Humanity and the Systems Alliance (Codex)
 Primary Codex Entries
The homeworld and capital of humanity is entering a new golden age. The resource wealth of a dozen settled colonies and a hundred industrial outposts flows back to Earth, fueling great works of industry, commerce, and art. The great cities are greening as arcology skyscrapers and telecommuting allow more efficient use of land.
Earth is still divided among nation-states, though all are affiliated beneath the overarching banner of the Systems Alliance. While every human enjoys longer and better life then ever, the gap between rich and poor widens daily. Advanced nations have eliminated most genetic disease and pollution. Less fortunate regions have not progressed beyond 20th century technology, and are often smog-choked, overpopulated slums.
Sea levels have risen two meters in the last 200 years, and violent weather is common due to environmental damage inflicted during the late 21st century. The past few decades, however, have seen significant improvement due to recent technological advances.
 First Contact War
Humanity's first contact with an alien race occurred in 2157. At that time, the Alliance allowed survey fleets to activate any dormant mass relays discovered, a practice considered dangerous and irresponsible by Council-aligned races. When a turian patrol discovered a human fleet attempting to activate a relay, they attacked. One human vessel survived, retreating to the colony of Shanxi.
The turians followed, quickly defeating the local forces. Shanxi was occupied, the first - and, to date, only - human world to be conquered by an alien species. The turians believed the handful of ships they defeated represented the bulk of human defenses. So they were unprepared when the Second Fleet under Admiral Kastanie Drescher, launched a strong counteroffensive, evicting them from Shanxi.
The turians mobilized for full-scale war, drawing the attention of the rest of the galaxy. The Council quickly intervened, forcing a truce. Fortunately for humanity, the First Contact War was ended with a diplomatic solution.
 Systems Alliance
The Systems Alliance is an independent supranational government representing the interests of humanity as a whole. The Alliance is responsible for the governance and defense of all extra-solar colonies and stations.
The Alliance grew out of the various nation space programs as a matter of practicality. Sol's planets had been explored and exploited through piecemeal nation efforts. The expense of colonizing entire new solar systems could not be met by any one country. With humans knowing that alien contact was inevitable, there was enough political will to jointly fund an international effort.
Still, the Alliance was often disregarded by those on Earth until the First Contact War. While the national governments dithered and bickered over who should lead the effort to liberate Shanxi, the Alliance fleet struck decisively. Post-War public approval gave the Alliance the credibility to establish its own Parliament and become the galactic face of humanity.
 Rise Of The Alliance (Paragon Shepard)
A political-econonic pact for collective colonial security, the Alliance is the central galactic institution of human society. The Alliance gained associate membership to the Citadel Council in 2165 and full membership in 2183, with Ambassador David Anderson or Donnel Udina (depending on the player's choice) representing humanity.
Human political-economic relationships vary between combative and lucrative. The turians who'd fought humans during the 2157 First Contact War have become valuable trade partners, despite residual social hostility.
Other relationships are even more complicated. The rapid rise of human political influence on the Council -- achieving in decades what other waited or are still waiting centuries to acquire -- has galvanized suspicion and resentment against humanity. That negativity is vastly outweighed by the respect and trust humanity earned by saving the Council during the 2183 attack on the Citadel, at the cost of Alliance crusiers Cario, Cape Town, Emden, Jakarta, Madrid, Seoul, Shenyang, and Warsaw and their 2400 crew.
 Rise Of The Alliance (Renegade Shepard)
A political-economic pact for collective colonial security, the Alliance is the central galactic institution of human society. The Alliance gained associate membership to the Citadel Council in 2165 and assumed leadership in 2183, with former Ambassador Donnel Udina or Captain David Anderson (depending on Shepard's choice) presiding.
Many species regard humanity as a rogue race and its 2183 victory following the attack on Eden Prime as a brutal and calculated sacrifice of its military rivals. Humans allegedly leveraged military victory into a political one, carving associate membership out of the violently-depopulated Council.
