ES – interesting ideas.
One nice thing about AC is the rich indirect dialog in the datalinks associated with the technological advances and Projects. It helps round out the sterile biographical sketches, giving the factions leaders a literal voice. Each faction’s philosophy is also crafted, too. Personally, even after all these years I still enjoy listening to a favorite quote by Dee, or the sinister and amoral quotes by Yang or Morgan. These are a way into each faction leader’s head, as envisioned by B.R.
Through the years various people have tried to back out a history from these quotes. As you’ve noted, a few general trends can be noted:
Santiago, true to form, is blunt and militaristic. She to be a linear Blood-Makes-Grass-Grow type. In the end Sparta seems to be conquered and overrun by a combination of mindworms (Assassin’s Redoubt) and high technology (Sparta Command falls to Dee’s hover tanks).
Zak seems to have a significant issue with worms (destruction of Lab One), probably because of FM and rampant eco damage, and relishes technological advance; he also has little (initial) interest or sympathy with Planet (“Let the Gaians practice their silly religion…”)
Miriam distrusts all but the most basic technology. Her quotes are uniformly dubious of these advances, and the implications for human society. Here I disagree with you ES. Although some or even many Christians are open minded, our Miriam seems to veer more toward fundamentalism than other forms. Here default government is Fundamentalism, with a Knowledge aversion. ‘Nuf said.
Most of Dee’s quotes relate directly to Planet, its ecology, and history. Obviously, she would be the most open to Planetmind and most concerned about damage inflicted on it by others (read that ‘Morganites’). I can see an increasingly militant Dee if she is pushed far enough.
Yang pursues his collectivists People’s Utopia, free from the constraints of Western-style ethics or morals (gene jacks, virtual world). Being amoral I don’t see him as following any specific creed or naturally aligned with any other faction, and would not be shy about his methods.
Morgan is greedy (surprise!) and seemingly could care less about others, other than as markets to exploit; he also isn’t reticent about straying into ethically gray areas either (research hospital quote about human experimentation and nerve stapling)
Lal is true to his vision, and upholds his Charter. Most of the quotes give little insight into his character besides this, the tragedy of Earth, and his lost love.
Where does this lead? The good news is that there is no real linear answer, which gives the game so many ways to unfold. Toward the end there is a strong suggestion that Dee and finally Zak ‘see the light’ and understand Planet, Planetmind and its spasms, and the implications of this transition for humanity. Whether this results in human transcendence (likely if Dee comes out on top), a Supreme Leader (if Lal dominates) or a military conquest is an open question.
All of these are terrific fodder for storytelling, and these interactions are one of the reason that SMAC has a devoted following long after the game itself became obsolete.