Escaped From The Lab
A character who has escaped from a laboratory or similar as an important part of their (back)story.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-11-24 15:55:29 sponsor: namasrates edited by: DAN004 (last reply: 2014-08-23 19:06:11)

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A character who has the escape from a laboratory as an important part of their story or backstory. He or she might have been conceived there, been raised there, or spent a significant part of their life there. The character might have served in the lab as an interesting specimen, an object of study, a subject of experimentation, or the ultimate goal of the lab.

Depending on how the lab functions and its purpose, a character with this kind of background is likely to have trouble connecting or relating to other people, or seriously warped morals, especially if they were raised in the lab since childhood. When they don't, it's often explained because there was a single nurturing caregiver in the lab.

Despite all of the above, sometimes environments that aren't labs can count as long as they do what labs do to these people: conditioning them mentally and physically into someone substantially different from society.

A common story for a Phlebotinum Rebel. If a group of characters escape together, they may form a Secret Project Refugee Family. See also Playing with Syringes and Mad Scientist Laboratory.

Indexes: Make My Index Live!, Medical Horror

Examples:

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.
  • In Cyborg 009, the titular cyborg and his friends all escaped from the Black Ghost's laboratory.
  • The title character Bagi from Tezuka Productions' Bagi, the Monster of Mighty Nature is a Half-Human Hybrid that was one of fifteen genetic prototypes that escaped from a research lab during an earthquake. Bagi was the only prototype not hunted down and killed. She becomes a young boy's pet kitten, and grows to become a formidable huntress that returns to the lab to learn her origins.
  • Mewtwo is shown to be a clone of Mew in Pokémon: The First Movie. He killed all of the scientists working on him before escaping.

Comic Books
  • 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.
  • Luther Arkwright: In the backstory in The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, we are told how Luther was abducted from the maternity ward right after being born, and then raised and nursed by machines. He ends up quite amoral.
    From infancy to adolescence, no family, no comforts, no natural emotive response patterns. Feelings subliminated. Reinforced by therapy and drugs. His name Alph. Rigorous martial training, reparation for the role planed for him.
  • Every incarnation of Kon-El, aka Superboy, has this origin story. From the 90s onwards, every interpretation of Superboy has been that of a clone developed by a shady organization.
  • In Young Justice, Secret was an escapee from a DEO lab.
  • X23 escaped the Weapon X lab after destroying the remaining clones and killing Dr. Rice, the one responsible for turning her into a Tyke Bomb. Rice, however, gets the last laugh by exposing her to the scent that sends her into a beserker rage and forces her to kill her mother.
  • Spider-Girl has May's clone April who had spent her entire life (more or less the entire time the teenaged May has been alive) in a test tube in a lab being subject to experiments like the venom symbiotie being permanently grafted to her. Because of this and the ambiguity if April wasn't the clone at all and it was May who should have been subject to the horrors she was has made her rather resentful to say the least.
  • X-Men villain Proteus was raised in the Muir Island labratory with his mother, Moira Mc Guire as the Motherly Scientist, but he escaped and did a whole lot of damage because not only was he a Reality Warper, but he also had to possess bodies to stay alive, and would burn them out to husks before moving on.
  • Bane. Technically, it was a prison, but the experiments conducted upon him there are an important part of his background.

Film - Animated
  • 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.

Film - Live Action
  • 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 Ripley clone in the fourth Aliens movie is bred in the lab, but escapes to resume the fight against the Aliens. On the way she discovers she is not the only one: an isolation lab contains horrifically distorted failed versions, as well as attempts to splice her genes with those of the Aliens.
  • Koba and some of the other ape characters in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes escaped from the medical lab during Rise of the Planet of the Apes, when Caesar and the apes from the sanctuary invaded and freed them all.
  • In the opening of Short Circuit, Johnny Five escapes from a robotics lab.
  • In Resident Evil Alice wakes up in a lab at the end of the first film and escapes without too much difficulty due to a Zombie Apocalypse having taken place while she was comatose. Later in the film series, she breaks into an Umbrella Corp lab so she can suit up an army of Alice clones.

