|Faction||Atomic Kingdom of China|
|Brief||Use of artificial reproduction capabilities to make 'instant people'|
Resources were always needed in order to wage warfare. An endless hunger that drove nations to bankruptcy, made every victory a temporary respite from the need for more resources, made every defeat that much more painful to bear. Sometimes, war was merely an excuse to acquire more and more resources, feeding the need now in order to be that much fuller later. There were - and are - many varieties of resources. Most obvious were materials, ore that fed the nations as they clashed in world shaking wars, rubber, steel, and power for roaring vehicles of destruction, money that flowed back and forth unceasingly between nations and factions. But there was one resource that was more important than all of the above. Some nations, some factions would throw money in order to keep what they had of this precious commodity. Others would give up freedom in order to gain security for it. This most precious of all resources, more valuable than gold or ore...is bodies.
The participants in the Chinese Civil War knew the importance, and the preciousness, of bodies. The Communist Chinese needed bodies to throw in droves at enemy fortifications, needed bodies to man the tanks that crashed into enemy lines, bodies to keep the helicopters flying overhead and raining death down. The National Revolutionary Army similarly needed bodies - bodies to set up as bait for Communist forces, bodies to man the lines of trenches, bodies to keep the shells flying and the machine guns shooting. Without bodies, without people to make the tanks and the guns and the helicopters, bodies to man these same instruments of death and use them to devastate the opponent's own supply of such resources, the war would be lost. Neither side was willing to lose this war - and both sides would do anything to keep their supply of bodies as high as possible. And by the point of 1963, later deemed one of the bloodiest years in all of the Civil War, both sides had developed their own means of ensuring constant, and solid, supplies.
In retrospect, the spark that would start off the path to what is now known as cloning began even before the "Year of the Unveiling" (as what few Red Chinese records remain call 1963), in the form of the medical technological growth spurt that came about during the Chinese Civil War. As battle raged, both sides began to develop new medicines and treatments to aid their wounded soldiers, many of which would be later developed by the Western and Eastern worlds after seeing their effectiveness. One such discovery, however, was never spread outside of China - the ability to reproduce organic tissue and organic material out of cellular samples, and later even DNA and RNA. With a simple selection of cells, Chinese doctors could create swathes of protective skin, artificial blood, and in time even entire organs to replace that lost by soldiers in battle. It was this ability to create entirely new tissue and biological matter that would lead to the twin paths the Communist and Nationalist Chinese took after 1963, and then after directly to the Green Chinese military.
During the Year of the Unveiling, the Red Chinese demonstrated a new use of the medical technology that enabled one to regrow tissue, a use that would forever change the way they fought wars. During early 1963, one of the Communist China's vaunted heroes, Lei Feng, was reportedly killed in battle. As the Communist Party's people mourned, the body was retrieved...and an experimental procedure put into place. A nucleus from a cell sample taken from Lei Feng's body was inserted into a nucleus-less egg cell and then put into what could only be described as an "artificial womb". While his intact brain was taken out of his body and frozen, the cloned egg was fertilized, and inside the chemical nutrient tank of the artificial womb grew and grew, at an accelerated rate far surpassing the norm. In addition, as the egg grew into a fetus, growth hormones and 'aged' pieces of Feng's DNA was put into, in an attempt to increase the aging process. After all of this, months passed ... but, five months after being counted as killed in battle, Lei Feng's brain was put into a genetic and physical duplicate of his old body ... and revived. Memory of everything since his 'death' gone, his physical body weak, Lei Feng was nonetheless the first person in history to be cloned - at least, in body. And soon, he was not the only one, as word of bodily cloning technology spread, and more and more senior Communist members began giving orders for their bodies to be cloned should they die. The process was a far cry from the modern Chinese process, taking months to work, and reliant on the person's brain being both intact and preserved...but it was only the beginning for Red China.
For Blue China, however, things took a different turn. When they witnessed the return of Lei Feng from seeming death, as well as the return of several other Red Chinese soldiers and generals confirmed killed in battle, the National Revolutionary Army realized that their long opponents had found some means to tip the balance of power - they could keep the bodies they lost. Blue China, however, would not stand idly by and keep what moral superiority they had, for after the long years of fighting and warfare and the arms race they found themselves in, defeat was a black morass they would do anything to avoid falling into. Instead, determined to crack the secrets and find out what the Red Chinese had found out, they set their own doctors to attempting to study and, if possible, replicate the effects. Their findings...were different. While the Blue Chinese found that the cloned soldiers were the result of accelerated growth, they failed to realize that the Communists had made entirely new bodies - instead, they believed that the dead bodies were simply brought back to life. And so they tried as well, using a variety of means...dead soldiers were hooked up with electronics to stimulate their brains and attempt to make them act, cloned cancerous cells were implanted to regenerate men (and, unknowingly, deform them) wounded in battle almost immediately, and the legs and arms lost by soldiers were replaced with metal and steel 'bones', with layers of regenerative flesh and tissue wrapped over them. And when the soldiers, as they almost all did, could not mentally handle the changes that the Blue Chinese made, the doctors attempted to treat their brains, poking and prodding and surgically modifying to make them believe they were whole and normal again. The end result was almost entirely different from what the Red Chinese had achieved, but in its own way it worked just as well. And, in an attempt to dampen the morale of the Red Chinese, the National Revolutionary Army unveiled its own new abilities late in the same year.
