After the end of the Unreg War, a smaller faction of unregs that called itself Renegades suddenly grew into a collective that spanned a significant chunk of uncharted space - and had access to technology far in advance of the alliances. Many unregs, fearing reprisals for the failed assault on the alliances by the previous major faction, joined with the Renegades for protection, while others joined because they had resources to spare.
Several members of the higher echelons of the Renegade command structure put into place a plan to infiltrate the alliance pilot leagues, hoping to destabilise the governments of the alliances in preparation for an attack. Jarvis Cocker, Steven Peterson and Candida Doyle each became alliance pilots after hacking the alliance databases to give themselves valid lives in order to gain licences. For years they hid in the pilot leagues, and even today the extent of what they did is not known.
When they revealed themselves to the alliances, the full force of the Renegades was unleashed upon Known Space. For a time it seemed that the alliances could not stand against the assault, until the EAOS detected a station used as a staging point by the Renegades. Temporarily authorising the use of lethal weapons, the EAOS sent a multi-alliance force to attack the station, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Renegades. Managing to destroy the fleet of Renegade ships by using their own wormhole communication network against them, the alliances were left facing only the two Renegade battlecruisers.
The destruction of the battlecruiser "Death Goes To The Disco" caused Cocker himself to surrender to the alliances. The Renegades were finished.
For several years after this, few ex-Renegade pilots were seen. Cocker himself vanished in his battlecruiser, the resurrected David's Last Summer, while Steven Peterson apparently worked with the Outsiders in some fashion. Candida Doyle spent a few years with the Jinu under their protection - while her surrender had been recognised, many human pilots still attempted to assault her.
At some point, ex-Renegades such as Candida Doyle (along with some of the larger unreg groups that had stayed away during the Renegade War) began to work together once again, using scavanged Renegade technology and anything else they could get their hands on to create what many would go on to call a 'Better Way'. Instead of attempting to force the alliances to recognise them, they would branch out on their own and remain in uncharted space, creating their own sectors and their own stations, based in part on Renegade designs.
Many unaligned unregs flocked to this new mutual collective of free men, proving themselves worthy of acceptance into it. Over time, a few thousand free men grew into hundreds of thousands, which in time grew into millions. The Sovereign Mutuality of Free Men was born.
For years, it hid from the alliances, unwilling to reveal itself for fear that they would see them as another faction akin to the Renegades: in need of extermination. But news trickled down through the unreg grapevine of the disappearance of the EAOS and the supposed violation of the Outsider terms of occupation by the alliances. Mutuality spies were sent, and they discovered that humanity had been cut off from the Jinu and humans stuck in the Second Thirty. For months debate and arguments raged within the stations of the free men - should they aid the AEU, League and Fringe, when it was clear that it was survival of the species, not just those alliances, that was at stake?
Though there were many dissenting voices, in the end it was Aleksei Frolov - ex-Renegade commander and strong proponent of the Better Way - and Candida Doyle who managed to gain the upper hand and an agreement was forged. The Mutuality would send combat craft to aid in the defense of the alliance homeworlds, along with methods to construct the cheaper materials they themselves used for their own ships.
The alliances, in response to this aid, grudgingly recognised the Mutuality as an alliance of its own, that act by itself causing friction within the ranks of the vying Mutuality factions. Many were glad to have been finally granted legitimacy, while others found the idea of being 'like the other alliances' distasteful. Others still found the very idea that they NEEDED to be recognised by the alliances as offensive.
When Old Earth fell, the Mutuality prepared to retreat back to their own space, safe and hidden from the Outsiders. The alliances called them traitors, but could not follow, too busy defending their last free worlds against the encroaching armada to track the fleeing Mutuality vessels.
During the years after the surrender of the alliances, the Mutuality has worked to better conceal itself, for example using a nebula as a method of masking some stations, and working to better its self-sufficiency. When news reached them of the alliance rebellion, many felt it was a ruse, or that the alliances were being used to force them to reveal their location. Others found it unlikely that the broken alliances would have the will to fight against the Outsiders after the devastation caused five years ago.
Again, Frolov was one of the voices to convince the collected station commanders and ship captains that the Mutuality had to act, reminding them that there were Mutuality citizens captured by the Outsiders that could only be freed with aid of the other alliances, and that if Known Space should fall, the eyebands of the Outsiders would begin to search for them. A new agreement was made, to assist the alliances and free their people, and to work to aid the resistance effort.