- "A prequel to the events of the smash video game hit Dead Space 3, we follow EarthGov Sergeant, John Carver whose wife and son are attacked by fanatics trying to liberate the Marker site where she works. Racing to solve the clues his wife left behind, Carver teams up with Ellie Langford, survivor of an earlier necromorph outbreak on the Sprawl, and EarthGov Captain Robert Norton. Together they unlock deep secrets about the Markers in an epic adventure that will help determine the fate of mankind."
- —Amazon's official summary for Liberation
On the planet of Uxor, Sergeant John Carver was out on patrol around Marker Shroud 4 when he was contacted by his wife, Damara. She was upset with how poorly that he was conducting himself while on duty and how much that he was absent from the family. Carver was inclined to agree with her on his erratic behavior, but remained frustrated that she would need to constantly remind him.
During their conversation, Carver discovered a long-sight laser marker locked on to the position of the Marker site. Too late to stop this from happening, Carver warned his wife and son to get to safety moments before a missile hit the Marker Site. The Marker was exposed and it released an EMP that knocked out all of the power in the area. Residential was destroyed by a crashing ship affected by the EMP and Carver raced to reach his family when they failed to respond to his hails over their RIG transmission. During his journey to Residential, he was attacked by misshapen creatures that hindered his path to Damara and Dylan.
Inside the residential area, Jacob Danik, the leader of the Unitologist group known as the Circle was searching for the information regarding the Markers. Carver listened in, but a transmission from Damara alerted the Unitologists to his presence and Danik ordered the sergeant to be captured. They used a stun grenade to render him unconscious. Afterward, they proceeded to torture him for information. Carver taunted them in spite of the harm that they inflicted. One of the followers pulled up Carver’s record and learned that he was married to one of the Marker scientists on the planet. Carver threatened to kill them if they harm Damara. Knowing that they hit a sore spot, Danik ordered his men to find and kill his family. An enraged Carver broke free and attacked them. He escaped as more of the creatures assaulted the Unitologists.
Danik, satisfied with the information garnered from Carver’s records declared Carver a “dead man walking”. He presumably reached Damara and Dylan first and killed them, leaving their bodies to be infected by the mysterious organism attacking Residential. Carver arrived too late to save his family and was forced to put them down when their monstrous forms attacked him. He looked at Damara's wedding ring and cried out. Carver suffered from a breakdown and prepared to committ suicide, telling Damara's body that he was 'on his way'.
His attempted suicide was interrupted by the voice of Ellie Langford, a woman that he met some time ago when he was stationed on Haven Prime. Ellie explained that she was working with Damara when she discovered the Marker experimentation carried out by the Sovereign Colonies almost two hundred years ago. Ellie called Damara’s discovery “a goldmine of secrets” and “history’s biggest cover up”. She implored Carver to help her by getting Damara’s research (Hidden in a stuffed doll alongside the communicator that Ellie contacted) to her. Captain Robert Norton was waiting for them in high-orbit on the USM Eudora to get them off-planet once they rendezvous at the cargo dock.
Carver agreed to help. Suspecting that their transmission was monitored by Danik, he used Ellie as bait to lure the Unitologists out into the open. Ellie was livid once she discovered his plan. He and Danik’s men raced to reach Ellie. Their paths are obscured by the oncoming horde of Necromorphs. Ellie and Carver are eventually cornered by the Unitologists. The Eudora descended from orbit and rescued them. As Carver boarded the ship, he swore revenge against Danik.
On the Eudora, Carver demanded to know what happened to the people on the planet and why he had to kill his family. Norton declared that the information was “need-to-know” only, but Ellie thought that he deserved to know. She elaborated further on Damara’s collaboration with herself and Norton. She was recruited for her specialty as a data archaeologist. She could retrieve and rebuild the data from countless redundant systems. To erase any further skepticism on Carver’s end, Ellie played a pre-recorded message from Damara. Created before her death, Damara explained that the centuries old information that she unearthed on the Marker experimentation by the Sovereign Colonies was the key to saving mankind and it was imperative that the Unitologists are kept from it.
Two centuries ago, the Sovereign Colonies discovered a “Master Signal” that controlled all of the other signals being perpetuated by the Marker copies created by man. To this end, they created three Markers to work in conjunction with the signal triangulation on Ptolemy Station before purging the information. Damara managed to reconstruct a portion of the data and recorded the coordinates to the station. She concealed her work from her husband, knowing that he would try to stop her. She reaffirmed that the secrecy was necessary for theirs and mankind's future. At Ellie’s request, Carver decided to help them as a way to honor his wife’s memory.
