Cloning in the Cosmic Era
The technology required for human cloning was almost within the grasp of science during the end of the Petroleum Era, and if the Resource Wars had not occurred when they did, human clones might have been seen almost a century sooner. But the Resource Wars brought many avenues of scientific and technological development to a halt. During the Second Dark Age, human labor went into the field along side alcohol powered tractors and solar tech systems, in a daily sometimes desperate struggle to produce enough food and fuel to survive another year. Adding more people during a time of shortage was considered a folly, and there was no shortage of producing humans the old fashion way.
But the Second Renaissance changed things. The second generation of arcologies were built, and there was a staggering demand for labor. As the various nations re-emerged and the super blocs started forming, they were all faced with a common problem, a shortage of manpower. Varying degrees of technology were applied, ranging from labor efficiency systems to intensive automation and the creation of androids and robots to assist. But robots have to come from factories themselves and require workers to build them, at least initially. There was also the matter of the Tycho Conventions, then just a decade old that limited to production of robots and androids. The convention stated that robots building robots, especially in the aspect of the sophistication of the synthetic cortices being developed and the slight chance of sentience, was potentially dangerous and morally obscene.
The next step was human cloning.
The Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere
Long accustomed to large labor pools, the ACPS was particularly hard hit in the labor shortage and while the Atlantic Federation and Pacific Rim Coalition explored robotics, the ACPS delved into human cloning. Most of the 'heavy lifting' was done in labs from Beijing to the Pearl River arcoplex, where the ACPS pioneered many technologies and techniques required for viable cloning of humans.
The Jung Liao Embryo Technique
The Jung Liao, or JL Technique was the first viable and easily replicable technique for mass fertilization of human embryos without resorting to in vitro fertilization followed by surgical extraction. The technique allowed for an overall high quality of embryo specimens as well as a high survival rate. The technique was founded by Dr. Chin Jung Liao of Hong Kong. The original aim of the JL technique was to create en masse viable embryos for large endangered predators, such as Chinese tigers. The technique worked well, and when adopted to human use worked very well.
Doctor Lee Kalvin's Bioreactor
The Bioreactor was the brain child of Dr. Lee Kalvin of Singapore. The reactor is a tank of neo-amnionic fluid that is hyper oxygenated. This fluid, sometimes called LCL for it's chemical shorthand, allowed for rapid healing of trauma in injured patients submerged in the tank. The fluid has a haigh concentration of stem cells, as well as a soup of nutrients and chemical stimulants. Burn victims who were 'Kalvinized' found their recovery time was 1/5th of the common recovery time, and the number of deaths from full body burns drastically fell. The bioreactor can be altered, it programming for hormone secretion altered to cause accelerated growth. The first rounds of experiments were used to grow adult humans into hormone modified super athletes, which the results were impressive. Kalvinization also proved to be an effective, if expensive cure for the effects of aging.
Between Jung-Liao's embryo modification and Kalvin's bioreactor, a fully grown human adult could be grown in less than 2 years. This was a valuable goal, but there was a huge problem, the mind of the clone was not developed, not colored and experienced by twenty years of learning, growing, and experiences. This would remain a hurdle that the ACPS would not be able to surmount for almost twelve years. Doctor Dan Schrieber of the Republic of California and a cyberneurologists was the genius who solved the issue. Schrieber was doing revolutionary work in mapping human thought patterns and anticipating them to create better algorythms for emulating human thought in synthetic robot cortices. While his work would not flower in the field of robotics and cybernetics, his research into human thought and experience would be groundbreaking. After decades of work, he had a virtual library of human experience, all recorded in digital media, neurological maps, and records of chemical reactions.
Schrieber would be approached by ACPS headhunters who offered him his own wing of a major lab in the Pearl River and large amounts of money and praise. Schrieber took his skill and money to China where he applied his work towards human cloning. The doctor started crafting stock 'childhoods' that were programmed into the sleeping clones as they grew inside the Kalvin Bioreactors. Once the body was physically comparable to 12 year olds, they were 'spiked' with a Nakazawa Cerebellum Probe and then functionally indoctrinated by a computer hooked to the tank. The next 12 months are spent with the clone interacting with the computer in a dream like state, where the clone is implanted with it's life, it's 'personal history' and it's greater purpose. Schrieber would eventually grow to hate the work he did, as his cloned 'children' were not the grand step in evolution that he had wanted, he wasn't going to be the father of the next generation of humanity. He was the architect of Homo Sapiens Servitus, menial man, Human Minus.
