Dr. Benyawe was the head scientist of the glaser project. She was promoted to Director of Special Operations by Lem Jukes after Dr. Richard Dublin was too cautious proceeding with the experimental device. Benyawe was given control of all the ship's operations and had the right to know what was happening aboard the Makarhu.
After testing the glaser on a smaller asteroid, Dr. Benyawe wanted to proceed in increments, however the captain Lem Jukes wanted to test the glaser on a large asteroid. To do this the crew would need to bump El Cavador, a free miner ship, from an asteroid because any other asteroid was too far away. Benyawe and many other crew members were morally against the decision, but had to progress against their opinion.
During the test of glaser on the second asteroid, Benyawe was a little more hesitant because the affects were unknown on a larger asteroid. After shooting the asteroid with the glaser, the Makarhu would have nearly been destroyed in the resulting gravitational field if not for Lem's quick actions by ordering the ship to pull back.
Later, Lem decided to go to Weigh Station Four. At the station, Dr. Benyawe went to lunch with Lem and Chubs Zimmons at a Thai restaurant. A man named Verbatov approached Lem about repayment for harm Juke Limited did to him years earlier. Chubs killed Verbatov after he threatened Lem, and the group left with a tortured Dr. Dublin. Dr. Benyawe objected to killing Verbatov and later Staggar, but both threatened Lem and it was Chubs' job to protect him. Benyawe also objected to leaving Podolski on the station, but again it was out of her control.
The Makarhu was later contacted by Concepción Querales, captain of El Cavador, for the purpose of stalling and possibly destroying an alien scout ship. After Lem showed the footage of the aliens to Benyawe, she decided they shouldn't be called hormigas, the Spanish word for ant, but that Formic would be a better name for the aliens, drawing from the Latin "formica".
After the encounter with the Formic ship, Benyawe, Chubs, Lem, and Dublin all discussed how they could warn Earth. While analyzing data, Benyawe and the other discovered the Formic ship was going to let out another gamma burst near the asteroid Kleopatra, as this release of exhaust happened every six hours.
Eight months later on the Makarhu, Lem gave a speech to honor the dead, which was when he made a power play to gain ultimate power on the ship from Chubs by resigning his position as captain. Benyawe went to consult Lem on his decision afterwards. Lem felt little remorse, but he was surprised when Benyawe told him of talk about a mutiny against Chubs, whom Lem had named captain. During their meeting, Chubs came in to talk with Lem about resolving the situation. Thirty minutes later Chubs sent a holo to everyone declining the offer and giving the title and position of captain back to Lem.
Under Lem's orders, Benyawe and the other Makarhu scientists began to develop what they called "shatter boxes," which were an improved version of the glaser. Lem told Benyawe to continue developing a cheaper version of the shatter boxes in order to use it against the Formics in battle. During the conversation about the shatter boxes, Chubs interrupted informing Benyawe and Lem about a found STASA beacon. Lem and Benyawe agreed that they should investigate the beacon.
The beacon revealed no new information about the Formics, but Benyawe and Lem learned of another battle that took place, due to a video taken by Captain Dionetti. The STASA captain warned that no ships should continue to attack the Formic ship due to international law.
When they came back to Luna, Lem had Benyawe and Dublin help Victor Delgado and Imala Bootstamp build a disguised shuttle so that Victor could sneak aboard the Formic scout ship and destroy it. Benyawe and Dublin formulated a plan for Victor to sneak into the ship by using debris with thrusters to initiate the opening of a gun door on the Formic ship. Victor agreed to their plan as long as the debris was built inside the facilities in order to prevent outside variables from interfering.
Benyawe and Dublin helped build the decoy debris for Victor's mission. They later helped attach the debris to the disguised shuttle before Victor and Imala left for the mission later that day.
Shortly after Victor and Imala arrived at the Formic scout ship, Lem informed Benyawe that Ukko Jukes would be conducting an attack on the scout ship using 50 Vanguard drones and glasers several days later. Lem and Benyawe then decided to investigate the progress of the preparation of the attack by having Lem go to the construction facility.
Several days after the Vanguard attack, Lem came back to the development facility to speak with Benyawe. Before talking with Lem in private, Benyawe displayed a successful test of the shatter boxes to Lem, causing him to ask for the shatter boxes to be developed immediately, so he could use them as a weapon against the Formics. After discussing the shatter boxes, Lem and Benyawe had a private conversation to discuss Victor and Imala. Benyawe wished that Lem would have let her contact them as she did not think the situation was hopeless. She would have told Victor and Imala to head directly toward the center of the ship to hopefully avoid the gravity field.
