After a few more minutes, Bobbi finished with his books and handed them to a waiting robot attendant. It took them gingerly and moved away toward some central repository in the building. He watched as it walked away.
It was then that he noticed two things that he hadn't seen before. First, here and there, standing in inconspicuously places, were robots of a sort he'd never seen before. They were large, silent and motionless, and just a little ominous. Second, there were little notices posted on the walls. They were in Alona, and they read, "Patrons are reminded that within the library premises the Right Of Privacy is limited."
Guards? he thought. And warnings? He turned to the avatar beside him. "Omni, what are those robots?"
Omni smiled. "Just security."
"And those signs about privacy?"
"Oh, nothing sinister. It is just that in the library I must keep track of everyone's motions."
"Quite simple," the avatar said pleasantly. "Some of these books are valuable and rare. Someone could steal them. So, we take precautions."
"I see," he said. He tried to keep his face expressionless, but he wondered if she realized how very much she had just revealed to him. If there were guards, that meant there were thieves.
Which meant this world wasn't quite paradise after all.
Out there, he knew, in the world beyond the Center, there was an economic system in which money and goods changed hands. And, in that system, some people were rich and some were not. And some of those who weren't, were willing to steal to get what they wanted.