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This in-progress iteration has been preserved in Foundation archives for the sake of access to audio contained within. Be advised that all relevant knowledge has yet to be approved by the O5 council for release to the Foundation at large.

Item#: 7711
Containment Class:
Secondary Class:
Disruption Class:
Risk Class:

Special Containment Procedures

Containment of SCP-7711 is not feasible by standard means, but, due to the nature of SCP-7711, is effectively pointless. While SCP-7711 can, in some sense, be considered contained by virtue of being restricted to residing on a single, isolated planet, no maintenance of this containment is required. Should SCP-7711 spread beyond its home planet, nothing will change.


SCP-7711 is the designation for an anomalous, humanoid race and the dominant species of its home planet. SCP-7711 is typically referred to by itself as Homo sapiens1, though at present, no names for SCP-7711 are known that are not self-given.

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Audio detected. Voice identification active.

Speaker: Dr. Uwe, Luke


That's it? We're the anomaly?

Speaker: O5-5 (retired)

After all we've catalogued, and especially after every anomaly we've created ourselves, it's only appropriate.

I don't know. It just feels wrong to me.

I understand. It's a strange objectivity to conclude one's own race to be anomalous.

Why, though? What brought this on?

How fond are you of stories, Uwe?

I doubt I'm really allowed to say I don't want or have the time to listen.

You're allowed to say whatever you want. You're allowed to walk out that door right now and never come back if you're so inclined.

Well, sure, but… I don't know. Responding like that to an O5 feels like I'm breaking the biggest rule in the Foundation.

Forget my position. I'm not speaking in my capacity as an overseer. I'm just speaking as someone old and tired, whose memories may not be intact forever. Someone who's seen more than they ever deserved to. You're interested in being a part of our deep space exploration initiative, aren't you? I ask that you indulge me this chance to ramble.

…Alright. If that's what you'd like.

I wasn't alive when man made it into orbit. I wasn't alive when man made it to the moon. I wasn't alive when man made it to Mars. I know the gist of it, though. Like a sheltered child, we took our first steps into the great world beyond our home. We stumbled along the way, and once we were out the door, we were overwhelmed by what we saw. We quickly returned to safety, to the place we'd known for our entire existence, grateful for what we had been provided.

That's where the official records end. Man has never gone farther than the fourth planet from the sun, and certainly never left the solar system.

I don't think it's much of a surprise for me to tell you that simply isn't true. I've been out there. I've seen the vast, unyielding cosmos firsthand. Above all else, I returned with one fact seared into my mind: humanity is an anomaly. Simply through the act of existing, we defy every expected norm of this universe.

The Foundation has had faster-than-light travel for… I think it's almost a century now? It's hard to remember exactly when we found it, frankly, because the technology sat disused in an out-of-the-way facility for God knows how long. We didn't know what to do with it. We could travel wherever we pleased, but we couldn't see wherever ahead of time. We'd be flying blind and without direction, and chances are that if we just sent someone off at random, they'd never find anything interesting out there.

As time progressed, we didn't gain much of anything to help us see further into the cosmos. Instead, we developed ways to predict what we would find, mathematical models to tell us where planets would be, what their composition was like, the chances that they were suitable for life. All of this based on the tiny sliver of the universe we could see from our little home.

But we couldn't test these predictions through conventional means. We needed to dust off the faster-than-light travel technology that had been rotting in containment. We needed someone to venture out and discover what it was the models couldn't predict.

I wasn't an O5 then. I was young and idealistic, eager to prove myself however I could. To this day, I'm still not certain why they chose me, but I don't think why really matters. They chose me, and I quickly learned how to operate the craft they'd created. I was given a list of destinations, planets they had calculated as most likely to support life. Not all of them would be like ours. Some they'd even received evidence from of extraterrestrial life, but had been unable to effectively communicate, travel to, or even view them remotely.

