28 April 2021

The Barracks: Cloned Soldiers










One of the bedrock concepts in science fiction is cloning human beings and the impact of human cloning on society. Often running parallel to that common sci-fi trope is cloned soldiers. For some creators, their future interstellar military organizations march to war and defense with soldiers of the same face and thousands different fates on off-world battlefields. In this installment of FWS, we will be looking at the cold reality of cloning, the status of the cloned GIs, and does it actually make logical sense to fill your ranks with clones? This has been a topic that FWS should have covered sometime ago, but it is high time to discuss the bedrock concept in military science fiction of using cloned soldiers.   

The Basics of Cloning
When discussing human clones, we must put the effort to clone human being into categories that allow for context. There are two official types of human cloning and a third category that I invented for the purpose of this article. The three types of cloning: Reproductive, Therapeutic , and Vocational. The most common reason for cloning is to copy someone or something living for the purposes of reproduction. The reason behind that can be that you miss your beloved kitty or puppy or your wife or your wanting to make a copy of yourself for world domination, narcissisms, or to control buried Star-Destroyers thirty years later. Then there is threapeutic cloning where you clone yourself to provide yourself with “parts body" to extend your life or correct medical issues. Think of it like a parts car for your project car. This was taken to the extreme for Michael Bay's 2005 film The Island. Then there my own contribution: vocational. In science fiction, clones are often used for a specific purpose in a future society that may not be to be a spare parts bin or for simple replication. These tasks often take the form of either being a slave labor work force or being soldiers in wars across the cosmos.
So, just what the hell is cloning in the hard, cold light of science? First, cloning is currently going on with racehorses, cats, camels, sheep, and dogs for wither commercial application or to reproduce a beloved pet. In terms of cloning human beings, we have the technology to do it, but most governments, societies, and people are against it due to the ethics of cloning people. Current 46 nations banned human reproductive cloning outright, 32 nations have only allowed for the possibility of therapeutic cloning.  One of the real issues with cloning is the inefficient of the entire concept. 
For the first cloned animal, Dolly the Sheep, only a single embryo out of 100 led to a live birth in 1997. During the Chinese effort to clone macaque monkeys, it required 63 surrogate mothers, 417 eggs. All of this led to just six actual pregnancies. One experiment into human therapeutic cloning was began in 1999 and this effort led by Advanced Cell Technology of Massachusetts to the first human cloned embryo on October 13th, 2001. This success took 71 eggs from seven volunteers and eight eggs were injected into the cells. Progress has been made over the last 20 years, but given the legal and social climate, human cloning is really limited and likely until only be used for therapeutic research, which has the most promise. Out of the efforts to improve the lives of people, genetic engineering looks the most possible and most acceptable by society and government or for military application. 

Clones and Installed Memories 
One of the key elements of science fiction cloning is to go beyond animal instinct and have a set of memories, skills, abilities in a day one software patch that is downloaded into the clone's brain and they are who the designers deem them to be...out of the artificial womb. This is normally combined with rapid growth or fully-grown adult out of the tube. While human cloning is fully possible today, we do not know yet possess the technology to create fully mature adult clones nor we do not have the technological or medical knowledge to replicate and implant memories...yet. There have been some studies and experiments in false memory at MIT with mice in 2013, but that is a very long way off from replicating memories for your doppelganger or another Duncan Idaho. The reason behind that is the we do not fully understand memory and the steer complexity of the human mind with its estimated 100 billion neurons. All of human cloning comes with massive risks and warning.
We know from the Blade Runner films how important memories can be to humans and the films raise many ethical questions about creating fully matured people ready to work, kill, and die, but are not fully human themselves. Another issue that has been covered in the Blade Runner films, the Old Man's War series and Ghost in the Shell if you can implant the memories from the original person into a clone body, then there is identity confusion in both. That can be even more dicey when comes to clones in combat as we saw with the Humanoid Cylons and the Raiders.   

Why use Clones for Military Service?
One of the important questions becomes, when discussing cloning, is why? Why would a interstellar military organization turn towards cloning soldiers instead of standard recruitment, drafting, or even constructing combat robots? Here is a few scenarios why a spacefaring armed forces organization might use cloning. To provide some framework for the discussion, we need to think along the lines of the Clonetroopers from the Prequels and there is the ability to transfer/download memories or skills into the new cloned adult or accelerated growth bodies.  

• There may be a lack of willing or able civilians to fill the need for soldiers, sailors, or marines via a draft. This could be due to the harsh reality of space travel, as we have seen in The Forever War, a simple lack of manpower on a colonial world or maybe due to a destructive event on their homeworld that decreased the population of able-bodied fighters.
• Needing to maintain and continue certain skills and abilities. For example, maybe cloning some Special Operations warfighters that are considered the best and continuing that line of skills or even military leaders. This can be seen with the cloning of Bashar Miles Teg by the Bene Gesserit during the invasion of the Honored Matres in the last two real DUNE books. We could also see a situation like in BSG, where there are no more trained Viper pilots, or engineers, or deck mechanics and cloning with the skills download could keep those skills concurrent and no breaks in service to the fleet.
• There could be a situation that often pops in sci-fi war stories where the need is critical for as many boots on the line as possible and if you could turn out adult, fully trained cloned soldiers than you could repeal the invasion.
• We could see an interstellar government use cloned space marines as a form of control, as we saw with the Clonetroopers with Order 66. An government or government entity could rise and field a clone army to wage an off-the-book black war or illegal strike, or to wage a genocidally campaign against people in robes using laser swords.    
   
