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Give yourself to the Marker, be armored in its words, and make the brethren whole again.[1]
DSR Marker Emblem

Markers are enigmatic double-helix shaped obelisks of extraterrestrial origin. The purpose of these objects is to reproduce through intelligent civilizations and generate Necromorph outbreaks until a Convergence Event is triggered, finally forming a Brethren Moon.

Markers possess their own language in the form of symbols which they use to communicate.

Types and Origin[]

DSR Marker 3A Pedestal Render

The Red Marker known as "Marker 3A" on Aegis VII.

"Dead or living, we all feel the Marker's true purpose."
—Dr. Challus Mercer[2]

Two types of Markers are known to exist: Black Markers and Red Markers. Black Markers originate from extra planetary sources, traveling through space until they impact a planet. Red Markers are copies of Black Markers, created by intelligent civilizations.[3] Despite their cosmetic differences, both types of Markers are identical in function - receiving and re-broadcasting the same signal - although Red Markers require the death of their makers and subsequent absorption of their bodies to complete a Convergence Event.[4][5]

The shape of all Markers echoes the strands of a DNA helix and reflects their ultimate goal of "unity after death", represented by the two spires twisting around each other upwards to become one.[6]

Signal[]

"The Marker signal doesn't just reanimate the dead. It manipulates us into spreading the Markers. And now we too have been unwittingly spreading this galactic virus from planet to planet. The propagation of our species has only served to create a source of food and the means of finding it for these moon-sized entities."
—Dr. Earl Serrano[7]
Deadspace3-2013-03-12-22-57-31-95

The Brethren Moon network as seen in Isaac Clarke's hallucinations.

By design, all Markers emit the same highly concentrated electromagnetic signal which is capable of affecting both dead and living matter.[8] It is believed that the ultimate source of the signal is the Brethren Moons, with the Markers receiving the Moons' "master signal" via carrier wave and re-broadcasting it.[9][10] Through this carrier wave, the Markers can communicate with each other across incredible distances, as was observed when the Red Markers on Aegis VII, Aspera and Kreemar were able to coordinate and act as one despite being separated by several thousand light-years of distance.[11][12]

0224 ui proj marker 2a

A Marker firing a powerful pulse as seen in a SCAF recording.

The Marker signal is also known to cause interference with advanced technologies such as communications equipment, and will manifest a powerful EMP blast whenever the Marker goes through an extreme state change.[3] Though all Markers contain the same properties no matter their form, the intensity of the signal and its pulses appears to correlate with the size of the Marker and can be strengthened by certain catalysts, such as by augmenting the Marker with a signal-amplifying pedestal - as was the case with Marker 3A[13] - or even through contact with individuals whose brains are highly compatible with the signal.[11]

Intelligence[]

"Oh god. I can see... The Marker's codes! It's been trying to show me... They're hungry. They're coming. They'll make us whole. Doctor. I see it now. The Marker speaks... and we can answer..."
Brant Harris.[14]
DSR We Are Whole

Through their pulses, Markers are able to manipulate the dead into other forms and rewire the brains of the living.

The Markers display a sentient ability to control what they transmit through the signal as well as shift their pulse vectors, leading to different effects depending on what is being broadcast at the time;[11] this sentience appears to be the result of the Brethren Moons manifesting some form of their consciousness through the Marker signal and thus the artifacts themselves,[15] even when the Moons themselves are in hibernation. The Markers' "consciousness" is more clearly perceived by living beings who possess a higher intelligence[16][17] or more compatible DNA with the signal,[11] allowing them to better "understand" the Markers, which in turn develop a special interest in these individuals for their ability to "see" and carry Marker knowledge in their brains.[11][15]

DSR Marker Surface Close-up

A close-up of a Marker's surface adorned with symbols - the Markers' "language".

Though the goal of the Markers and the Brethren Moons is ultimately that of reproduction, they appear to regard their existence and goal as divine and inevitable[5] and their status as that of a "God", along with referring to the Convergence of a species as their "ascension".[18] Additionally, they display a seemingly religious reverence for death, with worshipful chants being emitted[19] and religious messages about embracing death being transmitted through the signal.[20][21]

Dementia, Codes and Blueprints[]

Main article: Marker Dementia
DS3 Carver Marker

John Carver encounters a Red Marker and his dead wife in one of his hallucinations.

