UMBRELLA INC

 

 

Origins:

Umbrella was established in March 1968 by three partners. European nobleman Ozwell E. Spencer, Sir Edward Ashford and prominent virology expert Dr. James Marcus. The genesis of the company dates back to December 1966 when an expedition to Africa involving these three men led to the discovery of a new RNA virus type that had the ability to modify human genes. This was the birth of the Progenitor Virus, and with the groundbreaking properties of this new virus having potentially highly profitable military applications, the three established Umbrella Chemical Inc following Spencer's idea of forming a company to cover up their research.

Progenitor:

There were initial complications, such as a major miscalculation over the growth of the Progenitor Virus. The virus stemmed from a flower termed SonnertRappe which was unique to Africa at that time and whilst the original research team believed that by simply bringing samples of the flower back to America they could easily replicate the Progenitor Virus there, it was later discovered that the flower itself did not feature the virus and that the only way the virus would be present is if the flower was grown in a certain place and under special conditions. These revelations were part of ancient myth catalogued by nineteenth century explorer Henry Travis and his notes on the Ndipaya tribes, whom lived in the area where the Sonnetrappe flower was grown. It was Henry's published notes that led Spencer and the others to Kijuju in the first place.

Power Struggle:

Whilst Ashford wisely kept quiet over the matter, Marcus opposed the idea of forming their own pharmacuetical company as there seemed no point without the Progenitor Virus, all he was interested in was exploring the secrets held within the virus and if no further samples were forthcoming then what was the point of establishing a company? Despite his attitude, Spencer pushed on regardless, investing a large sum of his own private fortune to ensure Umbrella would become a reality. Spencer also secretly conducted human tests on the Progenitor Virus with the Trevor family, the head of which had designed and constructed the mansion Spencer now lived in. This experiment took place in November 1967 and was kept secret from both Marcus and Ashford.
Once Umbrella was established in Raccoon City four months later, the three men all began independant research on the virus. Edward enlisted the help of his son Alexander, whilst Spencer had a team working inside the newly completed Arklay Laboratoris at the Spencer Estate and James Marcus working on his own. However, events took an unexpected turn when in July of that year, Edward Ashford became accidentally infected with the Progenitor Virus and died, leaving the company to the remaining two and unintentionally beginning a power struggle that would last the next 20 years. Edward's son Alexander did not have the same abilities as his great father and so nothing groundbreaking was expected from him. With his father now dead, Alexander lost interest in Progenitor Virus research and instead focused on a new project deeply personal to him that he believed would restore his family's honour and at the same time, prevent Ozwell Spencer from assuming total control of Umbrella, a vision that if made a reality, would have made the late Edward Ashford turn in his grave. Alexander's plan, was project Code: Veronica.

Umbrella Africa:

Following Edward's death, James Marcus made plans to return to Africa to gather more Progenitor samples but at the last moment, Spencer requested him to stay in Raccoon City and become Managing Director of the new Umbrella Executive Training Facility situated in Raccoon Forest. At first Marcus was hesitant, but after discussing the matter with his trusted student Brandon Bailey, he realised that having his own private, state of the art laboratory facility he would have the perfect place to discover all the secrets of the Progenitor Virus away from the prying eyes of Spencer. Brandon Bailey went to Africa on his own where construction began on Umbrella's African facilites. Brandon's role was to gather samples of Progenitor and send them back to the US as requested.

In February 1969, Alexander Ashford began the first stage of his plan by constructing an Umbrella facility at the Ashford owned Transport Terminal located in the wastelands of the Antarctic. Once this place was ready, he could begin the Code: Veronica project. He needed to hurry, as the other members of the Ashford family believed he was to blame for Edward's death and that he had disgraced the family. The Ashford name was important to Umbrella and he could not allow that to fade.

On June 15th 1969, Umbrella Africa was completed and it was built around the sun garden where the Sonnentrappe flower grew. Though Bailey was still dissatisfied with the facilities on offer and made a request to Spencer to have the facility greatly expanded. To his surprise, Spencer agreed and gave authorisation for the release of funds to get the African labs further expanded.

In November, the Antarctic labs were completed and Alexander could finally begin his work. He shared one thing in common with Marcus in that he wanted his own place of work where Spencer could not monitor him.

