- "You can kill the prophet, but you can’t kill the god! Your chance to warn the Earth has come and gone. We are coming. We are hungry. We are here."
- —The Brethren Moons to Isaac Clarke and John Carver, Dead Space 3: Awakened
The Brethren Moons (Sometimes referred to as Brother Moons and Blood Moons) are gigantic, space-faring Necromorphs and the source of the Marker signal. They are believed to be the final stage in the Necromorph life cycle. Due to their agenda, the Brethren Moons are the central antagonists of the Dead Space franchise.
Source and Convergence
The Brethren Moons are a series of moon-sized organic lifeforms that have spread throughout the universe with but a single goal in mind: consume all organic life. This blood-mad crusade against biological life has gone on for countless centuries, leaving entire star systems completely devoid of even the most basic microbial life.
The Moons reproduce by producing Black Markers, possibly through some form of synthesis similar to how humans grow nails or hair, which then travels through space at sub-light speeds before impacting a suitable host world. In the case of Earth, the Black Marker was carried inside of an asteroid that struck the Yucatán Peninsula around 65 million years B.C. It is unknown if the Moons specifically target worlds that show promise for intelligent life, as was theorized by the Unitologist leader Jacob Danik, or if the Markers themselves are responsible for encouraging the evolution of intelligent species through an altered version of their dementia signal.
After a host world has been reached, the Marker will fall dormant for a time, reactivating only once the dominant lifeform of the host planet has achieved a certain level of technological advancement. The Marker then broadcasts an electromagnetic signal that severely affects intelligent beings, manifesting as dementia in those of a more simple mindset, or as a compulsion to replicate the Markers through artificial means in intellectuals. This overtly hostile signal appears, at first, to be a seemingly limitless source of electromagnetic energy, which drives intelligent species to create Marker copies that are then inevitably distributed throughout their territory to counter inevitable shortages. However, the signal has another function which remains dormant for a brief period after its discovery: It can alter the necrotic tissue of dead organisms at the molecular level, causing corpses to reanimate and become Necromorphs; relentlessly hostile bio-recombinant creatures which then spread across the surface of the affected planet like a pandemic. Ideally, due to the presence of markers in nearly every major population center, containing outbreak becomes completely impossible.
After Necromorph infestation has claimed the majority of a planet's population, the accumulated Markers initiate a Convergence Event, the “Birth” of a Brethren Moon. Once the Convergence event begins, the flesh of all Necromorphs and any other dead tissue within the Marker's area of influence is flung into the stratosphere, where it begins to form into the biological core of a new Moon. The Moon later absorbs fragments of its host world to form a protective shell of rock around its vulnerable center.
The creature is only fully awakened when the last of the species used to create it has been absorbed, along with the planet's entire biosphere. Once the manufactured Markers have been absorbed, the Black Marker gravitates to the center of the Moon itself so that it can then communicate telepathically with the rest of the network. It is currently unknown what happens to the Moon once it absorbs all life upon its birth world, but it is believed that the newborn Moon will travel to the nearest source of organic life to continue feeding.
Earl Serrano speculates that all life between the origin of the Moons and humanity's home system has been extinguished by the Brethren Moon, mixing the genetic material of countless species across the universe into their uniform biomass. This proposed an uncommon answer to the Fermi paradox: Humanity never had the opportunity to contact aliens, not because they didn’t exist, but because a massive and lethally invasive hyper-predator absorbed most, if not all, of the organic life within our galaxy, (and possibly beyond) leaving much of it in a state of "Dead space". Serrano also discovered that the Moons formed a network that spanned the galaxy, which they used to communicate as the Markers' influence affected other sentient species, leading them to build more of Markers, continuing to expand the network.
The Events of Dead Space 3
During the events of Dead Space 3, Isaac Clarke comes to realize that the Markers are receiving a distress call from the incomplete Moon of Tau Volantis, whose Convergence was interrupted when the aliens that it attempted to assimilate built a machine that flash-froze their entire planet, halting the event in its tracks. In response, the Moon began using other Markers to broadcast a distress signal across the galaxy(Such as Make us Whole or Turn it Off) in the hopes of luring new organic beings to Tau Volantis so that they could disable the Machine, completing convergence and continue the cycle of extinction.
