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S05.E08: Hard Vacuum

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Avasarala creates division in the UN Council. Drummer feels the pressure growing on all sides. The Razorback receives an unexpected message.

Airdate 2021.01.20

Please keep your discussion to this episode only.  No book talk, thank you!

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Wow. Wow. Naomi is a serious badass. I had no idea what she was doing until the credits. Her figuring out how to alter the message to send another message to try to get Alex to stop-damn. She sold being in pain so much, I actually had to look away from the TV. Naomi’s scenes were so suspenseful I was mad they would cut away from her story.

Much love to my other favorite badass, Drummer. So much weight on Drummer. First Ashford. Then Fred. Now ‘Naomi’-All because of how she voted before to spare Marco’s life. Her seething guilt and rage were palpable. I hope her family comes together to be the ultimate wrecking ball of Marco’s plan.

Its interesting that Karal picked up the message and looked torn about it being altered. I wonder if she’s going to tell Marco. We could have a dog fight next episode between the two groups when people realize Naomi is alive.

I really need the team back together. I really like this season but my favorite parts are the Roci family together (Especially with Bobbi and Drummer interactions). Maybe next episode? Amos is so far away from all of this, it bums me out that he’s out of action so we can see the destruction of Earth and be connected to Luna.

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This has definitely been the season of Naomi being put through the wringer, but she is certainly finding ways to keep powering on!  Hopefully her messing with the message will be enough to make Alex and Bobbie notice something is up, and not dock with the ship since it seems like they're on their way to intercept before Holden and the Rocinante get there.

Heh, Clarissa's time as the spoiled rich kid of Jules-Pierre might actually be what help her and Amos get off the planet!  Along with Erich and his lot, but I'm still suspicious about him.  But I have to imagine that Amos is prepared for anything.  And now that "Peaches" seems to be back at 100%, well... things might get dicy!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the UN is thinking of retaliating in a way that might put innocent Belters in harms way, because no matter how far into the future the human civilization can go into, it seems like they regress to their basic instincts when threatened.  I hope the new Secretary wasn't swayed by Delgado's "candor."  Especially since Chrisjen was against it, and since a lot of deaths might have been avoided if they had listened to her in the first place, maybe it would be smart to actually benefit from her smarts.  But I do still like the new Secretary (for now), because he is clearly unprepared in a lot of ways, but also has a good head on his shoulders, and knows to not just rush into anything.

Well, now Drummer knows about Marco kidnapping Naomi and thinks she is actually dead.  I like to believe that this means he is a dead man walking, but doesn't know it yet.  Because Pissed Off Drummer?  Is the scariest (and maybe best?) Drummer out there! 

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Can we re-think the once-a-week releases? The twinge to binge is strong with this show! The voice over the closing credits is so haunting, I need to see what's next!

Is Marco's plan to lure the Roci crew onto the Chetzie and then blow it, or to blow the Chetzie as they approach? There is no shock wave in a vacuum, so unless debris from the explosions hit the Roci, it's just a light show. Tamper proofing and proximity sensors seem to be redundant.

Naomi's trip to Pallus is definitely the Worst. Family Reunion. Ever.

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Finally an episode with no Marco Inaros. And we got Drummer and Amos/Peaches. Winning all around. 

 

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This was my favorite episode of the season. I've read many people found it slow, not for me. I really suffered with Naomi and was rooting for her to succeed.

And I'm fascinated that we're stuck wondering what this stranger will do with the power of the SG office. We're introduced to him and he seems decent. But he might get wrapped up in power drunkenness quickly. 

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56 minutes ago, Eulipian 5k said:

Is Marco's plan to lure the Roci crew onto the Chetzie and then blow it, or to blow the Chetzie as they approach? There is no shock wave in a vacuum, so unless debris from the explosions hit the Roci, it's just a light show. Tamper proofing and proximity sensors seem to be redundant.

