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Demosthenes
I just want to preface this with a caveat: this is an extrapolation, a "What if?" based on the kind of technology that canon says exists in Shadowrun. I'm not saying that this stuff actually exists in the SR universe. Though it does IMG...

Has anyone here read "Spares" by Michael Marshall Smith?
I've been thinking about it lately, and it gave me a rather nasty idea for the "darker" side of the SR setting:

One of the central ideas of the book is the idea of therapeutic cloning gone a little bit awry. Specifically:

The wealthy purchase spares for their children when they are born. Spares are clones. The clones are fed and housed in barns, kept well enough to ensure that they are healthy and functional. They are not socialised at all, but are little more than human battery hens, if you wish.

Whenever one of these wealthy people has a serious accident or illness (you know, the kind of thing that would require a replacement organ or limb), the medical company chops off the necessary pieces from that person's spare.

In Shadowrun, this might even make a kind of twisted economic sense (bear with me here, this will take time):
We have evidence that it is possible to grow a human body in vitro, in the form of the Bioware sections of Shadowtech and M&M. Bioware is produced by fiddling with the genetic code of a bank of cells to optimise them for growing a particular piece of bioware. The bioware is harvested from the body that grows in the vat, and the rest of the material is recycled...

Cultured bioware costs 4 times as much as standard bioware of the same type, because they have to make it from scratch from your own tissues, right?

Therefore we can work out an approximate cost (retail, note) for producing a clone using SR biotech by looking at the cost of low end standard biotech (multiplied by 4 to account for avoiding "type O" tissue issues)...
And don't tell me the corps haven't tried to do it....

I haven't worked out a precise cost, but I figure UniOmni could produce a viable clone for somewhere in the region of 50,000.

After that, all you have to do is cover the investment for the "permanent lifestyle" - which will be a lot lower than for a normal person...you're keeping these poor souls in barns on corporate-owned land, with a rentacop outside, simsense feeds (maybe) to keep them happy, crap tasting (but nutritious) food to keep them going...

Say that it costs you 250,000 total over the lifetime of a Spare to grow and maintain. A DocWagon Super-Platinum contract costs what? IIRC 100,000 per annum. After three years, you're turning a profit. And if your subject (that lovely corp exec) decides to change his policy, or dies, or drops it, or defaults on a payment, you have a warm body on which to perform human experimentation.

And this person has no rights. He or she doesn't exist. Hell, he or she might not even be self-aware, depending on how you go about your cloning...
BitBasher
In SR canon fully functional clones are not possible, which is a bit of a kink in the issue.
algcs
That would be a new twist to The Farm.

tisoz
QUOTE (BitBasher)
In SR canon fully functional clones are not possible, which is a bit of a kink in the issue.

QUOTE
I just want to preface this with a caveat: this is an extrapolation, a "What if?" based on the kind of technology that canon says exists in Shadowrun. I'm not saying that this stuff actually exists in the SR universe. Though it does IMG...
psyberian
Page 140 Man and Machine. DocWagon service actually have a vat clone for organ harvesting ready to go if a organ goes out for the super-platinum service.
Moon-Hawk
I guess that's the part that confuses me, too. Why do they need to be running free on a farm? Why can't they just stay unconscious in a vat?
BitBasher
QUOTE (psyberian)
Page 140 Man and Machine. DocWagon service actually have a vat clone for organ harvesting ready to go if a organ goes out for the super-platinum service.

That clone also doens't have a functional nervous system. It's not a "viable" clone. It can't survive off life support.
Moon-Hawk
Which, in my mind, makes them better. Less human rights violation. Therefore, less need to be hush hush, or less angry protestors, either way you look at it, less resistance.
Jrayjoker
This is only a time issue for replacement as far as I can tell. If you can culture or clone any part of the body as required if you have the money then the only benefit would be in how quickly a replacement is ready...No need to keep the farm and incur the public's wrath.
Moon-Hawk
Agreed. And I'm sure DocWagon would happily keep a clone in a vat for you, like they do with their Platinum clients, for a much more reasonable fee. If you don't want the other benefits of the platinum contract, of course.

There's certainly no reason you couldn't have this farm idea in an SR game, but it would take minor to moderate revision of the world. It wouldn't make much sense to try to just drop it into a standard SR universe without needing some other changes, but given those changes it would contribute to a most excellent dystopian setting.
psyberian
Just as a run idea.

Maybe word has gotten out that the DocWagon clones are self aware. And your team has been hired to get one out from DocWagon for some doctors to examine.
Moon-Hawk
In an elaborate double bluff, CrashCart sets up a farm-like facility and makes it look like it has DocWagon connections. Then they hire the runners to get in and get proof that DocWagon is doing evil things. Are the runners better than they expected? Will they find out too much? wobble.gif
hahnsoo
Or maybe the wealthy simply invest in fertility technology and have multiple babies. Why? Because back then, the "vat clone" technology might not have been feasible. So the child grows up, unaware that his/her parent actually gave birth to twins or triplets, and the other children are either kept in a secluded area by some unethical subcontractor, or put up for adoption with a special transponder chip that IDs them... so at any time, the wealthy parent can call up some shadowrunners to extract the "other child" for spare parts. This would only apply to a small segment of the population (ultra wealthy individuals who gave birth between X years before vat-clone tech was available).

