The Martian Congressional Republic is an independent nation, locked in a cold war with Earth.
At the beginning of the TV series Mars has a population of around 7 billion, compared to the 30 billion on Earth (which is officially suffering from overpopulation problems), and the 50 - 150 million Belters living in the asteroid belt and outer planets.
The Martians are driven by a unifying sense of purpose to terraform Mars into a new Earth, because the old Earth is polluted and used up, and they don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past on their new home. Some Martians see this as a noble, desperate attempt to beat a ticking clock, because they think Earth is already a lost cause. In contrast to the bloated bureaucracy and massive overpopulation problems on Earth, the Martian Congressional Republic is driven by efficiency and a united political will. Mars also spends disproportionately on military research and development - unlike the fractious Earther politicians dividing the United Nations, the MCR is driven to take united action to make up for its relative lack of infrastructure compared to Earth. The result is that Mars regularly fields stealth technology which neither the Earthers or Belters possess.
- Claustrophobia: Inverted Trope: Most Martians display some level of agoraphobia - being on Earth's surface with its wide-open spaces and open horizon is uncomfortable even to trained ones. Belters don't really have claustrophobia or agoraphobia: they work in the vastness of open space, but the interiors of their ships are very cramped, so it sort of evens out (leaning more towards claustrophobic). In contrast, Martians spend their entire lives inside domed cities and tunnels underneath the surface of Mars, not experiencing open space even the way that Belters do. When Draper visits New York in Season 2, a passerby says he can tell she's Martian due to the stereotypical way they walk when moving around under a natural sky for the first time: hunched over as if they half-expect the sky to fall on them, disoriented and not matching their eyes to the horizon line.
- Conscription: All Martians are required to serve in the military, though the exact length of service isn't stated.
- The Conspiracy: In Season 4 it's revealed that rogue elements in the Martian military are helping Marco Inaros's OPA faction acquire advanced Martian military tech.
- Crapsaccharine World: Season 4 begins exploring a bit of life on Mars. It is technologically advanced, has a top-notch education system, and the people live long and healthy lives. Many on Earth try to emigrate to Mars thinking that it'll provide them with better opportunities than their overburdened homeworld. But there is trouble bubbling just beneath the surface.
- The citizenry are bombarded by propaganda to reinforce the belief that they are superior to every other faction in the solar system. The people are required to submit quarterly reports about themselves to the authorities.
- The police have extensive powers and can barge into places on short notice and without warrants. People automatically get down on the ground when they hear the announcement for police actions, indicating that they are common occurrences.
- Those who dare to go against the Martian order are pariahs. They are alternately ostracized and persecuted for their past actions.
- With Earth and Mars entering a new period of peace, large portions of the MCR military are being demobilized and there aren't enough civilian jobs to go around, meaning that Mars is facing an unemployment crisis similar to Earth's.
- Even worse, the opening of the Ring Gates. Mars had been able to control its population by touting itself as the true future of humanity, the only alternative to a dying Earth. Its entire society was geared towards terraforming the planet, simply because there were no viable alternatives. With the Ring Gates and the peace with Earth, the centuries-old terraforming project comes to an end; by Season 5, we see Mars looking much emptier than in prior seasons, likely because much of its population has colonized the new worlds.
- Crippling Overspecialization: For decades, Mars focused its efforts on preparing for war with Earth. When the two sides reach a peace and Mars begins demobilizing its military, it finds that its economy isn't diversified enough to cope with the sudden rise in the number of people needing civilian jobs.
- Hypocrite: They tend to treat Belters either like dirt or grubbier Blues, somehow forgetting that, not too long ago, Mars was the Belt, too and they still share much in common with the asteroids and the often-overlooked Luna.
- Fantastic Drug: Martian military and police use "focus drugs" that give them Hyper-Awareness. These are controlled substances and the manufacture and distribution of illegal versions is a lucrative racket for crime rings.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Martians loathe Earthers, whom they feel ruined Earth's ecosystem and resources. They see Earthers as lazy and corrupt, not realizing how good they have it, and that Martians are the last hope for the human race. One character goes so far as to say that Earth's gravity is the source of the planet's malaise because it pulls down the people's spirits.
- Ironically, however, Martians look down upon Belters as expendable cheap labor to supply Mars with resources, lackeys for Earth, or too concerned with their immediate survival needs (jobs, food, air) and desire for self-rule to help the true big-picture goal of turning Mars into a new Earth.
- Fantastic Slurs: Martians are colloquially called "Dusters". Members of the Martian military or government themselves are nicknamed "Mickies", after the initials of the Martian Congressional Republic.
- For their part, the Martian slang term for Earth soldiers is "Blues" - the UN color is blue, as well as Earth's blue sky and oceans versus Mars, the Red Planet; accordingly, all of their computer monitors display Earth forces as blue icons and Mars forces as red icons, so the nickname followed naturally.
