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Old 04-11-2024, 10:18 PM   #11
Join Date: Feb 2007


To understand why the clones happened, and how they fed into the immense population on modern Thakaria, we need to look briefly back to pre-space Thakaria.

Around the end of the Eleventh Century on Earth, Thakaria had reached a degree of technological development roughly comparable to that of Western Christendom in the early Twentieth Century. Their biotechnology was substantially more advanced than that of Earth at the comparable stage, however. The reason for this was the Cold Plague.

The Cold Plague had been a megadisaster on Thakaria some decades earlier, so called because one of its symptoms was a sudden collapse in body temperature just before death. The percentage of death was rather higher than the Black Death of the Thirteenth Century on Earth. The reason it was so hard to cope with, in spite of the relatively higher medical level compared to the time of the Black Death, was that it so complicated. The Plague consisted of a viral infection, an influenza strain that on its own would merely have made the victims miserable for a week. This infection left them especially vulnerable to simultaneous infection by a bacterium that would normally have been a modest threat, but which the viral coinfection turned into a regular death sentence, even for the young and healthy.

The Thakarians eventually solved the mystery, and learned to treat it, and cure it, and in the process their knowledge of epidemiology, of cellular life in general, and related fields advanced enormously. This made life better for the Thakarians, at first. Unfortunately, it also enabled them to create serious weaponized plagues and infections, even before they fully mastered DNA manipulation. Rival nations and factions weaponized variants of the Cold Plague, as well as other diseases. They managed to breed parasites and infections that would destroy staple crops, or kill off important animals.

Just as would happen on Earth, centuries later, during a comparable period*, huge wars were being waged on Thakaria at this time. Wars rivaling the Great War and World War II were waged, and the bioweaponry was used, and the results were nightmarish. Significant global population declines accompanied these wars, even before the Thakarians mastered nuclear technology.

A war as huge or more so as World War II was already raging on Thakaria when the first nuclear weapons were developed. There were five major alliances, or powers, or nations (no exact equivalent) contesting, with subgroups switching sides back and forth as the fortunes of war shifted.

All five of the 'major powers' knew that nuclear weapons were possible, all were racing to be the first to actually create them. The race ended more or less in a tie. The first to successfully test a nuclear bomb had little time to do anything with it, the first runner up detonated their own less than one Terran month later, all five of the major powers had nuclear technology within one year of each other.

What followed was two years of nuclear and full-on biological warfare. They were new at the nuclear game, and it took them time to mine, refine, and assemble the uranium ore into weapons. Most of the powers had only a few nuclear warheads available at a time, and delivery was often chancy. Still, enough were successfully used that all factions lost major cities, vital industrial complexes, and large chunks of population. Add in the bioweaponry, at which the Thakarians had long experience, and it rapidly became clear to all sides that the war could have no winners.

No major power could completely wipe out any one of their rivals before their own industrial, agricultural, and population resources were too far gone to recover on any reasonable scale. If the warfare continued, nobody would decisively win, it would simply grind on and on in a nightmare attrition until the industrial and population bases and their social cohesion were too decimated to continue, for everyone. It would take several years to reach that point, but it would happen.

The war came to a stop in a cease-fire of desperation. All factions retained their grievances and ambitions, but everyone knew they had to stop doing what they were doing or none of that was going to matter. The five major powers stopped fighting, drawing up borders more or less where the armies were at the time, and their combined strength was enough to intimidate smaller powers into acquiescence. Nobody was satisfied by the 'settlement', but nobody dared try to challenge it.

Just as would later happen on Earth in a somewhat parallel situation, direct confrontations between the major powers turned into proxy wars, sabotage campaigns, propaganda warfare, and economic warfare. Nobody dared risk nuclear or biological escalation, but the world was far from 'peaceful'.

Technology advanced, nuclear propulsion give the Thakarians access to the other planets in the Thakel System, and the standoff continued. Enough population had been lost, first in the Cold Plague, then the bio-wars, then the bio-nuclear war, to make a shortage of people a serious military and economic problem.

It was into this environment that the Thrith process was introduced.


*Thakaria was technologically then roughly where Earth would be in the period 1920-1950, except for more advanced biotechnology.
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Old 04-14-2024, 10:55 PM   #12
Join Date: Feb 2007


What happened in the decades after the Thrith process was introduced is very complex and highly varied, Thakarian historians would later fill volumes with accounts and analyses of that period. For our purposes, we can say that most of the great powers used the process to duplicate their best, most loyal and dedicated soldiers into huge armies rapidly, cloned hordes of skilled, competent technicians and other workers to drive their economies, and generally did everything that they should have known better than to do.

This worked, for certain definitions of working.

The problems began almost immediately as well, of course. For example, despite the fact that the Thrith Clones were initially almost identical mentally and physically to their templates, they were still separate individuals, and as time and experiences accumulated, they became more so. They had the memories of their templates, with all the psychological and emotional baggage associated with that, but they were not those people.

