As I walked back to the boulevard I made a few net enquiries on Mr Arthur Gwynne Geiger. He lived on Lunar Terrace, a dome-side street off Axis Canyon Drive. I chanced my pre-paid phone account and put in a call just for fun. Nobody answered. In the local classified sections on the nets, I noted a couple of bookstores within blocks of where I was.

The first I came to was on the spinwards side, a large lower floor devoted to up-to-the-minute media, programs and entertainment, a modest selection of old-fashioned but new print books on the mezzanine. It didn't look the right place. I crossed the street and walked two blocks hubwards to the other one. This was more like it, a narrow cluttered little shop stacked with books from floor to ceiling and four or five browsers taking their time putting thumb marks on the frayed covers. Nobody paid any attention to them. I shoved on back into the store, passed through a partition and found a small dark-skinned woman reading a thick and ancient law book at a desk.

I flipped my wallet open on her desk and let her look at the hologram pinned to the flap. She looked at it, took her glasses off and leaned back in her chair. I put the wallet away. She had a fine-drawn face and high cheekbones. She stared at me and said nothing.

I said: "Would you do me a favour, a very small favour?"

"I don't know. What is it?" She had a smoothly husky voice.

"You know Geiger's Counter, the store across the street, two blocks anti-spin?"

"I think I may have passed it."

"It's a bookstore," I said, "Not your kind of bookstore. You know darn well."

She curled her lip slightly and said nothing. "You know Geiger by sight?" I asked.

"I'm sorry. I don't know Mr Geiger."

"Then you couldn't tell me what he looks like?"

Her lip curled some more. "Why should I?"

"No reason at all. If you don't want to, I can't make you."

She looked out through the partition door and leaned back again. "That was a sheriff's badge, wasn't it?"

"Honorary deputy. Doesn't mean a thing. It's worth a ten-buck cigar."

Part 2