Alternate Character Interpretation: Michael Altman believes the ghosts of the dead are the Marker communicating using the memories of the living. However, the ghosts are constantly talking about how they should leave the Marker alone and sabotaging the efforts to claim it. In this version of the book, it's entirely possible they're actually the dead trying to stop the Marker from destroying humanity.
Complete Monster: In this Tie-In Novel that serves as a prequel to the games, Craig Markoff is a high-ranking military officer who is obsessed with unearthing the Marker. After Michael Altman leaked video footage of two DredgerCorp employees killing themselves, Markoff broke into Altman's house and threatened to kill him if he didn't divulge everything he knew about the Marker. Once Markoff got the answers he wanted, he forced Altman, his girlfriend Ada, and several of Altman's coworkers to work at a floating facility dedicated to retrieving the Marker. Several of Markoff's employees kill themselves or lose their minds due to the Marker's influence on them, but he ignores all the suicides and keeps pressuring them to get the Marker. When Altman escapes the facility and goes public about what Markoff is doing, Markoff confronts Altman again and forces him to return, threatening Ada if he doesn't comply. He punishes Altman by having Kraxtorture him with knives. When Necromorphs attack the facility, Markoff leaves everyone inside to die while he safely records video footage of how the Necromorphs and the Marker operate. Markoff captures Altman again after he sinks the facility, and he, Krax, and Stevens all gloat how Altman's efforts were futile. He later reveals that Krax murdered Ada, shortly before he and Stevens explain how Altman will become the founder of the Church of Unitology, and that Markoff had Krax killed when he deemed him " expendable". Markoff then has Altman killed by forcing him to fight a Necromorph-enhanced Krax using nothing but a spoon, and continues his research on the Necromorphs and Markers. Even for a series with an already bleak tone, Markoff stands out as a man who wants nothing but power, and considers everyone to be either a weapon to use to his advantage or expendable.
Moral Event Horizon: Markoff and Stevens killing Michael Altman. Specifically, they capture him, lock him up in solitary confinement until he's completely insane from Marker-related visions, give him a Breaking Speech about how everything he's done has only helped their plans, then dump him in a room with a Necromorph which kills him.
The Woobie: Michael Altman is an ordinary agnostic archaelogist who loves his girlfriend and ends up getting his life ruined then ended by a corporate then government conspiracy as well as a cult of wackjobs.