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"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[1]

The Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces (S.C.A.F.) was the military arm of the Sovereign Colonies, the ruling body of Earth and its colonies formed in the wake of humanity's off-world expansion in the 23rd century.[2][3]


Main article: History of Earth and the colonies

Formation, Markers and Secession War[]

"For the love of Earth and the Sovereign Colonies, we've got to do what's right."
—Major General Spencer Mahad
0092 ovs scafpostercommited01 cout

A propaganda poster featuring a SCAF Legionary.

Formed with mankind's expansion to space in the 23rd century,[2][3] the SCAF was the military arm responsible for patrolling and protecting Earth and its off-world territories in a time when space travel was limited and required large investments of money and materials.[1]

Around the 2290s and under the SCAF Science Division, the alien Black Marker - which had originally been found on Earth in 2214 and covered up by the SCAF[4] - was successfully reverse-engineered, with several copies of it known as Red Markers being created. These replicas were sent to remote planets such as Aegis VII, Aspera and Kreemar, where the government continued its secretive research into the Marker signal's power.[5][6]

In the early 2300s, the SCAF was embroiled in the Secession War, a civil war against Secessionists seeking to dissolve the Sovereign Colonies administration and replace it with an Earth-centric government regime.[3][7] By 2311, however, the SCAF had triangulated the source of the Markers' signals: a planet in deep space called Tau Volantis.[6][8] Seeing this as a chance to solve humanity's resource crisis as well as galvanize support in the war effort, the Sovereign Colonies Council approved of an expedition to the planet to discover the source of limitless energy powering the Markers. The flotilla was led by Admiral Marjorie Graves,[9] the ground forces by Major General Spencer Mahad[7] and the Science Division by Dr. Earl Serrano.[4]

Tau Volantis Expedition[]

"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."
0030 ovp logoscafscience01 ca

Logo of the SCAF Science Division, responsible for the government's Marker experiments and operations.

SCAF Stay Warm

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

On August 29, 2311, an initial drop zone was established on Tau Volantis.[10] As the Armed Forces set up on the planet, precautions to deal with the harsh environment were made,[11] and a series of ground-based barracks, research facilities and drill sites were established under General Mahad's authority. Admiral Graves and the flotilla remained in orbit to provide support to the research teams working on the ground.

On Tau Volantis, Dr. Serrano and his team found frozen specimens of alien origin and a host of alien-made Red Markers, varying in size.[12][13][14] The Science Division members then began their excavation and study of the Markers, alien artifacts and remains, including neurological dissections on the aliens in an attempt to better understand their physiology.[15][16][17] While Serrano and his team proceeded with their research, conditions at the Armed Forces facilities were deteriorating. Members of the flotilla had begun to exhibit symptoms of Marker influence including headaches, lack of focus, hallucinations and dementia.[11][18][19][20]

At the same time, bodies of dead soldiers who experienced the same symptoms were brought aboard the ships for "safe keeping" alongside the alien artifacts and Markers; despite General Mahad's misgivings, the seemingly Marker-influenced Admiral Graves ordered that the expedition would continue.[21] Soon thereafter, Graves was sequestered to her quarters under quarantine, claiming to hear voices telling her to "Turn it off".[22] Mahad declared Graves unfit for duty and took command of the entire expedition.[23][24]

Aided by neurological data retrieved from the massive Nexus Necromorph specimens,[25] Serrano and his team identified a massive Alien Machine underneath the base and began excavation.[26] This Machine was thought to be the source of the massive energy readings detected from the Markers. Trying to determine how to use the Machine, Serrano and his team created a Codex, a device that would work in conjunction with it.[27] However, several members of Serrano's dig team were affected by the Markers in such a way that they adorned their snow suits with Marker symbols.[28]

DS3 Soveriegn Colonies 09

SCAF personnel discover frozen Alien Necromorph specimens on Tau Volantis.

Adding to the stress of the situation was the steadily growing presence of the organism dubbed as "Necromorphs" by the Science Division, both within and outside the Armed Forces base.[14][29] Food supplies and rations began running low; desperate and starving, many soldiers supplemented their diet with infected flesh. Meanwhile, the research on Necromorph-turned alien corpses recovered from Tau Volantis' ice packs resulted in the deaths of Armed Forces soldiers who had volunteered to thaw the specimens.[16][17]

DS3 Soveriegn Colonies 11

The SCAF Science Division's Facility Two at Mount Olympus.

