N7 is a vocational code in the Systems Alliance military. The "N" designates special forces and the "7" refers to the highest level of proficiency. It applies to Alliance personnel who have graduated from the Interplanetary Combatives Training (ICT) program.
- See also: ANN Blogs: Special Operations in the Systems Alliance
- See also: Codex: Systems Alliance: Special Operations
The Interplanetary Combatives Academy, sometimes called "N-School" or "the villa," recruits officers from every branch of Earth's militaries to partake in grueling courses at Vila Militar in Rio de Janeiro. The trainees undergo brutal courses, content varied depending on how many times they have trained at the school.
If this is their first time at the school, trainees participate in scenarios experienced by the elite units of most land-based armies; a typical candidate may be in training more than 20 hours a day, leading small units into combat over hostile terrain with little sleep or food. Trainees who do well are awarded an internal designation of N1 and are invited to return. Those who return to the school focus on their combat class.
Subsequent courses--N2 through N6--are often held off-planet and include instruction in zero-G combat, military free-fall (parachuting), jetboot/jetpack flight, combat diver qualification (combat diving), close-quarter combatives instructor courses (combat instruction), linguistics, frontline trauma care for human and alien biology (first responder/combat lifesaver training), and assault procedures. Those with specializations may also attend specialized schools related to their field; forward observers may attend naval gunfire training and close air support courses; pilots and mechanized soldiers learn how to drive, maintain, and shoot from several types of vehicles and powered armor; communications specialists attend joint communications courses. Some known off-school training locations are Jupiter's moon Europa and Arcturus.
The highest grade of training, N6, provides actual combat experience in conflict zones throughout the galaxy. From day one, invitees are given basic gear, then separated and stranded on an asteroid with no nav data. The test ends when the last person runs out of oxygen. The first few are out of the program. If the trainee survives these scenarios in "admirable and effective fashion," they finally receive the coveted N7 designation. N7 is the only ICT designation that may be worn on field or dress uniforms.
There is little shame in failing an N course--the training is so extreme that even qualifying for N1 elevates an officer to a position of respect. The universal prestige of merely attending the academy helps to restrain trainees from taking excessive risks in pursuit of higher honors.
ICT qualification by itself does not guarantee higher rank, although those officers who are able to complete the program are typically well-suited to senior leadership positions. In some cases, a given force will form a special operations regiment made of ICT-qualified soldiers to deal with a specific problem.
Several N7-branded weapons developed by the Systems Alliance see widespread use by 2186. Some of these weapons - along with the capability to manufacture more - are even brought along by the Andromeda Initiative to their new home in the eponymous galaxy.
- N7 Typhoon Light Machine Gun
- N7 Valkyrie Assault Rifle
- N7 Crusader Shotgun
- N7 Piranha Assault Shotgun
- N7 Hurricane Submachine Gun
- N7 Valiant Sniper Rifle
- N7 Eagle Pistol
N7 Special Ops
During the Reaper war, Allied forces began recruiting anyone, soldier or mercenary, to serve on the front lines of the conflict. The most experienced operatives formed squads to secure objectives, evacuate civilians, and battle Cerberus or the Reapers deep in enemy territory. Initially led by N7 commandos, these squads were nicknamed the N7 Special Ops. In light of these teams' exemplary service and remarkable bravery, the Alliance allowed this unofficial name to spread across the ranks as a sign of respect for their efforts.
N7 Special Ops teams can aid to varying degrees in the overall war effort.
During the Reaper invasion, many N7 graduates began to train other species in anti-Reaper asymmetric warfare and joined N7 Special Ops squads in battle.
- N7 Fury Adept
- N7 Destroyer Soldier
- N7 Demolisher Engineer
- N7 Paladin Sentinel
- N7 Shadow Infiltrator
- N7 Slayer Vanguard
Known N7 Graduates
- David Anderson - One of the first graduates of the N7 training program.
- Kai Leng - Dishonorably discharged Alliance soldier and current Cerberus operative.
- Alec Ryder - Former N7 and Pathfinder of the Andromeda Initiative.
- Lee Riley - An N7 engineer who leads a team to reactivate and defend fuel reactors on Cyone.
- Susan Rizzi - An N7 Fury discussing item procurement with a peer at the Silversun Strip.
- Commander Shepard
- James Vega - Offered entry into the program just before the start of the Reaper invasion. He may decide to accept the offer depending on the actions of Commander Shepard.
Known N7 Operations
- A news report by Emily Wong on the Citadel in 2185, states that a team of N7 commandos were deployed in batarian space from a Normandy Class Stealth Frigate.
- Several N7 Operations took place during the Reaper War as part of the N7 Special Ops initiative.
- According to The Art of Mass Effect, the red detail on the emblem symbolizes the human blood Shepard must sacrifice to stop Saren Arterius. The red stripe is also a historical reference to the red stripes commanders wore on early space missions to make them instantly recognizable.
- The Medal of Valor achievement (completing Mass Effect on Insanity difficulty) unlocks an N7 gamer pic.
- The design is available in a number of objects from apparel to miscellaneous items at the BioWare Store.
- The Look N77 ski binding was the original source of the name and logo art. The developers simply removed one of the sevens from the original.
- An N7-themed suit is available in Dead Space 3 for those with a Mass Effect 3 save file on their system.
- An N7-themed Javelin skin is available in Anthem.
- N7 Day is a franchise appreciation day held every November 7 since 2012, where BioWare and fans offer support through content announcements, retrospectives, fan art, item sales, and more.
- Game Informer #104: Anthem