Warclones are a varied class of cloned humans whose augmented bodies are designed for military service on land, air, and in space. Very different to capsuleer spaceship pilots, warclones are most famously known to the general New Eden public as soldiers and aerospace craft crew. The latter are well-known to consumers of mass-media holovids as space fighter pilots. The former are increasingly prevalent in the militaries of the empires but are most notorious as mercenaries.
Rise of the Clone Soldiers
For the last two decades, capsuleers have clearly been the most powerful and influential class of augmented beings in New Eden. Now they are joined—possibly challenged, perhaps aided and abetted—by a new class of clone: a highly augmented foot soldier, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and capable of feats that make normal soldiers pale in comparison.
One of the old empires developed these supersoldiers for its own ends, but swiftly became alarmed by unstable aspects of their nature and tried to suppress this potentially dangerous new class. The other empires followed suit, but their attempts failed. The clone soldiers are thought to have enjoyed the aid of unknown outside forces, but due to their incredible efficiency in combat, this is not necessarily the case. After repelling the empires in hundreds of thunderous clashes, these supersoldiers established enclaves and corporations of mercenary clone fighters. Inevitably, many of them joined forces with capsuleer factions, corporations, and alliances, thus cementing their foothold in New Eden.
Some wonder at the nature of the clone mercenaries, and many make the natural assumption that they are much like the capsuleers. This is entirely wrong. Where the capsuleers use a form of cloning and personality transfer that approaches perfection in its suitability for the vast expanses of space, the immortal soldiers use a technology that we might describe as almost parochial were it not so clearly advanced and carrying with it obvious situational advantages. A capsuleer killed out of her capsule might die permanently, and if not, she will lose much time in the gap between her backup’s creation and her new cloning. A mercenary clone fears no such hiatus or loss, so long as he is within transmission range of a clone reanimation unit (CRU) or a mobile command center (MCC).
On the other hand, the mercenary clone is limited by considerations of transmission range. It has been established that the personality-transfer technology does not use quantum entanglement. A supersoldier who is accidentally abandoned on a planet for five years is in dire circumstances, because the life span of a mercenary clone’s body is apparently no longer than that. He will die and lose five years of his life. Still, he will return, because his core personality data is held in the vast databanks of his corporation’s infrastructure. He may even have been assumed killed in action and reanimated into a new clone the day after being marooned, a rather undesirable eventuality that would end up essentially creating a second copy of the individual soldier.
The important point to realize about the immortal soldiers and the capsuleers is that they are very different beings indeed. They may both be infomorphs of a kind, but those kinds are distinct. The capsuleers re-create themselves in full, or at least as close as possible, every time they clone. Every scrap of neural data, every linkage in the structure of their brains, is transferred and reproduced anew. They crave the authenticity of the experience; any fleeting breaks in their consciousnesses are generally dismissed as unimportant.
The mercenary is different entirely. His brain structure has been altered to serve the needs of the cloning technology. His entire personality and essential being is shifted out of that brain—which has been rearranged heavily to act as a hybrid of primal being and highly efficient control system—and into an entirely digital existence within the neuro-interface socket (NIS) at the back of the neck. The information stored in this personality stack is everything that makes him who he is as a clone trooper. Everything else has long since been abandoned.
When the mercenary is killed, his NIS has only to transmit the new data that is not stored back at the CRU and MCC banks. In effect, it is a kind of personality data difference file. A powerful burst transmission suffices to update the core stacks. The range of this transmission is debated, but it is certainly no more than orbital, roughly speaking—a far, far cry from the theoretically unlimited range of capsuleer quantum entanglement. The radically different nature and scope of personality transmission for the capsuleer and the mercenary should at once be noted. There is no sense in which a capsuleer can seamlessly transfer to a mercenary clone, or vice versa. The very act would immediately make the receiving vessel into a different person. It would, as the technologies presently operate, be an inevitable forking of personality into two distinct beings.