The ship was a work of genius in its own right. Not just because of the ability to travel beyond anything we knew, mind you. Honestly, I think that might have been the least remarkable part. Maybe it's just because the idea of faster-than-light travel has been in the cultural zeitgeist so long that it hardly stood out to me. I was more fascinated by the way it could harvest sunlight to create nutrient-dense smoothies, negating the need for rationing out food to last me a set period of time. There was also the pocket dimension accessible from Earth as well as from a door near the back of the craft; though we couldn't occupy it at the same time, Foundation personnel could leave me things I needed, and in turn I could hand off notes from my mission. That was the closest thing I had to companionship. The distance between myself and our solar system would quickly become too great to manage direct conversation.

It wasn't long before I was watching Earth slowly vanish from sight, a world large beyond human comprehension reduced to a pinprick in my rear viewing port. Everything I'd ever known took up less space in my visual field than the stars further away than a human could ever fathom. It's hard to place how I felt about it in the moment. I can't help but project how I feel now about the whole thing, later events tinting that memory, preventing me from ever recalling it as it truly was. I don't know if I'll ever be able to experience the feeling again. That's just the nature of the human mind.

I know I felt some kind of awe. Reverence, even, for the alien beauty of what I was seeing. No other person had ever borne witness to that sight. Yet for all the beauty of Earth, of Mars and Saturn and Jupiter, of our solar system in its entirety, so much more of what I saw lacked that elegance. The initial stage of my departure was breathtaking in ways that set my expectations far too high.

After that, it was just nothing. I was adrift in… well, I can't even call it darkness. There's a certain expectation to the concept of darkness, that there's something to see within it, that if only there were more light or your eyes better adjusted you'd at least be able to discern some faint figure of your surroundings. Even if I shone a light in any direction, what would there have been to see? The light itself would have been wasted. There would have been no difference.

My craft was moving faster than physics had previously been capable of comprehending, but it appeared no different to me than if I were standing still. I've heard, of course, that it's a trick of our vision, that our ability to see is based on light moving so much faster than we can, that moving faster than light would render us incapable of seeing. I'm not certain I want to attribute it entirely to that principle. I think that, even were that postulation proven wrong, there would still have been nothing to see, the distances so vast and so empty that the mind struggles to understand it.

Our brains aren't made for solitude. We evolved to observe everything around us, to constantly be on alert for anything even minutely different. Anytime I looked out into the stars, I'd swear I saw something move, or blink, find some connection between them. I saw stars looking back at me with the same vague curiosity in their gaze that I held in mine, only to realize that my psyche had invented all of it. The longer I peered into nothingness, the more my mind wanted so desperately for there to be something within it. My subconscious itself seemed bored of being unable to perceive anything, tricking me into thinking there was anything out there to elicit some kind of emotion.

But there never was. On and on I traveled, guided only by a set of predictive equations. Bright as the people who did all that math for me were, they didn't know for certain how fast I'd be able to reach the locations I was being sent to. They had to program the craft itself to adjust its trajectory based on the speeds it actually achieved. Were my direction off by even the most marginal of fractions, I could wind up arriving to nothing, too far away from my target to even be able to see where I should have gone.

That anxiety harrowed me up until the moment I reached my first destination. The closest of the potentially life-sustaining planets, though certainly not the most similar to ours. It was a tiny thing, barely larger than our moon, but equally desolate. It wasn't large enough to hold an atmosphere. I landed, but I knew what would await me. I was aware of the results I'd see of the tests performed on each sample I took.

There was no life there. I don't think there ever had been. From Earth, the Foundation had observed a planet large enough to keep an atmosphere, a planet that had liquid water, a planet quite similar to our own. That sight had been hundreds of years old by the time it reached us. As I departed, I saw what had occurred. I saw what Earth wouldn't know for centuries.