When coming into contact with the minds of living beings, the Marker signal is able to manipulate their central nervous system, inducing a form of dementia that manifests itself in different ways.[22] Affected individuals experience hallucinations, in many cases illusions of their loved ones or other people they know, which push them into a delusional state that will have them contributing to the Markers' agenda.[23] Most of those afflicted are simply deemed to be Necromorph fodder by the signal, which will drive the victim into a state of paranoia or even rage, pushing them to carry out homicidal or suicidal actions and thus create corpses for the Necromorphs.[3][17]

DSR Isaac Marker Gift

Marker 3A imprints Isaac Clarke's mind with a self-replicating signal, turning him into a vessel for Marker propagation.

However, for the aforementioned individuals who can more clearly "understand" the Marker, such as in the case of Isaac Clarke, the dementia will instead manifest more complex hallucinations to guide them and imprint specific codes and blueprints in their brains - seeding in them the plans for a new Marker - and compelling them to share this information and build more. The Markers display an apparent obsession with finding these suitable hosts and implanting them with their replication instructions, ensuring that their influence is spread elsewhere.[5]

Necromorphs[]

"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."
Marker 3A speaking through "Nicole Brennan" about the Marker signal and the Necromorphs.[13]
DS Salvage Necromorphs

Various types of Necromorph.

When a Marker pulses, it broadcasts the genetic code of the Necromorph infection out into a given environment, which can trigger changes in the genetic code of deceased beings.[8] Eventually, it will alter dead tissue within range on a cellular level and convert it into Necromorph tissue, finally initiating an outbreak. Typically, in order to ensure that the contagion spreads faster, a specialized creature known as the Infector is created, which has the ability to more quickly infect corpses by injecting Necromorph biomatter directly into the deceased being's brain. All of the Necromorphs are structurally sustained by the Marker's carrier wave and they will fall into an inanimate sludge of DNA should the artifact be destroyed and the signal stop being transmitted.[24][25]

Hive minds

Nexus organisms, also known as "Hive Minds", relay the Markers' directives and serve as Necromorph ground commanders.

While the Markers create the Necromorphs by recombining dead flesh through their signals, the creatures largely behave as little more than animals with an insatiable drive to hunt and gather biomass.[11] However, the Markers can send out general commands through their pulses to a type of Necromorph known as a Nexus or "Hive Mind", large creatures that telepathically control the rest of the Necromorph horde and serve as conduits for the Marker's control signal, receiving and broadcasting its orders to the smaller forms.[26][27][28]

Additionally, the signal creates a dead space around the Marker that keeps the Necromorphs from approaching it; this allows the Marker to protect living beings of interest to its plans by drawing them to its base, where they will be protected from the Necromorphs while their proximity to the Marker ensures that it can easily infect their minds and bend them to its will.[11][13]

Purpose[]

"Do not fear death for it is the ultimate journey. A necessary step to new life. Convergence awaits. Let go, and be made one."
—Marker messages.[20][21]
DS2 Site 12 Marker Base

The gigantic Site 12 Marker after initiating a Convergence Event.

The ultimate purpose of the Markers is to trigger a Convergence Event and create a Brethren Moon. This is achieved by spreading the Necromorph infection, which gathers biomass for Convergence, as well as by transmitting the Markers' replication codes and instructions to compatible individuals, who will then propagate the infection should they survive the current outbreak.

The creation of a Brethren Moon begins with a Black Marker being sent to a hospitable planet. There, the Black Marker emits an electromagnetic signal that appears as a source of limitless energy, and it is believed that this signal may even force a specific species to evolve into sentient beings capable of replicating the Marker.[12][29] Once the dominant species of the planet discovers it, they are compelled by the Black Marker to study and replicate it, creating the first Red Markers. Though the species itself believes this to be for the purpose of creating new energy sources, the true purpose of this replication is to spread the coming infection and limit their ability to quarantine it.[30]

DS3 A Light In The Darkness

A Unitology poster about the Markers' promise.

Eventually, the signal from a Marker causes most of those around it to experience hallucinations and dementia, sending the living into madness. Many become obsessed with protecting the Marker and may even begin to worship it, while others enter a paranoid and delusional state, causing homicidal and suicidal actions. These deaths ultimately pave the way for the next event by creating dead bodies. Those who are more intelligent or possess a more compatible brain, however, may instead be given codes and blueprints for the creation of new Markers.

