"You bushi are currently at the Tankado Clan's Special Research Facility No. 731. I'm sorry my lord, but you will likely never see them again. That is assuming they survive whatever experiments they are being used for down there." ~A Unicorn Clan general to his horrified lord.

Deep in the Shadowlands, beyond the reach of the Rokugani Empire is a mysterious place known Special Research Facility No. 731. The Tankado Clan built this place year ago as a secure location to conduct experiments on live subjects for further medical science and biotechnology development. Unlike other places run by the Tankado Clan, this one was purposely built in the Shadowlands for two very important reasons.

The first reason is that the experiments that take place in the facility can be dangerous and the Tankado Clan has no wish to endanger the people of the Empire needlessly. The second reason is that much of the research done in these laboratories would never be permitted nor even tolerated by Rokugani society let alone Imperial laws. Because of this, the Tankado Clan has a standing pact with The Lost who provide security and some staffing for the facility.

The facility itself is located underground and is divided into several sectors depending on what kind of research is conducted in each. The Lost provide security and also do the work that the main researchers do not wish to do such as handling the test subjects and performing the procedures that most would consider to be unsettling.

There are currently multiple research projects involving the use of dangerous materials and procedures. Several samurai from the Unicorn and Scorpion Clans are serving as test subjects for these experiments. These were captured in skirmishes over matters of honor. Others are captured ninja who were caught trying to meddle in the affairs of the Tankado Clan.

Research into deadly diseases is being conducted in the biomedical labs. Currently, the pathogens being studied are the Plague, Anthrax, and Smallpox. Test subjects are infected with the pathogens and then their symptoms are observed and recorded. This sometimes involves live dissections. The purpose of these experiments is to document the effects of the diseases and to help develop better treatments plus possible immunization solutions. So far, an experimental treatment/cure for the Plague has been tested successfully on multiple subjects and is being considered by the Empire for general use.

Research into the reactions to extreme cold are also being conducted in the environmental research labs. The cold tests are to see the effects of frostbite and how to avoid it when in sub-zero environments. As a result of these tests, a special type of armor has been developed that can keep a person warm while fighting in frigid conditions. These tests also revealed the early stages of frostbite and when treatment must be administered to avoid necrosis. This has saved many people from having to have parts amputated.

Research into battlefield injuries is being conducted in the defense labs. Injuries from a variety of blunt, bladed, and ranged weapons are inflicted on test subjects and first aid treatments are tested on them. Also experimental armor is tested against these weapons too. The reason the Empire has much more effective treatment of wounds inflicted by swords against specific parts of the body came from the research during these tests. Improved armor that can deflect arrows more effectively has also been developed as a result of these experiments.

A few purposed experiments involve air pressure levels and radiation exposure but those are not being conducted at this time.

The most dangerous experiments are those that involve unknown lifeforms and materials. Since those are unknown and thus there is no telling what could happen, research involving those takes place at Facility 731 as a precaution. If things turn out to safe, then the research can be moved to another place after a proper risk assessment is conducted.

A lot of the security and safety technologies and practices invented by the Tankado Clan and that Rokugani society now takes for granted was made possible by the research that takes place at Facility 731. A good example of this is the standardized practices of dealing with and handling explosives as well as treating wounds from such devices. It is thanks to tests conducted there that the minimum safe distance from various explosive devices is now known.

This knowledge proved particularly useful when a series of gunpowder bombs had been discovered at the Phoenix Clan Palace. All but one of the bombs were successfully defused and disposed of. The one that went off killed one servant and injured 3 bushi who were successfully treated. Damage to the structure was severe. It was later discovered that the people who planted the bombs were secretly hired by the Scorpion Clan. This resulted in a massive loss of face that was only restored when the ones who hired these saboteurs were make to kill themselves.

The Phoenix Clan Palace has since been remodeled with blast resistant architecture by the Tankado Clan.

The existence of this place is an open secret in the Rokugani Empire. It is generally accepted that people who are sent there, never return. Because the exact nature of the research that takes place in Facility 731 is a closely guarded secret, most of what the population knows is rumor and speculation. Naturally the stuff that gets told of what goes on there is not entirely accurate.

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