The Arklay Laboratory was a laboratory complex located in the Arklay Mountains, and managed by Umbrella USA. Hidden beneath the seclusive Spencer Mansion, the Arklay Laboratory was one of the earth's key Umbrella facilities, and was involved with viral and bio-weapons research and development. The facility was destroyed following a sabotage which left the entire research staff and associated employees dead or otherwise infected with the t-Virus.
The Arklay Laboratory was constructed around 1967 to facilitate research into viral weaponry. The laboratory was controlled by Dr. Oswell E. Spencer, The Earl Spencer, who wanted to engineer viral weaponry for world powers to fund greater research for the eugenics plan known as the "Wesker Project". In the early years of Umbrella Pharmaceuticals, Spencer competed with other laboratories led by Dr. James Marcus and Dr. Edward Ashford, Earl Ashford to engineer these weapons. The mutagenic virus they had recovered in Africa, dubbed "Progenitor", was perfect for the founders' eugenics fantasy, but with a quick, 90% fatality rate it was insufficient a weapon. Therefore, all three began experimenting on viral samples to engineer mutant strains of better use for the military. In October 1967 Spencer had the Trevor family abducted and experimented on with multiple strains of Progenitor to provide data.
In the 1970s, the Arklay Laboratory and Marcus' laboratory engineered Progenitor strains that kept infected people alive in an aggressive but mentally-weakened state. The survival of these people, dubbed "zombies", proved the mutant strains as potent weapons and such strains were dubbed "t-Virus".
In 1978, Drs. Albert Wesker and William Birkin were transferred to the Arklay Laboratory after graduating from Marcus' executive training school. Birkin assumed the role of the facility's chief researcher. At the start of his position at the Arklay Laboratory the staff were researching the Ebola Virus for use as a viral weapon. Birkin took the decision to graft the Ebola genome into the t-Virus to increase its infection rate, aware that approximately 20% of the human population were naturally immune to their version of the t-Virus.
During the 1980s the Arklay Laboratory began competing with Dr. Alexia Ashford over bioweapons research. Birkin took the young Ashford prodigy as a threat to his chances of promotion to Umbrella's management, and obsessively drove research in any direction to best her. Among his contributions in this period was the Hunter α, a bioweapon created by grafting reptilian DNA to a female human embryo with the t-Virus as a bonding agent. Birkin's search for new weaponry to create culminated with the incorporation of one of Umbrella Europe's Nemesis-α parasites into the body of Lisa Trevor, who had been kept for well over twenty years by this point as a test subject. The discovery of a new Progenitor strain within her body resulted in the opening of the G-Virus Project; the construction of a new underground laboratory in Raccoon City's industrial quarter, and Birkin's transfer there in 1991.
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..
In May 1998, the laboratory was sabotaged by the Queen Leech, a sentient leech created by Dr. Marcus before his death ten years prior. The virus leaked into the water supply, spreading the virus to the majority of the staff.[notes 1] Over a period of a month, the remaining staff would make attempts to stop the spread of the virus and zombiism and the release of experimental B.O.W.s in the panic. Those suspected of being a carrier were killed by their colleagues, unaware that not only they, but everyone was already infected. Isolated survivors were known to have committed suicide in a last-ditch attempt to avoid becoming food, along with the terrifying thought of becoming one of them.
In late July of that year, under public pressure, the Special Tactics and Rescue Service – Raccoon City Police Department's equivalent of the New York City Police Department's Emergency Service Unit – under 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 2] 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 3] 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
- ↑ Resident Evil 2 - the virus is established to spread uncontrollably to populations via the water supply
- ↑ 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
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Capcom Production Studio 4. Resident Evil. (Capcom). File: Suicide Note.
- ↑ Capcom Production Studio 4. Resident Evil. (Capcom). File: Researcher's Will.
- ↑ Resident Evil (2002), scenes: "Chris finds Enrico" and "Jill finds Enrico".
- ↑ Capcom. Resident Evil: Dead Aim. (Capcom). File: Regular Report No. 1162.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Capcom Production Studio 4. Resident Evil. (Capcom). File: Security Protocols.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Capcom Production Studio 4. Resident Evil. (Capcom). File: Keeper's Diary.
- ↑ Wesker's Report II