Item #: SCP-803
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: Due to the potentially wide-ranging spread of this cultivar, arable land found to be inhabited by SCP-803 is to be purchased (if possible), and razed in a manner consistent with 'slash-and-burn' agriculture before being resold. Areas in which SCP-803 has intruded to only a small degree may warrant a more surgical method of removing the offending plants. Similarly, a commercial disinformation schema is to continue against this variety of the plant on two fronts, illustrating the hazards of cultivating SCP-803 on both biological and ecological standpoints. Should samples of SCP-803 be verified outside the initially identified region (centered around ███████ ██████, China, and small farms in Japan), agents are to determine the source of the 'leak', and a team will be dispatched to ensure no further distribution will occur. At all times, a living tree of SCP-803 is to be kept in Foundation hands, but prevented from germinating; efforts to obtain samples from this tree should require, at least, gas masks, full clothing, and rebreathers on standby. MOPP level 3 or 4 suits are suggested for any agents or researchers handling SCP-803, for protective purposes.
Description: SCP-803 is a previously-unrecorded cultivar of the Camellia sinensis species, better known as the 'tea tree' or 'tea shrub'. Initial examinations of SCP-803 show only minor differences from the norm, primarily noticeable bleaching of the mature leaves around their edges, as well as a deep crimson hue at their tips. This colouration has given the plant the local name of 'the demon's spear' in some farms and residences. Immature leaves, such as those preferred in most varieties of tea, do not show this discoloration, either before or after the oxidization process. While SCP-803 has the potential to grow to substantial heights, the use of this plant precludes it from doing so: much of the tea produced by this plant had previously been carefully controlled and regulated by landowners, resulting in a continual trimming to waist height for ease of cultivation.
While the living leaves, flowers, and buds of SCP-803 are largely safe to handle, the plucked leaves thereof are not. Upon being plucked or damaged, the leaves of SCP-803 secrete a tiny amount of an unknown substance, mildly hypnotic to humans and other primate species. More mature leaves seem to secrete larger amounts of this substance, seemingly in inverse proportion to the flavonoids which are generally produced by younger buds, petals and blades. This substance seems to enter the bloodstream porously, orally, and nasally, but is most effective when obtained orally. Furthermore, the substance appears to atomize when the leaves are 'bruised', or shaken to begin the oxidization process.
When a subject is exposed to the aforementioned compound within SCP-803, they begin what appears to be a manic-depressive episode, shifting back and forth between what appears to be the predominant mood of the surrounding area, and the polar opposite. A subject may move from slightly hyperactive to a state of 'pathos', or from 'lust' to 'revulsion', in relatively short order. The subject's predominant mood before inbibing the drug seems to play a part in this interaction, and led to the Foundation becoming initially alerted. [See: Addendum 803-CTP-001]
The highest concentration of this compound seems to be produced through the processing, distribution, and imbibition of the fronds. The bruising of darker grades of tea, including oolong and black, provoke a significant rise in the timely release of those chemicals; similarly, during the process of oxidization, the enzymes in SCP-803 produce this chemical in comparatively large amounts. While there has been little evidence of this due to lack of sufficient testing and time, there is a reasonable speculation that white and green teas produced by gentler methods are likely to provoke a less severe reaction to the compound, but one which affects the subject over a longer period of time.
The effects of the compound within SCP-803 are relatively consistent with certain Schedule II (US Scale) hypnotics and hallucinogens in terms of general effect. First, the level of oxidization affects the amount of released compound to an immense degree: a black tea will have a harsher, if shorter-timed, effect upon the subject, than a green tea would. Second, naturally, the amount of time the leaves of SCP-803 are steeped will provide a greater or lesser effect. Finally, the shape of the cut or torn tea leaf, the handling thereof, and the subject's reaction to the flavour inherent in the tea all produce a difference in the ultimate effect. Due to the significant number of variables, it is suggested that prolonged tests be scheduled, with an accelerated cycling of D-Class subjects as necessary.
The Foundation's interest was brought to SCP-803 through a number of circulating articles about a group of businessmen and idols in China, Japan, and India entering 'a monstrous rage' and attacking those around them, without provocation or reason, as well as several similar stories involving some becoming so morose that they committed suicide, or gleefully making fools of themselves in public. Under none of these circumstances were the businessmen, idols, et cetera related, save that they had recently attended tea parlors serving a particular variety, new on the market and incredibly expensive. Standard questioning revealed a potential hallucinogenic nature to these teas, such that some who partook of the beverage felt extremely contented and relaxed after merely a few sips; those who had become irrational or violent were in the firm minority.
Prolonged study of those who had - perhaps inadvertently - destroyed their public careers showed that their political viewpoints, particularly on the public record, tended towards [DATA EXPUNGED] strike against these figures had come from a single, relatively clear source. The Foundation's method of infiltration was sufficient to secure samples before the perpetrators were apprehended, and the supply of this innocuous-looking tea was staunched at the root. It is entirely possible that [DATA EXPUNGED] try to enact a similar scheme elsewhere, and therefore public figures in Asia acting in much the opposite of their usual manner are to be checked for any exposure to SCP-803, if possible.
A final note: The Foundation noted this as a potential case after the decision that no drugs, chemicals, diseases, and/or habits affected these public figures at the time of death and/or incarceration.
Addendum 803-CTP-002 (Testing Logs):
- Subject: Agent ███████ ████
- Variety of tea: Oolong
- Time steeped: 4 minutes
- Setting: A colourful and distracting parlor, generally considered to be a center of high-class entertainment in ██████████. Subject was unarmed in this test, and equipped with a device which would ensure the safety of other patrons. Video screens were set up along the walls, and a feeling of movement and change was constant.
- Result: Approximately two and a half minutes after imbibing the beverage, Agent ███████ began to display warning signs associated with severe mental disorders, including a lax manner of speaking, slight 'twitchiness', and a strange shift between extremes, ranging from asking for a waitress' phone number to ranting about the insensitivity of women. The test was forcibly concluded after five minutes, at which point Agent ███████ had hit on one other waitress, pounded the table in anger, professed to reading romance novels, and spit repeatedly upon the floor. The imagery displayed upon the walls was a well-known rap music video, evidently intended to bring about a lascivious state of mind.
- Subject: D-Class subject 928312. Subject has been 'patient zero' for numerous experimental drugs, and is acquiring a reputation for a nearly superhuman ability to rebound from intoxication. Due to this, said subject has been kept beyond the one-month time limit normally provided to D-Class subjects before termination.
- Variety of tea: Black, specifically the 'orange pekoe' grade.
- Time steeped: Not applicable.
- Setting: A blank cell, with white walls and a simple door. The attending doctor was dressed in gray scrubs for the first portion of testing, and standard MOPP-4 gear for the latter portion.
- Result: The subject of this test, rather than drinking a brew formed by the leaves of SCP-803, simply rolled them into a makeshift cigarette, requesting a lighter from the attending doctor just afterwards. After the team was dressed in full MOPP-4 protective gear, the subject was provided this, proceeding to light the cigarette and returning the tool to said doctor. Within two minutes of the first inhalation, the subject displayed a severe lack of control over his bodily functions, including shortness of breath, shaking hands, and highly dilated pupils. At 03:37 after that initial inhalation, the subject launched into an extremely brief, violent cascade, followed by paroxysms of laughter and what was later described as 'absolute lunacy'. The moment of violent behavior was the only one recorded in this test, and the patient recovered after three days, interrupted only by brief coughing spasms.