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"Who wouldn't be moved by the stoic Markoff struggling on the verge of tears during [Altman]'s eulogy?"
—An account from a former Unitologist.[1]

Craig Markoff was a former military officer of the Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces who was a key component in the initial extraction of the Black Marker in 2214.

After the Necromorph outbreak in the floating facility that resulted in the loss of control over the project, Markoff was responsible for setting in motion the formation of the Church of Unitology alongside one of the surviving scientists, Stevens.[1]

Biography[]

Black Marker 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[2]

As an influential member of the military, Craig Markoff led the initial efforts to unearth the Black Marker after its discovery in the Chicxulub crater with the help of the mining corporation known as DredgerCorp. When the Black Marker was brought to the floating facility above the crater, Markoff took it upon himself to oversee any scientific curiosity piqued by the artifact, eventually spearheading the researchers' efforts to harness the Marker's seemingly limitless energy.[2]

During this initial project, however, one of the scientists, a geophysicist named Michael Altman, escaped the facility and revealed the Black Marker's existence to the world against the government's wishes.[3] Altman was eventually captured and brought back to the floating facility by Markoff, shortly before a Necromorph outbreak commenced. This outbreak culminated in the facility and the Marker being sunk, as well as Markoff seemingly losing control over the project he had worked so hard to keep for himself. In the aftermath of the disaster, Markoff decided to conspire with another scientist, a trusted psychologist named Stevens, to murder Altman and publicly declare his martyrdom, using Altman's name to get the public to found a new religion: the Church of Unitology.[1]

While Stevens was a genuine believer in this new religion and the divinity of the Marker's plan, it is unknown if Markoff truly had faith as well or if he merely intended to exact revenge on Altman and help create the Church in order to acquire power for himself.[4]

Founding Unitology[]

"Even when Altman was forced into hiding, allegedly for fear of government retaliation, his acolytes Stevens and Markoff risked everything to bring his word into the light. His books sold out within hours. Millions flocked to conferences where we were taught the greater truths of the Marker. We stared in awe at the evidence of this alien artifact that would change everything. And we did whatever Altman, through his acolytes, told us to. We rallied against the government whose oppression kept our prophet from us. We joined together in congregations to share his word. And we prepared ourselves for the future he said was coming. Where were you when Michael Altman was assassinated by our government? It's the question of our generation, I suppose. It's certainly the day when everything changed for me... and the world. [...] The martyring of the scientist-turned-savior Michael Altman begat fanatical zealots, and I was one of them. Who wouldn't be outraged by the images of his broken, brutalized body, as if a clean death wasn't enough? Who wouldn't be moved by the stoic Markoff struggling on the verge of tears during his eulogy? In those terrible days, we birthed and maintained the tenets of a new religion, known now as the Church of Unitology. I was only a follower, but I was suddenly part of the biggest social movement in history. The riots that followed and the crippling of our government on colony after colony made me realize we finally had the power to change things."
—A former Unitologist's account of the Church's founding.[1]

Despite the rest of the government's efforts to cover up the entire Black Marker disaster,[2] Stevens and Markoff proceeded with their plan after murdering Altman, publicly posing as his "acolytes", and revealing only information about the Marker that would garner followers and get the public to share their faith. Markoff would later appear to be on the verge of tears during Altman's eulogy.[1]

Death[]

At old age, Markoff suffered from dementia and, just before his death, he revealed to his attendants the truth about the founding of Unitology and Altman's murder by Stevens and himself. This revelation was then written into the "Gospel of Markoff", and was kept alive over the following centuries by certain individuals who are deemed to be "heretics" by the rest of the Church, which banishes and punishes anyone who is suspected of possessing or believing in the "Gospel of Markoff".[4]

Sources[]

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