|“||Markoff's ruthless. He thinks of everything as a potential weapon. Even people. He's a very dangerous man.||”|
Craig Markoff, sometimes referred to as The Colonel, was an influential member of the military and a key component in the extraction of the Black Marker. He is described as having a grey pompadour haircut, slightly longer than military standard, combed back and gelled in place. He was an imposing figure with a square-cut jaw and ice-blue eyes.
There is nothing particularly remarkable about this man for a reason. At the time of the Black Marker's discovery, Craig Markoff was a Government-appointed front for DredgerCorp Chicxulub, a semi-secret branch of an already shady and controversial mining corporation that had been hastily set up upon the realisation of anomalous activity in the Chicxulub Crater region.
During this time, Markoff took it upon himself to any scientific curiosity piqued by the odd occurrences later revealed to be caused by the Marker. In doing so he met Michael Altman, a geophysicist working at a small research station in Puerto Chicxulub, a small coastal town on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Having already found out that Altman was responsible for seeding concern for the oddities being related to the Crater, Markoff strongarmed the geophysicist into joining the Government staff Markoff was assembling for the extraction and study of the Marker, effectively removing Altman from the outside community whence he could arouse further suspicion.
Whilst on the floating research station in the Gulf of Mexico, Altman became less of a liability and more of a valuable member of Markoff's crew, being evidenced by Altman's appointment to lead several submarine missions to study the Marker prior to its extraction. Eventually, the Marker was extracted via a large metallic net anchored by several submarines, after it had been separated from the bedrock by robotic dredgers.
Shortly thereafter, non-essential staff — anyone not part of Markoff's special teams — were hustled off the complex and back to DredgerCorp Chicxulub's headquarters where they could be watched until the project's completion. Altman and his girlfriend Ada were some of those shipped back. However, with relatively little effort, they were able to escape the base's sloppy security, at which point Altman and his girlfriend flew to Washington D.C. where Altman was able to arrange a press conference in which he revealed video of the Marker he had obtained whilst on the station, and called out the Government's involvement in the suppression of public awareness.
After the news had reached Markoff and his inner-circle, the Government group hastily traveled to D.C. where they intercepted Altman and Ada in their hotel room. After a brief interrogation, he and his girlfriend were sedated and brought back to the compound, where Altman was tortured by Krax, one of Markoff's inner-circle, for seemingly no reason other than revenge. At the request of Stevens, another of Markoff's men, and the crew's ranking psychologist, Altman was released with the intention of making use of the imprisoned scientist.
During this time, religious fervor was spreading through the station's sparser personnel, as those who held the Marker in religious light clashed with security, to the point that a riot broke loose in which several people were killed. But the team stayed intact enough for a compilation of ideas to lead to the deciphering of the Marker's symbols as a DNA code sequence, at which point they endeavoured to replicate it. A German biologist, Dr. Grote Guthe, was able to do so, but in an hallucination injected himself with the biomasse he had created. After realising what he had done, he stumbled to the Marker for protection, which inhibited the spread of his infection. Before he could explain what happened, however, Krax stormed into the room and shot the doctor in the head.
Not long after, there was an outbreak of infection in which corpses were transformed into monstrous marauders, combing the complex for life. Altman was able to escape back to shore where he procured some primitive weapons and reluctantly returned to the floating station. There he found that there was at least one survivor, Harmon, who had allowed Altman into the Marker bay so that he could obtain evidence of its existence earlier in the story. He enlisted his help in getting back to the Marker, where Altman replicated the Marker's code on paper, seemingly calming it. He and the hallucinating Harmon escaped via a small motorboat, at which point Altman flooded the station, sinking it to the bottom of the gulf.
Unfortunately, before they could reach the shore, Harmon realised Altman was not a believer and hit him in the head with an anchor knocking him unconscious. When Altman awoke, he found himself restrained in a facility with Markoff, Stevens and Krax. The three then revealed their religious belief in the Marker's life-creating nature and the conclusion that it is divine. Markoff assured Altman that he had aided in their understanding of it. They intended to replicate the Marker and share it with the public. Only they would reveal little bits of information in order to keep attention and devotion to the cause whilst they worked on doing so. They would Kill Altman and spread the word of his devotion to the Marker through religious texts and lore. Altman would become the leader of the movement he worked so hard to destroy.
- Dead Space: Martyr, page ???