As the expedition's problems spiraled out of control, Dr. Serrano discovered a terrible truth about the nature of the Alien Machine: turning it off would, in fact, lead to the extinction of all life in the galaxy and the restart of the Convergence Event that would complete the dormant Brethren Moon above Tau Volantis;[30][31] Admiral Graves' plea to "Turn it off" was actually a message from the Moon needing to be completed.[32]

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[7]
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.


Dead Space 3- Scenario 5

General Mahad's Scenario Five instructional film on Tau Volantis.

On June 17, 2314, General Mahad and his staff were ordered by the Sovereign Colonies Council to completely eliminate the threat presented by the Markers as per the "first contact" scenarios: destroy all of the research and kill all of the staff on and off the planet who were attached to the Armed Forces facilities on Tau Volantis, while the remainder of the SCAF forces did the same with the other Marker test sites throughout human space.[7][33][34]

Meanwhile, Dr. Serrano, who sought refuge in the alien complex beneath the base, believed that the Tau Volantis civilization had intended for the Machine to destroy the Moon entirely, stopping the Marker signals that were now spreading throughout space. Theorizing that the Machine had to be properly attuned to accomplish this, Serrano prepared to activate the device himself. However, a broken leg left him immobile. Without the Codex, Serrano was unable to complete the process. Desperate, he contacted Tim Caufman and Sam Ackerman, who were still on the surface, and begged them to recover the Codex from a crashed ship and bring it to him. However, Ackerman was killed and Caufman's attempt to reach Serrano was foiled by Mahad, who executed him. Purging the Codex of its information, Mahad then committed suicide.


An abandoned SCAF fortress on Tau Volantis.

By June 18, 2314, virtually all SCAF crew on and around Tau Volantis were dead. The only known survivor was Lt. Tucker Edwards, who both refused to kill himself, as well as killed his superior officer, Commander Valery Dietz, in self-defense before locking himself away in, and heavily booby trapping, the Conning Tower of the CMS Terra Nova.[35] However, Edwards would also eventually comply with the cleanse order, having succumbed to loneliness and isolation, and killed himself in the apex of the tower.


Dead Space 3 Joseph Cross 09a

An abandoned SCAF Navy Officer's bunk following Scenario Five.

The failure of the Tau Volantis expedition and the subsequent execution of Scenario Five across the Sovereign Colonies' territory crippled the war effort and the Colonies lost the Secession War in short order.[7] The widespread scuttling of SCAF vessels was taken to be a scorched earth tactic in military circles.[36] Most of the knowledge of the Tau Volantis and Marker research conducted by the SCAF Science Division was stricken from government records or outright destroyed to prevent the infection from spreading.


Sovereign Colonies personnel

SCAF naval personnel.

The Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces were comprised of the Navy as the principal spacefaring component and the Legion as its infantry. The two cooperated closely in carrying out military operations, from the Resource Wars and the Secession War[3] to the fateful Galactic Expedition to Tau Volantis. The shared supply chains made logistics simpler and easier to maintain over the long term, especially providing food, water, and other essentials for thousands of soldiers deployed across known space. The humble MRE was an example of this philosophy in practice, with the same, standard MREs provided to all servicemen.

In addition to the Navy and Legion, the Armed Forces also operated the Sovereign Colonies' Science Division.

SCAF Navy[]

DS3 SCAF Navy Badge

A propaganda poster showing the distinctive insignia of the SCAF Navy.

DS3 CMS Terra Nova

The CMS Terra Nova of the Galactic Expedition.

Tasked with operating the space component of the military, the SCAF Navy (ship prefix "CMS", or "Colonial Military Ship"[37]) was responsible for operating its vessels, organized into Fleets and Flotillas under the command of an Admiral (Marjorie Graves in case of the Galactic Expedition).

The SCAF Navy followed strict regimentation to make full use of limited space onboard its ships. Most personnel had to make do with cramped quarters, but officers had a number of privileges, including priority access to the mess (Enlisted personnel were obligated to make space for officers), while the largest ships like the CMS Roanoke had officer lounges and spacious offices for its highest ranking leaders.

The SCAF fleet 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 afterwards. Larger vessels would carry smaller ones during transport (e.g. the CMS Terra Nova, which had a cradle designed specifically for this purpose). Smaller ships, such as The Mule, would then ferry cargo and deploy Legionaries planetside.

SCAF Legion[]

SCAF Legionary Elite

SCAF Legionary combat suit.

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Logo of the SCAF 143rd Central Command Unit.

Working in cooperation with the Navy, the Legion was the infantry component of the SCAF. Legionaries were fearsome warriors,[38][39] serving as both naval infantry - stationed aboard ships[12] and conducting boarding operations[40] - and as the SCAF's army, being deployed en masse alongside ground vehicles during terrestrial operations.

