In season 2 episode 2, "Doors and Corners" while boarding the space station, guards attack the boarding party with non-lethal gel rounds.

Its mentioned that they're fitted up more like prison guards.

Later on the scientists they find seem to not be aware of their situation, and although initially violent, the only surviving scientist seems proud of the work they were doing.

Based on this I assume some of the other scientists might not have been as willing to work voluntarily, and potentially some would get unplugged every now and then and become violent.

This answer seems a bit odd to me given that they didn't seem aware of the outside world. Is there any more explanation to this?

  • 3
    My understanding from the books, not good enough for a proper answer, is that sometimes the scientists would lose mental stability and have to be restrained. Their job testing the protomolecule on innocent people was so inhuman and evil that they'd had parts of their brains removed or destroyed, so they could work without feeling empathy or pity. Jun 10, 2018 at 4:31

2 Answers 2


In the book, Dresden explains that

“We modified our science team to remove ethical restraints.”

Half a dozen clues clicked into place in Holden’s head.

“Sociopaths,” he said. “You turned them into sociopaths.”

“High-functioning sociopaths,” Dresden said with a nod. He seemed pleased to explain it. “And extremely curious ones. As long as we kept them supplied with interesting problems to solve and unlimited resources, they remained quite content.”

“And a big security team armed with riot control rounds for when they aren’t,” Fred said.

“Yes, there are occasional issues,” Dresden said.

Leviathan Wakes, Chapter Forty-One: Holden

In the following episode of the TV show ("Static") it is revealed that as in the book an operation was performed on the scientists -- including the surviving scientist, Paolo Cortázar -- to remove their empathy so that they could carry out their research. While the TV show does not provide an explicit explanation like the book, presumably the use of non-lethal gel rounds was for the same reason as in the book (to end occasional riots by crazy scientists). The problem was not that some of the scientists were unwilling to work voluntarily.


A bit on insight on the topic from The Vital Abyss, the novelette from James Corey

Everyone in research had undergone the treatment, which admittedly posed some problems. Singh in computational biology held forth on her theory of the protomolecule as a Guzman-style quantum computer one night over dinner, and when Kibushi used the information without citing her, she snuck into the showers at the gymnasium and beat him to death with a ceramic workbench cap. After that, security kept a closer eye on us all, but they also switched to nonlethal weapons. Singh, while formally reprimanded by Dresden, kept her status on her team. It only tended to confirm what we all already knew: Morality as we had known it no longer applied to us.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.