Therium 99

An essay by Virgil Ther, presented by Mark Andrew Edwards
Illustration by Katie Nyborg

Day 1: Early September

Dear diary,

Finally getting things set up around here. The grant money from the Department of Defense will be put to great use. And not just for this wicked cool digital recorder. Hello? Hello? Heh, I can change my voice with this. Awesome.

Ahem, as I was saying, transplant rejection is serious problem for more than battlefield physicians. I feel my work here on Therium 99 will benefit all of humanity, and not just the poor souls offered up on the battlefields of Asia.

True, there were some disputes over methodology back at the University but that is why I arranged to lease this charming old Victorian out here on the edge of town. There’s a lovely view of the surrounding countryside from the hill here, marred only by the cemetery.

The sterilization of the basement took longer than expected but there aren’t a lot of bacteria that can’t be wiped out by a pressure washer and several hundred gallons of bleach. There’s been some side effects on the plant life surrounding the house and I’ve had to sleep in my car for the few days but I think the lung damage was minimal. Nothing a little Therium 99 can’t fix. I can’t wait to whip up a batch.


Lab equipment requisition: look into a backpack carry system for the pressure washer, hyperbaric chamber (for nap times and to clean out lungs).


Day 3:

Therium 99 does not cure respiratory damage. Luckily, I seemed to have bounced back without too much trouble. My voice is a little hoarse but the coughing has stopped. Good thing, too. I was getting tired of sterilizing my work area every time I barked up some lung tissue.

Though the Therium 99 does not replace damaged tissue or speed the healing process or taste very good, as an anti-rejection treatment it is 79 times more effective than OKT3 or Therium 5. Heh. I’ll be another Dr. Strazl, once I get my work published. Yes, Dr. Ther … I like the sound of that.

I wonder if I could do a lung transfer with sufficient quantities of Therium 99 and a clean workspace? Not on myself, of course, but the idea is intriguing. Normally a lung transplant is a major surgical event. I wonder how much easier it will be with Therium 99? Well, only one way to find out.


Lab equipment requisition: one rat (white), one goldfish (gold), scalpel, incinerator (just in case).

Therium 99

Lab equipment requisition: one rat (white), one goldfish (gold), scalpel, incinerator (just in case).

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2012 collection.

Virgil Ther is a former graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Department of Biological Engineering has no comment at this time regarding his alleged involvement with the events in rural Pennsylvania. His thesis advisor recalls him as a “passionate student” and “an excellent grant application writer” with “a bright future ahead of him once he settles down a bit.”

He is currently missing and assumed devoured.

Mark Andrew Edwards resides in Monroe, WA, occasionally downwind from farm country. He enjoys reading, writing and amateur cat taming. He does not perform amateur organ transplants in his basement. This is his first publication in any form.

Katie Nyborg’s art, plus information regarding hiring her, can be found at

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