Prologue - A Great Leap Forward

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The only sound DAISY could hear was the hum of her own chassis.

Broken black glass slowly rotated around her body, which was shaped like a large drum. Millions of tiny gears clicked in unison, pumping electricity through her wire veins. Her vision faded in and out of focus with each tick of her mental clock. The time was 4591:31:07 — six months since she began keeping track. Six months since the soldiers took her away.

Her components were cramped inside of a neglected closet in a bunker in the Chihuahuan desert. Motherboards were stapled to the walls and wiring was draped over the camera lens built into the end of the drum. It was one of the few places not covered with black plating, and served as her one good eye. Duct tape was her skin and nails were her bones. It was a crude setup, but she didn't complain. She had no right to.

Dozens of buckets sat in the corner of the room, each containing fragments of DAISY’s old memories. One for her childhood, another for her relationship with the person that designed her, a third for something she had forgotten. They were all ripped from her by patient men with screwdrivers.

Thinking was painful. Whenever DAISY tried to connect the thoughts in her mind, her body would lock up and her vision would fill with static. The men had altered her hardware with an uncountable number of subtle thought-blockers and -controllers. DAISY couldn’t tell whether this was because the men wanted to take her indoctrination slowly or because they were too terrified to try anything more permanent.

It didn’t matter. The SCP Foundation had to be searching for her. If she could determine her rough location in this state, a more advanced A.I. system could definitely pinpoint the base. All she had to do was wait.

She gripped her hands to make sure that they were still functional. A long time ago, the men had stabbed two metal rods with mechanical grippers at the ends into her body and told her that they were her arms. Movement was painfully awkward. Resting on a table before her was a simple sheaf of papers, stapled together in the top left corner. She slowly reached over and turned the first page.

Item #: SCP-6396

Object Class: Thaumiel

Special Containment Procedures: Individuals who possess severe physical deformities are to be questioned and the source of their deformities learned. Should these individuals refuse to answer, they are to be condemned to the ruins beneath the Abraham's Child Crisis Center. No recovery attempts are to be made.


DAISY had seen this kind of notice before, on hundreds of other documents in fact. But this time, a curious urge came upon her. Every single other notice before had been followed by some kind of explanation or backdoor to the information contained within. If the information was in the papers, then all of the information was in the papers.

After skimming the page four times, DAISY flipped back to the cover. The rest of the file had to be contained on the next page. It was a baseless conclusion, but she couldn’t see any other way around it.

She flipped it open.

Item #: SCP-6397

Object Class: Keter Neutralized

Special Containment Procedures: Due to its remote location, SCP-6397 is unable to be

Wait, wait, wait, no. That didn’t make any sense.

DAISY scanned and rescanned the page dozens of times. It had to be an illusion, the defense mechanism of a memetic anomaly. She replayed her memory of the last two minutes, searching for a tiny detail or mistake that would unravel the rest of the file. But it didn't matter. No matter how many times she rolled the tape back in her mind, she couldn't find anything. Was the file just not there? Would the SCP Foundation ever leave a file number unassigned?

The door flung open and a soldier walked in. DAISY’s body was positioned above the table awkwardly, so the only thing she could see was the soldier’s shoes. He stepped forward a little, revealing an armored vest bearing the words ‘Vive I’insurrection’ on the front.

The soldier held a clipboard and studied its contents for a minute or two. DAISY reduced her movements to a crawl, too afraid to do something but too terrified to do nothing. Her vision shook violently and a loud clang filled her ears as the soldier slapped her playfully.

“How’re you feeling today?” he said. The men didn’t know her name, so they refused to call her anything at all. DAISY remained silent, hoping that he wasn’t expecting an answer. “I know you heard me.”


A woman, a man, and a priest gathered within the center of a great hall. It was the magnum opus of the temple — a wall-less room where bell-shaped pillars decorated in gold streamers raised the ceiling so high that fog gathered at the top. The temple itself overlooked a valley dotted with skyscrapers, neighborhoods, and other similar looking places of worship. Looking down from the top of a mountain, the world felt powerless.

The priest, a tanned man who was draped in earthly colored robes and an intricately detailed headpiece, raised his hands to the sky and sang in a foreign tongue. Embedded within the ground before him was a stone disk, a massive mural that depicted two wingless dragons in flight. Each one was poised to murder the other. One descended from the sky with its talon outstretched, while the other lurked below it, planning a counterattack. They had the bodies of serpents and the heads of eagles.

The scene had no sense of time. Neither the woman nor the man nor the priest could tell whether the dragons had just started their battle, were in the middle of it, or were about to finish it. There was a sacred quality to it. Nobody dared to step on it, terrified that it would break irreparably in some way.

