(Capcom's primary storyline)
The Arklay Laboratory was a research outpost located deep within the Arklay Mountains in the Midwestern United States. As with all other facilities in the United States, the Arklay Laboratory was managed by Umbrella USA. This facility was one of the first built by Umbrella and pioneered bioweapons research until 1998, when a biohazard turned personnel into cannibalistic murders. The facility was destroyed on Saturday 25 July 1998 in an operation planned by Umbrella itself but carried out by elements of the Raccoon Police Department.
Early years (1967-1977)
The Arklay Laboratory was the brainchild of Dr. Oswell E. Spencer, Earl Spencer, a prominent British noblemen and eugenicist who belonged to a wider circle of virologists sharing his views. The discovery of Progenitor Virus excited the group, who considered using it to replace the human race with a new subspecies of Übermensch, but the viral disease was found to be almost always fatal. With the Spencer Foundation lacking the funding for long-term research, three of the men agreed to found Umbrella Pharmaceuticals to raise capital; three new laboratory complexes were also constructed which could both independently engineer a less fatal Progenitor strain for the eugenics project as well as developing bioweapons to be used by NATO forces in the Cold War among other buyers to gain further data.
Work began on the Arklay Laboratory sometime in or after 1967, using a series of limestone caverns directly under an estate built for Spencer by Trevor & Chamberlain; the mansion itself was to serve as both a façade and office space. In October 1967, architect George Trevor and his family were invited to the estate as pretext for their abduction to wipe away any knowledge of the mansion's security mechanisms. While Trevor himself was starved to death, his wife Jessica and daughter Lisa were infected with mutant strains of Progenitor Virus developed by Spencer, marking the lab's first project. Jessica would herself be killed and her body discarded soon into the experiment, while Lisa's unexpected adaption to the "Type-B" strain led to the development of limited superhuman abilities and was thus worthy of further study.
Over the next decade, the Arklay Laboratory conducted a number of experiments with Progenitor Virus in what was quickly known as the "t-Virus Project". This project aimed to create a Progenitor strain that would by highly-infectious and always fatal, which could be used by the US Army in anti-insurgent operations. This project was classified with the blessing of the US government in flagrant disregard of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.
Birkin leadership (1978-1991)
In 1978, research fell under the control of Dr. William Birkin, a child genius freshly graduated from the Umbrella Executive Training Center, who was offered the position of Chief Researcher after stealing a sample of Dr. James Marcus' rival t-Virus prototype. Birkin's vision of the bioweapons projects ran at odds with his predecessor, and rather than focus on viral weapons with high fatality rates he instead considered viruses that could change the host on a behavioral level and kill others. By abandoning the Ebola Virus bio-weapons project and splicing into "α strain", the non-fatal Cannibal Disease became the most common effect instead of the fatal Progenitor disease. When the research team determined 10% of people would be resistant to their new "β strain", the t-Virus Project was expanded with the goal of creating mutant animal species which could kill the survivors in a warzone. Early studies on t-Virus effects on animals were at the time disappointing, with projects like Neptune and Web Spinner showing only size increases with comparative or lower intelligence. Birkin's team meanwhile pioneered more successful mammal Bio Organic Weapons, with the Cerberus Project presenting a trainable attack dog. Human-animal hybrid projects were also studied with the intent on creating weapons B.O.W.s with near-human intelligence. With methods of ex-utero gestation not yet developed, the Arklay Lab was supplied regularly by a large number of abducted homeless people who could be used in testing. The Chimera Project for example required several women be impregnated with a variety of human-arthropod hybrid embryos, with the DNA of the most satisfying animal preserved for future cloning. It is uncertain how the Hunter Project prototypes were created, though fellow researcher Dr. Albert Wesker noted that Birkin's research often resulted in the subject's death.
In 1988, the Arklay team began exploring next-gen bioweaponry, developing the Tyrant Project as a human supersoldier project. Studies suggested humans with certain intelligence-related genes were adaptive to the virus and could mutate into more powerful mutants, but this factor was only in 1 in every 10 million people. Without any test-subjects displaying these adaptive traits, it was deemed impossible at the time to engineer a new t-Virus strain that would result in a functioning Tyrant prototype. An alternate project was devised by Birkin and Wesker, which sought to implant a Nemesis-α parasite into the body of a test-subject which could be both deadly and intelligent. Lisa Trevor, still alive in custody after over twenty years, was picked as the host. Her body was seen to destroy the invasive parasite and incorporate its DNA into her own, highlighting her unusual mutations she had gone through over the years. This was soon discovered to be a Progenitor strain which caused extreme mutations and cell-repairing abilities without killing the infected. Birkin retired from his role to coordinate research on the newly-discovered Golgotha Virus with Dr. Christine Henry in France. The G-Virus Project was officially started in 1991 with the opening of NEST elsewhere in the Arklay Mountains, disguised under a chemical plant.
