An ancient, natural parasitic organism with the ability to take over and completely control a host. They target all non-botanical life-forms and are named after the Spanish word for Plague or Pest. These parasites are thought to be millions of years old and industrial spy Ada Wong believed they have been around since ancient times. They are capable of placing themselves into a fossilised state and emitting spores for potential hosts to inhale, allowing for the gestation and growth of a new parasite within the host’s body. Little is known of their exact origin but they are believed to have first evolved in ancient Africa and it is speculated but not confirmed that their extreme mutation properties stems from a possible link or exposure to the Progenitor Virus. This is because the earliest known infestation of the Plaga was in the same area where the Progenitor Virus naturally thrived. It also provides a good explanation for generating such extreme mutations not found in other natural parasites. However it must be said this connection is purely hypothetical and has never been confirmed.
Las Plagas first became known to the modern world when they were discovered several hundred years ago in Southern Europe. They had lain dormant for
centuries without any human contact until they were found by the Los Illuminados cult, a religious movement that developed a dark religion and sigil based on the appearance of the parasite. Once exposed, the parasites quickly took over the group and formed a hive-mind like consciousness, leading to their eventual persecution and exile by the Salazar family.
In later years when the Plaga was dissected and researched by the Los Illuminados in modern times, scientist Luis Sera developed what was known as the ‘Dominant Strain Plaga’ or ‘Control Plaga’; a master organism capable of complete control and manipulation over the regular subordinate species. These were the main two types of the parasite but how they propagate is not currently determined. A ‘Mother’ or ‘Queen’ Plaga was present in Ramon Salazar’s castle in Southern Europe; a giant plant-like organism able to birth a new supply of Plagas as well as give off spores to infect through the air. It is currently unknown if this was the original source of Las Plagas in Europe. If so, then a similar Queen Plaga would also have existed in Africa many thousands of years before. It is thought the parasites communicate via ultra-sensitive sound waves and each Plaga possesses an organ specifically to sense these vibration patterns.
Commands can be conveyed to each Plaga in a frequency only the parasites can detect which allows them to be manipulated at will. Although inaudible to the human ear, this special ability is said to have been used by the feudal lords of the Salazar family passed down from generation to generation to control the Plaga. Eventually, this ‘secret art’ was adopted by Lord Saddler and the Los Illuminados. Cult leaders carried custom ceremonial canes for special religious services and it is believed this was the method used to retain control over the parasites, similar to the principle science behind a dog whistle.
Whilst those infected with a Subordinate Plaga lose some mental capability, they retain enough memory to perform basic functions and follow commands. Outwardly they may appear perfectly normal, capable of speaking and carrying out basic day to day tasks, but they are entirely devoted to their masters. If called to, they will attack at will with no fear of injury or death. They have extraordinary strength and high tolerance for pain. An injury that might cripple a normal human being would just be a mere annoyance to a subject infected with a subordinate parasite. When in groups infectees are capable of tactical thinking. They can coordinate complicated attacks and ambush and flank their targets.
In contrast, those with a Dominant Species Plaga retain complete consciousness, awareness and intelligence. As well as retaining control over their own parasite, Dominant carriers can also control a Subordinate Parasite within others. Other side effects for a host include incredible strength and agility. An individual carrying this Plaga can remain virtually unchanged so long as they supressed the parasite’s mutagenic powers. But if they wished to do so, they are capable of triggering bizarre and extreme mutations of their bodies through its use. This process is irreversible and regular human form was
Plagas on their own are weak and need a host organism to survive. If they cannot locate a suitable vessel, they grow weak and will die in a short period of time. They attack nearby living things indiscriminately in order to seek out new hosts and sustain themselves. The parasite works by attaching itself to the victim’s nervous system, working its way through to settle between the lungs and the heart before maturing and eventually gaining control of the host’s central nervous system. The parietal lobe of the brain is mainly affected and the parasite continues to control the body by wrapping itself around the spinal cord. The host needs to be able bodied or the process will not work. To demonstrate this the Plaga has a 0% adherence rate with children as their under-developed bodies cannot cope with the added strain. But when successful, over time the host’s cells will begin to change and symptoms of infection include coughing up blood, fainting, hallucinations, blood around the eyes, and swelling and discolouration of the blood vessels and iris, typically in red. Once the process is complete it makes the host very strong and highly resistant to pain. It is easily adaptive to many other organisms and not just humans. It is theorised that Las Plagas has a collective intelligence. In their base form they are very sensitive to ultraviolet light and exposure to direct sunlight will kill them.
