My initial impression of the new factions is that I think some of them are kinda cool, but they seem to be slight modifications on the original seven. Like the Drones seem similar to the Hive, and the Data Angels are like University but with better probing. And I have no clue about the Cult or the Progeniters (sp?).
Haven't been able to play much of SMACX right now, but I plan on doing it soon. I'm torn between this and Romance of the Three Kingdoms 11 for the PS2 with some Battlefield: Bad Company thrown in.
I wouldn't be surprised if there was some Rand quotes associated with Morgan, but I haven't noticed any so far. I see how you can get those things from Rand, but it's all how you look at it. The basic thing of her philosophy is that men should deal with the world in a rational manner, not emotional or spiritual. Sorta libertarianism/laissez faire economics with a machine gun.