There are various situations where you need to tell genetically indistinguishable individuals apart. If they are working for you, you may rely on certain minions which are tasked to perform certain roles or who possess special knowledge not available to the others. Conversely, your opposition may have a double or two in among their forces (or at the very top) to mislead you. If you have not had to work among multiple replicas drawn from the same gene stock you may find it unusually unnerving at first, deprived of the usual cues you probably rely upon in social situations. The application of modern technology in combination with fairly simple measures can lessen the confusion on your part if you are willing to invest the additional effort it takes.
- Body modification. You can break the hypnotic symmetry by altering some or all of the clones physically. Whether you go with tattoos, implants, permanent barcodes, prosthetics, radio transmitters, or spikes, you can incorporate a subtle difference, between each one and the next, which you can then easily associate with the individual. This is by far the most permanent solution, though it also requires the most effort up front. The trouble is less of a burden if you are already planning to have these clones on the operating table anyway for one of your other insane schemes.
- Personal quirks. It is a truism that you can learn a lot by observing, especially when it comes to identical clones. Pay close attention to preferences as to food, habits of speech, scars and marks, hairstyles, body odors, and favorite items of speech. This observational discipline is especially useful when dealing with infants, foreign speakers, or the unconscious.
- Clothing. If you have a large army of clone minions, you can subvert the idea of uniforms by dressing them differently. You could simply put numbers on the front and back of each one, the way they do in sports, or you could do something more subtly with camouflage patterns. A certain amount of trust may be required, owing to the ease with which a swap can be performed behind your back, although if you already have the forces under heavy surveillance this can be reduced.
- Technology. Gadget-loving mad scientists are most attracted to the flashy trinkets which can be doled out to certain clones and not to others, or configured with customized identifying codes which report back to your master console. Implanted transmitters. Radio frequency handstamps. Smart clothing. Radioisotopes bound to the internal bone structure. All these are fine ways to go, if you can afford the expense and can invest the time in working out the bugs in the system.
- Don't sweat it. Neophyte villains sometimes have a tendency of over thinking the problems that come with a force of enemy clones. Instead of worrying about whether you are shooting at one you have already shot once and allowing a few to go scot free, and whether a few of them happen to have possessed important information, or even had loyalty to your side, you may still be better off operating under the simplifying assumption that they are all basically interchangeable targets. Baldly stated, you might consider boosting up the rate of damage you are dealing so as to ensure that you will just kill them all and let the guardians of Hell sort them out.
Strokes of genius
- Fingerprints. Even genetically identical individuals grow up with different fingerprints, including clones, so with a modest investment in commercially available technology you can arrange to keep tabs on a large contingent of clones while they perform their duties within your own facility. These devices need proper maintenance, however, and backup means of identification should be provided for when one encounters soiled, damaged, or missing fingers in practice.
- The aura. Mediums and practitioners of Kirlian photography can view the field surrounding living beings that is invisible to ordinary individuals and is commonly associated with the creature's immortal spirit as shaped by the full set of life experiences. A sufficiently sophisticated database could be built up of the particular features differentiating the clones, although this is a daunting prospect if you are faced with dozens or hundreds of clones to keep straight. But if you happen to be a clairvoyant savant, why not go for it.
- Mom can always tell. If you have privileged access to the primary caregivers for the clones you may be able to tap in to their intuitive sense. This method is not foolproof, but it does have the advantage of extreme economy for the budget-conscious evildoer.
- Shapeshifters. You may have the situation where the identical looking persons are that way because of supernatural polymorphism rather than traditional old genetic multiplicity. This kind of freelance body changing can stymie your best efforts to keep matters straight unless you can see fit to use means that do not rely on body configuration. For instance, you may implant different suggestions deep into the minds of the shape-changers, through hypnosis, and read those patterns back out at a later time.
Traps for mere fools
- Over playing the differences. If you have a mess of clones for a reason, do not go so far in individualizing them that you lose the benefits you were after in the first place.
- Underground mischief-makers.
- Flimsy nametags.
- Water soluble markers.
- Amnesia fields.
Precious and needful
- X-ray spex.
- Dental x-ray.
- Nanoparticle tags.
- Tennis bracelets.
- How to clone an army
- How to remember the five rules of good shapeshifting
- How to set up a lair
- How to exploit advanced technology
- How to oppress the meek
- How to prank your adversaries
- How to run an institution of higher learning
- How to read minds
- How to give everyone their heart's desire
- How to sleep in peace
- How to conduct a manhunt
- How to stage a show trial
- How to manage a virgin supply chain
- How to destroy the thing you created
- How to recruit and retain henchmen
- How to lead a were-army
- How to design battle gear
- How to root out an informer
- How to attract groupies
- Image credit sxsw_113.JPG by dsearls
- Image credit QR Code Temporary Tattoo SCANS!!! by scott_bl8ke
- Image credit 2009.01.17 - UNKNOWN, Unknown by a.drian
Created by: . Last Modification: Monday 08 of October, 2012 23:10:27 EDT by .