Las Plagas are also social organisms. Instead of living individually, they do so in perfect social harmony. Similar types of behaviour is found in insects such as bees and ants. This trait surprised researchers who had the chance to study the Plagas as this type of behaviour is extremely rare among parasitic organisms. In rare cases, the Plagas have demonstrated the ability to parasitize inorganic hosts such as inhabiting armoured suits then remaining dormant in order to conserve energy and wait for a suitable creature to become a new host. The Plaga stretches out inside the armour and manipulates it with its tentacles, allowing for human-like movement and primitive attacks in order to subdue its prey.
Luis Sera, one of the first researchers to study Las Plagas in great detail, theorised this behaviour may have been developed by the Plagas through centuries of infecting differing organisms and learning their individual behavioural patterns. It is also been documented that the Plaga reflects the conscience of the hosts. Examples to support this include the mutation of Jack Krauser, who as a close-combat specialist, developed a bladed arm to suit his needs. Also Ricardo Irving, who whilst cornered by Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar on a boat, mutated into an aquatic creature to make use of his surrounding environment. It also meant that any potential Dominant Plaga holders had to be chosen carefully when developing a hierarchy. Because Dominant Plaga holders retained their self-awareness, the threat of betrayal is high if the host is poorly chosen.
The basic life-cycle of the Plaga consists of five main stages:
1: Spore: – When a parasite becomes dormant for a prolonged period of time, perhaps to preserve its life when no suitable hosts were present, it can propagate itself into a spore-like vapour which when inhaled by a host will slowly mature into an egg. Once the egg hatched, an infant parasite is born and will slowly grow to maturity over a period of approximately 24 hours. The remaining body of the original Plaga will die and eventually become fossilised.
2: Egg: – The parasite remains inside the host long enough to mature and hatch. Plaga eggs can also be artificially injected directly into a host. Symptoms of a Plaga egg hatching include retching and coughing up blood.
3: Plaga A: – The basic larval stage parasite. It becomes visible when the host’s brain is destroyed. Once brain signals cease the parasite erupts from the neck outwards. In this state it remains in total control of the host and is still able to manipulate its movements. It defends itself by waving a sharp blade-like appendage at the end of its tentacles. The flesh of the exposed parasite is soft and vulnerable to gunfire. Its body consistently pulsates and it has distinct yellow eyeballs.
4: Plaga B: – This Plaga is manifested in between the larval and adult stages and is significantly larger as a result. Its skin has hardened and the tentacles become more durable, essentially making them ‘fingers’ and giving off the appearance of a hand. These fingers can grasp a human by the head and hold them tight where they can be bitten by a large mouth embedded in the centre of the parasite. It also has the ability to spit acidic bile.
5: Plaga C: This is the full adult stage. When the host organism takes enough damage, the adult Plaga can separate from the host completely and survive independently. It attacks as a standalone Plaga, taking a spider-like form using its now thinner tentacles as legs for movement. But it cannot live this way for long and will seek to find a new host to latch onto as soon as possible. They attack by leaping at their victims.
Once exposed to Las Plagas the only way to avoid infection is to rid the body of the Plaga before the egg hatches. This is possible using specialised tablet
medication, but once growth has begun, removal becomes extremely difficult. Whilst it is also 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 effective method is to kill the Plaga by directly bombarding it with radiation.
However, there are several risks depending on the Plaga’s control of the central nervous system. Firstly, because the parasite is killed whilst still connected to the spinal cord, the procedure is extremely painful for the host and there is a high possibility of severely impaired consciousness. Second, this procedure can kill the host if the Plaga has already reached adult form. But if these problems are overcome, the Plaga can be completely eliminated and the host is restored to its pre-infected state.
The first documented accounts of Las Plagas date back to ancient Africa when a colony infected livestock being reared by the Ndipaya tribe. These animals mutated into ‘Ancient B.O.W.s’ which later escaped and massacred their masters. These monsters then turned on each other and hunted themselves to extinction. By this point the royal Ndipaya city was all but abandoned and without any new hosts, the Plagas went dormant and became fossilised to the ancient rock. From that moment they were never encountered again until their discovery in a rural region of Spain by the Los Illuminados. At that time the first Castellan of the Salazar family raged war on the cult and had most of them killed. The Plagas were taken and sealed away deep beneath Salazar Castle in the hope that they would die off. There they remained until the early 21st Century when they were excavated by the eighth Salazar Castellan, Ramon, who was being brainwashed by a new generation of Los Illuminados. The mature Plagas had fossilised by the time Ramon broke the seal, but the larval Plagas had gone into stasis, preserved in a spore-like form. After some time passed, the townspeople of the local village participating in the excavation began suffering convulsions, and from there, turned into violent savages. This was because they had ingested the Plaga spores whilst mining beneath the castle, birthing new parasites inside their bodies.