- Future Food Is Artificial: Like the Belters - they do have some basic stable crops that they grow in domes, but a lot of what they eat is artificial. Most of their "meat" is actually grown in vats. Alex Kamal cooks some "lasagna" for the rest of the crew which he says is an old family recipe from Mars, and which they say actually tastes pretty good, but goes on to explain that his family made it back when they didn't really have access to real cheese, real tomato sauce, real meat, or real grains - apparently the whole thing is artfully "cooked" out of preservative imitation foods in such a way that it tastes reasonably palatable (in Season 3 he mentions that most of it is actually made out of soy products). When Draper is offered a real cucumber sandwich she instantly starts wolfing it down.
- The Generation Gap: Older Martians - who make up most of the high-ranking government and military officers - frequently complain that younger Martians don't care about their central dream of terraforming Mars into another Earth-like planet. Mars declared independence from Earth about one century ago, but consider that with advanced medical technology, life-expectancy on Mars is stated to be over 120 Earth-years - so the revolution is still within living memory for some of their grandparents. This doesn't mean that the younger generation is lazy: as the Martian ambassador laments in episode 2.12, the younger generations grew up on Mars, grew up in their cramped underground cities and tunnels, and are used to it - the older generations who immigrated from Earth knew what they had lost, and what they wanted to rebuild on Mars. The younger generation like Bobby Draper is still very dedicated to Mars, but they're more concerned with focusing their military on a direct military confrontation to try to conquer Earth. The older generation was willing to sacrifice whatever it took to further the terraforming project - such as trading Earth the new Epstein Drive technology and making armistic treaties if it buys them more decades to carry out the terraforming project in peace. On the other hand, this willingness to sacrifice for "the cause" also means that if older generation gets their hands on a trump card - i.e. the proto-molecule - they will use it, regardless of cost in lives even to their own soldiers much less Earth, in the name of the greater good.
- Germanic Efficiency: "Prussian Efficiency" sums up the MCR well. They might have a smaller population and industrial base than Earth, but they are all consumed by a driving need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps to compete with the mother planet as well as to Terraform their own world. Mars is repeatedly described as more efficient and unified than Earth is. Earth's United Nations government constantly faces internal squabbling, but the Martian political arena is united, and its people more willing to trade "butter for guns" to build up a disproportionately strong military. They are also willing to devote more resources to scientific research, meaning that their military technology is a cut above anything Earth can throw at them, and officially the cutting edge of tech anywhere in the solar system (on average, of course: Earth black ops are still pretty well outfitted, etc.) Apparently, since achieving independence from Earth one century ago, Mars remained in a perpetual state of military readiness, with routine air raid drills for schools until about one generation ago when things eased up slightly. However, younger generations are becoming resentful at having to dedicate their lives in service to the MCR and the terraforming project and the government is desperately trying to find ways to speed up the process to quell festering unrest.
- Light Worlder:
- Downplayed. Mars has lighter gravity than Earth so Martians naturally have less muscle mass and bone density compared to Earthers, but not nearly to the extent that Belters have been shaped by living in much lower microgravity. Rather, the unique biological feature of the Martians is that due to living on Mars for generations, selection pressures favored those who had better tolerances for low oxygen environments. As a result, Martians on average use slightly less oxygen than Earthers. The asteroid belt was colonized much more recently, so the Belters haven't had quite as many generations for such selection pressures to take effect. "Slightly" less is of course measured in a difference of only mere minutes - but this can be the difference between life and death in an oxygen-deprived spaceship.
- Martian military ships regularly travel at 1-g, aka "the speed of war", so that Martian marines can prepare for a theoretical invasion of Earth. Despite the training, Martians find real Earth gravity difficult to deal with since they still spend most of their time living and working in Mars-standard 0.3-g. They also find natural sunlight to be blinding and real air to be nauseatingnote . Even seeing the horizon can be overwhelming. All Martians going to Earth have to take blood oxygen boosters, muscle fatigue inhibitors, and bone density enhancers just to cope. The UN takes thinly-veiled glee in making Martian arrivals as uncomfortable as possible because of this.
- Still, consider that Martians can at least get by on Earth with the right medication - in contrast to some Belters born in space, for whom physically standing on Earth's surface is officially considered torture in the legal sense.
- Demonstrated in a Show, Don't Tell manner when Bobbie Draper discovers that her nephew has fallen in with a bad crowd. While her training and skills certainly play a role, and she's been established to be unusually strong anyway, she's also undergone the MMC's physical therapy program to augment her bone and muscle mass to that of an Earth native, and spent years of her life operating at 1G on Martian warships. When the civilian street gang thugs (who haven't had all of that stuff) pull a knife, she effortlessly disarms and stomps the ever-loving shit out of all three in in less time than it takes to read this sentence, taking a few extra moments to beat one guy's face inside-out (not an exaggeration) as an example to the others. Curb-stomp doesn't even begin to cover it.