As I said, the planet hardly exceeded the size of our moon, but that wasn't the whole of it. The mass that had been observed from Earth hadn't been some illusion. It spiraled rapidly in a close orbit to the center mass, splintered off by some catastrophic impact. Something, likely a rogue planetoid traveling the cosmos much the same as I, had struck. It carried with it enough force to rend the planet itself, scattering the pieces into space around it. Still held captive by the gravity of the planet's star, these fragments had slowly begun to amass, forming a frenzied, chaotic orbit around one another that constantly dragged the main body of the planet out of its own proper orbit, zigging and zagging around the star to such a degree that its climate utterly destabilized. It would be brought near to the sun and baked for months before being dragged out into the frigid cold.

If there had ever been life there, and if that life survived the cataclysmic collision, and if that life had also managed to endure the loss of the majority of the atmosphere, it would certainly have been done in by the unpredictable orbit. My stop there had been a waste of time, and the tests performed on the samples confirmed it. There were no traces of organic material to be found anywhere. Once more I returned to the solitude of the cosmos, drifting towards my next destination.

The next planet wasn't quite as obviously dead at first glance. I saw no life, that much was true, but it was entirely possible life only existed there as single-celled organisms. I could not rely purely on what I could see. Aside from incredibly high levels of radiation, there were few outwardly apparent signs of disaster. My initial suspicion was that there was some kind of fallout from a war, but I realized that the assumption was rather human-centric. Even if another species achieved the dominance humanity has, who's to say they would ever develop weapons that took a form at all recognizable to us?

No, I dare say that no living being wrought the destruction that second planet faced. The samples I took told me everything I needed to know: the planet had once contained a molten core much like Earth's, but for whatever reason, it had since cooled and solidified. Over time, this brought the planet itself to a thermal equilibrium. There were traces of life having once been there, but with the fiery core extinguished, that life lost the ability to synthesize nutrients, leading to total extinction. The cooling of the core also brought with it a loss of the planet's protective magnetic field, allowing solar winds to scour the surface into the wasteland that lay before me.

Another dead end. Another waste of time. I was disappointed, but this wasn't entirely unexpected. Even finding one living planets among the dozens of destinations would be remarkable. Discouraging, perhaps, but not cause for concern yet. I was to press on until I found the extraterrestrial life that I knew in my heart existed somewhere in the vast universe.

As I traveled towards the next coordinates, an oddity drew my attention. The ship had detected a nearby nebula, one that had never been observed from Earth. It should have been directly between our planet and the one to which I was currently traveling at the time that I left, yet according to the logs of known celestial bodies in my ship's database, it had not been catalogued. I allowed myself a moment to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, to observe and note something fully unknown for our records.

I believe I understand how it had escaped detection. Thousands of kilometers across it was, but it possessed a motility I do not think nebulae typically capable of. It crawled on, shifting and extending pseudopods like an amoeba, propelling parts of itself forward before the limblike structure ruptured and the rest of the gaseous body came spilling out from that point. It periodically twinkled in a rhythmic pattern, producing light from within itself in a way nebulae typically do not. I believe it had achieved this through some method of igniting segments of its gaseous form, perhaps by forcibly causing debris within it to collide and create a spark.

While to that point it certainly defied my understanding of physics and of what defined a nebula, I was unwilling to call it truly anomalous within my notes. That was until it regarded me, ceasing its motion and producing a brilliant display of lights. I do not know how I knew it had witnessed me. I was so infinitesimally tiny in comparison to this vast cloud, and so unimaginably far from it that I could observe its entire body, yet it noticed me there. We regarded each other, two travelers equally alone in a universe continually pulling away in every direction. We shared no language, no method of communication. Our encounter was brief and fruitless. We could do nothing but be aware of each other, knowing that we would forever be isolated by nature of our physical beings.