Because the Plagas can infect a wide variety of life-forms and their social relationship maintains over various infected species, the Los Illuminados took advantage of this by experimenting on various animals, insects and humans to create monsters such as the Novistadors and the U-3. It is even possible to insert multiple Plagas into a single host, in which case they stretch out and develop leech-like traits, working together to mutate and change the body composition of the host. These complex properties make Las Plagas highly attractive in the field of biological weapons development.
In later years, streamlined forms of Plagas were created through genetic engineering to make more effective weaponry. Once the Plaga became known to the world at large, their potential for military application was obvious as it theoretically meant one so inclined could create obedient subjects that would obey directives without question. It was this specific trait that ensured the Plagas quickly came under review by interested parties. However, they were not without fault. The Plagas in their original untouched form have several flaws. The first is a fatal weakness to bright light. Although they can still operate in bright conditions whilst shielded by their host, a Plaga will never expose itself in daylight as it will expire almost immediately. Second is the time discrepancy between initial infection and when the host is rendered susceptible to control. The time taken from injecting an egg to becoming a fully mature parasite attached to the central nervous system can take as long as several days. Although the maturation cycle for the Plaga is relatively brief, it is not quick enough. Third is anyone taking a Control/Dominant Strain Plaga into their body runs the risk of severe irreversible mutation. Finally, although the Plaga manipulates the behaviour of its host, it cannot develop skills the original host did not possess when human. For example, a Plaga infectant cannot suddenly operate a complex machine or drive a car if it did not know how to do so before infection. The same crucially applies to combat skills and physical prowess. Therefore selecting a Plaga host with a particular skill set is very important when it is to be used as a potential weapon.
Both pharmaceutical giant Tricell Inc. and later a science team working under Eastern Slav’s President Svetlana Belikova worked on ways to artificially create new Plagas to counter these problems, using genetic manipulation to make the Plaga a true B.O.W. Once the Plaga parasite begins to rapidly multiply and spread throughout the world, there is no technology in existence for humanity to resist it. Persons who become Ganado or hosts may be easily identified in
small towns or close-knit communities where unusual words or actions are quickly detected, but they can easily blend into the crowd in large cities where even neighbours don’t know each other.
Powerful monsters for which a gun is no match can blend into society and increase their numbers in secret, spreading like a plague. Even if discovered, it will be impossible to take the same eradication action in a major city using mass destruction weapons like Raccoon City. This quiet infection would eventually reach the ranks of national government. And think of the possibilities of developing parasites capable of more advanced deception, or joining forces with an important person infected with a Dominant Strain Plaga and being forced to follow that person.
TYPE.1 – An unofficial term for the original strain used by the Los Illuminados in Southern Europe. Plagas eggs are injected into a host organism which will hatch, grow and mature over a typical period of 24-48 hours in most cases. Severely weak to bright light, Subbordinate Plaga infectees are known as ‘Ganado’ which is the Spanish word for ‘cattle.’ They lose their reason, driven only by the Plaga’s survival instinct and demonstrate extreme hostility to anyone who is not likewise infected. They can be completely manipulated by a Dominant Plaga holder. However they cannot be further trained and can only utilise skills possessed prior to their exposure.
TYPE.2 – Developed by Tricell Inc. under the supervision of Ricardo Irving. These parasites have been genetically manipulated so they are no longer weak to bright light and have been specifically designed to quicken the process between initial exposure and full host control. Type 2 Plagas are administered orally to the host whilst in an already matured state, making control almost instantaneous. Type 2 Plagas are forced directly into the mouth of the host where they tear through the oesophagus to control first the medulla oblongata, then the brain proper and finally the spinal cord. This process takes approximately than ten seconds to complete and is a vast improvement over the original strain. Post-infection the host’s intelligence and physical abilities remain roughly the same as they were before exposure. Type.2 can also propagate other Plagas from their own mouths which can be used to infect others very quickly. This is the main difference from Ganados because infected subjects are highly aggressive in propagating themselves among new hosts. Type 2 infectees are known as ‘Majini,’ which is a Swahili word for ‘Evil Spirit.’ They can also be taught to follow commands and will obey without the need for a dominator leader to be carrying a Dominant Plaga. This was thanks to genetic manipulation increasing the mental control. Type 2 carriers are typically more aggressive and can create many unique mutations such as a Cephalo – a larger version of the original Plaga B, and Bui Kichwa; a spider-like mutation and improved Plaga C.
TYPE.3 – Also developed by Tricell with a goal of bestowing the host with enhanced physical abilities to create the perfect soldier. They are created by splicing a gene from a dead Dominant Plaga into a Subordinate Plaga. Many successful side-effects are documented such as increased host size, heightened agility and increased jumping power. However there are also several drawbacks. Firstly the life-cycle reverted back to the Type 1 stage and an egg has to be injected into the body and hatched, growing to maturity over a longer period of time within the host. Second, the strength of the Dominant Plaga gene meant compatibility with Type 3 is low. 92% in adult males, and 0% in women and children. Because many Type 3 subjects exhibit unusually large growth, it is common for the skin to tear and their eyes are a diluted yellow rather than blood red of other Plaga species.