- Misplaced Accent: Mars has a central government and large population centers, so it didn't develop an odd pidgin variant of prior languages the way that "Belter Creole" developed as a mish-mash of various languages spoken by immigrants to the belt. They do, apparently, use English as their standardized language of military and government (though Martian warships also have signage in Russian visible in some scenes). On the more subtle level of accent, however, things can be a bit variable: Alex Kamal grew up in a region colonized by people from China, South Asia, and Texas - so all of the English teachers in the first generation of colonists had a Texan accent, which they passed on to everyone else who learned English. Thus Alex is of South Asian descent but anachronistically has a hammy Texas accent. This varies from one region to the next across all of Mars, though - most we see speak with standard American English accents.
- In Season 2, Bobbie Draper is introduced, who speaks with a New Zealand accent - apparently because the actress actually is from New Zealand, while ethnically Samoan. They didn't bother to make the actress hide her natural accent.
- Older Than They Look: Martians have the highest life expectancy in the system, around 120 years. Meaning most Martians are a good bit older than they look. This also extends to non-Martians who have spent most of their lives on Mars and had access to their medical care, like Frank De Graff, who looked like he was in his 70's but was actually in his late 90's.
- Power Armor: Most Martian marines wear armored combat spacesuits and carry automatic rifles into battle, but Draper's fire team, being a special operations unit, wear specialized suits of powered armor with built-in arm-mounted guns and backpack-mounted anti-tank missiles. Such suits are extremely expensive, far too much to equip the rank-and-file infantry, but are also shown to be a potential game-changer in a firefight.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: Just as Earth had a conspiracy led by UN Undersecretary Errinwright and Admiral Nguyen trying to take advantage of the proto-molecule (resulting in the Eros incident), Mars had its own conspiracy trying to harness proto-molecule technology led by MCRN Defense Minister Korshunov, Captain Mertens, and others (resulting in the Hybrid super-soldier program and the Ganymede incident). By Season 4, despite Korshunov's death, these rogue elements start secretly arming the OPA's own Renegade Spinter Faction, the Free Navy, to distract everyone from their real goal, revealed at the end of Season 5: Admiral Duarte leads a large rogue fleet of the MCRN to establish their own full break-away interstellar state in the Laconia system, where they can salvage even more potent Ring-builder artifacts). According to the books, Duarte absconded with a full third of the MCRN fleet (the surviving fleet after the Earth-Mars war, which badly weakened their numbers).
- Quality over Quantity:
- The entire reason that Earth and Mars are locked in a cold war is because neither side has a clear advantage. Both sides agree that while Martian warships are more than a match for Earth's in any one-on-one fight, Earth's more numerous armada would likely secure victory, albeit suffering disastrously high casualties in the process. When a full scale war is formally declared between Earth and Mars at the start of Season 3, this starts to play out as both sides predicted: the MCRN initially gains the upper hand due to their better technology, capturing Ceres (capital of the asteroid belt) from the UNN, as well as taking Jupiter and Saturn. However, the UNN regroups and manages to force them to retreat, as Mars simply could not keep up with that attrition rate. Attrition rates are still so high that an invasion of Mars itself seems unlikely: the rival conspirators on both sides are competing for the proto-molecule super-soldiers, which could tip the scales heavily in their own favor.
- In Season 2, Draper states that all simulations indicate Mars ships are so advanced that simulations estimate them to have a two to one kill ratio against their Earth counterparts - to which her commander quickly points out that Earth's fleet still outnumbers the five to one. When the war happens in Season 3, it plays out pretty much as predicted: after a few weeks Mars manages to whittle down the UNN fleet until they only outnumber them 3:1 - but by that point Mars is running out of ships.
- The Martian Marines, however, believe in the trope as stated: one Martian Marine is worth twenty United Nations "grunts" (keeping in mind that "one Martian marine" is equipped with high-tech power armor, making them a walking tank). Lt. Sutton downplays this bravado; when Bobbie quotes the "one for twenty" figure to him, he notes that the second-toughest thing in the system after a Martian Marine is a UN Marine.
- Space Navy: The Martian Congressional Republic Navy, or MCRN. They're the most technologically-advanced military in the solar system, but they only have one ship for every five the of the UNN (see Quantity vs. Quality above).
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Unlike Earth with its bickering internal factions and territories, all of Mars is united in the single-minded goal of terraforming their world into a new habitable Earth-like planet. They think Earth is already so badly polluted and its resources exhausted that it's dying, so they need to make a new Earth to save the future of the human race. All of the Martians' actions are in pursuit of this greater good - even if it means oppressing the Belters just as much as Earth does, or even going to war with Earth. From the Martians' point of view, at least they're justified in having a goal that will protect the future survival of humanity, while in contrast, Earthers seize space resources just to feed their overpopulated planet from one day to the next with government handouts - and the Belters are only a step better than that, because they're also just worried about their day-to-day needs, but at least they work really hard to scrape by in the asteroid belt.