Because of the human Spectre Shepard's pivotal role in saving the Council, many analysts conclude several humans will be made candidates for Spectre status, further solidifying the human contribution to galactic peace.
By achieving in decades what others waited centuries to receive, especially after so bloody a conflict, humans have guaranteed themselves deep hostility and fear throughout the galaxy.
 Secondary Codex Entries
 Genetic Engineering
In the 22nd century, manipulation of the human genome became commonplace. Techniques for genetic engineering advanced to the point where the rich could custom-build fetuses that grew into stronger, smarter, and more attractive adults. In more permissive regions, custom-designed life forms and "uplifted" animals occupied an ill-defined niche between "property" and "sapient being".
Travel to planets with unique forms of life brought an awareness that Earth's biodiversity could be lost if it spliced and hybridized to gain useful alien qualities. The Sudham-Wolcott Genetic Heritage Act was passed by the Systems Alliance Parliament in 2161. It imposed sharp restrictions on controversial uses of genetic engineering, but provided government subsidies for beneficial applications.
SCREENING AND THERAPY: Most governments provide free assessments and corrective therapy for genetic diseases in prospective parents. This has nearly eliminated everything from cystic fibrosis to nearsightedness. The earlier screening and therapy is performed, the more comprehensive the results. Though ideally performed on artificially fertilized zygotes in a lab, procedures are available for embryos in the womb and newborns, out of respect for personal beliefs.
ENHANCEMENT: Improvements of natural human abilities is legal, but adding new abilities is not. Treatments to improve strength, reflexes, mental ability, or appearance are permitted; adding a tail or the ability to digest cellulose is not. Some genetic enhancement is provided for free to Alliance military recruits, but the average citizen must pay for the privilege. The process can take years to reach fruition in an adult.
ENGINEERING: Artificial hybridization of genes from compatible non-human species with human genetic code is illegal. Creation of designed life is broadly legal (and mainly used for terraforming and medial applications), but sentient creatures are heavily regulated, and creation of sapient life is outlawed by both the Systems Alliance and the Citadel Council.
 Human Diplomatic Relations
Humanity has encountered many galactic species. Wars have been few, but mistrust is rife.
Politically, the Alliance is a peaceful trade partner of the TURIANS. As a practical matter, however, there is simmering antagonism and bigotry between both populations over the First Contact War of 2157.
Though humans know better than to unconditionally trust the SALARIANS, their shared restless, reckless ways make them natural allies against the conservative turians and asari.
The KROGAN have no unified government, but individuals are generally treated as potential criminals, a reputation most krogan enjoy living down to.
The Alliance has no formal contact with the QUARIANS. Their Migrant Fleet has not yet passed through any human-settled system.
The BATARIANS are rivals for control of Skyllian Verge. They severed their treaties with the Citadel to prosecute a colonial conflict against the Alliance. Officially, there is no war, but neither is there any peace.
 Systems Alliance: Geological Survey
As the human race expands its territory and raises the general standard of living, demand for industrial resources continues to grow. Many planets, moons, and asteroids contain a wealth of resources, but many systems have been barely charted, let alone thoroughly surveyed. Unmanned probes are one solution, but they are often lost to space hazards, unforeseen circumstances, or theft by salvagers.
In recent years, AGeS, the Alliance Geological Service, has offered bounties to private individuals or teams willing to perform mineralogical surveys on the frontier. This survey data is made publicly available to further corporate development. Due to the cost of travel and the dangers of operating on hostile worlds, it is rarely a profitable endeavor.
LIGHT METALS - Metals with low atomic weight are often used in the construction of spacecraft and vehicles.
HEAVY METALS - Metals with higher atomic weights are used to construct equipment components. The platinum group elements are particularly useful.
RARE EARTHS - Most useful in this category are radioactives or magnets.
