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That guy is crazy. At one point he made himself into some kind of photosynthetic lardass, so fat he took up two stories of a house. It’s the only reason they caught him in the end.

–Clockblocker[8]

Chris,[1] known as Lab Rat, is a Tinker[6] imprisoned in the Birdcage. He acts as a leader of one of the cell blocks.[2]

PersonalityEdit

Lab Rat is dismissive of the life of others, willing to perform his experiments on both other people most convenient to him.[9] Even after his imprisonment, he asks for human subjects first, only resigning himself to working with an animal shelter after being refused.[10]

That said, it seems to be fueled by his self-hatred[11] and as so Lab Rat is also willing to risk his own well-being, performing experiments on himself.[9] In fact, Clockblocker mentions that the only reason he was captured is one of these experiments: It made him 'so fat he took up two stories of a house'.[8] Lab Rat does, however, value his own survival, preparing a device with the distilled essence of himself in case of his death.[12]

RelationshipsEdit

Little BrotherEdit

That last victim of his sister it is unknown how Lab Rat dealt with the guilt.

Big SisterEdit

She was the reason for his trigger in the first place. He resented the fact that people called her an angel for looking after him and their brother, cooking meals, providing for them, etc. When in truth she was a serial killer.[13]

String TheoryEdit

He maintained a complicated rivalry[14] of sorts with his fellow cell block leader.[15] Their relationship left a lasting impression on his successor.

TaylorEdit

He genuinely terms her an Angel for helping him roll his flask into the sea,[4] a term he had resented since it had been misapplied to his sister.

AppearanceEdit

Described as 'the last person one might expect to be a Tinker'. He has a maw full of teeth crammed towards the front of his mouth while overlapping and sticking out of lower gums, accompanied by untidy mess of hair and thick brows. He is tall and broad-shouldered, but he has 'a bit of a belly'.[16] He is later seen wearing a lab coat.[8]

Abilities and powersEdit

Rat is a Tinker specializing in drugs that temporarily turn subjects into monsters while storing their original form.[5] The drugs trigger a transformation that draws in extra mass,[17] with even water being a possible source.[18] While the transformation can hold off injuries, it does not actually heal the subject. The subject returns to their injured state when the transformation stops.[19] There is no guarantee of complete recovery from experimental forms.[20]

Lab Rat's formulas are geared toward turning people into weapons, with hormones kicking into overdrive and priming their fight or flight instincts. Taylor noted that she was riding a tide of emotion (such as bloodlust and rage) and put herself in danger by trying to reach Scion, even while she knew she could not affect the fight. She was unable to fight this effect even while she was aware of it.[21]

However, he is also capable to work in a more subtle way, for example, keeping violent Birdcage inmates pacified.[22]

As a Field Test Tinker, Lab Rat is only able to work himself to valid results by experimenting on his subjects (either others or himself).[6] He is an extremely fast worker, producing a full batch of his serums within 37 minutes with access to only an animal shelter.[10]

Known inventionsEdit

Name/Description Details
Transformation serums Very much the core of Lab Rat's work, as outlined above.[5] There are four examples of the results of ingesting these serums:
  • Taken by Lab Rat himself, it transformed him into what Clockblocker describes as 'some kind of photosynthetic lardass, so fat he took up two stories of a house'.[8]
  • When injected with the serum[23] contained in one the matchboxes (listed below), Taylor transforms into a seven-limbed creature with at least one claw, covered in studs at regular intervals, very much like teeth.[24] While the transformation is useful for climbing,[24] it is poor for swimming.[25] Taylor noted she was unable to speak. Instead, there was something odd about the sides of her mouth, and she had a thin tongue with a hard layer.[19]
  • Another subject of the matchboxes' serum manifested spreading scales around prominent veins instead. The full transformation is not shown.[26][27]
  • Bastard is injected with the serum while also being exposed to Bitch's power. This results in a transformation where the limiter, mass, has been seemingly removed. Bastard becomes one connected but incoherent mass, with muscles, claws, horn and bone, calcified flesh, tendrils and body parts raining down from the main lump, with many different mouths, snarling at Scion.[17]
Matchbox-sized devices White little plastic cases the size of matchboxes, complete with straps,[8] these pierce the wearer with a needle when they are harmed,[18] injecting one of Lab Rat's serums and temporarily undoing their injuries.[19]
'Jar' of essence Not an actual jar, but a device the size of a baseball,[4] it contains distilled Lab Rat.[12] Not exactly a clone,[28] the jar was meant for when things where unrecoverable.[29] The contents of this jar eventually hatched a Replicent, inheriting Lab Rat's memories and shard through a complex and extended follow-up process.[30]