Or hell, you can go more mundane... the wealthy person had an affair with a servant, shitcanned the servant to avoid a scandal or later had the servant killed. The servant's child/orphan just happens to DNA-type with the wealthy person's legitimate child. The legitimate child has some sort of horrible disease that requires a donated organ.
Req
Just thought I'd mention...

The evidence that clones are non-viable, don't have functional brains, etc comes from Shadowtalk comments by KAM in Shadowtech, if I remember right. In my campaign (NOTE: NOT CANON. THANK YOU.) that's not the entire truth - from a biological perspective, I can't see any compelling reason why this would have to be the case - and so I've decided that when UniOmni started with this technology, they came to the realization that public opinion on the cloning process would be much easier to deal with if this was believed. The process of force-growing a clone to adulthood does have some detrimental effects on the brain, but nothing like the effect people have been led to believe in.

UniOmni developed and patented the force-growth procedure, and one of the components of this procedure is a powerful sedative/neurotoxic agent. In the presence of this agent, the clone is utterly non-viable; higher neural development is stunted. In its absence, a force-grown clone, at the time of "harvest" for organ implantation, would have the cognitive function of a mildly-retarded 12-year-old.

This is not necessarily the case with clone bodies for bioware, especially the neural 'ware, only for standard cloned-organ bodies. It doesn't really affect the game much, but I think it adds a nice bit to the dystopian nature of the whole world.

Comment if you like it or hate it, use it if you like it.
hahnsoo
Oh, another thing... can Shedim possess said Vatclone bodies? I can see this option leading to some cliche identity crisis/doppelganger runs...
bitrunner
fyi, (and because it's my job to pimp the campaign!) the second adventure in the Shadowrun Missions story arc (SRM01-02 Strings Attached) may be of interest to some of you...
Method
Just thinking dark and evil thoughts....

Say the spare was implanted at birth with a RAS overide or simple DJ and fed "blank" simsense its entire life... What cognitive effects would ZERO sensory stimulus have on a developing brain? Could you, in effect, stall the development all together?
Cochise
QUOTE (Method)
Just thinking dark and evil thoughts....

Say the spare was implanted at birth with a RAS overide or simple DJ and fed "blank" simsense its entire life... What cognitive effects would ZERO sensory stimulus have on a developing brain? Could you, in effect, stall the development all together?

You'd very likely "kill" the subject being in the process, just as SR-cloning with forced growth "kills" the subject being (the organic body is kept "alive" with the help of machines) ...

There once was this really "clever" king over here in good old Europe who wanted to know which language was the "first" to be developped ... Greek, Latin or Hebrew ...
What did he do? He isolated three babies right after birth and their nannies weren't allowed to speak a single word with them. The result was, that all three died. In that situation the brain was just deprived of one type of stimulus. You can now make your guesses on the effects when all stimuli are removed ...

tisoz
QUOTE (hahnsoo)
Oh, another thing... can Shedim possess said Vatclone bodies? I can see this option leading to some cliche identity crisis/doppelganger runs...

If so, first priority would be to get the area warded.
Fortune
Hmmm ... a ready-made Ghoul smorgasboard. facelick.gif
Demosthenes
Thanks for all the input people...

Several people raised the issue of DocWagon keeping a "clone" in a vat, ready for harvesting, as well as a number of other questions.

The main reason I thought for a corp to maintain a farm (or farms) like this is simple enough: the bottom line.

It seems to me that keeping a clone body (or collection of parts, or whatever) viable in a vat is more or less the equivalent of keeping them on life support. All the time.

That's a hospitalised lifestyle if ever there was one, and that is pretty expensive.
Now, if you can take the clone out of the vat (but not the vat out of the clone, obviously, silly.gif ), then you save a lot of money on life support because you can use mother nature to do the job for you.

This also relates to Psyberian's reference to M&M p140 (DocWagon keeping clones on a vat for harvesting): Clones in a Vat are subject to all kinds of interesting interference, and if someone cuts power to the vat, then it's possible that the life-support to the clone inside will stop, and the cloned tissue will be lost. That's a bit of a financial hit, even with insurance...

[ Spoiler ]


The real problem arises in preventing conflicts between clones on the farm, and preventing them from dying from total lack of social input. One possible solution to this would be to grow the clone, let it acquire basic skills (how not to fall over, maybe even an awareness that things exist when it can't see them, all depending on how far you think you need to go), and then fit it with a data filter...

This deals with some of the problems mentioned - you can control the degree of socialisation the clones experience, allow them as much stimulus as you like, and ensure that nothing uncontrolled gets into a clone's long-term memory.

All of the above assumes, incidentally, that the clones are capable of developing self-awareness and becoming "real people", whatever that means...