Once more, the two sides were matched. And with their new methods of keeping or replacing their resources of flesh and bodies, Blue China and Red China set out to war once more. The results would be unlike any war ever experienced in the world before...or since.
Peace was the objective of the Chinese Civil War long after any noble goals like democracy or communism had been lost under the churning mud, boiling heat, blistering cold, and acrid smell of the battle lines. Sides fought like maniacs just to get a glimpse of peace, times where the roar of the hounds of war would cease for a few precious moments and the adrenaline that constantly flowed like water was allowed to disperse and drain away. In the end, maybe that was why both sides seemed to drop their atomic bombs so readily and accepted the deaths of millions of lives by their actions - for the combatants, it meant a final peace. Even the Atomic Chinese, the vengeful ghosts of what China once was, dares not disturb those who chose to not come back. The living who turned their world to dust and ash are dealt with - but the ghosts of China let the spirits of those dead on both sides to finally rest.
Alone among the wars of the world, that fought by Red and Blue China will remain perhaps the most mysterious. All but a few records were lost in the atomic fires of ravaged cities, and those that yet exist are artifacts, kept securely in deep underground vaults beneath Jerusalem or in maximum security laboratories underneath London. It is absurd to many scholars that records of a six year resurgence in a thirty year war are so few and secret - but nonetheless, it is the sad truth. And it is thus that, aside from a few records highly prized by scholars, all that remains of actual battlefield reports are rumours and myths.
How can one even begin to try and look through the stories and try to find backgrounds for the legions - the Corpse Corps, Ghost Legions, the Million Marvelous Marching Machine Men, Yu Huang's Risen, the Horse-Heads, Brethren of Bruce Chen, Deathseeker Kin - that were feared, loved, hated, respected, and ultimately forgotten in the fog of the nuclear bombs? What of the heroes and villains of the war: Madame Inferno, the Hollow Triplets, The Machine Made Flesh, Marshal Manslaughter, the Skylouse, the Child of Entropy, General Rainbow - whose feats of heroic action and villanous plotting ended in a blaze of heat and glass? The stories of the Furnace of Souls, Xuai Bunker Complex, the Endless Trenches, the Sin Palace of Ann Slaughter, Diyu's Playground, and the Molten Scrapheap only add to the mystery, for in the end the world is left with nothing but the names. Names, fragments of the men and leaders and locations of both sides, once stark witnesses to the horrors of war unfettered by any agenda or morality - and now nothing but the last, fading memories of a scar upon the land.
In the aftermath of the Chinese Civil War, death was the one constant in the land which had formerly been brimming with life. Whether from the remnants of the fighting sides, the nuclear bombs, the radiation, or the bandits that had sprung up afterwards, death was everywhere. Before 1968, China had had several hundred million people living in it: and now, it had less than ten million. It was in this place of death and destruction that the Atomic Kingdom began, and it was in this place that they, somehow, had to build a military and population. To any other country on the planet, this would have been next to impossible - with over ninety percent of their population destroyed, the Kingdom needed every single living man, woman, and child they could get safe within their protective biodomes and ships. Wasting them on the battlefield was unthinkable. But China had an option that no other country on the planet did - cloning.
In the breakup of the Communist and Nationalist Chinese chains of command, their medical and scientific technologies were laid bare for the Atomic Chinese to crack open and take for themselves. As the nuclear bombs had been targeted at civilian populations instead of dedicated military centres, the secrets of life, death, and creation itself lay available for those who would take the risk of finding them...and, indeed, the Atomic Chinese were prepared to do so. Atomic China ransacked the underground labs and VIP bunkers of both sides, slaughtering their remaining defenders and taking what they could use. It was from records that the knowledge of teleportation, matter manipulation, and much more were discovered...but the most valuable of secrets discovered was cloning.
The Atomic Chinese merged the two efforts of the fighting factions to create what is deemed modern cloning, combing the technology of the mind and the science of the body to create something new and greater than the sum of its parts. Using the genetic material from former Chinese citizens now but ash and dust in the wake of the bombs, they created new people, new bodies and minds in vats and tanks - clones. They thoroughly washed the brains and minds of the clones, making them content, making them nearer to machines than people - or so it was thought and hoped. Using cloning, the Atomic Chinese were able to make themselves a kingdom of the dead, composed of peasants who were not counted as people, and a nobility of the true survivors.
The clones themselves are treated only as second-class citizens, and are indoctrinated to never question this - but under their teachings and brain molding, they are human as ever. They have thoughts, dreams, wishes, regrets, fears, and fetishes, but this is something that the rulers of the Atomic Kingdom never address or acknowledge. Indeed, in many ways the Atomic Kingdom is a far worser kind of tyranny to its so-called subjects than the Soviets - for even the Soviets acknowledge that they are still people. Clones are not thought of as people, but as mere cogs in a vast and great machine, cogs that can easily be replaced if defective. Perhaps worst of all is that, with the technology of cloning, the analogy is partially true - when people can be efficiently replicated and regrown by batches, when the very process of thought can be manufactured using only a bit of genetic material and the right tools, when it is possible to send clones out to die in droves because it is thought better than wasting the lives of natural humans...the question is asked:
What measure is a cloned human?