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"We are whole. You will know. You will see. Like we see you."
—Marker 3A to Isaac Clarke.[1]
Marker on AEGIS VII (2)

Marker 3A on its pedestal on Aegis VII.

Marker 3A was a Red Marker created at the end of the 23rd century by the Sovereign Colonies.[2][3] It was placed on Aegis VII for experimentation purposes where it was abandoned following a Necromorph outbreak. Two hundred years later, it was accidentally unearthed by the CEC and recovered by the USG Ishimura, causing another outbreak.

After successfully imprinting Isaac Clarke's mind with its self-replicating signal and the knowledge to build more Markers,[4] Marker 3A was destroyed as the tectonic load extracted by the Ishimura crashed into Aegis VII, although shards of it survived the incident.

History[]

The First Aegis VII Incident[]

"Generations after the Black Marker disaster, Mankind found himself going extinct from lack of resources. Desperate, he sought to replicate the Black Marker, in an attempt to harness its limitless energies for himself. The records of this era are unclear, but we now know the replication was successful, but the cost too high. The Marker copies were all buried, hidden in secret places across the universe, where, to all our benefit, they might have stayed."
Ellie Langford[5]
Red markers

The Black Marker and the three Red Markers shown during a SCAF briefing.

In the decades following the discovery of the Black Marker in 2214 on Earth, the Sovereign Colonies government began researching the extent of its capabilities and structure in the hopes of using it to discover a source of renewable energy, thus solving humanity's ongoing resource crisis. Eighty years after the Black Marker was first exhumed, the artifact was successfully reverse-engineered with at least three copies of it being created, which were sent to three remote planets: Kreemar, Aspera and Aegis VII;[6] the copy sent to Aegis VII was called Marker 3A.

Although the Red Markers were built by the SCAF scientists, their creation was more accurately described as "growing" the artifacts using the replication data from the Black Marker, and they remained just as mysterious as the original alien artifact.[7] Upon activation, the science teams began to study the Marker signal in the hopes of understanding it, determining that the Markers were not actually creating the signal but were instead receiving it from somewhere in deep space and re-broadcasting it.[3] It was also noted that the Markers on Aegis VII, Aspera and Kreemar demonstrated accurate triangulation and could communicate with each other to act as one regardless of light-years of distance.[6][8]

DSR Red Marker Pedestal

The Marker's pedestal on Aegis VII, which allowed it to amplify its signal.

Eventually, the Red Markers triggered Necromorph outbreaks on their respective planets, all in unison.[6] On Aegis VII, the outbreak resulted in the formation of "The Hive Mind" - a Nexus Necromorph form, which acted as a conduit between the Marker and the smaller creatures. The Marker maintained this connection through a signal-amplifying pedestal, which allowed it to relay orders to the Hive Mind and thus the rest of the Necromorphs.[9][10]

Despite the Necromorph outbreak, Marker 3A was unable to kill and absorb the bodies of its "makers", either due to their absence on Aegis VII entirely or due to their escape from the planet.[4][11] Fully aware of the danger of the Markers, the Sovereign Colonies eventually prohibited all travel to the Aegis system, burying the records of the experiment as well those of Aspera and Kreemar.[12] However, despite the purge of Marker-related data, the Sovereign Colonies' successor, the Earth Government Colonial Alliance, was at some point able to recover information which pointed to Marker 3A's presence in the system.[13]

The Second Aegis VII Incident[]

"When the miners found the artifact, they reported hallucinations, paranoia, suicides... But the Ishimura brought this 'Marker' on board anyway. Like that was the plan."
Kendra Daniels
DSR Aegis VII Marker Recording

A recording of the Marker after being found by the colonists.

Accidentally uncovered by an illegal CEC mining colony on Aegis VII in 2508, Marker 3A was hailed among some colonists as proof of Unitology's credibility and the Church was quickly notified of its discovery, prompting preparations for its safe retrieval. Immediately upon finding the artifact, however, cases of insomnia, depression and dementia began occurring as the Marker initiated the first phase of a new outbreak. Three weeks afterwards, a significant portion of the colony's residents had been affected by the Marker's influence, with cases of paranoid and homicidal actions being reported.