HistoryEdit

BackgroundEdit

Young Lab Rat was exposed to his sister's brutal serial killings. Unable to resolve this with otherwise 'perfect' behavior of his sister he started slipping into delinquency and borderline derangement. After a while, he confronted his sister, but it only made her more blatant and shameless about her murders, since he was too far gone to expose her and be believed. Eventually, his sister murdered his younger brother, presumably, resulting in Lab Rat's trigger.[30]

Lab Rat was working in secret to develop his formulas, testing them on local homeless and on isolated individuals when the homeless ran out.[9] He heavily contributed to the Parahuman Asylum population, since not every one of his victims was able to recover from experiments.[20]

Despite his low-profile work he was able to reach the position of the second most wanted villain by 2003 and fought off PRT top teams thrice with moderate success. Eventually, he was caught mid-experiment and imprisoned.[31] His workshop was sealed.[10] Later, after regular prison proved to be unable to properly contain him, Lab Rat was transferred to the Birdcage, where he became a cell-block leader and quite a moderating influence.[22]

Lab Rat's country of origin is unknown, but he swears in a language Taylor is unable to recognize.[4]

Post-Slaughterhouse NineEdit

As a cell block leader, Lab Rat attends the meeting where Marquis introduces his daughter. Though he stays silent throughout most of it he does provide information about the Birdcage before Teacher cuts him off.[7] They, apparently, had low-burning rivalry.[32]

Gold MorningEdit

Lab Rat would spend seven years in the Birdcage before being released during the start of the event.[15] He is given access to an abandoned animal shelter,[10] where he got a visit from String Theory.[14] After this meeting, he accessed the PRT storage for confiscated objects,[30] from which he produces a batch of little plastic cases the size of matchboxes,[8] among other projects.[30] The matchboxes are designed to trigger a transformation when the wearer is hurt, temporarily removing the wounds from the subject, and it is this feature that manages to save Taylor's life.[19]

He himself did not benefit from the matchboxes, as he is killed by Scion's golden orb at the rig.[4] Before his death, he is able to throw a device the size of a baseball, containing 'distilled Lab Rat',[12] into the ocean with the aid of Taylor's bugs. His final word is 'angel', thanking Taylor.[4] After his death, his transformation serums are used on Bitch's mutated dogs in the continued fight to stop the golden man's rampage.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 “He lied to us,” Tristan said.

    My breath caught in my throat. “Hold up.”

    “What did he lie about?” Kenzie asked.

    “Everything except his first name, apparently,” Tristan said. - Excerpt from Blinding 11.2
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 All in all, there were twelve cell blocks with leaders. That meant that there were eleven leaders with eleven lieutenants arriving. Acidbath, Galvanate, Teacher, Lab Rat and Gavel were leaders of the cell blocks on the men’s side of the prison. Lustrum, Black Kaze, Glaistig Uaine, String Theory, Crane and Ingenue were the female leaders. There were other cell blocks, but twelve was generally agreed on as a good number. It left room for discussion without too much chaos, and it left enough cell blocks leaderless that they had elbow room to do business elsewhere. - Excerpt from Interlude 16.z
  3. “I’m a thirty-two year old man in a body that was meant to grow fast, not well.”

    “It’s not quite that defined, Chris. You seem to enjoy that it’s not defined, because if I approach you as a juvenile, you claim you’re a man. If I approach you as if you were a man, you retreat to being the teenager. Petulant, sarcastic, immature-” - Excerpt from Interlude 10.y II
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Lab Rat, who had apparently realized the futility of trying to move, wasn’t running at all, but was rearing back, a device the size of a baseball in his hand. He threw it, aiming to put it over the water.

    Not enough. Lab Rat wasn’t one of those prisoners who’d packed on muscle in prison. The ball fell short, then started rolling slightly back towards him.

    He swore in a language I didn’t know, started to run towards the object. Too slow. If he wasn’t going to make it over the edge and get to safety, he wasn’t going to reach the object.