From Naomi's failed message:

There are tampering sensors on the nav controls and the thrusters which are connected to the reactor.
I believe a proximity detonator has been set.

Apparently Marco believes in redundancy 😉

Great episode, even so it was hard to watch Naomi's struggles. They did not brush over the physical consequences of her space-walk (her swollen finger joints were a gruesome detail). It also took me until the end to get a grasp of what she was trying to achieve - that was beautifully done. 

I wonder who will first realize what is going on: the Rocinante, the Razorback or Drummer's ship. Speaking of Drummer: quite the wringer for her character, she's clearly on the edge of breaking with Marco but she knows her 'family' is not - at least not all of them. And I like the constant reminders about food which thanks to Marcos' stunt is something that Belters have to worry about now. Come to think of it, that might be a better lever for earth than bombing Pallas. 
 

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21 minutes ago, MissLucas said:

There are tampering sensors on the nav controls

So Marco is expecting someone on the Chetzie, trying to tamper with nav controls? He had no idea Naomi would be there. It's like "Mission Impossible": The plane's crashing, AND there's a nuclear bomb on board, AND he's chained to the seat, AND there's snakes on board, AND he needs to pee.....

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From another forum post from about a week ago . . .
 

Quote

Originally Posted by JZL:

Nitpick: In spaceships people wear magnetic boots, but they drink out of bottles, coffee cups, and thermoses, not out of pouches with straws.

FINALLY some spillage.  Plus they seemed to be sucking some of their food/drink out of some pouches. That was driving me crazy. 

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Another nitpick:

  1. If they have artificial gravity, why do they wear those neat magnetic boots with the clever switching mechanisms in the heels?
  2. If the don't have artificial gravity, why was the grating Naomi was trying to lift so heavy? It should actually weigh nothing!

Great episode, BTW! Glad to hear that Peaches suppresant drugs have worn off and that she is back in form. Should prove interesting soon, if she and Amos encounter obstacles. 

I hope Secretary General Tom Kirkman David Paster doesn't make the mistake of thinking he knows better than 'Chrissie'. That could be fatal. For a great many people, and not just those who deserve to be fatalled.

I think Karal's hair do is just perfect. The part down the middle will be the ideal aiming-point for Drummer's axe.

9 hours ago, Eulipian 5k said:

Can we re-think the once-a-week releases?

Only two more, right? I can't decide if I want to draw out the season as long as possible, or enjoy a double-whammy finale!

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54 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

Another nitpick:

  1. If they have artificial gravity, why do they wear those neat magnetic boots with the clever switching mechanisms in the heels?
  2. If the don't have artificial gravity, why was the grating Naomi was trying to lift so heavy? It should actually weigh nothing!

They don't have artificial gravity, but the ship was accelerating so there's apparent weight at the moment.

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Why is there Oxygen in some parts of the ship and not in others. Why did Naomi have to go to the part of the ship with no air to find some wires, I thought the ship would be filled with wires. Naomi should have pumped her suit full of air and looked like a beach ball bouncing down the corridor to do her radio transmission modifications. Putting her space on and taking it off each time seemed like a waste of energy.

An episode where nothing really happened. It is bad when the most exciting thing was the crew drank some water.

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Does “in control” mean something else when tied to Chekov’s “If something goes wrong” message?

Those closing credits...I am in control, with Donkeyballs,

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11 hours ago, MissLucas said:

From Naomi's failed message:

There are tampering sensors on the nav controls and the thrusters which are connected to the reactor.
I believe a proximity detonator has been set.

Apparently Marco believes in redundancy 😉

Out of universe, they put the tampering sensors on there to increase the drama, since otherwise Naomi would quickly retake control of the ship.  In universe, I don't get it.  Why put anti-tampering sensors on what was supposed to be an unmanned ship?  It's set to have the reactor explode when another ship is in proximity, so there wouldn't be any opportunity for someone to get inside.

