This page is about the Book-icon-simple.png books character. For the TV incarnation, see Melba Koh (TV).
Book-icon-simple.png Books character Tv icon.png TV character

Melba Koh, full name Melba Alzbeta Koh, was the alias used by Clarissa Mao to join the UN fleet investigating the Ring with intent to destroy James Holden.

History[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Melba was born on Luna as the only child of Alscie, Becca and Sergio Koh, all of whom are deceased. She was a licensed electrochemical technician.

She has artificial glands implanted in the roof of her mouth that, once activated by two counter clockwise rolls of the tongue, release a chemical mix that heighten her senses, strength, and speed to near superhuman levels. During this altered state, time seems to slow for her as she slowly goes into a chemically induced form of autopilot. She is able to anticipate the movement of her foes and execute deadly attacks with extreme precision, allowing her to take on multiple attackers with ease. These attacks usually leave her foes either dead or mortally wounded. Because her artificial glands release neurotransmitters that alter her normal chemical balance, she is left in a state of disorientation and weeps uncontrollably as her brain chemistry returns to baseline state. For this reason the implant that she uses has not been adopted readily by the United Nations Navy military and has been deemed illegal.

The Ring[edit | edit source]

She was a senior crew member of the Cerisier on its journey to the Ring, where she led a team consisting of Ren, Stanni, Soledad, and Bob. Melba's real identity, however, was Clarissa Mao, daughter of the disgraced Jules-Pierre Mao. Her true plan was to locate and destroy James Holden, who put her father in prison and ruined the Mao family name. But she doesn't want to kill him outright, as she believed that this would lead to his martyrdom. She wanted to destroy his legacy, reputation, and name.

Despite his help and considering him a friend, Melba executed Ren when he discovered evidence of explosives on the Seung Un[1]. She concealed his body, which was stuffed in her locker aboard the Cerisier using sealing foam.

Melba contracted a blind coworker of Monica Stuart, Elio Casti, to install a backdoor aboard the Rocinante, which she used to broadcast a faked manifesto declaring the Ring as territory under control of the OPA, thus framing James Holden for the destruction of the Seung Un.

She volunteered to support the Thomas Prince, the ship destined to make the journey through the Ring. She did this with motives to escape the Cerisier and what she did there. She extracted Ren's body from the locker and concealed it in the toolbox she brought aboard the Thomas Prince.

The Slow Zone Incident[edit | edit source]

Main article: Slow zone incident (Books)

After the speed limit was reduced again in the Slow Zone, she was called to serve in the Environmental Controls of the Thomas Prince during the emergency. She abandoned the responsibility in an effort to get aboard the Rocinante and directly eliminate the crew there and any evidence of her involvement.

Her true identity was discovered by Anna and Tilly Fagan just before she left the Thomas Prince. Anna pursued, using the location information she acquired from the security office along with a military grade taser.

For a continued account of her exploits, refer to Clarissa's page.


  1. Novel Abaddon's Gate, Chapter 11

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