After the Earth was destroyed, it did not take too long for new power blocks to take shape. Here are the major factions around the sun:
The Terran Alliance is a complex agglomerate of former Earth forces, be it of Eastern Asian, Eurasian, American, or African ascent. Although it pales in comparison with its former self, it is still a powerful technologically advanced faction, with huge mobile shipyards building very fine ships. Its governance is machine-symbiotic and martial, especially to its neighbors.
The Alliance's main presence is in both the asteroid belts, Earth and Martian where its orbitals shelter most of its population. When not engaged in internecine bickering, the Alliance is intimidating the other factions, often mining and exploring well beyond its boundaries, searching for lost technology and recoverable resources.
New Mars is the emerging 'capital' of the solar system and home to the largest human settlements. It is more homogeneous than the Terran Alliance, populated mostly by humans of Indian and middle-eastern origin. Its government is a human/ machine hybrid clearly geared towards industrial growth. New Mars is technologically active even though it does not yet have the shipyard or research facilities of the Alliance.
Mars' influence starts being felt beyond its asteroid belt, towards the Earth belt and the Jovian moons. Minor tensions and clashes could escalate as the hunger for resources could drive New Mars in a spiraling conflict with the Terran Alliance or the Hydra artificial intelligences.
HYDRA artificial intelligence
Mysteriously spreading in the Jovian sector is a late newcomer, discrete yet powerful. It is possible the Hydra A.I. originate from the autonomous factories on the surface of the moon IO, or from the Helium-4 harvesters of Jupiter. One thing is for sure: the Hydras know no human master or even companion, and they are a veiled but real threat to anything organic.
Hydras may have been responsible for the destruction of the Enceladus or Triton colonies, and they have compromised more than one computer system in remote settlements. Their ships are seen more and more often in the Martian Belt, leading most to believe that the Hydras may well soon expand in the inner planets.
Nobody real or virtual knows if the creatures inhabiting the far reaches of the solar system are organic or not. Their appearance is based on a famous hermaphrodite Korean clone, but it is very possible that even that is simulated. Their agenda is as opaque as their origins, and their forays out of the Kuiper asteroid belt are both rare and brief.
The Simulacra are not hostile, but even the Hydra seem uncomfortable in their presence. One wonders what they are really after, and to what ends they can go to get it.
DAMNED of TARTARUS
The cataclysm not only shattered the solar system, but it also shattered humans, both morally and physiologically. Many suffered terrible injuries or radiation damage, and have become outcasts. It is those pariahs, mutants and other cyber-freaks that make up the Damned of Tartarus. Hiding around the Acheron cloud or within the asteroid belts, they have formed their own society, away from prying eyes.
They are mostly shy and furtive, preferring clandestine operations to overt ones. Nevertheless, some mingle with the other factions, and have become much sought-after agents.
Old cryo-biological laboratories turned settlement, the methane-bathing frozen atolls of the moon Titan lately became of age. The Titans, led by an ever-dynamic leadership, are capable of the most astonishing feats of improvisations. Indeed, undeterred by their hostile environment, they have expanded and built a sizable industry on their moon, and now are in control of all Saturn.
Piracy is not particularly shunned upon by the Titans, especially if it is targeted at unmanned ships. Lately, an open feud with the Hydra A.I. has been putting a lot of pressure on the Titans: some even speak of an impending exodus.
The followers of this cult where initially few and ridiculed: who could ever think that a Divine punishment would humble man and machines alike ? The cataclysm proved most people wrong on this particular question, and the cult has been very good at attracting some of the survivors. While its hysterical and masochistic tendencies might be a turn-off, there is no point denying that the Cult has shown tremendous energy in spreading the Word by terrorizing and slaughtering any 'heretic' it meets. As their numbers grows, the cultists will soon have trouble hiding in the Martian asteroid belt. Will they come out of hiding or try and 'convert' a larger settlement ?
Secretive and laconic, the inhabitants of the submerged inverted islands of Ganymede are hard to pin. Hidden below kilometers of ice in mobile submarine homes, they tend to ignore the upside matters and focus on their own business. Nothing is known of their capabilities or objectives, but the very fact that the Hydra A.Is has not been able to dislodge them from their icy moon gives food for thought.
The Automatons are called upon by parents to frighten disobeying children in the night. It is hard to part the troubling myth from the facts: these machines are supposed to be the descendants of the psychotic fundamentalist artificial intelligence called Ahuramazda. This machine left the Earth towards the far fringe of the solar system, never to be heard from again. After the cataclysm, disturbing news of flesh-seeking machines came out from ships venturing near the Oort cloud. Legend ? Reality ? Nobody really wants to find out.
PIRATES AND INDEPENDENTS
Self proclaimed anarchists and free people, the Corsairs bow to no master, human or machine. Their organization is very loose and their bases scattered among the asteroid belts. Devoid of industrial base, they have to take what they need from others: in other words, they are pirates. Their combat skills are highly respected and they are known to have captured or disabled much superior forces by ruse. One thing of notice is that Corsairs do not use sentient artificial intelligences, for fear of becoming enslaved by them. They will destroy any such machine whenever possible.
The Gorgons are a particular group of dreaded raiders that live in the Martian belt. Unlike the previous peaceful matriarchal clans, the Gorgons have turned aggression into a way of life. They oppress their males in a sub-slave position, tormenting and torturing them at will (those males are also genetically engineered to carry the seeds of the Gorgon Matriarch). An overdose of cybernetic implants and retrovirus DNA manipulation has led most of the gorgons to the edge of insanity. Most people would gladly choose death over capture -especially men, whose fate would surely be grim.
The Furies have been called pirates, thieves and murderers by a numerous factions, organizations and people. But the the truth is that the Furies are vigilantes: they have an innate sense of justice and aim at restoring order along the Earthly remains. They primarily attack known criminals, pirates or any factions of dubious reputation. They fund their operations with the spoil and blood of their victims. Make no mistake: they are as ruthless in their operations as the people they fight.
No known base of operations exists: the Furies are believed to have no organized leadership and operate in small, independent cells.
The Chimeras are a feared mercenary company of nefarious reputation, based in Trojan asteroids around Jupiter. When not busy toying with their DNA to make their appearance either scary or grotesque, the Chimeras are fearful fighters that show little mercy or compassion. Whoever has enough money can hire their ships and soldiers to do their dirty work, no questions asked.
They are suspected of doing some raiding on various independent ships and trading companies, but not much remains as way of proof when they are done.
With a solar system so vast, there are bound to be large numbers of people that do not vow allegiance to any faction. Instead, they blend in the fabric of humanity and machines alike, taking opportunities to make a living.
You play as one of those independent-minded opportunists.
Miners, traders, technicians of all kinds apply their skills in the busy solar system. Sometimes they are under escort, but most of the time they fend for themselves. They may be unimportant taken individually, but collectively they are the flesh and bone of the human civilization.