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FFS, please let Avasalara retake control of what is left of the UN. She’s right: killing civilians will do nothing but waste resources and create more enemies. Paster  is compensating for his inexperience with what he thinks is a show of strength when a more surgical approach is called for.

My favourite part of this season is Amos and Clarissa trekking about a post-apocalyptic Earth. Either those are antique e-bikes, or the design of e-bikes hasn’t changed much is 300 years. I bet Clarissa's dad is chilling at one of those houses.

Edited by marinw
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7 hours ago, marinw said:

 

FFS, please let Avasalara retake control of what is left of the UN. She’s right: killing civilians will do nothing but waste resources and create more enemies. Paster  is compensating for his inexperience with what he thinks is a show of strength when a more surgical approach is called for.

 

This will make me seem like a monster, but there is merit in cutting off Marco's support in the belt. And there is merit in not letting your enemy -- which Marco, and the rest of belt's apparent refusal to condemn him for -- wage a major attack against you without retribution. Doolittle's raid might not have done much in terms of the war effort, but it let America and Japan both know there was going to be a fight here. An attack on Palas would remind the Belt just how vulnerable they are. Revenge is a part of war, too; none of this would be happening had someone pretending to be acting for the Belt not thrown rocks at Earth and blown up the Martian parliament.   

His bigger concern should be the protomolecule, however. Marco did threaten to use it against anyone who attacks the Belt, so i don't know why that wasn't mentioned in the cabinet meeting. 

Edited by whiporee
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I find the show's presentation of the asteroid destruction on Earth to be disappointing.  They are very vague when it comes to the locations and there have been no aerial shots of the devastation.  I am guessing it may be a result of a CGI budget limit - - but it does undercut how bad Amos and others 'say' things are. 
.. And how has Amos managed to keep his haircut so fresh during the weeks he has been on Earth? 

8 hours ago, mac123x said:

Out of universe, they put the tampering sensors on there to increase the drama, since otherwise Naomi would quickly retake control of the ship.  In universe, I don't get it. 

The overkill of booby-trapping the ship inside and out seemed very contrived in order to make things harder for Naomi.  She is supposed to be a mechanical wizard - - turning off the outgoing message should not have been very difficult for her. 

As for the political stuff: it seems obvious that Earth and Mars should seize control of all Belter space stations and cut off Marco's resources.  The idea that a 'civilized' government would consider killing everyone at a colony just seems silly. 
Space stations are so vulnerable to begin with .. disabling them shouldn't be a problem .. barely an inconvenience.. 

Edited by shrewd.buddha
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Not bad, but am I the only one who thought the voice recording sounded nothing like Naomi? It wasn't even close.

The simultaneous peeing out in the open was unnecessary. Find a fucking bush.

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59 minutes ago, Tachi Rocinante said:

The simultaneous peeing out in the open was unnecessary. Find a fucking bush.

Preach it!

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I'm still not clear on why some factions on Mars would be Marco Fanpeople. It certianly came back to bite them on the butt as Mars was attacked.

As much as iI would enjoy watching Marco be pushed out the nearest airlock, turning him into a martyr  would create another set of problems.

A lesson of this season is that finding a bunch of new worlds to colonize will not magically solve all your problems.

 

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I thoroughly enjoyed the episode and I knew right away what Naomi was doing with the message, but again, not sure why she had to go into the area of the ship with no air, but I suppose when you’ve rigged a ship as a giant bomb, you’re not considering the comfort of anyone on that ship. I’m not sure if it will blow when someone gets close, when someone docks or when someone boards.

I think Naomi’s edited message is to save others, not herself though. 

I despise Marco and Filip. Ugh. Filip can shut up and go away with his murdery teen angst. 

So Bobbi and Alex have been isolated from everyone else and don’t physically interact with each other. Every time I see them I think that it was a way to keep Cas Anvar away from women. 