TYPE.4 – Records indicate that Tricell performed further Plaga experiments based on results of Type.3 field testing but no evidence of these experiments have been recovered.
DOMINANT/CONTROL PLAGA – This strain was created by Luis Sera and was developed from repeated genetic modification in order to maintain the awareness of the host human. It also possesses the ability to control regular Subordinate Plagas and their respective hosts. Dominant Plaga carriers also bear enhanced abilities such as improved strength, speed and a high tolerance to pain. They are also capable of triggering a massive and unpredictable, yet irreversible body mutation in order to preserve life. This trait severely devalues the Dominant Plaga, and is the main reason Type 2 were developed to control subjects without the need for a Dominant carrier.
CULTIVATED/SYNTHETIC PLAGA – During the Eastern Slav Republic Civil War (2006-2011) President Svetlana Belikova employed use of Las Plagas against the rebel forces. She believed that if Plagas could be used to control an army of drones they could also be used on other B.O.W.s. Splicing t-Virus B.O.W.s with Las Plagas proved incompatible as the virus eroded the parasite’s intelligence making it unable to generate the hive mind link needed to communicate and give orders to the other subjects. However, a B.O.W with very sensitive hearing such as the Licker is different. The parasites communicate by ultra-high frequency sound waves, unable to be picked up by the human ear. But a Licker Beta, which has even more evolved hearing due to further application of the Progenitor Virus, is able to pick up these sounds. All B.O.W.s are given standard training by a handler to carry out orders and basic commands. Now a Dominant Plaga carrier can use the sound waves to communicate with the Lickers and make them follow pre-learned commands such as attack and obedience.
The Licker does not need to be Plaga infected to hear these sounds as the process is the same as a dog whistle. This practice works only on the Licker and not other standard t-Virus B.O.W.s such as the Hunter or Tyrant. Belikova’s scientists artificially created Dominant Strain Plagas specifically to carry out this task. However, this strain of parasites has an engineered flaw. As a result the Cultivated Plaga struggles to adapt to its host and will slowly degrade and kill it, as evidenced by the infection of Ivan Judanovich in 2011. The host has to constantly fight for control over the parasite and if not strong-willed enough, will eventually succumb and become a mindless Ganado. This flaw was intentionally built into the parasite by chief scientist Mikhail Zilika, as Belikova planned to give these Plagas to the rebels fighting the government in order to infect them from within. They were viewed as a Trojan horse that would turn the tide in the civil war. Leon Kennedy, who encountered the Synthetic Plaga strain, correctly believed that a dominant host being able to retain their consciousness was a ruse and that the Plaga could take over the will of the host whenever it chose to.
RECESSIVE PLAGA – These are wild Plagas that survived the initial cull following the destruction of the Los Illuminados in Southern Europe in 2004. In the following years the entrance to the infected district was prohibited, but there was no end to residents breaking through the quarantine zone and wanting to reclaim their home. These people soon fell victim to a wild form of Plaga growing naturally in the area. Although extremely similar to Type 1, they are slightly weaker than regular Subbordinate Plagas used by the Los Illuminados. They are also not manipulated by a Dominant Plaga and are therefore more docile and cannot be controlled. In extremely rare cases, a Plaga will burst from its host and not be affected by bright sunlight, but this irregular occurrence also makes the parasite to go completely out of control and the host body will simply run around in an uncontrollable frenzy until killed. A similar thing happened with Type 2 Plagas following the Kijuju incident of 2009. Many Plagas survived extermination by living in the bodies of survivors. These Majini are a lesser version of the ones initially infected by Ricardo Irving and Tricell. They lack the awareness and intelligence of their predecessors, but they are just as fierce and dangerous.
OTHER USES: – DNA nucleotides from the Dominant Strain Las Plagas were extracted and incorporated by Glenn Arias and his researchers into the Animality Virus. This was made possible when Arias made a deal with surviving members of the Los Illuminados. He was granted access to the original Dominant Plaga development data in exchange for launching a major bio-terror attack on the United States by way of revenge for the cult. The application of Plaga genes into the A-Virus allowed Arias to engineer a special trait that enabled infected individuals to distinguish friend from foe, specifically by pre-programming zombies infected with the base strain (stage 1 A-Virus) to not attack those vaccinated with the inactive strain (Stage 3 A-Virus). Anyone vaccinated with stage 3 would not register as a threat to those infected with the stage 1 latent virus, and this was down to the unique traits of the Plaga DNA.