- "Okay Mrs. Phillips, it's a simple operation but I want to explain the process to you before we start just so you understand it and feel more comfortable. We are going to have you lie down on this table, and then focus the Machine on the cancer before starting to project the isotopes into your body. It's all very controlled and saf- no, you won't look like me. Possum Face."
- ―Marzak trying to help a patient
|Date of birth:||2037|
|Status:||working towards the health of Timber Lake|
A leading figure in the field of Radiotherapy before the war, he is likely the leading man after it. After spending the better part of two centuries trying to recreate his equipment, he would meet John Hoolihan and began to work with him ensuring the health of the Badlands Territory.
Harold was born in Matewan to Polish immigrants in 2037, living in a two-room shack with his parents and siblings. He would excel in school, earning a full-ride to West Virginia State when he was Seventeen, where he majored in Physics and minored in Pred-med. He would be accepted in Oxford's College of Medicine and graduate five years later near the top of his class. He would return to the States for his residency, but would go to Oklahoma instead of West Virginia, seeking better pay and clients who didn't share pairs of cousins.
He would work at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City for the next four years, before transferring to a small county clinic in the state's panhandle. It was here that he would spend the next seventeen years, treating the rural patients that were often marginalized by private insurance.
On the morning of October 23rd, 2077, Harold had just finished a graveyard shift in the clinic and returned to his house that he rented in the countryside. At least a hundred miles from any moderately large population centers, Harold would be unaware anything was wrong until he went back to the clinic for his shift that night. He found that the lights were off, despite it being open twenty-four hours.
As he walked closer, he noticed that the door was broken in, and there were pill bottles and other supplies scattered on the floor. As he stepped inside to investigate further, he was struck on the back of the head and knocked unconscious. He woke up with the sunrise and an ache throughout his body. Realizing that no one came throughout the night, he returned home, his car stripped of its hubcaps and radio.
Despite staying up all day trying to get a radio signal and waiting for his television's test pattern to clear, Harold woke up the next day feeling terrible. He noticed more hair than usual falling out when he combed his hair, bit attributed to stress. He would go to his neighbor Earl's house to see if he had heard anything, but couldn't find any trace of him or his family.
Deciding to go through their kitchen, he was startled to hear someone's voice, realizing it was the local radio anchor, and heard him explain the nuclear holocaust had happened before he shot himself in the head. Deeply shocked and in disbelieve, he would linger in the kitchen for some time before returning to his own home.
He would continue to feel ill over the next few days, but didn't think anything was wrong until his skin began to flake off. Realizing it was radiation poisoning he was initially despondent before realizing he had some medicine in the clinic.
He again trekked to the country clinic, taking a roll of quarters in a sock this time as protection, and made sure to arrive well before nighttime. He would find the medicine and administered it at home, but it would leave him very weak for the next few days.
When he could finally get out of bed, he went to his bathroom mirror only to see that the treatment hadn't worked, and his face was missing more patches of skin. He resigned himself to a slow death and considered suicide, eyeing the pistol that his father had given him, but decided to try and help while he could.
To this end, he decided to continue with his Radiology and went to gather the needed machines. He found the ones in the clinic either stolen or smashed by looters, and with the nearest hospital two hours away, he had to build them. Knowing little about the actual construction of the machines, he at least knew he would need radioactive material. To that end he traveled to the Silkwood Nuclear Power plant outside of his small town, finding it as abandoned as every other business.
Walking through the facility he found that the housing for reactor number 2 was cracked, leaking (what the sensors claimed to be) a dangerous amount of radiation. Knowing he was doomed anyway, he began to wander the facility looking for a pair of tongs and a lead-lined box to put the plutonium core into. Not finding one, he began to gather sensors, monitors, and wiring in one of the break rooms, deciding to make another trip. He would lose more flesh before he came back, however, forcing him to wear a trench coat to cover himself. Unfortunately for him, his choice of wardrobe caused him to look suspicious to passing looters, traveling the countryside. They would start to chase him, mistaking him for some pedophile, forcing him to hide in the power plant, the radiation clicking off one woman's Geiger counter.
Hiding near the reactor, Harold waited two days before checking the outside, finding it deserted. He also found the mirror in the men's room and saw even more of his skin missing, with one cheek now totally gone. Finding himself disfigured, he decided to stay in the Power plant for a little longer, and create a makeshift box for the plutonium. This would be accomplished with aluminum foil, cardboard, hard plastic and some tape. While this was able to hold the rods, the resulting radiation poured through, and he also badly burned his hands picking up the fuel rods.
He would wrap the burns in ointment and gauze, then proceed to try and assemble the radiology machines. This would take longer than he thought, with a weeks worth of work yielding little. He managed to connect the monitors to a bundle of wires, but couldn't figure out the power flow. He would try to find some more parts in town, but instead ran across a few of his neighbors, apparently done hiding.
