Gaming in the ‘Verse: Send in the Clones

Author’s Note: This is the script for the final, unaired Gaming in the ‘Verse segment. The producer at the time was a noted atheist who took exception to me using the phrase “playing God.” I, in turn, felt the phrase was very important to the script. Unfortunately, this conflict led to me leaving the Signal podcast.

Mal rounded the corner, Zoe and Jayne right behind him. Entering the lab, the trio spotted the scientist they were hired to “retrieve.”

“Ah, so good of you to join us, Mister Reynolds. You’ll have to forgive me, though. I already had guests.”

Mal (not sure which episode): “I’m Malcolm Reynolds.”

Mal (not sure which episode): “I’m Malcolm Reynolds.”

Mal (not sure which episode): “I’m Malcolm Reynolds.”

Mal (not sure which episode): “I’m Malcolm Reynolds.”

(Same phrase repeats, to give the effect of clones.)

Trampas (as Jayne): “I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

SFX: Gun shots.

The subject of cloning has come up in many science fiction shows throughout the years, perhaps most notably in recent years in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. While Firefly is a space western, we should also remember that it is a science fiction show as well. Combining elements of science fiction with western gunplay can lead to great fun.

Cloning is a controversial subject in our own times, and should remain so for purposes of your game. Is it right or wrong? Are we playing God by cloning? What happens when someone is cloned against their will?

Your crew can have great fun with figuring out all these moral dilemmas. Remember to try to present both sides of the situation and let players decide for themselves what their characters’ moral stance is.

So how do send in those clones, anyway? Perhaps your crew was hired to investigate a secret scientific facility the Alliance has on some backwater moon and steal the technology for their employer. While the crew is there, they discover that it is a cloning facility. Perhaps the facility was made for the purposes of creating an army, or perhaps some sort of black ops team. Maybe the scientists are trying to clone an individual in hopes of replicating memory and discovering some lost secrets. Or possibly, they’re trying to create their own River Tams, minus the baggage.

If you really want to throw the players for a loop, have a few clones of one of the player characters join the fray. It’ll be pure chaos, to say the least!

Be careful how you approach this, though. It seem like fun to see the look on players’ faces if you tell them that they’re clones of the real deal. However, players may not react the best to this. In the Spider-Man comic books, there was a storyline where it was revealed that the Peter Parker we knew and loved for years was a clone. It was not received well.

Don’t be too concerned about the technical side of things, though having some technobabble handy might be good. Consider that there are many ways of applying cloning technology. Perhaps DNA is being combined to form the ultimate soldier. Are memories being transferred in the process? If so, can that become a dangerous technology in and of itself?

I highly recommend J.C. Hutchins’ podcast novel series, 7th Son, as good research into the possibilities that a cloning story can offer. There are several scenarios in the series that can be adapted to your Serenity role-playing game.

So send in the clones, watch your players as they’re beside themselves, and sleep with one eye open.

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