There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the monolithic structures called “Markers” but I think there’s enough information in the various sources of Dead Space media that hint at, at least, some of what is going on.
Who or what created the Markers?
The original source of the Markers is not known and may never be revealed. There is no information in the series that gives us any clues as to the nature of the originators of the Markers or why they created them in the first place.
Many different people and groups within the Dead Space universe have their own views of where the Markers came from, who created them and their purpose, but these views aren’t actually based on any solid evidence.
What we do know is that the Markers are a form of technology and that they serve some sort of purpose that may have either gone horribly wrong… or horribly right. I know, that’s not much of an answer, but that’s the most truthful answer you’re going to get about the Markers.
The only thing we can be certain of is that an unknown alien race, a very long time ago, began a process that created Markers and everything else that comes with it.
What is the purpose of the Markers?
According to the Church of Unitology, the Markers are a divine gift given to us to rebirth the human race and raise us to a higher plane of existence.
EarthGov, and the government organisations that came before them, believed that the Markers could be used as a power source of some kind since it seemed to be generating it out of nowhere.
The Markers are a form of technology designed to do… SOMETHING. To be perfectly honest, we don’t know what the true intention was behind the creation of the Markers or even if the spawning of Necromorphs is what they’re meant to be doing in the first place… or if this all started with a Marker to begin with.
Whoever or whatever created this technology are long gone and despite whatever intentions the original creators had, the process that occurs repeats every time they are discovered by an intelligent species in the universe that leads to the creation of more Markers and Necromorphs.
Some even argue that the Black Marker that impacted Earth, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs, had a hand in accelerating and guiding human evolution into its current form. Though, this is all conjecture at best.
When a Marker is first discovered by an intelligent species, it begins to influence that species to create more Markers. People who are affected by the Marker’s strange signal start to lose their sense of reality and begin to hallucinate. The average person will soon devolve to madness while more intelligent individuals will start to perceive patterns in the signal and interpret these patterns as instructions to create more Markers.
Depending on the kind of species the Marker is influencing with its signal, this process can take time and may even fail.
It’s been shown that, for the majority of humans, the Marker signal is overwhelming and can drive them to madness, suicide and murder far too easily. The signal then acts in a different fashion for dead tissue, leading to the creation of what is known as a “Necromorph”, a form of reanimated life created from the dead.
For a species like the alien race found on Tau Volantis, the signal could be overcome long enough to allow that species to create many markers before succumbing to their own Necromorph outbreak. Though, it should be noted that humanity did eventually created a large number of their own Markers in secret and found ways to contain them for a time.
Necromorphs come in various forms depending on the subject that is infected. For example, most adult humans turn into a variant of Necromorph that grow large blades capable of slicing into victims while infant humans and dogs turn into Necromorphs that use their deformed intestines to fire barbs at their victims. Some larger and more grotesque forms of Necromorphs are formed from multiple subjects and there are even cases of excess tissue being turned into an unusual biomass that coats areas that are heavy with Necromorph activity.
Once a Necromorph outbreak starts, the resulting chaos leads to the deaths of many more victims and the creation of more Necromorphs. As more people die, more complex Necromorphs are created such as The Hive Mind and The Nexus creatures that act as a neural hub to control lesser Necromorphs.
During this stage, the Marker creates an invisible field around itself that prevents Necromorphs from coming within reach of the Marker. This is to stop a premature Convergence event that could lead in the failure of the entire process.
Once enough Necromorphs are created, the field that prevents Necromorphs from approaching the Marker disappears allowing all the Necromorphs to gather at the base of the Marker to initiate the convergence event. When convergence begins, an unknown force produced by the Marker itself hurls the Necromorphs above it where they’re combined into a large mass that will eventually form a organic moon-like creature.
During the final stages of convergence, for reasons unknown, the individual or individuals who have the most knowledge of how to create markers within their brains are needed to be killed off in some special manner. This is something that the Marker tried to do at the end of Dead Space 2, however, the exact purpose of this is unclear.
In the end, what we are left with is a single Necromorph entity created from the mass of individual Necromorphs. The size of the resulting moon depends on the size of the population affected by the convergence event. In an ideal scenario, the population of an entire planet would be used to birth this new entity known as one of the Brethren Moon.
