As she said that, Mr. Canergak emerged from interior of the asylum. “Mr. Canergak,” she said, nodding a greeting.
“Captain.” Canergak was his mostly-usual imperturbable self. “What is your current situation with Prometheus?”
“Apparently it is not fair because he’s really smart,” Beatrixe answered cheerfully.
Bookworm rolled her eyes a little. “He’s not ready to give up,” she said, trying to turn the conversation into a more serious vein.
“He intends another attack? How certain are you of this information?”
“He sent me a note.” Bookworm dug it out of a pocket, showing it to the asylum administrator.
Beatrixe eyed the note, momentarily solemn. “Beware note-bearing bears.”
Canergak took the note and handed it to the mouse “If you could read this to me, Ms. Rouse.”
“Okay, boss.” She read it aloud, her back-to-cheerful tone incongruous with the threatening import of the note’s content. When she was done, Canergak commented, “That is unwelcome, but not surprising, news. Do you have no method of tracking him down yet?”
Bookworm shook her head, and Canergak frowned. “You are not considering all of your available resources, then.”
“Oh?” Her tone was a little more abrupt than she meant, but she couldn’t help being somewhat annoyed. It wasn’t as if they’d been doing nothing, after all…
“You are a Captain in the Militia. You must have witnesses you can query, people that have met Prometheus and his men. You have access to Kuga, one who would know where he dwells. You even have doctors who specialize in studying sick and criminal minds who may offer you some insight into his behaviors, if you were to just ask them.”
“Kuga’s not likely to say anything to me,” replied Bookworm dryly. “And, so far as I can tell, Prometheus has been very careful to keep his human shape a secret. Although…” She tilted her head to one side, looking past Canergak. “That flying vehicle he used… perhaps they acquired it here… or, at least, have stored it in the city. If we could track it down…” She shrugged, taking out her notebook and scribbling quickly in it. “Might help.” Putting her notebook away, she turned her attention back to the asylum administrator. “So. What do you have to offer?”
“To begin, I am willing to offer the Militia a new location and base of operations.”
“That… would indeed be helpful,” she replied, surprised at that generosity. “Thank you, sir.”
“I would also suggest that you consult Professor Rance when you can, about Prometheus and the others. The Professor may have some insights that could help you to comprehend your foes better.” Bookworm nodded, and Canergak eyed her. “I assume that you had no insurance on your home?”
“Insurance in New Babbage is often… difficult to acquire.” She smiled wryly. “Especially when one’s domicile has already been destroyed once.”
“I will pay to restore your home.”
If Bookworm had been surprised before, she was downright shocked now. As she stared at him, he continued, “I do this, knowing what you will invite into that home.”
Bookworm finally managed to find her voice again, though all she could do was ask, “Why?”
“Consider it a part of our arrangement where we agreed to work together. You have the militia guarding my facility and working with us, whereas I do not see the other captains, who are very busy individuals.”
“I see,” she replied, somewhat dazedly. “Well, I thank you again.”
Canergak nodded, and turned to Beatrixe. “That’s your job. Try to make it a rational, practical building with a number of exits.”
“But you don’t like exits!”
“At the asylum,” he replied patiently. Then he nodded to Bookworm. “Try to be safe, Captain.”
“Please send me word if you see any activity, sir.”
“Of course.” With that, he went back into the main area of the asylum, behind its locked doors.
Bookworm turned to leave, but saw Beatrixe still standing there, the gears of her mind obviously turning over ideas for her new home. “Still,” she said, “it’d probably be best if we waited on the house until this current situation is resolved. I just hope it won’t take much longer.”
“I’ll get the blueprints ready!” exclaimed Bea happily.
“You do that,” Bookworm said, waving a farewell and going out the door to return to the hospital. She hoped that the planning would keep Beatrixe busy for a while, safely working somewhere.
At the hospital, there was another note waiting.
You have forced me into a rather unfortunate situation, ‘Captain’. You have our brother Kuga and have no intention of releasing him to his happy and waiting family, and you have subverted another. However, Lilith has joined us, and we have already suffered one loss in this madness. If you wish this to end in anything but death and bloodshed I suggest a trade. The boy that we took from the crash, called ‘Leon,’ for Kuga. You have two weeks to decide and then we will end him. This only has to be a tragedy if you do not comply, ‘Captain.’