The faux Markers that Isaac faced attempted to continue the "Brethren Chain" of Moons by circumventing the problem of the hibernating Tau Volantis Moon, to no avail. He realized that if the Moon was freed, any location within the galaxy with a still active Marker would instantly become a target for assimilation. Should the Moon complete itself, it would wake the other Brethren Moons, which would then home in on the location of every major source of human life in the known universe. In the final chapter, Isaac manages to reconfigure the Alien Machine, destroying the Tau Volantis Moon and causing all of the Markers in human space to seemingly stop broadcasting, ending the danger to the galaxy, at least temporarily. However, though the Tau Volantis Moon was incomplete, upon its awakening, it somehow managed to contact the other Brethren Moons. Upon its destruction, they woke up and they began converging on Earth, which was the largest source of human life in the galaxy.
Events of Dead Space 3: Awakened
- "We are all awake now. Awake and hungry. But where is it? Take us home, Isaac. Make us Whole."
- —The Brethren Moons "talking" with Isaac Clarke.
Following the destruction of the Tau Volantis Moon and their subsequent fall onto the planet below, Isaac Clarke and John Carver reawoke in a frozen crevice. Upon reaching the surface, the two men noticed the fallen Moon out on the horizon of Tau Volantis. Isaac believed that after the Moon's destruction, the Marker signal would cease and there would not be any more Necromorphs. When Isaac and Carver reached the nearest Suit Kiosk and Bench, they suffered from a brief vision from the Brethren Moons, realizing that the Necromorphs are still active.
The remaining Unitologist soldiers on Tau Volantis started to lose faith when the Moon was destroyed, believing that there would be no Convergence or rebirth, only death. However, a Unitologist fanatic heard a "Voice" from the awakened Brethren Moons, saying: "We are coming. We are hungry."
As his faith in Unitology was reaffirmed, the Circle member began to gather all of the remaining Unitologists into orbit, indicting them into his new cult of mutilation and sacrifice. Only a few Unitologists resisted, either mentally broken by the Moon's signal (Chanting the mantra, "They are hungry. They are coming.") or outright attempting to resist and escape from their insane, former brethren.
Isaac and Carver reached the Terra Nova and they are subjected to the painful visions of the Brethren Moons. Isaac who was suspecting that they are being manipulated into taking the ship back to Earth so the Moons could follow them there decided to destroy the ShockPoint Drive and trap them at Tau Volantis forever. Carver who was determined to recover the drive and return and seeing Isaac's growing paranoia threatened him.
The pair fought the Cult Leader after a tense hallucinatory confrontation by discovering upon his defeat that the Moons knew where Earth was and they turned Carver and Isaac against each other to prevent them from warning Earth in time. Knowing that they had little time, Isaac and Carver installed the salvaged ShockPoint Drive on the Terra Nova and they overloaded the ancient reactor of the ship to power it up by shocking out just before the ship broke down entirely.
Arriving at Earth, Isaac and Carver tried to contact the authorities (EarthGov and CEC) through several channels to relay their warning. Each reponse was met with static. After several tries, a transmission broke through: The gurgles and snarls of many Necromorphs. The duo are shocked to see the Brethren Moons rising from the other side of Earth as they are already scouring the surface of the Earth with their tentacles. A Brethren Moon suddenly appears in front of the Terra Nova and the scene ended, leaving their fate unclear.
Appearance and Behavior
- "The Earth draws near. Even now we can feel it. Teeming with life. Teeming with Markers. From each world we devour, a new brother will rise and be made whole. Our network will grow and we will live forever."
- —The Brethren Moon about their nature.