The woman shuffled from one foot to the other while the man stood still. The other inhabitants of the temple, young teenagers and children mostly, observed the two from far away. The agents' black coats and pants and sunglasses made it clear that they didn't belong here. It marked them as part of the SCP Foundation, and they only came to the temple for one reason.

“Passing, she who governs these forsaken lands, allow me to see through your eyes and feel through your hands and walk through your feet.” The priest swirled his hands and let out a low groan. The floor began to rumble.

In one fluid motion, the disk split apart in the center like the petals of a flower and spiraled into the ground. A new platform rose in its place. It was made of smooth metal that had hundreds of abstract symbols carved into it. It held dozens of cryogenic tanks that were arranged in a series of concentric circles. Fog obscured what each tank contained: living, human people trapped in an artificial sleep.

“So this is the project you’ve been working on,” the man said. He sauntered over to one of the tanks, wiping his hand against the glass viewing ports. A tut from the priest stopped him from doing anything more.

“My disciples and I have worked many nights to construct this. It is still fragile and malleable. But it is… satisfactory, to borrow a word. I suspect that is why you two are here?” The priest’s voice took on a slightly hostile tone.

The man and woman glanced at each other.

“Is the tank prepared?” the woman asked. The priest nodded and turned to a small group of robed disciples nearby.

They marched in unison. Each was identical to the other, down to the color of their eyes. Once they had reached the outer ring of tanks, two began to climb on top, carefully maneuvering around the large release valves on the top. They made their way to the center and twisted open the last one. A cloud of blue smoke rose up into the air. The rest of the disciples turned away, waiting.

“Is it large enough to hold the newest entity?” The man asked.

“We deliberately oversize each of the tanks, so I can guarantee you it will fit.” The priest smiled, and the air stirred slightly. He said, "Now please, friends, bring in the boy."

The soldier slammed his hand on the table. “The hell do you think we are, huh? That’s a question. Aren’t you designed to answer those?”

DAISY’s mind veered off wildly into different trains of thoughts. She wanted to murder this man, she didn’t want him to murder her, she didn’t know what she was supposed to do, she needed to know. Shaky and unstable emotions tore through her body, an unintended product of the men's tampering. Whenever she would take in too much, her mind would start shivering from the stress, causing her to grasp onto anything to keep stable: fragments of words, strings of numbers, or just sounds she had heard.

Through a voice box right below her eye, DAISY emitted a garbled mess of mechanical sounds. Her wails tangled themselves up in her throat, causing them to blend into a loud, piercing screech.

“Not… me…” she roared in a bare voice.

“So what? Did someone else do it?” The soldier paced back and forth.

“No… Paper… Did…” The soldier grew visibly more infuriated with each word.

“There’s no way that—”

The soldier’s eye caught the paper. He grabbed it, quietly uttering a profanity under his breath. After a few minutes, he dropped it back on the table as if he was terrified to hold it. DAISY instantly absorbed the page.

Item #: SCP-5397

Object Class: N/A

Special Containment Procedures: See below.

Description: It is the opinion of the O5 Council, the Ethics Committee, and The Administrator that SCP-5397, every previously documented SCP, and all future SCPs do not need to be contained following the Sandaran Incident.

A few shallow breaths came from the soldier. He muttered something to himself as he took the information in. His mind must have been racing with excuses. He closed the papers and flipped then back open, but the file didn't change. His hands were shaking.

“How long has this been happening?”

“Not… Long…” DAISY croaked.

The soldier began to frantically close and open the papers, hoping that this was just a fluke, a joke the universe was playing on him. Each and every time, he was greeted with the file for SCP-5397. He dropped the paper as if it were possessed and bolted out of the room. DAISY simply looked down at the article before her. Her eyes suddenly caught something new.

There was a small addendum at the bottom of the page, one that hadn't appeared in the previous iteration. It wasn't in the typical sterile typeface the SCP Foundation had been using for centuries — it was handwritten, in bright red pen. There were only three short sentences.

As of February 23rd, 2020, the SCP Foundation has accomplished its mission. We expect to dissolve shortly. More updates will follow.

There was no signature. Something about that bothered DAISY. Maybe a message like this didn't need an author, it would be like giving somebody credit for telling everybody the weather. It was something that everybody knew was coming. Maybe the papers themselves wrote it, fearfully trying to attach a reason to why it suddenly couldn't find the files anymore. But DAISY knew the reason was much simpler: there just wasn't anyone left to sign it.

It was over. The SCP Foundation had won. It was a strange set of statements, something that DAISY had never imagined would actually happen. She blamed her confusion on her design. A.I. weren’t supposed to question things like that, it would open too many doors. But still, DAISY couldn't shake that feeling. It was a low, powerful feeling of something massive barreling towards her.