The Difference between Cloning and Genetic Engineering
Quite often, sci-fi creators will interchange or combine genetic engineering and cloning to form supersoldiers or a new, improved version of the original donor. However, what it is the difference? Cloning is about making a copy of the original article and is a form of asexual (non-fun) form of reproduction. Genetic Engineering is a process that alters the subject to be an improvement for the original state of the subject, like adding the ability to breath underwater, or have superior hearing, or ability to see in other spectrum of light. Genetic engineering can be done at different stages of life. Now, much like hybrid cars, you can mix cloning and genetic engineering, as we have seen with the Clonetroopers in Star Wars.  

The Pro/Con of Cloning Soldiers
As we stated above, we need to provide a framework for our discussion of Cloned Soldiers. The most common view of cloned soldiers is that they are like the Clonetroopers of the Prequels, where the military can pump out mass copies that are fully grown or rapidly growing soldiers that fight and obey. If we had soldiers like this for our spacefaring military organizations what would be pro or the con of using Xerox warfighters? Let us be frank, the cold hard truth of military vocational cloning in science fiction is akin to being born into slavery. 
The pressures from keeping cloned slave-soldiers in military service bondage would be taxing on the clones themselves, the military, and this would create rifts in society as well as rifts between the civilian and military governments. Not only would these clones be likely viewed as expendable during wartime, but a massive society and economic issue after the war they were created to win. What would a society do with their clones once the war was over? Unlike a starcruiser or mecha, you cannot mothball human beings. Then there is the issue of technology and limitations. If a military could produce fully-grown and pre-loaded clone warfighters than that is one thing, however, it is different if they are born babies. If the military is involved with raising soldiers from the crib-to-the-barracks-to-the-battlefield than this ability will create massive social issues and the logistics of that for the military would also be a massive commitment.  

PRO:
• Control over the size and numbers of the military
• Control over the biologic foundations of the soldier
• No family complications
• No surprise medical conditions born out of family history or genetics
• Less or no need for recruitment from the civilian world or human resources
• In terms of logistics, if all soldiers are uniform in size and appearance, there some savings with armor, clothing, and tactical gear

CON:
• Could be seen by elements of the military and civilian government as slaves
• Easier design of biological warfare weapons by the enemy
• Clones could struggle with identity and purpose
• What to do with the cloned soldiers after the war
• Could be treated like disposable objects
• Could be treated like biological robots
• Could led to a lack of identity for the original donor

A Warning about the Limitations of Cloning: Rainbow and CC
In science fiction stories of cloning, it seems like more like a Xerox, pumping out identical copies of the original subject. However, the first cloned cat, CC, provided the limitations of cloning. CC or “Copy Cat” was cloned from a female tri-colored calico cat named “Rainbow” in 2001 at A&M University here in Texas. When CC was born, it provided that despite being a clone of Rainbow, CC came out with different coat patterns. This could mean that there are limits to cloning that could manifest themselves when we moved to clone humans and how genetics could screw around with carefully laid plans of creating supersoldiers.  

Are Cloned Soldiers Actually Slaves? Morality and Questions around Military Clones
Science fiction has a vast track record with exploring civil rights, human rights, and animal rights with stories set in the far-future or in galaxies far, far away. Quite often, cloned humans have been a vehicle for discussing the rights of living beings. That being said, there is an ugly truth that hovers around the sci-fi trope of cloned armies: slavery. Are cloned soldiers actually slaves to their government? his brings up some difficult questions about the morality of using clones for military roles that center around the primary question: are they slaves? If a cloned soldier is too badly wounded for service are they then honorable discharged to a veteran world or are the clones “retired” by a Rep-Det officer? Can they refuse military service? What if they are engineered to follow orders and not think about their rights and lack of freedoms…does that make them slaves or more like a organic machine? What happens to these clone soldiers after the war? Are they warehoused or “boxed” like in BSG
Would military clones lack motivation to fight and die as was seen with the InVitros from SAAB? Another question came to me that concerned the difference between clones and their donor. What if Captain America gave his consent to be the father of an army of clones to defend America from an alien invasion. Would those cloned Captain Americas be subject to broad consent given to the government by their donor-parent? We all know that Captain America is extremely loyal to the United States and prides himself on service, duty, and honor, but would his clone have the same values instilled? Would this make them not slaves, but willing clone soldiers to their country due to their donor’s sense of duty to the cause and country? All of these are valid questions to ask when thinking about the rights of military clones. Another element that will effect the lives and rights of cloned soldiers is the society that they are defending. Is this society that is in favor of slavery or do they see the cloned soldiers as a necessary evil to defend Earth from the threat?

