The playable alliances each have a unique theme. This theme is based on the alliance's history as written by the staff, but it can be modified greatly over time by the actions of the characters within it. This gradually evolving theme affects each alliance's plotlines as well as the starships, items, and abilities that become available to the players within it.
Confederation of Fringe Worlds, or Fringe
General Theme: The Fringe Worlds are not a wealthy alliance, but they make up for it with hardiness and ferocity in battle. Fringe starships are usually geared fully toward a terrific offense without regard for much else, and Fringe-built ships are known as the hardest-hitting models in use. Led by the "Provisional Committee" who overthrew a dictator who herself came to power in a military coup, the Fringe is not the most stable government but it has nonetheless endured many hardships. Today, they have overcome their setbacks and are now regarded as the most elite navy in space. However, there is a constant tension between its cavalier civilian fleet and the harshly controlling government. Idol and dictator Nina Thomas was recently overthrown by the "Provisional Committee" -- the Fringe is still a military dictatorship, but now with an even more authoritarian bent.
History: In 2209, the League of Old Earth Democracies had formed in the wake of global depression on Old Earth. The world government, dominated at this time by the Hispanic bloc, launched a new expansion into space, settling many colony worlds. But in 2233, the effort ended abruptly as the American/European bloc again strove to assert its dominance. With a newly unsympathetic government in place on the homeworld, the colony worlds drew together, forming an interstellar government known as the Confederation of Fringe Worlds and declaring their independence. The League predictably responded by launching an attack, but the Fringe Worlds, despite their scant resources, responded with unexpected ferocity. When the AEU sided with the new government in 2242, the war was all but won. In 2245, the Fringe Worlds were formally recognized as a sovereign interstellar government.
Character Guidelines: Since the Confederation is a military dictatorship, all civilian pilots must be fierce loyalists to the regime -- or at least have the appearance of such. A character who comes across as insufferably patriotic and unquestioning is probably doing it right. However, civilian pilots are exposed to new modes of thinking, and it would not be an uncommon avenue of growth for a Fringe pilot to begin questioning his or her government... but very carefully, as disloyalty would be punished severely. The inherent freedom of a civilian pilot will be constantly at odds with the government's desire to exert tight control. The Fringe Worlds are not wealthy, and it is easiest for a poor person to become a civilian pilot in this alliance.
Alliance of Extrasolar Unions, or AEU
General Theme: The AEU was once an alliance known for high ideals and a thirst for exploration and discovery, but since the Outsider War, it has grown complacent and out-of-touch. Most of its pilots come from New Earth's ultra-rich Velouria region and receive a weekly stipend from their various investments, but this often leaves them ignorant of the plight of the less fortunate. The AEU embraced its isolationism in the last presidential election, choosing a nationalistic "AEU first" leader to set the direction of the alliance. His leadership did not sit well with the historically rebellious planet Hyperion, which recently successfully declared independence with the aid of the League and Mutuality, causing the AEU's President Best to resign. The National Patriots have thus been somewhat reined in, but their beliefs are unchanged.
History: Between the years 2142 and 2165, the members of the United Nations on Earth combined their efforts and settled a number of colony worlds. One of these was also one of the most lush planets ever settled, and became known as New Earth. The effort ended abruptly in 2165, when the space development bubble suddenly burst, sending Earth into a worldwide depression. Without resupply or even much in the way of contact, the colony worlds were left to fend for themselves. In 2186, the colonies recognized their common interests by forming the first multi-world government, known as the Alliance of Extrasolar Unions. The homeworld did not take well to the news, and by 2188, a desire to assert control became the impetus for Earth's return to space. By 2194, this tension had exploded into the first interstellar war, subsequently won by the AEU. In 2197, the AEU became the first recognized sovereign interstellar government.
Character Guidelines: An AEU pilot was usually born already rich. Overwhelmingly from the richest area of New Earth, an AEU pilot will often be concerned solely with his or her own affairs and ignorant of societies on other planets, to say nothing of the lives of Mutuality and "unregistered" people living in deep space. An AEU pilot will tend to be a homebody and will typically excuse themselves from any affairs taking place on a grander stage that will not directly benefit them. The AEU is, in its current form, the best pick for a "grinder"-type character.
