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 Marker and soon thereafter began to create copies of the Marker in a move to harvest its energy. They worshiped the Marker and fell under its thrall. The combined power of Markers and the inhabitants who've fallen victim to its control triggers 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 are only half successful: the halt of the Convergence Event deep freezes 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 faction known as the Sovereign Colonies discover that the signal being perpetuated by their own Markers comes from the lost planet itself. In the face of losing the Secession War to Earth Government,[note 1] the colonies send an expedition out to the planet in the hopes of finding Markers for their flagging campaign. Now an "icy backwater planet", the environment of Tau Volantis is harsh, and visited frequently by snow storms. These conditions complicate 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 unearths the corpses of the aliens changed by the Necromorph organism, it isn't long before that expedition itself succumbs to the influence of the Markers.
When Major General Mahad loses complete control of the situation in 2314, the Sovereign Colonies council authorizes Scenario Five; a "first contact" scenario that entails 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 alien's machine and Rosetta, Earl Serrano and his search team halve the body into pieces to hide. Serrano's attempts to finish the machine himself are prevented by Mahad and an accident leaves him unable to walk. The expedition is lost. Two hundred years pass; the derelict Sovereign Colonies Armed Forces flotilla floats 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 are mere remnants of what was an established settlement on the planet. The frozen Tau Volantis' terrain appears to be made up of catacombs, sweeping cliffs and caves. Research found by Serrano suggests that the terrain of the planet may have 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 and she was killed in their search for the information.
Langford's efforts to reach the planet urges Captain Norton and Sergeant John Carver to enlist Ishimura survivor, Isaac Clarke's help under the advisement of Langford. Above the planet they assume Tau Volantis is the "Marker Homeworld", the origin of the Necromorphs. On the planet however, further exploration into the Sovereign Colonies fragmented data reveals Tau Volantis once was 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 aim to stop Clarke and Langford from reaching the source and destroy all changes of true Convergence.
The planet is overrun by Necromorph lifeforms, all who appear to have adopted new ways of attacking unsuspecting victims with the use of their own weapons and deceiving appearances. Wasters and Feeders are some of the hostile lifeforms encountered by survivors on the planet. The nature of the Necromorphs formed with human bodies are largely same in behavior and appearances as the ones previously engaged on Aegis VII, the Ishimura and Titan Station.
Further down below, however, creatures akin to the Snow Beast, and the Nexus emerge, revealing the fate of the planet's original inhabitants were the ones that halted the Convergence Event that required the sacrifice of their lives to stop. Though Danik is initially successful in restarting the Convergence Event, the combined efforts of Clarke and Carver result 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 wake up to discover they have survived their freefall onto the planet's surface. At this point the moon, although dead and no longer broadcasting its signal, rests atop the planet's surface, remaining largely intact. The destruction of the machine seems to have no effect on the planet's weather and despite the death of the Moon, the necromorphs inhabiting the planet still exist, fueled by the long-range signals of the newly-awakened Brethren Moons.
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