Author's Note: This story has an extremely simple premise. The premise is: what if the Alliance didn't realize eezo was naturally occurring until after they were already capable of synthesizing it?

Timeline

2016: SpaceX launches 7 crew to the ISS with the Dragon v2 capsule. Both the capsule and launch vehicle are completely re-usable.

2017: General Fusion perfects Magnetized Target Fusion for electricity generation.

2018: SpaceX begins construction of Liberty Station, a massive shipyard/spaceport in geosynchronus orbit. Liberty Station has 2 rotating ring sections to produce artificial gravity.

2019: An ecological impact study (and a hefty amount of cash) leads to the US government allowing the usage of nuclear thermal rockets (and Gas Core Nuclear Lightbulb Engines for that matter) for launching cargo and personnel into orbit

2020: Liberty Station is completed.

2022: an exceedingly rich woman by the name of Jennifer Dawes commissions an interplanetary space vessel from the Liberty Station shipyard, with the intent of making a self-sufficient civilization in the asteroid belt.

2025: The O'Neil cylinder known as Beltopolis is completed; it will later become the capitol of the 1st Belt Republic. Seeing this, another ridiculously rich man by the name of Jason Fletcher decides to form his own 'belt republic', 90 degrees off from the one founded by Jennifer Dawes.

2028: The world's 1st true AI is developed in Beltopolis. The AI insists on the 'he' pronoun being used in regards to him, and names himself David

2030: Fletcher's 'Republic' is founded after putting down a major worker's revolt.

2032: David is elected as president of the Dawes Republic for a single term. His lack of re-election was due to not wanting the job after the 1st one.

2042: Neural interface technology is developed, allowing for the external storage of memories (and the playback thereof), among other things it can do.

Note: 'cities' or 'city' after this point refers to a large self-sufficient space habitat unless specifically stated otherwise.

2052: 54 of the cities in Fletcher's Dominion are obliterated after a major revolution takes off on them.

2060: The Dawes Republic (currently at 673 cities, 1,532 warships, 2,521 minor planetoids) attacks Fletcher's Dominion (currently at 342 cities, 1,239 warships, 876 minor planetoids). Fletcher's Dominions loses 34 cities and 350 warships in a surprise attack.

2061: The oppressed citizens of Fletcher's Dominion revolt again, removing the military manufacturing capacity of 231 of the cities currently in the possession of Fletcher's Dominion (currently at 297 cities, 845 warships, 453 minor planetoids).

2062: The struggling remnants of Fletcher's Dominion (currently at 23 cities, 52 warships, 34 minor planetoids) launch 2,345 missiles at Beltopolis. The missiles are equipped with bomb-pumped X-ray lasers instead of direct impact nuclear warheads, and successfully destroy Beltopolis.

2063: The Dawes Republic (thanks to having a top-secret backup capitol on one of its other cities), successfully boards and captures all remaining cities in Fletcher's Dominion. Fletcher himself is tried for crimes against sapient rights, and sentenced to have the memories of those he tormented for over 35 years directly downloaded into his brain. The results are not pretty.

2073: The relatively unimportant (until now) Mars States discover the Prothean ruins. The scientific community immediately declares that eezo is not produced by any known natural process, and must therefore be artificial. The scientists of the Mars States soon set about trying to synthesize the stuff.

2081: A proof-of-concept eezo synthesizer the size of an SUV successfully produces a cubic milligram of eezo over the course of an entire month.

2084: The Dawes Republic unveils a massive synthetic eezo plant 15 km long, capable of pumping out 300 cubic meters of eezo every month.

2090: All governments in the sol system are 'convinced' to peacefully unify into a single government (the Earth-Derived Alliance) by the Dawes Republic through a combination of Bribery, threats, and fear-mongering about a potential alien invasion.

2091: The total number of synthetic eezo plants in the sol system reaches 20, improvements in the relevant science meant that each is now capable of pumping out approximately 500 cubic meters of eezo every month, for a total output of 10,000 cubic meters of eezo every month, equating to (with the new 400 days, 16 months year) 160,000 cubic meters of eezo every year.

2093: The first extra-solar city is founded. Proxima City, as it becomes known, is a somewhat large city orbiting the star Proxima Centauri. Notably, it also receives its own synthetic eezo plant.

2108: The Earth-Derived Alliance now owns 50 systems, they all have a population of at least 2 billion, despite not having found a single garden world. The scientific community is rather shaken to discover that a newly explored star system (Arcturus) has natural eezo deposits. They get over it.

2112: Miners digging for exceedingly valuable ice inside the dwarf planet Pluto's moon Charon unexpectedly hit an unidentifiable metal.

2114: Charon is completely disassembled, revealing an alien construction about 5km long. When mistakenly activated, it is eventually realized to be a construction best described as a 'jump gate'. Due to alliance Dreadnoughts being too big to fit through it at approximately 6.5 km in diameter (they're spherical), a cruiser is sent through, winding up in the previously colonized system of Arcturus.

2116: A partial solution to the static buildup problem with FTL drives is developed, when the scientific community remembers that stars have magnetic fields too. This means Alliance-built ships are now capable of discharging their drives in just about any system they happen to be in, regardless of local planetary bodies.

2117: The Alliance (now totaling at 327 systems, 562,000 cities, 1,204,000 warships 2,341,000 minor planetoids, 5,672 Synthetic Eezo Plants, and 4 garden worlds [which Earth, sadly, no longer counts as thanks to the Yellowstone Super-volcano]), is attacked by a band of Batarian pirates fleeing a Turian patrol through uncharted Mass Relays. The Batarians are swiftly removed from existence by the local defense cluster of Bomb-Pumped X-ray Lasers. The Turian patrol almost suffers the same fate, but manages to transmit a 1st contact package before a hull breach occurs (this patrol was equipped with extra-thick armor, as the band of pirates they were pursuing was known to use a ridiculously oversized GARDIAN laser to ignore shields).

Author's Note: Truthfully, I consider this fic to be at least somewhat my way of making up for the ROFLstomp that was Kardashev Effect. Council ships are still better in terms of FTL speed and shields, but the Alliance can ignore shields thanks to their X-ray lasers (bomb-pumped or not), and can afford to make more, bigger, ships, thanks to synthetic eezo. Next chapter is going to be 1st contact negotiations with the Turians