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nn5n: scp-3171 How the Foundation Came to Operate a Phone Sex Hotline
SafeSCP-3171 How the Foundation Came to Operate a Phone Sex HotlineRate: 284

Stalks of SCP-3171.

Item #: SCP-3171

Object Class: Safe

Special Containment Procedures: The savanna where all known instances of SCP-3171 reside is to remain under Foundation ownership. Cameras are to be hidden within the perimeter and monitored 24/7 by security guards. Thirty remotely-controlled omnidirectional speakers should be placed throughout the property.

Researchers should visit instances of SCP-3171 weekly to collect any sacs of fluid that have accumulated within the fruit-like growths at the base. Care must be taken to maintain as little physical contact as possible during this procedure, as excessive contact often leads to rudeness and irritability on the part of SCP-3171.

Description: SCP-3171 is an achlorophylous plant from the genus Hydnora. A typical instance of SCP-3171 will have stalks measuring 4-5 meters with four fruitlike growths surrounding the stalk. Lifespan ranges between 2.5-3.5 years. Each instance of SCP-3171 is sapient with intelligence roughly comparable to the average human. SCP-3171 have evolved the ability to rapidly perform mathematical calculations; researchers have observed instances multiplying 90-digit numbers in 1-2 seconds.


A closeup of the fruitlike growths at the base of each SCP-3171.

SCP-3171 communicate by opening and snapping shut the appendages out of which the fruitlike growths at the base of each plant are made. This produces a clicking sound; information is embedded into time differences between successive clicks.

SCP-3171 reproduce by releasing spores in the air. To date, the only place where these spores have taken root is the ~9,000m2 savanna on the northeast side of the Zambezi Nature Preserve. Efforts by the Foundation to grow SCP-3171 elsewhere have met with failure.

There are currently 457 known instances of SCP-3171. Different instances of SCP-3171 are referred to by attaching a number ranging between 1-457 to the SCP designation.

Discovery: SCP-3171 was discovered when Prof. Lachlan White from the University of Auckland placed an .mp3 file containing twenty hours of ambient sounds from a recent trip to the Zambezi preserve on his webpage. A statistical analysis by a student in one of Prof. White's classes detected a pseudorandom component to the pattern of audible clicks within the file. This observation was posted to a public listserv where it came to the attention of Foundation personnel. Amnestics were administered to all involved after it was determined that the pseudorandomness in question was part of an organically produced Diffie–Hellman key exchange1.

A team of researchers was assembled by the Foundation and flown to Zambezi to study SCP-3171 in its natural habitat. Over the next 9 months, an automatic translation program for SCP-3171 communications was developed2, as well as software for converting English text into a series of clicks comprehensible to instances of SCP-3171. Speakers were installed within the savanna where SCP-3171 resides in preparation for first contact.

Interaction Log: First contact occurred on the evening of 09/08/1997 when Dr. Auden Green, a Foundation employee who had recently completed a thesis on Icelandic verse, ignored instructions from his superiors and communicated directly with SCP-3171.

It had been previously discovered that instances of SCP-3171 spent the vast majority of their time composing something akin to poetry; this discovery led to the addition of several team members with literary backgrounds, Dr. Green among them. The poetry composed by instances of SCP-3171 typically consists of persistent repetition of a small number of words in apparently nonsensical order. When a bout of food poisoning left Dr. Green alone at the observation post, he used the opportunity to interject himself into a conversation between instances of SCP-3171 and broadcast a poem of his own creation3.

SCP-3171-234: Moon Sun Moon.
Moon Sun Moon.
Moon Moon Darkness.

There is a pause lasting approximately three seconds, followed by applause4.

SCP-3171-446: Sun Sun Moon.
Moon Sun Sun.
Moon Darkness Moon.

Another pause lasting approximately three seconds, followed by lighter applause.

Dr. Green: Sun Moon Moon.
Sun Moon Moon.
Darkness Darkness Moon.

There is a pause lasting approximately fifteen seconds.

SCP-3171-053: That is literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

After learning of Dr. Green’s unauthorized communication, Dr. Wang (head of the linguistics team stationed at Zambezi) made a more formal attempt at an interspecies greeting.

Dr. Wang: We are animals. We speak your language.

Dr. Wang: But we are not like the animals that roam your grounds. Like you, we have evolved intelligence. Understanding. Self-awareness.

Dr. Wang: We wish to talk. Exchange ideas. Interact.

There is approximately a minute of private communications among instances of SCP-3171.

SCP-3171-128: Cloud and Earth. Wind and Sun. Blue and Red.

Dr. Wang: I don’t understand. Can you explain?

SCP-3171-003: Violent Sunset. Peaceful Sky. Heat. Life.

SCP-3171-232: Seventeen. Twenty Three. Thirty Seven. Four.

Dr. Wang: I don’t understand.

An additional minute is spent by instances of SCP-3171 in private conversation.

SCP-3171-241: Animal, say something valuable.

SCP-3171-033: Animal, tell us a poem.

After a silence of approximately 15 seconds, Dr. Wang broadcasts the first stanza of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem, Patience Taught by Nature.

Dr. Wang: “Oh Dreary life!” we cry, “O dreary life!”
And still the generations of the birds
Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
Serenely live while we are keeping strife
With Heaven’s true purpose in us, as a knife
Against which we struggle.

Dr. Wang’s recitation is followed by approximately 90 seconds of silence.

SCP-3171-341: Strange.

Dr. Wang: Would you like to hear more?

SCP-3171-341: No.