- The World Is Just Awesome: As the saying goes, when you live your whole life inside of a cramped dome city under the surface of Mars, even the idea of an ocean can be difficult to comprehend. Even the Belters get the vast "ocean" of outer space, but the Martian underground cities leave them very agoraphobic. When Draper visits Earth in Season 2 she sneaks out of the UN compound to see the ocean: despite being a tough-as-nails combat marine, she dips her feet into the water like an awe-struck child. Avasarala points out to her that it's filthy water from the bay, but she's too mesmerized to mind.
Gunnery Sergeant Roberta "Bobbie" W. Draper
A member of the Martian Marine Corps. The toughest member of her squad and a disciplinarian when it comes to anyone acting out of line, she is a fiercely nationalistic Martian dedicated to the dream of terraforming the planet.
- Action Girl: She's a highly-trained soldier capable of taking on armed guards with her bare hands and, when clad in her Power Armour, walking through small-arms fire like it's nothing.
- Amazonian Beauty: Notably tall (6'6" in the books, 5'11" in the TV series) and powerfully built, especially for a Light Worlder Martian, and capable of defeating her own power armor in an arm wrestle. She gets plenty of attention from men both under and above her in rank, but she is unwilling to use this to her advantage, claiming that she uses weapons as weapons rather than sex as a weapon.
- Big Eater: The first thing she asks for after coming to after the Ganymede Incident is a porterhouse steak. And when offered cucumber sandwiches, she gobbles down half a tray and stuffs the other half into her pockets.
- Blood Knight: Initially the case. She is just itching for a fight with Earth marines... until she gets her first taste of real combat on Ganymede, which makes her into more of a Reluctant Warrior.
- Break the Haughty: She sneaks out of the Martian Embassy in New York in an attempt to see the ocean. On her way there, she sees what it's really like for Earthers living on government subsidies and realizes that, for the most part, Earthers aren't the spoiled brats she thought them to be. This softens her views greatly but she still holds contempt for Earthers in power for letting the situation get so bad.
- Broken Pedestal:
- Upon learning that her government allowed her team to die as a sales pitch for the Super Soldier made from the protomolecule, she defects to Earth. Experiences this again aboard the Behemoth when Ashford sics her own men to kill the crew of the Rocinante.
- In Season 4, she begins to see that even everyday life on Mars isn't all that great as she has to deal with ostracism, corruption, criminality, and corruption that clashes with the idealized view of her homeworld that she had in her head.
- Category Traitor: By Season 4, she's become a pariah in Martian society because she's unwilling to be blindly loyal to the MCR.
- Defector from Commie Land: She defects from Mars when she learns that her squad was deliberately sacrificed just to show off the protomolecule Super Soldier. She's reinstated after the Time Skip.
- Chekhov's Skill: She's introduced arm-wrestling her own power armor as a display of strength. This comes in handy when the armor's hydraulics are disabled and she needs to aim her gun at the protomolecule hybrid trying to kill her.
- Deadpan Snarker: While Bobbie's preferred form of conflict involves powered armour and big guns, she's also got a quick wit on her.
- Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: At the beginning of Season 4, she's reduced to working a dangerous menial job dismantling decommissioned warships as her record, and a severe job shortage, prevents her from getting work suited to her skill set.
- Falling into the Cockpit: She ends up having to pilot the Razorback and does a decent job of it.
- Fighting for a Homeland: She desperately wants to see Mars terraformed, and is crushed knowing that it won't happen within her lifetime.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Non-fatal variety. She takes a bullet for Alex - from her own team - and nearly bleeds out as a result. This act finally convinces her to leave the MMC and join the Roci for good.
- One-Man Army: Literally. When Cotyar and Avasarala were pinned down aboard Mao's yacht, she instantly shifted the tide when she walked in with her armor. When the team infiltrates Io, she disposes every single Protogen mook on her own and in an instant (though technically Prax fired the first shot and got one of the mooks). Shortly after, she takes on a Hybrid one-on-one and wins, albeit barely. Just a handful of Hybrids can lay waste to all of Mars. Even Cotyar cheekily admits that she's an absolute badass to Souther and Nguyen.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Proudly states that one Martian Marine is worth 20 Earth Marines.
- Punctuated Pounding: Part of her Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique of Captain Martens.
- The Scapegoat: In the wake of the events inside the Ring, Bobbie is scapegoated by the Martian government and dishonorably discharged.
- Self-Deprecation: When she's out on an unsanctioned town trip on her visit on Earth, she agrees, that perhaps there's a bit of truth to the Earth propaganda claiming Martian music is crap.
- Sole Survivor: Only surviving member of her squad during the Ganyemede Incident — actually the only surviving ground soldier, after the Protomolecule hybrid wiped out both the Martian and Earth troops as a weapons test.