Science Fiction and Military Clones
In science fiction, we see the extensive use of cloned soldiers that are often blended with genetic engineering to become the ultimate supersoldier. These cloned soldiers are created as often fully grown (or rapid growth) adults with tons of preloaded mental software and skills in their brains, thus making them having the abilities of a trained and experience soldier out of the artificial womb tank. A great deal of the stories about cloned soldiers often deal with their humanity, identity, and being compared to biological robots. This has the clones be a vehicle for a story about humanity and slavery. However, there is often the mixing up of terminology between clones and genetic engineering as well. Cloning can also be used by creators to continue the life of a popular character or unite time periods in different books together as we saw with Duncan Idaho in DUNE. One of the most popular concepts associated with cloning in sci-fi is bring back long dead animals, like Dinosaurs. Science fiction is littered with stories about cloning being the magic to bring back the Dinosaur.     

Examples:

Boba Fett from Star Wars
When the world finally got to witness who the hell "clones" were in the cryptic "Clone Wars" statements made in the original trilogy with horribly titled Episode II: Attack of the Clones in 2002, we also got to finally understand more about our favorite bounty hunter as well: Boba Fett. We learn that the genetic source of of the entire clone trooper army for the Republic was a Mandalorian bounty hunter named Jango Fett. One of the things that Jango asked for when making the deal with Count Dooku besides a shit-ton of cold hard credits, was a unaltered clone of himself. 
Born on Kamino in 32 BBY (same year as the events of The Phantom Menace), Boba was trained in the Mandalorian arts by his "father" until his death at the hands of Jedi Master Mace Windu on Geonosis. Unlike his brethren in the Grand Army of the Republic, Boba was raised as a Mandalorian and was not implanted with artificial growth acceleration therapy. This makes Boba a clone apart from the millions of clonetroopers running about the galaxy during and after the Clone Wars. Boba instructed differently and was not watered down by the Kamino cloners. Another element setting Boba apart was that he was cloned from Jango for reproductive and not vocational, as the clonetroopers were.   

The SPARTAN-II Candidate Flash Clones from the HALO Universe
One of the most disgusting elements of the terrible ONI SPARTAN-II Program was the use of flash clones to coverup what was happening to the abducted children that were indoctrinated into the secret program. Flash clones of the kids were made and most were designed to live a short time and die, covering up the ONI Black-Ops program. Only one of the flash clones of the candidate children lived for a few years, the flash clone of Daisy-023 lived until the age of 8. This was switched for the SPARTAN-III Program with the use of orphans by ONI.  

The Clone Troopers from Star Wars
For decades, we fans of the original holy trilogy have written, thought, and debated the meaning behind the term "clone" in "clone wars". In 2002, we finally were rewarded with the canonized vision of just who these clones were. While the Prequels were a mixed bag of the good, bad, and ugly, they certainly were not as bad as the sequel trilogy and the story behind the clones was actually really good and one of the best elements of the Prequels. What unfolded is one of the best examples ever of cloned soldiers. 
The cloned army for the Republic was ordered by a Jedi Master by the name of Master Sifo Dyas, who believed that the galaxy would soon be ripped apart by war. He took upon himself to place an order with the clones on Kamino for a cloned army and unfolded the Sith's plan for taking the galaxy and ending the Jedi rein. The genetic template for the clonetrooper was the former Mandalorian warrior Jango Fett. During the creation of the Grand Army of the Republic, the genetic structure of the clones was altered from Jango Fett's to weed out his more rebellious and independent traits and this made the Clonetroopers loyal to the Republic and to their Jedi commanders...until Order-66. 
While most associate the Clonetroopers with the role of commando or standard infantry, there were also a number of Republic Clones being utilized as pilots, vehicle operators, naval personnel, C3 operators, and command staff. However, there is the flipside to the Republican military clones: their rights and their fate after the war. As we know, the Clonetroopers were phased out in favor of the normal human Stormtroopers of the Galactic Empire and their role dimmed and one of the few clones of Jango Fett still operating in the galaxy was Boba Fett. Given that the clones were created and alter to serve and die for the Republic, they could be viewed as slave-soldiers without the nature of free will. When I researched this question, an user on Reddit posted this portion from one of the Clone Commando books:  
We have laws on how we treat sentient species. We have laws on how we treat animals and semi-sentient species. We even have laws protecting plants. But we have absolutely no laws whatsoever governing the welfare of clone troops-- human beings. They have no legal status, no rights, no freedoms and no representation. Every one of you here who accepted this army without murmur should hang your head in shame. If that's the depths we as a Republic can sink to in name of democracy, it hardly surprises me that the CIS wants to break away. The end can never justify means like this."
     -Senator Den Skeenah of Chandrila, addressing the Senate eighteen months after the Battle of Geonosis, after setting up a charitable appeal to fund the only veterans' welfare facility in the Republic
From- Star Wars: Republic Commando: True Colors by Karen Traviss page 134

Jack & Victoria from Oblivion
One of the better sci-fi movies of the new century is 2013 film Oblivion. In the film, it is assumed by all that Jack and Victoria are the last two humans watching over the operation to remove resources from Earth to humanity's new home: Titan. Earth was left scarred by an alien invasion and it was time to leave. However, the truth is much harder to swallow. In truth, Jack and Victoria are clones from an encounter mission organized to make contact with an alien object. The Tet captured the human spacecraft and cloned astronaut Jack Harper into their footsoldiers for the conquest of Earth. After the war, some of the Jacks and Victorias were transformed into repair teams for the drone armies, but they are told a lie until they come face-to-face.  

