Do We Have This One?
A common Characters as Device
trope. Whether an interesting specimen, rare Chosen One
, prodigy, or the product of experimentation itself, something has escaped from a lab or lab-like place. This usually either begins the plot or thrusts an already-running plot forward.
Many a Phlebotinum Rebel
has this kind of story. If a group of characters escape together, they may form a Secret Project Refugee Family
. See also Playing with Syringes
, which is occasionally related.
Anime & Manga
- #26 and Tetsuo from AKIRA, due to their psychic abilities which the government was trying to understand/amplify.
- Koki Maeno from Mnemosyne. Actually, he is Maeno's clone, and the original already died in that lab.
- Lucy, and later Nana, from Elfen Lied both escape from the lab. Lucy escapes on purpose, Nana has escape forced upon her.
- Cowboy Bebop, episode 20 "Pierrot le Fou". The ISSP Section 13 lab creates a man via genetic engineering and trains him to become an assassin with super powers. After he's judged to be a failure and sentenced to indefinite imprisonment, he kills all of the guards, escapes from the lab and starts hunting down the men behind the project.
- The animals in We3. To quote their page:
The story follows a trio of animals - a dog ("Bandit" or "1"), a cat ("Tinker" or "2"), and a bunny ("Pirate" or "3") - that were cybernetically enhanced by The Government to work on covert military operations. When the project is scrapped, the animals - who have escaped from their military handlers - have to fend for themselves and escape the soldiers sent to destroy them.
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- The Secret of NIMH. The rats of NIMH, in a nutshell. A subspecies of rodents who were given human levels of intelligence after being subjected to horrific experiments by the National Institute of Mental Health. It was Mrs. Brisby's husband, Jonathan, who made their escape possible. However, all of the mice, save for himself and Mr. Ageis, died during the attempt; leaving only the rats.
- Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, who was created as a weapon by a mad scientist.
- Batty Koda from Ferngully The Last Rainforest. He was experimented on before escaping, and as a result, is slightly nutty. He even has wires still sticking out of his head.
- Species. Sil escapes from a government laboratory after the scientists who created her try to kill her.
- Leeloo in The Fifth Element escaped from the lab that genetically reconstructed her after the Mondoshawan ship she traveling aboard was attacked by Mangalore fighters and destroyed.
- Paul from Paul, a captured extraterrestial.
- Agatha, one of the "precogs" from Minority Report, escapes with the help of the main character from the psuedo-lab/home base where the precogs are kept.
- V for Vendetta contains a particularly nasty example: The main character was is a government-creates superhuman who was nearly killed in a fire; his disfigurement is part of the reason he wears a mask, in addition to his hate for the government.
- Wolverine in X-Men flees the medical center in the mansion before meeting Professor X and the rest of the team. He later has a nightmare about fleeing the lab in which he got the adamantium added to his body.
- D.A.R.Y.L. is a robot child prototype who escapes from a laboratory.
- The Questor Tapes. An android is assembled in a government laboratory. He escapes with the intent of finding his original creator.
- The six main characters from Maximum Ride spend the novels running from the government project that created them.
- Frankenstein. Frankenstein's Monster escapes from Dr. Frankenstein's lab.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe short story "Therefore I Am", the robot IG-88 develops Artificial Intelligence and concludes that he is superior to all life in the galaxy. He then murders the scientists and everyone else who tries to stop him from leaving the lab where he was created.
- The novel Dusk by Susan Gates is about a girl named Dusk who escaped from a lab; she was created by fusing hawk and human DNA.
- The dogs in The Plague Dogs. The focus of the story is their escape from a lab where they were being experimented on and the subsequent pursuit.
- The rats in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
- Dark Angel. Max Guevara (Jessica Alba) escaped from a covert government biotech/military facility as a child.
- The Lone Gunmen: The group rescues a chimp which can talk through a computer from a lab after it contacts them via email. They don't know it was a chimp at first.
- Firefly: River Tam is rescued by her brother from The Academy, a government facility in which she underwent experimentation resulting in significant combat and potentially psychic abilities.
- In Fringe episode named Wallflower, a mutant child who has been made invisible has escaped from the lab. He is mistakenly presumed dead. He lives by himself and kills people to extract pigment from their bodies so he can become visible again.
- Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode "Mr. R.I.N.G.". The title robot is the product of a government experiment. He escapes in an attempt to become more human, but kills several people while doing so.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 4th season Big Bad Adam, which is an Frankenstien-like amalgamation of sevaral different demons, escapes from the lab he was created in after killing his "mother."
- In an episode of Quantum Leap Sam leaps into the body of a chimp in the space program; he later gets reassigned to the crash helmet lab (where they put a helmet on a chimp and hit it with a giant hammer, viewing the results). He escapes along with his chimp-girlfriend.
- The song "Lab Rat Bravely Escapes On A Hovercraft Only To Crash Directly Outside The Gates" by El-P.
- Mongoose Publishing's Strontium Dogs RPG. On the planet Cytrix IV, human scientists created three clones of one of the native alien Durdees. They educated the clones at an accelerated rate, which caused them to develop violent psychotic tendencies. The clones slaughtered over two dozen lab workers and fled, going on a killing spree that covered eight planets.
- Blood Of Heroes. Three of the sample characters have this background: Fury, Katana and Samus.
- Crisis Core. Zack escapes, with Cloud, from Hojo's lab, after being subjected to his cruel experiments for four years, and spends the following year on the run from Shinra. Being that it's the prequel to the events of Final Fantasy VII, it does not end well for Zack....
- Bloody Roar 3. One of several rumors, concerning the series' secret boss character, Uranus, is that she's a clone of Uriko Nonomura, who escaped from Tylon's laboratories.
- Red XIII from Final Fantasy VII, examined and experimented on by a mad scientist due to him being the last of his species.
- Ogmo from Jumper series is a lab creation that spends the first game escaping from the laboratory abandoned since World War I.
- Alex Mercer in Prototype escapes from a lab at the start of the game.
- The backstory of the bounty hunter Weavel in Metroid Prime Hunters.
- Mewtwo in the Pokémon franchise. It was made by altering the fetus of a pregnant Mew in the Cinnabar island lab. It escaped, destroying the lab in the process.
- The video game of The Amazing Spider-Man has the main antagonists for the early part of the game (The cross-breeds) break out of Oscorp, having been triggered to madness by Spidey's presence.
- El Goonish Shive. Damien killed everyone in the lab he was created in before he escaped. Grace, Vlad, Hedge, and Guineas also escaped from the lab they were created in when Damien killed all of the experimenters there as well. They ended up becoming a (severely dysfunctional) Secret Project Refugee Family.
- Pinky and the Brain, the laboratory mice trying to take over the world, frequently escape from their lab in order to enact whatever their latest scheme is.
- In Young Justice, Superboy joined up with the team after he was busted from a Cadmus research center by Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad after being persuaded to do so.