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PREMISE:

A sentient race of neural parasites is in a civil war between the Symbiotes, who've used their extensive knowledge of genetic engineering to alter themselves into symbiotes, and the Parasites who think the Symbiotes have made a mockery of their way of life and seek to wipe them out. The Parasites outnumber the Symbiotes massively and have driven them into hiding.

THE ALIENS THEMSELVES:

  • Both the parasites and the symbiotes are small, squid-like beings similar in size to the larval stage of D&D Illithids, that can infect any species that has a brain roughly similar in size and shape to a human brain. They burrow into the host's neck and then alter the host's DNA, RNA, and body, resulting in radical internal changes. Externally, the only difference is a small lump on the back of the neck. Basically, they're the weird lovechild of a Goa'uld from Stargate and a D&D Illithid.
  • How the control works depends on whether we're dealing with a Symbiote or Parasites. Parasites take over the host's Nervous system, trapping the host in their own body. Symbiotes, on the other hand, have control at the same time the Host does, as the body gives equal importance to commands from the symbiote and commands from the host. Conflicting commands cause the body to simply listen to neither command until the issue is resolved. The Symbiont also intimately shares thoughts, feelings, and memories with the host and vice versa, which means that conflicts are rare, and happen at the speed of thought when they do.
  • Some of them grant abilities that both the host and the Symbiont have access to (or just the Parasite, in the case of them), such as gravity manipulation and electromagnetic field manipulation. Don't even ask how they do this, they don't know either, though psionic capabilities may or may not be involved.
  • This is not reversible. The symbiont/parasite can abandon the host, but to do so they must do extensive damage to the nervous system and brain in the process, killing them at best and leaving them with massive brain damage at worst. There are surgical procedures that can separate the symbiont without killing the host, but these are incredibly challenging even for the aliens, and still leave the host with brain damage. As a result of this, informed consent where the host knows what they're getting into by agreeing to this and agrees without being coerced or on a whim is essential for Symbiotes.
  • The symbiotes and parasites hail from an earth-like world, and thus, due to convergent evolution, they have psychology and thought-processes similar to our own, and feel the same emotions. The only real psychological difference is between us and the Parasites, as they are in casual, shameless disregard of the human (and non-human) rights of other species, and this stems more from their parasitic existence than anything else.

THEIR SOCIETY:

  • The parasites exist in what is basically a fascist monarchy, where the royalty use common fascist tactics to maintain the status quo and clamp down on resistance.
  • They are highly advanced, having access to masses of molecular nanobots that they call 'programmable matter', FTL, and an intimate understanding of biology and genetic engineeriong.
  • Their society has repeatedly dominated and enslaved countless other worlds featuring sentient species, under the justification that this actually constitutes a 'improvement' in their quality of life and is good for them. The resemblance to Proslavery arguments Pre-Civil War is intentional.
  • (EDIT) Their economy is built around the Host trade, and this trade works in a roughly similar fashion to the car market.
  • They can clone host bodies, but the nobility doesn't want to switch over to them.

THE QUESTION

In this case, the question is in regards to the last point in the Parasite's society; the nobility doesn't want to clone host bodies, largely to protect the interests of the breeders/hunters who are the most powerful, and whose members make up a sizable chunk of the nobility.

However, this leaves the question of how would they justify this to the general population of parasites and the peoples they've conquered.

Clone bodies do come with certain perks: they are very quick, easy, and cheap to produce, exponentially more so than natural hosts, and can be custom-tailored on birth, thereby compressing the countless generations of selective breeding required to get the natural host you want into a few minutes spent adjusting the embryo's genes before they begin growing. In addition, they don't have consciousness or intellect and thus aren't prone to the tendency of 'natural hosts' to object to their fate, start revolts, and even murder their guards/breeders (or at least try to), and have none of the ethical implications of using natural hosts.