The Twin Snakes of Big Boss from the Metal Gear Universe
One of the more confusing stories about military cloning comes from the confusing (and confused) Metal Gear Franchise. In the in-universe history, one of the most legendary American soldiers of the Cold War was Big Boss and he was involved with a shadowy group called “The Patriots”. These Patriots wanted to clone Big Boss to form a new breed of warriors based off this legendary soldier. In 1971, Dr. Clark developed the project “Les Enfants Terribles” to capitalize on the abilities of Big Boss. 
By the mid-1970’s, the project had a surrogate mother and an egg donor that created twin boys after many failures, the twin snakes: David (Solid) and Eli (liquid). These boys were created without the consent of Big Boss and he ended his involvement with the Patriots. Another clone was created later that was more a direct clone to Big Boss, Solidus Snake (AKA George Sears). After three snakes were created, the program was ended in 1976 and the program was buried by the US government. All three clones suffered accelerated aging and sterility. One of the off-shoots of Les Enfants Terribles was the Genome Soldiers that used Big Boss gene therapy to enhance soldiers for the FOXHOUND group. 

The Sontarans from Dr. Who
One of the most iconic enemies despite their limited appearances in Doctor Who is the cloned potato soldiers of the Sontaran race. Sometimes called “the flesh-and-blood” Dalek, the Sontarans are devoted to war and the superiority of their race. For thousands of years, the Sontarans have been clones that, according to the FASA Dr. Who RPG, originated from a General Sontar. During the bloody and costly Kaveetch war with the Rutans, one of the key military leaders, General Sontar was used as the genetic template for legions of cloned soldiers. This cloning technology was developed by cellular geneticist Meredid Roath At some point, General Sontar used his clones to kill or exile all non-clone Kaveetch and from that point onward, the Sontarans took the place of the Kaveetch on their homeworld. For thousands of years, the Sontarans were locked in a bitter war with their enemy the Rutan and anyone else for that matter. The Clones of Sontar were just that, clones, with all reproduction of their ranks via cloning and being all male. Nearly all Sontarans are soldiers and any clones that are not up to standards are used as laborers or caretakers.    

Thomas Riker from Star Trek
In the history of Star Trek, one of odder ideas that later was a cool concept used in one of the best DS9 episodes was the duplication of William Riker. Due to a transporter accident, Will Riker was duplicated and when the clone was found much later on Nervala IV, the second Will Riker took his middle name of “Thomas” to identify him separate from Will Riker. Due to this cloned state, he had a tough time  in Starfleet and left around 2370 to join the Maquis. In 2371, he hijacked the USS Defiant to take the warship deep into Cardassian space to the Orias system to investigate rumors of Obsidian Order fleet being constructed. This was true and that fleet was used to strike at the homeworld of the Founders. The concept of the Transporter being a cloning machine that has users of the machine willing engage in their repeated suicide and cloning.    

The Clone Society from Robotech Masters
In the history of the fictional ROBOTECH galaxy, one of the key civilizations is based on the earth-like moon of the gas giant Fantoma: Tirol. Often, the tyrannic cult-like government of the Robotech Masters is associated with the entire Tirolian race, there is a difference and some of it comes down to cloning. While Tirol gave them life, it was not a rich world in resources and Tirolians had to take to the stars to locate resources for their people. What arose after thousands of years was a vast empire centered on Tirol that controlled their vassal worlds via their Tirolian Legions. During this time, the “Masters” arose using the power of the concept of “3” in Tirolian society, philosophy, and spirituality. The power of the Master soon formed into a cult and they controlled the actions and thoughts of their followers. 
Around this time, Tiorlian society formed castes: scientists, warriors, politicians. During this social transformation, cloning took hold with clones being in the number of three. These were another form of control over the society with the Masters redesigning the entire society and how it functioned. Those that would not be part of the cloned masses were outcasts and apart from the emerging Master Society on Tirol and some of the vassal worlds. When the Masters became the “Robotech Masters” is when the Tirolians discovered the Invid homeworld of Optera and the Flower of Life. When the Flower of Life and it power generation abilities came into the Tirolian society, it changed the fate of the entire galaxy. Here is where the Masters learned more about cloning via the Protoculture and bioengineering. This created better clones and better Zentraedi slaves for work and war. 
After this, the Robotech Masters forged a cult around the Flower of Life and a nearly forever war with the mobilized Invid race. This feed the need for more military clones for the Tirolian Bioroid mecha and other roles in the warrior caste. There were other clones developed to control the harmony of the millions of triplets clones via the cosmic harp. One of the most clones in Tirolian society was the clones of Zor, one of the most important people in Tirolian history. Zor was chief scientist and expedition command to Operta and it was smooth game with the Regis that he gained access to samples of the Invid Flower of Life. 
When Zor was killed by an Invid raid many year later, the Master ordered a clone, Zor Prime, to be made to access OG Zor’s memories of where he sent the battlefortress with the Protoculture matrix onboard to in the galaxy. This Zor clone would become the ace pilot of the Red Bioroid mecha and later a member of the 15th ATAC who ended the lives of the Masters, but spread the Invid Flower of Life across the planet. This action summed the Invid from across galaxy to invade and control Earth. The surviving clones of the Master society entered into the shattered remains of Terran society just as the 3rd Robotech War broke out. By the time of Battle of Reflex Point, Humans and Tirolians (both natural born and clone) had interbred on both Terra and Tirol. Many Tirolians survived in the REF armada during the liberation of Earth.

