they had done became evident immediately. A hundred sites, large and small, all reported apparent abductions of valuable artifacts and entities. So many reported, in fact, that the Foundation's central computer determined they were experiencing a Dominance Shift, and began making preparations to move the records into deep storage. The order was quickly rescinded by Overwatch Command, who later issued a single line of text as an acknowledgement of what had happened.

The Foundation is currently experiencing unexpected shifts in reality. Do not panic.

This did little, however, to assuage the fears of those who had watched as living anomalous entities had been crushed under the weight of something inconceivable into infinitesimally tiny points before disappearing altogether. Even worse, perhaps, were those who had watched their coworkers experience the same. Hundreds reported to site infirmaries around the globe. Dozens were dead - disappeared as if pulled by string into another place.

The news that morning was undisturbed, save for a few stories that might interest someone with insight. There was an explosion at a chemical plant near Istanbul, though investigators to the scene found nothing except a scorched foundation, a few overturned semi-trucks, and a banner that read "Dr. Wondertainment Inc: 1,000,000 safe man hours!" Billionaire Skitter Marshall had begun a massive selloff of his holdings, creating a panic in east Asian money markets. The Secretary General of the United Nations had announced the sudden and tragic death of long-serving Under-Secretary-General D.C. al Fine, who had perished when her private plane had gone down over the north Atlantic.

These and other stories littered local and national news the world over, but aside from a few strange incidents and unusual disappearances, nobody seemed to notice.

It is hours earlier. Around a table sit thirteen people. One of them puts her head in her hand.

"It still means the ends of so many lives. It's- it's too many to even comprehend. A number without limit."

Another voice answers. "A number without us."

There is silence

And then another. "We pledged ourselves to maintain normalcy and protect our world. This world. The affairs of other worlds are their own. We would expect any other Overseer Council to act the same way - in the interest of their universe. This, all of this, the science, the militarism, everything. All of it is to accomplish a single, unreachable goal. Keep the monsters tucked out of sight. Now we find out, even that might not be enough. That the end of days is coming for us anyway. But we're given an option: if we do nothing, every universe dies screaming. If we take this action, every universe dies screaming but ours. Once it's over, it's over. Everything we've struggled for, everyone who has died to protect our world will be validated. Is the end of our road not worth this? Is protecting ourselves from the doomsday to come not worth this?"

O5-9 shakes her head. "You're mad. You're all mad. You've lost your minds. You know nothing about this entity, nothing about what it's capable of or what it wants. And you're willing to open the only box we've found to put it in? What has happened to you?

She stands. "You are good men. Intelligent men. Some of the finest men and women I've ever known. But this is madness. I cannot allow it to happen. Even if we manage to somehow survive turning loose an unpredictable… monster… remember today as being the day we gave up our mission. We secure, and we contain. Those two come first. We've now risked everything for the faintest glimmer of hope that we somehow achieve the last, and I fear it will have damned us."

She pauses. "Why do you trust it, Bramimond? After all we've achieved, why do you risk everything on this?"

There is a rustling sound from a dark corner of the room. O5-1 speaks, but something is strange about his voice.

"I knew Calvin Desmet, years ago. In a different life. He wasn't recruited by the Foundation - he volunteered. He was part of a team contracted by the Insurgency to run trials on new technology they were developing at the time. But he had a young daughter that was killed by SCP-106 when it breached containment during transit in 1975, years before we had developed functional containment procedures for it, and… after that, he sought us out. He never said much about it, but you could tell. If that's him in there, and he had found a way to remove every trace of the anomalous from our universe, no matter the cost, he would do it. I know he would do it. I can hear it in his voice."

O5-9 spits. "In another life, you might have been reasonable. This is unacceptable."

The rustling stops. From that dark corner, a man slumps forwards onto the ground. His throat has been slit. He is O5-1. The rest of them react with a start. O5-3 turns and draws a weapon.

"Who-" he says, but is cut off when another figure emerges from the shadow. It is O5-1. He is shaking, and his face is streaked with tears. One arms appears to have been crushed.

"I'm sorry," the man says, his voice now trembling. "I'm sorry. It said that if I came here, and I told you, it would spare my life. It would spare-"

A gunshot rings out across the chamber. Smoke floats from the barrel of a gun in O5-3's hand. Inches from O5-1's face, a bullet hangs in the air. The space around it appears strangely distorted. In seconds, it collapses into a point and disappears. O5-1 turns towards O5-3, his face warped with fear.

"Don't you see?" His words are panicked. "Don't you get it? You didn't contain him - you just put off the inevitable. He told me that my world would- would be spared, that I would be spared, if I could just convince-"

"Liar!" O5-9 shouts across the room, and she too pulls a gun. Another shot rings out, and she slumps over her desk, clutching her throat. O5-3 is pointing his gun at her, but he's staring at O5-1. His eyes are wide.

"Do you trust him?"

O5-1 smiles, but behind the smile is terror. "No. He will stop at nothing to achieve what he wants. He has power unlike any I've ever witnessed, but he- he is still a person. There's something inside him that still thinks. He said- he promised, promised that he would spare us." He swallows hard. "I don't want to die."