I could not even feel enthusiastic about this discovery, as realization hit me that this was nothing new. This individual may not have previously been observed, but its kind, beings trapped in the fabric of reality and forced into forms that resemble not anything we or they could recognize as life, were known to us already. The Foundation had seen them before, how they wailed and screamed into a universe to which they did not belong. I could not even consider this a discovery of life beyond our planet. This being was inorganic, a mere consciousness suspended in a starry limbo. It was nothing new for us, and it was not at all what I had been sent out to find. I moved on, and so did the nebula.

I did not go far before my ship brought itself to a halt. I could not safely proceed to the destination, it alerted me. It was within the gravitational field of a neutron star. While I could observe it from my current distance, approaching the coordinates would put us too close to the neutron star to have any hopes of escaping its pull.

The catalog of my destinations that the Foundation had provided me made it apparent what had transpired. The star about which orbited the planet I was seeking had been an absolute behemoth. What lay before me now was its corpse, having obliterated all of its satellites when its flame began to sputter and die. Whatever fragments that were not launched into space had been drawn into the star during the subsequent gravitational collapse. The planet I had come in search of must have been wiped out of existence before I even left home, and Earth would be none the wiser of its fate for at least another decade.

I had no choice but to move onward. We had not expected that star to be so close to the end of its life, but such things are hard to gauge from sight alone. Such was the crux of my mission as a whole, I suppose. The next destination was a moon orbiting a gaseous planet. From what we had seen, it seemed to even support some kind of liquid on its surface. The potential for it to be similar to Earth was immense and exciting.

Unfortunately, that liquid was not water. The planet was tremendously cold, to the point where I was unable to leave the safety of my vessel lest my blood freeze in my veins in mere minutes. That liquid, as it turned out, was an ocean of oxygen. This was no habitable body. It was the warmth of our primordial world that helped birth organic matter. This moon was too frigid, I theorized, and indeed the samples contained no evidence of life ever existing here. Onward I had to go.

My next stop was mercifully balmy by comparison. Readings indicated a high humidity and more than enough warmth to encourage life to flourish. Its atmosphere contained oxygen, with similar enough atmospheric pressure that the air would in theory be breathable for humans. I must stress, however, that this is only technically the case; while I would have been able to breathe on the surface of this planet, taking breaths of this air would quickly prove hazardous. The air was roughly 90% oxygen, far more than our planet had ever experienced. Breathing it would quickly induce toxicity for beings that had not evolved for such a climate. That, however, was the least concern for organisms that would theoretically live there.

Far more pressing was the lightning that continually struck around me. The planet's weather was a violent haze of nonstop storms. Fires raged as far as I could see, picked up by the ferocious gale into terrible whirlwind. The atmosphere here was the catalyst for this chaos. Oxygen being so available as fuel, when combined with the continuous lightning strikes, meant fires could begin at a moment's notice. The sandy soil as well was incredibly flammable, allowing blazes to spread with ease. If there is a hell, I can only imagine it to look much like that planet did.

Life could find no foothold here. Even obtaining samples was difficult, as the materials collected proved hazardous enough that certain methods of examination set them ablaze. I was forced to abandon much of what I had collected and move on as swiftly as possible.

Several uneventful locations followed. While they were far less dangerous in comparison to the previous planets, so too were they less remarkable. There was simply nothing to see. It was a planet devoid of life and of actively hostile conditions. This was the bulk of what I witnessed, in the end. Planet after planet I found utterly bare to the point of blending together in my memory. I'll spare you the details of how many such planets I observed. Just know that between each noteworthy destination lay at least two or three that were very much the opposite. This time, there were simply far more of them in a row. I lost track of the passage of time, as there was no way to mark the days in my ship beyond the time and date reading on the monitor of the ship's computer system. The thick and flavorless nutrient broth that the ship dispensed for me had become difficult to choke down, dissatisfying to my tongue in both texture and in taste. Dull repetition set in, circumstances unchanging despite moving from one planet to the next. I had never anticipated tedium being so heavily a part of interstellar travel.