With the increasing cases of depression and violence since the Marker's discovery, the Unitologist engineer Deakin Abbott began conducting sermons in the colony's Union Square, preaching that the Marker was giving the colonists "thoughts of death" and "realizations that [their] material lives are unimportant" as a way to prepare them for what was coming: their ascension to the "next life". Despite the agitation, the colony's manager, Hanford Carthusia, overrode P-Sec protests and prepared to bring the artifact inside the colony. As the extraction team prepared to remove the Marker from its pedestal, it emitted a red light and released a burst of energy. Interpreting this burst as "the voice of God", fifty Unitologists led by Deakin Abbott committed mass suicide in Union Square, and in a similar event of insanity, an extraction team engineer killed his entire team while hallucinating that he was being attacked.

Dead-space-extraction--20090505021357249 640w

The extraction team prepares to transport the Marker into the colony to be brought up to the USG Ishimura.

The USG Ishimura arrived at Aegis VII soon afterwards; having been notified of the Marker's discovery, the Church of Unitology used its vast influence within the CEC to post several high-ranking believers in key positions on the ship in order to secure the Marker. On the orders of the Unitologist Captain Benjamin Mathius, the Marker was brought up from the colony and a no-fly order was implemented between the planet and the ship.

At the same time, the Corruption had begun filling the ventilation systems of the colony and the Ishimura. While these growths were spotted and reported by several colonists and crew members, planet crack was to commence days later as normal. Upon initiating the planet crack, a blackout occurred throughout the entire colony. Panic immediately ensued and people started being slaughtered by the newly-created Necromorphs rising from the deceased colonists' bodies, with the outbreak quickly spreading to the orbiting Ishimura. The Hive Mind, having been awakened from its slumber by the Marker, began commanding its Necromorph hordes; however, without the artifact on its pedestal, the two were unable to coordinate.[10][14]

With most of the security officers on the Ishimura killed by the infection, organized resistance began to disintegrate rapidly. Eventually, survivors started rallying on the Mining Deck, where the ship's miners had begun to set up traps for the Necromorphs. However, this bastion collapsed from within in large part due to hallucinations and madness triggered by the Marker, which led the miners to turn against each other.[15]

Convergence Stalled[]

"If not the makers, then an architect will come. Time is patience, when fate is inevitable."
—Marker 3A speaking through "Octavia Clarke" to Nicole Brennan.[4]
DSR Mercer Make us Whole

Challus Mercer begs the Marker to initiate a Convergence Event, to no avail.

In his efforts to transcend death, the Unitologist doctor Challus Mercer sought to communicate with the Marker and attempt to understand what it would take for it to initiate a Convergence Event. Following an experiment on a Marker-touched patient from Aegis VII, Brant Harris, Mercer successfully learned to speak to the Marker through its hallucinations and asked it about Convergence, to which the artifact responded that "the makers must be absorbed".[11] Unable to understand what the Marker meant by this, Mercer began desperately experimenting with the Necromorphs in an attempt to bring about Convergence, eventually creating the Hunter.

Following Mercer's research, Nicole Brennan attempted to negotiate with the Marker and plead with it to bring an end to the outbreak. Through a hallucination of the deceased Octavia Clarke, the Marker told Nicole that she must bring "the makers" to it so it could initiate Convergence, and when she made it clear that the artifact's creators could not be found, the Marker instructed her to return it to its pedestal on the planet instead, stating that "if not the makers, then an architect will come".[4]

Uniting with Isaac Clarke[]

"We return the Marker to its pedestal. [...] The Hive Mind will obey. We'll be whole again... and you and I can be together."
—Marker 3A speaking through "Nicole" to Isaac Clarke.[16]

Due to the absence of its makers preventing Convergence from beginning, the Marker instead sought to implant its form in any suitable host it could find in order to reproduce and spread new Markers.[4] It eventually targeted Dr. Terrence Kyne, who had just sabotaged the ship's engines in an attempt to combat the spread of the infection. The Marker spoke to the doctor through a hallucination of his deceased wife, Amelia Kyne, pushing him into a delusional state and manipulating him into deciding to return the Marker to its pedestal as it promised to calm the Hive Mind, keeping Kyne unaware of the artifact's true intentions of merging with his mind.[10] After the USG Kellion arrived at the Ishimura, the Marker seemingly encouraged Kyne to request the assistance of one of the Kellion's crew, a CEC engineer named Isaac Clarke, as scrawlings could be found in the doctor's hideout stating: "She's right! He can help us!".