The recent union of the capsuleer and the clone soldier has sent shock waves through the old empires’ political establishment. These millennia-old power structures, which have ruled the star cluster since time immemorial, are gradually realizing that despite the wisdom and respect it bestows, venerable age also carries with it stagnation and decay.
Evolution of the Cloned Mercenary
All things were created by the Divine, and so the
glory of our faith is inherent to us all;
When thine heart shines with the Light, thou
shalt know no hardship;
When thine actions are in Light’s name, thou art immortal.
—The Book of Trials, 2:1
It began with inmate 487980-A, a man of Caldari descent and a prisoner held at Imperial Corrections Penitentiary 89 in the Hedion system of the Amarrian throne worlds.
Previously known as Vincent Barabin, a wanted fugitive within the state and former Caldari Navy serviceman, he became known simply as Templar One after becoming the first of a select group of Imperial Paladins commissioned by Amarrian Empress Jamyl Sarum: immortal transhuman warriors, infused with the latest technology, destined to join capsuleers among the small elite of society, becoming part of those select few with the ability to cheat death.
Based on a biomechanical implant colloquially known as “fifth lobe technology,” harvested from a dormant race known only as “Sleepers,” the highly invasive surgical process to transform an individual into one of these paladins was described by imperial scientists as one of the most brutal procedures that they had ever carried out, with a recovery procedure lasting several months.
Despite operating in breach of the CONCORD Assembly’s legislation regarding the cloning of sentient biomasses, these first-generation cloned mercenaries were initially used to great effect during the battle of Pike’s Landing in the republic system of Amamake. However, the vast majority were both mentally and physically unable to adjust to such severe changes in physiology, and many were driven mad by the drastic changes made to their physical and mental composition.
The Amarr Empire, fearful of a potential insurrection by these powerful soldiers, decided to resolve both the issue of their presence and the evidence of their existence in one fell swoop. An order was issued for an Imperial Navy strike force to carry out a full-scale orbital bombardment of both the battlefield at Pike’s Landing and the central clone reanimation unit enclave in order to ensure that no evidence of what was now considered a failed experiment would exist, should the CONCORD Assembly investigate. The order was carried out with success, and to this day the fate of Templar One remains a mystery to all who knew of his existence.
For a while the project was believed to be a thing of the past. However, within a number of months, imperial scientists, under a decree issued by Empress Jamyl herself, had completed work on an artificially synthesized version of the implant, grown directly inside a human clone and free from the invasive procedures of the first-generation implants. With the ability to bypass the lengthy recovery process, the empire set about creating a stock of second-generation cloned soldiers. Within several months more, this technology had spread to the other core empires, with all four major powers working on their own answer to the empire’s new discovery.
It was not until November 30, YC 114, that the true power of these new cloned soldiers was revealed, after Tibus Heth, executor of the Caldari State, was shot by an assailant at a Provist political rally in the city of Okushin on New Caldari Prime. It was rumored that this single individual, later revealed to be a clone soldier, dispatched over a dozen of Heth’s most highly trained Provist bodyguards in hand-to-hand combat before being subdued by a squad of over thirty security staff.
Upon his recovery, on January 28, YC 115, Heth ordered a purge of all cloned mercenary enclaves in the Caldari State, which triggered genocide of indescribable proportions against cloned mercenaries. Both Mordu’s Legion Command and the Guristas Pirates, as well as the Angel Cartel and the Serpentis Corporation, offered aid to displaced mercenaries, with both the Legion and the Guristas breaching the state’s borders to airlift besieged personnel from the surface of various planets in Caldari sovereign territory. The Amarr Empire also offered sanctuary to these displaced mercenaries, taking in thousands who flocked across the border to safety.
By mid-March of YC 115, Gallente president Jacus Roden and Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor of the republic both also ordered the destruction of their mercenary enclaves. This was prior to the outbreak of hostilities on Caldari Prime, which then saw thousands of the now-displaced mercenaries—still illegal and unrecognized entities in the eyes of CONCORD—flooding to the system of Luminaire in order to work as hired guns in the conflict that erupted.
