|Books character||TV character|
Frederick Lucius Johnson is the Chief of Operations at Tycho Station's colossal mobile construction platform, overseeing the construction of space stations, the spinning up of asteroids, and in recent years the construction of mankind's first generational starship: the Nauvoo.
A retired Colonel with the United Nations Marine Corps, Fred is notorious for his involvement in a UN military action that will live on in infamy. Since his disgrace he has sought solace and penance working to better the life of Belters all over the system.
Fred is an outspoken advocate for the Outer Planets Alliance, a Belter advocacy group who seek legitimacy, but are often accused of terrorism.
Fred Johnson became famous when he was a Captain with command over three missile frigates. He destroyed a dozen pirate ships and two major bases, causing a drop in piracy in the Belt. Johnson was promoted and given command over the Coalition Marine division responsible for policing the Belt, where he continued to serve with distinction.
When Anderson Station was taken by insurgents, Colonel Johnson led the successful attack to retake the station, killing 173 armed insurgents and over a thousand civilians. This battle earned him fame in the inner planets and the Medal of Freedom, the UN Marines' highest honor. On the other hand, in the Belt, he became notorious as "The Butcher of Anderson Station".
Filled with disgust, self-loathing, and the inability to cope with consequences of his actions, Johnson resigned from the Marine Corps and publicly apologized for his actions. Withdrawing underground for years, he started frequenting bars in the Belt, drinking heavily and getting in skirmishes with the OPA, until he encountered Anderson Dawes who recruited him to the OPA.
Throughout the series Edit
In "CQB", Fred Johnson is presented as a former UN military member and head of Tycho Station, being aligned with the Outer Planets Alliance. He has a keen, and inexplicable, interest in what’s happening with the Donnager.
In "Back to the Butcher", ten years earlier as a Colonel in the UN Marines, Fred was responsible for massacring a group of Belter civilians on Anderson Station. In the present, Fred offers the Canterbury survivors refuge at Tycho Station.
In "Rock Bottom", Fred tells the survivors of the Canterbury that he chartered the Scopuli, the ship whose distress call started the chain of events that resulted in the Canterbury’s destruction. A Scopuli crewmember, code name Lionel Polanski, survived and Fred needs the Rocinante to retrieve them. Holden and company agree to lend him the ship if they are part of the crew, so they can get answers on the parties responsible for the Canterbury. Fred surreptitiously secures a data cube that the Martian officers intended to bring back to Mars when the Donnager blew up.
In "Windmills", Fred tries to decrypt the data cube he stole off the dead Martian Marine aboard the Rocinante while, in "Salvage", he unlocks the encrypted data cube recovered from the destroyed Martian warship Donnager and is shocked at what he finds.
In "Critical Mass" and "Leviathan Wakes", Fred publicly broadcasts the contents of the encrypted files from the destroyed Martian warship Donnager: it contains high definition telemetry of the stealth ships that attacked the Donnager, evidence of which shows they came from Earth, thus proving to the solar system the Asteroid Belt’s innocence in the attack.
In "Doors & Corners", Fred is shocked when the Rocinante crew arrives from Eros and reveals the residents there were being used as an experiment for the protomolecule, an extra-solar life form. Fred, Naomi, Holden and Miller hatch a plan to get rid of the protomolecule once and for all. They depart for Thoth, a black ops station hidden in the belt and the whereabouts of the foremost protomolecule scientists. Once on board Thoth station, Fred finds a group of protomolecule scientists. When his boarding team disrupts them, things go sour and only one of the scientists survives the resulting shootout. Fred, Holden, and Miller corner the lead protomolecule scientist, Dresden, and seem poised to finally extract the truth from him regarding the protomolecule, before Miller shoots him dead.
In "Static", following the battle at Thoth Station, Fred is furious at Miller’s murder of Protomolecule scientist Dresden, as the latter could have provided valuable intel. Miller later approaches Fred with a plan to destroy Eros – and all traces of the Protomolecule – once and for all using a generational starship docked at Tycho – The Nauvoo. Fred also receives a surprise message from Chrisjen Avasarala, who begs him for help with information that could broker peace between Mars and Earth. Fred accepts her message and sends her something back.
In "Godspeed", Fred and Miller inform the Rocinante crew of their plan to get rid of the Protomolecule threat on Eros once and for all: by using a commandeered Nauvoo as a battering ram, they plan to push Eros into the sun. Eventually the crew of the Rocinante gets on board. In "Home", with Eros hurtling towards Earth, Johnson offers to take control of Earth’s Eros-bound nuclear missiles and use the Rocinante’s proximity to the asteroid to guide the missiles and destroy the asteroid. The UN agrees, but once Eros plunges into Venus thanks to actions by Miller, Fred finds himself with an arsenal of Earth missiles and no target for them.
In "Paradigm Shift", Fred plans to use Earth’s 30 nuclear missiles he has in his possession to ensure the Asteroid Belt’s residents are protected against any further Mars or Earth aggression. Holden pleads with Fred to return the stolen arms, but Fred is resolute, when Mars and Earth go to war, it is always the Belters who pay, and he’s not going to let a chance like this slip through his fingers.
In "The Seventh Man", with an arsenal of Earther missiles at his disposal, Fred Johnson is ready to negotiate with Earth and Mars for a seat at the political table for the Asteroid Belt. He calls upon the leaders of the various Belter factions to unite, and offers Anderson Dawes the position of representative. Dawes stokes the crowds' anti-Earth/Mars fears in order to sway the crowd, and alienate Fred. But both Fred and Anderson recognize that the real prize here is control of the protomolecule, which only Cortazar can give them. When Anderson tries to skip town with Cortazar, the protomolecule scientist, Fred puts Tycho station on lock down, but it was too late.
In "Pyre", Edin alerts Fred to a message from Dawes which Drummer warns him to listen to in private but he opts to open it in front of the entire command center. Dawes again seeks to incite rage amongst Belters. Soon after, Staz and Edin take control of Tycho's command center and tries to coerce Fred into handing over the command codes for the nuclear arsenal. When that doesn't work Staz tries to persuade Drummer to betray him but shoots her in the gut when she professes her loyalty to Fred. Once the Rocinante crew rescue Fred and Drummer, Drummer summarily executes Staz and Edin.
In "Caliban's War", Johnson receives the protomolecule sample given by Naomi, so that all the Asteroid Belt could too be in its possession, along with the UN and the MCR.
|“||You'd think helping to save Earth would balance things out, but the Mormons don't think like that. They've filed a lawsuit over the Nauvoo against the Tycho Corporation and myself. Basically, I'm in some deep shit.||”|
|— Johnson to Holden in "Paradigm Shift"|
|“||And exactly what should we tell them? That it's alien technology that we barely comprehend? That would cause a system-wide panic. Until we get more information, we need to keep this under wraps. Eros changed everything. Earth and Mars are scared. And whenever that happens, Belters always lose. Our first priority is to protect ourselves. And that means we're gonna take advantage of every edge we've got.||”|
|— Johnson to Holden in "Paradigm Shift"|
|“||That's a beautiful dream, son, and I hope I'm around to see it come true. But in this world that we live in, in order to survive, you have to pick a side.||”|
|— Johnson to Holden in "Paradigm Shift"|
- ↑ The Martian officers never informed the Canterbury survivors of this data cube. In the novel, Naomi finds it but she and Holden trade it to Fred. In the TV series, Naomi and Holden never learn about the data cube until after Fred broadcasts it.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Fred Johnson appears only in the first of the two episodes, "Critical Mass", when the double episode is split. He does not appear separately in "Leviathan Wakes".
(See episode "Leviathan Wakes"'s "Notes" section.)