The Brethren Moons are colossal Necromorphs and they are far larger than any other form that was previously encountered. The surface acted as a protective casing by concealing a writhing mass of tentacles that could reach thousands of miles in length. Within the midst of the tentacles, a circular maw that was capable of ingesting the massive quantities of the matter laid. Hanging at the entrance of the mouth was an irregular mass of tissue that was consisting of multiple eyes, tentacles, a fang-lined slit and a circular sucking mouth. This "Head" was capable of interacting with the smaller objects that are about to be ingested by breaking the raw materials down and engaging any stubborn living prey. It also had another far larger "Head" which was located at approximately the front and center of the organic portions of the Moon. This head had two colossal yellow eyes and two long and pointy protrusions on either side that resembled the lateral horns of a rhinoceros beetle.
The research notes from Dr. Serrano speculated that the Moons are drawn to the species that grew and spread throughout the galaxy and they became overpopulated and starved of resources. He speculated that this was how they discovered the Alien race of Tau Volantis who are an empire that was trillions strong once. However, the aliens are resourceful and they froze the entire planet with the Machine at the cost of their own lives.
This theory was backed up by the limitless energy that the Markers radiated by encouraging the species with a desperate need for resources and energy to focus on building more Markers across their systems. This would make the species less able to enact the quarantines effectively.
The Moons are sentient organisms and they are able to communicate via a form of telepathic signal as it was with Isaac and Carver. They are also capable of causing the hallucinations by using their telepathic abilities. During the hallucinations where they spoke to Isaac and Carver through their "Prophet" which was The Cult Leader, they displayed a kind of Hive Mind mentality by referring to themselves in the plural. The Moons appeared to regard themselves as invincible, omnipotent and divine by referring to themselves collectively as a "God". The Brethren Moons also seemed to speak rather politely and calmly which was a strong contrast to their general nature. They seemed to lack any empathy as they did not appear to be saddened or angered by the death of their own kind, but they showed frustration and anger toward Isaac after he defeated their Prophet.
- Like in Dead Space, Dead Space (Mobile) and Dead Space: Extraction, the first letters of each chapter of Dead Space 3 spelt a phrase. This such phrase in Dead Space 3 is "BROTHER MOONS ARE AWAKE" which suggests that the chain of the Brethren Moons are awake despite the destruction of Tau Volantis' Moon as it was confirmed in Awakened.
- The Hive Mind and the Nexus are thought to be the conduits for the Necromorphs by channeling the Marker's signal through them and acting as the ground commanders. However, the larger and more powerful Necromorphs are commanded by the Brethren Moon that was stationed above Tau Volantis.
- The Brethren Moons are the largest Necromorphs in the Dead Space series this far.
- There are 11 known existing Brethren Moons including the Tau Volantis Moon.
- The Moons are a clear reference to Lovecraftian Horror: a monstrous, intelligent and devouring godlike entity that seemingly could not be stopped by the protagonist alone.
- They especially showed the striking similarities to Yog-Sothoth which was an Outer God in the Cthulhu mythos that appeared as 7 glowing spheres and as a mass of writhing tentacles.
- The hints at the Moon network's existence featured prominently in Dead Space 2 especially in the architecture and artwork that was found in the Church of Unitology on Titan Station and in the certain audio logs toward the end of the game. Some dialogue such as Nicole saying, "I am growing cold. Isaac. It hurts." could be the foreshadowing of the Tau Volantis Moon having been frozen by the Alien Machine by taunting Isaac through the Site 12 Marker's signal.
- In the first Dead Space, as Isaac's dementia starts to worsen, one of the dementia-induced voices that can be heard says, "Ice held us," possibly as hinting at the existence of the Tau Volantis Moon.
- The Brethren Moons shared the similarities with Atropus of the D&D franchise as well as the Reapers of the Mass Effect franchise and the Graveminds of the Halo franchise.
- In Chapter 10 of Dead Space, on the Ishimura's Crew Deck, there was a poster for a movie titled "Rancid Moon" which showed a James Bond-like protagonist being chased by a group of shadowy and tool-armed figures across the surface of the moon. This may or may not foreshadow the Brother Moon's appearance.
- In Dead Space 2, at the very beginning of Chapter 2, on the escalator, there is a writing referencing the Brethren Moons.