Once enough corpses have been amassed around a Marker, the signal shifts to begin the next stage; the Necromorph infestation. This contagion's genetic code is written in an alien language on the Markers themselves. The signal reanimates the cells and tissue of all deceased lifeforms within the Marker's area of influence. These dead bodies are then twisted into nightmarish, monstrous creatures that are built for the purpose of killing other living beings and infecting them.

Desktop Screenshot 2023.09.18 - 07.04.35

A Convergence Event in progress.

Once a sufficient amount of biomass has been accumulated, the Necromorphs will gather around the base of a Marker to prepare for the ultimate stage of Convergence. This event can be triggered by a Black Marker or by the Red Markers, although the latter require the absorption of their creators' bodies in order to complete Convergence.[4][5] During this event, several powerful energy bursts are released before the Marker begins to pull every single Necromorph and dead creature into the stratosphere, along with fragments of the planet.

Art of Dead Space - Necromorphs (1)

Brethren Moon variations.

The resulting biological slurry gathers in the stratosphere, merging the necrotic flesh and the rocky fragments to create a Brethren Moon. The Moon then feeds upon any remaining life on the surface of the planet before traveling to other worlds the Markers have affected, where it continues to feed and grow in size. When it is done, it joins its kin in a vast mental network spanning the stars, where it will seemingly fall into a state of torpor: asleep, but at the same time alert for any sign of potential prey.

History[]

"I remember telling my college professor I wanted to study xenoarcheology. He laughed right in my face. "There's nothing to study," he said. "It's all dead space. No alien life exists out in the universe." In a way, I guess he was right. There is no life beyond our system, only a trail of extinction, wrought by the Moons. And now it's right on our doorstep."
—Dr. Earl Serrano[31]
DS3 Tau Volantis Black Marker

The Tau Volantis Black Marker.

When the original Marker or Brethren Moon was created is entirely unknown, but it is known that a Convergence Event has happened many times to countless other civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy alone. The only recorded event prior to humanity's discovery of the Marker occurred when the native species of Tau Volantis discovered a Black Marker of their own millions of years ago, a process which is currently repeating itself with the humans on Earth and other inhabited colonies in space where the man-made Red Markers have spread.

Aliens of Tau Volantis[]

"They must have been trillions-strong before falling to the Markers. And perhaps that is the point. Allow a species to thrive until they are so many in number that they can no longer sustain themselves… then descend upon their worlds to feed."
—Dr. Earl Serrano[32]
The Art of Dead Space Alien Red Marker

The remains of a Tau Volantis native next to one of their Red Markers.

By the year 2311, Tau Volantis, now an ice ball of a planet, had been settled by a military expedition of the Sovereign Colonies. After extensive research, Dr. Earl Serrano discovered the events that had plagued the planet two million years prior: apparently, Tau Volantis was not originally a frozen deathworld, but rather an aquatic planet full of life. Eventually, a sentient alien species evolved and built a rising civilization. The aliens soon found a Black Marker on their planet and discovered its limitless energy. Worshiping it, the aliens created duplicates across the planet to harvest its power.

The aliens were deceived, and the Black Marker and its copies released the Necromorph contagion among their species. Eventually, the infestation reached its limit and activated a Convergence Event, forming the Necromorph Moon from the dead aliens. During the event, several living aliens realized the impending doom of their species and built a machine that would freeze the planet and the Moon, halting Convergence in its tracks. The machine was also built to bring down the Moon, crashing it into the planet to destroy it before it could link with the wider network. However, the alien species died out before this could occur, possibly due to the planet's new climate, though it can be assumed that they were so few in number following the outbreak that they could not repopulate their species and died out as a result.

Since this event, the Moon had been frozen in orbit around the planet, though its mind was fully formed and the creature itself was perfectly aware of what had happened, calling out through the Markers to any species that found them, telling them to "make it whole" and "turn it off", meaning to turn off the machine and resume Convergence.

Humans of Earth[]

"Cannot stop the ideas are coming so fast now I see them so clearly. The abyss gazes into you but it doesn't end there. Observer effect. A child can understand it. When you are seen you change - it's so clear. When you're seen truly you change truly. They know us better than we could ever know ourselves because they shaped us. Our DNA is touched by the Black Marker and is our sacred inheritance! We are the great ones, we will be made one but cannot be whole until all is converged because it was taken from us. Praise the Markers which draw us close for true Convergence for they point the way."
—Note found on the USG Ishimura's Medical Deck.[12]
0220 ui proj marker 1

Footage of Earth's Black Marker being pulled to the surface above the Chicxulub crater in 2214.

