All financial transactions, all news, all everything goes through the Neural Net. The neural net serves every faction, regardless of legality or even states of war. So who runs the Neural Net???
I heard it's all maintained by Interspace Commerce.
Think of the Neural Net as the Internet. That might help.
After visiting Malta, two facts become readily apparent: 1) the Outcasts are in fact a sovereign nation, and 2) Cardamine is actually beneficial to your health. Given this, why do the Outcasts continue to operate like a drug cartel? It's profitable, but it also costs lives. Why couldn't they just 1) publish scientific research proving the health benefits of Cardamine, 2) use their incredible wealth to fund enough lobbyists to get Cardamine legalized throughout the colonies, 3) negotiate a peace treaty with the major governments (who would probably be happy to get the Outcasts off their back) and 4) trade openly with the colonies?
Because a) it actually is implied to have a negative side-effect beyond the 'lethally addictive' thing (a decrease in fertility), b) it is lethally addictive, and the only faction that can provide it is the Outcasts. No sane government would permit that kind of dependence on another government if they can avoid it.
Freelancer has often been called the king of Acceptable Breaks from Reality due to little things like the fact that everything in Sirius is apparently on the same plane and is astrologically speaking a hop, skip, and a jump away from everything else. Most simply write it off as being a necessary compromise with reality in order to make the game playable. However, after reading the Nomad Backstory written up by one of the game's original creators, the possibility emerged that the outright bizarre characteristics of Sirius that we see ingame may not be (merely) the developers taking the pragmatic approach, but may in fact be the result of Sirius being largely created by the not-so-resident Sufficiently Advanced Alien gods known as the Daam K'Vosh. Needless to say, the entire game seems quite a bit more ominous now. Turtler
New York City has been referred to as "the center of the universe". The game starts with Trent looking for work on Planet Manhattan, in the New York system. If you open the map and expand to the Universe View tab, New York is at the center of Liberty space, which is dead center in the Sirius Sector.