The Bellamy, Chapter 4

Four: Morale

Veronika was, perhaps, fishing.  “Everyone deserves a break once in a while.  I know such things can really make a difference in morale”. 

 No, no, there was no perhaps about it.  She was, without doubt. 

The thing was, she didn’t think that even if Miss Haas noticed the fishing, she would be all that offended by it.  Not with her weird hint-hint expression and waggle eyebrows and so on. 

“Morale is very important here,” Miss Haas assured her. “We do everything that we can to make certain Bellamy is as happy as possible. It is very important to us that our team at members feel fulfilled in their positions.”

Veronika decided that she had likely discovered who had read the book on morale-building. Well, there was a library attached to the Bellamy.  

“I’m sure that my morale will be excellent, working here,” she assured the woman.  If there was one thing she’d learned in a series of temporary positions and in working too close to too many HR directors, it was that if they were trying to raise your morale, the worst offense an employee could perpetuate was to have low morale.  Steal priceless artifacts? Still better than having low morale when they were on a morale kick of some sort. 

“Good.”  Miss Haas nodded sharply.  “Now. Now we are going to begin the finding drills.  If all goes well, these will go through tomorrow and perhaps the next day, but do be sure that you stop work at 6 p.m. every night.  If you get lost – and such things do happen – or simply get a little peckish, there are small biscuit and water stations in every department.” Miss Hass walked sharply and quickly through a hallway that Veronika was fairly sure she hadn’t seen before; Veronika followed, watching the portraits and trying to take in the statuary without getting let behind. “There will also be a napkin station, and do be sure that you don’t get crumbs anywhere.” 

“After the meal that I had,” she admitted, “I can’t imagine being hungry for a very long time.”

“Regardless.”  Miss Haas shot her a look. “This position comes with lodging at the Bellamy.  When you return home, pack a valise of some sort; we’ll have you busy until at least 6 most nights, so once you’ve settled in we’ll send a procurement team to pick up the rest of your belongings.  I assume your rent isn’t due tomorrow?” She turned left into a smallish room made smaller-seeming by all the shelves lined around it and the desk in the center, which was piled high with books and other papers. Behind it, a second table appeared to be a shipping station, if the roll of butcher paper and rolls of packing tape were any indication. 

“Not ’till the end of the month,” Veronika assured her.  “Eve Dirckx didn’t mention anything about free lodging.”

“Well, we do like to make sure that prospects make it through at least the front desk training first.  We don’t wish to get up anyone’s hopes, you know.”

“Of course.”  Veronika looked around the room, since they’d stopped moving.  The desk held an ancient-looking telephone, a note pad full of crabbed handwriting, and several manila folders. 

Miss Haas picked up a folder and handed it to Veronika.  “Researchers will call or write us and request a variety of books, items, and such.  Some, they must come to visit – things which are too big or too delicate to be moved, for instance, or some of our live collection items.  This is not an actual request but a test we’ve put together. Take the small cart, use the map, and bring all of the items back here to this table.  If you believe that it cannot be moved or should not be, write up an index card -” she pointed at a stack of such – “explaining exactly why, and add it to the pile.”

Veronika flipped through the file.  There were a series of floor plans stapled to the front cover, including one which included a line to the elevator.  The list was written in crabbed, ancient handwriting, but she could understand most of the items. “Do we, that is, does the Bellamy-” She looked up, but Miss Haas was gone.  “-ship skeletons?” She sighed. Perhaps she would encounter one of these department archivists in her searches and they could tell her. For now, however-

She wanted to do this quickly, efficiently, and accurately.  She spent a few minutes studying the floor plans, but there were places where they seem to have been drawn to different scales, or perhaps with a more casual set of measurements than architects normally used.  At any rate, it looked like the plans thought several areas were in the same place, or possibly just above each other but with stairs or ladders not showing. 

In addition, there were three places where rather than feet or meters, the architect – such as they were – had used minutes and seconds, but since Veronika was not all that versed in latitude and longitude, she ignored those. 

Doing her best to guess from the provided plans, she planned out where she thought she had to go, sketched it out on a piece of scratch paper, and started out with her little cart. 

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2 thoughts on “The Bellamy, Chapter 4

  1. Why am I so dead sure that ignoring the instructions given in minutes and seconds will be a major mistake? Also, while an easy mistake to make, taking those for latitude/longitude coordinates seems wrong, unless the Bellamy is much, *much* bigger on the inside than the outside. Which it might very well be; but then, ignoring those instructions would still strike me as a mistake.

  2. I am unsurprised that employees live there. Shades of Hotel California!

    This test sounds hard. Clearly the building bends the space time continuum.

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