- Space Marine: Is a member of the Martian Marine Corps. Generally agreed to be, one on one, the best soldiers in the system.
- Team Mom: She regards her squad as a group of unruly children and even refers to them as her "children" and "kids".
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: She and Cotyar do not get along. The first thing she says to him was "What the fuck are you looking at?" with a face ready to beat his ass in. Likewise, she's not terribly great with Amos. They very nearly got into a cage-match after he defaced the Martian flag, and continues to act coldly towards him the rest of the series.
- Took a Level in Kindness: She used to be extremely trigger-happy and bloodthirsty for battle, but hanging around Avasarala and eventually the Roci crew softened her up considerably. Following the six-month Time Skip after the battle of Io, she's gotten quite close to the crew — especially Alex.
- Trauma Conga Line: Starting midway through season two, but especially by season four, she really can't catch a break. Her entire squad and her commanding officer (whom she looked up to) die during the Ganymede incident. She's used as a political prop by the Martian Defense Minister and is made to scapegoat one of her squad-mates for the incident. After discovering the protomolecule conspiracy she's forced to abandon her people and become a refugee on Earth. After the conspiracy is defeated, she is reinstated, only for things to go south again in the latter half of season 3. She is trapped in Ring Space with the rest of her ship, and her new squad manages to get themselves killed (mainly due to their own stupidity, but still) before the incident is resolved with Bobbie once again having to disobey her orders. This results in her getting dishonorably discharged for good, and becoming a social pariah on Mars. She works a humiliating, dull job in a scrapyard and has to move in with her brother. She finds her nephew is working in a smuggling ring and, after getting him out of it, is blackmailed into working in the exact same criminal clique. Despite this, she grows to respect the clique's leader, Esai, after seeing his moral complexity... only for him to be gunned down, and for Bobbie to become a fugitive again at the end of season 4.
- Unflinching Walk: Regains her Power Armour at the climax of Season 2 and strides menacingly through the small-arms fire of the security team aboard Mao's yacht before tossing them about like ragdolls.
Private Richard Travis
A member of Draper's squad. He is disliked by his colleagues due to being an Earther, though he's spent most of his life on Mars and is fiercely patriotic.
- Butt-Monkey: He's constantly subject to verbal abuse by his fellow soldiers, particularly Hellman, before eventually earning their respect.
- Fantastic Racism: He's been suffering from this his entire life, due to emigrating from Earth, even from his own comrades. Both Bobbie and Sutton are aware of the abuse, but respect him for his fierce determination and Martian patriotism in the face of it.
- Mauve Shirt: Gets a good amount of characterization and focus before getting killed at Ganymede.
A member of Draper's squad who hails from a well-off family.
A member of Draper's squad.
- Flat Character: Suffers from this as the one member of Bobbie's unit to receive the least amount of characterization.
- Jerkass: While not nearly as bad as Hillman, he's prone to slinging the usual racist shit towards Travis whenever he's in a foul mood. He's much quicker to realize when he's stepped over the line however, and is able to reign himself in.
Lieutenant Paolo Mayer
An MMC marine stationed aboard the MCRN Xuesen and Bobbie's CO following her reinstatement. After the arrest of Jules-Pierre Mao and the Ring's activation, Mayer's team is sent in to investigate the Nucleus station, and to apprehend Holden following his...possibly Sanity Slippage.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He gets this almost as bad as poor Manéo. After he sets off a hand-grenade to blow up the security-bot, the Nucleus station perceives him as an immediate threat and he's levitated above ground and taken apart, from suit to skin to muscles, then processed into some sort of paste that automatically repairs the damage he incurred to the station. If Manéo was a bug on a windshield, Mayer was reupholstered into floor tiles.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's stoic and aloof, but not heartless. He knows full well that Holden helped save Mars, and takes Bobbie's vouching of him under advisement, despite the rampant racism and dismissal of his team. In point of fact, when they confront Holden, Bobbie is the one who shot first while he kept advocating for a peaceful resolution.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Much like Manéo, he's in only one episode and plays a similar role in that his actions unintentionally cause problems. Whereas Manéo's Hot-Blooded recklessness opens the Ring, Mayer's reaction to the protomolecule bot causes the Nucleus to activate, restricting movement in the Slow Zone even further, leading to hundreds of deaths and very nearly causing the station to cauterize the entire Sol system.
- The Stoic: If he ever loses his cool, it's only for a split second, even in the face of alien weirdness.
Martian Congressional Republic Navy (MCRN)
MCRN Minister of Defense and the Martian diplomat sent to Earth to nail down the details on the cease-fire and restitutions following the Ganymede incident. Like Martens, he's also hiding quite a secret...
- Affably Evil: He's evil as hell, sure, but he's polite, amenable and logical. Unlike other Martian soldiers, he can be reasoned with.
