AI War:Spire Civilian Leaders
Up to 10 Spire Civilian Leader Outposts are scattered throughout the galaxy in the control of the AI. Against their will, every hour each outpost increases the AI Progress by 1 (starting at one minute into the game, and then every hour after that). You have the choice of either destroying these outposts for colluding with the AI, or freeing the outposts by capturing the planet from the AI. When freed, each of these outposts will gratefully decrease the AI Progress by 3 every hour.
Contrary to what the tooltip says, players don't need to capture the civilian outpost to free it. Only destroying the AI Command Station in its system is enough to change its +1 aip/h to -3 aip/h. Free outposts that players don't capture will however technically remain under AI control and won't be attacked by AI forces. However, if its planet is captured, the outpost will change ownership and will be targeted by AI forces.
This Minor Faction is an interesting alternative to the auto-AIP option. It makes the game initially harder because AIP will increase by 10 per hour (the advised auto-AIP is 1 per half-hour) but each freed outpost is a -4 aip/h (actually -3, but the outpost won't cause the +1 anymore). Assassinating a civilian outpost only removes its +1 aip/h but saves 20 AIP induced by the destruction of the AI Command Station. The games becomes slightly easier as the players manage to capture or assassinate the outposts to get a better AIP shift. With sufficient captures, the trend can be inverted: AIP will decrease every hour.
It might be important to note that an outpost resets its timer when captured. For instance, an outpost captured half-an-hour after the beginning of the game won't cause +1 AIP at the end of the first hour (unlike all other captive outposts) but will decrease AIP by 3 one hour and a half after the beginning of the game. A freed but not captured outpost will keep its timer, triggering its -3 instead of +1 each hour on the dot.
This Minor Faction is one of the few to propose a moral choice to the players. Here, assassinating civilians is interesting but not moral.