Following Birkin's transfer, John Clemens took over as head researcher. Umbrella did not appreciate his views on their research, and kept him under surveillance. At some point he began a relationship with Ada Wong, a Chinese agent who had infiltrated Umbrella for an unknown agency to provide research data.
On 11 May 1998, an accident took place in which the newly developed ε strain t-Virus spread throughout the lab, infecting the staff with the help of the Queen Leech who manipulated and caused the accident to occur as part of its revenge on Umbrella. Personnel were confined within the complex, and anyone attempting to escape was shot on the orders of the security officers. During the incident, Dr. William Birkin ordered a team to recover the cloned embryos of the T-002 to ensure the survival of the Tyrant Project. The confined research staff made attempts to commit suicide to either prevent mutation or not suffer the fate of being eaten alive, while others began killing their colleagues.
In late July of that year, under public pressure, the Special Tactics and Rescue Service under Captain Wesker's lead began investigating a series of bizarre murder reports and cases of savage animal attacks. Knowing full well that these reports were related to the virus, Wesker went with his mission: destroy the mansion, and recover the data on the B.O.W.s effectiveness by allowing the S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team to be butchered by them.
The S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team was sent in on July 23, and suffered engine failure, Wesker's attempt to kill them in an 'accident'.[notes 1] Surviving the crash, the team went on to investigate the mansion, where Bravo leader Enrico Marini uncovered evidence that someone on Alpha team had intentionally "set [them] up". Wesker went with Alpha team the following morning to investigate Bravo team's disappearance. An encounter with the mutated animals outside and the death of a Bravo team member allowed Wesker to slip away from his team, and begin destroying potential evidence.
Out of a department of thirteen, six S.T.A.R.S. members would survive the night: Chris Redfield; Jill Valentine; Rebecca Chambers; Barry Burton; Albert Wesker and Brad Vickers – Brad having escaped the animal attack on the chopper, stranding the rest. Wesker decided to betray Umbrella and pursue his own career, and would use a prototype virus handed to him by Birkin to allow him to "cheat death", in a literal sense. Staging his 'death' at the hands of a rogue T-002 after his mission had been discovered by the survivors, he used his spare time to escape the facility, and the persistent mutated Lisa Trevor, before its self-destruct device set off.
With the estate destroyed, and witnesses surviving, both S.T.A.R.S. and Umbrella were at a loss. Umbrella would risk a collapse in their revenue if the incident went public, while the S.T.A.R.S. survivors had no information to confirm their stories; all evidence going up in flames like the mansion.
To keep the conspiracy against Dr. Marcus a secret – the revelation of which would have disastrous implications on Umbrella's stock again[notes 2] – Umbrella researcher Morpheus D. Duvall would be held responsible for the incident and was subsequently fired. Due to his knowledge of Umbrella's true self, the company kept watch of him via a number of spies.
This is a list of employees that were stationed in the facility at the time of viral outbreak. This information comes from various documents and reports collected by Alpha team from the facility. Also, a number of lesser researchers was known to reside at the dormitory: a smaller structure adjacent to the mansion. They were known to have been conducting research on unusual organisms such as sharks and plants, leading to the creation of Neptune and the accidental creation of Plant 42.
Staff can be separated into two categories: Research & Development and Security. R&D itself has several divisions, two of which are known as "Special Research" and "Sanitation".
|Arving, Keith||Visual Data Room manager.|
|Birkin, William||Chief Researcher (former)|
|Clemens, John||Chief Researcher|
|Robert||Unknown, possibly Security.|
|Ross, S.||Consultant Researcher.|
|Sarton, Henry||Consultant Researcher|
|Smith, E.||Consultant Researcher.|
|Wesker, Albert||Consultant Researcher.|
|"The Keeper"||Research and caretaker.|
Alex Bechet may have also been an employee, though it is left ambiguous as to if the X-ray scan was for an employee or a test-subject.
Notes and sources
- Dialogue in the original Resident Evil suggest this, as Rebecca notes the unusualness of the incident, citing that she had checked the engine before the mission.
- Wesker warns Birkin in Zero that the conspiracy should not be uncovered, or it will damage Umbrella
- Resident Evil (2002), file: "Family Picture & Notes".
- Wesker's Report II, Part 1.
- Wesker's Report II, Part 2.
- Wesker's Report II, Part 4.
- Wesker's Report II, Part 5.
- Resident Evil (2002), file: "Researcher's Will".
- Resident Evil (2002), file: "Suicide Note".
- Resident Evil (2002), scenes: "Chris finds Enrico" and "Jill finds Enrico".
- Capcom. Resident Evil: Dead Aim. (Capcom). File: Regular Report No. 1162.
- Resident Evil (2002), file: "Security Protocols".
- Resident Evil (2002), file: "Keeper's Diary".