If a crew member dies a regular ("confirmed") death (fight, fire, suffocation, fatal hit by weapon including on enemy ship and enemy ship destruction, which includes the flagship in its first two stages, or through event consequences), Clone Bay starts the restoration process. It will not restore anyone (anymore) if your ship is destroyed (obviously). Cloning living crew members seems technically possible, but is prohibited by the Federation regulation.
The Clone Bay restoration process starts immediately after confirmed crew member death. This process is a first-in first-out queue. Only one cloning process restoring one member at time can be active, regardless of the system level. Higher level will increase this speed as well as provide more healing during FTL jumps.
The Clone Bay will passively re-create the crew member in most non-combat events which kill the crew, such as the dreaded Giant Alien Spiders. As with passive healing, it does not need to be powered for this. Exceptions exist: Unknown Disease on Mining Colony will not allow you to retain your crew, which is well-justified in-game. Backup DNA Bank has no effect, because the crew member is not lost, rather "working towards a cure". The angry Rockman in Drifting Debris is heavily implied to keep the forfeited crew member alive to prevent you from cheating out his ransom.
Killing cloned enemy crewmembers won't award experience to your boarding party, but you can still allow them to repair destroyed systems and then destroy the systems again. By keeping the process and enemy hull damage value under control, this makes it possible to farm the combat skill.
On FTL jump or during waiting, the Clone Bay will restore a fraction of health for all injured crew members using the partial-cloning technology, the exact HP amount depends on the system level. It does not need to be powered for this.
Should you need full HP healing after the battle, there is always an option of suffocating and reconstructing your members at the cost of XP loss. Alternatively, increasing Clone Bay system level will award more healing during FTL jump. Healing Burst is also an option.
Dangers and Disadvantages
If the Clone Bay is deactivated during the cloning process: depowered, destroyed, ionized, or disrupted through Hacking surge or by event specifics (such as Slugs Detected Radiation From Your Medical Unit), current member in the queue will take about three seconds to be permanently killed (and forgotten), one by one. A distinctive sound of (presumely) dying clone will be immediately played when this situation begins. Cloned members which survived the event, will suffer no effects. Having the Backup DNA Bank augmentation prevents this scenario.
It will not clone a crew member that is still on an enemy ship that jumps away, hence special care during "Enemy ship prepares its FTL drive" events must be taken. This is an easy way to lose the whole boarding party at once. Same applies if you activate FTL jump, while leaving your boarding party onboard the enemy. However in this case the game will warn you.
Each time a crew member is resurrected, (s)he loses a portion (12.5%-15% depending on skill) of the skill experience. While the effect may sound particularly harmful for the boarding parties, the disposable nature of cloning bay allows to send more boarders instead of returning them for healing, quickly saturating the enemy ship. It also significantly reduces risk of losing the member due to mishappen timings. With proper care, lost (combat) experience can be regained relatively quickly.
If the enemy ship has a powered Clone Bay when boarding, once all enemy crew members are dead, the battle will continue until their Clone Bay is destroyed. This can be especially deadly when combined with upgraded Doors that impede your boarding party's access to destroying the Clone Bay, so it is a good idea to target the enemy Clone Bay first and then teleport them into the destroyed system's room, to defend it from would-be repairmen.
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