The Arnold Clones from The 6th Day
As an 80’s kid, the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger represents a big part of my childhood and I had several Arnold movie posters on my wall. However, the apex of his career ended with Jingle all the Way. In 2000, Arnold starred in a sci-fi movie about illegal cloning with a Biblical reference title. In the near future setting of the film, cloning is used to create human replacement organs (therapeutic cloning) and animals (reproductive), but cloning of complete human beings is banned under the "6th Day" Laws. Schwarenegger plays Adam Gibson, a man who had been illegally cloned and the film has Gibson attempting to find out the answers of why. 

The Curious Case of the Humanoid Cylons from Battlestar Galactica
When we look at blending cloning. genetic engineering, and cybernetics in the realm of science fiction, one example that is complex and interesting is the humanoid Cylons/13th Tribe from the Reimagined series from 2003. Throughout the lore of the series, there was a cycle of humans creating artificial life that revolts against their masters and then after thousands of years, these former artificial life constructs their own artificial life themselves and the cycle continues. It is highly likely that the Lords of Kobol were similar to the Final Five and created mankind on Kobol, forging the 12 Tribes as originally artificial. Much later, the 13th Tribe of biomechanical humanoids was created on Kobol by the 12 Tribes. These artificial humans created the science of consciences transfer or “resurrection technology” to allow these biomechanical humans to download into new cloned bodies of themselves about 3,000 years prior to leaving Kobol for Earth. Resurrection technology was gifted to the rebelling Cylons of the 12 Colonies by the five remaining members of the 13th Tribe. 
This triggered the need for cloned Cylon humanoid bodies of the original template models. This is where the Cylons from RDM BSG spans over genetic engineering, bio-robotics, and cloning all in one package. When the Final Five downloaded onto their orbital resurrection hub after the nuclear war on Earth, they downloaded into cloned bodies and from that point onward, the Final Five were clones in body only. When the Final Five created the original template humanoid Cylon models, these were genetically engineered bodies that were likely enhanced with cybernetics. When the original models died, they downloaded into cloned bio-robotic empty bodies. This made the race of humanoid Cylons clones from that point onward. 

The Tleilaxu Gholas of Duncan Idaho from the DUNE Universe
In the DUNE universe, the society on Bene Tleilax are able to clone human beings using the horrific Axlot Tank technology that was based on what remained of the Tleilax females and one of the more famous clone or “ghola” was the swordmaster of House Atreides: Duncan Idaho. From some of the research, there is a difference between a clone and a Ghola. Gholas are created from the cellular material of someone who is dead that can be as little as one cell. Being from someone who has died, they ghola as their death memory, as we saw with the Duncans in God Emperor of DUNE. Being a massive DUNE book fan, I liked the way the Duncan clones were used, especially in my favorite book of the series: God Emperor of DUNE. However, the idea of Gholas is taken too far in the books written after the original books with main characters being resurrected as Gholas and it is terrible in concept and in writing. Oh, I did like that there was a Ghola of Miles Teg as well as seen in Chapterhouse DUNE.

Sam Bell from Moon
One of the best recent science fiction movies is 2009's Moon starring Sam Rockwell many times over. In the story, Helium 3 is mined from a mostly automated factory on the Moon and the sole human worker is Sam Bell. For his 3 year contract, Sam worked to mine and send back the critical He3 to the Earth to solve a energy crisis. However, when Sam is thought dead, this robotic helper GERTY wakes a new clone of Sam Bell to work his three years for Lunar Industries. After overhearing GERTY, the new Sam Bell clone finds the injured Sam and the two of them work together to find answers and a future. This is, yet, another example of Vocation Cloning due to Lunar Industries avoiding recruitment, salary, training costs by simply cloning the original Sam Bell and putting a 3-year lifespan on the clone to avoid any messiness.   

The Many Clones from the Rick & Morty Universe
Okay, there are a lot of clones and cloning in the Rick & Morty universe...a lot. Given Rick's plans-within-plans approach, he has cloned backups of himself to "download" into Cylon-style to prevent death as seen with his Operation: Phoenix project in "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat". Of course, he cloned himself as "Tiny Rick" and during the fight with his toxic self in the living room. Throughout the series, cloning was used extensively as we saw with Beth and Jerry's alien marriage counseling with various Jerrys being made to battle Evil Beth. 
We saw cloning being used to bring back Tommy to his parents before his father's excision from just a finger after the Froopyland Massacre. Then there was the cloning of Beth to either stay with the family or go out into space. While most of the cloning in Rick & Morty is for survival/reproductive, the situation with Beth is an interesting one. Which ever Beth is the clone, they were constructed as an escape hatch on their life and that could be a possible reason for cloning if one's memories could be uploaded or copy-and-pasted to allow the original to live another life while the clone holds down the fort at home. 
  
The Replica from FEAR
In the F.E.A.R video game franchise series, the Armacham Technology Corporation creates cloned soldiers for the US DoD need for supersoldiers. In the games, Replica Forces are comprised of cloned supersoldiers from a genetic source not disclosed in the games and about a battalion in strength. Through the various games, the look and ability of the Replica Forces vary greatly with some being directly controlled by Paxton Fettel.  





