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, April 9, 2014

EV2 - part 2 - by Sven Pertelson

As he got back to his 4x4 John pulled out his smartphone, no signal. That was to be expected he was a long way from the nearest settlement. Back in 1989 cell phones were still confined to city areas and mostly were attached to cars as the batteries were too big to fit in a pocket. When he had first come up to Alaska the main means of mobile communication had been CB radios. There had been a few briefcase sized satellite phones, mainly used by big business. Well things had moved on, out of his other coat pocket he pulled his latest 'toy', as Martha called it, a Spot Global Phone.

First a quick call to the National Response Center . All he had to say was Operation 'Atka' and give his position from the GPS. That would start the official response, but as he knew from past experience they would need volunteer support. It took a few moments to hook his smartphone up to the satellite phone to access the internet. A few short messages to Twitter, Facebook and a couple of environmental forums would get the ball rolling. The politicians and oil companies might not like it, as they would soon have to be answering difficult questions before their PR people had time to brief them. They would not know who had leaked the info though, with a little care the internet could still be used with a fair amount of anonymity and in the few minutes since he had called it in there would be literally hundreds of people being contacted. . Now it was time to head back to Valdez and get into the local office where he was sure he would find what might best be described as 'organised chaos'.

John pulled into the car park at the Valdez office. A Coast Guard van was in his space, as they were the designated FOSC (Federal On-Scene Coordinator) in the event of an offshore oil spill he would not make a fuss. He parked up in his deputies spot, he could imagine the domino effect working its way though the car park until someone would grumble as there was no space left even this early on a Sunday morning. If they grumbled to him he would make sure they walked to work in future.

The Coast Guard Captain was already in the conference room that was the designated incident center and was rooting through the boxes of files being carried in by his Ensign. He glanced up at John and muttered, “I do wish they would label these boxes properly, I can't find my Incident Management Handbook.” John could not help but smile, “I at least have home ground advantage, my Alaska Incident Management System files are on the shelf behind you, if I can get past your boxes.”

The conference room started to fill up as the first local staff to arrive began to move phones and computers into place. John spotted his deputy in the corridor outside and called out, “Bryan, find someone to rustle up coffee and breakfast for the folks who will be in here, that's one essential that I bet is not in any of the manuals and give Martha a call, let her know what is going on.” At this point the Coast Guard Captain let out a cheer, “Got my handbook! Now to start work.”

Modern communications and a defined plan of action meant that by the time the coffee and sandwiches had arrived the incident team had already identified the source of the spill and had a USCG helicopter and cutter on the way to gather more information. Meanwhile the spill response vessels had left moorings in Cordova and they could start to work out how to secure and isolate the source of the spill.

What had taken many days twenty five years ago had only taken hours. John hoped that this time they could limit the damage to a small area. One thing still nagged at him, if he had not decided to go out and take a look at that bay, early on a Sunday morning, for old times sake, it may have been much longer before it had been reported. One of the actions he would be taking after they had this under control was to find out why the spill had not been reported by the vessel itself, he hoped that it was not that they had thought they could get away with it. Human greed and stupidity were still the greatest threats that the environment faced.

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