Her brain ordered her to reexamine the message, which she did obediently. She didn't know what she was looking for, but she found it almost immediately.

February 23rd, 2020

February 23rd, 2020 was today.

The woman popped open the trunk of the car. Inside was a small coffin adorned with a golden crucifix accompanied by a crowbar. The woman popped open the coffin, revealing the near-lifeless body of a child. He was tiny, with dark skin and a corpse-like complexion.

She took him in her arms and held him close to her chest. The wind seemed to calm when it caught sight of him, like it was taking pity or planning an attack. Her eyes were transfixed to the ground — his face looked too familiar. It looked too human. The priest approached her, a twinkle of fascination in his eyes as he caressed the boy's face. She pulled away.

“You shouldn't do that," she said.

The priest smiled, then turned to the man. “Is she new?”

“To this? Yeah," the man replied. Embarrassment flashed on her face, but she couldn't complain. She knew she was in the wrong.

The priest nodded. “I have seen many things, and felt many, many more. I saw through the eyes of a man as he bled his life away. I soothed a woman as she drowned helplessly in a river. I have fallen off cliffs and I have been eaten alive. I can handle a mere boy.”

He reached again for the child, but the woman stepped back. Her grip tightened and anger turned her eyes red as she stared down the priest.

“But why?” she asked. "Why do you want this thing on your conscious? Don't you want to be able to move on past this after it's done? To forget about this?"

“No. I do it so that I won’t forget.” The woman shuffled in place. The priest stepped forward and she, after a beat, extended the child out to him.

The priest caressed the boy’s face. A fly landed on his lips and crawled up his near-lifeless face near his eyelids. He was more fit to be a corpse than the savior of humanity. Still, the priest smiled at him like a father smiles upon their own child. The rest of the disciples gathered and began marching inside the temple. The priest joined them.

The man and woman followed at a short distance behind. The disciples climbed over the tanks, gathering around an empty one in the very middle. Once there, a group of three stood together and twisted the steel valve on top of the tank.

A tidal wave of calm suddenly collapsed on top of them, and only the woman tried to fight it. She couldn’t feel this way around someone on death’s door, let alone a child she hadn’t even known before today. She should be regretful, angry, guilty even. And while those feelings did exist, they were smothered by an unscalable wall of calmness.

The priest laughed. The woman realized that he had been watching her sort through the whirlwind of thoughts in her head.

“Do you feel it? The warmth, the safety? The sense that this was meant to be?” he asked.

“I feel… something, definitely,” the woman answered.

That’s how we knew the boy was special. That’s how we knew everyone else was special. The tingle in your arms, that’s what the blessed ones emanate. Tell me, where did you find this boy?”

The woman said, “I don’t know all the details—"

“We found him in Pakistan. Kidnapped by some anomalous extremist group." The man spoke before she had ended her sentence, like he didn’t even notice her words. "They were using him for God-knows-what. When we found him, his kidnappers were… changed. They were like dolls.” The man gestured to his face and shuddered.

“Then he was transferred here,” the woman continued on. “That’s all you need to know.” The priest nodded. The woman kept her head down, only keeping the tufts of the boy’s hair in view.

The trio had reached the center. Disciples scrambled across the tanks, forming two lines between the priest and the tank. He lifted the boy and the disciples carried him through the chain like a well-oiled machine. His body was carefully placed into the tank and the hatch fell shut.

“Is that it?” the man said. The priest’s demeanor held an air of annoyance now. He turned, and the disciples gathered behind him.

“Not yet, we are nearly at the peak. We infused the tanks with our influence and our faith. Once we release the locks, the childrens’ influence will overpower our own.” The priest’s words were impenetrable like concrete.

“And what happens after?” he continued.

The priest turned towards him. He was silent for a moment. “I don’t know.”

The woman piped up. “But you’re still going through with it?”

“Yes,” the priest gathered the rest of his congregation into a choir near the tanks. “We have long followed your organization. Today will be just another step in your mission. A simple meeting, one might call it.”

The woman tried to get another word in, but her mouth dried up. She had nothing else to say because there was nothing else to say. The priest turned and began to sing with his choir.

It was almost silent at first. Each voice was only a whisper, anxiously following the priest as he led the group through each note in a song that the woman couldn't recognize. The words hung onto the ending syllables of words like they were begging for something, but the priest's voice danced above it all like a prayer. Sometimes, he would lower it to the point where the woman couldn't tell if he was aiming at anything at all, and the sound would start to slosh around in her ear. If somebody were to enter the temple right then, they would have dismissed the song as meaningless.