The Clones from The X-Files
I was a massive fan of the X-Files for years during its first run, but, by 1999 the show was done and mystery gone. During its height of power and mystery, there was a mythology running through some of the episodes that told a tale of alien invasion, human collaboration, clones, and hope. As we know, the Colonists were wanting to retake Earth for themselves and they were going to use humans to do it without military force. It was rather by using the mechanism of human society and their own desire to survive. In the society of the Colonists, there are clones and those that watch over the clones. For their plan for colonization of Earth, there was to be a hybrid race of human and alien that were cloned in a mute slave labor force for the Colonists. In this way, humanity would survive, in a form. The human collaborators were the ones that developed the hybrids and partly to stall colonization. All of these events were amazing well unfolded over years of the show and the movie, then the storyline collapsed when it was revealed later the aliens gave up when climate change and using up of natural resource became too much for them.  

The Ripley 8 Clone from ALIEN Resurrection
Every ALIEN fan can agree that ALIEN and ALIENS are legendary, but when it comes to the 3rd and 4th movies in the series, fans are much more divided with myself very negative on the 3rd and 4th films. It is in the fourth film from 1997, Alien Resurrection that we see a clone of Ripley living in the 24th century onboard a massive United System military fortress ship. She was the 8th and most successful clone culled from some blood cells of the original Ripley and the baby Queen Xenomorph sourced from Fury 161. This black ops military science project was designed to resurrect the long dead Xenomorph species with the Ripley clones being more of a side project. The science team could not separate out the alien DNA from Ripley’s creating a woman who looked like the original Ripley but had some of the fearsome abilities of the aliens along with some ninja mad basketball skills (which Sigourney Weaver actually did in one take after weeks of practice, she has cited it has the 3rd best day of her life).      

The Neosapiens from EXO-Squad
One of the more adventurous and oddly vexing American military science fiction cartoons was Exo-Squad. This little mecha toy-and-cartoon nascent empire that lived and died between 1993-1994 had a complex and oddly horrific backstory to the enemies of Earth and her colonies. In 2069, mankind genetic engineered a race of blue-skinned seven-feet tall sterile slaves that branch grown clones used to colonize Mars and Venus due to their specialized biology. Just before the start of the series, there had been several uprises of the Neosapian slaves on Mars, but these were put down. When the Earth off-world military, the ExoFleet, was launching a major space pirate suppression operation, the Neospians launched another massive revolt and managed to gain ground. When the series opened, Earth and the occupying Neosapians were at war with powered armor/mecha being the primary tool of this space war. I firmly believe that the term “clone” is not the right word for what the Neosapians are.

The CDF Clones from the Old Man's War Universe
One of the best military science fiction novels of all time is John Scalzi's 2005 Old Man's War. In the novel, older people of Terra sign their bodies and minds over to the Colonial Defense Force at ages above 65+ and it is only once they in the service of the CDF that they realize the truth. The Colonial Defense Force has designed and founded their entire military on genetically engineered bodies with consciences transfer from the old to the new (and green) bodies. As discussed above, most sci-fi cloned soldiers are genetically engineered as well and Old Man's War cloned infantry that defend mankind's colonies are engineered to that end. The Colonial Union needed improved soldiers to defend the colonies and minds to drive those bodies. This is a really interesting and originally take on cloned soldiers and makes Old Man's War one of the best military sci-fi books. The concept of cloning is explored further in the sequel: The Ghost Brigade





Serpentor from G.I Joe
During the apex power of the Hasbro G.I. Joe: Real American Hero toyline, animated series, and Marvel comic series, there was an oddball character developed: COBRA Emperor Serpentor. Using various genetic material from some of the greatest military leaders in history, Destro and Dr. Mindbender developed the cloned creation of COBRA Emperor Serpentor. Using GI Joe member Sgt. Slaughter as the foundation, DNA samples of Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Hannibal, and Attila the Hun were added into the genetic gumbo and out came Serpentor. This Frankenstein Monster of genetics and ego was designed and developed for the COBRA organization to have a figurehead, but still allowed Cobra Commander to be the overall commander of the terrorist organization. Of course, that did not last and there was a COBRA civil war in the comics between those that sided with Cobra Commander and those that followed Serpentor. To preserve the organization, Serpentor was murdered by Zartan in the comics. In the animated series, the creator of this clone was foiled several times by members within COBRA. Even at the time in 1986, I thought this character and his vehicle were dumb.  

The Clone of Kahless the Unforgettable from ST:DS9 & TNG
On the planet that orbited the star where Kahless the Unforgettable pointed and told the Klingons thousands of years ago to watch from there, there was a secret plan developed by the temple clerics. On the monastery of Boreth, the clerics used genetic material and developed an clone of the most important individual in Klingon history to united the crumbling Klingon Empire. Wolf was used as the vehicle to show how Kahless had come from the afterlife to return back to led the Klingon people back to glory and honor. Of course, Kahless being a clone is discovered. When the truth comes out, the clone of Kahless is installed as a figurehead Emperor being Kahless II and Gowron is still the leader of the High Council. The series drops using the clone of Kahless during the Federation-Klingon War and the during the Dominion War and the fate of the clone remains unwritten by the real Star Trek canon. This story speaks to the dangers of cloning people of power and legend and how it can backfire. 

