[With the release of new Dark Future books in September 2005, this article may undergo major revisions at that point.]
With the lack of any sort of restriction or regulation to technology and business, it wasn't long before scientists started to make science fiction become reality through the art of cloning. It started with mice and other laboratory animals and then soon spread to other animals. At first these clones were an attempt to try and get animals back on the food market and to help in medical research. Recently though (since about 1996), cloning has taken on more of a major role for the public through human cloning.
The cloning process is actually quite a quick procedure - cells are taken from a donor body (taking about a half hour at a laboratory) and then forced to grow at a rapid rate. Usually a clone is ready and grown within a matter of a few weeks. At this point the clone has a blank mental slate although it is physically at the age of the donor when the cells were taken.
The clones doesn't really have a personality and certainly no skills or training. However, clones at this state aren't generally the finished product. So genetic tampering does occur on the clone. Sex clones usually have various bodily parts expanded and their behaviour is modified to be more of the 'willing to please' variety, labour clones are generally stronger than normal but their personality is generally ignored as not being important. Once that is done, the clone then has to have a basic education which is tailored for the role of the clone and what their owner requires. Special training can be given for additional cost.
One thing that isn't possible at all yet is brain taping. This means that the experiences and memories of the donar cannot be recorded and implanted into a clone. As such, immortality through cloning is not an issue, nor is creating identical duplicates of yourself.
There are still plenty of unknowns with cloning though. For example, no one knows how long a clone will naturally live for, and this has impacted into using clones for organ transplants with it not being legal at the moment due to concerns for the donar.
Clones are mainly used in two main areas - for entertainment (sex clones) and for labour (labour clones).
Sex clones are usually grown from celebrities (who get paid a lot for the privilege unless they're under multicorp contract), but aside from the appearance, the final clone doesn't usually resemble the celebrity much as the new owner usually has their own take on what the clones personality and physical attributes should or shouldn't be like.
Labour clones are built for their strength and endurance, with intelligence reduced to a minimum requirement. They are mainly kept out of sight in factories and it's still a toss up whether or not a labour clone is a better replacement for a robot. Clones usually have more intuition than a robot, but they require more upkeep with food, sleep and medical care.
Whilst there might seem to be other uses for clones, the fact is that they are generally not used that much in society. The military for example, doesn't use clones for soldiers. Nor are they used much in the corporate world. It costs less to use and train a real person for espionage work than to grow a clone, although that's not to say that it hasn't happened from time to time.
Because of this, clones aren't seen too much in public life. Some very rich people have them, and some multicorps use them behind the scenes, but the average person on the street is likely to see cyberware more than a clone in their lives. Mainly then, they are the toys of the rich and famous and the scientists and their experiments.
All clones have an identification tag somewhere on their body. This usually takes the role of a tattoo and identification number. This is because clones are not treated as people according to the law. They are property and as such have no rights under the law. Identification came about because of a couple of instances of clones replacing their owners - it is entirely possible that a clone be grown without any of the limitations of most clones - such as reduced intelligence - although personality is always an issue as that is based on the experiences of a person, which will be different for a clone.
Another issue is that because clones are owned, if they do anything that should break the law, then the owner is legally responsible, and this may result in the clone being destroyed, although this is dependant on the law being broken. In this respect, the clone is treated very much like an animal with regards to the law and their owner.
Because of this, and also that clones are still actually human, there are some activist groups around fighting for rights for clones. There are even rumours about a group made up entirely of clones, but this cannot be confirmed. If it were true, then the group would be liable for destruction if they ever came out of hiding.
Public opinion on clones isn't that well developed yet. Whilst there have been bad cases for robots and androids, there hasn't been any major (or even minor) news cases about clones and so if you have one, the only actual thing most people will think of is that you have a lot of money, which could be bad in itself, but won't victimise you for simply having a clone.
A clone is not cheap and there aren't that many of them around in private hands. A typical clone generally costs around $200,000 for a basic model - special celebrities for sex clones will cost more. On top of this cost will come any changes, such as body enhancements, special training and the like.
Licensing is not required to own a clone, but some people buy special clone insurance to cover any damages that their clone might cause through their lives.
To determine the full cost of a clone, take a base of $200,000. This will give a clone at 0th Level with attributes equal to the donar character. Adding characteristic points increases the cost by $5,000 per point. Decreasing characteristic points adds $3,000 per point. The time to grow this clone is two weeks, or three if any characteristics are going to be changed.
This results in a clone with no skills. Adding skills costs $2 per XP required. If a clone is not given a particular class when trained, then use the following notes. A clone with a class uses all those rules instead of these generic ones. A labour clone has 1d8 hit points per level while a sex clone has 1d6. Each level gives (4+INT modifier) skill points, with (4+INT modifier) x3 at 1st level. Clones do not gain feats during training and have Saves of (Level /2) rounded down, minimun +0. Base Attack Bonuses are not given unless the clone has some kind of combat training (usually unlikely) in which case they have a BAB of (Level /2) rounded down, minimun +0. They gain a second attack at Level 8 and a third at Level 15.