Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VII : Anonymous

The Adlon in Lyonnesse is one of the finest hotels on Terra Nova, period. One could enthuse for hours over the architectural details of the lobby, the balance of light and space with mood and comfort. Tours of the art hanging in the Main Hall circulate every quarter hour. The Grand Staircase to the mezzanine has been used in so many trideos that every Badlander child would immediately recognise it in awe. Even if you couldn't afford to stay there, as indeed most people can’t, tourists visiting the UMF go out of their way and budget for the legendary tea service in the atrium.

It’s said that at one point or another everyone of import on Terra Nova comes through the Adlon.

So if you’re nobody, there are few places on the planet that make you feel more anonymous than the Adlon. At least, that’s how the bellhop felt, though he knew there were others who didn’t feel that way.

The young woman who nervously moved through the small crowds, her heels adding minor percussive sounds to the gentle clamour of the grand place like raindrops on a tin roof in a shantytown and just as innocuous, clearly felt that everyone was watching her. She was probably wearing her best suit to try and look posh, though it was designed to look professional and, consequently, failed. If the people of wealth and status had bothered to notice her they would have immediately seen she did not have the means to stay at the Adlon. Her boss was a powerful woman and had made arrangements for her valued assistant to stay at the Adlon for her vacation as a token of gratitude. The other patrons assumed she was staff. The bellhop watched her approach the reception and saw the barely contained disdain in the clerk’s face when he found the secretary was staying in the room reserved by her employer. The young woman tried not to look hurt as she scurried off to find her room, too embarrassed even to call on a bellhop to carry her simple luggage.

Unless you were someone, you were no one. The ugly man in the fine suit was another example of anonymity. He strolled through the lobby with a soldier’s air of purpose and the self-confidence of a man who should not be trifled with. For all the good such airs did him. In the UMF nobody cared how tough you were. In Lyonnesse you were as powerful as your bank account statement and any threats or sense of entitlement you brought from Wounded Knee meant absolutely nothing. This thug was starting to feel it. Sure, he could beat up anyone here, but he would end up in prison or worse, and that made him as thin as the etching in the bas-relief marble walls.

The nobody thug had two bodyguards with him, so they took his luggage. There was nothing for the bellhop to do but wait and watch.

The bellhop stood as still as one of the light fixtures only less important. He had no illusions about himself; he knew he wasn’t important, only the way he performed his duty was important. He could serve others and they would achieve great things.

The anonymous 99% moved through the Adlon, unremembered and unremarked, and that was all right. People only really suffered when they didn’t know where they belonged, when they didn’t know their roles. Like actors on some stage, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t a lead. The only shame comes from not knowing your lines, or so the bellhop thought.

He eyed a young professional woman: ambitious, smart, and all that other stuff that they groomed into the Executive caste at Paxton. He could tell from the cut of her dress and the tags on her suitcase from the Alpha Maglev where she was from. Her self-assured yet reserved attitude meant she knew she was small-time here. At least people from Peace River knew their place; that was one advantage of their system. She was traveling light, just a carry-on, probably an overnight stay and then back south. Nothing for the bellhop to do but watch.

Finally he spotted another Badlander, though he looked Mekongese. He was handsome and the woman accompanying him was striking. They cut an impressive figure. He was confident and showed a hint of arrogance in his airs but she had none so they balanced each other well. He moved with assurance and her with grace and this lent them nobility but also hinted at discretion or maybe even wariness. The bellhop approached discretely, at the ready. He had wealth, maybe even a small measure of power in the Badlands, which amounted to nothing whatsoever here. He was anonymous, but something about him hinted at some potential for fame or possibly infamy.

The clerk called the bellhop forward after the Badlander had gone.

“Take these bags to room 3008, then fetch me the concierge. Tell him the client will be entertaining someone very important in his room for diner. I’m off to inform the manager.”

“Wait,” the bellhop called, curious. “Who’s in 3008?”

“Doctor Chambers of Khayr ad-Din,” the clerk said with no particular indication that the name meant anything.

“And who’s he having for dinner?” The clerk stiffened slightly and smiled the way staff at the Adlon always did when they felt the hotel was living up to its standards.

“Anders Von Breslau.”

There was pride and honour in service, and that was enough for the bellhop. Still, he enjoyed the opportunity to watch others. Some might say that was what he did really. He watched and waited for an opportunity to do his part. An anonymous player like so many others on this ornate stage, waiting for their cues from the stars.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.