Back at the training facility in Raccoon Forest, and now with regular samples of Progenitor being shipped in, Marcus was able to push on with his research and conducted detailed studies with the virus on various types of mammals, amphibians and insects. These would form the basis of the very early biological weapons, though the Progenitor Virus was not sufficent to create bio-organic weapons on its own. Although he would continue to study the effects of the virus on various species throughout the next few years. Marcus concluded that only by using human test subjects could they make any real progress.

Veronica Project:

In 1970 Alexander Ashford put stage one of his plan into action. Using DNA taken from the mummified corpse of his great ancestor Veronica, which was kept in the basement of his European home, he implanted it into an egg of a surrogate mother with the goal of birthing a clone of Veronica, including her unmatched beauty and genius. Nine months later the result was unexpected. Twins were born, a boy and a girl. The boy possessed a higher than average IQ, but nothing significant. The girl however, was everything Alexander could have hoped for. He named the boy Alfred and the girl Alexia. All he had to do now was wait, and he was confident that once Alexia was older her genius would recapture everything the Ashford family had lost and reclaim their rightful place in the Umbrella hirachy.

Whilst all this was going on, Spencer himself, had his own agenda. He collaborated with a researcher named Alex Wesker to come up with a plan dubbed 'Project W'. This involved a handful of children being selected from across the world. They were all given the surname Wesker and were placed in education under the watchful eye of Umbrella. This was the first part of Spencer's ultimate goal. He believed he could use the Progenitor Virus to create an advanced race of human beings, and place himself at the forefront of this new generation as a 'God'. This plan was classified ultimate top secret and only a handful of privledged people were aware of its existence.

The next few years passed by with little incident and slowly but ever surely, Umbrella was creating a name for itself in the world. Marcus and Spencer were becoming more and more isolated from each other, each believeing the other was trying to oust his opponent and take total control of the company. It was during the mid-seventies that Umbrella dropped 'chemical' from their name and was re-branded simply 'Umbrella Inc'.

T-Virus:

The next key date in Umbrella's history came in 1977. Marcus was still based at the training facility and began using leeches as the focal point of his experiments. Two new students were also enrolled into the training facility, these were William Birkin and Albert Wesker, the latter simply known as test subject no.13 to Spencer. For Albert was part of Spencer's 'Project W' and it had been secretly arranged for him to attend this particular facility. In the same month, Marcus finally made the breakthrough he had been waiting for. Mixing the Progenitor Virus with leech DNA resulted in the creation of a new virus type. Marcus named it Tyrant, after his own personal nickname for Sir Spencer.

Both Birkin and Wesker showed tremendous promise, both earning a fearsome reputation and even attracting the attention of Marcus, who in his 9 years as Director had never shown any interest in anything other than his research. He begins to form a bond with the two and even shows them an element of trust, something he has never done before.

On January 13th 1978, Marcus perfected the Tyrant Virus yet kept the creation a secret from Spencer and his followers. Marcus believed that the T-Virus was the trump card that would gain him total control over Umbrella. The only person he confided in was his trusted ally, Brandon Bailey, the trouble was Bailey was still thousands of miles away in Africa. Shortly after, Marcus began to become extremely paranoid and begins to shut himself away in his lab. He also sets traps around the entrance to his lab to see if people are spying on him. As he strives to push his research forward, he begins using trainees as test subjects.

The Marcus Conspiracy:

Due to his erratic behaviour, Spencer secretly orders Birkin and Wesker to spy on Marcus and uncover his research. Eventually, Marcus decides to formally announce the discovery of the T-Virus at the next director's meeting but he never gets the chance as once evidence is uncovered that he has been using company trainees as test subjects and witholding a potentially groundbreaking new research discovery, Spencer forcibly removes him from power. The executive training school is immediately closed down and as a reward for their loyalty, Wesker and Birkin are transferred to the Arklay Labs as Chief Researchers under the gaze of Spencer himself. Birkin is also officially credited with the creation of the T-Virus. Marcus is left to work in his lab at the now abandoned training facility. But with the lack of facilities, test subjects, funds and his precious T-Virus taken away from him, and his reputation now in tatters, he knew he had no chance of overthrowing Spencer from power.