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Outline for the next story in The Beltalowda Gazette:

Monica has  "sources on Ceres". - Who?

Someone (on the Pella?) wanted Sakai to bring Monica. - What for?

Karal ordered Drummer to burn for Ceres. - Why?

Babbage did not go home, towards Mars, after the transfer of MCRN ships. - Where?

Anderson Dawes runs Ceres. - When will the puppet master re-appear?

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I am so glad that Naomi is off that damn ship with her creepy murder loving ex and is back to working machines and being a badass. It took me a bit to really realize what her plan was, but when I did I almost clapped, it was so clever and she was so tough working it through, you really could feel her pain but also her determination. 

The new secretary seems like a good guy with a good head on his shoulders, but I hope his inexperience doesn't lead to him making choices that seem good at the time but end up doing more hard then good in the long run, like bombing Belter stations with a mostly civilian population. I really like the actor playing him as well, when he was giving the speech you could tell he was nervous at first, but then gained more confidence as it went on. In general this is a guy who is clearly doing a job he never expected in a million years to be doing and has nowhere near the experience that someone in this position should have, going from a middle range government employee to one of the most powerful men in the universe over night, but he is trying to listen to the right people, is weighing options, and is trying to be the leader that Earth needs right now. Just listen to 

Earth attacking a mostly civilian Belter station seems like it wont end well, it will probably just end up radicalizing more Belters and might not do much to actually hurt Marco, but its tough because he doesn't really have a base of operation the way that Earth and Mars do, he has a big space ship he can move around, so its hard to make a strike against him to let everyone know Earth just going to wring their hands. The best move would probably be to try to isolate him from major Belter stops, hurt their food supply chain, more practical things that would hurt someone without any real home base to recharge at. 

Poor Drummer, now she also has Naomi's death to mourn and feel guilty about. She might be forced to play nice with Marco for now, but I cant imagine she wont be looking for any way to stop him without getting all of her people killed. I am also looking forward to Marco meeting a well deserved end, as well as his followers, who all seem to have only two settings: Smug and Murderous. 

I have really liked this season and I thought this was a really good episode, but I really want the whole crew to come back together at least for the last episode, their dynamic has really been missed this season. 

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I don’t have much to add. My thoughts about this episode have, for the most part been covered. 

I will say I was shocked to see Marcos show genuine grief over Cyn’s death. He wasn’t bawling in a corner, but he did appear to be sorrowful (and angry) over his death. I guess there’s some depth to him after all. 

I don’t think Erich is going to give up his kingship (or what’s left of it) in Baltimore so easily. Or if he does he’ll inevitably become a red shirt in Amos and Clarissa’s quest to get off planet. 

Regarding the new PM, he seems like a man who wants to do the right thing, but I wonder if we’ll end up with a mix of both in this situation with him refusing to attack the Belt. But with others who strongly oppose this view acting on those views without his consent being that he is so new and green. I’d be surprised if they go down the route of the newest leader in charge not listening to Avasarala with disastrous results again, since we just went there earlier this season. So hopefully this storyline will take an unexpected but interesting turn.

9 hours ago, whiporee said:

His bigger concern should be the protomolecule, however. Marco did threaten to use it against anyone who attacks the Belt, so i don't know why that wasn't mentioned in the cabinet meeting. 

This. The protomolecule was the catalyst to start this whole mess. Yet it, the ring worlds and the mysterious aliens who created the technology to get there have all but disappeared from the story for the usual round of politics, war and family drama, which is somewhat disappointing. 

So happy to see clever and bad ass Naomi again. I too wonder who ( if anyone) will figure out there’s something amiss with her distress call.

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In any large construction whether a car or a spaceship all wires are labeled with "from and  to" info, and are color coded. But she's practically blind; she could have told us that, but the writers chose to show us her despair. Now we have the Internet John Woo's complaining that they should not have taken the time it took to convey her situation. I'm sorry, but the video games are on Aisle 6, this is the adult entertainment section, with character development, and peeing.

