You and your fellow {{Artificial Human}}s, kidnap victims or [[GuineaPigFamily siblings]] have just [[EscapedFromTheLab escaped from]] [[PlayingWithSyringes the lab you all grew up in/were experimented on]]? Where the heck do you go now? Chances are slim that any of you still have a family in the normal world. If that wasn't bad enough, not many people will want to put up with [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer freaks like you.]]

So what do you do? Adopt each other as a family! Because, let's face it, you more or less have nobody else (unless you got lucky and got [[MotherlyScientist one of the project scientists]] to take care of you, but without nasty experiments this time).

A BreakfastClub and often a FamilyOfChoice, expect one to be [[PromotionToParent (self)-promoted to the role of parent]]. Commonly the SecretProjectRefugeeFamily will become {{Phlebotinum Rebel}}s as they either try to elude or take revenge on their creators... and [[PsychoPrototype elder siblings]]. Or hey, they're just one EvilOverlord recruitment away from becoming a QuirkyMinibossSquad. Not to be confused with GuineaPigFamily.

Alternatively, in more mundane settings without {{mutants}} and {{mad scientist}}s, the "family" will instead be made up of the [[CrazyHomelessPeople homeless]], the [[DisposableVagrant destitute]], [[IJustWantToHaveFriends the lonely]], [[ParentalAbandonment the abandoned]] and [[TheMadHatter the crazy]]. Essentially, everyone who gets [[AcceptableHardLuckTargets left behind]] by society, regardless if it is [[SocietyIsToBlame the fault of society itself]], or their own. As in the "secret project" variety, the group of strangers or acquaintances will be [[BreakfastClub brought together by the collective suckiness of their lives]], and the advantages of pooling resources to ensure their survival. But unlike the "secret project" variety, members of the group will likely address their personal problems, while trying to [[BystanderSyndrome ignore everyone else's]].

Most of the initial conflict will arise from extremely volatile personality clashes, dealing with the [[DysfunctionJunction collective angst the group has accumulated]], attempts to cross the line between stranger and family, or outside forces threatening to disrupt or even dissolve their group. In most cases, the group will eventually come to [[TrueCompanions trust one another]] as if [[SuperFamilyTeam they were real family]], possibly even more than their real relatives (if they still have any); disproving that blood is ThickerThanWater.

Expect to hear lengthy discourse on [[WishFulfillment getting what you want]], [[InherentInTheSystem the flaws of society]], and the meaning/purpose of love and family, depending on how seriously the medium treats these issues.