- Alas, Poor Villain: For a couple of moments, Errinwright seemed genuinely remorseful after killing him, but quickly regains his compose. For the viewers however, he's much more of an Asshole Victim considering his actions resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, with many more to come after losing Ganymede - the belt's main source of food.
- Big Bad: Of the second season. After Mao tossed aside Errinwright, he's become Protogen's newest financial benefactor, and wholly orchestrated the Ganymede incident in an effort to test the Hybrid. Likewise, he also attempts to manipulate Earth with Draper's "testimony."
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Even for The Expanse, he dies a rather gruesome death as he's poisoned and suffers a heart attack severe enough to make him claw at his own chest.
- Didn't See That Coming: His plans were sound, but he didn't account for anyone as shrewd as Avasarala to see right through him. Likewise, he didn't expect Errinwright to so ruthlessly cut him down and retake the Protomolecule project.
- Evil Genius: He's especially intelligent, with a respected history as a military tactician.
- Fanboy: He hides it among his Martian peers, but confides in Errinwright that he's a huge fan of classical opera. In fact, he thinks Earth still produces the best music in the system.
- Out-Gambitted: He played the game well, but not as well as Errinwright. It costs him.
- Retired Badass: He used to be a Marine, with quite a respectable record and past history of taking down pirates.
- Wicked Cultured: The man loves his Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. He also enjoys classy, expensive scotch.
Ostensibly an MCRN chaplain, he appears to have ulterior motives.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the books, Martens plays his role as spiritual adviser straight, helping Bobbie deal with the loss of her squad and subsequent PTSD. In the series, he claims to have her best interests in mind, but only insofar as it furthers his own schemes.
- Arc Villain: Of Bobbi's story in the second season. He also counts as a Big Bad Duumvirate with Korshunov.
- Asshole Victim: After finding out about his treachery, Bobbi beats the living shit out of him before immediately defecting. Not one person felt bad about it.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He introduces himself as a Good Shepherd but he becomes harsher towards Bobbie and keeps putting her down as Season 2 progresses. It's eventually revealed that he's privy to the Protogen conspiracy.
- The Dragon: He seems to be the only other Martian who knows extensively about the Protomolecule, and as such reports directly to Kurshunov.
- The Hypocrite: For all his tough talk, he folds pretty quickly once Bobbie starts tossing him around the room.
- I Did What I Had to Do: How Martens justifies his actions.
- Jerkass: He comes across initially as friendly, even a sort of mentor figure to Bobbi. But it's clear that he's only out for himself and his career. When the facade is up, he's an utter unrepentant dick.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Is willing to do anything to further the interests of Mars, even if it means orchestrating the death of Bobbie's patrol and starting a system-wide war to get hold of the protomolecule soldiers Protogen is creating.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Gets an epic one from Avasarala:"Whoever the fuck you are, stand down and let her talk!"
- The Political Officer: Martens' actual function, acting as Bobbie's handler from the moment she is dispatched to Earth. His behavior towards Bobbie ultimately leads to Bobbie beating the crap—and the truth—out of him before defecting to Earth.
- When I Was Your Age...: As detailed above on The Generation Gap, he sees the younger generation as "soft" and don't understand the meaning of sacrifice. When she starts disobeying, it becomes one of his favored tactics in berating Bobbie.
An MCRN admiral and instructor that Bobbie suspects is the mastermind behind the conspiracy to sell MCRN tech to Belter terrorists.
- Adaptational Job Change: In the books, he was a captain in the MCRN. Here, he holds the much higher rank of admiral.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Is introduced at the start of Season 5, then isn't heard from again until his whammy reapperance in the final episode, where it's revealed that he is indeed deeply involved in selling Martian military tech to Marco Inaros' Free Navy.
- Composite Character: The little bit of a role Duarte has in the fifth book is ultimately given to Sauveterre in favor of keeping Duarte as The Ghost.
- Disc-One Final Boss: He appears to be the leader of Marco's Martian allies, but "Nemesis Games" reveals that he is working for one Admiral Duarte. Shortly after this, he is killed by a strange phenomenon.
- Jerkass: He has a good public face, but he's an almost unrepentant asshole. He instantly shuts down and dismisses Alex simply for his role as the Rocinante's pilot, despite knowing full well of how many times they saved the system, and is pointlessly cruel towards Babbage simply because her bracelet violates Laconia's uniform code.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's the likely head of a smuggling ring supplying Mars's enemies, and there are hints he's looking into protomolecule research, but his public face is that of a highly decorated and respected MCRN admiral and educator.
Lt. Emily Babbage
A Martian lieutenant.
- Honey Trap: Sauveterre sends her on a date with Alex to find out the latter's real reason for visiting Mars. Ironically, Alex had intended to use himself as a honey trap for her in order to get intel on Sauveterre. It ends in a draw, sort of.