Arklay Labs:

William Birkin abandoned Marcus' research on leeches and instead turned his focus to use the T-Virus to create a human 'super-soldier'. His inspiration for this was taken from the Ebola Virus that was recently discovered in Africa. His curiosity was further piqued when they were introduced to the test subject that was Lisa Trevor, one of the very first human Progenitor test subjects.

Expansion:

The 1980's were a highly successful period for Umbrella. In 1981, child genius Alexia Ashford became head researcher at the south pole facility. As well as working on the T-Virus, Alexia conducted her own independent research on creating a new virus type using a base from the genes of an ancient queen ant. Her work caused quite the stir and she developed an intense rivalry with William Birkin.
There was a setback in 1983 when first Alexander Ashford and then Alexia Ashford died in the space of six months. The T-Veronica project was in its infancy at the time and all research pertaining to it was suspended indefinitely. Despite this loss, the upper hirachy of Umbrella were not concerned for the Ashford family had produced nothing of note since the death of Edward back in 1968. The only remaining survivor was Alexia's brother and nothing was expected of him.

In 1984 Umbrella continued its global expansion with the opening of Umbrella Japan. Initially this Asian branch concentrated soley on the import and exportation of chemicals that were developed in the US but by 1987 a large scale research facility had been constructed and they were able to function independently, focusing on the utilization of bio-technology, original research and furthing the development of already established products.

Nemesis and G-Virus:

1988 was a key year for the company. The European branch began work on the 'Nemesis Project' which was the idea of achieving more control over T-Virus based weaponry through the use of organic parasites. It was also the same year primary research on the T-Virus was completed at the Arklay Labs and the end result was the Tyrant model T-001, a highly sophisticated, human biological weapon. However, both of these achievements were overshadowed by the discovery of the G-Virus. This came about when Wesker and Birkin obtained a sample of the Nemesis parasite for study. They implanted it into Lisa Trevor and she absorbed the parasite and a new virus was born.
In the aftermath of these triumphs, Spencer now knew the time was right to make his move and he assumed total control of Umbrella. To make sure all loose ends were tied, he had Wesker and Birkin assassinate James Marcus; the only other living co-founder of the company and who still resided at the old abandoned training facility in the woods.

Public Relations:

In the 1990's Umbrella took part in 'A Bright 21st Century for Raccoon City' plan instigated by Mayor Michael Warren and boosted its status in it's home town by donating funds which allowed for the construction of a new hospital in the city and the formation of a highlY-trained police special forces unit named S.T.A.R.S.
Whilst all this was going on, they secretly constructed a large-scale underground research facility beneath the city where William Birkin transferred to full time upon it's completion. In 1993 Umbrella began to bribe the Chief of Police Brian Irons. They also conducted illegal tests at an isolated hospital located in Raccoon Forest acting under the alias 'Drugs Inc'.
By now Umbrella had firmly established themselves as the world's premier pharmaceutical enterprise. Medical products such as Safsprin, Aqua Cure and Adravil earned the company huge profits. They had divisions all across the world from Europe, North and South America, Africa, Antarctica and Japan. They even had para-military divisions which included the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Force largely made up of mercenaries and ex-cons and the Umbrella Special Service which included the famed operative, Hunk. They also had their own weapons manufacturing division, Umbrella Industry. The flame-thrower, spark shot, mine thrower and linear launcher had all originated from it.

By the mid-nineties Umbrella also gained a key asset in the arrival of Sergei Vladimir, a former Colonel from the Russian army. He joined after the collapse of the Soviet Union and proved to be a compatible match for the Tyrant Programme. In order to buy a standing in the company, he donated 10 clones of himself which were created during a covert programme in his army days. The research performed by Umbrella on these clones allowed for significant breakthroughs and led to the advent of the T-103 model as well as providing clues towards the Tyrant host compatibility problem. Sergei was well liked by company head Ozwell E. Spencer and he swiftly rose up the ranks of the organisation.

Mansion Incident:

Umbrella suffered a setback when a T-Virus leak was reported at the Arklay Labs. An investigation was launched to see if they could recover and reopen the abandoned training facility that was home to Dr. Marcus all those years ago, possibly as a replacement for the now contaminated Arklay Labs. It was during this investigation, that Umbrella officers Albert Wesker and William Birkin discovered that a man claiming to be the late Dr. Marcus was behind the outbreak. He told them this was just the first step in getting his revenge on the company. However, Birkin put an end to this man's threats by detonating the training facility.