DSR Marker Mercer Unitologists Prayer

Mercer leads a group of Unitologists in prayer in front of the Marker.

DSR Launch Trailer Marker

The Marker after being brought to the Crew Deck by the surviving Unitologists.

While Kyne attempted to contact Isaac, the Marker was taken from the cargo bay to the Ishimura's crew deck by the surviving Unitologist crew members, as Challus Mercer unsuccessfully continued his efforts to make it initiate Convergence, even forcefully recruiting the engineer Jacob Temple and ordering him to "build something" for the Marker,[17] likely theorizing that this would make Temple a "maker" for the artifact.

Eventually, Kyne met Isaac Clarke in person and showed him a video of the Hive Mind emerging, explaining to the engineer his plan to return the Marker. During their encounters, Isaac witnessed Kyne conversing with the Marker's apparition of Amelia, muttering that soon they would be "whole", but he nonetheless agreed to help the doctor. The two then attempted to load the Marker onto the Executive Shuttle, but a massive tentacle dragged the artifact back to the cargo bay. Isaac made his way there and managed to retrieve it before finally bringing it to the shuttle.

After loading the Marker, Kyne was shot by Kendra Daniels, who stole the shuttle and the artifact, revealing herself to be an EarthGov agent sent to retrieve the Marker and cover up the incident. She contacted Isaac, stating that she had seen how the Marker manipulated people's brains, and how she believed the government would contain it and not allow it to have anyone else be its puppet.

However, with the help of Dr. Elizabeth Cross - whom Isaac perceived as his girlfriend Nicole Brennan thanks to the Marker's influence - the engineer was able to remote pilot the shuttle back to the Ishimura. Isaac and Cross then boarded the shuttle, with the latter seeing Isaac as her boyfriend, Jacob Temple. Upon landing on Aegis VII, "Nicole" explained to Isaac that the Marker needed to be returned to its pedestal, revealing to him that the pedestal was an amplifier for the Marker signal. This would allow the Marker to reestablish its connection to the Hive Mind as well as make Isaac and Cross "see what can't be forgotten", fulfilling its goals of turning the two of them into "architects" who would go on to spread its blueprints and knowledge.

DSR Marker Blast

Isaac's mind is imprinted with the Marker's self-replicating mental blueprint after it is reunited with the pedestal.

Instructed by "Nicole" and protected from the Necromorphs by the dead space surrounding the Marker, Isaac guided it through the colony and returned it to the excavation site. After it was reunited with its pedestal, "Nicole" appeared once again, declaring that they were "whole" as the Marker emitted a powerful shockwave, imprinting its shape and form into Isaac and Cross's brains, and causing Isaac to collapse for a brief moment. A second, more powerful pulse caused the gravity tethers holding the continent-sized mass of material extracted by the Ishimura to start shutting down, sending the tectonic load plummeting back onto Aegis VII.

Isaac quickly attempted to restart the tethers only for Kendra to return and confront him, revealing the truth: Isaac was just as insane as Kyne, and what he thought had been Nicole was in fact Dr. Cross, the two of them being puppets in the Marker's plans. Kendra then fatally shot Cross, telling Isaac that it was better this way as the two would never recover from what the Marker had done to their minds.[16]

DSR Isaac and Kendra Truth

Kendra Daniels confronts Isaac about his manipulation by the Marker.