Literature
  • 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.
  • Vorkosigan Saga, the two most notable examples (unless one wants to use Miles himself):
    • In Labyrinth Taura is a bio-engineered super-soldier that escaped from the Jacksonian (Robber) Baron Ryoval's lab to his cellar, where she was joined up with Miles.
    • In Ethan of Athos, Ethan meets the mysterious and telepathic Terrence Cee, who before the story started had managed to escape from the Cetagendan laboratory where he had been engineered and born.
    • In Falling Free, the engineer Leo Graf is hired to train a class in engineering and testing at a remote space station. The entire class is composed of children, gengineered for a life in free-fall, and apart from the older kids in the class there are over a thousand children on the space station. Then recent technological breakthroughs make the entire experiment (ie the kids) less profitable, and the company financing it decide to cut their losses by dismantling the space station. The children and Leo Graf disagree, and set out to escape.
  • In Ender's Shadow Bean escaped from an illegal genetics lab as a toddler while the scientists where disposing of his siblings to avoid discovery. He then spent the next few years surviving on the streets of Rotterdam before Battle School discovered him.
  • Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Jame is a rare fantasy example. After she ran away from her (mad) father as a child, she was picked up by the Big Bad (also her uncle) and brought to his castle in Perimal Darkling, spending several years there, and taught the soul-ripping dance of her mother, so she could take her mother's place later on.
  • In This Alien Shore by CS Friedman, the main character jamisia escapes from the lab where she was raised from age six with the help of her tutor, when the lab is invaded by a rival corporation. She spends the rest of the novel on the run from the invaders. The goal of the lab was to make Jamisia the first one able to pilot FTL crafts not from the Outspace Guild.
  • In Venus Prime, Sparta's confinement to a mental asylum came as a result of her attempting to escape from one of the Free Spirit's compounds.
  • While it's not exactly a lab in the traditional sense of the word, in Children of Dune, Leto II's rebellion begins with him escaping from a cave where Gurney and Namri are trying to force-feed him spice in the hopes that he'll undergo the same process that turned his father into the Kwisatz Haderach note .

Live-Action TV
  • 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 BBC's The Saturday Show had a weekly segment involving a puppet hamster (ironically) named "Tiny". His backstory was that he was experimented on by scientists who used a growth formula on him, where he ended up outgrowing the cage and escaped from the scientists.

Music
  • The song "Lab Rat Bravely Escapes On A Hovercraft Only To Crash Directly Outside The Gates" by El-P.

Other
  • The Doomy Adventures Of Irken Doominess: Jir was built for a evil irken named Riz, but was somehow turned on before completion, the only part uncompleted was his programing which would have made him a evil killer, but since he escaped from the lab he went on to be the kind smart Cute Shotaro Boy he is now.