    My bugs hit the object as a mass, rolling it. It tipped over the edge. Lab Rat stopped.

    The bugs around him caught one word. “Angel.” - Excerpt from Extinction 27.5
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Lab Rat Specializes in tinker drugs that turn subjects into monsters while storing their original state for when the transformation ends. - parahumanList, bolded edit by Wildbow.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Lab Rat is more a field test tinker (chaos), working his way to valid results by experimenting on others (and sometimes himself). - reddit comment by Wildbow.
  7. 7.0 7.1 “It’s a hollowed out mountain,” Lab Rat said. “Vacuum, containment foam-“

    “No,” Teacher cut him off. “You want the real answer, healer? It’ll cost.”

    Amelia nodded. Marquis suppressed yet another urge to cringe. - Excerpt from Interlude 16.z
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Lab Rat walked among us, a backpack dangling from one hand. He handed us devices. An armband, for communication, earbuds for those of us who didn’t have them, and little plastic cases the size of matchboxes, complete with straps.

    He was already wearing the full outfit, the wristband over the sleeve of his labcoat, the little matchbox similarly positioned, but over his bicep, like a blank white badge.

    He held one out to me, then hesitated. He fished in the backpack, then handed me another.

    “What’s the box?” I asked.

    “My work,” Lab Rat said.

    “That doesn’t answer my question.”

    “You don’t want the answer to your question. Wear it or don’t,” he rasped. “I’m wearing it.”

    He continued on, handing out the packages.

    When he was out of earshot, Clockblocker commented, “I don’t think that’s a good recommendation. That guy is crazy. At one point he made himself into some kind of photosynthetic lardass, so fat he took up two stories of a house. It’s the only reason they caught him in the end.” - Excerpt from Extinction 27.4
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Lab Rat, conversely, had worked in secret, developing formulas that could transform people into monsters. He had used formulas on the homeless, then when the local homeless ran out, started picking off individuals that were isolated, out for jogs in the early morning or new visitors to his town. It wasn’t clear just what he was searching for, in developing the formulas. What I found myself wondering was whether he’d been testing his work on his test subjects before using them on himself, or if it was the other way around. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.3
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Defiant looked at Lab Rat. “Your old workshop is still there, sealed off.”

    “No. I’d be spending more time cleaning up than working, and the samples would be dead, if you haven’t tampered with them. Something else. A room in a hospital would work. I can stay out of the way.”

    “We’re not giving you access to humans,” Defiant answered, his voice hard.

    Lab Rat frowned. “Animal shelter? With the animals still present?”

    “Fine,” Defiant said. “Thirty-seven minutes. If you’re going to contribute, you should get started. Door, please. To an abandoned animal shelter on Bet.”

    The door opened.

    “Mm,” Lab Rat grunted. “I’ll figure something out.”

    Then he was gone. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.4
  11. He reached out to touch the screen, feeling a kind of dread. He didn’t want to be that. Him. Himself. He’d spent a long, long time not wanting to be himself, but now it was imperative. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.y II
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Good question.
    Distilled Lab Rat in a jar. In case he didn't make it. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
  13. Years later, he summoned the courage to tell his sister he knew. He’d expected to find some strength in it, to disarm her. Something. All he had achieved was to allow her to be less careful about what she did, on those days she found a hitchhiker or homeless kid willing to follow her to her home.

    He couldn’t tell anyone, because he was already the delinquent by that point. She was the angel, the twenty-one year old who had taken custody of her two kid brothers, who put up with him when he’d acted out so much after their parents had died.
    [...]
    If anybody had ever really liked him, his little brother excepted, then they’d never let him know… and his little brother wasn’t around anymore. The last victim of the so-called ‘angel’, his sister. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.y II
  14. 14.0 14.1 “What are you making?” String Theory asked, sticking her head between his elbow and his body.

    He dug his elbow into her back, hard, and she squirmed her way out.
    [...]


    Now he was out, all of those notes in his head, and with a hundred ideas to pick from, he had no ideas.

    Not that he’d tell this grinning runt of a woman.

    “Better seen than heard.”

    She smirked, and it was a really punchable smirk. She slouched and rather than straighten up to smile at him, she twisted her head so her chin craned up, looking up at him with overlarge glasses and a forced smile on her face.