After killing Cross, Kendra took the Marker back to the shuttle, declaring that it would be in "safe hands" with EarthGov. However, the Hive Mind, once again disconnected from the Marker's orders,[14] soon emerged and ambushed Kendra, killing her before turning its attention to Isaac, who then defeated the creature and escaped on the shuttle while the Marker remained on Aegis VII. It was obliterated when the tectonic load fell back to the planet with a cataclysmic impact, and immediately upon its destruction, all of the Necromorphs on the Ishimura dissolved into a soupy sludge-like material.[18]

However, Marker 3A was not completely destroyed and many shards of it were left seemingly inactive on the ruins of Aegis VII,[19] while several more pieces managed to break through the planet's atmosphere and embed themselves into the hull of the Ishimura, which was thrown out of orbit following the impact and was sent off to drift aimlessly into the far off reaches of space.[20]

Legacy[]

"A key survivor of that incident was an engineer named Isaac Clarke. That Marker spoke to him and left him with a gift: a mental blueprint of the Marker itself."
Ellie Langford[5]
DSR Reunion

Isaac succumbs to the signal in his brain and promises to build "a little something" for "Nicole".

The Marker was successful in imprinting its self-replicating signal into Isaac's brain, and the engineer soon began seeing decrepit and bloody visions of Nicole, with the Marker's control over his mind quickly spreading over time in order to compel him to fulfill his role as an "architect" and build replicas.[21] Isaac was eventually found in a crazed state on the escape shuttle by EarthGov before being confined to a psych ward on Titan Station, where the doctors noted his obsessive repetition of phrases related to Marker replication, and that he vacillated between mourning Nicole's death and believing that she needed his assistance.[22]

After the USG O'Bannon was sent to Aegis VII in search of Marker evidence, one of its shards was found and thoroughly examined by Nolan Stross, a scientist on the O'Bannon who became affected by it to such an extent that he was tricked into starting a Necromorph outbreak via his experiments. This shard was eventually destroyed by being thrown into the O'Bannon's reactor core, bringing an end to the infestation.[19] A similar incident occurred on the drifting USG Ishimura after it was found by an illegal salvage group called the Magpies, who recovered and reactivated the Marker shards that had been embedded in the ship's hull, forcing the Earth Defense Force to contain the outbreak as they attempted to take control of the Ishimura.[20]

DS2 Isaac vs Marker Nicole

Isaac attempts to free himself from the Marker's influence over his mind on Titan Station.

On Titan Station, Isaac Clarke and his Marker-touched mind were subjected to research by EarthGov as part of Project Telomere alongside Nolan Stross and several other patients. Through the use of the Noonlight Diagnostics Machine, the Marker blueprints and formulas inside Isaac were extracted by Director Hans Tiedemann, and Isaac and Stross were used to build the gigantic Site 12 Marker. In order to keep the Marker's influence in Isaac's brain under control, memory suppressants were administered in between each session; however, the signal quickly began to retake his mind as he recovered from the drugs after awakening amidst a new Necromorph outbreak in 2511.

Marker 3A's actions also left Isaac as a target for the Unitologists under Daina Le Guin, who attempted to capture the engineer in order to have him construct Markers for the Church and "spread glorious Convergence to the entire galaxy".[23]

Trivia[]

Dead_Space_-_Ambience_ASMR_-_Marker_-_USG_Ishimura,_Central_Nexus

Dead Space - Ambience ASMR - Marker - USG Ishimura, Central Nexus

The blurry screen effect when looking at the Marker in the remake.

DSR Marker 3A Messages

Isaac seeing messages written in Marker symbols on the screens after meeting up with "Nicole".

  • Whenever Isaac approaches Marker 3A, it can be heard emitting what sounds like several people chanting in Latin: "Sumus hic in morte; noster sanctus est" which would approximately mean, "We are here in death; it is our saint".[24] Additionally, in the remake, approaching it will cause the screen to become blurry and the Marker to start glowing brighter.
    • During the scene where Dr. Mercer and several Unitologists bring the Marker onto the Crew Deck in the remake, they can also be heard chanting "Sumus hic in morte; noster sanctus est".[25]
  • In the remake, the Marker's whispers differ depending on the area that Isaac is in and can be uttered by Isaac's fallen crew members. A full list of these whispers can be found in this article.
  • Due to the Marker signal, monitors on the Ishimura can sometimes become "possessed," flashing red and displaying Marker symbols.
DSR Marker Fragments Table

The table with all Marker Fragments placed.