Umbrella decided to turn this outbreak at the mansion into their favour by delaying clean up teams so that their man in the RPD, Albert Wesker, could lead his S.T.A.R.S. special forces team into the mansion in order to collect combat data on the B.O.W. roaming free.

The estate was successfully destroyed and all evidence of the T-Virus and the illicit research being performed there was wiped out. The damage to the company was minimal, and was even further compensated with the news that Sergei Vladimir had successfully infiltrated the mansion and extracted the precious T.A.L.O.S. prototype Tyrant only hours before the detonation.

In the following weeks, Umbrella clean up teams confirmed that no traces of the virus were present at ground zero and that police chief Brian Irons was successful in blocking any police investigation into the company.

Raccoon City:

Less than two months later, Umbrella suffered a fatal blow, an incident that they could not recover from. Following William Birkin's successful completion of the G-virus, intelligence filtered through to the company hierarchy that Birkin was planning to betray them. They sent agents to recover the virus in a botched operation that resulted in the T-Virus being released into the sewer system, contaminating the entire city.

Umbrella began a process of damage limitation, sending in the UBCS to 'rescue the civilians' and test out several new B.O.W.s such as the Nemesis T-Type and Hunter Beta. Their political manoeuvring in the senate could only delay the inevitable however as on October 1st 1998, the US Government sterilised Raccoon City, completely wiping it off the map.

The incident was too big to cover up and an international investigation was launched into Umbrella. The Global Pharmaceutical Consortium was placed under huge pressure to come down hard on the corporation. The US Government hit them with an indefinite suspension of business decree for Umbrella to cease and desist all operations. In response to this, Ozwell E. Spencer hired the best lawyers money could buy and prepared false witnesses to try and generate the feeling of a conspiracy to turn public opinion away from Umbrella.

The resulting court battle dragged on for over four years and eventually landed in stalemate, with no final conclusion being determined.

Dissolution:

By the early 21st Century, Umbrella were surviving by the skin of their teeth. All resources had been cut back and restricted with most of the clandestine operations taking place at sea and in places well outside of public interest. Only the sales of their bio-weapons in black market sales kept them afloat.

In 2003, Ozwell Spencer wrote a letter to shareholders thanking them for their continued support and that he believed that as a company, they were on their way to recovery. This illusion was shattered only weeks later when former employee Albert Wesker discovered the location of Umbrella's last primary base and raided it, killing Umbrella's unofficial head, Sergei Vladimir and stealing all of Umbrella's archival data in the process.

All of Umbrella's databases were wiped clean, and Wesker testified anonymously in court, providing damning evidence that both Umbrella and Spencer were responsible for the Raccoon City disaster.

Spencer was forced to go on the run after he became a wanted man and retreated to his estate in Europe where he would remain undisturbed for the next three years. With no one left to fight it's battles, Umbrella was finally finished.

The last branch to close was the Asian branch, which officially shut down in March 2004.

Key Personnel:

OZWELL E. SPENCER: -Company founder and keeper of Progenitor Virus secret. Wanted to rule over Earth as a God. Killed by Wesker in his European home in 2006.
EDWARD ASHFORD: -Company founder and legendary member of the Ashford Family. Died in 1968 through exposure to the Progenitor Virus after a laboratory accident.
JAMES MARCUS: -Company founder and creator of the T-Virus. He was betrayed and assassinated by agents of Ozwell Spencer in 1988.
ALBERT WESKER: -Joined Umbrella in 1977 as a trainee. Went on to be assistant researcher to Birkin at Arklay Labs until 1991.
WILLIAM BIRKIN: -Joined Umbrella in 1977 as a trainee. Created the G-Virus in 1988. Was betrayed by Umbrella in 1988 and injected himself with the G-Virus.
SERGEI VLADIMIR: -Captain of the Guard and match for the Tyrant Programme. Joined Umbrella in 1992 and was eventually killed in 2003 by Albert Wesker.
P. HENNING: -Level 10 employee. Later imprisoned following company dissolution.
T. MASAKI: -Level 10 employee. Killed following company dissolution.
K. JENNY: -Level 10 employee. Dissappeared following Umbrella's collapse.