When I first started participating in the faction system, I signed up under Edmund Mahon - feeling the Alliance best fit the type of role-play I might want to take part in.
However, as I'm sure happens with many new players, before long I started wondering what Earth looked like in the Elite universe. Then I quickly found that a permit from the Federation would be required to see it first-hand.
So, at least for now, I've switched my allegiance to be under Zachary Hudson. I plan on staying with this path at least long enough to get my Sol Permit and see what "home" looks like in the 34th century.
Still, at some point I think I'd like to go back to the Alliance and play as I'd originally intended. Thus I now wonder whether abandoning the Federation, after obtaining my Sol Permit, would also mean forfeiting access to the cradle of humanity.
After switching factions, do you retain any benefits (access to ships, system permits, etc.) gained from ranking up in your previous faction(s)?
If some or all rank benefits are lost, what happens if you switch while currently using them? (Example: Switching to Alliance while flying a Federal Dropship in Sol.)