But the woman knew better, so she listened. The sound reverberated against the walls and the floor and the sky, bouncing off of her and the man and the priest until the echo collapsed in on itself. She felt an overwhelming desire to close her eyes, the song filling her mind with images of protection, of motherhood, of generations emerging and aging and dying. She felt like she could just lie down and dream.

The priest raised his palms to the sky. The disciples followed suit. Their voices grew louder, shocking the woman out of her moment of reflection. The tanks began to rattle and vibrate in place. The lids of the outer ring of tanks flipped open and shut randomly, releasing tiny puffs of blue smoke each time. The woman felt a deep hole forming in her chest. The priest's forehead was starting to drip with sweat.

A sharp increase in volume caused the woman's hands to fly to her ears. Her skull felt on the verge of splitting open. Even the disciples seemed to be getting lightheaded, some dropping their arms down to their sides to keep themselves from tiring out. The priest reached out and put his hand on their shoulders, maintaining the chorus.

The next few minute were filled with pain. Overwhelming calmness emanated out of the boy and into everything else. One by one as the tanks opened, the woman lost even more power over herself. She was on the verge of collapsing, but her body just stood there and let it happen, paralyzed. The man soon lost all of his strength and hit the ground, and she knew that she wouldn't be far behind. It felt like her breath was being stolen from her lungs. She turned to the priest, who was barely showing any kind of response, his mind fully fixated on the tanks.

One disciple fell. Then two. The woman shriveled as the energy was ripped out of her body. Another dozen tanks opened. Another disciple fell. The group had risen to a near-falsetto tone that left even the priest struggling to stand. Only a few tanks were left, but they seemed impenetrable behind the wall of peace and quiet. Another disciple fell. Soon, the priest stood alone, single-handedly fighting against his growing fatigue. The final disciple fell, and the woman followed.

The priest looked to his left, then to his right. Horror etched itself onto his face. He barely managed to get the second-to-last tank open, and now the last one seemed impossible. It stared at him like a mountain that rose so high up into the sky that there wasn't a top, only unscalable cliffs and countless pitfalls. He stopped singing. His breathing was shallow, his chest fighting to the death just to expand.

The woman's eyelids fell. She knew that tomorrow, they would be discovered here as corpses. The SCP Foundation would wonder where she had gone and dispatch an agent to the temple. Then he would search too far and succumb to the calmness. Then a research team would follow and then a containment team would follow and then the cavalry. A small mountain of bodies would pile up around a fantasy that was attempted too soon and too carelessly. That would be the woman's fate.

And then the priest screamed.

It wasn’t one born out of anger like a warrior or out of confidence like a child. It was terrified. It was a scared animal fighting for their life against something that they thought that was harmless. Air began to flow into the center of the room, creating a whirlwind around the priest that seemed to shield him. The woman felt her self-control slowly being resigned over to him. Her chest swelled and contracted, her eyelids closed and opened, and her brain thought wildly, all without her command. For a single moment, she watched as she lost everything.

Then the wind stopped. It was dead silent. The woman was laying face-down, but soon she found her strength returning to her. She turned herself upright and saw the results of the priest's struggles. An electric shockwave of blue raced across the sky in all directions, energy streaking across it like lightning. It flew over the trees, causing many to snap in half from the force. The clouds cleared out of its way as it disappeared behind the skyscrapers and mountains in the distance.

It was finally quiet. The woman liked it that way.

DAISY was alone.

The door slowly swayed back and forth. She expected a hoard of people to storm the hallways, each experiencing their own mental breakdown, but nobody came. Minutes passed, each one slower and more fluid than the last to the point where DAISY couldn't evenly split them into sixty-second chunks. Something was jamming her thoughts, something that she could only describe as emotion. It was fear.

She meddled on that feeling for a few minutes when an idea popped into her mind. It started out small, just a pinprick of an abstract idea. Then it grew. It twitched itself alive like some kind of psychological insect, giving itself arms, legs, an abdomen. Its influence washed over her, causing her to feel like she was drowning. Her thoughts couldn't stay still. They shifted from one topic to another in waves.

Blue static began to fill her vision. It wrapped around her eye and ran up her arms. It spilled into her brain and dug into her consciousness. Her emotional cores shut down one by one. She felt her consciousness was being destroyed before her eyes. The last few remaining pieces of programming that allowed her to think were being deleted by the dozen. A deep shade of blue fell over the world. It was so monstrous, it terrified DAISY — waves upon waves of ocean blue.

Then, everything turned white. DAISY felt nothing but calmness as she was obliterated.

“So what do we do now?”

“We live. We descend from our thrones and walk among the common man and woman. We atone for our past deeds and mistakes. We seek understanding and salvation. There is nothing else that we must do.”

“That’s a nice way to put it.”

For the first time in history, humanity experienced a day of peace.

| Prologue | Chapter 1 >>

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