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"Plaga" (Spanish for "Plague"), known collectively as "Las Plagas" (Spanish for "The Pests"), was a parasitic organism believed to be centuries old that was indigenous to an isolated rural mountain region in southern Europe. It inhabited this area for a long time without coinciding with humans, but was released by a religious group known as the Los Illuminados in order to gain control of the village and use them for world domination. This same cult also conducted advanced research on the parasite, producing biological weapons with power equal to the B.O.W.s created by Umbrella Corporation. R&D for this purpose was assumed by TRICELL. 1 2 3 4
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Although they have existed for many years, the Plagas parasites were not known to the majority of civilization for centuries. They were a peculiar species which were indigenous to a rural mountain region in southern Europe which was ruled by the Salazar family since feudal times, untouched and overlooked by modern civilization. Their power of the parasites was the subject of worship of a cult known as "Los Illuminados". In the past, the first castellan of the Salazar family, a feudal family that controlled the land and possessed a secret art capable of controlling the parasites, persecuted the cult. The family managed to then fossilize the parasites, and their remains were sealed underground in the basement of the family castle. The cult's persecution persisted for eight generations.
Release (Unknown Date)
At some point in the early 21st century, the eighth castellan of the family, Lord Ramon Salazar, was confronted by the current leader of the Los Illuminados, a charismatic man named Osmund Saddler. Saddler managed to fascinate the young lord who began to feel guilt, convinced that his family had committed a crime by oppressing the cult. While Saddler's charisma charmed the residents of the village, Salazar released the Plagas and gave the parasites back to the cult, believing it to be reparation. Local villagers to excavate the fossilized remains of the parasites, who then became the first known hosts after inhaling the parasite in spore form.
Taking back the parasites, Saddler and the Los Illuminados began to conduct genetic experiments and succeeded in developing a new "dominant species" capable of controlling ordinary Plagas. Saddler administered the new dominant species to Bitores Mendez, who was the village chief and priest of the region, and used Mendez to force the local villagers to undergo a 'blood cleansing ritual', the injection of Plaga eggs to turn them into puppets known as "Ganado". Salazar also accepted a dominant species Plaga into his body and controlled all of the Ganado cult followers active in the region.
Saddler's aim was to control the world by showing the strength of the cult through 'innovative missionary method.' His first target is the United States, where he planned to grasp power by spreading the cult into key power centers, such as Congress, the Department of Justice, government cabinets, the military and large corporations. Meanwhile, he was unable to control his desire for power and began using the parasites in experimental bio-weapons research and development.
Southern Europe Incident (Autumn 2004)
Upon hearing information about a parasite in Europe that gave superhuman strength to its host, Wesker planned a mission to steal a sample of this "Plaga" parasite from the Los Illuminados. In 2004, he ordered Jack Krauser and Ada Wong to steal a sample of the dominant species Plaga. Although meticulously planned, Krauser was cut down by Leon and Ada betrayed him, resulting in only obtaining a subordinate species Plaga sample. Meanwhile, Ada delivered the dominant species Plaga sample to her own organization. However, Wesker successfully obtained a "dead dominant strain Plaga" from the corpse of Krauser, who had injected himself with the dominant species in an attempt to gain power.
Since their uncovering and subsequent retrieval, the Plagas have been the subject of much interest to several organizations due to their unique qualities and relatively unexplored properties. They are also a popular product on the black market due to their potential application as Bio Organic Weapons. After being brought the subordinate and dominant Plaga samples by Wesker, the parasites were subject to improvements and application in B.O.W. programs by Tricell Incorporated, who sought to sell them on the black market along with B.O.W.s created from them.
Plagas are weak parasitic organisms that can only survive by infecting other living creatures. They do not have any individual form by nature and it is not clear what dictates their manifestation. They are social organisms which typically operate as a collective in social harmony. Their ecosystem resembles that of ants or bees. They are highly adaptable and can parasitize many different kinds of organisms, allowing them to survive without a restriction to a single host species. They have been shown to adapt and operate best when parasitizing human hosts. Due to the survival instinct of the Plaga, hosts lose their sense of reason and show strong aggressiveness toward creatures who are not infected, although they retain their memory and intelligence. Highly adapted hosts to the parasite (such as the Chainsaw Ganado) exhibit abnormalities such as increased vitality and toughness, but increased aggressiveness. Minor mutations can also retain old habits (in the Gatling Gun Ganado's case, the constant smoking of cigars).
Because Plaga cannot survive on their own, and will grow weak and die in a short period of time, they attack nearby living things in order to seek out new hosts. The Plaga has a unique ability to parasitize inorganic hosts, such as suits of armor, as exhibited by the "Armadura" creature. If the parasite pursuing a host gets inside a suit of armor or any human-shaped object, it changes to a state of hibernation in order to sustain its life, and reactivates if any creature comes close. The tentacles of the parasite expand in the armor and composed of tissue resembling the muscular system of humans, allowing them to act as muscles and enabling them to walk and swing its weapons as if a man was inside.
