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This article refers to the Black Marker found on Earth. You may be looking for the overview page, Black Marker (Marker variant)
"The age of man is at an end. We have become too many with too little to go around. Corporations that we once trusted with our money have squandered it. The governments that we once trusted with our future have sabotaged it. To their eternal credit, we are dying. But fear not, for there is a future. As promised by the prophet Michael Altman, the Black Marker has a plan - for all of you. It will lift us up from our miserable existence and we will become one; united in body and united in spirit. Our unity will be our salvation. We will live on, not as men, but as God."
Jacob Arthur Danik
0220 ui proj marker 1

Footage of the Black Marker being pulled to the surface above the Chicxulub crater.

The Black Marker was an alien artifact found in the Chicxulub crater on Earth in 2214. Its discovery was hidden by the government of Earth at the time, the Sovereign Colonies, but was brought to public knowledge by one of the researchers, Michael Altman - an event that kickstarted the formation of the Church of Unitology.[1][2] Decades later, at the end of the 23rd century, the Black Marker was used by the Sovereign Colonies to create Red Marker copies in a large-scale Marker replication program.[3][4][5]

Unitologists believe the Black Marker was responsible for the development of human life, with Jacob Arthur Danik speculating that the Black Marker forced evolution on Earth to create an intelligent species capable of creating more Markers with the ultimate plan of initiating a Convergence Event;[6] a theory that appears to be correct.[7][8][9]

History[]

Discovery[]

"It all started 300 years ago with the discovery of the Black Marker, an alien artifact found under the old Gulf of Mexico on Earth. It seemed to hold the promise of limitless energy, until it produced dementia, insanity, and a twisted life after death, known as "Necromorphs". The details of the original Black Marker disaster were buried in cover-ups and conspiracies, but not before an entire religion could be launched in the name of one of its researchers, Michael Altman. His questionable death turned him into a martyr, and Unitology was born."
Ellie Langford[1]
DS3 Intro Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico in the 23rd century.

In 2214, the Black Marker was discovered by researchers including Michael Altman in the asteroid impact crater off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, and an operation to unearth the artifact was soon undertaken by the SCAF and the mining company DredgerCorp. It was later concluded that the Black Marker landed on Earth approximately 65 million years ago and is what caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

The Black Marker's signal appeared to be a source of unlimited energy, and attempts to safely harness the power of the artifact were of special interest to the researchers.[1][3] The symbols on the Black Marker were also believed to represent DNA instructions, with the double-helical structure of the Marker itself alluding to this: these were, in fact, the genetic instructions for the creation of the Necromorphs, which the Black Marker also transmitted through its signal.

Unitology 010

A Unitologist mural depicting the Black Marker "speaking" to Michael Altman.

During the initial project, Michael Altman went public with his research, revealing the Marker's existence to the world, going against the government's wishes.[10] Following a Necromorph outbreak that devastated the research facility above the Chicxulub crater, Altman was killed by two former members of the project, Stevens and Markoff, who used his death to found the Church of Unitology.[2]

T Env Prop Sgn Glo Adv Paradise 01 E PACKED 0

A Unitology poster depicting the Black Marker's promise.

After this incident, Unitology grew faster than any other religion ever formed on Earth: the Church firmly believes that Altman was assassinated by the government to silence the truth of the Marker's existence, and he became a martyr figure to the religion. The Black Marker was revered by Unitologists as an immensely powerful holy object which God sent to show that death was not the end and that all of humanity would be reborn in everlasting unity through Convergence.[10]

Research and Replication[]

"When the Black Marker was exhumed on the Earth in 2214, it defied our understanding of science. It appeared to generate limitless energy - a trait of obvious importance in our resource-strapped times. There was an effort to replicate the Marker, hoping to understand its technology, thereby acquiring limitless energy for ourselves."
—Dr. Earl Serrano's briefing to General Spencer Mahad in 2311.[3]
Red markers

The Black Marker and its copies seen in a SCAF briefing video.

The details of the original Black Marker disaster were buried in government cover-ups.[1] Over the following decades, Unitology began to thrive, while the Sovereign Colonies maintained possession of the artifact and studied it in secret. Later in the century, the danger of the research prompted the decision of the government to move all Marker experiments away from Earth in order to avoid the risk of a larger outbreak.[11] It is unknown what exactly happened to the Black Marker at this point, although its replication data was successfully secured, and it can be inferred that the artifact itself was taken off the planet.[3][11]

Space exploration had not provided a reprieve for humanity, and by the late 23rd century, the resource crisis had deepened.[1] Following decades of extensive research into the Black Marker, the Sovereign Colonies' Science Division successfully reverse-engineered the artifact in the 2290s, leading to Red Marker copies such as Marker 3A on Aegis VII in an effort to understand the Markers' technology and harness their power.[4]

Scenario Five[]

"It is the decision of the Council to invoke Scenario Five. What we once thought would save us from extinction has only served to hasten it. Everything about the Markers - all research, all replicas, even the Black Marker - must be forever buried. All sites are to be shuttered. All involved planets are to be blacklisted. Everyone involved in the Marker program, from Aspera to Aegis VII to Tau Volantis are to be executed."
—General of the Army Ambrose Caiden[5]
DS3 SCAF Repent Concept Art

As part of Scenario Five, all Sovereign Colonies personnel with knowledge of the Black Marker and the Red Marker test sites were ordered to be eliminated.