(Imagine how you would feel if you woke in the morning to find yourself suddenly not you, but remembering being you, but your spouse is married to someone else just like you, all 'your' property belongs to him or her, and realizing you are not 'you' but actually someone else very like you.)

The legal status of these Thrith Clones varied from state to state, and culture to culture, on Thakaria. Generally, they were not considered full citizens or subjects, but 'half people' so to speak. Sometimes they were effectively chattel slaves, or sources of transplant organs, though not all situations were that bad.

The great powers of Thakaria dared not go to full-out war, but with the ability to maintain huge armies and restore them after a defeat in a very short time, they rapidly found themselves locked in a seemingly perpetual war of attrition that showed no sign of ever running out. Since all major powers tried to avoid destruction of industrial infrastructure, the combat became Clone vs. Clone, and the armies could be renewed almost without limit.

The economies of the great powers were upended, since the most useful, most loyal, or otherwise preferable employees could also be replicated almost endlessly.

Family life, friendships, emotional ties, all were strained by the existence of the Thrith Clones. When the short lifespan of the Clones became obvious, the tangle only became worse.

As one might expect, many of the Clones came to resent and hate the civilization that birthed them. Though the templates would almost always be chosen for loyalty and ideological conformity, and the Thrith Clones produced would share those attitudes, at first, experience would rapidly bring changes.

Fifty years after the Thrith Process was introduced, Thakarian society teetered on the edge of total social, economic, and political chaos. The governments were breaking down, the Clone armies were fighting each other, their own rulers, and themselves. The population, which had been barely sufficient to sustain an industrial society half a century before, was now burgeoning.

There were two reasons for this. The sheer number of Thrith Clones, coming out of the tanks a hundred at a time, in thousands of facilities across the world, were part of the reason. Even more so, the Thrith Clones could have children normally, and those children were normal Humans with normal lifespans.

To make a long, complicated, and unedifying story brief, society dissolved into semi-chaos for several decades. Major governments broke down, large territories balkanized, and sometimes local bio-nuclear warfare broke out. The Clone tanks kept running, because many small newly independent states could only sustain themselves that way.

The society began to recongeal, this time around huge economic entities, usually run by a single family. These were the first embryonic Thakarian Clans. The legal distinction between Clone and natural Human broke down, with legal status being more of an individual thing than a category, out of this emerged the first rudiments of what would late become 'kyy' law (see upthread). Eventually, the emerging Clans would form alliances and associations that would be the foundation of the Thakarian Combine.

As the Clans stabilized society again, eventually the Thrith Process was restricted, and then mostly forbidden. The last of the Thrith Clones met their painful, tragic fate, leaving descendants to merge with the rest of the population. By the time this happened, the population had passed forty billion, and eventually it was stabilized, by force, at about sixty billion.

Because so many people are descended from what amount to millions of 'identical twins', the genetic base of modern Thakaria is remarkably uniform. The descendants of the Clones are, in effect, genetic descendants of the template individuals, giving them a genetic contribution to future generations far in excess of any most normal Humans could ever achieve, at least over such a short period.

Also because of this, genetic screening has become totally routine in Thakarian society. Childbirth requires a license, and the physicians have the authority to refuse permission to a couple because of dangerous genetic similarity, or 'bad recessives', which are all too common in the modern Thakarian populace.

When the Thakarians achieved starflight, one of the driving forces of expansion was the fact that life on Thakaria was constrained by the necessities of sustaining that vast population, in world where many resources were lost during the earlier wars. There is an iron 'two child policy' on Thakaria proper, even the wealthy are so limited. The penalty for violation is usually death.

(Since population replacement actually requires a female fertility rate slightly above two, that means the population of the homeworld is now slowly declining.)

By emigrating, one could potentially gain a kyy'bro permitting additional children. So those with a strong desire for offspring became more likely to emigrate to the new worlds the k-drive opened up. This, in turn, led to the colony-worlds having founder populations and starting cultures emphasizing large families and fast population growth, enabling the new worlds to grow quickly.

It so happened that the Thakel System was in a part of the Galaxy with an unusually high percentage of Earth-like worlds, and an unusually high percentage of humanoid-inhabited worlds among them. Some of those worlds had societies technologically comparable to the Thakarians, most were more primitive, and the Combine soon perfected techniques for making conquered lower-tech worlds profitable.

The first Beastie encounter came as a shock, the Thakarians had fought minor wars with each other between the Clans, or with other advanced humanoid societies, but mostly they had interacted with more primitive humanoids. The Beasties had comparable technology and weapons, and were implacably hostile. The subsequent series of periodic Beastie wars became the greatest single threat the Combine knew about.

When the Thakarians discovered the hyperplexes, they began to spread out into other regions of the galaxy as well. The core of the Combine remained their home Region, however.

Today, all of the Clans strictly forbid the use of the Thrith Process, but at the same time, they all make occasional exceptions. They still have the technology, though they rarely use it. When it is very useful, though, they occasionally break their own laws, or enact loopholes to permit the use. When they do, it is usually done in secret, because the Thrith Process still produces emotional reactions, even centuries later.

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