65 million years ago, the Black Marker arrived on Earth via an asteroid which struck the Gulf of Mexico, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs and leading to the rise of Mankind, with human evolution likely being directly influenced and guided by the artifact itself.[12]

In 2214, a research team that included the geophysicist Michael Altman discovered the Black Marker and recovered it from a crater off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico. Initial studies revealed that the Marker's signal appeared to be a source of unlimited energy, and harnessing the Marker's power became a priority for the researchers.[10]

However, the signal's capacity to create Necromorphs and induce dementia was also discovered. The details of the original Black Marker disaster were buried in government cover-ups and conspiracies, but Michael Altman's mysterious death after going public made him a martyr and a figure head of a newly formed religion based on the Markers, the Church of Unitology.[33][34] Secretive government research into the Black Marker continued over the following decades; the danger of the experiments eventually prompted the decision of the Sovereign Colonies administration to move the Marker research away from Earth in order to avoid the risk of a larger outbreak.[11]

Red markers

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

By studying the Black Marker, the Sovereign Colonies wished to not only study the Marker signal's effects, but to safely harness its energy and solve humanity's resource crisis.[10] In the 2290s, they successfully constructed several Red Markers based on the Black Marker, which were located on classified distant planets such as Aegis VII, Aspera and Kreemar.[9] However, outbreaks eventually commenced around the facilities and they were ultimately forced to shut down.[35]

Dead_Space_3-_Tau_Volantis_Mission_Briefing_(CMS_Roanoke)

Dead Space 3- Tau Volantis Mission Briefing (CMS Roanoke)

Dr. Earl Serrano recounts the history of humanity's encounters with the Markers up until 2311.

In 2311, the Sovereign Colonies and Dr. Earl Serrano wished to find the source of the energy the Markers received, tracing the signal back to Tau Volantis where its source was believed to be. There, the team uncovered the thousands of Markers made by the Tau Volantis natives and another outbreak was brought upon the humans, with Dr. Serrano discovering that the Brethren Moons were behind the Marker signal. After receiving Serrano's reports, the Sovereign Colonies Council and General Spencer Mahad soon issued Scenario Five to bury and eliminate everything and everyone involved in this mission and in the Marker test sites scattered throughout the galaxy, saving mankind from the Markers' influence for a time.

By the 25th century, humanity had grown to inhabit countless colonies across the galaxy, but overpopulation and energy issues persisted despite the advances in technology and resource extraction. Deep-space mining eventually became a reality with the CEC's flagship, the USG Ishimura.

The Art of Dead Space Unitology Church

By the 26th century, the Church of Unitology had grown to be the most influential religion in human space.

In 2508, with the support of the Church of Unitology, the USG Ishimura was sent to recover Marker 3A on the restricted Aegis VII after it was accidentally uncovered by an illegal mining colony. After the unearthing of the Marker, a Necromorph outbreak began in the planetside colony before spreading to the Ishimura. After the USG Kellion and Isaac Clarke arrived on the Ishimura, Isaac's objective became returning the Marker to its pedestal in the hopes of stopping the local Hive Mind. However, he was in reality being used by the Red Marker, as it imprinted a self-replicating signal in the engineer's brain in order to use him to build more replicas. Isaac escaped Aegis VII as the continent-sized chunk of rock mined by the Ishimura crashed into the planet and destroyed the Marker.

Isaac Clarke, along with the scientist Nolan Stross, was brought to Titan Station to revive the Marker program, now run by the Earth Government Colonial Alliance for the sake of harvesting limitless energy.[36] Eventually creating the Site 12 Marker on the Titan shard, it resulted in another outbreak and the start of a Convergence Event as the Marker attempted to absorb Isaac's body, who managed to destroy the artifact through a grueling mental battle against its influence. Isaac, along with Ellie Langford, escaped Titan Station before it was completely destroyed.

Dead_Space_3_-_The_Story_so_Far

Dead Space 3 - The Story so Far

A summary of humanity's history with the Markers narrated by Ellie Langford.