GASSES - Various gasses are required to support all known forms of sapient life. Some are commonly used as fuel.
 Systems Alliance: Military Doctrine
The Alliance military is of great concern to the galaxy. At first contact with the turians, they were completely inexperienced. Turian disdain turned to respect after the relief of Shanxi, where the humans surprised them with novel technologies and tactics.
The human devotion to understanding and adapting to modern space warfare stunned the staid Council races. For hundreds of years, they had lived behind the secure walls of long-proven technology and tactics. The Council regards the Alliance as a "sleeping giant". Less than 3% of humans volunteer to serve in their military, a lower proportion than any other species.
While competent, Alliance soldiers are neither as professional as the turians nor as skilled as the asari. Their strengths lie in fire support, flexibility, and speed. They make up for lack of numbers with sophisticated technical support (V.I.s, drones, artillery, electronic warfare) and emphasis on mobility and individual initiative.
Their doctrine is not based on absorbing and dishing out heavy shocks like the turians and krogan. Rather, they bypass enemy strong points and launch deep into their rear, cutting supply lines and destroying headquarters and support units, leaving enemies to "wither on the vine".
On defensive, the human military is a rapid reaction force that lives by Sun Tzu's maxim, "He who tries to defend everything defends nothing." Garrisons are intended for scouting rather than combat, avoiding engagement to observe and report on invaders using drones.
The token garrisons of human colonies make it easy for alien powers to secure them, for which the Alliance media criticizes the military. However, the powerful fleets stationed at phase gate nexuses such as Arcturus are just a few hours or days from any colony within their sphere of responsibility. In the event of an attack, they respond with an overwhelming force.
 Systems Alliance: Military Jargon
- ashore - When a ship's crew leaves the vessel, they are "ashore". Though normally used regarding planets, it can refer to boarding a space station.
- aweigh - When a ship releases the equipment tethering it to a space station or surface dock, it is "aweigh".
- aye, aye - The proper way to acknowledge an order. If told to attack the correct response is "Aye, aye, sir." If asked "Are you proud to be a marine?" the correct response is "Yes, sir."
- ASAP - Pronounced "a-sap", an acronym of "as soon as possible".
- belay - Stop, cease.
- bridge - The navigation center of a spacecraft, where the steering is done.
- captain's mast - Non-judicial disciplinary proceedings by unit commanders.
- CIC - Combat Information Center, the command center of a spacecraft. The CIC is filled with sensor displays to make sense out of the chaos of combat.
- DC - Damage Control. The containment and repair of damage to a spacecraft.
- ECM - Electronic Counter-Measures used to avoid enemy sensors, from passive emissions masking to active jamming.
- EVA - Extra-Vehicular Activity. Time spent in a pressure suit, outside of a vehicle, spacecraft, or station.
- flank - The flank is the "side" of a military formation. Since the soldiers are facing elsewhere, an enemy that can attack on the flank can often "turn it" or "roll it up".
- FNG - "Freaking" New Guy(s). A derisive term for inexperienced personnel.
- groundside - The surface of a planet.
- helmsman - The crewmember who pilots the spacecraft.
- ladar - Light-amplified detection and ranging. An active sensor that bounces lasers off an object to determine its bearing and distance. Ladar has sufficient resolution that the data can be reconstructed into an image.
- shore party - Spacecraft's crew sent ashore on official business.
- silent running - An old submariner's term used aboard the Normandy to denote when stealth systems are active.
- sitrep - Abbreviation of "situation report", an evaluation of the current military situation.
- spacer - Someone who has spent most of their life in space.
- XO - Executive Officer, the second-in-command of an Alliance warship. The XO is responsible for administrative and personnel matters.
 Systems Alliance: Military Ranks
The Alliance uses a modified version of the ranking system that has been used for hundreds of years. Soldiers are classified into rank-and-file enlisted personal, experienced non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and specially trained officers.
