What are Ozlandish Writings?

From July 2010 to December 2014 we ran OZLAND PICTURE STORIES as described below. Sadly though the number of writers reduced over the years and we decided to call it a day. We leave these as a record of the good times we had.

Are "You" ready to challenge your writing skills? Then participate in our OZLAND Picture Stories writing series at The Ozland Art Gallery.

Each month a new picture will be picked, from our OZLAND Artist of the Month collection, with different themes. Your goal is to write a 500-1000 word... poem... essay... or story about the picture picked. This is a chance for you to challenge your writing skills each month. Story can be written in ANY genre... sci fi... romance... ghost... fantasy... fiction... non-fiction... biography... mystery... historical... whatever your writing genre... feel free to experiment. Send your writing inworld to Sven Pertelson as a notecard to have it included on the web site. We meet at the The Ozland Art Gallery each Wednesday at Noon and 6pm SLT to read the latest submissions on voice. More Information

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In from the Cold - part 2 - by Sven Pertelson

Tom was frozen to the core by the time he had trudged back to his flat. He quickly hooked the video camera up to his laptop to download the footage and while it was working treated himself to a good hot shower. At least he had not drawn the night watch on this operation, no warm café for whoever had to spend the night watching the park.

Wrapped in his towelling robe, Tom scanned the video footage and grabbed a few frames and transferred those to his phone to send to the watch team. The rest of the footage went onto an encrypted usb memory stick to take into the office after a quick lunch and then the video memory card had to be securely re-formatted. The back-room boys would run facial recognition packages on the video in case he had missed someone. He would take over the watch from about 2pm until the park closed at dusk. He should meet up with the new team member at the office before he had to head back to the park.

While Tom sipped his hot tomato soup he reviewed the case notes and observation logs held on the headquarters secure server. The tip off that the park was the favourite dead letter box of a possible government mole had come from a defector known by the code name Sunburn. The mole was only known to the defector by his code name, Dynamo. What MI5 needed to know were the identities of the mole and the next person in the chain, who would probably be his handler. If they could track them and discover how they communicated that there was something in the dead letter box then they could intercept and possibly subvert the information being passed. Then they could play the mole and the handler for as long as they remained useful. Only after that would it be time for arrests.
At least the tube ride to Pimlico avoided the freezing streets Even though, taking the back route to Thorney Street and one of the more discreet entrances to MI5 headquarters in Thames House was cold enough to make Tom glad to be inside again. This was one of the coldest winters in London he could remember. Usually snow melted into grey mush and was gone in a day, this stuff had lasted all week,

Passing through the security doors to the video analysis section Tom hailed the closest geek. Filling out the paperwork took a few minutes and double checking that they had his public code key and that they had the private code key assigned to the usb stick. Without both of those the contents of the stick were meaningless gibberish.

Moving round Thames House always took time, each section had secure airlock style doors. If the chip in your ID card, the PIN you entered into the keypad and lastly your face that flashed up next to your photo on the guards monitor did not match or you did not have the required clearance then you were stuck in between the doors until the guards arrived. Tom had only had that happen once when he arrived at the office after a holiday and forgot to remove his newly grown moustache. With the current weather he wished he had kept growing that and a beard too.

He would only have a few minutes in his section before it was time to head out for the park again. Through the glass partitions he could see his boss and the back view of someone sitting on the other side of the desk. Long hair and brightly painted nails. He had been right. Time to get introduced. Tom tapped on the glass door of of the office and waited. Unusually his boss did not wave him straight in, just held up five fingers and pointed to his watch.

Tom went over to his own desk to look at his e-mail to kill a few minutes. Nothing new on this case. A long list of questions from finance about last month's expenses claim. It really irked Tom that he had to spend time justifying such trivial matters as buying a newspaper or using a taxi instead of his Oyster Card tube pass. It was made even worse as most of the time the finance department did not have sufficient security clearance to be told why he had to spend the money and he would have to explain it to his boss who would then have to countersign his claim form for a second time against the disputed items.

He was still silently fuming about this waste of time when his someone tapped him on the shoulder. With a sour face Tom turned round and looked up into the smiling eyes of his new colleague. Flustered he tried to explain and that caused her to giggle. As he rushed to get into the bosses office he realised he had not asked her name. This day was going downhill, fast.

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