What are the Brethren Moons?
The Brethren Moon is what is created once Convergence has been successful. From what little information you find out about the Brethren Moons in Dead Space 3, it seems as though they are part of a type of a network of moon-sized neural cells that create a galaxy-spanning brain of sorts.
In fact, the signal that the Markers produce comes from them. Each one of these moons are connected via this signal as well as the Markers which are produced by a harvested species to infect more civilisations to create more Markers, initiate a Necromorph outbreak which becomes a convergence and then spawns another Brethren Moon.
From what I can gather, the entire process is simply used to create more of these galaxy-spanning neural cells (the Brethren Moons) in order to add onto this cosmic level intelligence that is far beyond us in every way. The scary thing is that all the propaganda material that The Church of Unitology is so convinced of is pretty accurate to what has been created… just in a much more horrifying way.
All the species that became victims of the Markers were, in one way, being re-birthed into a higher form of existence (as The Church of Unitology would put it), but in another way, they were being harvested to become usable bio-matter to expand a cosmic brain’s neural network.
What’s the deal with that incomplete Necromorph Moon in orbit of Tau Volantis?
This is where things get interesting, because that incomplete Necromorph Moon is actually the original nightmare that plagued Isaac during his mission to the USG Ishimura in Dead Space 1. It is also the cause of humanities discovery of Marker technology through the “original” Black Marker.
It all started with the original Black Marker that crashed on Earth some 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs and laying in wait until it was finally discovered 300 years prior to the events of the first Dead Space game.
During the discovery of that first Marker, a common line was spoken to the people who started hallucinating and hearing voices in their heads… “Make us whole.” It’s something that is repeated over and over in the Dead Space series and for people within the Dead Space universe and outside in the real world have come to understand this phrase to mean many things.
“Isaac… make us whole again.”
It became the mantra of Unitology, a religion created around the discovery of the Marker and it’s also been a nightmare plaguing Isaac since the moment he set foot on the USG Ishimura as well as many others who have come into contact with a Marker. While everyone has their own interpretation of what that phrase may mean, the true meaning becomes clear at the end of Dead Space 3, once we discover the existence of the incomplete Necromorph Moon in orbit of Tau Volantis.
Essentially, the phrase “make us whole” is a kind of distress signal the Tau Volantis Necromorph Moon was sending out to any Markers within range. At the time of its discovery, the Black Marker signalled humanity to create more Markers, but the signal was of two voices, one seemed to be fighting against the other in some way. But why?
Let’s compare the two most prominent Markers found in Dead Space 1 and 2, the signal being produced by those Markers seemed to make Isaac do different things. The Red Marker found on Aegis VII wanted Isaac to restore it back in the approximate location as to where it was found while the Gold Marker on The Sprawl wanted to initiate the convergence event.
The Gold Marker found on The Sprawl was doing what it was “suppose” to do, just like all other Markers before it. It instructed an intelligent species to construct more Markers and then used their dead to create Necromorphs in order to initiate a convergence event that would lead to the birth of a new Brethren Moon. Thankfully, the final step of the process was stopped by Isaac Clarke, but despite the failure at the most crucial moment, the Gold Marker was doing EXACTLY what it was designed to do.
On the other hand, the Red Marker found on Aegis VII was used as a triangulation device. From information that you get throughout the series, we find out that humanity has been making Markers for a very long time now and that the governing organisation that predates EarthGov, the Sovereign Colonies, used the signals from these various Marker sites and triangulated them back to a lone planet called Tau Volantis.
The failed Brethren Moon orbiting Tau Volantis was trying to lure humans to the planet in order to turn off the alien device that was holding it in stasis for all this time. Once the device was turned off, the convergence process would resume and the Brethren Moon would finally become complete thus ending the many hundreds of years of crying out, “Make us whole again.”
And yes, after this entire entry, I know that the whole mystery has already been solved a long time ago and this is probably now common knowledge. But just remember, this entry was originally started by me a month after Dead Space 3 came out and I had already finished the entire game by that point and had put a lot of thought into everything written here.
I think I did pretty well with all of that information back then.