This page is about the Book-icon-simple.png books character. For the TV incarnation, see Slow zone incident (TV).
Book-icon-simple.png Books action sequence Tv icon.png TV action sequence

With the Ring gate open and the Rocinante inside fleets of Earth, Mars, and the Belt entered into the slow zone. Eventually all would become trapped by an alien speed limit.

Events[edit | edit source]

Acting as a joint fleet, the OPA vessel Behemoth and several MCRN and UN military vessels passed through the Ring in pursuit of the Rocinante. The crew escaped through the ring to avoid destruction after being framed for the destruction of the Seung Un by Melba Koh.

Once through the ring, a small squad of Martian marines pursued James Holden to the Ring Station at the center of the zone. Upon locating Holden, the soldiers fired their weapons, triggering a dampening field that instantly reduced all motion within the sphere from its previous limit of 600 m/s to approximately "as fast as a good baseball pitch", according to The Investigator. This Investigator is an entity appearing exclusively to Holden in a form he recognizes as the detective named Miller from the Eros incident. That same protomolecule structure ultimately formed the rings central to this present situation

Within five seconds time, all MCRN and UN vessels velocity slowed dramatically to the new "speed limit" as they were captured by the Ring Station. This rapid deceleration caused widespread casualties among the crews and passengers as anyone not in a crash couch at the time was subjected to massive blunt force trauma.

The Martian marines strategically withdrew briefly when the Ring Station activated its new defenses but soon regrouped. They returned just as Holden thought he and Miller were about to make the next big step in reconfiguring the stations to release the flotilla. One of the marines threw Holden over his shoulder and calmly carried him to a skiff without acknowledging any of his pleas for oxygen until they were aboard the transport skiff toward the Hammurabi.

Having violated the zone's speed limit, the human ships were completely disabled and found themselves inexorably drawn towards the Station, eventually to join its orbiting belt of debris and derelicts previously captured for excess velocity. Projectile weapons were rendered useless, and though the ships' shuttles could escape, the newly reduced speed limit would entail months or even years of travel to return through the Ring.

All ships took severe damage and heavy injuries including extensive fatalities. Without adequate thrust, artificial gravity was lost and medical services extensively disabled.

OPA Behemoth, under the direction of chief of security Bull and efforts of chief of engineering Sam Rosenberg, was able to remove offensive modifications such as a bolt-on rail gun system. This allowed the drum section to once again spin. This in turn created an alternative form of artificial gravity as had been originally designed when the ship was the Mormon generation ship Nauvoo. This offered other ships a place of refuge and tend their injured.

Bull himself took severe spinal injuries and Sam created a custom mech that allowed Bull to get out of the medical bay and walk.[1]

Bull proposed a theoretical laser weapon modification to the comm laser which Sam was able to create. This provided the tactical advantage that allowed the Martian marines aboard the Hammurabi to justify ending the standoff, surrendering their ship, and releasing James Holden to the Behemoth.[2]

Bull is responsible for the order that confiscated the power armor of the Martian marines when they boarded. This armor was stowed within access of the CIC later becoming a challenge for those loyal to Bull who endeavor to wrest control from Captain Ashford in the end.

Fighting onboard the Behemoth[edit | edit source]

Aboard the Behemoth, Captain Ashford sought to use the laser which Bull proposed against the protomolecule-built Ring hoping to destroy the Ring but sacrifice everyone still inside with the expectation that the solar system outside the Ring and the human civilization outside would remain intact. Bull and Michio Pa considered Captain Ashford's plan unnecessary, risky and ill-conceived. Holden shared information that this might have a much more dire outcome than what Captain Ashford anticipated. Specifically, evidence showed that the alien technology was more likely to respond by wiping out the entire solar system inside and outside the Ring.

A major bloody conflict broke out between forces loyal to Captain Ashford and those loyal to Chief of Security Carlos "Bull" Baca. Ultimately, Bull perished but survivors successfully delayed Ashford's plan long enough to allow another plan to proceed.

Following efforts by James Holden and The Investigator, with assistance from Anna Volovodov and Monica Stuart, the Ring Station at the center of the Ring space was disabled, and the dampening field shut down. All ships coordinated the widespread deactivation of their weapons and power systems which reduced any projected risk to the Ring. The station responded by allowing Miller, the Investigaor, to turn off the defenses which effectively released all ships trapped in the ring. Travel at typical speeds was once again possible. Miller proceeded further to also deactivate the station itself and thus prevent a potential future reoccurance of the situation.

Involved ships and crews[edit | edit source]

Vessel Affiliation Crew Passengers
Rocinante Independent

(formerly OPA)

James Holden

Naomi Nagata

Alex Kamal

Amos Burton

Monica Stuart




Behemoth OPA

Capt. Ashford

XO Michio Pa

Security Chief Carlos "Bull" Baca

Engrg Chief Samara Rosenberg

Research Chan Bao-Zhi

Med Offcr Bennie Cortland-Mapu

Infrastructure Anamarie Ruiz

Med Offcr Dr. Mihn Sterling

Chief Watanabe









Engrg Gareth

Alexi Myerson-Freud

Thomas Prince
Xerxes-class battleship
UNN Chris Williams

Jin Ichigawa


Melba Koh

Pastor Anna

Tilly Fagan

Hector Cortez

Fr. Michel

Alonzo Guzman

UN logo.png
Hammurabi MCRN Capt. Jakande

Sgt. Alexander Verbinski



Martian Congressional Republic.png
MCRN 2nd Lt. Scupski
Martian Congressional Republic.png


  1. The Expanse Novel Abaddon's Gate - Chapter 33: Bull
  2. The Expanse Novel Abaddon's Gate - Chapter 35: Anna

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