Fugitive Telemetry

What happened in Fugitive Telemetry

By Martha Wells

The book opens with the discovery of a dead human on a space station, launching an investigation that the android Murderbot is asked to assist with. Murderbot uses its security expertise to analyze evidence and make deductions about the victim and crime scene. It tracks clues to a damaged transport ship where the murder occurred.

Murderbot helps question a cargo ship crew about the victim, uncovering a refugee smuggling operation. It discovers kidnapped refugees trapped on a hostile ship and bravely rescues them alone in a spacewalk mission. Murderbot disables the kidnappers and helps audit station data to identify the security breach.

After surviving an assassination attempt, Murderbot confronts the maintenance bot Balin, realizing it was a combat bot sent on a secret mission. Murderbot disables Balin in a fight and is recognized by station bots as protecting the station. It agrees to continue consulting with station security, having earned their trust through its efforts.

Fugitive Telemetry Chapter Summary

Chapter 1

The chapter opens with the discovery of a dead human lying on the floor of a junction in a mall on Preservation Station. The android Murderbot estimates the time of death to be about four hours ago based on scans. Senior Officer Indah is suspicious of Murderbot's ability to determine this but another security officer confirms the estimate. They are unable to identify the victim as there are no ID implants or augments.

Dr. Mensah and Senior Officer Indah speak privately with Murderbot about the investigation. Mensah wants Murderbot to work with station security, despite their mutual distrust, in order to improve relations and potentially get hired as a consultant. Murderbot agrees, having experience investigating human deaths from its time providing security at corporate mining camps.

Mensah emphasizes the need for Murderbot to refer to the deceased respectfully during the investigation. Indah says she will provide an employment contract so Murderbot can officially consult. Murderbot is eager to examine the body to determine if this death is related to the danger posed by GrayCris Corporation that it and Mensah's crew have been facing.

Chapter 2

The chapter opens with Murderbot analyzing the crime scene and evidence from the deceased victim. It uses its expertise in security and investigations to make deductions about the victim's identity and movements prior to death. Murderbot determines the perpetrator likely used a specialized cleaning tool to remove DNA evidence.

Murderbot and Senior Officer Indah discuss the victim's distinctive clothing, which seems designed to make the wearer stand out rather than blend in. This could indicate the victim was trying to disguise their identity or movements. Murderbot deduces the victim was likely not killed at the crime scene based on the nature of the head wound. It emphasizes the need to find any bag the victim may have had to maintain their visitor disguise.

Overall, the chapter depicts Murderbot lending its expertise to the investigation, while navigating the distrust and restrictions placed on it by station security. Murderbot makes key observations about the victim and crime scene that provide clues for the ongoing investigation.

Chapter 3

The chapter opens with Murderbot going to the transient housing block to investigate the dead human. It communicates with a bot there named Tellus, which helps it identify the dead human's room. Murderbot finds a scarf that matches the dead human's clothing, indicating this is likely his room. It sends the information to Station Security.

Murderbot then goes to the transit ring to try to identify which transport the dead human arrived on. It searches the station feed and communicates with the docked transports. One transport responds strangely, sending garbled data. Murderbot realizes something is wrong with the transport and it needs to get onboard to help. But it knows Station Security is watching it, so it calls Ratthi and Dr. Mensah for assistance before approaching the damaged transport.

Chapter 4

In Chapter 4, Murderbot is trying to get inside a damaged transport ship to investigate the death of the human Lutran. It is accompanied by Ratthi and Gurathin, who want to call station security for help, but Murderbot insists on getting inside first.

Murderbot manages to override the lock and get the hatch open. Inside, they find blood stains and a bag matching the one Lutran had with him. This confirms Lutran was killed inside the transport.

Station security arrives to take over the investigation. An investigator named Aylen questions if Murderbot was involved. It provides an alibi showing it was with Dr. Mensah at the time of the murder.

Murderbot and Aylen review surveillance footage showing Lutran entering the transport, but no one else entering after him. The killer must have already been inside. A clip shows the body being removed later via a delivery cart.

Murderbot is to accompany Aylen to speak to representatives of an outsystem ship that was scheduled to receive cargo from the transport Lutran arrived on. It agrees, hoping to find clues about who killed Lutran and why.

Chapter 5

The chapter opens with Murderbot going voluntarily to the Station Security office to help question the detained cargo ship crew about the murder of Lutran. It finds the experience very strange, as SecUnits are not normally used this way on stations.

Murderbot watches the crew being questioned, recognizing their fear and hatred of SecUnits comes from experience, not just media. The crew claims no knowledge of Lutran or the murder. But when his name is mentioned, they react with recognition and fear.

The crew admits they illegally transport refugees trying to escape corporate contract labor camps. Lutran was their contact who helped the refugees once they arrived at the station. Murderbot reviews dock footage showing the refugees disembarking, but never leaving the docks.

Murderbot pushes Station Security to allow it diagnostic access to their systems to check for hacking related to the tampered footage. It demonstrates hacking ability by briefly taking over screens in the Station Security office. Indah reluctantly agrees to give Murderbot temporary admin access to run a diagnostic.

Chapter 6

In this chapter, Murderbot plans how to rescue the refugees trapped in the module attached to the hidden ship. It realizes the Port Authority systems have likely been hacked, allowing the kidnappers to listen in and evade detection. Murderbot, Indah and Aylen meet securely in Dr. Mensah's office to coordinate a response.

The station's patrol ship scans the area and locates the hidden ship with the module attached. The ship is lurking in the shadow of the station's main structure. Murderbot decides it must take action alone to avoid tipping off the kidnappers, who will be monitoring station communications. It plans to spacewalk to the ship and free the refugees before the kidnappers realize they've been discovered. Murderbot is wary but determined to complete the dangerous mission.

Chapter 7

In this chapter, Murderbot is sent on a dangerous mission to rescue a group of human refugees who have been kidnapped and trapped in a cargo module attached to a hostile ship. It uses an old emergency life-tender bag to travel undetected through space from the colony ship to reach the refugees. After a tense encounter where the refugees briefly mistake it for a threat, Murderbot gets them loaded safely into the life-tender bag to escape back to the colony ship's airlock.

Murderbot then climbs aboard the hostile ship itself to confront the kidnappers and prevent them from detaching the module. One of the refugees had shot Murderbot during the rescue, realizing it was a SecUnit, but it proceeds with the mission anyway. It disables the kidnappers and secures the ship until station authorities can arrive. Murderbot then agrees to help the head of station security, Indah, conduct an audit of surveillance data to try to identify the security breach that allowed the kidnapping plot to happen. It offers its expertise in analyzing data to narrow down the list of suspects.

Chapter 8

The chapter opens with Murderbot returning to the colony ship with the refugees it rescued. It exchanges messages with Dr. Mensah and the others, receiving updates on the investigation. Murderbot realizes the cargo bot that was supposed to help attach the module Lutran arrived in may have useful records, so it queries the system.

As Murderbot walks to the security office, a crane almost falls on it. Murderbot realizes Aylen did not request to meet it there, meaning someone lured it into a trap. It calls the security office and confirms Aylen is safe. Murderbot tells Indah it knows who the killer is and heads to the Port Authority office.

Murderbot confronts the maintenance bot Balin, realizing it is actually a combat bot sent years ago for an unknown mission. After a destructive fight, Murderbot disables Balin. A group of station bots intervenes, regarding Balin as an intruder now that its true function is revealed. Balin shuts down, its mission failed. Murderbot meets with Indah, who clarifies she did not leak an image of Murderbot to the newsfeeds as it had believed. Murderbot agrees to consult on future cases.