League of Old Earth Democracies, or League
General Theme: The League is an old government, tracing its roots back to the members of the United Nations on Earth. For this reason, corruption has long taken hold in many aspects of the League government. Despite this, the League remains strong, and is renowned for its skill in trading and shipbuilding. The League builds the most durable ships, often carefully balancing between offensive and defensive capability. In the wake of the Occupation, the League is finding itself unexpectedly at the forefront of new exploration efforts, and the phrase "Third Wave of colonization" has been heard passing many lips. The League administration is currently democratic and left-leaning, and it is the only alliance maintaining a good relationship with the Mutuality, a loose coalition of flotillas and space stations living in organized anarchy in Rimward space.
History: By 2165, the United Nations on Earth had each expended their resources on expansion into space, and the bottom abruptly dropped out of their economies. Full recovery took almost 20 years, and was not complete until the prospect of war against the newly-formed Alliance of Extrasolar Unions spurred a return to space. Unfortunately, Earth lost this war within three years, and faith in the United Nations governments continued to decline. Seizing the moment, the Hispanic bloc was elected into power and quickly instituted a series of reforms. By 2200, the Earth governments were newly reformed into the League of Old Earth Democracies, an interstellar government ironically modeled after the AEU. Though the balance of power has shifted several times since then, the government itself has endured, and has successfully retained control over Old Earth's few remaining extrasolar colonies.
Character Guidelines: When a Leaguer speaks of "Old" Earth, they do not mean "Old" in the sense of "outdated" -- they mean it in the sense of long tradition, and having endured great hardships which might have shattered a lesser society. Although Old Earth is a global culture, a person's place of origin is often a source of pride, and it's not uncommon for people to adopt affectations which emphasize their birthplace. This is in contrast to Old Earth's few remaining colony worlds. The League has suffered from so many colonial secessions over the years that no one quite trusts the colonies to remain loyal anyway, and this lack of faith and support -- of inclusion -- is often keenly felt on the colony worlds.
Sovereign Mutuality of Disparate Freemen, or Mutuality
General Theme: The Mutuality is by far the newest alliance, only recognized in 2306, formed from isolated groups who had fled other governments. It is more of a scattered, loose coalition than a true alliance, with some outlying stations out of contact with the Council for whole Earth years, which is something that the other interstellar governments often do not understand. Its pilots are almost universally wanderers at heart, ranging far and wide without regard for the extreme age of their hardware. They often take a similar approach to diplomacy, moving toward their goals relentlessly, feeling that the ends justify the means. The Mutuality has maintained a good (though occasionally grudging) relationship with the League alone, finding the other two major alliances to be too authoritarian by far. (Note: This alliance is much harder to play and has more stringent roleplay standards. It is not recommended for your first character.)
History: Throughout the history of the AEU, League, and Fringe, there were many people who ventured away from their homeworlds not just seeking profit, but also independence. Renouncing their citizenship and retreating into uncharted space, these people lived difficult but often satisfying lives on antique starships and unstable space stations. They eventually formed into clans and alliances, with constantly shifting allegiances, but to the people back in charted space, they all were known only as "the unregistered." In 2306, with the Outsider War raging, the alliances gained the unexpected help of several unregistered clans and cartels, who had banded together in order to conduct the war. Grateful for the assistance, the alliances quickly recognized this group as a sovereign government, which began calling itself the Sovereign Mutuality of Disparate Freemen. Unfortunately, much of this gratitude dissipated when the Mutuality retreated before the end of the war, but it is still recognized as an alliance in its own right.
Character Guidelines: Mutuality characters, uniquely, were usually born and grew up in deep space. They will live on a space station or on a starship (often run generationally by one or more families) large enough to sustain them for months at a time. Many will remember the stigma of being "unregistered," of having no place in humanity's great alliances, until the Mutuality gained recognition and some form of legitimacy during the recent Outsider War. Conversely, many Mutuality members will have grown up either not knowing or not caring about being "unregistered," as not all space stations are connected to the faster-than-light beacon network, and many will go months or years between any sort of connection to greater human society. Mutuality members are most commonly very independent but also used to not having much to their name and are sometimes shocked by the excesses of the other alliances. Remember, however, that a Mutuality character will have consciously signed up to associate and work with pilots of other alliances, and should not unconditionally hate all of them.