They were initially horrified upon seeing him, but their disgust turned to pity as he explained his "radiation poisoning" and what he was trying to do. They assisted him as they could, there being little left in the town. With these supplies, he would thank them and tell them to come by the plant if they needed treatment. He would be surprised to find some did stop by, with him rushing through so they didn't get poisoned like him. He would stay at the power plant for the next three years without leaving, with people sometimes coming by for treatment.
He would realize halfway through the second year that it wasn't radiation poisoning that he was afflicted with but something else. He also found he felt better near the leaking reactor. He would exit again in 2080, this time making a supply run to town, where he also put up a few hand-drawn posters advertising his services. He would then work as a general practitioner for the next century, doing what he could and occasionally trade in the town.
Despite his "disfigurement", he found his friends and neighbors to be supportive (or at least tolerant) of him, something he would always try to reciprocate. During one supply trip in 2243 to the village market, Harold would hear a traveling medicine man making wild claims, and went to challenge him. He would be surprised that the trader, John, was actually fairly knowledgeable about his products and their effects, and the two would talk late into the night at the local bar. Harold would find so agreeable that he offered to teach him some about medicine, and the two would return to the nuclear plant for a few days.
Hoolihan would improve his sales pitch and after the trade season had ended, he returned to Marzak's practice, though encased in a radiation suit. He would learn at the side of Marzak, who was overjoyed to have someone else who wanted to talk to him in general, let alone about medicine. Marzak would occasionally let Hoolihan have a hand in treating a patient, but did it only on minor cases with consenting patients. The two would also dabble in medicine, mostly treatments for the cold.
They would repeat this cycle for the next few years until a typhoid fever epidemic swept the land. The pair would spend months developing a vaccine, and found plenty of willing subjects to test it on, with varying success rates. After tweaking the formula, they developed an effective vaccine and began to produce it as fast as they could. Their small lab could only produce several dozen doses a day, but they were able to save some of the region, earning the undying gratitude of many.
This gratitude proved a boon to Marzak, as some people would bring gifts to the nuclear plant, which was often crops or electronics, both of which allowed him to work longer. These would stop that first winter and not continue, though Marzak stayed content in his small practice and vaccine lab. His happiness would be diminished over the next few years, however, with a growing sense of futility after he watches a patient die from cancer. Surprised to be touched, he tried to deny his feelings until he came to accept them one late night. It would not be long after this that John Hoolihan talked Marzak into going with him to South Dakota to go into business together.
After packing up what he could carry and saying his goodbyes, Harold joined John on the road, heading north. The pair would sell their expertise as they went, and despite being robbed twice, they would arrive in Timber Lake in good shape in the fall of 2250. They set up in a small warehouse on the outskirts of town and began buying lab equipment, which drew the interest of the locals until they were told it was for vaccines. Surprised by the reaction, Harold became somewhat discouraged, but still continued his work creating, while Hoolihan sold out in the Territory.
As time went on he would see orders increase, as well as befriend several of the townspeople, few of whom minded ghouls. Marzak would also continue to treat cancer cases with his Radiotherapy machine, which he had to rebuild. When Crossed Hooves approached about distribution deals, Marzak was much warier than Hoolihan. The money was too good to pass up, however, so he agreed to their terms and began to fill whatever orders they placed. The time the pair saved not having to deliver allowed them to experiment with other chems and compounds, all of which the Hooves were eager to buy up.
They also hired several locals and taught them the basics of production, increasing output by a third. Around this time Marzak also began to be seen with Jerri Larrix, the Badlander head of Buckthorn Deliveries. People initially thought they were working on a business deal of some type, but the casualness of their demeanor suggested something more. No one ever asked Marzak about this directly, however, and his life was about the same for the next decade until John died in his sleep in 2265. To compound his trouble in the smallpox epidemic, A group of raiders took over one of the bars in town, claiming it as their own.
Having been friends with the owner, and angry over Hoolihan's death, Harold hired a dozen Lightning Blots and a dozen Badlanders to take the building back. Bloodshed would only be avoided by Mary-Anne Harrison, who brokered a last-minute peace agreement between the two sides. Marzak's actions would have several people questioning his mind, but he remained an efficient chemist and doctor. When Joan reached "adulthood" she started working at the business, freeing Marzak to return to research new compounds.
He also hired several of the smarter locals, forming two small teams to work on projects he had been putting off, with himself heading one to find the cure for diabetes. He has made little headway in the twenty years since, but he has kept the company in the black and their products fresh and effective against whatever illness the wastes throw their way. He has also begun construction of a radiotherapy facility on the side of the Chem Brewery and treats whoever is willing to have their body shot with radiation.
Harold is a ghoul of average height and weight, his only notable physical features being his sunken eyes, and the orange tint to his skin. He usually wears a lab coat with casual clothes underneath, gloves for his burned hands, and a wide-brimmed hat, both to keep the sun out of his eyes and to hide his baldness.