So, I had a conversation with Jeremy the other day regarding the whole cloning thing and some of his thoughts on the whole situation. It occurred via text and I am going to copy/paraphrase it here.
Me: Hey, Jeremy. Did you read the post?
Jeremy: I did. I enjoyed the stormtrooperish masks.
J: The fate of the original R5 is a bit unsettling. I am not sure I agree with it. I feel like you took D'alton and Xein away from Eric and I as players. I know that we were playing exact duplicates, but still. Am I making sense?
M: You are, and I completely agree. My goal was to at some point confront you with the horror of their fate and allow you the choice of putting those characters down and officially laying them to rest, or find a way to restore them and reclaim them as your PCs and retire the clone versions.
J: Ok, that's a fair statement. Also, once the clone theory was verified, a lot of the oomph went out of D'alton's redemption story. In that D'alton himself wasn't the one trying to atone.
M: Regarding atonement, your D'alton was the D'alton that was there when Kethranmeer died. He was there when they had their side adventure. Those were real experiences to this D'alton, the anguish and turmoil are as real to your D'alton as they were to the one languishing in the fish tank. His need for atonement is a real, tangible desire that defines him. Even if he is a clone, he still feels and thinks and does so with far more humanity than the real, mindraped D'alton can at this point.
J: Point. That's so awful BTW, it actually made me shudder a bit.
M: Thanks. That was the intent. I had some stuff planned. That scenario was actually going to be my attempt at running a horror/suspense scenario. I wanted you guys to feat what was in those tanks when they were finally discovered after having to fight your way through shambling hordes of mutated monstrous versions of yourselves.