Item #: SCP-2738
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: MTF Lambda-13 (“Inventory Control”), based out of Site-12, is tasked with detecting and containing SCP-2738 instances as they manifest. As tests have shown that SCP-2738 is potentially spread between registers and between retailers through the use of items anomalously transacted using the SCP-2738 program, such as prepaid cards or gift cards, a cover story of SCP-2738 being a credit theft program has been fully developed and spread to the upper management of all major US retailers.
When SCP-2738 is found on a register system, the store's district manager is to contact Site-12 personnel and by extension MTF Lambda-13 personnel for containment operations. All retail employees, including high-level managers, are to be kept under the guise that Lambda-13 personnel and any involved Foundation research personnel are FBI agents investigating credit theft.
As investigations carried out by Foundation statisticians have shown that SCP-2738's spread rate is increasing, research efforts toward safe removal of SCP-2738 from register systems are ongoing.
Description: SCP-2738 is an unlicensed software of no determinable origin which anomalously manifests in the computer systems of American retailers, first discovered on March 14, 2014. SCP-2738 functions by running alongside each respective retailer’s default POS (Point of Sale) program at checkout registers. Unless the default POS program's window is minimized to allow access to Task Manager or someone is observing a register computer while it boots1, SCP-2738 is undetectable.
Upon direct, intentional launch on Microsoft Windows2, the register will display the title “M.L. Initiative POS Systems,” the associated logo, and the current software version and year. When fully loaded, SCP-2738’s main screen appears the same as the default software used by the computer on which the program is launched; if SCP-2738 is launched on a computer without register software installed, it will display an error screen with the text “PLEASE RECONNECT ME” in the center and become unresponsive.
If numbers are entered into the space used for ringing up product SKUs/UPCs3, SCP-2738 will in response display the transaction of seemingly random products from the store in which it is being used, despite the product SKU/UPC not matching the numbers entered; if the sale is completed, the store’s digital inventory will change4 as if the transaction was processed normally. No history of abnormal input will be apparent, despite the products never having been present at the register.
Of note is the fact that products transacted by these means will not require any monetary exchange to complete the sale; the system will instead automatically print a receipt with the total tender plus sales tax that would have been transacted normally immediately after the order is totaled. The receipt and products ‘sold’ are non-anomalous with the exception of the payment method displayed on the receipt, which will in all cases read “Visa MasterCard ending in -XXXX.”5 The presence of two conflicting card companies is thus far the only way to successfully detect an SCP-2738-affected transaction.
Items rung up in response to numerical input are done so in no observable order, and appear to be selected arbitrarily from store inventory. However, after several tests involving the input of English translated into numbers via a basic substitution cipher6 were completed, it was hypothesized that SCP-2738 program instances are sentient7 and appears to respond to alphanumeric input by selecting products intentionally.
When SCP-2738 is communicated with through means of alphanumeric input, items transacted will be removed from both digital store inventory (as normal) as well as their physical locations on the sales floor. This process is instantaneous, and can be easily observed on CCTV surveillance, albeit with no clear visual signs shown of what happens to objects when they are removed. This process occurs with no temperature changes, Hume level spikes, radiation level spikes, or electrical/electromagnetic discharge present.
History and Recovery:
On October 05, 2014, Agent Fredericks reported to his supervisors that a prepaid card for 100 USD had appeared in his wallet behind his other cards, and that he was not certain when it had appeared. As Agent Fredericks confirmed that he did not purchase nor receive a prepaid card at any point in the past several months, it was suspected that the card originated from the test transaction he carried out on August 12, 2014. Agent Fredericks was permitted to use the card at a Foundation front company, West End Used Books, located several kilometers from the site, and it was confirmed that the card had indeed been activated for its full 100-dollar value regardless of the fact that Agent Fredericks had cancelled the transaction in question before it was completed and the card was not present at the register.
On October 07, 2014, cashiers at West End Used Books contacted Site-12 personnel with complaints of "M.L. Initiative POS Systems" being displayed briefly upon powering on their registers in the morning. MTF Lambda-13 members were sent to investigate, and were found to confirm SCP-2738 presence in register software; tests similar to that of August 12, 2014 were conducted, with similar results.
Following knowledge inferred from recent tests, it is apparent that items transacted when communicating with SCP-2738 are anomalously transferred to the possession of whoever carried out the transaction. Agent Fredericks has thus far found the following items in his possession without memory of purchasing them:
- One prepaid card with a value of 100 USD, found in his wallet (10.05.14)
- Two greeting cards, found in his right desk drawer within his office in Site-12 (10.09.14)
- One candy bar, found in his kitchen cabinet in his personnel quarters (10.20.14)
- One pneumatic nailgun, found in the bed of his truck (10.25.14)
- One pocket knife, found in his pants (11.02.14)
Similarly, Agent Shaw later found The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, Understanding Viruses: Edition 3, a biology textbook by Teri Shors, and Uncontainable by Kip Tindell on his bookshelf in his quarters. Shaw reports that he did not previously possess any of the books before November 2014, though he is not certain of when exactly the books appeared.
Addendum: Due to these occurrences and their implications should SCP-2738's communicative ability be discovered by civilian cashiers, SCP-2738 has been considered a Level 2 Anomalous Economic Threat by Foundation researchers with the input of MTF Lambda-13 personnel. Due to SCP-2738's rapid spread and potential to destabilize American economy, it is pending upgrade to Keter. As of July 2015, MTF-Lambda-13 personnel are working with MTF Mu-4 ("Debuggers") personnel to develop a non-destructive and functional method of removing SCP-2738 from register systems. Thus far, SCP-2738's original creator has not been identified.