|Date: Monday, 11 Feb 2013, 11:23 PM | Message # 1
Retired Clones Face Uncertain Future
Imperial Center — He was a Major in the Grand Army of the Republic. He served with distinction in the battles of Belderone and Utapau. Today, he is retired and serves in Coruscant's fire suppression brigade. He is 19 years old. Biologically, he's over 60. His "name" is CT-12/002, and he is a clone. Also known by his nickname, "Dozer," he is one of tens of thousands of clones who have been phased out of active service in favor of new recruits in what has been the most significant re-organization of the Stormtrooper Corps since the founding of the Empire.
When not on duty, Dozer reports to a barracks-style housing development where many other clones also reside. His former brothers-in-arms now work, as he does, in civil service jobs on Coruscant; fire suppression, spaceport security, maintenance of landing platforms, and so on. Some would consider these menial jobs—Dozer says it's his "duty." Asked about the peeling paint in his room and mold in the refreshers, he shrugs. "We've been holed up in worse places," he says of he and his fellow clones.
Despite being tired from his shift, Dozer is proud to show off his campaign medals from the Clone Wars. During the Battle of Utapau, he leapt on top of a Separatist crab droid and discharged his rifle into it at close range, destroying the droid, and for this he was awarded the Chancellor's Service Medal. It is Dozer's proudest—and only—possession. One is tempted to hear a longing in his voice as he tells the tale; a longing, perhaps, for a time when his life had a sense of purpose.
Last year, the Imperial Senate passed the Clone Retirement Act to address the problem of "rapid biological deterioration" of clones then-serving in the Empire's Stormtrooper Corps. His aging having been accelerated in a lab to meet the Republic's demand for soldiers, Dozer and his generation of clones are today susceptible to a host of medical problems including organ failure and "clone madness"--a form of accelerated dementia. The act mandated the retirement of clones and offered them the choice of a civil service career on a modest pension that's non-transferable to spouses or children, or alternatively, "euthanasia."
According to the Clone Retirement Act, for "preventing any budget strain upon the Galactic Empire and adopting a death with dignity option," clones will receive a military burial and posthumous honors. Many clones have chosen this option. A suspicious number of clones have also perished by the hundreds at a time in apparent "accidents," such as life support failures and hyperspace miscalculations. Others, like Dozer, feel their duty isn't done. They choose to serve, as they always have.
The tragedy of Dozer's situation is that this 60-year-old man's sense of duty was programmed into him in the cloning labs of Kamino for a purpose that was served long ago. The necessities of war created a tragic race of people that, today, the galaxy would prefer to forget, along with the rest of the Clone Wars. But as clones such as Dozer continue to invisibly serve us, and do so at so great a cost to themselves, it's worth asking ourselves the question that Dozer would never himself ask—what do we owe them?