Book Review 136 // Broken by Rachel Caine

Look at this, book three of the Alien's short stories from Bug Hunt. If you haven't read the first two please follow these handy links (Story One, Story Two). So far the tales have been great and really helped to fill out a greater section of the galaxy. So with this, I felt energized to be heading into this tale, titled: Broken.

Straight away I was excited by the opening paragraph. Seems we have ourselves an origin story for the AI character Bishop (made famous in Aliens). At construction, he was deemed flawed and strange more prone to emotional responses. But the Company being the company, didn't want to waste him so attached Bishop to a Colonial Marine unit led by Lt. Lew "Lucky" Larsen. This then becomes the focal point of the story and we join them on a mission is to free a group of colonists taken hostage by a pirate group simply known as F Company. This group has pissed off the company enough to warrant their utter destruction and the marines are tasked with trapping the pirates in the base before using toxic gas to poison the site and remove the problem of F Company. Colonists are to be saved if possible, but are completely expendable if that is easier (good old company).

Of course, guns start blazing, and casualties are taken on both sides. With Bishop being a non-combat unit,  he is tasked with checking the wounded and deeming who stays and who goes. Ultimately forced to chose who will live and die, a task a normal AI would struggle with but due to Bishop's flaw, he is calmly able to make the discussions. After completing the task Bishop discovers the plan to gas the base and is unable to follow the orders to leave the hostages to die. Instead, Bishop grabs some gas masks and attempts to locate the last hostages, before the gas is activated.

A lot goes down in a surprisingly short space of time, we discover another droid working for the F Company, we also get another gunfight which doesn't end well for anyone (especially Bishop who ends up paralyzed), but more worryingly we see Bishop override his programming and kill two F Company pirates on purpose by deactivating their gas masks. Bishop's last act is to aid the hostages of the world by remotely piloting a dropship before he shuts down his main power in the hopes of getting rescued himself.

Seems like years have past but when Bishop reactivates, finding himself once more in a Colonial Marine Medbay. But he is fully repaired and tended by Private Hudson and Sergeant Apone, who tell him that they recovered him to replace their destroyed droid. As it was easier to grab him than head all the way home. The book finishes with Hudson teaching Bishop the infamous knife game (excellent finish).

Another solid read, not as interesting as the first two stories. But it does fill out Bishop's back story explaining why he became so attached to Newt and Ripley. I also found it a nice touch to have Hudson teaching the knife game, this actually made me smile.

As always, thanks for checking in and I hope you enjoyed my review?

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