Bonnie was certain she hadn't been followed, but one of the things that had made her Captain of the Revenge - and which had kept her Captain of the Revenge - was that she never took anything for granted. So even after she'd watched for pursuit all through the city, she stopped and waited for ten minutes when she reached the bottom of the shaft.
No takers. Good.
She reached the Clockwork Book's door and, seeing that the sign read 'Available', she rapped softly on it. The door was opened by a small girl whose eyes went wide when she recognized Bonnie Scarlet. Tallie practically saluted.
The Book, as far as Bonnie could tell, was pleased to see her again. "Welcome, Captain," it said. "Please feel free to check the perimeter." And that's what she did even though she felt as safe here as anyplace on the planet: more so than most places, in fact. Almost no one ever came down here.
Bonnie completed her circuit of the room, the curtains at the back, and all the visible parts of the Book's mechanism. She worried a little about the hidden rooms. But that seemed impolite: she didn't want to offend the Book, after all. Tallie brought her a cup of tea.
"It's the Space Patrol," Bonnie said. "I've heard about a tempting cargo that's headed for the Deimos colony but I just have this feeling about it. I think it's a trap."
The Book considered that. "I have no recent information about traps set for you by the Space Patrol," it said. "I do, however, have many references to the Deimos colony. Could background information help you to decide whether this cargo is legitimate?"
"Maybe..." Bonnie thought. "If it is a trap, though, I'm sure that the fellow behind it is a Patrolman called Ray Noble. Do you know anything about him? What his methods are like? If Deimos figures into his career in any way?"
The Book's gears rumbled; here and there a rod cycled through the room's back wall, where slots led to even more of the Book's machinery. "It is possible, Captain Scarlet," it decided. "But what I have is very little to base your decision on. The reliability is high: yet I can't vouch for its relevance to your problem."
"Let me think about that," Bonnie told the Book, "while we decide what you'd like in return.