The Seraphim were first discovered during a deep space exploration mission. The aliens passed on their philosophy called The Way to Dr. Jane Burke, one of the members of the expedition. She formed the Aeon Illuminate to spread the word and avoid what she believed was a future full of warfare and destruction. The Aeon Illuminate fulfilled its own prophecy, first defending itself against Earth Empire incursions and eventually waging all-out war against the UEF and Cybran Nation.
When the Seraphim invaded thousands of years later, a large percentage of the Aeon Illuminate population sided with the Seraphim and formed the Order of the Illuminate. They fought against the Aeon and its leader, Princess Rhianne Burke. The Princess was lost when the Seraphim were defeated, and the Order was effectively dismantled. However, its members remained in the populace.
The newly elected Aeon Illuminate leadership placated the remaining fundamentalist Order members by renaming the faction to its common, shared name: The Illuminate.
While the UEF flourished, the Illuminate struggled. Its members previously led an ascetic, communal lifestyle; the Coalition imposed a UEF-style capitalist system. Those who struggled pined for the days when The Way was the guiding force.
Multiple splinter groups formed within the faction, the largest and most influential being The Royal Guardians. Its stated goal was to restore the glory of the Illuminate when it was led by Princess Burke. While it gained significant traction, it was eventually consumed by scandal. The movement was tainted by association, so the pendulum of control swung back to the moderates who supported the Coalition.
The Royal Guardians
"The Illuminate government has lost the way. The royal guardians will bring us back to the path of righteous, to the glory days when the Illuminate was led by Princess Rhianne Burke."