While the The Federation of Earth was forming many nations of the world refused to sign up and give away their independence. They eventually became known as The Independents, and many companies fled to them when the Federation started taxing them heavily for pollution, and monitoring them to stop potential super-growth and monopolies. Under the tiny, but protective shields of the Independent Nations these companies continued to grow and consume. Eventually, near the end of the 22nd century these companies took over some of the smaller independent nations entirely.
Several major super powers came to own huge territories; Pepsi-Coke, Microsoft-Apple (Applesoft) Philip Morris -Johnson & Johnson (PM&J), Proctor and Gamble, and the once small-time company Kantavon Corporation.
While some of the still free Independent Nations struggled to stay out of the ever expanding Federation the all consuming Mega Corps started waging digital and political war in an attempt to grab up the best lands left outside the Federation. In a shocking turn of events Kantavon Corporation left the Federations control, and bought up a large portion of Tunisia and Somalia.
The Independent Nations are in an uneasy peace with the Federation. Although the Federation continues to try and convince them to join, the Independents refuse to give up their freedom. The Independent Nations occasionally conflict with the Federation, as many resistance groups in the Independent Nations exist, often times attacking Federation stations, and border patrols. Psion’s and mutants living in the Independent Nations are treated worse than those inside the Federation. Where psions and mutants in the Federation are often monitored heavily, and sometimes even confined in communities both for their own, and normal humans protection, the Independent psions are often taken and made into weapons by the corporation controlled nations. Mutants are often destroyed, or chased away, though a few are used in the same manner.
This suggests the hero grew up in one of the many independent nations of the world. This results in a wide variety of things. The hero receives a -1 step bonus to any three skills of their choice, but receive a +1 step bonus to two others which should be discussed with the GM based on where and what the hero was and did. They also receive a +1 step bonus on interaction skill when dealing with Ascensionor The Federation of Earth.