508 Hard Vacuum – The Expanse Podcast – Tales From The Rocinante

Jan 22, 2021 | The Expanse Podcast - Tales From The Rocinante | 0 comments

Hard Vacuum

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Episode Recap

Hard Vacuum

The episode opens on Earth with Amos and Clarissa trekking across the wilderness on their newly acquired motorbikes on the way to Baltimore.

While stopping at an abandoned building, Clarissa discovers several abandoned bodies. The Elderly left behind when people fled the place. It’s a stark reminder of what the world will be like for a while.

Clarissa tells Amos she knows where they can find a ship to get off-world. But it would be very hard for them to get there by themselves.

Once in Baltimore, they’re brought before Erich who reminds Amos of their previous deal and says he can’t help them. But it’s them who are offering to help Erich. They tell him of an island in New Hampshire where the rich have their vacation homes. Each one has a suborbital shuttle that can get them to Luna.

When Erich asks why he would want to leave everything he’s worked for. But they convince him that there’s nothing left there for him. The person he was is gone. With that realization, Erich is in.

————-

On Luna, Secretary-General David Paster addresses the assembly for the first time. Uneasy at first, he delivers a strong speech touching the hearts of all Earthers. 

What he lacks in experience he will more than makeup for in passion, dedication and internal support. 

He acknowledges how Avasarala and Delgado saved them all from further catastrophe and that they will now be working by his side as he orders the largest manhunt in human history. They will not stop until Marco Inaros and his fellow terrorist are caught and dealt with. The times ahead will try their souls but make no mistake. they will prevail. They must. The future of humanity demands it.

His speech is met with raving applause.  As they leave the auditorium, Paster admits that he’s not as confident as his speech made him sound. 

Later at a cabinet meeting. the Secretary-General is informed that their military is looking but they have no information on Inaros’ whereabouts. Avasarala reminds him that they cannot depend on the Martians until they know who can be trusted.

Paster expresses concern for the Ring should Marco intend to destroy it. But they assure him they have the firepower to deal with any Free Navy ships that approach the ring.

Paster is not happy that they’re waiting for Marco to make his next move instead of them making their first. The citizens of Earth need to see they can apply pressure. 

Admiral Delgado suggests they attack Palace station but the rest of the cabinet is concerned about civilian casualties. Delgado thinks it’s worth it, but Avasarala voices her concern that by attacking Palace, they would radicalize every Belter who doesn’t already support Inaros. If that happens they wouldn’t be fighting just Marco’s faction but the entire Belt.

The Secretary-General decides to table the decision before an argument breaks out.

Later, the Sec-Gen privately asks Delgado to speak his mind about Palace station. The Admiral is frank, he thinks they should blow it up. The victims on earth need to see that they’re fighting back and the casualties won’t be nearly as many as Marco killed on Earth.

As the Admiral leaves, the Secretary-General is left with a lot to ponder.

———-

Onboard the Pella, Marco mourns Cyn’s death and demands to know how Naomi died. He blames Filip for his friend’s death because he’s the one who brought Naomi to them.

———

Onboard the Rocinante, Holden and crew search the Zmeya’s debris for signs of the Protomolecule but find nothing.

Speculations fly about whether or not the sample could have been destroyed by the blast or if the ship transferred it to another vessel before they arrived. Nobody is satisfied with any answers.

With nothing left to do, they plot a course to rendezvous with the Razorback. Bull is concerned that when it comes to Naomi, Jim would have no problem putting them all in harm’s way to get her back.

As they’re searching for Marco’s fleet, Alex and Bobbie notify Jim that they picked up the automated emergency call from the Chetzemoka.

———- 

Onboard the Chetzemoka. Naomi is in bad shape. Her exposure to space has left her burnt and suffering in pain.

She tries to access the ship’s systems but everything has been stripped away. And what little remains she has no access to. Upon closer inspection, she notices that the ship has been rigged with explosives which will detonate if she tries to disarm them. 

As if things weren’t bad enough, she discovers the ship is broadcasting a distress call in her voice.

“This is Naomi Nagata of the Rocinante. If you get this message, please retransmit. Tell James Holden I am in distress. Comm is not responding. I have no nav control. Please retransmit.”

With no way to stop the transmission. She tries to fabricate a communicator using a space helmet to broadcast her own warning not to approach the ship. It’s a bomb with a proximity detonator. But it doesn’t work.

She becomes desperate after receiving a message from Alex saying they’re coming to get her. In a dangerous play, she dons the vac suit, and without oxygen enters the maintenance section between the ship’s inner and outer hulls. 

She tries one terminal junction box after another without any luck. Almost suffocating in the process each time. After many, many tries, she finally finds the terminal box connected to the com unit. By disrupting the circuit she can change the message to say.

“This is Naomi Nagata,.. Tell James Holden I am in… …Control.”

——

Elsewhere in space, Drummer and her team are salvaging the remains of a belter ship. Drummer tells them the many dead bodies they saw were from a faction that voted for Marco’s death at his tribunal. 

Her crew says nothing has changed, they’re still just salvagers. But Drummer says no. They’ve become scavengers. Marco kills those who defy him and they pick the bodies clean.

On the bridge, Karal tries out the captain’s chair. When Oksana arrives she asks why Marco attacked them. But Karal corrects her by saying Marco didn’t attack. They attacked the Free Navy. Marco offered them the same deal everyone got but they declined. Then they hijacked two skiffs loyal to Marco. So Marco retaliated. Their job now is to salvage what they can from them, including food so they can feed protect and the belt.

Oksana later confronts Drummer and asks why she’s pushing her away. They may not like working with Marco, but at least they’re alive. But Drummer isn’t sure she can continue doing this.

Later, Karal informs them they’ll be heading to Ceres Station once their salvage job is done. Marco believes the Inners will try to block the trade routes and it will be their job to engage with any inner ships they encounter.

When they receive Naomi’s distress call, Karal informs them it’s a fake. She tells Drummer that Naomi was aboard the Pella when she was there. But she killed herself by walking out of an airlock when she realized she couldn’t get her son back. Naomi was a traitor to the Belt and now she’s dead.

Oksana has to restrain a furious Drummer from attacking Karal. Grief-stricken Camina retreats to her quarters and drowns her sorrow in a bottle.

Alone with Oksana, Karal tells her that Drummer is only captain as long as she follows Marco’s orders. She tells Oksana that she was friends with Naomi long ago. But then she stopped believing in what they were fighting for and turned her back on them and left.

When they realize the distress call has changed, Oksana asks if it’s possible Naomi is alive and on the Chetzemoka. But Karal says it’s impossible although she doesn’t look so sure of that statement.

The episode ends with Naomi’s new message playing on a loop.

“This is Naomi Nagata,.. Tell James Holden I am in… …Control.”

And that was the episode.

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