Being able to parasitize virtually any living creature makes them perfect for use in genetic and biological experiments. When incorporated in gene splicing experiments, the introduction of a Plaga removes the gap between the different types of cells used in the process, allowing them to combine and form a completely new creature.
If the Plaga parasite began to rapidly multiply and spread throughout the world, there is no technology in existence for humanity to resist it. People who have become Ganado or hosts are easily detected in small towns or close-knit communities where unusual words or actions are able to be quickly detected, but they easily blend in to the crowd in large cities where even neighbors don't know each other. Even if discovered, it would be impossible to take the same eradication action in a major city using mass destruction weapons, as was used in Raccoon City. This quiet infection would eventually reach the ranks of national government. With the possibilities of developing parasites capable of more advanced deception, or joining forces with an important person who has been infected with a dominant species Plaga that retains the consciousness of the human and agrees to an overall political or religious ideal, humans would come under complete control. If the world were to be dominated by the Plagas, it would become more stable than now, with different hosts being able to share thoughts, resulting in the birth of a perfectly balanced bio-organism. Theoretically, on a global level the existence of such a parasite might not be such a terrible plague.
There are three main stages of growth for the ordinary subordinate species of the Plaga.
The parasite has the ability to exist and propogate itself in the form of spores, which slowly mature into an adult parasite once inhaled by a host. This ability is most likely a substitution for the inability to infect hosts while in the form of eggs.
The egg form of the parasite, which is able to be injected directly into hosts to hatch and take control over the space of several hours.
A larval-stage Plaga. After the destruction of the host's head, the Plaga inside quickly mutates and erupts from the body, replacing the head. Since it has already taken control of the host's nervous system, it is able to maneuver the body despite the clinical death of the host. The Plaga mostly attacks using a blade-like appendage. With all three ABC types, the combat efficiency and durability of the original host is exceeded.
An adolescent stage Plaga. This Plaga takes the form of a giant centipede-like creature after the destruction of the hosts head. It is much stronger than Plaga A and has the ability to vomit acid, as well as bite a victim.
This type is the mature adult form of a Plaga. It resembles a spider that has the ability to act independently of the host following the host's death. It has the ability to completely detach itself from the host's nervous system, leaving the old body behind. When independent, it is very weak and is unable to sustain its life for very long, driving it to seek out new hosts to attach itself to.
The ordinary Plagas enter humans as parasites in egg form, and after growing in the body, take mental control over the host. The only way to escape from this mental control is to rid the body of the Plaga before the egg hatches. It is possible to rid the body of Plaga using medication if the egg has not yet hatched, but once growth has begun, removal becomes extremely difficult. While it may be possible to surgically remove the parasite before it grows into adult form, it has not been attempted before and the probability of success is extremely low. One potentially effective method is to kill the Plaga by directly bombarding it with radiation.
However, there are several risks with this depending on the Plaga's control of the central nervous system. First, because the parasite is killed while it is still connected to the nervous system, the procedure is extremely painful for the host and there is a high possibility of severely impaired consciousness. Second, this procedure could also kill the host if the Plaga has already reached adult form. If these problems are overcome, the Plaga can be completely eliminated from the host and the host can be restored to its pre-infected condition.
The "Queen Plaga", or "Mother Plaga", was a giant organism resembling a combination of plant and mollusk which appeared to have been the progenitor of the Plaga parasite. At the base of the mother creature's eye was a sac in which the Plaga resided, along with spore-like organs on its root. From there, it was able to breed and gave birth to an inexhaustible supply of new Plaga offspring already in their adult form, which then sought out hosts. It was also able to pass on the ability of Plaga reproduction to hosts of the parasite, allowing new Plaga ecosystems to spread, although this trait is not believed to have ever been utilized before. Only one mother parasite has ever been recorded, and was destroyed. Further details are unknown. 5 6
The "subordinate species", or subordinate strain, is the natural Plaga species. Several natural variants of this Plaga exist which can only be detected after maturation within a host. Some subjects, such as Chainsaw Ganado and Gatling Gun Ganado subjects gain enhanced strength and much greater vitality. Generally, parasitized humans lose their reason and some of their intelligence. Despite this, they are able to verbally communicate. Parasitized animals on the other hand generally result in heightened aggression, as exhibited by dogs infected with the parasite, such as the Colmillos. The subordinate species is able to be controlled via a "secret art" which had been utilzied by the Salazar family. It is theorized that this method was related to the use of certain sounds similar to the concept of a dog whistle, and an organ for the detection of these sounds was discovered by Ada Wong's organization. Control is confirmed to be possible through the use of bells or other specific sounds.