By proving themselves on the battlefield, and in subsequent evaluation during investigations into the Luminaire carnage, this new breed of mercenary, by sheer numbers and power alone, effectively forced the CONCORD Assembly’s hand into ratifying them as a legal entity with the Directive Enforcement Department’s Mercenary Infomorph Act, released on May 14, YC 115. This legislation ushered in a new era for the cloned mercenary, and indeed for New Eden, causing the widespread legalized construction of mercenary enclaves and the revision of the CONCORD Emergency Militia War Powers Act to include the ability for cloned mercenaries to fight as independents on behalf of the sovereign militias. Coupled with this, the Mercenary Infomorph Act also gifted a status similar to that of the capsuleer to the cloned mercenaries, effectively billing them as independent political entities in their own right.
While immense differences exist between capsuleers and mercenaries, this does not prohibit their cooperation in both war and infrastructure construction. As of late YC 115, many political, military, and scientific analysts are asking questions about the future of the CONCORD Assembly, and whether they would indeed be able to repel a focused assault from a combined force of immortal pilots and soldiers. The future remains more uncertain now than it ever has been, as immortals both on the ground and among the stars begin their first movements in a new arena of power politics.
The differences between capsuleer and mercenary do not stop them from working together in war, industry, and even science. In this latter connection, the combination of these two classes of immortal may eventually prove the most dangerous. It is certain that each group wishes to expand its respective power and that each understands the essential connection between its power and its nascent immortality. If that immortality can be made ever more concrete, then that power will increase immeasurably. We should be wary of this, those of us who count ourselves mortal, those of us who love other mortals. The future for all of us who live in New Eden is more uncertain than it has ever been, as today mortals and immortals dance around one another in mutual distrust.
— Auhnton Degalerye, Biotech Correspondent,
The Scope, September YC 115
With a subject as significant and controversial as military cloning, a certain degree of rumor and speculation is unavoidable. Though such talk covers a broad spectrum of plausibility, most of it is fairly obvious hearsay and thus easily dismissed by a discerning listener. One rumor, however, has recently taken flight in the wake of a series of strange events that appear to lend it some authority.
For some years, capsuleer trainees all over New Eden have been dropping out of their programs in ever-increasing numbers and disappearing off the radar completely, often stealing highly specialized equipment in the process. While the phenomenon of last-second cold feet is a known factor in capsuleer training, the pervasiveness and uniformity of these larcenous vanishing acts is a growing cause for concern among the four empires’ educational institutions.
Though not an insignificant problem, this in and of itself did not cause a particular stir until a Caldari investigative journalist uncovered evidence that one of the missing capsuleer trainees had been identified as the pilot of an experimental fighter shot down by a Caldari Navy interceptor squad on scouting duty in the Tribute region. Upon inspection of his corpse, it was discovered that the pilot in question appeared to have had significant neural modifications made, the purpose and methodology of which left scientists scratching their heads in bafflement. Furthermore, the brain showed an unnatural smoothness in its ridges, a telltale sign that its electrochemical charges had been scanned. Whether this was done as a security measure or for the purposes of an actual mind transfer has not been determined.
The week after, a very similar incident took place in Minmatar territory, with more soon following all over New Eden. Amid growing concern for their capsuleer hopefuls, training facilities tightened their security measures, but to no avail: the siphoning of valuable talent continued unabated. When the investigative journalist revealed evidence that indicated the first pilot’s vessel was of Guristas design, she was determined to find the truth of the matter. Undercover, she set out for a Guristas outpost where shipbuilding and engineering were rumored to take top priority. She has not been heard from since. Still today, rumors persist that someone, somewhere, in the shadow of a blood moon, is working on a breakthrough that will shake up the world of New Eden yet again.