Eventually, however, this extended sequence of barren planets was broken. I was over two hundred light years from Earth and several months into my journey when I came upon a destination remarkably beautiful in terribly familiar ways. My stomach churned in equal parts excitement and anxiety as I gazed upon the blue planet before me, white clouds drifting across. It looked so very much like home that I momentarily wondered if my ship had brought me back to Earth already. The image of family and friends awaiting my return passed through my mind before I could stop it, bringing my heart to a standstill as I realized that no such thing would greet me here. It was only a pale reflection of home, a disappointing reminder of what I had left behind.

Still, I had hope yet to cling to. If any planet would have life, this one, it seemed, was a splendid candidate. Indeed, I found traces of organic material almost immediately among my samples. My journey hadn't been for naught. I had found something, even if it was only in the form of microorganisms just beginning their evolutionary journey. As results came in, however, my heart sank.

There had indeed been life here, but it was present no longer. Though I could not find evidence of cataclysm or inhospitable conditions like the previous planets, life here had died out all the same. Millions of years before we set our sights on this dull rock adrift in the cosmos, its own life had begun and ended. It had faltered of its own accord, simply unable to meet the needs for survival. A changing environment brought hardships that these little creatures could not bear, and so did this planet's story come to a close.

Perhaps it was too sentimental of me, but I felt it wrong to leave without erecting some kind of memorial for this dead world. I gathered stones, piling them into a cairn near where I landed. I knew that no other being would likely ever see my grave for this planet's potential, but it felt like the proper thing to do. Life here would be remembered only by a small pile of stones placed by a visitor from afar. Is it strange to feel kinship with long-dead alien microbes? Perhaps, but their corpses were the closest I'd come to company in my journey thus far.

My hopes of finding true extraterrestrial life were waning. As I looked to the skies above in preparation for my departure, I could only wonder how many dead ends were left for me. Would I resign myself to failure and return home before finishing my task, leaving some horizons unexplored? I wasn't certain I had the resolve needed to face discouragement time and again as I hopped from planet to planet. It would soon weigh far too heavily on me to continue much longer, I feared.

I had to continue on my mission before such thoughts demoralized me. There was still some flicker of hope within me— life had, at least, been present at some point on two of the planets I visited. It was life that never had the opportunity to advance into complex forms, but the possibility for life that survived such trials remained.

Another string of lifeless worlds eventually gave way to another hellish sight. The next planet I was to visit was wrapped in a layer of noxious, yellow clouds. For a moment, I wondered if there even was solid ground to land on, as I was unable to pierce that veil from orbit. I would have to enter the atmosphere and manually search for an ideal location to ground my ship. Admittedly, it was an easier task than I had anticipated, but that said little. I had half expected the atmosphere to tear my vessel to pieces— it didn't, thankfully. The main difficulty was simply finding open ground large enough to accommodate me.

The terrain across the entire planet was unyieldingly mountainous. Where the ground flattened sat boiling mud puddles, fetid fumes rising from beneath. I would be unable to land in such a location for risk of the ground being too thin to support the weight of my craft. Quakes consistently wracked the planet, further limiting the locations I could safely land, as I would need to seek ground higher than its surroundings to minimize risk of rockfalls crushing my ship.

It took some doing, but I did manage to nestle myself in on a plateau. My findings were predictable. Life had taken hold briefly on this world, but it was ultimately ill-suited to support any living thing. What creatures there had been were all extremophiles, reliant on the frequent volcanic or other thermal activity welling up from deep within this hostile planet. Geological records indicated that this planet had undergone a period of relative calm some thousands of years prior. As all life had been adapted to the harsh conditions, it was instead what we would find more suitable that spelled their end. Life had not been present here since.

Once more I ascended into the void beyond, eager to bid that planet goodbye. While it was a rare bit of excitement amidst continual disappointment, I would not miss it. I would take the barren planets any day, since they'd little risk of killing or stranding me. Unfortunately, my list of destinations was beginning to run dry. I'd only a handful of coordinates left to investigate, with little hope left of one of these few having life. I was terrified of returning home a failure, yet a part of me desperately wished to do so. Being rebuked would still mean I'd finally hear another person's voice again.

