Though it may have been on the low-end of the price scale, the hotel seemed like a beacon in the night, a palace for the weary traveler fate had turned me into. The scent of freshly-brewed amped coffee felt more welcoming than that of paint, and the soft carpeting was worn enough for me to know the owner hadn't gone on a remodeling spree. I heard the voices of AI news anchors coming from the far side of the downstairs lobby, where an empty sitting area sported leather sofas and a half-dozen monitors tuned to various networks. I picked up one of the fresh croissants sitting on a nearby desk and my spirits seemed to lift a little.
A tall blonde appeared behind the counter. "Welcome to Value Inn, my name is Rachael. How can I help you?"
"Can I be helped by a real person, please?" I replied as I poured some coffee for myself. The hologram vanished and I heard a chime in the back office. A middle-aged woman with brown hair emerged.
"Good evening. Is there a problem?"
I hesitated at the sight of an actual person, knowing how rare the option had become and doubting my good fortune. I snapped out of it and approached the counter. "No... No problem. I'd like to check in, please."
The woman's nametag said her name was Sylvia. She promptly set to work on the groundtem, beginning the check-in process and all the identification involved.
Is everyone else having the technology problems too? Is she here just in case? Maybe she just assumed "Rachael" was glitching on me.
"Okay. Now we wait a few minutes for the background checks." Sylvia reclined in a chair. "So, Mister Dauphin, are you traveling?"
"No. Uh... I'm actually having some trouble with my apartment right now. I just need a place to settle down for the night."
"Aah. And tomorrow?"
I smiled politely and went back to the desk. "I'll worry about that when I get there."