I can't believe that folks who didn't write the books, and didn't create a line of this story are telling the writers and creators how to fit the story into some fictional time frame.

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21 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

The new secretary seems like a good guy with a good head on his shoulders, but I hope his inexperience doesn't lead to him making choices that seem good at the time but end up doing more hard then good in the long run, like bombing Belter stations with a mostly civilian population. I really like the actor playing him as well, when he was giving the speech you could tell he was nervous at first, but then gained more confidence as it went on.

Whether by design or accident, with being a newly-introduced character, I thought his presentation, halting at first, ramping up to appropriately stern and forceful, told us so much. He seems bright and competent, just not used to being at the top, but not too proud to ask for help from those with more experience, and gracious enough to share credit with them. All good signs.

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3 hours ago, Eulipian 5k said:

 Now we have the Internet John Woo's complaining that they should not have taken the time it took to convey her situation. I'm sorry, but the video games are on Aisle 6, this is the adult entertainment section, with character development, and peeing.

This made me laugh so hard, thanks! I had no idea that there's outrage out there over the time the show dedicated to her plight. I took me an embarrassingly long time to understand what she was doing, but I'm a tech Nimrod. I thought it was well done because it conveyed her despair and frustration. A MacGyver voice-over followed by a brilliant execution at the first try would have been faster but with considerably less emotional impact 🙄

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The Tech on the ship Noami was on seemed retrogarade, like the wiring one would find in our own era. I suppose it was a super-old ship. If you want to bobby-trap a ship, why not plant a cumputer virus or something? 

Nevertheless, glad we saw Noami being an actual engineer doing engineering things.

Edited by marinw

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On 1/21/2021 at 3:21 PM, Eulipian 5k said:

Anderson Dawes runs Ceres. - When will the puppet master re-appear?

This.  Anderson Dawes is done with stuttering English kings and Soviet nuclear power scientists, so why not swing back by and do Belter "activist"?

I also wondered about strings between Dawes and TBS and even if so, whether the Belt is big enough for both of them.

Edited by JZL
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What would be the physical effects of exposure to open space like that? For however long it took her to float over to the other ship?

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I have really liked this season and I thought this was a really good episode, but I really want the whole crew to come back together at least for the last episode, their dynamic has really been missed this season.  

 

Quote

I'm just ready for everyone to be back together.

That's it, that all I got.

I was busy moving in December when this season started being released, and I also wanted to rewatch the previous seasons first, so I'm just now caught up with everyone else. I have to say, while I like the season fine, it's a little ridiculous that it's been 8 episodes and the only scenes we've gotten of any of the Roci crew together was a couple short Holden/Naomi scenes in the first episode. Everyone's reasons for being away made sense, but sheesh. I'm tired of the separation, and this probably will be my least favorite season because of it (not to mention how much I hate Marco and Filip). There is still a lot to like, of course, but this just reinforces for me that one of the primary things I like about this show is the interactions between the Roci crew and watching them work together. There's also been way less Holden than usual, which wouldn't bother me if there were still scenes between any of the rest of them. I wonder how the actors felt filming this season, not ever working together.

I've never read the books so I don't know the source material, but it really feels like all of this could have been condensed down to like 3-4 fewer episodes and have them start coming back together much, much sooner. Season 6 better have like no separation at all to make up for this.

Anyway, complaints over, I did love Naomi's manipulation of the message, though it took me awhile to figure out why she kept repeating it over and over. I couldn't figure out if she was trying to time her lack of oxygen somehow, or what.

I agree with others that the new Secretary General seems like a smart, reasonable guy, but might still be in over his head. Hope he leans more on Avasarala than the admiral! I get the sentiment and reasons why taking out Pallas station might seem like the right move, but that seems like a recipe for aligning even more belters behind Marco.

