|“||You must always have a knife in the darkness.||„|
|— Marco Inaros|
The Battle for the Sol gate was an engagement between the Earth-Mars Coalition ring gate fleet—consisting of three defending battleships—against the attacking Free Navy command fleet and subsequent reinforcements in the form of a rogue MCRN fleet. The battle was a decisive victory for the Free Navy, now in control of the entirety of the Ring network from the Sol System.
Due to the Bombardment of Earth, the respective governments of Earth and Mars began to recall their fleets to defend their homeworlds. The Earth-Mars Coalition fleet was splintered, with the majority of ships returning to Earth and Mars, leaving the UNN Tripoli and Montenegro, as well as the MCRN Sagarmatha, alone defending the ring. Although alone, these three battleships possessed heavy firepower and were well-revered across the system for their combat abilities, and could destroy a force thrice that of the Free Navy Command Fleet.
Seventeen former MCRN/belter vessels—the Free Navy Command Fleet—had been steadily burning for the Sol Ring for several months. Upon nearing the Ring, the joint UNN/MCRN forces prepared to engage them. However, in an unexpected occurrence, a massive cloud of micro-meteors pummeled all three battleships, resulting in heavy damage to the ships' hull and combat efficacy. The Montenegro and Sagarmatha both had one of their two railguns destroyed. It was hypothesized by members of the UN Security Council on Lovell City, Luna that these micro-meteors were stealth-coated.
Despite the heavy damage, the battleships held their ground. As the Free Navy fired a massive wave of torpedoes, they fired return volleys of torpedoes in tandem. Both sides' PDCs (Point Defense Cannons) matched the torpedoes' guidance systems, destroying many. The Montenegro and Sagarmatha fired several tungsten slugs rounds from their only remaining railguns.
In a second unexpected move, the very Ring the battleships were protecting became hostile—multiple torpedoes, fired from Medina Station on the other side of the ring, slammed into the Sagarmatha's aft. The reactor housing was splintered to pieces, and the ship cascaded into a cloud of light and debris, lost with all hands. At this time, an MCRN fleet, later known to be the Laconian faction, led by the Barkeith, appeared on the flank of the defending UNN ships; many watching in the UN Security Council breathed a sigh of relief. However, these vessels were not in fact reinforcements from Mars; mysteriously, they were all vessels previously reported lost in combat against the Free Navy.
These ships fired another massive wave of torpedoes at the remaining two Truman-class dreadnoughts. PDCs occupied with the Free Navy threat, the dreadnoughts could only see this new threat too late. The Tripoli was lost under heavy torpedo fire, then Montenegro. Both ships were utterly destroyed. These Martians were defectors who had been working alongside the Free Navy in exchange for the last Protomolecule sample.
Aftermath and Reaction
The UN Security Council on Luna received data on the battle and its outcome three hours after the initial fight, due to the transmission delay from the extreme distance. They could only watch in shock and horror as their forces were utterly annihilated.
However, the rogue martian fleet didn't manage to cross the ring safely: The Barkeith was lost in transit, with all hands, but, ironically, not at human hands: it was destroyed by the Ring Entities.
- It remains significant that the rogue MCRN fleet didn't attack until the Free Navy had destroyed the only other MCRN ship, presumably because Sauveterre didn't want to force his people to kill other Martians, or didn't trust them to do so.
- The main objective of the assault appears to be more to clear the way for the Martian defectors to arrive at Laconia than to destroy the UNN-Martian warships and for the Free Navy to hold the Ring Space.
- The facelift model of Truman-class dreadnought seen exploding in the foreground is often wrongly identified as the UNN Tripoli. It is in fact the UNN Montenegro as seen on the display on Luna. Either the Truman-class dreadnought seen in Season 4 episode 1 is not the Montenegro or the Montenegro received the same upgrades as the Tripoli sometime after the events of season 4.