Bobbie Draper and other Martian marines undergoing combat training on Mars. They are deployed to Phoebe Research Station, which had been reported as being attacked. The United Nations debates blockading Martian fleet deployments; Avasarala backs the measure but privately believes that she is being prepared by Errinwright as a scapegoat, and hires private security. A Martian naval vessel fires on a UN vessel; the UN elects not to fire back, figuring that the Martian missiles were saber-rattling. The missiles pass the UN vessel and destroy Phoebe Station. Draper believes that war with Earth is good; her commanding officer, Sutton, believes war must be avoided. Holden and Miller recover from radiation sickness; Miller and Amos have a unhappy disagreement that is broken up by Naomi. Naomi and Holden perform repairs to the Rocinante and decide to deepen their relationship. Alex cooks lasagna for the crew of the Roci, and over dinner tensions are eased.
Two hundred years in the future, in a fully colonized Solar System, detective Josephus Miller, born in the asteroid belt, is given the assignment to find a missing young woman, Julie Mao. Joining his task is James Holden, formerly first officer of an ice freighter who is involved in an incident caused by the tense relationship between Earth, Mars and the Belt. Soon the two find out that the missing woman is connected to a vast conspiracy.