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On 1/21/2021 at 9:28 AM, shrewd.buddha said:

I find the show's presentation of the asteroid destruction on Earth to be disappointing.  They are very vague when it comes to the locations and there have been no aerial shots of the devastation.  I am guessing it may be a result of a CGI budget limit - - but it does undercut how bad Amos and others 'say' things are. 
.. And how has Amos managed to keep his haircut so fresh during the weeks he has been on Earth?

Agreed.  I would have LOVED it if they could have zoomed out of the top of the prison and really shown what that area looked like.  I guess I was hoping for that at the end of that episode.

i was also wondering about the CGI budget, but it does seem like they could at least throw a few things into the dialogue.  (but I'm so not a writer, so what do I know).  I don't know that the (non book reader) audience is completely aware of the devastation.

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Bad Ass! Every other faction, and our gang, is working with "state of the art Martian military weaponry" and all Naomi has to work with is an On/Off switch, the most basic element of a computer. That's one helluva bird!

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This entire season has had me wishing Naomi never made it off that Ring planet. 8 episodes of her being useless. If only Marcos had done the right things and spaced her right off the jump.

More Amos please....and why have they relegated Booby to the back seat of a tiny ship...

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On re-watch, (as I prepare to watch the Tues. nite! Expanse):

The two places that Naomi hooks the two straps to on the metal grate are the catches used to unlock the grate - a common feature on large equipment boxes here on 21 century earth.

Naomi's ordeal was a nod to Dave's final face off with the computer HAL in "2001" - it took up the same amount of screen time. It was one man,(woman), vs the ship, vs the Vacuum. One theme of The Expanse has been about man's use of technology, (the Epstein Drive, the protomolecule), and how it changes everything - In her battle with the stripped down death trap, Naomi used technology 101 - the lever, the pulley, and a switch; Bad Ass.

The message originally stated that she was the Damsel "in distress", (Don Quixote's Dulcinea), but she's fighting to show that she's not. I hope her crew/Fam/tribe sees that as they ride into the windmill.

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On 1/21/2021 at 9:19 AM, marinw said:

I'm still not clear on why some factions on Mars would be Marco Fanpeople. It certianly came back to bite them on the butt as Mars was attacked

They have a common enemy, at least  so some of the military factions on Mars believe. "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" Like the Soviets and the US allied against Germany.

The Martian faction might even be amenable to attacking their own congress.  It's not like that action is unknown in history.

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On 1/21/2021 at 1:19 PM, marinw said:

I'm still not clear on why some factions on Mars would be Marco Fanpeople.

It's politics.

Ever heard of cutting your nose to spite your face? Some people will cut their own nose to spite someone else's face. Because most people are stupid, or at least massively ill-informed about their politics, and won't listen to sense no matter what. So, say you have been manipulated by circumstances and/or political bullshit to hate the inners enough. Then, you will be thrilled if Marco does something, anything, to strike at them, even if it isn't in your best interest for him to do so. You'll be cheering his success as you run out of air as a result. And you can be sure that Marco, like every other politician, don't give a hot turd what happens to you, so long as he continues to ride in the carriage while you slog barefoot through the icy mud.

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I had thought the situation on Mars was more of an 'opportunist making money as empire collapses' situation. They don't care what he does with those ships, they just want the money for their own ends and their dream of Mars is dead.

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On 1/21/2021 at 11:19 AM, marinw said:

I'm still not clear on why some factions on Mars would be Marco Fanpeople. It certianly came back to bite them on the butt as Mars was attacked.

I suspect that we, the audience, aren't supposed to know yet.

Edited by Ziggy
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What's Chrisjen up to? She knows the new Secretary General is in over his head even if he does make a good, rousing speech. How long can she shine him on before she takes command? Or will she just work him like a puppet?

Poor Drummer.  She finally broke, momentarily anyway.

Karal can die any time now AFAIC. Maybe Naomi will be the one who gets to kill her but it'll likely be Drummer.

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