Genetic engineering had made great strides in creating a new strain of humanity. This new humanity was increasingly untroubled by systemic, degenerative and hereditary diseases. Celiacs, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other diseases vanished as errant DNA was purged, and new pure strands were rewritten. It was only a matter of time before better, stronger, smarter humans were going to be bred. The Tycho Conventions effectively ended the official quest for Human Plus. Secret projects remained, scattered around the world, such as the Federation Coordination Group, the Nippon based Instrumentality Project, the Norse Fimbulvinter Project, and a dozen other black budget affairs. But while there was attention to creating sub-humans, analogous to the Deltas and Epsilons of Huxley's Brave New World, nothing was said about genetic tailoring, preconditioning, and behaviour modification. The ACPS Sapiens Servitus is no less intelligent and no less capable than an old fashioned born and raised human.
The difference lies in their common ancestry, all those born in the tanks are raised with less than 100 different backgrounds. They have many of the same likes and dislikes, and are predisposed to avoiding certain behaviours while indulging in others. Servitus isn't a leader, or a free thinker. They do not read, nor do they engage in political discourse or other cerebral things. They are capable of it if pressed to, but they very much prefer simpler entertainment.They like fast food, consumer based television, and a constant supply of bright and colorful entertainment. They are conditioned to doing repetitive labor, and minding their own socio-economic station. They in shorter words, don't look up.
The Eurasian Alliance
The rise of the Neo-Soviet Empire required a great deal of manual labor, which the Alliance was able to gain through trade deals and technology exchanges with the ACPS, forfeiting several bases in the Indian Ocean, as well as signing treaties over the deployment of Eurasian Submarines in ACPS waters and a joint forces treaty to protect ACPS and EA assets in space against the overwhelming might of the Federation space fleet. The Alliance was not as geared towards creating a new generation of mindless consuming drones, but rather was looking to create a new population base, for soldiers, factory workers, and the like. The global decrease in population that afflicted the world in the Second Dark Age was particularly bad in the former Soviet nations as many were already in states of population recession when the lights went out.
The greatest portion of the Alliance clone population is involved in the Army and the Navy, and these clones are often unaware of the fact that they are clones, or if they do know, they are still granted to same rights as any born and bred human in the Alliance. There is a quip in the Federation fleet that the worse part about dealing with the Eurasians is that they all look alike.
The Atlantic Federation and the Pacific Rim Coalition
These two powers are roughly the same in terms of clone creation and use. The matter is a minor one, with there being far fewer clones per capita than in many other nations. The loss of manpower in North America was minimal compared to other parts of the world, and the cloning techniques, captured via espionage, were valuable but considered redundant against Federation and Coalition cybernetics, and robotics developments.
Clones in the Federation do not enjoy a citizen status, but only about 20% of the Federation population holds a citizen status, while the rest are classified as 'resident' or 'immigrant' both of which are lesser statuses. Most clones are considered 'immigrant' status and are denied most benefits of the State, but are allowed basic human rights. Clones, like other immigrants and citizens can apply for citizenship status, but doing so either entails military service or civil service. A disproportionate number of clones can be found in civil fields, such as doctors, fire and emergency responders, and civilian police.
Sadly, there is a racist bias against clones in the Federation. It is a popular theory among the American Christian Party, the main rival of the American Corporate Party, that clones are less than human and innately inferior. Not for a genetic reason, but because as they were not conceived in a Godly way, nor properly born they are lacking intangible human qualities, chiefly a soul. Pnuemologists have countered that the physical condition of being soulless, apnuemia, is no more prevalent among clones than it is among normal humans, less than one half of one half a percent of the population at the highest estimate. Conditions in the PRC are much better for clones, and they are more widely accepted. The PRC has also maintained strong liberal traditions that the Federation abandoned decades ago.
Types of Clones
Alpha: an Alpha Clone is a carbon copy of a specific individual. Alpha Cloning is a legal gray area, and with the emergence of Pneumological Transplanting, offers the possibility of immortality. The process of creating a blank body and then doing a mind and soul transplant from an old body to the new one is costly, and the chance of full success is fairly low. The only corporation in the world currently involved in Pneumology is the McCandless Corp of the Commonwealth of New England. The process is functional, even if the soul transplants do acquire a number of psychological issues and a few have committed suicide.
Codex: Codex clones are the staple of the cloning industry. A template is created, usually from an exceptionally resilient gene donor, and then is modified for the intended purpose of the clone. Codex clones are typically run in series, and are known by a codex name, followed by general production numbers, much like automobiles.These clone codices are updated and upgraded as different members make different accomplishments or demonstrate an improvement over the basic. Thus a Ayanami 79-112 is a clone created from the Ayanami codex (60% Caucasian, 30% Japenese, 10% Polynesian, Female, infertile, slight stature, affinity for computers and piloting) from the 79th run of the series and was clone number 112 produced. These clones are indeed typically tailored to specific occupations, such as military service (loyalty, protectiveness) working in the public sector (eagerness to please, physical appearance) or to handle menial labor (enhanced immune system, stress reduction).
