Stars Edge Redux
Experience playback (XP) is a specialized type of vid that consists of the recorded sensory impressions of a single individual. Almost all of the inhabitants of the solar system lead relatively quiet and risk-averse lives and are naturally eager to be able to vividly experience adventures such as climbing Olympus Mons, spending a day in one of the most luxurious and exotic private habitats, going on a scavenging mission to Earth, or gatecrashing. There is also a thriving fringe market in less savory XPs, including records of people committing all manner of violent or dangerous crimes and XPs of actual gun battles between well-armed criminals and law enforcement personnel, which often end with the death of the morph providing the point of view.
Anyone with mesh inserts can create an XP of their past experiences, and anyone with an ecto or mesh inserts can access the sensory recordings. Selling a particularly exciting XP, such as a record of the first meeting with the Factors, can bring in a lot of money or rep. Most XPs consist of both sensory recordings and the surface thoughts of the individual who made them. Many people who access XPs are only interested in the sensory recordings and feel that having another person’s recorded thoughts and emotions in their head is intrusive and uncomfortable. However, some hardcore XP a cionados feel that accessing the full XP, including the recorded emotions, makes the experience more immersive and real.
A signi cant minority of XP fans becomes fascinated with one or two daring people who regularly sell XPs, known as X-casters, viewing all of their clips, including both the experiences and the accompanying thoughts. Some of these XP fans become more interested in the person who recorded the clip than in the individual experiences, and they often come to believe that they have a special, clear understanding of this person, to the point where they strongly identify with this person or even fall in love with them. In addition, individuals who access XPs from a single person often enough sometimes begin to mimic various habits or gures of speech of this person. Particularly popular X-casters are sometimes rather disturbed when they see tens of thousands of people imitating one of their more idiosyncratic expressions or habits.
A few serious fans—known as Xers (pronounced “ex-ers”)—alter their morphs to resemble their favorite X-caster. Some obsessive Xers actually attempt to contact and stalk certain X-casters, perhaps hoping to become part of an actual XP clip. In most habitats and subcultures, Xers are widely regarded as having particularly dull and meaningless lives. Hardcore Xers are often viewed as being insecure and potentially unstable.