Not all Belters are on board with this new paradigm, perceiving it as selling out; a capitulation to those who would still demean and exploit them. Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) is the most vocal and militant voice of opposition. Marco is Naomi Nagata’s (Dominique Tipper) ex-beau and father of their child, Filip (Jasai Chase Owens), and while these days he styles himself a freedom fighter, it wasn’t always thus. When he was with Naomi, he tricked her into writing code that he claimed would merely disable other ships, allowing their faction to come to the rescue and extort payment for their time and trouble. However, Marco used the code to overload the reactor of a docked ship, killing hundreds of people. When the distraught and guilt-ridden Naomi left the faction she was prevented from taking their son, Filip.
Marco is apprehended by Drummer and Ashford for his part in capturing the UNN colony ship Soujourner and executing its crew. While aboard the Behemoth, Marco tries to win Ashford over to his world view, reminding him that the Belt will suffer a terminal decline of profit and influence owing to the exodus, and, besides, very few Belters, due to their space-bound physiology, will be able to take advantage of the brave new worlds beyond the ring gates. The heads of the various OPA factions assemble to decide whether or not Marco should be spaced (ejected into space sans suit) for breaking the fragile truce between the inner and outer planets. It’s Drummer who breaks the tie, reasoning that killing Marco would make him a martyr, and propel into action those factions loyal to his cause.
On Earth, Avasarala faces a leadership challenge from Nancy Gao (Lily Gao) who, in contrast to the incumbent, is a fierce advocate for embracing the change, opportunity and adventure that the ring gates represent. Avasarala’s campaign takes its toll on her ethics and her personal life, especially her marriage. She resorts to smears against Gao, and isn’t above attempting to use the problems on Ilus to her advantage.
OPA bigwig Fred Johnson (Chad L. Coleman) reveals Marco’s location to Avasarala, who wastes no time in dispatching a team of marines to the Pizzouza spacecraft to extract him. Marco, however, isn’t on board, and the resulting firefight between marines and Belters results in grave loss of life. The fallout critically damages Avasarala’s image, reputation and election chances, and moreover plays right into Marco’s hands.
Fred Johnson visits the Behemoth, receiving from Drummer both a punch in the face and news of her resignation. Ashford vows to track down and kill Marco and wants Drummer to accompany him, but she declines on the grounds that she’s sick of politics and its machinations.