Originally published in Clarkesworld Magazine #132, September 2017
Bot 9 has just been activated after a long time offline. The Ship it serves has a huge list of to-do activities and it has been tasked to track down an Incidental, a pest infestation. But Bot 9 is slightly concerned that something is going on that it doesn’t understand. But it serves.
What is going on is a last ditch effort to save earth from alien destruction, and the Ship is functional only because it was in a junkyard for years and so not destroyed in the initial attack. It is falling to pieces, has numerous malfunctions, including that ratbug Bot 9 is after, and is earth’s last hope.
I really enjoyed this novelette.
It is straight-forward and simple, but often those stories are the hardest to write well. It feels simply because it is so well written. I loved Bot 9, utterly artificial but not automated. And the interactions with the other bots, and the Ship, all wonderful.
Really fun read.