At the start of the 24th century, following Necromorph outbreaks on the Marker test sites and Dr. Earl Serrano's discovery of the Brethren Moons during his research on Tau Volantis, the Sovereign Colonies Council decided that it was in humanity's best interests to invoke Scenario Five, an emergency directive that would be made in the case of an Extinction-Level Outbreak due to a First Contact Scenario. This meant that all related equipment would be disabled and all involved personnel sought out for termination with the goal of suppressing and severing all knowledge and contact with the Marker tech and at all known Marker sites. The Black Marker's status after Scenario Five became unclear, as the directive aimed to not only erase and bury its copies and data but also the Black Marker itself.[5]

Legacy[]

"...as no one knows exactly what is contained in the Black Marker. Some claim it contains a genetic string that grants immortality through gene therapy. Others say it contains the DNA of an alien life form. Even Altman confessed to not knowing exactly what it is for. Altman's insights, drawn from the Marker, were used to form the basic doctrines of the Church. As claimed in the popular book, "Death is Only the Beginning", humans will learn that by death of their worldly spirit, they will be reborn in unity as a stronger, unending community - whole and divine. They call it "Convergence"."
—A former Unitologist describes the Church's beliefs.[2]
DS2 Unitology Video Marker

The Black Marker as depicted in a Unitology Orientation Video.

DSR Unitology Chicxulub Studies

A 2508 note with information on the Church's secret studies on the biodiversity of the Chicxulub region as of the 26th century.

Although the Church of Unitology worshiped the Black Marker, they only had pictures, drawings and fragments of knowledge to base their beliefs on.[12] As most of the data was classified by the government and the artifact itself was disappeared as part of Scenario Five, Unitologists' conjectures along with Altman's conferences and fragmented notes caused irrational, hysterical ideas about the Marker to gain momentum. The Unitology religion offered vague promises of immortality and unity in death, backed up by apparent scientific credibility, which excited many previously purposeless people in a dry and impoverished world filled with increasingly incomprehensible technology.[2][13]

By the 26th century, the Church had secretly financed and completed several studies on the biodiversity of the Chicxulub region with the influence of the Black Marker in mind, despite interference from EarthGov. By examining a sample of aquatic life from waters adjacent to the Chicxulub crater, the Church was able to confirm variations from standard genotypes in the specimens, adding further proof to their faith in the Marker signal's power to influence organic life, with another short study on human brain tissue from the region also leading them to believe that humans were "uniquely reactive" to Marker influence and supporting their theory that the artifact had an effect on the development of proto-human life.[9]

In 2511, during the Necromorph outbreak on Titan Station, Isaac Clarke found several logs from Kinner Phelps, an EarthGov scientist on Project Telomere, detailing his growing suspicions that humans were merely "puppets of some alien influence" and that their rationalizations for creating Red Markers were nothing but illusions "planted by the forces behind the original Marker", concluding that the Markers, starting with the Black Marker, have been actively manipulating humans into making copies of themselves.[14]

Trivia[]

DS3 Dev Team Edition Black Marker Statue

The Black Marker statue and SCAF container released with the Dead Space 3 Dev Team Edition.

  • The Chicxulub crater is a real-life crater caused by the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago; it is believed that the Black Marker was carried by this asteroid. The name "Chicxulub" is believed to mean either "tail of the devil" or "flea of the devil".
  • In Dead Space 2, two of the messages written in Marker symbols seen around the game's menus reference the Black Marker's impact crater as well as its effects on the local folklore. These messages are "The answer is in Chicxulub" and "Ixtab the Rope Woman".
  • In Dr. Earl Serrano's journal released with the Dead Space 3 Dev Team Edition, the Black Marker is referred to by the codename "H4D35-Chicxulub", an apparent reference to Hades, the god of the dead and king of the underworld in Greek mythology.
  • Dead Space 3's Dev Team Edition also included a statue of the Black Marker encased in a container labelled "Property of Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces", and with the order: "Contents to be destroyed in the event of Scenario Five outbreak".[15]
    • Whether the Black Marker was actually destroyed in Scenario Five or merely hidden somewhere in the galaxy much like the Red Markers remains unknown, though, in any case, it is evident that EarthGov does not have access to it in the 26th century.
  • Red Markers are speculated to be colored red because the element bismuth is used to replace certain unknown elements present in the duplication of the Black Marker.[16]
  • The Black Marker may be a reference to the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, as in both cases it is a black monolith of alien origin and unknown provenance that apparently caused human evolution.

Gallery[]

Sources[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Dead Space 3 - The Story so Far
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Log:Unitology Exposed
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Dead Space 3: CAG Briefing
  4. 4.0 4.1 Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 17
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Log:Last Contact
  6. Dead Space 3 - Danik: A little trivia, Isaac, to put things in perspective. Fact: The original Marker, the Black Marker found on Earth, predates the rise of mankind. Are you listening to this? Fact: The Marker exerts a field of influence that guides and grows biological organisms, evolving them over time towards some greater purpose. Do you see where this is going? [...] Fact, Isaac: as you can personally attest, man is naturally compelled to create Red Markers, duplicates made in the image of the original. They are as much a part of us as the planet that birthed us, perhaps even more so. We must all act our part in the natural evolution of the Universe, Isaac - something you seem rather reluctant to accept.
  7. Dead Space 3 Dev Team Edition: "The [Black] Marker's final purpose is revealed in the story of Dead Space 3."
  8. Log:Alien Artifact 08
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dead Space (2023) - Notes on the walls of the Ishimura Medical Deck
  10. 10.0 10.1 Log:Unitology Article
  11. 11.0 11.1 Dead Space: Catalyst
  12. The World and History of Dead Space
  13. Wright Bagwell on Unitology
  14. Log:It's Making Us Make It!
  15. Dead Space 3: Dev Team Collector's Edition
  16. Examination of Isaac's mental condition
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