Tau Volantis was a planet of importance to the events of Dead Space 3. Tau Volantis was incorrectly presumed to be the source of the alien lifeform and the Marker first encountered on Aegis VII and the USG Ishimura.
Two million years ago, Tau Volantis was the home of an unidentified race of aliens. Long ago it was a planet of water, its inhabitants appearing semi-aquatic in nature. Not dissimilar to the inhabitants of Earth, the aliens discovered a Black Marker and soon thereafter began to create copies of the device in a move to harvest its energy. They worshiped the Marker and fell under its thrall. The combined power of the Markers and the inhabitants who had fallen victim to its control triggered a Convergence Event.
However, what few may have resisted the call of the Marker created a Codex which would work in conjunction with a terraforming machine. Their efforts were only half successful: the halt of the Convergence Event deep froze the planet into a frozen wasteland, leaving the final life cycle of the Necromorph life form, a sentient moon, incomplete and semi-dormant.
Two million years later, in 2311, a human faction known as the Sovereign Colonies discovered that the signal being perpetuated by their own Markers came from the lost planet itself. In the face of losing the Secession War, the colonies sent an expedition out to the planet in the hopes of finding the source of the seemingly unlimited Marker energy for their flagging campaign. Now an "icy backwater planet", the environment of Tau Volantis was harsh, and visited frequently by snow storms. These conditions complicated vehicular or on-foot travel for research teams and soldiers; the combination of strong winds, freezing temperatures and thigh-high snow often stalling travel altogether. When the expedition unearthed the corpses of the aliens changed by the Necromorph organism, it wasn't long before that expedition itself succumbed to the influence of the Markers.
When Major General Spencer Mahad lost complete control of the situation in 2314, the Sovereign Colonies council authorized Scenario Five; a "first contact" scenario that entailed the death of all parties involved with the expedition in a move to prevent hostiles from reaching the Earth. In an effort to save the information discovered on the aliens' machine and Rosetta, Earl Serrano and his research team halved the body into pieces to hide. Serrano's attempts to finish the machine himself were prevented by Mahad and an accident left him unable to walk. The expedition was lost. Two hundred years later, the derelict SCAF flotilla still floated above the planet in ruins, its crew lost to the ravages of the planet and their fellow man under orders from their government.Outposts, industrial areas, research facilities and way stations scattered throughout the frozen environment were mere remnants of what had been an established settlement on the planet. The frozen Tau Volantis' terrain appeared to be made up of catacombs, sweeping cliffs and caves. Research found by Serrano suggested that the terrain of the planet may have once been the home of marine life.
Two hundred years later in 2514, fragmented Marker research left behind by the Sovereign Colonies led data archaeologist Damara Carver to the rediscovery of the forgotten planet. Cobbling together what portions of information she could recover, Damara gathered information substantial enough for Earth Government Captain Robert Norton and Titan Station survivor Ellie Langford to use to their advantage in the effort to destroy the source of the Necromorphs. Unfortunately, her findings became a target of interest for the Church of Unitology Circle and she was killed in their search for the information.
Langford's efforts to reach the planet urged Captain Norton and Sergeant John Carver to enlist USG Ishimura survivor Isaac Clarke's help under the advisement of Langford. Above the planet they assumed Tau Volantis was the "Marker Homeworld", the origin of the Necromorphs. On the planet, however, further exploration into the Sovereign Colonies' fragmented data revealed Tau Volantis was once the center of a "Marker Uprising" that was subsequently halted before it could progress any further some two million years ago. For that reason, militarized followers of the Church led by Jacob Danik aimed to stop Clarke and Langford from reaching the source and destroying all chances of true Convergence.
The planet was overrun by Necromorph lifeforms, all who appeared to have adopted new ways of attacking unsuspecting victims with the use of their own weapons and deceiving appearances. Wasters and Feeders were some of the hostile lifeforms encountered by survivors on the planet. The nature of the Necromorphs formed with human bodies was largely the same in behavior and appearances as the ones previously engaged on Aegis VII, the USG Ishimura and Titan Station.
Further down below, however, creatures akin to the Snow Beast and the Nexus emerged, revealing the fate of the planet's original inhabitants as the ones that halted the Convergence Event that required the sacrifice of their lives to stop. Though Danik was initially successful in restarting the Convergence Event, the combined efforts of Clarke and Carver resulted in the death of the sentient Moon and the complete halt of the Marker signal.Following the death of the Moon, Clarke and Carver eventually woke up to discover they had survived their freefall onto the planet's surface. At this point, the Moon, although dead and no longer broadcasting its signal, rested atop the planet's surface, remaining largely intact. The destruction of the Machine seemed to have had no effect on the planet's weather and despite the death of the Moon, the Necromorphs inhabiting the planet still existed, now fueled by the long-range signals of the newly-awakend Brethren Moons.
Geography and Ecology
Long before the Black Marker landed on the planet, Tau Volantis was presumably an aquatic world with vast oceans covering the surface. Aside from the caverns and "cities" erected by the planet's former inhabitants, fathomless gorges and trenches run along the ocean bed which now serves as tall cliffs and mountains. Once the aliens activated their Machine, the whole planet was flash-frozen, plunging it into an endless snowstorm and apparently rendering the natives extinct.
Although no other species aside from the indigenous aliens have been confirmed as natives to the planet, the Snow Beast is presumed to be a local creature, though its status as a Necromorph/natural being remains unclear.
An odd point about Tau Volantis is that its atmosphere is completely breathable to humans despite its complete lack of trees and natural oxygen factories, though the Sovereign Colonies' scientists might have terraformed the planet somehow to provide air, or its natural ecosystem contains oxygen within travelling air.
"Tau" (ταῦ) is the nineteenth letter of the Greek alphabet and symbolizes life and resurrection. "Volantis" is a genitive term, derived from volans, meaning "fly" or "move swiftly". Together, "Tau Volantis" could mean "swift resurrection", a reference to the nature of the Necromorphs. The name might also be a play on "Atlantis", referencing the mythical aquatic city in reference to Tau Volantis formerly being an aquatic planet.
- According to SCAF research, Tau Volantis' temperatures are nearly as low as space ones. Oddly enough, the main characters of Dead Space 3 take their helmets off during cutscenes, with some of them never even wearing helmets during the events of the game at all.
- YouTube: Dead Space™ 3 Official Announce Trailer - E3 2012
- Dead Space 3: Chapter 4: History's Ember
- Dead Space 3: Chapter 14: Everything Has Its Place
- YouTube: Dead Space 3 - The Story so Far
- Dead Space 3: Chapter 11: Signal Hunting
- YouTube: Dead Space 3: Scenario Five
- Dead Space 3: Prologue: Beginnings
- Dead Space: Liberation
- YouTube: Dead Space 3 - Two Ways to Play Trailer
- Dead Space 3: Chapter 1: Rude Awakening
- Dead Space 3: Chapter 18: Kill or Be Killed
- Dead Space 3: Chapter 19: Endings
- Tau - Wikipedia.org
- Volantis - Wikipedia.org
- Volantis | Define Volantis at Dictionary.com