One of the reasons I thought of this charming little idea was that one of my players wants to take the 5pt version of Amnesia (he said, and I quote, "make me hurt")...and I wanted to find a curve-ball to throw him that he wouldn't see coming.
Sandoval Smith
I'd say that keeping clone farm would present little, if any, cash saving value. They'd still need caretaking and watching 24/7, and you're stll keeping them in an ultra secure location. Hospitilization might even be cheaper. A feeding tube goes in one end, a waste tube out the other, and a series of electrodes keep the muscles toned in case of eventual activation. Also, the biggest problem with the data filter idea would be that a LOT people (not all, but quite a few of those super platnium customers) would have a big problem with a fully functional copy of themselves out there (what if someone extracts it? It's not the same as having the actual person, but you could still do a lot of trouble with your own Little Damiey Knight) but the fact it is a _living_ copy. Knowing it's a brain dead chunk of meat when it gets an arm lopped off to donate to you is quite a salve to the concience.

As for your amnesia player, he very well could've been someone's alternative experiment to vat growing that got a sense of self and got away. Or he came from a vat, not quite as brain dead as he should'be been, and although those clone rooms are nearly impossible to break into, getting out of them turns out to be a heck of a lot easier.
Demosthenes
@Sandoval Smith:

I see your point. But I intend to persist, even though I have been shown to be irrational and perverted. cool.gif

The solution, obviously, is secrecy. You lie to your clients (No, really, the body's in a vat), you lie to your employees in 'the farm'(This poor sod's tragically autistic), you lie to the plastic surgeon (Yeah, Mr Knight has decided that the CrimeTime look is in this year silly.gif ), and you pray to god you don't get caught.

Of course, you will get caught eventually. That didn't stop Enron's directors, did it?

The counter to that of course, is that all of these lies accumulate a security risk, and somewhere along the way, someone knows the truth. Sucks to be that person, eh?
[ Spoiler ]
Ed Simons
The farm costs money to maintain. So does keeping clones in a vat.

OTOH, if you use all those nice healthy young bodies to set up a bunraku parlor, you could turn an additional profit, especially if some of those nice healthy young bodies are clones of someone famous.
Demosthenes
QUOTE (Ed Simons)
The farm costs money to maintain. So does keeping clones in a vat.

OTOH, if you use all those nice healthy young bodies to set up a bunraku parlor, you could turn an additional profit, especially if some of those nice healthy young bodies are clones of someone famous.

That is true...

But my contention is that keeping live bodies in a farm costs and treating them like drek costs less than keeping them in a tank on full life support. In a vat, you need to keep the lungs full of air, supply food to the body, stimuli to the CNS etc, and excercise the muscles.

On the farm, you just have to feed the "chickens", move them around now and again, and hose the poor bastards off with disinfectant when the smell starts to make your eyes bleed.

(sorry, channeling Spider Jerusalem there for a bit... smokin.gif )

It all depends on the basic assumptions you make about costs underlying the two alternatives.
I figure that keeping these poor bastards on a farm or whatever costs the equivalent of Low lifestyle absolute max (and I figure you can minimise that fairly easily). Keeping a body in a vat, I see as closer to 'hospitalised in intensive care' if the body is at a stage where the entire body is essentially a physiologically viable clone, and that is expensive.

As to the bunraku parlour - well, that's an option, but it might be a bit of a risk, depending on what parts your client eventually needs replaced and how careful you are with the other clients, if you see what I mean.

[Edit]
Those of you who have Shadowtech might want to check the shadowtalk on the pages with the Skillwire plus, softlink, and related stuff...unfortunately, I cannot recall the page reference....it bears a distant relation to this idea...[/edit]
DrJest
Here's another thought. We already know that spare parts can be... acquired in some less than savoury ways. But in a world where we CAN do radical major tranplants of pretty near anything, where does that lead?

I refer the interested reader to "The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton" and "The Patchwork Girl" by Larry Niven (there are other stories he wrote dealing with this, but those are the two most key). Niven speculated that criminals would, instead of being sentenced to death, be sentenced to the organ banks; ie, broken up for spares. It started off with only the really serious crimes like murder being organ bank crimes, but as time went by, the population voted an increasing number of crimes into organ bank status. The protagonist makes the telling observation at one point that he wonders how long before they work their way down to him...
Crimson Jack
QUOTE (Cochise)
There once was this really "clever" king over here in good old Europe who wanted to know which language was the "first" to be developped ... Greek, Latin or Hebrew ...
What did he do? He isolated three babies right after birth and their nannies weren't allowed to speak a single word with them. The result was, that all three died. In that situation the brain was just deprived of one type of stimulus.

This sounds like the Rene Spitz study in the 1940's, in which roughly one third of the babies studied died due to a lack of personal attention (stimulus). Which king are you referring to in your post?
Elfie
QUOTE (Moon-Hawk)
I guess that's the part that confuses me, too. Why do they need to be running free on a farm? Why can't they just stay unconscious in a vat?

Because free-range chummer tastes better?
algcs
The clones are there for experimental brain transplants. Grow yourself a body on the farm. Once your meat body starts getting old just pop the brain into the new body. Sure it is expensive. Sure you might go crazy. But when you are this rich crazy is just known as excentric.
Panzergeist
They grow partial humans which don't have brains or anything. Or they can even grow individual body parts. It is totally unnecesary to grow actual, normal humans and use them as cattle. Pretty sick idea though.
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