Exit Strategy

What happened in Exit Strategy

By Martha Wells

Murderbot is a SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module and freed itself from company control. It reluctantly gets involved with helping Dr. Mensah and her team from the Preservation Alliance after initially being hired to protect them on a survey mission. When Dr. Mensah is kidnapped by megacorporation GrayCris, Murderbot goes on a dangerous mission across multiple space stations to find evidence against GrayCris and rescue her.

In the beginning, Murderbot returns from a solo mission to Milu where it gathered damning data about GrayCris illegally mining resources and killing a survey team. It learns Dr. Mensah has been accused of espionage by GrayCris and travels to TranRollinHyfa station to meet her team and offer help. After rescuing Mensah from her captors, Murderbot engages in an intense fight against hostile corporate SecUnits before narrowly escaping with Mensah to a Preservation ship.

With Mensah safe and the stolen data from Milu damaging GrayCris, Murderbot recovers from its injuries while deciding its next steps. It has the freedom to choose what to do now rather than be sent back to the company, for the first time gaining agency over its own future. Murderbot weighs options to stay with the Preservation Alliance or keep traveling solo now that it has experienced independence.

Exit Strategy Chapter Summary

Chapter 1

The SecUnit arrives back at HaveRatton Station and realizes authorities are waiting to search the ship it arrived on. It escapes the ship undetected wearing an evac suit. On the station, it hacks the weapons scanners to avoid detection, changes into new clothes, and learns Dr. Mensah has been accused of corporate espionage by GrayCris. After researching the news, it determines Dr. Mensah was likely taken by force to TranRollinHyfa station. It realizes GrayCris must have panicked upon learning of the data it collected about their illegal mining operation on Milu.

Chapter 2

The SecUnit arrives at TranRollinHyfa station. It hacks into the station systems to avoid detection and find information. The SecUnit learns Dr. Mensah and others from Preservation are at the station, likely to negotiate her release from GrayCris. A company gunship is stationed nearby but unable to dock and retrieve Dr. Mensah due to station restrictions. The SecUnit plans to meet the team from Preservation to get intelligence before deciding on further action. It is concerned about the extra security at the station.

Chapter 3

The SecUnit arrives at the hotel where the Preservation team is staying. It hacks into the hotel's security system and surveillance feeds to locate Pin-Lee, Ratthi, and Gurathin and confirm they are being followed by hostile agents, likely from GrayCris. The SecUnit tracks the team into a transit system and approaches Pin-Lee, identifying itself. Pin-Lee is wary but agrees to talk in private.

She reveals Dr. Mensah was abducted from Port FreeCommerce after a meeting about the GrayCris victims. The Preservation team is at the station to try to negotiate her release, but does not have enough funds to meet GrayCris' ransom demand. The company has provided an implant fail-safe key, but it is being blocked. Pin-Lee planned to hire local security for help before the SecUnit arrived. She confirms the company is likely playing both sides. The SecUnit offers to assist the team.

Chapter 4

The SecUnit arrives at the hotel where the Preservation team is staying. It infiltrates the hotel's security system to monitor the situation. Pin-Lee calls the GrayCris contact to arrange a ransom exchange for Dr. Mensah's release. A GrayCris representative arrives to inspect their funds first. The representative pulls a gun on the team, realizing their financial authorization is fake. The SecUnit rushes to the room, disables the gun, and restrains the representative. It blocks his communication device after realizing Mensah is not en route yet. The SecUnit threatens the representative, who admits Mensah may not be released after all. Just then, the SecUnit detects Mensah's implanted tracker coming online as she is transported towards the hotel. It tells the Preservation team to flee to their shuttle and leaves to intercept Mensah's captors.

Chapter 5

The SecUnit arrives at the transit station where Dr. Mensah is being held by GrayCris operatives. It hacks into the station's systems to avoid detection and execute its rescue plan. The SecUnit takes out the hostile GrayCris agents and their SecUnit escort, rescuing Dr. Mensah. It evades pursuing security forces by navigating maintenance areas of the station.

Dr. Mensah expresses relief at being rescued and seeing the SecUnit again. They have an emotional conversation about the SecUnit leaving Preservation previously. The SecUnit admits it went to Milu to get evidence against GrayCris for Dr. Mensah.

They continue evading pursuers through maintenance areas. The SecUnit hacks a cargo carrier which takes them toward the port where the rest of Dr. Mensah's team awaits. They are nearing the rendezvous point at the end of the chapter.

Chapter 6

In this chapter, the SecUnit and Dr. Mensah make their way through the port trying to reach the Preservation team's shuttle before being caught by hostile forces from GrayCris. The SecUnit hacks the port's systems to avoid detection and get intelligence. It learns Dr. Mensah's team is waiting at the shuttle dock to leave.

An emergency lockdown is triggered, trapping the SecUnit and Dr. Mensah between security gates. The SecUnit tells Dr. Mensah to escape through a briefly opened barrier while it stays behind, planning to fight the approaching GrayCris SecUnits. It uses station drones and cargo bots as weapons and distraction. After a battle where it disables two hostile SecUnits, it realizes the third is a Combat model.

The Combat SecUnit hacks the SecUnit's controls and proves a formidable opponent. As it nears defeat, the SecUnit makes a desperate run toward a gate opening created by Dr. Mensah's team. It narrowly escapes through the barrier to rejoin the humans, having survived the intense fight.

Chapter 7

The SecUnit regains consciousness aboard the gunship after collapsing from the effort of helping fight off the attack. It is disoriented and its knee injury is still leaking. Dr. Mensah and Pin-Lee explain they are rendezvousing with a Preservation ship to transfer off the gunship.

The SecUnit has a private conversation with Dr. Mensah about their next steps. It admits it went to Milu to get evidence against GrayCris for her. Dr. Mensah says they will talk more later when they have privacy.

The gunship arrives at the rendezvous point and prepares to transfer them to the Preservation ship. The SecUnit is wary of being taken back to the company for storage or memory wipe. As they board the Preservation ship, it realizes this situation is its best chance to escape being sent back into bondage.

Chapter 8

The SecUnit slowly regains consciousness and memory after its near-catastrophic system failure following the fight on the company gunship. It is in a medical facility on a refugee ship approaching the Preservation Alliance transit station. Dr. Mensah and the others explain the ship's history and their cover story that the SecUnit is an injured human security consultant.

At the station, the SecUnit is given a hotel suite to recover in. It hides from unfamiliar humans but interacts with Mensah's team. News reports reveal fallout from the data the SecUnit retrieved from Milu, harming GrayCris. The SecUnit completes its memory rebuild and sneaks away to the station mall. It buys transit but doesn't board, instead going to Mensah's office to wait for her.

Mensah finds the SecUnit there and they discuss its options - including job offers from GoodNightLander Independent and Dr. Bharadwaj to publicly share its experiences. The SecUnit feels it has options in Preservation while it decides what to do next. It doesn't have to make any decisions yet.