The DHARMA Initiative
At some point in the early 1970s, the DHARMA Initiative founded a tiny community on the Island. The Barracks became the center of operation for the DHARMA Initiative on the Island. Significant quantities of construction materials, electronic equipment and various vehicles and machinery were brought to the Island during the phase of settlement for the construction of the various DHARMA stations. Off the Island, the DHARMA Initiative’s activities were coordinated from Ann Arbor in Michigan. (“Some Like It Hoth”)
The Orchid is the name given to a DHARMA Initiative station dedicated to exotic matter research, namely time travel, under the guise of being a botanical research station. The true station is located in an underground chamber beneath a greenhouse, and draws energy for its experiments from the same anomalous energy source as the frozen wheel. The Orchid is located several hours north or northwest of the survivors’ camp, and is found fairly close to the remnants of the statue of Taweret.
The DHARMA Initiative detected the pocket of anomalous energy beneath this sector of the Island and began construction of the station sometime before 1977. From the outset, the Orchid’s purpose was to find a way to tap into the energy pocket as a means of allowing the Initiative to manipulate time. By 1977, the Orchid was largely taking shape: the general framework for the greenhouse, the elevator and the initial part of the tunnel system had all been developed.
Dr. Chang was in charge of overseeing construction at the Orchid. He immediately dropped everything he was doing to visit the station after a drilling accident was reported. Upon arriving at the station, Dr. Chang found that one of the workers had collapsed while drilling into the rock according to his specs. The drill itself had melted. Chang ordered the workers to cease drilling immediately — as drilling any further into the chamber inside could release the “limitless” energy beyond. He appeared highly concerned that the release this energy would have serious consequences. (“Because You Left”) (“The Variable”)
Previous to the drilling accident, Miles and Hurley visited the station, bringing the corpse of a dead DHARMA worker to Dr. Chang at Horace’s request from the Swan site. The body was unloaded upon arrival and taken inside the station. Exactly why the workman’s body was brought here under such secrecy or what was done with it afterwards are unclear. (“Some Like It Hoth”)
It was revealed in the Hydra Orientation film the Initiative used polar bears to study the electromagnetic energy by pushing the wheel. (“The New Man in Charge”)