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Legal Title to the Rocinante
- The Rocinante's legal ownership is a major plot point in Abbadon's Gate. Holden and crew had been previously operating under the notion that the ship was salvaged from the wreck of the Donnager, a point which the Martian government had never seriously contested. In Caliban's War the Martian fleet actually resupplies them in the middle of a fight. And more often than not Holden has been using the ex-MCRN Tachi in furtherance of Martian interests (pirate abatement and actual defense of the planet itself against rogue UNN elements and the protomolecule monsters) so the ship is being used as intended (if by proxy). Only when an expedition to the Gate is launched and Clarissa Mao kicks off her plot to destroy Holden, several years after Holden takes command of the ship, is a lawsuit filed for ownership. The matter only appears to be settled when Reverend Anna convinces her friend Tilly to have her husband buy the ship from Mars and sign it over to Holden. If Mars was really that upset about losing the Tachi, why didn't they do something about it when they had any number of opportunities to do so over a period of several years? They have the most powerful fleet in the Solar System; one understaffed corvette of their own design shouldn't be a problem for them to overpower and seize by main force if necessary. It seems like one conference call from Avsarala to the Martian government at the end of Caliban's War (along with a transfer of funds from Protogen's or Jules-Pierre Mao's seized accounts to make Mars happy) would have settled the matter permanently. It is entirely possible that Clarissa managed to bribe a Martian official to file the suit, or that the Mao family had allies in the Martian government, but the unauthorized appropriation of a warship seems like something the government would have done something about long before that point.
- Persepolis Rising reveals that rogue Martian intelligence officer Duarte had been signing over numerous Martian warships to the Belter Free Navy. Bureaucracy being what it is, the Rocinante may have simply fallen through the cracks until Mao's allies in the Martian government made a point of it—the MCRN's command structure at the highest levels appears to have some major breakdowns even this early in the story.
Slums in outer space?
- Something mentioned in the books: apparently, the various stations the Belters live were originally constructed as bases for mining the asteroid belt or scientific outposts. They then gradually turned into slums where downtrodden Belters are exploited by corporations and the Earth and Mars government. Thing is, the stations are in no way self-contained, and are reliant on regular resupply of food and whatever parts and materials cannot be manufactured locally. Also, the expense of moving people and material through space is far from trivial. Simply put, there is no reason there should be anybody except necessary crew on those stations - the expense of supporting excess population is simply too great. After all, real life offshore oil platforms and science stations in remote locations do not attempt to form their own government or support a population beyond the actual crews manning them.
- Think of Ceres and Eros as being company towns. They start out as corporate operations but as their work forces grow, secondary businesses (stores, bars, restaurants, brothels, etc.) start popping up as people get settled and many begin families. But when times get rough, out-of-work Belters don't have a lot of places where they can go. There aren't that enough settlements or jobs in the Belt for the population that grew and Belters physically can't handle life on Earth and Mars. This would have led to the creation of an underclass and the slums that exist in the fringes of Ceres and Eros filled with people who can't go anywhere else and the Earth and Mars governments are unwilling to do anything more than the bare minimum to make sure that there aren't mass deaths that can be pinned on them.
- It doesn't make sense for a company town to saddle itself with residents that can't move away when they are no longer needed and cannot be killed off either. The expense of supplying space stations with life support is precisely why they should only have the minimum necessary crew and make sure to rotate the saids crews periodically back to whichever planet they came from so that they aren't crippled by the lower gravity. And for the same reason, everyone should probably be on birth control while they are staying in space.
- It doesn't make sense, but it does happen in real life. There are countless towns and cities that grew around mines and oil wells and they all have underclasses living on the fringe even in boom times. And when times get tough, there are always those who stay behind either because they can't go anywhere else or they're holding out on the hope that things will improve. For Belters, living in space makes things even more difficult to find new opportunities. As for birth control, nothing is 100% effective and any children born out in space, even to Earther parents, are destined to spend their entire lives out there because they will never be able to tolerate planetary gravity.
The TV series
Removing air from ships during combat
- In the episode Doors & Corners, the crew of the Rocinante stow away their air and so have to wear their suits. But why do they remove the air from the ship in the first place? Is it ever explained?
- They're expecting to get punctured by PDC fire in combat (and it does happen), which would vent any air still in the cabin and possibly cause explosive decompression. Better to square it away in advance.
- It would also reduce the risk of a fire breaking out onboard.
- Further, storing compressed air in tanks makes it a lot harder to hit- if they get hit while fully pressurized, they lose all their air.
- Also, air escaping from the ship generates thrust. It's a miniscule amount when you're talking the thrust generated by the ship's engines, but it can be enough to throw off precision maneuvers and long-range gunnery.
