The four ground assault troops moved as if they were one body. They had trained together, memorised the same attack script and also had the same educational attainment and perspective. They were all of the same age, body structure and mental affinity. Each one of them was a precise copy of the other, which is hardly surprising as they were all tanked at the same time using the same genetic base. They were clones. Fast grown at a private facility that operated to a very select client base. Unlike the commercial tanking facilities the products of this facility could be custom built to an operational age in fewer than seventy-two hours.
There were costs to such a fast duplication process, the most immediate being a sufficiently accelerated metabolism. The clones would not last greater than ten to fifteen months before the cellular degeneration riddled them with lymphoma. The process of fast growth allowed the cellular structures to masticise at incredible rates but the process could not be regulated and the immune system was always the first to show the signs of uncontrollable cellular division. Cancers were commonplace and an early death was inevitable.
The law was not wholly clear on the rights of a clone. To a casual reading a clone had the same rights as any other organic. This was considered a basic moral code as most organics were grown in a tank. Most were either a biological pattern based on a single parent with additional biological material chosen to give pleasing features. Or they were the summation of the chromosomes of two parents, harvested and implanted into biological material to form a child with predetermined, or random, characteristics. Sometimes organisations created a biological mix chosen at random with the intent to grow a population, or increase diversity into an ecosystem.
All of these organics had rights. The right to an existence was guaranteed with the ability to be grown. However in regards to exact clones the law became complicated. A clone that was grown to be an exact replica for the purposes of extending a lifespan, or to repair major damage, could be produced at an accelerated rate with limited mental functions as required by the original donor. It wasn’t uncommon for extreme sports fans with enough private wealth, or the benefits of patronage, to have clones on ‘the grow’ almost constantly. This allowed them to indulge in any manner of dangerous activities. It was also useful in dangerous professions, or to preserve talented individuals.
The very wealthy could afford to have clones made to change their appearance without the inconvenience of surgery or waiting. These clones were grown much more slowly to avoid the complications of an accelerated biology. There were always those who would like to choose bodies that fit the next season’s attire, or on some other whim.
Complications in the definition of what rights these clones had introduced changes to the law. All organic individuals were considered by the law to be equal, but not all organic life was now considered an individual.
With the advent of neurological mesh implants, technology that allowed replication of an intellect in a computational matrix, a copy of a person could be performed. While not able to capture every single facet of a brain’s complex makeup it could create a nearly identical facsimile. This was a snapshot of a person at any given moment. By matching the relationships and activities of the brain, with the responses through the whole body via the nervous system, a clone could be made that was an almost precise copy. With access to all the same memories, abilities, and individual emotional makeup.
This type of clone was alive but not independent in existence. It was a biological avatar. Even though it was a thinking, rational, intelligence it had no individuality, and a limited time in which to develop. It shared the consequences, yet had none of the benefits, of the rights of the individual it copied. If an exact clone of this type broke a law the charges would be levied against the original, they were the individual, they were responsible.
There were few individuals who would contemplate creating such a limited copy. Outside of medical testing or dangerous exploration, there was little practical usage. The military preferred to use drones and automated battle systems for their large scale operations. The justice departments had followed this model.
Drick was never satisfied with the pure machine response to a situation that involved emotional organic interaction. After all, organic was merely a different type of machine better to match it as closely as possible. There was a level of satisfaction in meeting the constraints of a system using comparable elements. Drick may have been enhanced over many years, but it was not to any greater extent than any other organic might attain. If they so desired.
The four ground assault organics moved as if they were one body. Which was not ironic, as they were all Dricks.