Unfortunately, the Markers had spread to nearly every major colony due to EarthGov's replication program. Seeing EarthGov's experiments as a "violation of Nature's course", a radical Unitologist group known as the Circle began unleashing the Markers among the colonies, spreading the Necromorphs to cause a universal Convergence.[37] After Isaac Clarke, Ellie Langford and John Carver uncovered Dr. Serrano's work on Tau Volantis, they completed the alien machine and killed the Moon orbiting Tau Volantis. Ellie returned to Earth, believing Isaac and Carver dead. However, Isaac and Carver survived but their actions with the Moon awoke all of its brothers, which soon came to Earth in order to consume all of its biomass.

Known Markers[]

List of Markers-0

List of known Markers, both real and mental. See full size image for details.

Trivia[]

  • The Red Marker on Aegis VII seemed to emit what sounded like several people chanting in Latin: "Sumus hic in morte; noster sanctus est". This would approximately mean, "We are here in death; it is our saint".[38]
  • Markers are akin to a hologram in their architecture. If one takes a conventional holographic plate and shatters it, each piece still shows a holographic image which is identical to the original; in a similar manner, a single shard of a Marker retains the properties of the whole (i.e. it is still able to rebroadcast the Marker signal) and is enough to start a Necromorph outbreak on its own.[24]
  • While shown to be sinister, powerful, and seemingly indestructible, Markers can be destroyed or damaged under certain circumstances, such as by battling their influence within one's mind, as demonstrated by Isaac Clarke and John Carver. They can also be eliminated by an extremely high temperature, such as being thrown into a star or a ship's reactor,[24] and can be shattered into smaller pieces by a huge force, such as the fate of Marker 3A when the extracted crust of Aegis VII fell into it.
  • 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 that apparently caused human evolution.
  • The lore of the Markers and the Brethren Moons was developed by Necromorph creator and designer Ben Wanat alongside franchise co-writer Chuck Beaver, as the two developers were left in charge of fleshing out the universe for the sequels following the success of the original game.[39] The development of the Marker lore and the Brethren Moons for Dead Space 2 and 3 was heavily inspired by Lovecraftian horror.[6]

Gallery[]

Videos[]

Sources[]

  1. Dead Space (2023) - Sanctified Suit description
  2. Dead Space (2023)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Dead Space 3 Dev Blog: The Markers
  4. 4.0 4.1 Log:Mercer's Journal (2023)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Log:Negotiations
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Art of Dead Space
  7. Log:Alien Artifact 08
  8. 8.0 8.1 Log:Nicole and Dr. Kyne
  9. 9.0 9.1 Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 17
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Dead Space 3: CAG Briefing
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Dead Space: Catalyst
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Dead Space (2023) - Notes on the walls of the Ishimura Medical Deck
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Log:There's A Dead Space
  14. Dead Space (2023) - The Brethren Moons are coming
  15. 15.0 15.1 Log:Harris's Choice
  16. Log:Same Signal
  17. 17.0 17.1 Dead Space 3 Dev Team Edition
  18. Brethren Moon Voice Lines (Awakened DLC)
  19. Dead Space Marker Chant
  20. 20.0 20.1 Messages written in Marker symbols
  21. 21.0 21.1 List of whispers in Dead Space (2023)
  22. Log:Alien Artifact 09
  23. Dead Space 3 Dev Blog: Dead Space, Dementia and Punishing the Heroes
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Dead Space: Aftermath
  25. Log:Re-Animate
  26. Dead Space 3 - Santos: The scientists called it the "Nexus". They thought these bigger specimens acted as conduits for the [Marker's] control signal, broadcasting it to the smaller forms.
  27. Dead Space (2023) - "Nicole": The Hive Mind will obey.
  28. Dead Space (2023) - "Nicole": [The pedestal] amplifies. The Marker's pulse will be felt across the planet. The dead will sleep.
  29. 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.
  30. Log:It's Making Us Make It!
  31. Log:Serrano's Last Words
  32. Log:Alien Artifact 07
  33. Dead Space 3 - The Story so Far
  34. Log:Unitology Exposed
  35. Log:Last Contact
  36. Log:Tiedemann's Last Hope
  37. Log:Unitologist Artifact 01
  38. Dead Space (2023) Marker Chant Ambience (Updated version)
  39. Dead Space interview with Chuck Beaver, Ben Swanson and Nick Braccia
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