The "dominant species", or dominant strain, is an artificial Plaga species developed by the Los Illuminados out of repeated genetic modifications, in order to maintain the awareness of the host human. Among these modifications, the ability to control the subordinate species was achieved, believed to be the result of research into the "secret art" of the Salazar family. In human form, hosts of this species also posesss superhuman strength and enhanced physical abilities if the host body is capable of it. Another trait is that it causes extreme transformations in the host. Hosts of this species are forced to resign themselves to never living a normal life again upon mutation, and the resulting transformations are completely unpredictable. A total of six samples of this species have been recorded. Since a separate means of command was designed to control the Type 2 Plaga, the dominant species Plaga is not believed to be of as much importance as previous and is used mainly in order to increase the host's combat abilities. 7
Type 2 Plaga
There exists an advanced type of Plaga that has enhanced purity for use as a weapon. This is the Type 2 Plaga, which was secretly developed by the pharmaceutical division of Tricell. It is a parasite with increased immediacy for parasitic method and mental control achieved by biologically and genetically modifying the original Plaga collected by Tricell from the mountain village in Europe. The original Plaga would infect a human host as an egg and develop mental control over the host as it grows over several hours, but since the new Type 2 parasite is administered to humans in an adult form, the mental control effect is immediately visible. It also features superior combat abilities over the regular Plaga and its weakness against sunlight has been removed, although it remains weak to high-energy bursts of light such as flash grenades.
Like the original parasite, the host's intelligence remains intact even after infection and the physical abilities are dependant upon the original abilities of the human host, but a unique characteristic of a Type 2 infected individual is its efforts to aggressively increase its numbers. One difference between Type 2 and the standard Plagas is that the host is generally rendered even more violent and barbaric due to a heightened aggressiveness. Subjects such as the Chainsaw Majini and Executioner possess unique characteristics from their individual adaptation, such as increased vitality and in the Executioner's case, the secretion of a chemical which enhances the muscles and skin. Like its normal counterpart, Type 2 Plaga is also highly adaptable and can exhibit many unique mutations. Examples include the "Cephalo", which resembles a more grotesque version of the original "Plaga B", "Bui Kichwa", a spider-like organism resembling the "Plaga C" and the "Kipepeo", a new mutation with the ability to act independently of the host body and fly.
The method of administration is oral - a forced method in which an infected individual directly presses against the mouth of the next host. The parasite enters into the body by breaking through the wall of the esophagus and attacking the medulla oblongata, attaching itself to the central nervous system components such as the brain and spine. Extreme muscular convulsions, uncontrollable body spasms and bleeding from the eyes follow, signifying control. The mental control is complete in a mere ten seconds. Like the original parasite, the host's intelligence remains intact even after infection and the physical abilities are dependent upon the original abilities of the human host, but a unique characteristic of a Type 2 infected individual is its efforts to aggressively increase its numbers. Incidentally, dealers in bio-weapons refer to these Type 2 infected humans as 'Majini', which means 'evil-spirit' in Swahili.
After hearing of the BSAA operation into his activities, Ricardo Irving released the Type 2 Plagas among the residents of the autonomous zone of Kijuju, which was used as a field trial to acquire live combat data on the Plagas against the operatives of the BSAA. 8
Type 3 Plaga
Tricell performed research to further improve the Plaga in order to create a soldier with significantly enhanced physical abilities. The result of this work was the improved Plaga 'Type 3'. This was achieved by transplanting a gene factor from a dead dominant species Plaga into the original strain Plaga and the research team overcoming several problems as the result of field trials. Tricell used the area surrounding it's African oil field as the official testing area for the Type 3, using the native tribe, the Ndipaya, as test subjects. Under the guise of an inoculation, the Type 3 Plagas were administered in egg form similar to the normal Plaga. Upon maturation, the entire tribe was under the effects of Type 3.
The first problem was the low retention rate. While the retention rate for male humans is 92%, roughly the same as a normal Plaga, it was 0% for women and children. The next problem was the striking change in physical appearance, with some subjects growing to nearly 3 meters in height. Unless these problems are overcome, the goal of a bio-weapon would remain distant. It was thought that the reason for failure was that the dominant species Plaga gene was too strong, but because some subjects developed significantly advanced jumping ability, these problems were considered tolerable discrepancies and this was seen as a path to the next level of research.
There are several physical changes to the host after maturation, with the skin being visibly torn and the eyes a deranged, diluted yellow rather than the typical red exhibited by Type 2 Plaga. Type 3 will also generally deliver its hosts into a killing frenzy, exhibited by the tribesmen who donned the clothing styles of their ancestors and took up tools such as spears and shields and even began killing each other. Due to the nature of the dominant species Plaga gene, Type 3 also presented various new mutations in some hosts. One mutation was a dramatic increase in the height of some subjects to almost three meters. These specimens were known as the "Giant Majini". A new mutation exhibited by Type 3 was named "Duvalia". 9