Just another quiet morning at the Hotel Amalfi.
To be honest, most considered Amalfi more a retreat than a point of transit to the Surface World. The number of actual transiters – intentional and UN-intentional – was generally low. As was the security. Mostly it consisted of Hotel staff, who’d been around long enough to handle most eventualities.
The real attraction was the 16th century Inn design – updated every couple generations to pile on the latest architectural motifs in an elegantly ramshackle fashion.
And the climatic variability around the Lip.
The hotel was quaint and charming to be sure, bathed in fog at least half the time, and sporting a spectacular view over the Inner Arctic Delta, with its constantly shifting vistas of glaciers, steam, boulder fields, magma flows and mastodon herds…
Anulios hung perpetually low on the horizon, its burnished umber glow fading and reappearing through storms and fog-banks. The rare glimpse of surface auroral displays, even more rarely, a mirage view of the Surface Sun.
In fact, the habit of using this route to the Surface World was archaic, and pretty impractical, with plenty of other quicker (and safer) options, from the Tube System to the nomadic portal (“El Portal”).
Nonetheless, the Hotel was a family-run institution, and insistently held true to its surface roots. The main lounge was always stacked with the popular news organs and ephemera, though not necessarily fresh.
Monsieur Bontempo Bonhomme, or “BB” as he insisted all call him, was the Maitre D and Concierge and Owner, all wrapped into one, an astute and portly fellow, a little too fond of snuff and other drugs of the moment, and moments passed.
Yawning, BB folded the yellowed 1976 issue of the Wall Street Journal, and setting it aside, peered into the frostbitten eyes of a Nordic polar explorer whose ice floe had miraculously drifted through the perimeter projections and over the lip. The poor sod stumbled towards the desk, and fainted. BB sighed, “Well, here we go again.” He slammed the bell, shouting “Erik! Another one of your countrymen!”
Around the corner came a 8 ft red-haired Erik in a dapper bellboy uniform circa 1933. “The usual, sir?
“Justement. Let me know when he’s acclimated. And make sure he’s no bother to the other guests. That last fellow was much too talkative. People come here for a respite, not to be interrogated by tactless Surface Dwellers.”
“Another cup of Belladona tea would you?”
2bee cont’d… stay tuned for the next thrilling episode of TempO TopO TangO!