With the countless pros of clone hosts and the numerous cons of natural hosts taken into account, what kind of explanation would the nobility provide for shutting down Clone Body production and killing all clone bodies? Basically, I'm looking for a excuse for the Nobility to outlaw Clones despite the fact that they are at least as good in a given category as a 'natural' host, and oftentimes better. Be aware that they are NOT above underhanded methods such as disinformation and slander.

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Propaganda!

What? You really want to have one of those stinky clones and be just another schmuck like everyone else? Don't give in to the crowd! Be an individual!

Purchase your tentacle-captured host today, from Blood and Steel Host Services!

With enough money and influence, propagandizing the population is trivial. Just look at what the sugar industry did to successfully demonize fat in the late 20th century, despite the plethora of evidence that sugar was the true cause of obesity and health problems.

Another extremely powerful method of dissuation is "Poisoning the well." They could easily breed some faulty clones with dangerous defects that will come out years down the line and destroy the reputation of clones, especially if propaganda efforts have already set people's minds down the path.

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    $\begingroup$ Yep, this works perfectly! $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Mar 17 at 18:14
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How would they justify [not using clones] to the general population of parasites . . .

The same way we justify factory farming. Most people are already accustomed to eating meat and don't really care where it comes from. They don't want to break their habits or pay more for food. Likewise the host bodies are seen as little more than livestock. And they are cheaper than clones. So the general population doesn't care.

. . . and the people they've conquered?

You already know the answer to this one:

The parasites exist in what is basically a fascist monarchy, where the royalty use common fascist tactics to maintain the status quo and clamp down on resistance. Their society has repeatedly dominated and enslaved countless other worlds featuring sentient species

They don't bother justifying the system to the conquered. They just shoot them in the head if they ask questions. Parasites are the baddies.

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  • $\begingroup$ One slight problem; the clones are cheaper than 'natural' hosts. Natural hosts often take years to develop, must be kept alive and cared for during that time, and are also prone to rebellion. Cloned hosts can be grown in a matter of days, and have no such rebellious tendencies. Anyone who gives cloned hosts a serious amount of consideration realizes that they are, at a bare minimum, just as good as 'natural' hosts, and oftentimes better. I'm asking how the nobility would justify outlawing them despite this. $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Mar 17 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ I find it very hard to believe clones are the cheap option. You don't need to purpose-raise your new host. You just find a suitable farm worker -- we have millions of those in our evil empire -- and shoot a mind-slug into their head easy peasy. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 17 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ The parasites have... slightly higher standards as to what constitutes a suitable host. They prefer hosts who've been raised for this, not some random man grabbed off the street with god-only-knows how many medical issues and nasty viruses. Also, it's important to know that the parasites are actually the good guys in their minds. They won't shoot a member of a conquered species if it isn't necessary; they'd rather show the conquered the righteousness of their crusade to civilize them, try to sway them to their way of thinking. Only if they couldn't be swayed would they shoot them. $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Mar 17 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Brinstar77 I didn't say grab one off the street. I said select a suitable farm labourer. Those guys are healthy. Of course we keep them healthy. It makes them better workers. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 17 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ Look, this world is operating on the assumption that clones are a cheaper and better option than natural hosts, and thus the 'factory farming' justification doesn't quite work, which means the Nobility needs a reason to ban clones. $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Mar 17 at 16:16
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Reason #1: Clones Have No Experience

While a clone body can be grown in a matter of days, the brain inside that body is still for all intents and purposes a fetal brain. While intelligent animals are born genetically knowing how to learn important skills we are not actually born knowing how to walk, use our hands, control our bladders, understand what we are seeing and hearing, etc. It takes years for a human-like brain and a body to really learn how to work together.

Since the parasites use a cephalopod-like body plan, everything they know about doing stuff does not translate very well to jumping into the body of a humanoid or centaur or serpentine host.

So, even though the parasites suppress the free will of thier hosts, they still rely on thier host for its skills and memories in order to properly operate the body. When a parasite infects a natural host, it comes preloaded with everything the parasite needs to use its new host, but when they infect a clone, they have to spend years training the body's nervous system themselves before they can use it to its full potential.

