Image from Bernd Helfert

The Fast Lifers, a subculture in modern Terragen civilisation, are adherents to a philosophy that states life can only be lived to its fullest when there is a deadline. Etymologically it is believed that their name is derived from the expression "live fast, die young". Most Fast Lifers simply limit their life to their natural lifespan, but others use other longer or shorter spans such as a millennium or a mere five decades. There is also a class of people who use a specific limiting event, such as the su-spike baby Algernon who has declared that he will end his life the day anyone beats him in TopoGo. However, these are not generally defined as Fast Lifers, as they generally are simply using the limiting event as a focus, rather than getting the most out of life before the event happens.

Schrodinger fast lifers (those who will end their life at a completely random time) are generally considered the most dedicated of the fast lifers as they have to live their life to its fullest every moment, never knowing if the next second is their last. Most Fast Lifers utilise modern technology to stay at their prime for their entire life, though some do abstain from these technologies, seeing the process of getting old and weaker as a worthy experience in itself. Likewise, the use of backups and resurrection technologies among fast lifers sees a little variation from the sephirotic norm. Some are fast lifers will take true death when it comes for various religious or philosophical reasons. Others wish to live the entirety of their chosen lifespan without losing the experiences that an early death would cause them. Some even use backups as 'recorders' so they can leave behind something for those who may be interested in the meaning of a fast life.

Fast Lifers (excluding those who later resurrect) have a markedly higher death rate than the average sephirotic citizen, even when their shorter life span is discounted. The fast lifers are comfortable with the fact that they'll die sooner or later, and thus the more adventurous take chances that normal citizens avoid. The first priority of the fast lifer is not to avoid death, but to live a good and exciting life before the end. As a result a disproportionately large amount of fast lifers have become widely known. Great politicians, artists, explorers and adventurers have sprung from their ranks with a rate far beyond that of normal citizens. While the public belief is that the vast majority of the fast lifers live on the fringe, a place that has been greatly romanticized by the average citizen, the majority of the fast lifers actually live in the Middle Regions and Inner Sphere.

The fast lifers are a very diverse group and many are quite happy indulging deeply into a chosen hobby, or do their best to serve the local community. Others are professional participants in extreme sports or challenge themselves every day on murder worlds. And some really do seek out the fringes, living as relativistic explorers, intersystem pirates, or colony leaders. While the fast lifers are may seem alike to the mortalists, the similarities are only superficial. The mortalists pursue an agenda of a standard lifespan for all, seeing it as a way to halt a perceived growing atrophy of terragen society. The Fast Lifers have no universal agenda or world view. They are only related to each other by the fact that they have chosen a limited lifespan for themselves for a personal gain in life value.

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Development Notes
Text by Thorbørn Steen
Graphic by Bernd Helfert, modified by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 19 April 2007.