    Somehow more irritating than if she’d been looking down at him. Not that he would punch that punchable face. Maybe in the right situation, he could do something more creative. Take the right formula, the right form, and claw that face off.
    [...]
    He was thinking small and he hated that she was right almost as much as he hated her guts in general. Yet however much he hated her and however much she claimed to detest him, they ended up together, over and over again.

    This- it had been her saying goodbye. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.y II
  15. 15.0 15.1 Slouching, hands clasped behind her back, String Theory made her way over to Chevalier and Defiant. The petite, odd-looking woman glanced around, not speaking up, but waiting until Chevalier deigned to look at her. Lab Rat, behind her, looked more impatient. He wasn’t good at hiding his feelings.

    “I’ll need a lab,” String Theory said. “Tools. My tools, if you can get them.”

    “You can prep something in time?” Chevalier asked. He sounded surprised. “We expected the tinkers to take part in the next attempt.”

    “I’m not an ordinary tinker,” String Theory said. She tapped her head. “I’ve had four years to think, plan what I’d build if I got out. All up here.”

    “Me too, seven years of thinking,” Lab Rat said. “Need a lab. Not sharing one with her.”

    “I wouldn’t let you, darling,” String Theory said, condescending. I could see Lab Rat’s lip curl, but I wasn’t sure if it was in irritation or amusement. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.4
  16. String Theory and Lab Rat stepped out of the same portal. String Theory was short, shorter with her slouch, and petite, her dark hair tied back into a braid, her lips pulled back into a wide expression halfway between a grin and a smile. With her glasses, it made me think of a frog, or a small lizard. Lab Rat was the opposite, the last person one might expect to be a tinker. He had a mouth full of teeth that were screaming for braces, all crammed towards the very front of his mouth, overlapping and sticking out of lower gums. He had a mop of hair and heavy brows, was tall and broad shouldered, and had a bit of a belly. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.3
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 It wasn’t additive growth. I could see how the dog swelled. Lab Rat’s power had to tap into something to create the flesh. Had used my blood and bone. Except it was tapping into the same things that Rachel’s power provided. Mass.

    It was like a limiter had been removed altogether. The can of worms cracked open. Muscle, rippling. Claw. Horn and bone. Calcified flesh. Like water from a waterfall, tendrils and body parts raining down from the lump that clung, snarling from many different mouths, to Scion. All one connected mass, incoherent. - Excerpt from Venom 29.2
  18. 18.0 18.1 Pause… and then a prod.

    A needle, piercing the skin.

    A pressure, as something pumped into my body.

    Heal me.

    It wasn’t healing.

    Flesh knit together, but it wasn’t healing.

    The pain faded as quickly and dramatically as it had taken hold, but, still, I wasn’t healing.

    Not exactly.

    My thoughts became clearer.

    Water churned where it came in contact with my blood. Where my flesh closed together and trapped water inside me, the effect intensified. It was soon the only pain I felt.

    We’re eighty percent water, or whatever the number is, I thought. Resources have to come from somewhere.

    Water was seeping into my throat, despite my efforts to keep my mouth clamped shut. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.5
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Weld looked at me, and his eyebrows raised.

    I opened my mouth to speak, and found I couldn’t. My tongue was thinner, layered in something hard, and the sides of my mouth were odd.

    I communicated through my swarm, instead. What little of it remained, anyways. Drones and buzzes and chirps. “Lab Rat. The boxes he gave us, they’re designed to trigger when we’re hurt, force a transformation.”

    “Might get a few more recruits,” Sanguine said, not looking up from the wounded. He had hands extended to two different wounds on one individual, and was drawing blood into one hand and letting it snake out of the other, flowing into the wound. Was he cleaning it?

    “His transformations are temporary. Buying time. He cut me in half, and I’m not sure I’m going to be in one piece when this stops working.” - Excerpt from Extinction 27.5
  20. 20.0 20.1 “In the few years that Lab Rat was active, for every one person who went to the Asylum for one reason or another, there was a Lab Rat victim. He tested his serums on people and not every single one changed all the way back. [...] You know how his Screaming Anxiety form kept screaming? There was a woman like that. Her mind didn’t exit that state, and she roared out cuss words nonstop. All day, every day, without ever sleeping. She had surges of strength that meant she couldn’t be in a regular hospital. There was a man who boiled alive. The bubbles would swell-” - Excerpt from Blinding 11.2
  21. Rage bubbled inside me, but it wasn’t mine. I’d experienced my own anger, I knew how it influenced my own body, how it was connected to my emotions. This was something else. Hormones kicking into overdrive, compelling my body to react. Other parts of my body being designed angry, designed so they were primed for fight or flight, driving me to act and refuse to let me sit still.

