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February 4, 2014, 7:09 pm

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Serum 87


As part of the global war on terror, a goverment sponsored special science group resumed the CIA's MKGAMMA program for improved interrogation drugs. The results, Serum 87 and Serum 87X (S-87 and S-87X) became the most effective interrogation agents available to man.


The history of the MKGAMMA program has been systematically destroyed, and evidence of the renewed research is kept only in completely airgapped systems at highly secure facilities. Names of scientists are kept off the records and collaborators are given pseudonyms to operate under when communicating with each other.

The test subjects are almost exclusively prisoners taken during covert operations across the world. Secret detainment centres in unstable countries serve as halfway points before the transfer to testing facilities in developed nations.

It is known that most of the initial testing and research was carried out unknowingly by academic institutions funded through bogus government programs purportedly for medical research into pain biochemistry. The separate research pieces were then assembled by a specialist team.


The effects of S-87 are not, as can be expected, directly truth inducing. S-87 has no psychoactive components. Instead, Serum 87 is a pain causing drug cocktail meticulously designed to induce the worse possible sensation a human can experience.

Subjects report extreme pain from the moment of injection or skin application. In addition to debilitating pain, the subjects almost universally report an impending sense of doom and overwhelming futility. Both human and animal have been know to kill themselves while under the effect of Serum 87. In one particularly disturbing case, an uncommonly wilful restrained human female test subject tore her own brachial artery and cubital vein with her teeth while under the effects of Serum 87. This is the exception rather than the norm, however, as the level of pain is often too debilitating for conscious actions to occur.

In order to stop subjects from harming themselves deliberately or via convulsions, and to protect their captors, a modification of the composition was made to include strong muscle relaxants. The addition of muscle relaxants creates S-87X, which induces complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles while in action.

In addition to the effect of S-87, S-87X causes considerable disturbance and psychological stress in subjects due to the feelings of helplessness they experience. Since the relaxants outlast the pain inducing compounds, the post-pain recovery period is often propitious for psychological manipulation and influence by captors, as the subject will be hypervigilant and aroused after the effect of the pain but still disorientated.

The Shelby protocol combines the injection of S-87X with the injection of S-13 once the pain wears off. The temporary anterograde amnesia and disorientation caused by S-13 allows interrogators more liberty in their approach. It proved useful in the de-conditioning of extremely resilient individuals, who had undergone extensive subconscious interrogation resistance training.


The composition of S-87/X is beyond secret, as its very existence poses an existential threat to the developing government. It is a complex mixture theorised to be composed of three main components:

  • Mix of opioid antagonist (such as Naloxone) and opioid receptor blockers. The mix of these chemical causes hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to pain) by stopping the body's own pain management mechanism from acting.
  • Oxidised Linoleic Acid Metabolites (OLAMs) derived from direct experimentation on the heat response of dermal tissues. These OLAMs mimic internal signalling molecules generated by cells under thermal stress. In order to avoid reabsorbtion of the OLAMs, the chemical structure is changed to the enantiomer of the naturally produced molecules, leading to significantly longer duration of signalling. These compounds are designed to trigger nociceptors and cause burning, aching pain.
  • Synthetic neurotoxic peptides derived from Paraponera clavata's (Bullet ant) poneratoxin, Tarantula Hawk Wasp venom and Platypus venom. These compounds are designed to trigger not only nociception but also neuropathic pain by attacking the peripheral nervous system directly by triggering NMDA receptor. Alone, they feel like a continuous high voltage current being passed through the nervous system.

The S-87X composition adds to this cocktail a mix of depolarising and non-depolarising muscle relaxant. Pancuronium Bromide and suxamethonium are two candidate compound, although it is believed that the additions are more complex and may have been specifically designed for duration, safety and storage durability.

Plot Hooks

Exposure: A contact of yours has acquired irrefutable documentary evidence of the development and use of S-87 on detained enemy combatants in military facilities. You are to help him publish the information before the authorites get to him and protect him once the information is public. Alternatively, you could betray him for political favours with the nation that developed S-87.

Silence: An enemy agent has acquired evidence of your goverment's development of S-87. You are to stop the distribution of the material, which could have devastating consequence on your goverment's reputation and foreign policy. Your mission is to dispose of all evidence that S-87 exists and permanently silence anyone who had access to the leaked material.

Conflict of Conscience: As part of your operations, you have captured a high-value target. The target has refused to cooperate, and has remained silent after standard approach techniques, coercive interrogation, enhanced methods and outright torture. You are approached by an unknown man from an unknown agency who offers to administer a secret compound if he is allowed to participate in the interogation. Until now, you had heard only vague rumours about S-87. What will you do?

Cruel and unusual punishment: After a lengthy intelligence gathering operation, you are tasked to infiltrate a human research facility and recover their research materials. The facility in question was responsible for developing S-87. Will you follow your orders? Will you liberate the test subjects? Will you destroy the information and report a lie to your superior to ensure that Serum 87 never sees the light of day?

Eldorado: A buyer contacts your outfit with an offer for the formulation of S-87. You've never seen so many zeros on a single cheque before. What will you be willing to do to get it signed?

Missing Link: S-87 is only one member of a significant line of dangerous substances developed bu the MKGAMMA project. Rumors of S-46, A drug causing almost indescribable physical pleasure also abound. The horror of S-46 is perhaps greater than S-87, as a willing slave could be created with repeated injection. Finding the missing compounds could be very profitable, very dangerous, or both...


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Comments ( 6 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

February 4, 2014, 19:05
I'm a nice guy in real life, honest :)

Also, hello! Long time no post!
Ancient Gamer
February 5, 2014, 2:58
W0000000t! Don't tell me you've been around all this time, just not posting! ^^
February 6, 2014, 11:55
Nah, popped in from time to time, but haven't really been around. Blame this post on a mix of Insomnia, procrastination and wiki walking. I'm subscribed to both the forum and site RSS feeds, so I tend to have a look from time to time.
Voted Dozus
February 5, 2014, 6:47
Very well researched article. One can imagine such a thing might exist, terrifying though that fact may be.

Welcome back!
Voted Murometz
February 5, 2014, 11:31
Solid gruesome stuff! And the 'References' section makes for great reading! Some really cool info.
Voted valadaar
September 26, 2014, 15:06
Holy smokes - this one is well referenced. Very good for moderns, lots of uses.

Great stuff!

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