Cons: lots of swearing, lots of violence
Mariam Xi knows she’s a danger to the new ship that picks up her distress beacon. So she’s keen to leave them when they stop at a station. She’s not surprised when MEPHISTO troopers show up. But Mariam doesn’t want to go back to the program that gave her psychic powers - and she has the means to refuse.
I loved the characters. They had a lot of personality and verve. I especially liked the experimental cat thing, Seven, who’s just so cute. Mariam is quite powerful, but that’s in keeping with what was done to her in the past. It might take some readers a bit of effort to remember that Squid gets they/their pronouns, but how Mariam reacts to them, and the positive sexuality of some of the characters, makes the future feel like it’s progressed in some good ways from our own time.
The novella length means you don’t get to know the characters as much as I’d have liked. Mariam doesn’t get to interact with the crew that much so while you get the feeling that they’re starting to become friends, they don’t really have the history of working together, being there for each other, etc. that the ending requires.
I did find the amount of swearing a bit jarring, especially as it came from Mariam. For some reason I couldn’t reconcile how I pictured her with the language she often used. Which is weird because I didn’t have the same disconnect regarding the amount of violence and destruction she causes.
It’s a quick, interesting read.