Clones might be fine for implanting baby parasites into, but any adult parasite who does not want to spend the next few years helpless while they try to train thier new body will prefer a body that already knows what it is doing.

Reason #2: You are under-estimating the value of automation

Even if a clone only takes a few days to grow, it is an active task for the parasites to grow clones. They need to build the cloning chambers, maintain them, collect and refine all the martials used to supply them, etc. While a natural host may take years to grow, parasites don't need to do anything at all to grow them. Once a planet is conquered, all you have to do is show up every so often, pick up a few million fresh hosts, and go home. Otherwise, just leave them alone in thier natural habitat and they will take care of thier own reproduction.

The only real work to be done is occasionally blasting them back into the iron age to make good and sure that they never gain the ability to rise up against you... but as the conquerors, you were probably planning on doing this anyway.

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They Don't!

It sounds like there's a perfectly simple solution to your problem; there isn't one. At least, not for your powerful and influential parasites. Clones are for the masses, and hunted/bred bodies are premium stock. And guess who controls the clone production? That's right, your very own powerful oligarchs who were once the breeders and hunters. If anyone starts to get uppity about clones being better, simply dial down the effectiveness of your clones. We humans have very similar tactics with Oligopolies and planned obsolescence.

With this setup, your oligarchs stay on top, the benefits of clones can be utilized, and whatever cultural roots there are in hunting and breeding hosts are preserved.

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    $\begingroup$ This is bad for the Hunter/Breeders in the short term, however, and that's justification enough for them to want to ban cloned hosts. The roots aren't just cultural, they are economical; the hunters/breeders have spent years producing natural hosts, and to acquire the equipment to produce cloned hosts requires a massive investment in the short term, even if in the long run they are billions of times more profitable than natural hosts. This is why the US hasn't switched to non-fossil fuel energy; it's cheaper in the short term to stick with it, and especially good for the oil/coal companies. $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Mar 17 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Then it would seem that if the frame cannot be challenged, the answer by @Daron is the most sensible (if not only) solution short of extreme propaganda campaigns. $\endgroup$
    – Skyler
    Mar 17 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Well, extreme propaganda campaigns are TOTALLY within the Nobility's wheelhouse. $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Mar 17 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ Well.... here I go again... $\endgroup$
    – Skyler
    Mar 17 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ "The roots aren't just cultural, they are economical; the hunters/breeders have spent years producing natural hosts, and to acquire the equipment to produce cloned hosts requires a massive investment in the short term, even if in the long run they are billions of times more profitable than natural hosts. " This is all important stuff that should be included in the question in the first place, so we don't have to read your mind. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 17 at 18:08
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Species Wide Paranoia

The Tyrannical nature of the Parasites ultimately comes from how their species is permanently anxious and desires control over every aspect of their life.

Traditionally a family raises its potential hosts in their home. Shortly after birth they do some neural kung-fu on the host brain to make them more passive. These potential hosts work as servants and are not allowed to leave the house. This stops outsiders interfering with them. This is a huge amount of effort but the Parasites consider it worthwhile for safety.

The problem with buying a clone is the buyer does not know how the process works. They cannot be sure about any claims of viability the clone seller maker. This scares them and makes it seem like a reckless option.

This is the same justification for why clones were made illegal. They are impossible to regulate, unless the person you sell the clone to is also an expert in immunology and genetic engineering. In that case of course they would just make their own clone.

Of course as you say, there is no foul play, and the clones are indeed superior to home-grown. But the population does not believe a word of that.

Again, as you say, the real reason for the ban is that the home-breeding industry is the most profitable one on the planet.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not quite the answer I'm looking for. In the world, the host trade is very, very big, and species-wide paranoia would make it impossible to trust a seller. $\endgroup$
    – Brinstar77
    Mar 17 at 16:32
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    $\begingroup$ I have given you two answers so far and to both you say "this doesn't work because of something I had in my brain but wasn't obvious in the question." This suggests you should have another look at the question body, and focus it more on what you consider to be the challenges, rather than just background information. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 17 at 16:36

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