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"For the love of Earth and the Sovereign Colonies, we've got to do what's right."
SCAF General Spencer Mahad

The Sovereign Colonies was the governing body of Earth and its colonies formed in the wake of humanity's off-world expansion in the 23rd century, and was the predecessor to the Earth Government Colonial Alliance.[2][3][4] Following the Secession War and Scenario Five in 2314, the Sovereign Colonies administration was dissolved and replaced with an Earth-centric government.[5]

The Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces (SCAF) was the military of the Sovereign Colonies.


Main article: History of Earth and the colonies


"The SCAF represents the government prior to EarthGov 200 years ago, when space travel was done without ShockPoint Drives, and was only for the bold and the courageous — and the military."
—Official description[3]
SCAF Back to Work

A poster from the Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces Ministry of Information.

The Sovereign Colonies was the government and colonial administration of Earth that was founded with humanity's space expansion in the 23rd century, after a string of global social calamities caused by armed conflicts and environmental catastrophes.[1][2] Without the use of ShockPoint Drives, space travel was limited and required large investments of money and materials as well as military supervision.[3]

Another problem with maintaining mankind's new-found empire was the constant resource shortage, limiting the ability to expand and support the population. Discovery of the Black Marker in the Chicxulub crater on Earth in 2214 defied scientific understanding and incited interest from the government, with research into the Marker's seemingly limitless energy promising an end to the resource crisis.[6] Despite the risks observed with the original Black Marker disaster, the Sovereign Colonies eventually approved further research in the hopes of understanding the Marker's technology,[7] though with outbreak contingencies in place.[8]

Red markers

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

Under the Sovereign Colonies' Science Division, the Black Marker was eventually reverse-engineered at the end of the 23rd century and at least three copies of it known as Red Markers were created. These replicas were stationed at remote "Marker Test Sites" located on distant planets such as Aegis VII, Aspera and Kreemar, where the scientists continued their secretive research into the Markers' power under the watchful eye of the Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces.[9]

Secession War[]

"We are out of resources, we are out of public approval and we are out of time."
—Admiral Marjorie Graves[10]
DS3 posterpropaganda01 cout

A poster labelling the Secessionists as traitors to the Sovereign Colonies.

In the early 24th century, with the ongoing conflicts known as the Resource Wars,[2] humanity's resource-stricken populations proved susceptible to manipulation by Secessionists seeking to dissolve the Sovereign Colonies administration and replace it with an Earth-centric government regime. Hostilities steadily escalated, from Secessionist riots on Earth[11] to open war across the colonies. The Secession War, as it was called, pitted the Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces against the Secessionist rebels, consuming resources as well as the ranks of trained SCAF Legionaries at a steady pace, eventually forcing the Sovereign Colonies to rely on conscription.[12]

By 2311, the Sovereign Colonies were in a critical situation, with both public support and the ability to wage war dwindling. The discovery of Tau Volantis thanks to the Ptolemy Station was, in part, a final attempt to turn the tide of the war in their favor. The Galactic Expedition sent to the planet drew resources and men away from the war effort, hoping to find the source of limitless energy received by the Markers. This, in turn, could resolve humanity's resource crisis and end the Secession War.[10][13]

Scenario Five[]

"After receiving your reports on Dr. Serrano's latest discoveries and in light of recent activities at the Marker test sites, it is the decision of the Council to invoke Scenario Five. What we once thought would save us from extinction has only served to hasten it. Everything about the Markers - all research, all replicas, even the Black Marker - must be forever buried. All sites are to be shuttered. All involved planets are to be blacklisted. Everyone involved in the Marker program, from Aspera to Aegis VII to Tau Volantis are to be executed."
—General of the Army Ambrose Caiden[5]
DS3 SCAF Repent Concept Art

As part of Scenario Five, all Sovereign Colonies personnel with knowledge of Tau Volantis, the Black Marker and the Red Marker test sites were ordered to be eliminated.

In 2314, the Tau Volantis Expedition finally uncovered the truth about the Markers: the Brethren Moons, which were nothing short of an existential threat to humanity. The Sovereign Colonies Council decided to invoke a Scenario Five response, destroying all research related to the Markers, eliminating all personnel tied to it, and otherwise burying all knowledge related to the project. The extent of the purges ultimately nullified its ability to continue the war against the Secessionists, who dismantled the Sovereign Colonies administration and established an Earth-centric regime in its place.[5] In military circles, the accepted explanation was that the Sovereign Colonies leaders were implementing scorched earth tactics, preferring to scuttle their fleet rather than hand it over to the victors.[14]

Despite the purge of Marker-related data as part of Scenario Five, the administration's successor, the Earth Government Colonial Alliance, was at some point able to recover information regarding the Sovereign Colonies-era experiments with the Markers,[2] even records that pointed to Marker 3A's presence in the restricted Aegis system, although its exact location remained unclear to the new administration until the Concordance Extraction Corporation stumbled upon it in 2508.[15]


"God bless the Sovereign Colonies."
—Patriotic mantra[16]
DS3 Sovereign Colonies Officials Picture

Sovereign Colonies government officials seen in an old picture.