- This also ensures nobody without a breathing apparatus can actually raid a ship. Since the local crew definitely has the equipment to defend their ship, it provides a potential strategic advantage over an especially stupid group of raiders.
Ganymede as a farm.
- Maybe I'm missing something simple but the fact that Ganymede is a key point to feeding the belt seems silly. Ganymede is further away from Mars for most of the belt, has a slower orbit than Mars (so again would be further away for longer periods of time), is further out of the habitable zone so requires more work to make it livable and in the show the station doesn't even appear to be that big. How and why is it so significant? Not saying it doesn't have things going in it's favour. Has an abundance of water and it's own magnetic field; but as a major food source to the belt it seems like more effort than it would be to create a greenhouse in space.
- However, unlike Mars, Ganymede is made up of both silicate rock and water ice. Having some form of water on the planet, which doesn't have to be imported (and which can't be blockaded by Earth, as was done to Mars) makes it immensely more convenient as a locale to grow food. It is theorized that there might even be oceans on Ganymede, beneath the frozen outer layer. Moreover, the soil on Mars is comparatively thick with perchlorates, which is naturally toxic and can make any plants growing in it toxic as well.
- Also, in terms of orbital mechanics it is easier to get something to go 'down' a gravity well than 'up' it. that is, to get something to move towards a massive object than away from it. since jupiter is farther away from the sun than the belt, cargo going from jupiter to the belt will be able to use less fuel to move the same mass of cargo. which makes it easier to move the food from Ganymede to the belt than from earth or mars to the belt. ships coming back would be largely empty, which also would save fuel.
- How about coming out of Jupiter's gravity well though? Less "deep" than the Sun's, but Ganymede is also much closer to Jupiter than Earth or Mars are to the Sun—and Jupiter's well is deeper than either of those planets of course.
- They don't really have to worry about Jupiter's gravity well because they're already orbiting it on Ganymede. Launching from Ganymede is the main issue, and once they're off Ganymede its relatively easy to break orbit around Jupiter. Jupiter's gravity well at that point is actually helpful due to being able to use it for slingshot maneuvers.
- Additionally, Ganymede has more mass than any object in the belt, including Ceres. The orbital mirrors used on Ganymede might require a minimum of gravity that Ceres can´t provide.
- Ganymede may be further away than Mars, but it has an important characteristic: It isn't Mars. Just being far away from Mars means that Belters are going to be far more willing to work and invest in it, even if it is technically operated by Inner corps. Belters don't like the Inners and especially don't like Inners controlling their resources when they can get away with it.
- The original poster asking the question actually answered it in that question. Ganymede, unlike Mars, has a magnetosphere, which helps repel away solar winds and therefore makes the surface of Ganymede comparatively safer than that of Mars. This means that, unlike the Martian settlements in the series that are located deep underground to get away from the radiation the solar winds carry, buildings can be set up on Ganymede's surface, so you can have greenhouses that are more cost-effective, as they would be in at least a modicum of sunlight. Add in the abundant ice, and any subsurface construction would be gaining a valuable resource, water, as tunnels and chambers are excavated.
- As a minor caveat, however, Ganymede is also sitting smack dab in the middle of the second-largest radiation hazard in the solar system, Jupiter's absolutely massive magnetosphere and specifically the attendant inner radiation belt. Information from Ganymede suggests that average exposure on the surface is around 50-80 mSv per day, which is lethal within two months. This may compare favorably to Europa or other Jovian satellites without an innate magnetosphere for a political faction that cannot rely on food access from any more suitable location like Mars or Earth, but it still overpowers Mars at a "mere" 0.67-1.3 mSv per day on the surface. Jupiter's environs are a nasty, nasty environment to work in.
What happened to Nauvoo?
- After the Eros incident mention is made of the Mormon's suing Fred Johnson and the Tycho Station crew for the loss of their ship. But because Eros dodged the ramming attack the Nauvoo should still be intact. It's understandable that they don't want Johnson anywhere near their ship again, but they should still be able to take remote control of it, order it to slow down and retrieve it. It would delay completion, but not completely scuttle the project.
- Season 3 answers that. It's still out there, and evidently no one has picked it up.
- As of episode 7 the Belters have taken command of it and rechristened it The Behemoth.
- There is still no explanation as to why the Mormons didn't retrieve it while it was adrift.
- Any deep space salvage team capable of retrieving the Nauvoo is likely to be run by the Belters—and as Fred Johnson told the Mormon delegation in Season 1, all of the best crews are OPA-affiliated. Neither the Earth nor Mars governments have a dog in the fight, and the Mormons may not have the training or the resources to launch their own retrieval mission. Now that the Gate is opened, the Mormons can get what they were after anyway without a multigenerational trip. It's likely that the OPA struck a deal with the Mormons for the first desirable habitable planet (which Belters wouldn't be able to inhabit anyway) in exchange for dropping their claims. Fred Johnson has lawyers on his team too.
