Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries Book 4.5)
English | 2020 | Sci – Fi | ePUB | 2.6 MB
Home is a Murderbot Short Sorry.
MARTHA WELLS has written many fantasy novels, including The Wizard Hunters, Wheel of the Infinite, the Books of the Raksura series (beginning with The Cloud Roads and ending with The Harbors of the Sun), and the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer, as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, and non-fiction.
“Is this really a good idea?”
There is no way to honestly answer that question without being insulting, so Ayda Mensah opts for, “If I’d known the survey team might almost be murdered in a corporate sabotage attempt, I would have picked another planetary franchise.”
She’s in one of the Planetary Council offices on Preservation Station, talking to Ephraim, a fellow councilor who was planetary leader last term and should know better than to have this conversation. The office is a bland one meant for temporary work, the chairs are comfortable but it’s undecorated, the walls a default cool silver blue. It’s making her uncomfortable in a way it hasn’t any other time she’s been in here. Maybe someone’s adjusted the local environmentals badly; the air feels still and oppressive, though it’s not warm. It makes her skin creep.
It’s the exact same size as the room she was held prisoner in on TranRollinHyfa.
It would be unbearable, if not for the message packet pinging in her feed.
Ephraim sighs. “That wasn’t what I meant.”
She knows it wasn’t what he meant, and her answer is a lie, anyway. Knowing what would happen, she wouldn’t choose a different planet, a different bond company. Because then SecUnit would still be someone’s property, would be waiting for the contract where the negligence or greed or indifference of its clients got it killed.
If not for SecUnit, Ayda Mensah would be dead, her body dumped in a recycler somewhere on TranRollinHyfa or some other supposedly neutral transit station, for the value of neutral that meant “whatever the highest bidder wants.” It’s difficult for Ephraim and the other councilors and her family and almost everyone else she’s spoken to since returning home to understand that. But none of them have any real experience with the Corporation Rim, except as a source of cartoonish villains in media serials.
Ephraim adds, “No one is questioning your response to the original situation.”
Ayda’s lost the thread of the conversation and unlike SecUnit, she can’t run back a recording to see what she missed. She needs to suggest that they leave this room and go up to the council office with the windows looking over the admin foyer but they need privacy for this talk. And even though Ephraim is a friend it would be a sign of weakness she can’t afford. Oh yes, she was unfairly intimating that he had said that her choice of survey world was at fault. It’s not and that’s not what he meant, but she wants to make him say what he does mean. She steeples her fingers. “That was the inciting incident.”
Ephraim is frustrated and he only wants the best for her and for Preservation, which is what makes this so awkward for both of them. It’s hard to make a proper argument when you’re both on the same side. “You’ve brought a corporate…” He hesitates. She wonders if he was going to say killing machine. He finishes, “A product of corporate surveillance capitalism and authoritarian enforcement to the seat of our government. I agree your reasons were good, but this is a situation that has to be addressed.”