Cortana, the AI Clone of Dr. Halsey from the HALO Universe
During a recent playthrough of HALO 4 via the Master Chief collection on my Xbox One, Cortana mentioned to John-117 that she is a clone of one of the founders of the SPARTAN-II program: Doctor Catherine Halsey. This is very interesting cloning angle not seen as much in sci-fi recently. Halsey's brain patterns were cloned and used to developed Cortana, an UNSC military A.I. construct that was critical in the defeat of the Covenant and their zealous campaign to lit the rings and wipe out all life in the galaxy...again. Given the complexity of the AI constructs seen in the HALO universe and their abilities, Cortana is something unique and special, being the only AI based on the mind of a human being. The cost of this came when we saw the events of HALO 5: Guardians

The Twin Clone Societies from The Forever War
For those that have NOT read the amazing The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, this section covers the end of the book and contains massive spoilers. The war that the main characters of the book are involved with has been waged for over a thousand years against the Taurans due to the effect of time dilation and the end of the war involved cloning.   For his last deployment, William Mandella (one of the original members of the UNEF) is sent to the most distant battlefields: Sade-138. The objective was located 150,000 LYs away and it would take 350 side-real years to get there. Once that campaign was over, William's unit returned back to the frontlines at Stargate and learns that the odd story of humanity has gotten odder. During William's time in service, humanity had from mostly heterosexual, to mostly homosexual, then to genetically engineered and artificially created and gestated. Now, humanity or Man was based off of a single person named Khan and the posthuman Man had a single conscience. Only these new collective posthuman clones could fully understand who the enemy was and this new understanding ending the Eternal Conflict. The entire Tauran race are natural clones that their lack of concept of individualism caused their inability to communicate with the humans until Man was created. This concept of the cloned societies is further explored in the sequel, Forever Free.       

The Various Clones from the Heartbreakers Comics  
In the Dark Horse comic series Heartbreakers  that was created by artist Paul Guinan and writer Anina Bennett and there are a number of clones mentioned in the various comics that covered the world of the Heartbreakers. In the near future, and Earth's population is suffering from environmental damage that has caused a drop in fertility. Enter Dr. Therese Sorenson, inventor of the rapid cloning process that can turn out adult clones within 6 months that can have preloaded memories and skills. This process is known as "rapicloning", and it had a massive impact on global society. These clones became a slave population when the megacorporation BioVoc began mass producing clones for all manner of dangerous work and altered their biochemistry to allow these BioVoc clones to operate in conditions too dangerous for humans. Think of the Replicants from BLADE RUNNER and you get the idea. This mass-cloning work force created a social issue that tore at the fabric of society. Some groups morally opposed cloning on the grounds of slavery and even other groups took issue with clones taking away jobs from the "naturals, like the United Federation of labor. This forged groups like the right-wing People's Front and the pro-clone human rights group League of Ones or LONE crashing, sometimes violently. All of this energy surrounded Therese Sorenson and the shadowy CEO of BioVoc, Vegas Ward. 
Dr. Sorenson was in the employment of BioVoc, and when she looked up from research, she saw her creations in chains. Dr. Sorenson would nearly be killed, and forced her to withdraw from public life. During this time, Dr. Sorenson prepared to take action against her employer and the state of her creations. While not explained, it is believed that without Dr. Sorenson's help BioVoc could not complete their off-world mining slave labor force to export minerals from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Months before the events of the original 1989 Dark Horse Presents series, Dr. Sorenson would leave BioVoc labs, establish her own lab/compound, grow two lines of clones based on her own DNA: the Deltas and the Betas, and continue her own research on the mysterious Paracelsus Matrix. These Deltas are the lab assistants of Dr. Sorenson, and gifted with the mind as close to the good doctor as possible. The Betas were the bodyguard of Sorenson and her Delta clones. These tough female soldiers are called "the Heartbreakers". When the first comic opens, the situation at the lab compound as crumbled into violent and provoking Sorenson to get off-world.    


The Bruce Lee Clones from The Clones of Bruce Lee (1980)
Up until I watched the video review of this with the Spoony One, I had never heard of the Clones of Bruce Lee. This is one of the many "Bruceploitation" films that came out when Sifu Bruce Lee was hitting it big. One of the more infamous is this 1980 "film" that "starred" three Bruce Lee impersonators that were cloned from a blood sample by a evil mad scientist for Special Branch of Investigation of the British government in Hong Kong. These clones of the man himself are named, and I shit you not, Bruce #1, #2, #3. They are sent to fight crime, topless assassin beach babies, bronze men, posion grass, and bad dubbing while putting to film the greatest of all Bruceploitation films.  

Henry and "Junior" from Gemini Man
So, badass Will Smith is a badass government assassin that is being hunted by another badass assassin...which is a younger version of himself that is working for a PMC called GEMINI. The two go head-to-head there is exploration of the idea of experience vs. youth. In addition, the younger Will Smith, "Junior" has been genetically engineered to edit out the portions of his personal that could stand in the way of killing without question for his boss at the evil PMC. It is said in the film that GEMINI wants to use Junior as a testbed for a special soldier project. Could have been more interesting film...