Traveling through a ShockRing, they arrived at Ptolemy Station some time later. After docking, they reinstated the life support and gravity systems on the deserted station and went to work. Rebooting the systems, they used the Marker pylons to triangulate the origin of the Master Signal. However, they could not shock to the location because of the distance. Carver suggested that they should head for Keyhole Station knowing that it contained a ShockPoint facility. Decoupling from the ship, Ellie used the Eudora’s armaments to destroy Ptolemy Station in an effort to prevent Danik from gaining the location of the Master Signal.
In transit to Keyhole Station, Ellie tried to decipher the files on Damara’s data stick. She had little to no luck. The huge portions of the data contained the Marker language and without a primer, she can not translate them. She suggested that they should find Isaac Clarke, but Norton objected immediately. Ellie pressed on, citing that they needed someone who was “touched” by the Marker to help them. Norton believed that Isaac’s high profile with the Unitologists and apparent lunacy will bring further trouble to their mission. Ellie believed that Norton was merely being jealous and told him to get over her history with Isaac.
Mockingly, Norton told Ellie to go check on Carver because she liked “screwed up basket cases”. With the files, Norton believed that they did not need the likes of Carver or Isaac on the ship. Carver was especially collateral damage that can be replaced by any soldier. Angry, Ellie stormed off and visited Carver. Beside himself with guilt, Carver invited Ellie into his quarters and tried to make sense of his family’s death. Feeling responsible for the events that led to her death, Carver promised to see Damara’s mission through if it was the last thing that he did.
They arrived to Keyhole Station to find the environment overrun with the Corruption and no apparent signs of life. Carver suggested that they should proceed through the station without drawing attention to themselves without a firefight. Norton agreed. However, progressing through the station, Norton and his group are eventually blindsided by attacks from the Slashers and Pukers who slaughtered some of Norton’s accompanying team. Realizing that they will be overrun, Carver set off a grenade once everyone was in the clear. Ellie believed that Carver perished with the Necromorphs when he emerged from the flames, unharmed.
On Norton’s orders, they headed through the Main Access tunnel despite the exposed environment. They are attacked by another incursion of Necromorphs. Carver saved Norton from an attack and declared that they are following his plan of action next time. They entered a room full of corpses and a sole Slasher who proceeded to charge them. Outside, the Eudora was being attacked by an unidentified vessel. Norton ordered the ship to launch countermeasures just as the station was bombarded by an attack. Carver and Norton are separated from Ellie during the explosion. Inflamed by another Necromorph attack, Carver appeared to be sucked out into space while Norton and his remaining team fought off the oversized Necromorph that hounded them.
Ellie encountered a technician named Jennifer Santos and a Marker Operative named Austin Buckell during her separation from Carver and Norton. Outside, Danik berated his men for destroying half of the station when his orders are to take out the Eudora. Though his men apologized for their error, he shot one of them in the head to set an example. Danik, realizing that Norton and the others found the coordinates ordered that they should continue to target the Eudora.
Meanwhile, Norton and Carver regrouped. Norton apologized for not listening to him earlier. Carver dismissed his apology, reminding Norton that he cared for nothing except completing Damara’s mission. Ellie contacted them via RIG and told them that she, Santos and Buckell are trapped in the hangar deck. Knowing that Norton had a copy of the Shock-Gate transmission codes, she told Norton to head for the control room and activate the ShockRing. She planned on taking a Sub-Light flyer to Tau Volantis. Norton and Carver are attacked by more Necromorphs en route to the control room and barely scraped by without injury. Norton and Ellie apologized to each other over the fight with Isaac. Once they arrived, Norton inputted the coordinates. Ellie explained that the flyer was up and running and she will take a shock beacon with her. It will help her get straight to Tau Volantis from where she was.
As the ShockRing charged up, Norton activated Keyhole Station’s weapons and fired on Danik. Ellie thanked Norton and Carver for clearing the way. As the Sub-Flyer prepared to enter the ring, Ellie told Norton to “come get her soon”. Once they departed, Norton destroyed the ring before Danik’s ship could reach it. As they exited the station, the structure began to fall apart around them. Norton and Danik watched as the heavily damaged Unitologist ship floated off into space near the damaged ShockRing unable to cause further trouble. The Eudora arrived in time to pick them up and Norton ordered the ship to destroy Keyhole Station. Carver realized that without Damara, they could not translate the language of the Markers in her data stick. When he asked if there was anyone else who could, Norton answered, “Isaac Clarke.”
- Norton appeared to be capable of killing the Necromorphs without the express knowledge of shooting the limbs. This contradicted his later reaction on the appearance of the Necromorphs on the CMS Roanoke in Chapter 3 of Dead Space 3.
- There was no mention of the data stick containing the Marker symbols in Dead Space 3. Instead, the premise of Isaac's knowledge of the Marker language was utilized in Chapter 4 in the admiral's quarters.