The relief ships are firing on us
— Sargeant Park, Nemesis Games, chapter 31

The Free Navy ambush near Mars was a part of the opening offensive by the Free Navy against the Sol powers beginning the Free Navy Conflict. This part of the offensive was an attempt to disablise the Martian Congressional Republic by assasinating the Prime Minister.

Events[edit | edit source]

The MCR Prime minister left Mars aboard a capital ship for a diplomatic meeting with the United Nations at Luna. At around the same time, Alex Kamal and Bobbie Draper also left Mars to take the racing pinnace Razorback out to investigate missing ships that they believed may be found near an asteroid in the Hungaria group[2]. When they were a couple of hundred klicks out from the Hungaria group, they noticed that a ship was pointing a targeting laser at them. Alex Kamal attempted to communicate with the unindentified ship. At this point he realized that they were looking at nine Martian ships[1]. The ships then fired two torpedoes at the Razorback, which turned and flew away as fast as it could at high G. As fast as the Razorback could go, it could not outrun the missiles forever. At this point Bobbie pointed out to Alex the nearby MCRN fleet transporting the Prime Minister. The Razorback moved toward the MCRN fleet, increasing its burn despite the severe pressure of the high Gs the two were experiencing. There was no way they could reach the flotilla before the missiles would catch them, but getting within the missile defense range was just barely possible. Alex sent emergency signals and pushed the Razorback to 15 Gs when the MCRN flotilla sent fast-movers to intercept the missiles. Alex knew, however, that the lead missile would hit the Razorback before they could be saved, so he vented the pinnace's fusion core as the lead missile got within four thousand kilometers--a moment before Kamal blacked out. The vented core destroyed the first missile, whilst the MCRN fast-movers destroyed the second missile a moment later[1].

The ships the Razorback had discovered had been waiting for the MCRN flotilla to get close and were forced to begin their attack twenty-seven minutes early[3]. This fleet was actually a decoy intended to draw off the majority of the escort for the Prime Minister's ship leaving, only two frigates as a guard. A relief fleet of six ships was sent to reinforce the flotilla[4]. Unknown to the MCRN, this relief fleet of Martian ships was actually under the control of the Free Navy.

With Bobbie and Alex unconscious aboard the adrift Razorback, the Martian flotilla collected the ship and placed in into the hangar of the flagship. Alex and Bobbie were removed, and whilst unconscious from the period of extreme high G, Alex had to undergo a surgery on an ulcer involving a reconstructing a stem graft[4]. The Razorback was refueled, and Bobbie was debriefed before meeting up with Alex in a debriefing room. It was here that they met with Prime Minister Nathan Smith, who questioned them as to what happened and why they were seeking missing ships. Both of them were debriefed and questioned over the next several hours about these events[4]. Bobbie was then sent to receive a new Goliath powered armor suit as she was a serviceman in the Martian Marine Corps.

The fleet that had attacked the Razorback was still engaged with the escort ships and withdrawing, but not retreating. The escort fleet was following but avoiding directly engaging unless it got close to the Prime Minister's ship[4]. Meanwhile, the relief fleet was getting close to the flotilla, although the MCRN believed that they were crewed by completely green Martian crews[5]. It was at this point that the relief fleet fired upon the flotilla, catching the Martians completely off-guard. General quarter were called, and Alex and Bobbie strapped into crash couches whilst the ships performed evasive maneuvers and fired PDCs and missiles.

The flagship's drive was hit and thrust gravity was lost, leaving the ship at zero G, although it was still able to perform thrust maneuvers. The Free Navy ships ceased firing and began a boarding action. Three marines, led by Lieutenant de Haaz, reached Bobbie and Alex and escorted them to the bridge. On the bridge they found the ship's C.O.--Captain Choudhary--and the Prime Minister. Here they learned that the ship was in a bad situation, with the comms array unable to transmit and hull breaches near the armory aft storage and engineering[5]. The decoy fleet ceased withdrawing and launched a concentrated attack on the original escort fleet, preventing them from returning to the flotilla. The Captain ordered Bobbie and Alex to take the Prime Minister aboard the Razorback and escape at high G. At this point Naomi Nagata, being held captive aboard the Pella, was able to send a warning signal out to James Holden. In this message she revealed her location and also identified the command ship Pella's name.

Bobbie was sent to be equipped with her new Goliath powered armor whilst Alex and the Prime Minister were escorted by four Marines to the hangar bay and the Razorback. At one hallway intersection they were ambushed by two boarders. The hostiles were belters, but wore Martian light armor. Alex and company were pinned down, but eventually the hostiles were killed when Bobbie arrived wearing her Goliath powered armor. Three of their escort marines had been incapacitated or killed in the ambush, and they were reinforced by Bobbie and four new marines[6].

Upon reaching the hangar bay, the flight chief gave Alex and Nathan Smith environmental suits and they entered the Razorback. Bobbie, wearing her Force Recon armor, was too large for her couch, so she ripped it out. The hangar doors opened whilst still at half atmosphere and the Razorback flew out the gap at four and a half Gs under cover of the battleship's PDC fire. The battleship then fired its nearly ninety missiles remaining, which were assigned to the Razorback's comm laser frequency so that the missiles could be used as a defensive shield[6]. Once they received some breathing room they dropped to one G.

Meanwhile, the original escort fleet engaged with the Free Navy decoy fleet had two of its ships surrender[7]. By this point this fleet had become too far away from the main flotilla to have any further effect on the main battle.

The Razorback flew sunward toward Earth where a UN escort fleet was burning to incept them. Four ships of the false relief fleet moved to engage Razorback, led by the Pella firing the occasional PDC burst and missiles to no effect. Each time they fired a weapon, the Razorback would thrust to a different vector and/or use one of its accompanying missiles. The two remaining ships remained at the MCRN flagship to continue the assault.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Expanse Novel Nemesis Games - Chapter 20: Alex
  2. The Expanse Novel Nemesis Games - Chapter 17: Alex
  3. The Expanse Novel Nemesis Games - Chapter 21: Naomi
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Expanse Novel Nemesis Games - Chapter 27: Alex
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Expanse Novel Nemesis Games - Chapter 31: Alex
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Expanse Novel Nemesis Games - Chapter 34: Alex
  7. The Expanse Novel Nemesis Games - Chapter 36: Holden
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