Association of Free Traders (AFT)
Based on the plutoid world Eris with its one small moon Dysnomia three times distant from the Sun than Pluto is the home world of the Association of Free Traders (AFT) the first of Earths deeper space colonies. Founded as a merchanting consortium and made up of free spirits its Libertarian leanings put it at odds with the current core Earth government and many of the large corporate interests. They are not evil or malicious as a group they promote free trade and tend to focus on smaller level trading, running pleasure stations and recently deep space exploration. The AFS quickly borrowed the plans for the warp engine and made some major and fast improvements forming a smaller and less expensive version called the AFT Drive and marketing it as a less costly alternative on their own vessels. Giving them a noticeable edge for their merchants in space commerce and other areas of development.
Much like humans of Earth they are not outwardly much different they have bioware implants and cybernetics but were engineered as a race for space travel with extraordinary reflexes, sense of direction, flying instincts and mathematics that also carrys over to business. They are natural deal makers and able to figure out the margins and profits of complex deals in their heads. And they sport fine smaller ships using innovative cost cutting designs, development of new technologies and practical adaptions of new technologies. They also are heavily into corporate espionage and reverse engineering of new technologies often rethinking them to be cheaper and often more effective such as the warp drive.
They did develop three unique technologies. The first is cloaking forms namely designing ships that are harder to detect using sensors and popular with many members into smuggling, espionage or criminal activities. The second is the Hypertrael Tube this odd item allows a ship to be propeled one way into space at far higher speed and they recently started colonizing many areas of deep space, due to the energy needs the only one is in orbit of the home planet attached to the moon which has a reactor chain on it. This has given them an edge at claiming prime space first although there is a good chance a ship won't reach its destination safely. (Roughly a 20% chance a ship might navigate into some space body, if its not an AFT pilot it would be far higher.) The last technology is the Cyberdyne Gyroscope this advance AI unit and system gives ships far more control if attached to an AFT vessel and designed to work with the engines, in space travel it makes them very maneuverable and able to handle hostile space environments. This unfortunately doesn't work with the large colony vessels the largest ship AFT makes and rare, most are small transports and fighter craft (largest of these the Raptor Class Destroyer the most agile and formidable small warship known to the Sol system).
Most of the major assets in the Sol system are pleasure stations in the Asteroid Belt, some family or small group mining operations, cargo transort to remote locations large corporations don't bother with and security details. The largest asset is in Mars Orbit the free trade station Babel One a bastion of free trade, commerce, diplomacy, criminal activity and storage of trade goods. Several art colonies, science stations, small ship yards and repair facilities and hidden criminal pirate bases are not uncommon the AFT is open to all sorts of space traveling types and ideas.
Culturally they are Libertarian and have all sorts of coupling arrangements legal and protected under legal contracts. Most merchants have ships that cater to the family with this actually protecting them most corporations won't attack families. The government is minimal and effectively a corporation every new citizen is given one share of stock at birth and can buy more shares each giving one vote, and can elect the Board of Directors for their quadrant (sort of a district that is a virtual one its based on when you were born to balance out the population) and anyone can vote starting at age sixteen. They love modern technology although some favor staying natural save for the bio-engineering common for the race now almost natural, so you do have all types. Cloning and cross-splicing cloning is common for same sex couples with children grwon in birthing chambers.
The region well around their home planets is a safe zone and they support free trade but any armed vessel is likely to be challenged the largest amount of military force is centered on the planet. Among these the lethal Raptor Defense Squadron and a high level of planetary defenses and orbital defense satellites. The are free minded but is paranoid to the extreme about defense of their HQ planet.