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!!Examples:
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The Numbers in ''[[MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha Nanoha StrikerS]]''.
** And to a lesser extent, the Knights.
** Fate and Erio are both from the same project. Signum, Shamal, Vita, and Zafira were all programmed murder machines until recently. Subaru and Ginga are precursors to the aforementioned Numbers. Agito only remembers back to her time spent in an unethical lab, [[TheyWouldCutYouUp being tested to death.]] Vivio is a clone bioweapon. Lutecia may also apply.
*** So far, I count no less than 18 project refugees all living in one big military family.
* From Anime/MobileSuitGundam00, Allelujah and the [[spoiler:Human Reform League supersoldier test subjects]] are implied to have tried to be this. Their very short-lived attempt doesn't work out very well.
** From the second season on, Celestial Being seems to have become this. It's explicitly stated that Feldt, at least, considers the group her family, but then she was literally born and raised in Celestial Being (her parents were both Gundam Meisters who died before CB went public).
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' The Homunculi are a mixed bag. Lust showed affection for Gluttony like one would for a "pet" and he was likewise fond of her, and Wrath looked upon Sloth as a mother-figure. However, Greed had severed all ties, Pride was more of a boss, and Sloth was an assistant. In the manga, the other homonculi are outright terrified of Pride, and Sloth is really just a slave. The entity they call "father" seems to be called as such more out of fear than affection.
** Gluttony is so upset by [[spoiler:Lust's death]] that he goes AxCrazy when he realizes he's in the same room with her killer. On the flip side, Pride thinks nothing of [[spoiler:''devouring'' Gluttony]] when it's convenient for him.
** In [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime version]], Wrath and Sloth's relationship fits this as noted above. Likewise, Gluttony seems to show this in the 2003 anime, in which he is visibly distressed about the knowledge that [[spoiler:Lust has died. He shuts down, to the point where Dante has to remove his mind so he will finalize the Philosopher's Stone that Alphonse's body has become.]] He is so distressed that ''[[BeyondTheImpossible Gluttony loses his appetite!]]''
* The Schiff in ''BloodPlus''.
* The cyborg characters in ''{{Cyborg 009}}''.
* It could be argued that this applies to the Soul Society in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''. They're not artificial, but they pretty much have no way to find actual relatives ([[spoiler:except for Rukia's sister]]), so end up adopting each other as families.
** This is actually stated by Yuichi when he talks to Chad upon Ichigo and his group arriving in the Soul Society.
*** As stated by many fans of Manga/{{Bleach}}: Worst...afterlife...EVER!
* Part of the premise of ''KyouranKazokuNikki''. A group of seven (later eight) people, most of them harboring the DNA of a creature that promised to destroy the world and [[DysfunctionJunction all of them]] from a [[DarkAndTroubledPast dark past]], live together under "Operation Cozy Family" to prevent the world from blowing up. Family members include a robot, a {{catgirl}}, a lion, a jellyfish and [[TokenMiniMoe a girl with demon blood]].
* The cast of ''Anime/ReadOrDie'' becomes this by the end of the series: the Paper Sisters, Yomiko, Nancy and Junior. With Nenene as the "normal" one. (Don't ever call her that.)
* The teens of ProjectARMS end up as one as they are being hunted by Egrgori. Playing this trope even ''more'' straight, they all turn out to be specially bred to have ARMS implanted in them, [[RetCon directly going against the already established backstory]].
* The Gravity Children of Manga/AirGear fit this trope nicely. Particularly [[spoiler: the four "sisters" that live with Ikki when the story begins]]
* Holland's crew in the EurekaSeven movie.
* Although some still have some family left, most [[OnePiece Straw hats]] are orphans, and they consider the crew their family.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:ComicBooks]]
* John Byrne's ''ComicBook/NextMen'' comic.
* The MarvelUniverse's ''{{ComicBook/Livewires}}'' and TheDCU's ''LabRats.''
* ''{{Gen 13}}''. [[GeodesicCast Mirrored by]] [[ThePsychoRangers DV8]] and the Mongolian Barbeque Horde.
* The Morlocks from ComicBook/{{X-Men}}.
** A fair number of the ComicBook/{{X-Men}} themselves. Wolverine, X-23 . . . I'm sure a bunch of the others.
* The Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles. And [[TeenageMutantSamuraiWombats various imitations]].
* The cast of ''Comicbook/{{Runaways}}'' sort of fits this trope. After running away from their evil parents and not being satisfied with the foster care system they adopted each other as a family.
* ''{{Nocturnals}}''. Some are refugees from secret projects. Others are supernatural entities. All of them have nowhere else to go.
* A particularly unusual (and nonhuman) example: ''ComicBook/{{We3}}''.
* ''ComicBook/ScareTactics''.
* The ''ComicBook/TeenTitans'' from 1996 were half-human, half-alien sleeper agents that instead banded together to fight the aliens. They then stayed together, with a deaged Atom as their mentor. Other DCU characters would join them over the course of the series.
* Cloud, Seraph and Harridan initally appeared as this in ''ComicBook/TheDefenders''; being on the run from the Secret Empire. Cloud would later join the Defenders.
* ''InfinityInc'' had recurring antagonists Helix; an evil geneticist had mutated them in the womb, kidnapped them at birth, and then raised them in isolation. When he died, they took stock of their options and decided on crime.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfic]]
* The title group in the Manga/{{Naruto}} fanfic FanFic/{{Hakumei}}.
* In the MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic fanfic FanFic/FreedomThroughHarmony. After being trained and used as human weapons by Celestia, Twilight and Phil stuck together.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The gang of runaway robots in ''Film/AIArtificialIntelligence''.
* The three precogs at the end of ''Film/MinorityReport''.
* The replicants in ''Film/BladeRunner''.
* A case could be made for the surviving members of ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'', in the film at least.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The main characters in James Patterson's ''MaximumRide'' series.
* The mutants who live in the fringes in ''Literature/TheChrysalids'' seem to adopt each other as a sort of 'tribe'/family.
* The Durona sisters in LoisMcMasterBujold ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'' are ''clones'' of their progenitor Lilly Durona, and are escapees from one of Jackson's Whole robber barons.
** The same series also has Terrance Cee, whose history is a pointed example of why these often don't work in real life (ie, they make you easier to find).
* Another (and more warlike) example is Audubon Ballroom from David Weber/Eric Flint, in the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series, who are less of a family and more of a guerrilla army of escaped Mesan slaves. It does help that their organisation is pretty big and have powerful allies.
* Connor, Risa and Lev in Neal Shusterman's ''{{Unwind}}'', though what they are running away from is not a secret. They are running away from being "unwound", or having every body part taken away from them.
* ''Literature/{{Gypsies}}'', by Creator/RobertCharlesWilson, is about the children and grandchildren of two world walkers who wandered into our world decades ago. The original married couple never told their kids where they were from, and punished them for the use of their powers. But the grandson of the first generation is starting to display his powers, and the last world walker from a really, really nasty dystopia has finally found themů
* The clone commandos who desert in the ''[[RepublicCommandoSeries Republic Commando]]'' series count as this, though the [[StarWars Grand Army]] is far from secret by that time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:LiveActionTV]]
* It's consciously averted in the first season of ''DarkAngel'', as the escaping X-5's decide to split up to avoid capture. However, Max acquires one of these in the second season with Alec and Joshua and later a whole city of transgenics.
** DarkAngel also played it straight, with a squad of younger transgenics who stayed together (giving Max a chance to be MamaBear).
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Telepaths who were not in Psicorps attempted to run away. Some were more successful than others.
* Kyle and Jessi from ''{{Kyle XY}}'', to some extent. Partially subverted in that they had a normal, human family as well, and probably didn't see each other in quite such a brother/sister way in the end...
* In later seasons of ''ThePretender'', Jarod was joined at various points by a young fellow escapee and his own father, a former Centre employee.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:TabletopGames]]
* A typical throng of TabletopGame/PrometheanTheCreated characters -- not exactly lab projects most of the time, but often abandoned by their creators, spurned by humanity, and seeking someone for tea and sympathy.
* This is also how a motley or Freehold of [[TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost Changelings]] can tend to look in ''Changeling: the Lost''. They can afford to be a little pickier than the poor Prometheans, but honestly, when you've been kidnapped by beautiful and terrible Eldritch Abominations, tortured into a more pleasing (and utterly ''not'' human) form to suit their whims, survived this process, escaped back to Earth, and then found at ''best'' some ''Thing'' with your face in your place, and at worse found that Time has screwed you over quite severely in the bargain... well, as the book says, Changeling society tends to be pretty dang forgiving of its members' little.. ''quirks''. Oh, and of course, we have the Summer, and to a lesser extent, Autumn Courts....
[[/folder]]