Shinzon from Star Trek: Nemesis
In the last Star Trek film using the TNG cast, Nemesis, we see a Romulan plot to use a clone of Captain Picard to be used to gather intelligence on Starfleet as a deep-cover operative hiding in plain sight as a clone of the great man. The clone, named Shinzon, was to be a clone that could be aged as the need arose to replace Picard at different points. For course, there are massive holes in the basic plot of the film and some biological breakdown of Shinzon, but the acting alone between the two characters in some of the scenes makes those moments the standout in a bad Trek film. 

Next Time on FWS...
We all know that military sci-fi loves their space fleets and space navies, but, what about the actually waterborne navies that protect and roam the seven seas and rivers? For the next installment of FWS, we will exploring and explaining the interesting topic of nautical navies in science fiction that exist after humanity has established off-world colonies. We will has discuss if there will be a role for nautical navies on off-world settlements and what that may look like and of course, examples.   






6 comments:

  1. A note on Cortana and Halsey: smart AIs in Halo are all created from scans of human brains, but as this is a destructive process they are normally done on dead ones. The UNSC ship AIs are usually created from the brains of dead officers (with the permission of relatives, I assume).

    What makes Cortana unique was that she was made from the brain of a flash-clone, theoretically giving her the same memories and thought-patterns as Dr Halsey. Of course, it's not clear how the clones retain their memories. Surely if the UNSC could perfectly copy someone's brain like that, there would be no need for the destructive AI-creation scan? Honestly the flash-clones are one of the least explored and somewhat nonsensical parts of the Halo canon.

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    1. Excellent! Thank you so much for the claification!

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  2. "it would take 350 side-real years to get there"

    A big off-topic
    Why you keep adding side-real or sidereal to time units? The term 'sidereal' don’t have any connection to the English word 'real'.
    The word sidereal derived from Latin, sidus mean star, and sidereal mean with respect to the stars. Or from prospective of someone on Earth, the apparent movement of stars in the night sky.
    Why would a spacefaring civilization replace the Tropical day and year (also simply called day and year) with their sidereal counterparts?
    I believe the origin of the term sidereal referring to time unit a spacefaring civilization use come from the Alien colonial marines technical manual where FTL ships speeds are rated at light years per sidereal day, there is no time dilation in that setting and it is the same 'day' for both ship (ship time) and home (proper time).
    As with sidereal year you referring as time passed back at Earth in the forever war universe - again humanity skip regular years based around Earth potion around its sun (and seasons etc.) in favor of this sidereal year, can't see why to use those unit.
    Maybe something to write in the upcoming (mis) Labeling Space article.

    Yoel

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  3. Now for cloning

    Been wondering how the command structure be like in a military composed of noting but clones. Who will be their commanders? Likely not any normies, if a clone is based on the finest military specimen that the military found, with possible enhanced genetic engineering the clone is probably be superior to regular human and the clone will know it, will a company of augmen step to combat under the commands of undermensch?

    If instead you decide to pick some of the clones the command the rest of the troopers, how do you choose? All of the clones are identical by definition… roll the dice? Will one clone take orders and walk to combat given orders by someone who simply won the officer-lottery?

    And if you have more than one batch of clones made, you might chose to promote those who survived previous battles to command the newer batches of clones. Well, if all the clones of batch N are identical in genetic making and training to each other the one who survived did so by sheer luck and such will be regarded by the clones of batch N+1, that if the science and know-how of the cloners didn't advanced between the batches to make batch N+1 superior to batch N as batch N superior to regular humans.

    Yoel

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  4. Huh... I actually forgot how proliferate the idea of clone armies was in science fiction, especially military science fiction. Still, it does give rise to interesting plot questions about free will, rights, and even what it means to be human and how one would even manage them post-conflict.

    Personally, I'm surprised that there weren't any stories on the retiring of clone soldiers through a kind of cryonic mothballing program i.e. they're put to sleep until they're needed for the next war. Just a little recovery and training to face the new threat and new technology and there's your ready made army. Though I assume that most of the issues of having a single template army in terms of biological warfare might be miniated with some nanotech or similar. Then again, that just might make the whole tragety of the clone soldier even sadder if they're expected to fight not the one that birth them, but all the other ones to come.

    As for the whole transference of memory cliché, I recall a few years back of some new magnetic resonance technology where the experience of an older individual trained to identify spy photographs are transferred to a trainee as they do similar exercises to shorten the training period. That might be a solution or even the purpose for those weird helmet thingies the young Clonetroopers wore during class.

    Speaking of them, I'm surprised that there was no mention of the Sparti process from the Expanded Universe/Legends that was the original cause of Clone War"S" before Episode One came around. If I recall correctly, these three-day or less clones were used for hard labor and similar occupations. Something that young with all those memories was almost bound to cause the madness that made such clones so violent and psychotic enough to raise the banner of rebellion on several different world of the Galactic Republic. They were basically the robot uprising, but with wetware instead of hardware and rose independently of one another, which is possibly not only why it was so taxing to put down, but also how they were ultimately defeated: While no central command means no obvious target for a single strike, it also means no support and no coordination, at least not on a galactic scale.

    *le sigh* Of what could have been.... But what we got is just as good. I think...?

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