|Aliases||Inside-Out Men (by Sherry Birkin)|
Re3 (by Annette Birkin)
|Classification||Homo sapiens sapiens linguis|
|Species Type||Human Mutation|
|Environment||Zombie-infected areas such as Raccoon City and surrounding area, Sheena Island, regions of West Africa, Eastern Slav Republic|
|Average Height||Average human height|
|Average Weight||Average human weight|
|Ancestor(s)||Human, T-Zombie, Crimson Head, Suspended|
|Descendant(s)||Evolved Licker, Licker β|
|Organization||Solitary but not territorial|
|Capital City||Raccoon City|
|Infraspecies||linguis (Somarinoa, 2016)|
The Licker is a further mutation caused by the V-ACT process, which mutates normal Zombies into the extremely agile and vicious Crimson Head. Lickers can further evolve into Evolved Lickers or Licker βs if genetically tampered with.
During the process between Suspended and Licker, the individual's skull will almost entirely melt away, exposing the brain tissue. Although this would be deadly for any regular zombie, the membrane around their brain appears to toughen up significantly during the process, giving it the ability to sustain a gunshot straight to the head. This expanded brain access allows the Licker to regain at least some degree of their intelligence lost in becoming a zombie. They have been recorded as recognizing technology, going so far as to purposefully destroy security cameras. The brain development further allows for more advanced predatory tactics and primal intellect.
The evolution into Licker pushes for regained and advanced speed and agility, and as such these former humans will usually gain increased muscle development to allow for the performance of surprisingly long jumps to incredible heights and distances. This is increased further by forcing the body into a quadrupedal stance, reverting it to a more animalistic nature. Speed is enhanced to its limit for "natural" mutation by shedding the skin, removing both its heaviness as well as the constraints it brings with it. Because of this, they are much more rapid-moving than even a Crimson Head.
The hands have been heavily modified through mutation as well by developing huge, powerful talons primarily used to scale vertical structures and ceilings with shocking ease. However, this is not the most drastic change that the body endures. The tongue developed earlier in the Suspended has become enormously powerful and can now not only pierce human flesh but also gruesomely decapitate a victim. What this leads to is a very aggressive ambush predator.
Lickers also have lost their eyes entirely, and thus cannot track their prey via sight. Instead they have adapted superb hearing to more than compensate for this loss. Upon hearing nearby prey items, the Licker will leap violently into action to attack with teeth, tongue, and claws with full force. Unfortunately, this will often attract other Lickers to the sound of attack. The best defense against a Licker are weapons that emit very little sound, such as bowguns. One must be cautious using even these, though, as Lickers appear to feel pain and will release an agonizing screech upon their own attack, as well as injury or death.
Despite being great ambush predators, Lickers are not without their flaws. Beyond the weakness to quiet attacks as cited above, they inadvertently give their own presence in an area away as their raw muscle tissue and talons scrape whatever surface they happen to be crawling upon. They also give off a sibilant hissing sound.
The truth behind whether Lickers were a zombie mutation known by the Umbrella Corporation or not before the Raccoon City Incident is skewed, with conflicting reports. Despite this, Dr. Birkin's wife, Annette, seems to know of their existence and thus it can be assumed that Umbrella may not have expected the mutation initially, but knew of its occurrence by the time of the Incident. These creatures were noted as viable and practical weapons on the B.O.W market, and were reported on Sheena Island in Europe (where both regular and Evolved Lickers were found) as early as November 1998, the Russian Umbrella Facility in 2003, in Tricell's West African production facilities in 2009 (where they were mass-produced as Licker βs), and the Eastern Slav Republic civil war in 2011 (again, as Licker βs).
Lickers first developed in Umbrella's Raccoon City Underground Laboratory, where they were apparently known by the code "Re3". Uniquely, they were never given a code name like other B.O.Ws, such as the Cerberus (mutated dog) or the Neptune (mutated shark). This development occurred after the creation of the Crimson Head Prototype 1 that would eventually be locked away in the Spencer Mansion in the Arklay Mountains. In 1998, they were being studied as possible bio-weapons for the terrorism market and had already been genetically tweaked with, with Evolved Lickers being formed in Raccoon City's labs and having already been shipped out to the Sheena Island facility in Europe. These Evolved Lickers had sharper and longer claws, were more durable, and had keener senses, but were equally as intelligent and utilized the same hunting strategies as regular Lickers. Despite this, they were not developed further as it appears all specimens were destroyed during the obliteration of both Raccoon City and Sheena Island in a short period of time.
During the Raccoon City Outbreak in 1998, the creatures received the nickname "Lickers" from surviving members of the Raccoon City Police Department, whom had encountered a number of them around their building. The name stuck, presumably being carried on by either Officer Leon S. Kennedy or Claire Redfield, as all others who knew the nickname perished when the city was bombed. Later that same year, Leon sent Ark Thompson to infiltrate the labs found on Sheena Island, where he discovered the creatures had been transported to. Although these, too, escaped containment, they were all eradicated when the island's self-destruct sequence was activated.
After the turn of the century, Umbrella descendant company Tricell reevaluated the Licker and found ways to further modify its genome to create an even deadlier creature that would come to be known as the Licker β. Tricell also discovered that by inserting a modified Plaga into the host body, they could be controlled. The creatures were then mass-produced, likely using West African tribes as the initial source of bodies. By 2011 Tricell had sold a number of the B.O.Ws to Alexander Kozachenko of the Eastern Slav Republic, for use against Svetlana Belikova in the civil war raging there at the time.