These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
"I loved my chosen. How then to face the day when she left me? So I took from her body a single cell, perhaps to love her again." — Commissioner Pravin Lal, "Time of Bereavement"
Then again, according to the short-story she was shot in the back by Santiago's men on the Unity.
And according to the novels, it doesn't work: the clone doesn't want anything to do with him.
Brother Lal: An honest politician who wants everyone to be equal, to spread democracy and freedom, and to end all wars. Alternatively; He never really does step down as the leader of his faction, so obviously there are no elections, or he just rigs them in his favour. He also is pretty prone to eliminating anyone who doesn't agree with his values of democracy and libertarianism. His government is so plagued with excess bureaucracy and absurd amounts of gratuitous voting that nothing ever gets done.
Sister Miriam: Promotes traditional values, religion and culture, and opposes the evils of Science! Alternatively; She isn't above ruthlessly murdering anyone she dislikes in the slightest, usually people who are different and intellectuals.
CEO Morgan: Champion of free market economics, hard work, oppropriate reward, individualism, and friendly competition. Alternatively: Owner of human history's single most powerful economic monopoly, ever, of all time... ever! He is essentially abusing his anarcho-capitalist society as his own private cash farm. There's also his unhealthy obsession with personal wealth and refusal to commit to any sort of charity.
Prokhorov Zhakarov: The most brilliant scientist to ever grace our universe. He is single mindedly devoted to advancing technology and uncovering all of the universe's secrets. He also runs a technocratic society and government. Alternatively: Zhakarov has this thing about experimenting on live test subjects without their consent (or tricking them into it). He would blow up Chiron if he thought there was something valuable to discover in doing so.
Chairman Yang: Firm believer in community, self sacrifice, and true long term engineering of pretty much everything from eating schedules to full scale social engineering and even eugenics. This is the guy who wants to bring humanity to its true potential via socialism and dictatorship, and does it with honesty too! Alternatively: Yang likes to sacrifice people for the greater good. If it means advancement towards a better tomorrow, Yang will most definitely feed you to a shark or something.
Colonel Santiago: Survivalist, social darwinist, and general all around bad ass. Santiago intends to make all mankind strong, both mentally and physically. The master species of all species. If you live under her rule expect strong discipline, high morale, and a body so fit you could crush a brick wall with your face. You will probably have the proudest and most awesome military ever imagined to boot! Alternatively: Santiago mandates that you must prove your right to live. The weak are... weeded out. The slightest sign of sickness in a newborn is grounds for such a fate. Also, her faction is brutally militarist to the point that almost no funding at all is invested into culture, science, education, or even basic housing; You have to do that all by yourself. After all, the strong should be able to build a house and live in it under the most brutal conditions, right?
Lady Deidre: Environmentalism and sustainability is her hat. Deidre seeks to build a society which lives in perfect harmony with nature and has probably even mastered the elements. Under her carefully guided economic management, industry has no pollution and every product is wholly recyclable. Alternatively: Deidre is quick to tame local wildlife and use it to eliminate pretty much anyone who is even the slightest bit wasteful. Her total intolerance for other ways of life pretty much guarantees that her faction will never fulfill the full potential of any of their technological advancements. Heck, without the use of highly advanced and pollution heavy factories, the Gaians have to build everything, from shoes to communication satellites, with their bare hands!
The idea behind all of this was to say that "all of these ideas are equally good, but focusing on just one of them leads to a dystopia where the respective ideals are perverse and horrifying".
Game Breaker - The Manifold Caretakers and the Manifold Usurpers are considered overpowered in multiplayer.
Cloudbase Academy. In multiplayer, of course, the usual response to someone else developing it is to nuke the base from orbit.
Magnificent Bastard - Sheng-Ji Yang. He cheated on his psych evaluation (using knowledge he obtained via having a PhD in psychology) to get on board the Unity as its executive officer and quite possibly (never confirmed) assassinated Captain Garland. Did I mention that his willpower is so great that he is nearly immune to the effects of pain? (On that last bit, though, it's important to note that we only have his own testimony to reference.)
Player Punch: When you first create a Mind Worm boil, you'll be treated to an interlude where your faction leader dispatches a trusted aide to become the boil's controller. If that first boil gets destroyed in combat, another interlude will appear where your faction leader is looking upon the scorched remains of said aide, and is quite distraught by the sight.
Tier Induced Scrappy - Miriam. War in 4X games built on the civilization model, like SMAC, is a costly and time-consuming endeavor, and without proper preparations it can quickly become long-winded war of attrition with no end in sight. Miriam is aggressive and therefore extremely annoying, should you end up with a common border or insufficiently large body of water between you. Playing as Miriam is even worse, because the AIs are suddenly as aggressive towards her as she usually is towards everyone else. All six of them.
Alternatively, she may immediately offer a treaty and pact depending on whether you're running fundamentalist or not, even if you're running democratic she may still pact you...