Eclipse Phase - Shadows of the Past
The Ultimates are far from unified, they just handle differences in doctrine differently than most groups. Rather than argue or fight for supremacy, the three Ultimate factions simply avoid excessive interaction and observe each other’s progress from afar. The three major factions are as follows:
The Radical “Overhumans”
This is the most well known group of Ultimates, simply due to their affiliation with the Go-Nin Group and their actions against the Exhumans at the Discord Gate. The members of the Overhuman faction believe that they are so vastly superior to the rest of humanity, and that any non-Ultimate is so hopelessly weak, that they are destined to personally steer the course of human history. It is somewhat ironic that they are the primary force standing against the Exhumans, given their relatively similar outlooks.
Regarding the other factions, the Overhumans view the conservative Ascetics with individual respect but as being irrelevant as a group due to their separation from the rest of society. On the other hand, the Overhumans look at the moderate Vanguard faction with some contempt. They consider the Vanguard weak due to what they see as a sentimental connection to humanity’s past, and because they believe the Vanguard still clings to the vulnerabilities of the masses.
Overhumans tend to operate in groups, establishing enclaves away from non-Ultimates. In general Overhumans interact with regular humans as clients or as a targets, otherwise considering them beneath notice. Most people dealing with Overhumans find them to be self-absorbed jerks at best, and frightening at worst.
The Moderate “Vanguard”
Anyone who has met an Ultimate and been surprised to find them personable and easy to work with has probably been dealing with a member of the Vanguard. The members of the Vanguard believe that while their path is superior, as individuals they are still progressing towards their destined greatness. Additionally, the Vanguard believe that they are at the forefront of humanity’s evolution, and that they have a responsibility to lead by example, guiding the rest of humanity to follow them to greatness.
Much like the Overhumans, the Vanguard view the Ascetics with respect, but believe that they should involve themselves more with human society. As for the their view of the Overhumans, the Vanguard considers them dangerous and deluded, only moderately better than the Exhumans they spend so much time fighting. There is some worry among the more organized members of the Vanguard that the Overhumans might one day become the same sort of threat that the Exhumans pose now.
Vanguard Ultimates tend to operate individually, each following their own path of perfection while working alongside the rest of humanity. Most are independent mercenaries, but not all Vanguard place their primary focus on their martial abilities. Regardless of the situation, however, Vanguard Ultimates always seek to show off their capabilities in the hopes of inspiring the rest of humanity to follow their example.
The Conservative “Ascetics”
Most members of the Ascetic faction aren’t even in the Solar system anymore. Taking advantage of the Overhuman’s control of the Discord Gate, the Ascetics colonized the exoplanet Dusk. Dusk is a theoretically habitable world, and when Go-Nin first discovered the world they had believed it to be a gold mine. Unfortunately, the world’s flora and fauna turned out to be so extraordinarily hostile that Go-Nin finally gave up trying to establish any operation on Dusk, labeling it a “Death World” and moving onto more profitable ventures. When the Ultimates informed Go-Nin that they were planning to claim Dusk for their own, Go-Nin was happy to let them have it (mainly in the hope that the Ultimates would succeed where Go-Nin could not profitably do so).
A small orbital monastery exists in a Cole Bubble in the main belt, where new converts prepare and resleeve before being shipped off to the Discord Gate (the Ultimates prefer to keep this resleeving facility hidden, and their specific forms of transportation make tracking who is coming and going to the colony difficult for even the Go-Nin group). The Ascetics believe that there is a great deal to do, and much farther to evolve, before they are ready to return to human society. Specifically they feel that too much interaction with humanity, before the Ascetics are ready, would hold them back and distract them from pushing their evolution forward.
Most people outside The Ultimates will never meet an Ascetic, though on the rare occasions that they do interact with outsiders they come off as reclusive warrior monks. On the occasions when they must consider the other Ultimate factions, they regard the Overhumans as little more than deluded humans in high-end morphs and the Vanguard as doomed to be held back by the rest of humanity.