  • In the remake, if Isaac collects all 12 Marker Fragments scattered throughout the Ishimura and places them on the ritual table in Captain Mathius' room, his dialogue will change towards the end of the game to more openly show his descent into madness as he succumbs to the Marker's influence. When retrieving the Marker from the cargo bay, Isaac will say, "Good. The Marker's okay. It's... whole." He will also tell Kendra that she cannot take the Marker as she does not understand it like he does, and when facing the Hive Mind, Isaac will tell the creature that "It showed me what I have to do! You can't stop me!" The game's secret ending will then play after escaping the planet, with a demented Isaac having covered the interior of the shuttle with Marker symbols and telling "Nicole" that he plans to build a Marker for her.[1]
    • The act of collecting small Marker replicas and placing them on their altar is analogous to Isaac's role in the story of transporting the Marker to its pedestal in order to become its "vessel".

Quotes[]

"She knew what was necessary. She offered everything she had, for everything we could give. Do you want to know what she knew, at the end? Bring the makers, and we will make you both whole again."
—Marker 3A to Nicole Brennan about Octavia Clarke's murder-suicide.[4]
"Those who create must seed Convergence. She can't end what hasn't begun. Then, she'll return what was taken. Return the Marker to its place, return the nexus to its sleep. If not the makers, then an architect will come. Time is patience, when fate is inevitable."
—Marker 3A reveals its plan to Nicole after she explains that its "makers" cannot be found.[4]
"It doesn't matter. She can't escape her fate. But who can?"
—Marker 3A speaking through a vision of "Nicole" after Kendra left via escape pod.
"If you're not ready, a miracle must be as terrifying as a nightmare... The planet is restless. Hungry. It'll try to eat us alive. But we have the Marker. We'll put things back the way they were. We will be whole again..."
—Marker 3A to Isaac as he flew the shuttle to Aegis VII.
"We return the Marker to its pedestal. The loading track leads directly to the excavation site. It'll work. The Hive Mind will obey. We'll be whole again... and you and I can be together."
—Marker 3A to Isaac after landing on Aegis VII.
Marker 3A: "The Marker's signal changes us. Recombines us. But there's a dead space in that signal, around the Marker itself. The eye of the storm. They can't stay in it for long."
Isaac: "I've seen it. But this pedestal - why there?"
Marker 3A: "It amplifies. The Marker's pulse will be felt across the planet. The dead will sleep. And the living will see what can't be forgotten."
—The Marker explains its intentions to Isaac.
Marker 3A: "Do you miss them, Isaac?"
Isaac: "The Kellion team? Yeah."
Marker 3A: "Medical emptied day by day. My friends left, came back in body bags - then came back. You wonder... is it insanity if everyone else sees what you see?"
Isaac: "I'd never have left you in that place. You know that."
Marker 3A: "It was my one bright, shining star in that darkness. "Isaac will find me.""
—Conversation between the Marker and Isaac (Nicole's side quest not completed).
Marker 3A: "Do you miss them, Isaac?"
Isaac: "The Kellion team? Yeah."
Marker 3A: "And your parents? Your mother was a Unitologist. She believed."
Isaac: "She believed so much it killed her. Is this what she would have wanted?"
Marker 3A: "If she did, would that make this easier?"
Isaac: "Maybe it's a good thing I'll never know."
—Conversation between the Marker and Isaac (Nicole's side quest completed).
Marker 3A: "Do you miss them, Isaac?"
Isaac: "The Kellion team? Yeah."
Marker 3A: "They think they're dead. What do you think?"
Isaac: "The Marker saw who they really were. It'll remember them."
—Conversation between the Marker and Isaac (all 12 Marker Fragments collected).
"Thank you, Isaac. I always believed in you. We're whole again. We are whole."
—The Marker imprints itself onto Isaac's brain after being reunited with its pedestal.
Marker 3A: "The Ishimura really was a great ship."
Isaac: "Yeah, we were lucky to see her in her prime."
Marker 3A: "Are we going home, Isaac? There's so much work to do..."
Isaac: "Soon, I promise. Gotta build a little something first."
Marker 3A: "For me? What is it?"
Isaac: "It's a surprise, sweetie. But I think you're gonna like it."
—A demented Isaac talks to the Marker's implanted signal after his escape (all 12 Marker Fragments collected).

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