Saturday 21 December 2019

The Expanse - The usual state of nature is recovering from the last disaster

The Expanse - 4x06 Displacement. 

Previously, from orbit in the Rocinante, Alex and Naomi watched one of the little islands on Ilus blow up like a nuclear reactor. The event will have dire consequences for the settlement: a massive shockwave will hit soon, followed by a tsunami wave that will cover the planet. It means that leaving the settlement has turned from Murtry's pipedream to get rid of what he considers squatters into an absolute necessity to preserve lives. But Holden pressing a bunch of buttons without knowing what they do has more consequences that the ships in orbit, the Rocinante, the RCE's Edward Israel and the Belter's Barbapiccola (by the way, it is always a good idea to look up the people that Belter ships are named after) soon discover. It's further proof that the creators of the protomolecule influence these worlds billions of years after their demise. As a reaction to the explosion of the island (which was presumably caused by one of the creator's structures turning on but failing?), the protomolecule creators have turned off nuclear fusion. Physics that power spaceships have changed. This doesn't just mean that the settlers and the RCE team can't be evacuated into orbit - all of the ships are slowly but surely falling, the Barb more dramatically than the others because she is closer to the surface of the planet. 

It's a reminder that every solution that Holden has ever come up with has always had dire consequences that spiral out - what is happening currently on Ilus is just another example after the ring gates. Because there are now no other options, Holden suggests taking everyone into the superstructures, hoping that they were built to last for billions of years and will survive what is coming. Previously, he has lost his leverage by promising the settlers that he will speak for them to Avarasala and support their claim on the land, which means that Murtry is now officially an opponent. Murtry is already planning to kill off settlers in case there is a shortage of resources while they wait for the next ship to come to Ilus, but probably, worse things will happen first - Elvi has discovered a fungal-like growth in her eyes that is slowly turning her blind, and we already know that a lot of other people on the planet are experiencing the same symptoms. What could be worse than being trapped in the dark in an alien structure and surrounded by people who want to kill you? (Cibola Burn, the book these episodes are based on, in bits read like Pitch Black, a great horror film in a science fiction Trojan horse). 

On Medina station, Drummer's decision to let Marco Inaros live is spiralling out of control as well. The UN sends the Tripola into ring space, basically to oversee what the Belters are doing, in a breach of the peace treaty, and a clear sign of disrespect. Both Drummer and Ashford know that once the Inners appear, they are less likely to leave. They are also making Marco's prediction come true, that it is only a question of time before the Inners will betray the Belt again, and start plundering the riches. The commanding officer of the Tripoli is already eyeing the Belters' hard-won Mormon generation ship with greed. Drummer knows what she has to do - capture Marco Inaros again and end him this time - and in trying to find him, she discovers that his ship is communicating with an unknown vessel that has Martian technology on board - which could mean many things, especially since Bobbie has been busy stripping Martian bits to sell them off, but it could also mean that Marco's prediction is true: Mars is now different, and something is happening out there that will change the course of history. 

And Bobbie is unknowingly working towards the same thing. She is now full-time security for Esai's secret smuggling ring, stripping and selling off Martian tech to Belters (or at least that's what she knows), using her abilities as a Marine to help them. She is raking in money, but something still tells me that this isn't the whole story. 

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