Combat is in the works. First stage is player vs creatures and should be released within a month or two barring any unforseen problems. Further combat (player vs player, ships vs players etc) will come out later as its coded, tested etc.
Spying is already possible. There is no server based way to do it - you have to join the faction you want to spy on and work your way through the ranks to get the info (and there are other ways to do it, but this is the main one usually).
R&D will allow the creation of the ability to build newer and better stuff, but at the moment its being held off on until combat is at least partially in.
I understand. I appreciate all the quick responses and the vastly realistic world.
My last question is, in the roleplay sections must your character be in the exact place you are roleplaying? I love that aspect of the universe and can't wait to begin when I am accepted into a faction.
RPing and using Darkness for it is fun, l mean like actually or partially doing in Darkness whatever it is your are RPing but I think mainly people dont do it, security and no time reasons. So to answer your question, no you don't have to be, its not a rule.
THe datacard rules are currently a mixture of wrong and horribly wrong. THe only truth on there is #4 about custom images.
Datacards are currently abstract entities owned by factions. You can assign uses of a datacard to a facility (Factory, Lab, whatever is required for the case.) The only way to "steal" datacards currently is assigning datacard uses to a factory and starting production before the datacard uses are removed.
In the future, datacards might possibly made into physical entities. Until then this is how the system really works.