Earth and its fledging colonies were united under the Sovereign Colonies Council, which governed and convened on crucial issues in relation to its administration.[5] The Sovereign Colonies appeared to function similarly to a federation or confederation, with Earth's colonies each being granted some level of sovereign power and, presumably, influence within the Council's decision-making process.[17]

Marker Operations[]

"Tau Volantis was discovered after intense study of the Red Markers, the man-made copies based on the original alien artifact, the Black Marker. The Red Markers, sequestered safely away on distant star systems such as Aegis VII, Aspera and Proxima Centauri, among others, were themselves a mystery, as they were more grown than built. As the Red Markers were studied, it became clear they were receiving the signal they broadcast, rather than creating it themselves. The Ptolemy Array was built specifically to triangulate the distant signal using three Red Markers. They located the source, and it proved to be the most distant point ever reached by man, Tau Volantis, here in this previously uncharted arm of the galaxy. This feat of science and technology will hopefully reward mankind with the ultimate prize - the limitless energy that seems to emanate from the Markers, the source of which we expect to find here."
DS3 SCAF Marker Outbreak Scenarios

The SCAF's various Scenario responses in the event of an outbreak during their research on the Markers.

Red Markers, copies of Earth's Black Marker created in the 2290s after extensive research under the Sovereign Colonies, were stationed on distant planets such as Kreemar, Aspera and Aegis VII. In 2311, studies of three Red Markers at Ptolemy Station led to the discovery of a "Master Signal" that originated not from the Markers themselves, but from a planet in deep space, later known as Tau Volantis.[18][19] Accompanied by the Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces, Dr. Earl Serrano and the Science Division spearheaded the expedition to the planet in the hopes of harnessing the limitless energy from the Markers and solve the resource crisis.[7]

SCAF Stay Warm

A poster reminding SCAF personnel on Tau Volantis to wear proper gear.

During the expedition, the excavation of alien artifacts and the Markers that resided beneath the planet's icy surface began to affect the crews tasked with studying them.[20] Eventually, the growing dementia[21][22][23] and deaths caused by the Necromorphs encountered on the planet overwhelmed the expedition.[24]

In 2314, Scenario Five, a first contact situation authorized by the Sovereign Colonies Council, was carried out. The Black Marker and all of its copies were buried, all of the personnel were killed to prevent the spread of Marker infections to Earth, and almost all information that could be found on the Science Division's experimentation with the Markers and the expedition's research was destroyed. The combined loss of the expedition and the Secession War saw the end of the Sovereign Colonies administration once and for all,[5][16] with the Earth Government Colonial Alliance being founded in its place and inheriting many of its secret research facilities.[2]


Main article: Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces
SCAF Legionary Uniforms

SCAF Legionary uniforms.

The Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces possessed a sizable fleet, operated by the Navy (ship prefix "CMS", or "Colonial Military Ship"[25]). It relied predominantly on large ships capable of interstellar travel, with the technology in the 2200s and 2300s being a lot more primitive than modern ShockPoint Drives that emerged in the subsequent two centuries. Larger ships would carry smaller ones during transport (e.g. the CMS Terra Nova, which had a cradle designed specifically for this purpose), together with ground forces.

Serving as both naval infantry and ground troops, the Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces had an infantry component whose members were known as Legionaries.


  • The thematic stylings of the Sovereign Colonies, along with artist comments found in The Art of Dead Space,[26] suggest that the developers were inspired by the 1940s and 50s-era United States when designing the faction.



  1. 1.0 1.1 The World and History of Dead Space - Backstory Page
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The World and History of Dead Space - EarthGov Page
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Dead Space 3 Dev Team Edition: "Nostalgic posters for an era long gone, the SCAF represents the government prior to EarthGov 200 years ago, when space travel was done without Shockpoint drives, and was only for the bold and the courageous—and the military."
  4. Dead Space 3: Liberation: "She discovered that Marker tampering went way back, past EarthGov to the old Sovereign Colonies administration."
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Log:Last Contact
  6. Dead Space 3 - The Story so Far
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dead Space 3: CAG Briefing
  8. Log:First Contact
  9. 9.0 9.1 Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 17
  10. 10.0 10.1 Log:A Desperate Mission
  11. Log:Head Above the Rest
  12. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 18
  13. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 02
  14. Dead Space 3: Chapter 4: History's Ember
  15. Log:Orders
  16. 16.0 16.1 YouTube: Dead Space 3: Scenario Five
  17. This can be concluded from the faction's name as well as the fact that, during the Secession War, the Secessionists seemingly desired a more centralized regime, with Earth alone holding absolute power over its colonies.
  18. Dead Space: Liberation
  19. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 16
  20. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 03
  21. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 05
  22. Log:Lumley's Log
  23. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 07
  24. Dead Space 3: Prologue: Beginnings
  25. Dead Space 3 Prima Guide
  26. The Art of Dead Space - Ian Milham: gives us a chance to bring in vintage influences - especially in our terms from the 1940s and 50s - into the Dead Space world.