Benyawe suggested that Lem bring the construction of the cocoons for Victor and Imala's second mission to the Formic scout ship to their workshop to boost morale. Later, the MOPs accepted to help with the mission, and Benyawe and the other employees celebrated. Benyawe even danced with Lem for a short period of time.
Lem assigned Benyawe to go on the mission to attack the Formic scout ship with Victor and the MOPs because Benyawe was trustworthy and Lem needed a Juke engineer to go on the mission. Benyawe had to replace one of the 11 MOPs that were originally going on the mission. Benyawe prepared for the mission on the Valas.
On the Formic ship, Benyawe placed wall plates over Formic turrets before heading into the bay. In the bay, Benyawe helped turn nozzels and mark them with spray paint. Shortly after, Mazer arrived the Formics began to attack, causing her work to be more urgent.
When their work was done, the remaining members of the team made their way to Mazer. Eventually, Benyawe and Victor were split off from Shenzu and Deen after they entered a corridor exposed to the vacuum of space. Victor rescued Shenzu and Deen before they went to the radiation safe corridor where Mazer Rackham was.
After Wit turned off the plasma guns, the team knew they would need to destroy the Formic landers, which were headed toward the ship. After they were done planning, Benyawe let them know the radiation levels inside the ship were safe before they moved on. Benyawe then helped as they turned the plasma nozzles back to their original position and loaded debris in the carts. While moving the carts to the launch bay, Shenzu helped Benyawe, so she could get a little rest. Benyawe then helped load the debris into the launch tubes before they shot the Formic lander. After shooting the second Formic lander, Formics starting entering the ship through the launch tubes, so Benyawe found a defensive position where she shot the Formics from.
After the battle, Benyawe suggested to Lem that he should hire Victor as a engineer to help her identify and debunk the Formic technologies aboard the scout ship.
At some point over three years, Benyawe became the director of the Experimental Defense Division in Juke Limited.
While working on a problem with the structural integrity of the XR-50 ship, Lem approached Benyawe in her office. Lem asked Benyawe if she had any ideas about the Dublin's project on the hull of the Formic scout ship, but she had not been thinking about that as it was not her project. Benyawe then had to work Lem out of a slump as he began discussing issues with competition and the lost of multiple executives. After pointing out to Lem that he was not his father, Benyawe told him to stop losing. The then discussed a solution for discovering a breaching process for the hull, and Lem decided to take Dublin's idea to reveal their discoveries about the Formic hull to the world.
Benyawe acted quick on Lem's orders, hiring nearly 300 new employees to help develop new technologies. Once Benyawe's division made progress, Lem visited the lab. Benyawe then defended her decision to hire so many people before revealing a new technology called the NanoCloud, which could open existing hatches on Formic ships. Before leaving, Lem urged Benyawe's progress in the direction of finding a way to get the NanoCloud and marines to a Formic ship.
Benyawe worked in conjunction with Wilasanee Saowaluk to create a new version of the NanoCloud, which would attempt to penetrate the Formic hull by unweaving the naturally created hull following Wila's theories on the creation of the Formic hull. Once a new NanoCloud was created, Benyawe went with Lem to test the second iteration on the Formic scout ship. On the shuttle, Lem tried to cheer Benyawe up with jokes, but instead of responding to his humor Benyawe described the nature of the Formic hull, and what the nanobots could potentially due to destroy it.
A day and a half later, Benyawe arrived on the Formic scout ship with Lem, where they met with Wila and Dr. Dublin to test the NanoCloud technology on the hull. They were going to test the technology aboard the ship, but the group had to go to a second room due to the potential for the windows to be destroyed by the nanobots. During the first trial, the nanobots did not seem to work, as they did not appear to be activate, so a temporary deployment system had to be made. After launching the nanobots for a second time, Benyawe was presently surprised to find the nanobots worked despite a longer than anticipated wait time.
- Benyawe was the one to give the Formics their name.
- She was good at dancing in low gravity.
- She was of Nigerian descent.
- "This is the greatest scientific discovery in our history, Lem. This changes everything. This answers the most fundamental scientific question out there. Are we alone in the universe? The answer, obviously, is no, we are not. And further, we're not the most technologically advanced species, either, which will sting every human's pride."
- — Earth Unaware, page 279