“Surely they won’t suspect anything,” Ratthi was saying to the others at the bulk dock. “Who runs around with a friendly rogue SecUnit? Besides us, I mean.”
(Just a heads-up, when a murderbot stands there looking to the left of your head to avoid eye contact, it’s probably not thinking about killing you, it’s probably frantically trying to come up with a reply to whatever you just said to it.)
Before I could, Overse caught up with me and asked, “Are you all right?”
I was absolutely great. It wasn’t like this situation needed to get any more emotionally fraught, or anything. I said, “I am functioning optimally.” (This was a line from Valorous Defenders, which is a great source for things humans and augmented humans think SecUnits say that SecUnits do not actually say.)
Overse made an exasperated noise. “I hate that show.” I’d forgotten that it was one of the shows I’d pulled off the Preservation Public Entertainment feed. The other humans were listening on the comm so hard I could pick up their breathing. Thiago pretended not to listen, flashing his helmet light over the stations on the upper tier of the control area. Overse added, “Just remember you’re not alone here.”
I never know what to say to that. I am actually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.
And it hit me then that ART had been desperate and terrified since the moment the Barish-Estranza explorer had sidled up and done whatever it had done. It had tricked its captors into taking it to me not because it had some kind of grand strategy but because it needed me.
I hate emotions.
I could say it was an accident, I’d meant to take him prisoner and he had tried to get away and –
Dr. Mensah would never believe that. My accidents were spectacular and usually involved me losing a big chunk of my organic tissue or something; she knew I could stop a human without hurting them, without even leaving a bruise, that was my stupid job.
She would never trust me again. She would never stand close enough to touch (but without touching, because touching is gross) and just trust me. Or maybe she would, but it wouldn’t be the same.
Fuck, fuck everything, fuck this, fuck me especially.