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In 2148, researchers investigating strange reading surrounding the Mars southern pole, discovered ancient alien ruins which turned out to be a Prothean research outpost. They are referred to as "ruins" but they still contained technology, some of it still functional, that far surpassed that of humanity. By studying this technology and the information still accessible by the Prothean computers, the capabilities of Mankind jumped leaps and bounds, allowing them to start expanding ever further into the Solar System. This technological leap is often referred to as the " Mass Effect".  The discovery also sent out waves through all human cultures and rocked the foundation of many beliefs. First and most obviously to be impacted by the proof of alien life were the various religious groups on Earth. Many tried to explain away the existence, or even work it into their dogma, but for some this was not enough. New groups and religious beliefs grew up, the most notable being the Interventionary Evolutionists, who claimed that direct alien involvement in human evolution shaped who we became as a species. However, religious groups were not the only ones affected by the profound news.

Systems Alliance
On the political side of things, many countries adopted an "us against them" attitude at the news of the existence of aliens, and instead of nations bickering amongst themselves on who would do what, it was quickly decided to work together to fund international space exploration and development like never before. A year later in 2149, 18 of the largest nations had come together to form the Systems Alliance with the goal of expanding and defending human interests. Although it was a new governing body as far as space interests were concerned, few respected them or believed they had the authority equal to even one of the nations who had formed the Alliance. The Alliance Military was formed by those nations pooling their forces and resources which provided the bodies and ships needed to push out into the blackness of space. That same year, and thanks to the abundant funding of the Earth's nations, the Alliance discovered that the moon of Pluto, Charon, was in fact a massive Prothean device encased in ice after centuries of being unused. The excavation of the Charon Mass Relay opened up humanity to reaches of space previously undreamed of.

The area of space that the Charon Relay led to was named the Arcturus System, and the Alliance began construction of the Acrturus Station in 2151. This station was to be the headquarters for the Systems Alliance, and a jumping off point to the nexus of Mass Relays that were found not far away. It also served as a means to guard the only Mass Relay that lead to the Sol System, and Earth.

First Contact War

Alliance Fifth Fleet
The Systems Alliance moved quickly to activate as many Mass Relays as they could, pushing humanity's reach further and further into the galaxy. Using the nearby planets and asteroids as untapped resources helped establish bases and space stations, as well as fuel for the constantly growing Alliance Military's need for ships. Even though they had not yet encountered any aliens, the simple existence of the Mass Relays meant that wildly advanced races existed somewhere out there, and it was only a matter of time before we found them, or worse, they found us. Arcturus Station was inaugurated in 2156 even though it was not fully completed until 2162.

Alliance shipyard
It was this rapid expansion and seemingly reckless opening of inactive Mass Relays that caught the attention of the Turians in 2157. The Turians viewed it as simply as a new ignorant species violating galactic law. The Citadel Council had deemed the act of activating Mass Relays without knowing where their sister relay was illegal since the end of the Rachni Wars. In response the Turians simply opened fire, destroying all but one Alliance vessel which escaped to warn the Systems Alliance governing bodies. This may have been a simple matter to the Turians, but it was humanity's first contact with an intelligent alien race, and it proved all their worse suspicions, that alien races were hostile. The attack on the human ships seemed unprovoked, and  the Alliance Military retaliated, in turn destroying the Turian ships that had first attacked them. This started what the Alliance refers to as the First Contact War. While previously the Systems Alliance hadn't been viewed as a serious political body before, all eyes were on them now.

The first notable battle of the war was at the planet Shanxi. It was the closest human colony to the Mass Relay incident that started the war. The Turian force overwhelmed the colony and destroyed most of the human military present except for once main garrison holding out on the planet below. Not able to get supplies or leave the planet surface, commanding officer, General Williams ( Ashley Williams' grandfather) was forced to surrender to the Turian force. To date, Shanxi is the only human colony to ever be occupied by an alien force.

Alliance base
The Turians believed they had defeated the majority of the entire human military, but they were caught completely by surprise one month later when the Alliance Second Fleet arrived, completely routing the Turian force and reclaiming Shanxi. As both human and Turian forces prepared for all out interplanetary war, the attention of the Citadel Council was drawn who stepped in, negotiating a peace, ending the war almost before it had started. Thus humanity and the Systems Alliance was brought into galactic civilization. After the events of the First Contact War, and the quick and decisive liberation of Shanxi, human approval of the Systems Alliance allowed them for form their own Parliament and become the face of humanity to the rest of the galaxy. Arcturus Station became the political and military capitol for the Systems Alliance.

Galactic Acceptance

 Citadel Embassy
Since the First Contact War, the Alliance has worked hard to expand humanity's territory, and become more accepted by the other races. The first planet to be colonized after the First Contact War was Bekenstein, located in the Boltzmann Sysytem of the Serpent Nebula.  In 2165, humans were given an embassy on the Citadel with Anita Goyle as their ambassador. This combined with the rush to settle the Skyllian Verge and Attican Traverse, put Batarians at odds with the Council for not showing their species enough respect, and favoring the relative newcomers. The Batarians had long been seeking sole claim over the Skyllian Verge which the Council never approved of.  As a sign of independence, the Batarians became a rogue state, claiming humans were depriving them of needed resources. Relations between humans and Batarians have been less than peaceful ever since.

Generally many species view humans as aggressive and pushy. Always wanting to get their way and complaining if they don't. Many races waited centuries to achieve what humans have done in only decades, and this causes jealousy and opinions of Council favoritism amongst many other races such as the Volus. Still, humanity maintains a relatively peaceful and friendly relationship to many of the Council races including the Asari, Salarians and even Turians who have proven to be valuable trade partners.

Military Vocational Code

 N7 Armor
The Alliance Military Vocational Code (MVC) system classifies the career path of all serving personnel. This code consists of a letter A-Z, and a number 1-7. Thus it should be noted that the MVC does not signify a rank of any kind, only skill level. It is entirely possible for a person of higher skill to be of lower military ranking. The letter designates the field of work or area of expertise, and the number indicates that persons proficiency in that field, 7 being the highest. Of particular note, the letter N signifies Special Forces personnel. Personnel with an MVC of N7 are therefore the best military operatives the Systems Alliance has to offer. The only human candidates ever chosen to possibly become Spectres, David Anderson, and Commander Shepard, both had an MVC of N7.

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