[[folder:VideoGames]]
* This is the backstory for Kadaj and his gang in ''AdventChildren''.
* This fits Team K' in the ''KingOfFighters'' games fairly well. Well, after they switch Whip out for Kula, anyways.
** Actually, Whip sort of commutes between them and Heidern's Ikari squad. She's K's [[spoiler:biological]] sister, after all.
* Strega from ''{{Persona 3}}'': They aren't actually artificial humans, but they were the only survivors of a secret project to create Persona-summoners out of humans who weren't born with the talent..... too bad they ended up with something a bit closer to Team Rocket instead.
* [[spoiler: Jack, the Little Sisters, and presumably Tenenbaum]] in the good ending of ''VideoGame/{{Bioshock|1}}''.
* The Cybran Nation of ''VideoGame/SupremeCommander'' began as this, complete with the mad scientist/genius (Dr. Gustaf Brackman) responsible for creating them as their father figure - and said father figure is still alive and kicking one thousand years later. Although really now, they're more of a Obvious Project Refugee Country now.
** Albeit Brackman has been reduced to a brain + spinal column + cybernetic enhancements inside a vat of unknown liquid. He can only communicate with others through a life-sized 3D hologram of himself.
* The Black Mage Village from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX''.
* Pretty much the whole premise of ''FamilyProject''.
* Hermana Larmo in ''VideoGame/TalesOfInnocence'' runs a secret school to harbor "Gifted" children that would otherwise be captured and researched by the government.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'':
** Eientei: Eirin and Kaguya, two Lunarian immortals on the run from the crime they committed against fellow Lunarians; Reisen, a Lunar Rabbit defector; Tewi, an Earth rabbit who host them; and later Medicine, a venomous doll that Eirin took as apprentice.
** Byakuren, rejected by humankind, gather quite a band of {{Youkai}} followers that look up at her.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WebComics]]
* The Renegades in ''ElfBlood'' somewhat qualify, with Ixnay acting as a kind of den mother. Only TKO and JN were ever experimented upon, however, and the only real family within the group are the Whittle sisters.
* Grace and her "brothers" from ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' form one, at least after Damien is killed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* Double Subversion: ''BionicSix''. They were a blended family brought together when the parents adopted an Asian son and a black son. Then they were turned bionic to save their lives, after which point they were pressed into service for the government. So they were willing, given that they owed the government their lives, [[JumpedAtTheCall and the teen members got a kick out of being superheroes]].
* The animals from ''IAmNotAnAnimal''.
* The Mutates from ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' [[spoiler: except Fang after his FaceHeelTurn-- or, perhaps, after Maggie, Claw, and Talon's HeelFaceTurn, depending on one's point of view. Its complicated.]] Later, most of the Gargoyle clones join them.
* ''JusticeLeague'' features two approximate examples. SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker's Royal Flush Gang was a group of metahuman teens (modelled on the powers of the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' and using the same voice actors from that show) which the Joker had liberated from the government's Project Cadmus and trained in supervillainy. The Ultimen (who were in turn a pastiche of the EthnicScrappy characters from ''{{Superfriends}}'' (and the Wonder Twins) are a borderline case, since technically they never quite succeeded in escaping the secret project.
* One ''WesternAnimation/QuackPack'' episode has a regular ordinary family, a dad, wife, and a girl. And they're secretly armed robots hiding from the military.
* In ''StaticShock,'' She-Bang is a test tube baby engineered to have super powers, and her "parents" are actually the [[MotherlyScientist motherly and fatherly scientists]] who liberated her from her makers so she wouldn't be used as a weapon.
[[/folder]]
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