Known Units[]

  • 226th Legion
    • 143rd Central Command Unit
    • Core Engineering
      • 41st Engineering Brigade
Special Purpose Forces

Galactic Expedition Flotilla[]

Main article: List of SCAF assets (Tau Volantis)

The Galactic Expedition flotilla was tasked with journeying out into deep space to locate the "Master Signal" being received by the Markers. The flotilla comprised numerous military ships and research vessels commanded by the CMS Roanoke.


SCAF concept

SCAF Legionary Enlisted and Officer uniforms alongside the heavy combat suit.

SCAF Navy Enlisted Concept

SCAF Navy Enlisted uniform.

SCAF personnel were issued duty uniforms, dress uniforms, and combat uniforms in a predominantly khaki, olive drab, gray or black color scheme.

Enlisted sailors of the Navy wore distinctive buttoned-up overalls with the Navy device on the upper left breast, and badges on each arm. A RIG was mounted on the back, above a utility belt, and a cap was sometimes worn. Naval officers wore decorative uniforms with epaulets, lanyards, and decorative cuffs.

Enlisted Legionaries typically wore lightly armored combat fatigues with protective headgear, while Legionary officers wore more complex uniforms with military berets. The heavy combat armor of the SCAF was the bulky Legionary Suit, which included standard RIG integration. More specialized units were issued custom variants of this suit, or environment-specific suits such as the Arctic Survival Suit.

The standard long arm of the SCAF was the Bullpup Rifle. While the SCAF had access to Pulse Rifles, the technology was still cutting edge at the time and was thus only issued to highly specialized troops, such as the 401st Marauders. The standard side arm used by the SCAF was a powerful Revolver.

During their research on the Markers, the SCAF used mine warfare vessels carrying hundreds of thousands of space mines that could be used to seal off an entire planet where an outbreak had occurred.[41] They also used ground vehicles such as MU90 L400 tractors on Tau Volantis, and an E-34 Elephant Drilling Rig on Aegis VII. Additionally, the SCAF deployed ANG-3 Scavenger Bots.

Notable Personnel[]


  • The names of most of the SCAF ships involved in the Tau Volantis Expedition, such as Terra Nova and Greely, follow a common theme of being named after famous real-world Antarctic and Arctic expeditions and explorers; the exception to this is the Roanoke, which is named after the Roanoke Colony established in North America, famous for the mysterious disappearance of its inhabitants in the late 16th century.
  • According to Dead Space 3's loading screen, the SCAF's motto was Deus Enim et Coloniae, presumably intended to mean "For God and the Colonies" in Latin; however, this is incorrect Latin, and should instead be Pro Deo et Coloniis.


Logos and Posters[]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Dead Space 3 Dev Team Edition
  2. 2.0 2.1 The World and History of Dead Space - Backstory Page
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The World and History of Dead Space - EarthGov Page
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dead Space 3: CAG Briefing
  5. Dead Space 3 - The Story so Far
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 17
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Log:Last Contact
  8. Dead Space: Liberation
  9. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 02
  10. Log:Lumley's Log
  11. 11.0 11.1 Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 05
  12. 12.0 12.1 Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 08
  13. Log:Alien Artifact 01
  14. 14.0 14.1 Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 15
  15. Log:Piece: Gills
  16. 16.0 16.1 Log:Alien Artifact 03
  17. 17.0 17.1 Log:Alien Artifact 04
  18. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 03
  19. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 07
  20. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 09
  21. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 04
  22. Log:TURN IT OFF
  24. Log:Brandy, Cigars and Aliens
  25. Log:Serrano discusses Facility One
  26. Log:Alien Artifact 05
  27. Log:Piece: Brain
  28. Press Release: EA Forecasts the World's Deadliest Winter When Dead Space 3 Releases on February 5, 2013
  29. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 13
  30. Dead Space 3: Chapter 16: What Lies Below
  31. Dead Space 3: Chapter 18: Kill or Be Killed
  32. Log:Turn It Off
  33. YouTube: Dead Space 3: Scenario Five
  34. YouTube: Dead Space 3: Reaper Barracks Mission | Brainwashing video
  35. Log:Tram Radio 2
  36. Dead Space 3: Chapter 3: The Roanoke
  37. Dead Space 3 Prima Guide
  38. Log:Head Above the Rest
  39. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 18
  40. Dead Space 3 - Marauder Suit description
  41. Log:S.C.A.F. Artifact 06