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.
Interplanetary Combatives Training (ICT) is the Systems Alliance's premier school for leadership and combat expertise. 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.
Initially, candidates train for more than 20 hours per day, leading small combat teams through hostile terrain with little sleep or food. Trainees who do well are awarded an internal designation of N1 and are invited to return. Subsequent courses--N2 through N6--are often held off-planet and include instruction in zero-G combat, military free-fall (parachuting), jetpack flight, combat diving, combat instruction, linguistics, and frontline trauma care for human and alien biology.
The highest grade of training, N6, provides actual combat experience in conflict zones throughout the galaxy. If the trainee survives these scenarios in "admirable and effective fashion," he or she finally receives 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.
Although ICT qualification by itself does not guarantee higher rank, those officers who are able to complete the program are typically well suited to senior leadership positions.
Several N7-branded weapons developed by the Systems Alliance see widespread use by 2186:
- 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.