- Tragic Keepsake: She wears a bracelet that belonged to her mother and its implied that she inherited it under some rather sad circumstances. Sauveterre demands she hand it over for violating uniform regulations.
Admiral Winston Duarte
A Martian Admiral, and the apparent leader of the Martian splinter group working with Marco Inaros.
- The Bad Guy Wins: In an almost unheard of power play, Season 5 ends with Duarte holding all the cards - of practically every game: He has the protomolecule, he has Paolo Cortazar, his own splinter faction and armada of the MCRN, his own planet rich with Ring Builder technology, and Marco Inaros dancing on the palm of his hand without even realizing it. While everyone is busy dealing with Marco, Duarte is slowly and quietly accumulating power beyond anyone's comprehension.
- Decomposite Character: What little role Duarte played in the book Season Five is based on is given to Sauveterre, primarily so the show could keep Duarte as the unseen mastermind behind the Martian splinter faction.
- Greater-Scope Villain: As his splinter group has not only several MCRN warships at their disposal but also the Protomolocule and what appears to be an alien ship in orbit over Laconia at their disposal, Duarte appears to be shaping up to be this. Especially with the reveal that Admiral Sauveterre was only a Disc-One Final Boss working for Duarte.
- The Ghost: Besides a single mention of his name in Nemesis Games there is no indication that Admiral Duarte was even a character in the show.
Capt. Sandrine Kirino
Captain of the MCRN Hammurabi and leader of the Martian Jupiter fleet. After receiving a communique from Avasarala through Ensign Sinopoli of Errinwright's treachery, she forwards the video to Souther to have him removed - all the while preparing her fleet against Earth's.
- The Chessmaster: Following Souther's mutiny, all of the UN ships are thrown into disarray and begin firing at each other. She orders the MCRN fleet to stand down and offer any ships aid if they need it. Right off the bat, she took the moral high ground in the war and simultaneously outplayed Nguyen.
- The Good Captain: Extremely skeptical, but also trusting of all the men under her command. If nothing else, she will consider every possibility.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: When given evidence that the war was started on false pretenses, she transmits the information to Admiral Souther as requested and tries to avoid hostilities if possible, even over the objections of her XO.
Kirino's skeptical and trigger-happy XO.
One of three survivors rescued by the crew of the Roci from the MCRN Kittur Chennamma. After meeting Avasarala face to face, he's given a very special task that could end the war.
- Action Survivor: One of only three survivors from a decimated fleet.
- Captain Obvious: States Avasarala's full name and title...to her face.Avasarala: This is going to be a very tedious conversation if you remain this dim.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Once he's confronted by Bobbie, he immediately surrenders knowing full well he will get straight up murdered against a Martian Marine in a fight.
- Only Sane Man: Avasarala determines him to be the most reasonable of the three survivors, since he knew not to fight a losing battle.
Draper's commanding officer, who is just as dedicated to Mars but tends to act with a cooler head.
- Composite Character: Also counts as a Canon Foreigner as there isn't a Sutton in the books, but many of his traits are a combination of Lieutenant Givens and Book!Martens.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: He's killed by a piece of shrapnel during the Ganymede battle.
- A Father to His Men: Calls off an assault when he sees that Earth has brought ten times as many troops to the fight, not wanting to sacrifice his people needlessly.
- Oh, Crap!: A very calm one when fighting breaks out over Ganymede."I can't believe we're doing this."
- Martial Pacifist: He very strongly believes that a war between Earth and Mars is pointless but that doesn't mean he's unwilling to fight.
- Mission Control: While no doubt a formidable fighter in his own right, Sutton stays aboard the ship while Draper and the rest of the Marines go into battle.
- Mr. Exposition: Explains high-level Martian military and foreign policy to his troops (and by extension the viewers).
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Most of his on-screen appearances have been devoted to talking Draper down from her more bloodthirsty impulses.
- Take a Third Option: When forced to choose between allowing Earth to occupy Phoebe Station, or wasting his troops and starting a war to keep them out, he opts to blow up the entire moon instead.
Capt. Theresa Yao
The captain of the MCRN Donnager. Unlike most of her crew, Yao was a combat veteran having spent three years fighting pirates in the belt.
- Badass Boast: When the MCRN Donnager is attacked, she's very confident about her odds."Well, whoever they are, and whatever they've come to do, it's just become a suicide mission."
- The Captain: Of the MCRN Donnager.
- Going Down with the Ship: Orders Donnager scuttled once it's clear that the crew cannot repel boarders.
- Heroic Sacrifice: She blows up the Donnager to make sure Lopez gets Holden and his crew away without the stealth ships following them.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Once it becomes clear that Holden and his crew are not responsible for the attacks on Martian ships, she very carefully hears him out, and takes every risk to ensure that they live to tell their story.