Tabletop Games
  • 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.
  • TSR's Buck Rogers XXVC. The pirate Black Barney was a Terrine (genetically engineered) fighter designed and created in a Dracolysk Corporation laboratory in the Jovian Trojans. He and his fellow Barnies killed their creators and escaped the lab.
  • Champions. This is a very common way for supervillains to gain their powers.
    • Supplement Enemies
      • Stacy Turner was a mutant with the potential for strong Psychic Powers. She was taken by the supercriminal group PSI (Parapsychological Studies Institute) and put through torturous training to give her full control over her powers. She eventually escaped from PSI headquarters and took up a life of crime under the name Mind Slayer.
      • Tom Jerome agreed to be the subject of a medical experiment in exchange for money and glory. When he woke up he had been given superpowers, but his right hand had been removed. He went into a rage and destroyed the laboratory before escaping and becoming the supervillain Sledge.
    • Supplement Enemies II
      • James Matthew was a U.S. Army soldier who volunteered to be a part of Project Sunburst, which involved exposure to a nuclear explosion. The anti-radiation drugs he received combined with the radiation in his body to give him energy-related superpowers, and he used those poweers to escape from the laboratory where he was being studied and become the super criminal Radium.
      • Sydney Potter was a prisoner who volunteered to take part in a research project. Due to his bad luck he was accidentally given a dose of the wrong serum, exposed to radiation, hit by lightning and and fell into a polluted river. As a result he gained the powers of super strength and resistance to damage, used them to escape the research center where he was being held and became the villain Grond.
      • Igor Starankov was taken prisoner by the KGB and was subjected to prolonged sensory deprivation. As a result he gained immense strength and damage resistance, which he used to break out of confinement and escape the KGB facility. Once free he became a supervillain and took the name Durak.
      • The supervillain Pantera was born Rosa Sanchietti, daughter of the Mad Scientist geneticist Dr. Aldo Sanchietti. During her childhood he performed many twisted experiments on her, giving her superhuman powers and a vicious personality. At age 16 she killed him and escaped from his fortress laboratory.
      • George Wood was an UNTIL agent who volunteered for an experiment to determine how ordinary people could gain superpowers. The experiments worked, but being in constant excruciating pain for more than a year drove him insane. When he overheard UNTIL officials talking about having him committed to a mental institution he broke out of the hospital where he was being held and decided to become the super criminal Orb.d
      • The supervillain Pile Driver was originally a man named Richard Donaldson. After having a traffic accident he was taken to a laboratory that was actually a secret research center for the super criminal group VIPER. Donaldson was subjected to experimental surgery to reconstruct his body that replaced his left forearm with a pneumatic piston. When he awoke he became furious and used his pile driver to pound his way out of the laboratory to freedom.
      • Jack Smith was a mercenary who was wounded by a grenade explosion. His fellow mercs took him to the home of Dr. Samuel Levy. Although Levy's doctorate was actually in robotics rather than medicine, he surgically grafted robot parts onto Smith's body and turned him into a cyborg. The mental conditioning Levy tried to use on Smith failed, and Smith escaped Levy's laboratory to become the super criminal Halfjack.
    • Supplement Champions III
      • The Buffalo (his real name has been classified) was a volunteer for a U.S. Army project to develop a process to heal wounds and even regenerate lost organs. The process had the unfortunate side effect of impairing higher brain functions. The first experimental subject was a quadruple amputee: he regained all of his limbs but went berserk and broke out of the military hospital to rampage through Chicago. The press called him "The Buffalo" because of the horns that had grown out of the side of his head.
      • The Griffin was originally a pimp named Carlos Dagger in prison for murder. He volunteered as the subject of a scientific experiment in exchange for early parole. Radiation and drugs caused his DNA to revert to prehistoric genetic patterns and he became a birdman (humanoid body, wings, claws and a bird-like head). Unfortunately they also made him fierce, vicious and violent, and he broke out of confinement in order to gain his freedom.
      • When Maia de Sena was 13 years old she started having unusual experiences and was diagnosed as being a mutant. She was taken by the government to be tested and trained in her powers, but she missed her parents and her home and wanted to leave. She eventually escaped the mutant training facility with the assistance of an agent of the supervillain organization The Corruptors of All, which she then joined as the villainess Gaussian.

Video Games
  • 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.
  • Grey from Mega Man ZX Advent. If you pick him as your character, the game starts off with him waking up in a lab and escaping it. Later in the game, you actually revisit the lab, albeit a different part of it.
  • Kanden from Metroid Prime Hunters, a failed attempt to create an invincible soldier. All they created was an insane killing machine that's hard to kill.
  • In Borderlands 2, Kreig the Psycho escaped from Hyperion's labs and became a vault hunter. What's left of his sane inner voice has a crush on Maya, using her as a Morality Pet to keep him from becoming a complete psycho like everyone else on Pandora. He has a $1,000,000,000 bounty on his head for being Hyperion property.

Web Comics
  • 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.
  • In Spinnerette, when they were still civilians, Dr. Universe and Greta Gravity were imprisoned in a government weapons lab and forced to work on a device to boost superpowers. Their captors were expecting them to try to escape using the finished device (that was the best way to make them build it), but they succeeded anyway and turned to supervillainy in order to fight back against the corrupt military.
  • In Narbonic, when Artie recieves the Knipl Grant he discovers that his fellow recipients include a battle android and a shapeshifter, both of which are on the run from the facilities that created them.
    Artie: Biochemically-engineered, morphically-unstable, superintelligent gerbil ... and I suppose the only thing that makes me notable is that I'm on decent terms with my creator.
  • All the "furrans" seen in Ethan Qix's NSFW online comic Generation17 escaped from containment compartments that they refer to as a prison. However, they all have cybernetic implants and physiologic enhancements meant to make them Elite Mooks. This means the escapees have powers and abilities that they poorly understand and sometimes can't control.
  • Exterminatus Now: Lothar was engineered as a combat prototype in a lab from which he escaped. However, it turns out that wasn't the reason his limbs were replaced by bionics...

Western Animation
  • 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.
  • One of the characters in Capitol Critters is a former lab rat named Muggles, who now lives among normal rats inside the White House walls.
  • Jonny Quest has one researcher attempt to coalesce a large quantity of energy in a small capsule; he fails miserably, wrecking his laboratory. This also unleashes a living energy monster which is invisible, thus the episode's title: "The Invisible Monster." The creature consumes the scientist who created it, then goes trudging around the countryside seeking more energy sources to feast upon.
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