The divide between naval personnel and ground forces ("marines") is small. Ground units are a specialized branch of the fleet, just as fighter squadrons are. This unity of command is imposed by the futility of fighting without control of orbit; without the navy, any army is pointless. The marines, as a matter of pride, maintain some of their traditional rank titles; for example, marines have Privates and Corporals instead of Servicemen.
In ascending order of responsibility, the ranks of the Alliance are:
- Serviceman 3rd Class/Private 2nd Class
- Serviceman 2nd Class/Private 1st Class
- Serviceman 1st Class/Corporal
- Service Chief
- Gunnery Chief
- Operations Chief
- 2nd Lieutenant
- 1st Lieutenant
- Staff Lieutenant
- Lieutenant Commander
- Staff Commander
- Rear Admiral/General
- Fleet Admiral
 Systems Alliance: N7
The Alliance Military Vocational Code system classifies the career path of all serving personnel. The MVC consists of one letter and one number. A soldier's MVC indicates proficiency, not rank. The letter notes career path; the number indicates level of experience, as indicated by service record, technical scores, and commendations. All 26 letters are used, and numbers run from 1 to 7. N is the letter code for Special Forces personnel.
 Terra Firma Party
Terra Firma is an Alliance political party formed after the First Contact War. Its policy agenda is based on the principle that Earth must "stand firm" against influences. This covers a variety of legislation. Recent activities by Terra Firma include opposition to a law requiring high school alien language study, a proposal to increase tariffs on alien imports, and leading a popular movement to mark the First Contact War as a public holiday.
Though founded by well-meaning individuals who feared the submersion of native human cultures under a wave of "alien vogue", Terra Firma's agenda attracts many jingoists and xenophobes.
2069 - Armstrong Outpost at Shackleton Crater becomes the first human settlement on Luna. It is formally founded on July 24, the 100th anniversary of the first lunar landing.
2103 - Lowell City in Eos Chasma becomes the first human settlement on Mars.
2137 - Eldfell-Ashland Energy Corporation demonstrates helium-3 fuel extraction from the atmosphere of Saturn.
2142 - Construction of Gagarin Station (Jump Zero) begins beyond the orbit of Pluto.
2148 - Prospectors discover the Prothean ruins at Promethei Planum on Mars.
2149 - Translation of Prothean data leads humans to the Charon mass relay. Systems Alliance founded to coordinate exploration and colonization of extra-solar worlds.
2151 - A shipping accident at Singapore International Spaceport exposes downwind communities to containers of dust-form element zero. Alliance begins construction of Arcturus Station.
2152 - Roughly 30% of the children born in Singapore after element zero exposure suffer from cancerous growths. Systems Alliance begins settlement of Earth's first extra-solar colony world, the planet Demeter.
2154 - Commander Shepard born.
2155 - Systems Alliance occupies completed portions of Arcturus Station as a headquarters.
2156 - Some children of Singapore exhibit minor telekinetic abilities.
2157 - Turians encounter human explorers; First Contact War. Occupation and liberation of the human colony of Shanxi.
2158 - Humans learn potential of biotics. An international effort to track element zero exposures begin. Roughly 10% of exposed children show some sign of biotic ability.
2160 - Systems Alliance Parliament formed.
2165 - Humans establish embassy on Citadel.
2170 - Batarian slavers attack the Alliance colony Mindoir.
2176 - Skyllian Blitz- Pirates and slavers attacked Elysium, the human capital in the Skyllian Verge.
2177 - Thresher maws devour the Alliance colony of Akuze.
2178 - In retaliation for the Skyllian Blitz, an Alliance fleet wipes out an army of slavers on the moon of Torfan.
2183 - Current date.
Mass Effect 2 updates:
2183 - Geth led by rogue Spectre Saren Arterius attack the Citadel, ensuing in a battle that cost thousands of lives. A few weeks later, the SSV Normandy is ambushed and destroyed. Commander Shepard is presumed dead.
2185 - Current date.
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