- The Snack Is More Interesting: She spends the early part of the battle with the stealth ships dismissing the idea that they pose any real threat, which included keeping her coffee cup in hand and drinking from it several times. There's a subtle implication that the Donnager might have been able to prevail if they had taken the fight more seriously and if most of the crew wasn't completely inexperienced with combat.
- Taking You with Me: When it's clear they're being overwhelmed by the stealth ships, she scuttles the Donnager, taking out most of them.
Lt. K. Lopez
A key intelligence officer and resident interrogator on the MCRN Donnager.
- Fantastic Racism: Despises Earthers for wasting and degrading their planet. He's also not too fond of the OPA as he sees them as nothing more than simple terrorists and troublemakers.
- Good Is Not Nice: He's a good man and a good soldier, but very prickly and judgmental. Still, he's unfailingly loyal to Mars and to Yao.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He gets shot protecting and escorting Holden's crew to the Tachi. While he manages to get the ship up and running and transfers control to them, he bleeds out soon after.
- Inspector Javert: From start to finish, he's most suspicious of Naomi and is certain she is (or used to be) a hardcore OPA terrorist, even in the face of everyone else's defense of her. Given what we learn in later seasons, he is correct about her past but not her present allegiance.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Averted; his interrogation style is intense, but involves no coercion or torture.
- Last-Name Basis: We never do discover his first name.
- Living Lie Detector: Before each interrogation, he takes a drug to make himself hyper-aware of micro-expressions.
- Sacrificial Lion: He gives his life to ensure Holden and crew make it aboard the Tachi and tells the ship's computer to grant them full control before dying.
Bobbie's teenage nephew.
- Demoted to Extra: He's the main character of the novella that Bobbie's Season 4 storyline is based on, but he has a very small role.
- Distressed Dude: Esai uses him as a hostage to force Bobbie to help him steal from her job.
Bobbie's brother and David's father.
A crime boss on Mars
- Broken Pedestal: He's become disillusioned with life on Mars, believing that the terraforming project will be abandoned and that those who can afford it will go through the ring gate to colonize worlds which already have breathable atmospheres. He turned to crime to be able to make enough money so he can join those colonists.
- Composite Character: His role as a crime lord that David gets into trouble with comes from Hutch, the villain of the novella Gods of Risk. However, the rest of Esai's storyline and characterization is completely original to the show. The name "Hutch" is used for an entirely unrelated character in Season 5.
- Dirty Cop: He's a police officer and uses his position to cover up his crimes.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Esai has a wife and two children whom he loves.
- Noble Demon: While Esai is a crime boss, he tries to avoid killing and doesn't deal in lethal equipment.
- One Last Job: Which results in death by Retirony.
- Only in It for the Money: He doesn't care about what his clients do with the tech he sells them. All he wants is make enough money for his family to get aboard one of the colony ships en route to one of the Ring systems.
- Resignations Not Accepted: Surprisingly averted - when Bobby wants out of his operation, he expresses regret but doesn't stop her and holds no grudge about her decision.
- Would Hurt a Child: He doesn't physically hurt him, but Esai apparently thinks nothing of forcing Bobbie's teenage nephew David to cook illegal drugs for him. When Bobbie shuts the operation down, he holds David hostage until she has compensated him for the damage.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Inaros faction kill him when he delivers Martian stealth technology to them.
One of Esai's criminal associates.
- Accidental Murder: She's the one who killed the dock inspector whose death Bobbie was suspected of at the start of the season. Leelee claims that she was defending herself and didn't mean to kill him.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the books, she only worked for Hutch because she was in deeply in debt to him. In the show, she's willingly a member of Esai's criminal organization and is far more sinister.
- Karma Houdini: The last we see of Leelee is her making a run for Ceres after her criminal operation went down in flames, and there's nothing to suggest she didn't get off scot-free with everything she's done.
- Pet the Dog: She at least seems to genuinely care about Esai. Just as she and Bobbie part on better terms, she offers a place for Bobbie to lay low then apologizes for the mess she got Bobbie in.
- Only in It for the Money: Has even less compunctions than Esai about robbing the Martian government and selling dangerous tech to dangerous people, but unlike him she doesn't have a sympathetic motive beyond pure greed.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After Esai is killed as part of a government conspiracy, Leelee decides to flee the planet and hide out with a cousin on Ceres.
- Smug Snake: Acts hilariously condescending towards Bobbie in their first "real" encounter, gets utterly trashed as a result and... continues to act exactly the same afterwards despite having to cake on the makeup to hide her numerous bruises.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: She and Bobbie seem to positively loathe each other, which Leelee attempts to hide behind a facade of smug superiority. They're inches away from getting physical almost every time they meet or, failing that, sniping insults at each other.
- Too Dumb to Live: See the preceding two entries. Bobbie could kill or cripple her very violently without breaking a sweat, and already beat her almost beyond recognition the first time she tried to throw her rather-diminutive weight around, but she still tries to act like Bobbie is the one who should be afraid of her.