Delta Clones: Delta type clones are illegal according to the Tycho Convention. The notion of creating sub-humans for the pure purpose of menial and slave labor was offensive to the signers of the Conventions. While a Codex clone can be grown to do menial labor, they do not have any sort of reduced brain function, or genetically designed mental retardations. And a menial codex clone need not remain in that job their entire life, and many can and do rise above their created station. Delta clones are easily recognized, displaying the physical signs of Downs Syndrome, small or bent stature, and have a child like mentality regardless of their age or ability.
Hyper Clones: With full access to the genetic make up of an individual, it is easy to create supermen. Stronger, taller, more intelligent and quick witted that normal man. In line with technophobia, the fear of creating supermen found its way into the Tycho Convention, which bans the creation of human superior clones. While all the nations signed the document almost all of them have ignored it. The Atlantic Federation has created hyper clones (typically highly modified alphas or high end codex) with enhanced intelligence and skills through their Coordinator Program. Most of this program and most of the Coordinator Clones live in Federation space habitats or on it's lunar bases. The PRC has done much the same thing with it's Intrumentality Project, creating first exceptional mecha pilots and born computer hackers, but has moved on to creating parapsychic clones.
Clone Donor: There remains a demand for organ transplants, and one of the more grisly uses of clones is to grow them, then harvest their bodies for organs and stem cells. The moral arguments against clone donors is that it is raising humans for the sole purpose of chopping them up. Proponents claim that they are not humans, as they have no thoughts, no ideas, or identity. Some poorer countries and regions have secret 'clonnibalism' where the muscle and fat tissue of organ harvested clones is turned into cheap protein. (It isn't cheap, but few are willingly going to chow down on human, clone or otherwise)
There are many companies and corporations that have some hand in cloning or cloning technology. Many of these companies and corporations aren't worth mentioning, since few people care about the manufacturer of a Kalvin Bioreactor, or any of the companies that build knock offs of these machines. Likewise for the computer manufacturers, programmers, and the like. There are several companies that do stand out in the field.
New York, Commonwealth of New England
The McCandless Corp is likely to be the highest end most cutting edge clone technology company. It has no real ability to produce clones in any large number, but rather they produce almost perfect clones in an attempt to overcome human mortality by producing a series of new bodies and transferring the mind and soul from old body to new. The CEO Joseph Anthony McCandless is now in his late 90s and is obsessed with overcoming his own mortality. He is in no immediate danger of passing away, but is currently working on creating a clone body that possesses parapsychic abilities allowing him to become more potent. He is a diagnose egomaniac, and if not for McCandless Corp's lawyers and deep coffers would have been arrested years ago.
Eberhardt & Rudnick Incorporated
South California, Republic of California
Eberhardt and Rudnick is better known by it's trade name, Stepfordco. Stepfordco has been an innovator in manipulating the physical appearance of clones and aesthetic design of androids, or more properly gynoids. Their tagline was originally and most famously 'Build a Better Wife' and they marketed designer companions for wealthy men and gay women. It was later changed, but Stepfordco remains in the business in designing clones, very high end and exceptionally beautiful clones, and acting as a design and sculpting studio for android companies, much like Scuderia or Pininfarina working as artists for car companies like Ferrari. 90% of the products designed and sold by Stepfordco are female and the bulk of the business is split between Nippon/Japan and the Commonwealth of New England.
Kingdom of Scandinavia
Aesir Technologies is one of the paragon companies of the Kingdom of Scandinavia. Aesir is largely government funded and owned, and does many things, genetic research, medical supply and manufacturing, and cloning technology. The cloning technology is kept low key, as Aesir has had phenomenal success in creating parapsychic clones. The Himmel Project, a sub project of Fimbulvinter, has created reliably, a series of clones who have manifested parapsychic abilites. These Himmel clones have been used to create and staff the Kingdom ParaSpecial Forces department, possibly one of the most elite special forces units in the world.
Authors Notes on Cloning
Cloning is a normal part of the Cosmic Era setting, present, but not a massive factor. Clones haven't replaced the main source of humanity, humanity. The nuclear family remains, and in fact it is enjoying a resurgence in the Atlantic Federation as that power is rampaging through 1940s and 1950s nostalgia with an aesthetic that calls up Leave it to Beaver, aerostream trailers and diners, big band music, and a reemphasis on family and faith. Clones form in many times their own ghettos and clone neighborhoods, but are a small part of society. The place of the clone is relative to the sliding scale of human rights. Places where human rights are valued, clones are afforded the same rights and protections, while in places where life is cheap, clones are disposable people. Technophobia, racism, and xenophobia are all themes that can be dealt with with clones, but technology is ever present in the new Cosmic Era and androids and gynoids, extreme exotic gene-mods and self styled 'aliens' are much more disturbing than clones. When clones do evoke negative reaction, it's a function of the uncanny valley, and dissonance. With codex clones gravitating to the same jobs, one can go to a hospital and see six nurses, five of which have the same face.