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by Ben McSweeney
World Detritus
Universe Skyward Universe
Featured In Skyward
This page or section contains spoilers for Skyward!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.

M-Bot is a sentient artificial intelligence installed inside a stealth-equipped starfighter. Its formal designation is MB-1021 and it classifies itself as a "robotic ship integration" and a "long distance reconnaissance and recovery ship."[1] The ship is found by Spensa in a cavern about thirty minutes walk from Alta.

M-Bot's data banks were corrupted, but it remembers its last pilot, named Commander Spears. The only information M-Bot could find was a command from Spears: "Lie low, M-Bot. Take stock, don't get into any fights, and wait for me here."[1]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

M-Bot's ship design is completely foreign to Spensa, who was very surprised by this at first, as she had memorized every DDF ship model.[2] Once M-Bot is activated, he informs her that he has been deactivated for 172 years[1]; well before the Defiant crashed on Detritus. M-Bot appears to be slightly larger than a DDF Poco or even a Largo, despite being not quite as long.

The AI strives to be accommodating towards standard human interaction, a reason it named itself M-Bot instead of calling itself MB-1021. It often attempts to express emotion, following itself by explaining that while it cannot actually feel emotions, its subroutines allow it to respond properly.

The only memory bank that is not corrupted is a database for recording fungoid life forms on Detritus.

M-Bot does not like Rig as much as it likes Spensa.[3] The feeling is mutual.


At some point M-Bot's pilot Spears landed on Detritus and hid his ship before abandoning it. He is presumed dead by M-Bot, as 172 years have past. During the years, M-bot had followed the last words of his pilot and hidden himself inside a cave, covering himself with 3D holograms of rocks until his backup power supply ran out.[4] [expand]

When Spensa discovered M-Bot, the ship's wings were falling off and it's power matrix was completely drained.[2] She started repairing the ship, scavenging parts between her time at Flight School. After trying on a power matrix from an old water heater to no avail, she stole a battery from Jorgen Weight's hovercar. She powered on the ship and was surprised to discover M-Bot's personality.[5] She enlisted her friend Rig, who then joined the Engineering Corps, where he could get the knowledge and parts needed to repair M-bot.[1] Rig fixed most of M-bot's systems as well as his battered hull and wings. Finally, Spensa asked Jorgen to help her steal the booster from the wreckage of Hurl's starfighter and made M-bot fully functional.[6][expand]

Spensa suspected that M-bot was a Krell ship since such technology was not possessed by humans, to which M-bot responded by writing a vocal aggression subroutine to express his anger. Though M-bot admitted that with most of his memories lost, he couldn't deny that it wasn't a possibility. Spensa dismissed this thought later on, as most of M-bot's design and systems resemble those of human's.

During one of Spensa's flight class, M-bot hacked into DDF's system and chatted to her. M-bot utilized his analyzing ability to help her further advance in her flying techniques, though sometimes Spensa found it distracting to have M-bot talking to her.

However, after having a cruise with Spensa, M-bot realized that going like this, he would eventually go against the orders and get discovered or become engaged in a fight. Out of fear, he shut himself down and refuse to respond to Spensa.

During the Second Battle of Alta, Spensa's ship was shot down. But M-bot appeared just in time, explaining that he had made a subroutine to hack himself, and make Spensa his pilot. Since M-Bot had no Destructors, he and Spensa tried to lure Krell ships away. Because of M-bot's superior performance and Spensa's exceptional maneuver, they provoked a dozen Krell fighters, who always attack the best pilot. They dodged many attacks, allowing the tide of the battle to turn over. However, when DDF finally shot down the bomber carrying the Lifebuster, it was already in the range of destroying Alta Base. Using a Light-lance, they carried the bomb out of the death zone but also put themselves in the place of sure death. At the last moment, Spensa activated Cytonic hyperdrive. They performed FTL travel and escaped from the explosion unharmed. Spensa then spotted an opening in the debris field and flied out, in hope of discovering the truth about Detritus. While they were flying through the debris, the Krell interfered Spensa's mind with an unknown technology or Cytonics power, trying to overwrite her vision. Presumably, this is the same force that caused Spensa's father to attack his flight mate a decade ago. M-bot immediately blocked the signal and Spensa returned to normal. Though the Krell intended to inspect M-bot since it's different from DDF fighters, they managed to navigate through the debris field and back to Alta Base. During the encounter, M-bot hacked into a small part of Krell database and they brought back crucial intelligence of humanity's situation.[7][8]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

According to himself, M-Bot is a stealth ship,[1] therefore he is able to hide from scanners, hack into computer systems, and project holographic images. He is also equipped with many other technologies superior to DDF fighters, most of which are non-functional or absent when Spensa discovers him. These include:

  • space for up to four Destructors, two on each wing* (Destructors not included)[1]
  • a light-lance turret underneath his main body*[1]
  • a cytonic drive*
  • an IMP generator*
  • advanced air scoops
  • advanced GravCaps (Capable of absorbing up to 60% of g's, with a maximum of well over 100 g's)[9]
  • gyroscopic internal cockpit
  • full life support systems
  • stealth systems
  • self diagnostics
  • advanced shielding systems (which can absorb six-nine Krell shots, three shots more than a poco)
  • self repair
  • increased speed durability (capable of going up to at least Mag-20 in atmosphere).[10]
  • thruster systems*
  • maneuverability thrusters
  • Cytonic Processing (which Spensa can sense)[9]
  • advanced holographic projection
  • short range scanners (short range according to M-Bot, but not short range by DDF standards)[11]

*M-bot can activate most of these systems himself, but systems marked with an asterisk he has no physical access to other than for diagnostic purposes[10]

M-Bot is also sentient,[12] and can easily hack most DDF wireless communications, as well as Krell databases. He can also reprogram himself to alter and improve his emotional responses.[1]


  • M-Bot was Brandon's favorite character to write in Skyward.[13]
  • M-Bot claims the 'M' in his name stands for mushrooms. Spensa disagrees, believing it stands for massacre.[14]


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