O5-1 turns back towards the rest of them. "I propose a vote. The utilization of the SCP-001 entity to stave off the end of the world. All in favor?"

There is silence for a moment. Then, together, eight voices speak together. "Aye."

O5-1 nods. "Those opposed?"

Four voices, including one choking through blood to do so, answer together. "Nay."

O5-3 stands. He paces around the chamber, stopping at three desks. Every time he stops, there is a gunshot. Three bodies hit the ground. He pauses at a fourth, where O5-9 sits leaning against her chair, gun in her hand. For a moment, their eyes lock.

"Whatever comes next," he says, his voice catching, "it's no longer your battle to fight."

O5-9 glares at him with purified vehemence. She opens her mouth to speak, and through blood and bile she says two words.

"Spare me."

With a deft motion she pulls her gun under her own chin and squeezes the trigger. The chair behind her is sprayed with gore as her consciousness is snuffed out. O5-3 continues to stand over her, unmoving.

O5-1 speaks. "O5-13 abstains. The measure passes."

The rest of them stand and leave the room. O5-1 is second to last, and O5-3 lingers a moment longer. Five bodies stand in silent testament to their opposition. The room goes dark. Gunsmoke hangs in the air.

It is after. O5-3 stands before the shattered glass of an observation deck. Below him is a machine, furiously humming as it spins and twists around a nebulous cloud of darkness. Behind him is a smear of blood where O5-1 had been, moments before he was no longer. The structure around him creaks and groans, and small rivulets of water from the river above them now leak through the walls.

Without looking away, he speaks. "Netzach. Can you hear me?"

A low, electronic voices responds. "Yes."

"You aren't fitted with any sort of personality module, are you?"

"I am not."

He sighs. The rest of the staff had been evacuated. He was the only one left. The rest of the Overseers had fled, burying themselves underground or fleeing through extradimensional portals or, in at least one case, killing themselves. Company would have been nice.

"How long can we maintain containment of SCP-001, given our current conditions?"

Netzach responds immediately. "Given current conditions, I will be able to maintain stability of the Pietrykau-Fontaine Array for one-hundred and nineteen days, six hours, and forty-seven minutes. Afterwards, the Array will no longer have the structural integrity necessary to contain SCP-001."

O5-3 rubs his forehead. "Given the information you've gathered about SCP-001, what do you think the odds are that our backup containment protocols will be able to neutralize SCP-001?"

Netzach pauses. "Given information gathered during containment of SCP-001, it is a certainty that SCP-001 will be undeterred by current failsafes."

"Full of good news today, Netzach." O5-3 sits down against a railing. "You need to give me something here."

"I am unable to provide a sufficiently psychologically useful response."

O5-3 waves his hand idly. "Yes, I know that. But you can problem solve, right? You're a problem solving robot. What would you do in my shoes?"

Netzach pauses again, and does not respond immediately. O5-3 notices the lights dim overhead, and somewhere far away he can hear a low, droning noise increase in volume. After a moment, it stops. Netzach speaks.

"All attempts to contain SCP-001 by way of brute force or standard means of containment, short of maintaining the Pietrykau-Fontaine Array, will fail. SCP-001 has, by methods currently unknown to this system, fused itself with a fundamental essence of the makeup of reality. It cannot be harmed or interfered with physically, as any such force that would oppose it requires the same forces to exist that SCP-001 is now joined to. SCP-001 will breach containment the moment the Pietrykau-Fontaine Array fails."

Netzach pauses a second time.

"However," it continues, "SCP-001 does appear to be a sentient, sapient creature, likely formed out of the death of Dr. Calvin Desmet during an accident within this facility in 1982. While sentient, sapient creatures are often unpredictable and generally unwilling to compromise, diplomacy has historically been an effective means at bridging gaps between creatures with dissimilar goals and motivations."

O5-3 barks out a laugh. "You want me to talk to it? That's my best option?"


O5-3 stands up, still laughing. "You were worth the research dollars, Netzach. Honestly, that comment alone was worth every penny." He grabs his coat. "How about this. You watch Dr. Desmet, I'm going to go get a drink, and when I come back I'll go down there and talk to the Darkbody. It'll almost certainly mean both of our deaths, but it was only a matter of time anyway, wasn't it?"

He makes a move to the door, but hesitates. "You know, I've been thinking about that night in the council chambers. About the ones I put a bullet in. Sort of a turn of fortune for them, wasn't it?" He laughs again, more quietly this time. "When I joined the Foundation, someone told me to remain an atheist as long as I can, because I'll see so many gods and they'll all be selling something, but none of them will be the real deal. They said that I'll know the one true God when I see it, and to give that God everything it wants, because that's the only thing that matters."

He starts walking again. "That night, I saw God. That night, God wanted me to shoot O5-9, and by the sound of it, tonight God wants to talk to me. So hold down the fort, and I'll be back shortly to speak to him. Does that sound alright to you?"

Netzach drones out a reply. "I am unable to provide a sufficiently psychologically useful response."

O5-3 smiles as he walks out the door. "That's what I thought."

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