    Lab Rat’s stuff was geared towards turning people into weapons, making them take whatever forms he keyed into the formula and then act. I knew it. My awareness of what was going on wasn’t stopping it. I was riding a tide of emotion, moving towards a fight where I couldn’t possibly do anything to stop Scion, putting myself in danger. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.5
  22. 22.0 22.1 He had no plans. Or rather, he had a hundred. He’d spent seven years thinking about what he would do when he had a chance, a real chance that didn’t use food byproducts and what he extracted when he performed procedures on his cell block inmates. The mentally ill, the suffering. Take from one, give to another, level out serotonin, reduce aggressive urges. Now and then their parahuman overseer would get upset at him for building up too much of a collection, demanding he dump it. Until then, he had some freedom.

    He kept a cell block of people quiet, when they were of types who had no reason to be quiet, and in exchange, they left him alone six days out of seven. Another of the seven days was reserved for dealing with disputes and talking to other block leaders.- Excerpt from Interlude 10.y II
  23. A girl with a bug costume. Tinted lenses. Either symbolic, given the recent conversation, or the universe mocking him.

    He drew the equipment from his bag, then hesitated. Something more fitting. A bug in a box for the girl with the bug costume. Maybe she would be more comfortable that way. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.y II
  24. 24.0 24.1 I tested my right hand. The flesh wasn’t tender. It was hard. There were studs at regular intervals along either half, like teeth. Very like teeth.

    A claw.

    I raised my claw over my head, then drew it down violently, driving it into a crack.

    I was able to climb faster. I reached the point where the concrete ended. A shaft of four steel beams reinforced by criss-crossing beams set at diagonals loomed above me.

    It was an even faster climb than the concrete. My legs ended in points, and those same points slipped off of the metal beams, but I had seven limbs to work with. Even if half of my limbs were reaching out for holds, I still had three or four solid points of contact I could maintain at any given point in time. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.5
  25. My legs kicked, but they weren’t good legs for swimming. I kept kicking anyways. Something about the way they moved, they were designed so that the motions shifted my abdominal cavity, pumped it, forcing air in and out with the rhythmic activity. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.5
  26. After a pause, he pressed it against one of the wounded.

    It beeped, then a light went on in the corner.

    The cape convulsed, his back arching.

    A moment later, transformations began, veins standing out along his arms and legs.

    “Another one,” Weld said. “Get me a spare.”

    Sanguine handed him another. Weld applied it. Scales were manifesting around the most prominent veins on the first one by the time the second patient started reacting. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.5
  27. “It’s working,” Sanguine said.

    It wasn’t. I looked at him, confused.

    His eyes were on the patients. He’s talking about Lab Rat’s matchboxes. I looked, and I saw how the scales were spreading. They were breathing easier. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.5
  28. Not a clone, exactly. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
  29. The jar wasn't supposed to be recovered. It was supposed to be for when things were unrecoverable. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 Interlude 10.y II
  31. PRT’s second most wanted, 2003. Seventh most wanted if counting international threats. He’d fought the PRT’s headliner team three times. One win, two draws- he’d lost both those times, technically, but he’d gotten away, and he counted that as a draw.

    Then they’d caught him, found him mid-experiment. He’d been a prisoner in a regular prison, until they’d grown lax.

    Then the Birdcage. Baumann Parahuman Containment Center. Seven years of cameras and eyes watching his every move while he was contained. He could imagine the fingers tapping on the glass. Dragon handled the announcements, but he could imagine the other staff watching. No one woman could do all of the watching. A hundred eyes… - Excerpt from Interlude 10.y II
  32. “He doesn’t trust me after the years we spent jockeying for power in the Birdcage, I cured some of his thralls, fucked with him a few too many times. He wants to pretend he’s objective and rational but he can hold a grudge.” - Excerpt from Breaking 14.12

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