Beyond the Black
Travel between habitats and other transhuman colonies is both exceedingly easy and fairly costly. Longrange egocasting is expensive, as is acquiring a morph at the destination. Travelers have developed various ways around this obstacle; for example, if someone only needs to visit another habitat for a few days and is visiting primarily to engage in real-time communication, they often choose to remain an infomorph for the duration of their visit and to communicate via AR, thus saving all resleeving expenses. For visitors who require a morph but will not be staying long, most habitats offer the option of renting a generic splicer or synthmorph or, for a slightly higher cost, a generic exalt morph. Habitats or worlds with unusual requirements, like Mars, Europa, or the various zero-g habitats offer ruster, aquanaut, or bouncer morphs instead of splicers. These morphs can be used for up to a week without much difficulty, and using one for up to a month is usually possible with sufficient negotiation and payment. Meanwhile, the traveler’s previous morph is kept in medical stasis back in their home habitat, waiting for their ego to return.
Another technique is morph trading by people from different habitats who know each other and who are traveling at the same time. A few people do this with strangers they meet on the mesh, but vids and other entertainments are filled with tales of people having their morphs or their identity stolen. A few of these horror stories are based on actual accounts. Very few people are willing to let anyone they do not know and trust use their body, and many people simply will not lend out their morph to anyone at all.
Some people, however, are willing, for a fee, to act as a living “taxi” for a visiting infomorph, carrying it around with them. In these cases the “ghostriding” infomorph is not permitted to control their host’s morph directly and is simply a passenger along for the ride, issuing directions and communicating with their transporters electronically.
Travelers who wish to either immigrate to a new habitat or visit one for several months or longer must acquire their own morph. Usually, they reduce the cost of acquiring a new morph by selling their previous morph to a body bank. Alternately, some individuals sleeved in expensive custom-designed morphs who are traveling relatively short distances will rent a generic shell for several weeks and arrange to have their old morph shipped to them on a fairly rapid freighter. Doing this is rarely more than a moderate expense, which makes it less expensive than the costs of buying or replacing high-end custom modified morphs.