One of the many Alchemical Laboratories that operate within the influence and city limits of Central City, Lab 5 is located on the outskirts of town. Though Laboratory 5 was said to have shut down, the Elric Brothers' investigation reveals that the building's gate is guarded by an armed soldier at all times, the high wall surrounding it is set with razor wire and alarmed booby traps and that the interior is kept lit just enough to accommodate passage through the facilities. Additionally, Lab 5's heinous secrets are guarded by the Slicer Brothers and Barry the Chopper. The building is also rigged with explosives, so it can detonate at any time.
It is also located next to Central Prison, from which "ingredients" were taken from among the death row inmates. After Edward makes it into the heart of Lab 5 and encounters the Slicer Brothers and Lust and Envy, the building's explosives are activated, destroying all evidence of the immoral experimentation that had gone on within. It is later revealed that all the scientists involved with Laboratory 5 had disappeared mysteriously just days before its destruction and implied that the they had been used as ingredients for a Philosopher's Stone themselves. Laboratory 5 was also said to have been under the jurisdiction of Brigadier General Basque Grand, who had already been murdered by Scar by the time the Elrics discovered it.
The truth as to Lab Five's nature is later revealed to be far more sinister than even a human testing laboratory. Lab Five, along with the other four alchemical labs in the city, form the corners of a large pentagon that surrounds the city centre. Additionally, they are on the perimeter of a large circle that encompasses the pentagon, and is the inner layer of the Nationwide Transmutation Circle created by Father. In addition to being part of the Nationwide Transmutation Circle designed to condense all the souls in Amestris into a giant Philosopher's Stone, the circle within Central has another purpose. When activated, all alchemists withi