Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
SciFi’s favorite crabby A.I. is again on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.
And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.
Note: Not YA but suitable for teens
With Murderbot having found out about their free existence now out in the news, they make for a place outside the Corporate Rim, where they could live in relative peace. Also, digging up some dirt on another of GrayCris’ projects to help the Preservation crew seems like a bonus – so Murderbot heads towards planet Milu that was supposed to be terraformed by GrayCris, but they suspect the company used it as a front to conduct an illegal mining operation. With a new collective, GI taking over the terraforming, they are sending an assessment team to check it out, and Murderbot insinuates themselves into the crew by first stowing away on their shuttle, then convincing the crew’s human-form robot (used for scientific teams) that it is a security consultant to gain access to their feed, and then actually having to do the job despite not being contracted by them as a security consultant, because obviously the GI crew is a target! (Murderbot sure has the luck to find the humans that are being fucked over in some way)
The plot is mainly about Murderbot having to access the threats to this crew, while also doing their investigation into the terraforming projects’ activities by looking into place that may not have been cleared of data as thoroughly. The terraforming facility is abandoned, which added another layer of creepiness and tension – because empty station? small crew to protect? activated combat bots? – all a recipe for complicating what Murderbot thought would be a simple mission (it never is, Murderbot, it never is, for you). A different aspect of their character development comes forth in this book – as much as they seem misanthropic, it cannot be denied that they take the protection of human lives seriously, even if they aren’t their clients. Also, there Miki, the pet robot of the crew who befriends Murderbot, and is quite innocent and seeing the GI crew interact with Miki so kindly evokes a lot of emotions in Murderbot that they need to take a minute to process, several times. They are once again questioning what they wanted out of their free life, because even though they have what they want – freedom to watch all the media they want, and distance from humans – they still seem to get involved in protecting humans from time to time.
Once again, I enjoyed Murderbot’s tactics and plans and commentary while fulfilling the mission to get the humans to safety; this time around, they were assisting with a human security team, so there was a considerable amount of their trademark snarkiness about human capabilities. The ending was heart-breaking but not unexpected, and Murderbot realizing there are better humans out there puts another piece of their characterization in place. In short, another enjoyable installment in the Murderbot Diaries.
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