Storm

There were people on Phílae who had a sense of caution in the face of nature.

That was amply evident from the architecture of Lower Landing, which was all in the classical style of the first colonists; long, low, heavy buildings of stone and vitredur, aligned from sea to land, hunched and buttressed to withstand even the winds of a tropical Phílae hypercane, much less the mere megastorms that made landfall on polar Rokírvess, and able to be sealed with doubled doors and valved vents against their burial a hundred feet below the accompanying storm surge.

There are also people on Phílae with no discernable sense of caution at all.

This, in turn, is made amply evident by the citizen-shareholders of Lower Landing, who – under a storm-blackened sky lit only by the blue glow of the city’s kinetic barriers, lashed into incandescence by 200-knot winds and the coruscation of Éjavóné‘s best lightning without end, to the muffled sound of thunder and the syncopation of deep drainage pumps forcing seepage back out against the pressure of an ocean humped twenty, thirty feet high against the shimmering wall, filling the air with faint, salty mist – chose to throw a party on the beach.

Black sand, good food, excellent wine, a brief stretch of calm water – and the prospect of a watery grave should… well, should enough components of a triple-triple redundant system fail, and yet.

Sometimes, we can be a bloody stupid people. But, to our credit, at least it’s a glorious kind of stupidity.

– Cíënne Cassel, My Voyage Diaries

 

Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying a Damned Inconvenience

“What d’you mean, why the delay?  Oh, you’ve not been to Phílae before, I suppose.”

The pilot gestured through the window at the white-blue marbled planet below them. The hypercane sprawled across the ocean’s surface for over two thousand miles, an ugly whorl of cloud mottled at its outer edges with the lesser swirls of mere hurricanes spun off by the intense core surrounding the primary eyewall, where clouds humped miles into the stratosphere.

That’s why we can’t land; the eye’s only ninety miles or so from Phílae City right now.  And the last reports said they had continuous lightning, horizontal rain, wind speeds nearing five-hundred and a hundred-twenty-foot storm surge.  You don’t want me to take a pinnace down into the middle of that –”

“Oh, no, they’re fine – this happens every year.  Most of the city’s underwater, and the topside part will have closed its shells and gone deep to ride it out.  But it’ll be about thirty, forty hours before the storm’s clear of the city, so we might as well get comfortable — No, not a chance. Even if I was crazy enough to thread the eye – which I’m not – they’re not going to come back up just so we can dock.”