Julie manages to break free of the room, donning a space suit and magnetic boots to explore what looks like an abandoned spaceship. She notices blood on the airlock door ... and an S.O.S. signal coming from the Engineering Bay.
At Ceres Station, an asteroid that's been transformed into the most vital port in 'The Belt,' a street preacher rails against the slave-like conditions of the Belters who work the docks, living in a world where their air and water are rationed … and warns of an impending war between Mars and Earth, with Ceres caught in the middle.
Detective Joe Miller, a hard-boiled, hard-drinking, hat-wearing detective for Star Helix Security, is showing a new recuit, Detective Dmitri Havelock, around Ceres. Havelock is struck by the appearance of 'Belters,' who have spindly fingers and long limbs due to years of living in "low-G."
Back at Star Helix Headquarters, Captain Shaddid gives Miller his latest assignment: find Julie Mao, the rich heiress to Mao-Kwikowski Mercantile and the black sheep daughter of Ariadne and Jules-Pierre Mao. Julie, of course, is the woman we saw at the beginning of the episode.
Miller asks his ex-lover and fellow cop, Octavia Muss, for a "woman's intuition" regarding Julie's case. Julie defied her parents by becoming a member of a student protest movement known as the Far Horizons Foundation … and the champion pilot of a racing ship known as the Razorback. Where could she have gone?
Witnessing children suffer at the local sweatshop due to the poor air filtration system makes Miller think twice about being on the take with the sweatshop's proprietor, Vargas. Miller throws Vargas into the airlock and lets him gasp just long enough to make his point.
That is, until U.N. officials transport her to a black site, where they're questioning Heikki Sobong, a member of the rabble-rousing Outer Planets Alliance (OPA) accused of carrying contraband stealth technology. The OPA is a unauthorized political organization fighting for The Asteroid Belt to be its own government. Being a Belter, Sobong's fragile bones and lungs are crushed by Earth's gravity -- simple and effective torture, though he's not talking.
Meanwhile, in outer space, the ice trawler Canterbury is about to deliver a shipment to Ceres Station when the crew receives a distress signal. As an investigation would mean a late arrival and therefore losing their on-time bonuses, Captain McDowell opts to purge the message as if they never received it.
This decision doesn't sit right with Second Officer James Holden, whom the Captain has been courting to be the ship's new XO upon the old one going crazy. Holden's usually content to have as little responsibility as possible as he romances the ship's navigator Ade Nygaard in zero gravity, but something about that transmission bothers him ...
The mystery ship -- which Alex theorizes is Martian due to its stealth tech -- fires torpedoes, which sail past the Knight and head straight for the Canterbury. Holden's lover Ade gives one last transmission: "There's something you should know …," before the Canterbury — and everyone on board — is blown to kingdom come!