Protogen's plan seems overly complex and absolutely insane.
So, a corporation with access to a special type of matter decides, instead of just offering to help people out and use that as a cover to ship them to a test site for their experiments, to instigate a war between the two major political powers FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE of hiding the fact that they want to release the protomolecule on a station of ONE AND A HALF MILLION PEOPLE. I realize, with Mars having a population of larger than ours today, and Earth more than three times that, that 1.5 million is kind of a drop in the bucket, but it still seems absolutely absurd that a corporation would approve of such a plan purely for science, let alone dedicate construction efforts for a small flotilla of special stealth ships solely to provoke a war.
- This way Protogen is creating a demand on the protomolecule weapons as well. With Earth and Mars in relative peace, they would surely cash out, as it is a huge advantage/deterrent during a cold war, but now, as the war is all but openly started, with nukes flying and moons being destroyed, the demand will be much higher. Also, Protogen is demoing their stealth tech, which is also a game-changer to a degree.
- Protogen is working with two major war hawks in the UNN as part of the project, which means they have to help provoke the war with Mars. It's part of their deal to assist the war hawks with their plans to destroy Mars.
Season 2 Cast Billing
- Julie Mao died in the same episode as Miller. So why was Thomas Jane's name removed from the credits immediately thereafter while Florence Faivre is billed throughout the rest of the season?
- Because Miller's story isn't over yet. Miller appears at the end of episode 7 in season 3
- Possibly to make his eventual return more surprising. Removing Jane's name from the credits hides the fact that he does show up again later in the series.
No pools for Martians?
As we see in season 1, merely having to endure Earth's gravity is torture for a Belter, but the buoyancy offered by immersion in a water tank offers relief. Which makes it strange that they seemingly did not outfit the Martian embassy with similar facilities: Bobbie Draper is told that she must take such-and-such drugs to compensate for the greater strain on her body, but nobody mentions the possibility of immersion in water to provide relief from the higher gravity. You'd think they'd outfit the residental areas of the embassy with suitable facilities.
- The Martian military trains under Earth-normal gravity. One g acceleration is noted by Bobbie to be "the speed of war" in the books. They can't endure it forever but living at 0.4 g (the gravitational pull of Mars) gives them an inherent advantage over the Belters and there may in fact be swimming pools in the Martian embassy compound. But in the context of the show—a diplomatic meeting—to conduct a meeting from the pool would be an appearance of weakness before the Earther adversaries. And Mars is all about projecting an image of strength.
Getting the message out
- After the Canterbury is destroyed and the main group is stuck on their little boat, they have to jury rig all sorts of stuff just to get the distress beacon running. But then how is it that Holden can transmit his video message about Mars destroying the Canterbury and it is picked up in almost perfect quality apparently all over the system?
- It only has to be picked up once by somebody who decides to pass it on.
How did the Martians and Belters survive the "slow-down" in Dandelion Sky?
- At the end of "Dandelion Sky", the speed limit inside the slow-zone drops dramatically, killing tons of people aboard the fleets when they abruptly decelerate. Since Martians and Belters are Lightworlders, the slow-down should have been way harder on them than it was on the UN personnel. How did any of them survive that?
- Technically no one should have been able to survive it as they all pulled hundreds of G's.
- The slowdown was quick but not instantaneous, and Behemoth was flying pretty slow at the time (although above the new speed limit). Most casualties on it should have been people suddenly thrown through wide open spaces.
- Unmodified Earth humans have survived transitory "shock" accelerations in excess of 100 Gs. Short, sharp accelerations are much more survivable than long-term ones.
- What would have caused the angel ornament at the end of the Nauvoo's spire to snap off when the OPA flips her around?
- Basic change in momentum. Being a glorified hood ornament, hardening the spire would have been the last thing on the agenda before sallying out. Besides, the Nauvoo was designed to travel in one direction for hundreds of years. It wasn't intended to make hard turn maneuvers on a regular basis.
So there's a big mystery in season 4 as to why Holden is immune to the eye parasites that are rendering everyone else on the planet blind. Eventually it's revealed to be because he's taking cancer medication after being irradiated on Eros, and those meds are also killing the parasites. The heroes basically only realize this due to a lucky coincidence... But how did they miss it when they were supposedly combing over Holden's medical status trying to figure out what set him apart from everybody else? Wouldn't "Are you taking any medication" be the first thing a doctor would ask?
- Yes it would. But there aren't any actual doctors there. The person who's doing the research, Elvi Okoye, is a biologist whose training is to look for measurable changes in innate structure, DNA, and chemistry.