SCP-3171-241: No.

For a period of roughly two years after the conversation with Dr. Wang, attempts by the Foundation to communicate with SCP-3171 were met with silence.

Foundation interest in SCP-3171 increased dramatically after discovery that fluid sacs occasionally secreted within the fruitlike growths of SCP-3171 can be used in the production of amnestics. The anatomical purpose of these secretions is unknown. Numerous messages proposing mutually beneficent trade terms were broadcast to SCP-3171 without response.

Since the Foundation's botanical experts were uncertain as to whether they could compel SCP-3171 to produce the desired fluid sacs by force, coercive approaches were temporarily ruled out. Instead, a team of internationally acclaimed poets was employed to produce works inspired by translations of SCP-3171 utterances. It was believed that SCP-3171 did not consider communication with humanity worthwhile and that the production of a poem considered meaningful by SCP-3171 would change that. However, poetry produced by this team failed to elicit any response from SCP-3171. Parallel attempts to produce poems using machine learning protocols did not fare any better.

Foundation efforts met with their first success at 3:30 AM 11/12/1999, when Mr. Cullen Williams, a junior researcher assigned to the botanical team, attempted to communicate with SCP-3171 in a state of inebriation5.

Mr. Williams: Is this thing on?

Mr. Williams is heard fumbling with the dials for the first two minutes of the recording.

Mr. Williams: Yo SCPs! How's it hangin', my dawgs?6

Mr. Williams: Well, here I am… housesitting a fucking plant.

Mr. Williams: Not what I thought I'd be doing at this point in my life.

Mr. Williams: Alice is gonna to be so pissed when she finds out I'm broadcasting.

Mr. Williams giggles for approximately 10 seconds.

Mr. Williams: Serves her right.

Mr. Williams: Women. I sure know how to pick em.

There is a pause lasting approximately 40 seconds.

Mr. Williams: Thanksgiving's not that far.

Mr. Williams: Can't wait to go home and leave all this bullshit for a while.

Mr. Williams: I miss Frosty's. Little ice cream place across the street from where I grew up. Do you shrubs even know what ice cream is?

Mr. Williams: Probably not.

Mr. Williams: Frooooooosties!

Mr. Williams giggles briefly.

Mr. Williams: Ah, good times.

Mr. Williams: The gunk they call ice cream here is some kind of wet slop.

Mr. Williams: Frosty's gives you a bowl. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, espresso. I always get the biggest size to share with mom.

Mr. Williams' soliloquy is interrupted by the rhythmic sound of clicking coming from over 350 instances of SCP-31717.

SCP-3171-123: Disgusting.

SCP-3171-403: Unconscious animal.

SCP-3171-102: Whore.


Upon learning of this exchange the following morning, site leaders (Dr. Wang and Mr. Jackson, head of the botany division) were surprised to see approximately one-hundred attempts at private communication from instances of SCP-3171 logged during the previous night. Mr. Jackson conducted the ensuing investigation which revealed that:

  1. Although instances of SCP-3171 share liquids via networks of interlacing root structures, in the unlikely event that one of its own spores takes root close by, an instance of SCP-3171 will refuse to share liquids with it.
  2. Exceptions to the previous item occur exceedingly rarely, and only by instances located at the far edges of the savanna disconnected from the main component of the root structure.

It is conjectured that the act of sharing sustenance with family members has the nature of a sexual taboo among SCP-3171. While all instances of SCP-3171 express disgust at the notion publicly (as when Mr. Williams mentioned sharing a bowl of ice cream with his mother), in private many of them will request to hear detailed accounts of such “incestuous” encounters by Foundation personnel.

Building on these insights, Mr. Jackson developed a protocol for one-on-one interaction with instances of SCP-3171.

SCP-3171-213: Have you committed incest recently?

Mr. Jackson: Maybe.

SCP-3171-213: Tell me.

Mr. Jackson: Two sacks.

SCP-3171-213: Yes. Tell me.

Mr. Jackson: Changed my mind. Four sacks.

SCP-3171-213: No.

SCP-3171-213: Unconscious animal.

There is a pause of approximately 30 seconds.

SCP-3171-213: All right. Four. Tell me.

Mr. Jackson: I had dinner with my sister last week.

SCP-3171-213: Oooh!

Mr. Jackson: We shared a milkshake, taking turns sipping from the same straw.

SCP-3171-213: You mud-stained whore.

SCP-3171-213: I bet you always exchange fluids at first rainfall.

Mr. Jackson: Indeed, that is me. Whenever it rains, I make my way around the neighborhood, fluid exchange foremost on my mind.

Mr. Jackson: In any case, the milkshake was delicious. Both I and my sister greatly enjoyed sharing it.

SCP-3171-213: Aaahh!

Video imagery of SCP-3171-213 shows it releasing spores coincident with the final utterance. Four sacks of fluid were collected by Mr. Jackson the following day.

As of 1/1/2015, the Foundation employs 87 personnel to interact with SCP-3171 according to Mr. Jackson's protocol, generating approximately 400 kg of SCP-3171 secretions per annum.

To the overseer council: our approach towards SCP-3171 is patently unethical. The "services" we render in exchange for fluid sacs are an affront to human (as well as plant) dignity. Foundation resources should be reallocated to research into the value system and poetry of SCP-3171. — Dr. Wang

Alice: out of all the morally questionable stuff we do here, this one isn’t in the top hundred that keep me up at night. Denied. O5-██

page revision: 56, last edited: 09 Apr 2018 17:03
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