The next planet was the most impressive, in some regards. It was the only one I saw where life achieved any sort of complexity. I was able to find fossils of insect-like beings that swam this planet's oceans once upon a time. They were small, certainly, but they utterly dwarfed anything I'd seen before by virtue of being more than a single cell. Armored exoskeletons had protected them from their environment as they slowly adapted to their world.

But they did not adapt quickly enough. In the end, I saw a reversal of the situation from the previous planet. Volcanic activity flared up to a degree it had never before achieved in the planet's history. The oceans began to dry up and acidify, ash blanketing the planet and blocking out light. The creatures that had evolved here were trapped within the now-toxic waters, slowly choking to death over the course of a decade. Life did not recover. Almost all life was wiped out in that time. Though a few species limped on, they did not last. They were not diverse or numerous enough to repopulate this devastated world, and so nature there breathed its last. I was late to this planet by over a million years.

Two more locations left. The next was desolate, ravaged by windstorms that tore chunks out of the loose soil. The dirt was woefully devoid of any nutrient content, ill-suited for life to grow at all. It seemed as though this planet simply never received the fertilization I'd seen in all of the others. While there had been barren planets before, this one almost appeared to have been deliberately stripped of everything. I could not find traces of any heavy metals in the soil, no oxygen in the atmosphere, no carbon or silicon to form the backbone for life. It was simply a wasteland that could never grow into something more. There was nothing for me to see there, and so onward I went.

The final coordinates were the most disappointing of the lot. It seemed I'd finally run afoul of incorrect calculations. There was simply nothing there to greet me when I dropped out of faster-than-light travel. There was no black hole to have swallowed up the planet. There was no debris where a planet once was before being obliterated. There was simply nothing. Not even within a light year of my destination were there any stars, and the nearest one had no satellites. I was entirely empty-handed. This was how my journey came to an end, entirely denying me one last planet for some sense of closure. Perhaps that was emblematic of my journey as a whole. In the end, I found nothing.

There was nothing left to do but return to Earth. At the very least, I would no longer be alone, I thought. That assumption was woefully incorrect. Nobody was there to greet me upon my return. Communications with the base at which I was to land were automated, and the entire site had been cleared of both people and anomalies. I was debriefed by faceless individuals on the other side of a computer screen, people whose names I never knew and never learned even after I became an overseer. I was held in containment for weeks until they were certain I'd not returned with some alien life clinging to my boots. Solitude had not released me from its hold yet.

I was eventually allowed to return to my life, but I found depressingly little to return to. My mother had passed on while I was away. I'd no significant other or siblings to keep me company. The most I could do was tell my story to her grave, thinking all the while of that solemn pile of rocks I'd left behind on some planet I didn't even know the name of.

I was alone, and in that moment, I finally concluded that we, all of us as a species, were too.

…I see. That's…



I know. But at least you're not alone in that feeling. The odds have been so heavily stacked against life finding success that it seems only through sheer luck we stand here today.

That's hardly reassurance. Still, though, space is incomprehensibly vast. There's so many more planets than what you saw.

That may be true, yes, but I don't think they'll hold anything of note. The Foundation had selected the most likely candidates for me to visit. The vast majority of planets out there have no hopes of supporting life. Besides, I wasn't the last person to travel out into the cosmos. Nobody we've sent has found anything of note.

Oh. So… we really are alone, then?

As far as we know, yes. I apologize if this killed your enthusiasm for exploring what may be out there, but I would rather not people have to endure the extended disappointment I did.

…Right. I understand. Is there anything else you'd like to tell me before I finish writing this up?

No. I think I've taken enough of your time for today. Take care, Uwe.

Yeah. You too.

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