Friday, May 27, 2011

Trouble with Doubles

“Listen to me! Please listen! If you don't, if you won't, if you fail to understand, then the same incredible terror that's menacing me WILL STRIKE AT YOU!”
-Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) trailer

So might one hear some paranoid derelict rant on the streets of the City--and they just might happen to be right. The creatures called "doubles" are one of the insidious tools of subversion used by the Reds in their tireless attempt to remake the world in the image of their freedomless subterranean society.

Doubles are either an artificial lifeform created by the Reds or their former (now extinct) masters or “natural” underground creatures--perhaps selectively bred over generations to optimize their utility. Whatever their origins, doubles are force grown in gestation pods then sent to surface world to steal the identity of humans and replace them. Normally, they're spindly, vaguely humanoid creatures, unsettling in their bland featurelessness, but they can perfectly assume the form of anyone they mimic. Without the use of magic or medical tests, only the unsual glow of their eyes that can be glimpsed in certain lighting conditions gives them away--a situation the doubles seek to avoid if they can help it.

The doubles must observer humans they plan to duplicate. The longer and more detailed the observation, the better the duplication in terms of appearance and behavior. This is often accomplished by the surveillance devices of the Reds. Doubles can change forms on the fly, but their mimicry won’t be as convincing.

It’s believed Reds mostly target government officials or other important figures for replacement, but given the psychological warfare they wage against humanity, they aren’t above random replacement of regular individuals simply as an act of terror.

[Doubles are, of course, doppelgangers with a new veneer for the Strange New World. This version would work just as well in a pulp, atomic age, conspiracy, or maybe even supers game, though.]


The Angry Lurker said...

...and of course the disposing of the intended they're doubling and the scope to carry this out as a game of pursuit.

scottsz said...


A little 'cold war paranoia' angle mixed with some Dune-esque Face Dancers and the aliens from They Live?

christian said...

I love me a little Cold War inspired horror. Very well done!!!

Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - That's how these things are done. ;)

@Scottsz - Thanks. Yep, that's just about the right mix of ingredients, there.

@christian - Thanks.

Martin R. Thomas said...

Okay, so I might be behind in reading about this stuff, but... WHEN is this coming out in book-form so I can buy it????? Fewer blog posts, more writing!!!! :)

Seriously - I really enjoy all these ideas you post. They're full of inspiration.

satyre said...

"There are many copies.
And they have a plan."
-- graffiti seen on wall on house in Grimalkin Village.

Very nicely done.

Trey said...

@Martin - This summer I hope. I'm diligently working on it. :) Maybe they'll come a point where the blogging will have to get lighter for a bit, but I'm trying to do both. There's is a fair amount of overlap afterall.

@satyre - Ha! Nice one. Thanks.

ze bulette said...

Very cool.

Very coοl.

Trey said...

Thanks, Bulette!

Harald said...

Next to Illithids, Dopplegangers are my favourite monsters of all time. The problem is that you need to be very clever to work them in right.

-Nice BSG-ref, satyre.

The Happy Whisk said...

Trey And then Walmart for the chairs. Was a good first day off together. Staycation is so much fun. Thanks for stopping by.

Malkavian said...

that pic brought me back to a movie with Rowdy Roddy Piper THEY LIVE. I remember it as an awesome movie but if i see it today i dont know if i would still agree on that.

Trey said...

They Live has its eccentricities, but I think its still a good film overall.

Needles said...

I wonder if there's an interstellar counterpart to these? Check's campaign notes. Yup there are! Thanks for this. Awesome stuff as usual!

Trey said...

I'm not surprised about their interstellar cousins. :)