Archive for logistics

Underfunded Military

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2012 by javedbabar

The dark car appeared at 6 p.m. People should check the opening times, thought Sami. I don’t mind helping out in emergencies, but I’m getting tired of working late just so people can dump their recycling and trash. His customers at the 3D Unit booked their sessions; they knew that just turning up wasn’t a good plan. He needed to educate the regulate punters.

Sami shouted to the car, “Sorry, we’re closing. Please come back anytime tomorrow between ten and six.” He had a date tonight with Sophie, sort of. She had invited him to attend the new multimedia show at QARY, the old quarry, inspired by Tao Te Ching.

The car didn’t move. It remained there with headlamps on and engine running. Sami shouted out again. They must have loud music on, he thought, or maybe they were taking a call. All the windows were dark, even the windshield. He approached the driver’s door.

As he reached the car, the passenger’s door, and the rear door on the opposite side, flew open. Before he knew what was happening, he heard sharp clicks and two soldiers stood with rifles pointing at his chest. Sami shuddered.

“No sudden movements please,” said a cheerful voice from within the car. “We wouldn’t want to shoot you. That would upset the lovely Sophie. You are seeing her at eight tonight, is that right?”

Sami couldn’t speak.

The voice continued, “You don’t have to speak if you don’t want to. But I must warn you that anything you do say may be taken down and used as evidence against you in a court of law.”

Sami decided not to speak.

There was laughter, and a tall man with thick beard, green eyes and green turban exited the rear of the car. Even though he wore combat gear, he was clearly no ordinary soldier. “Stand down,” he instructed the other soldiers. They put on their safeties and lowered their rifles.

“I hope you didn’t mind too much,” said the senior soldier. “It is standard operating procedure. I am General Singh, responsible for Extraordinary Logistics. You were approaching the vehicle in a potentially hostile manner; my men took the right course of action. Now let’s go inside. This won’t take long. An hour maybe.”

Sami led him to the 3D Unit. The general took a seat and said, “Do you enjoy living in Arcadia? Very good. We all do. It is a wonderful land. But we must not take our blessings for granted. There is always the likelihood of threat, and occasionally some aggression is required. We have an unstable world and the cost of maintaining the military is rising. It is a function of the size of the economy, which as you know is shrinking, and there are other demands on funds, and government and public willingness to spend on military budgets is waning.”

He looked around conspiratorially and continued, “To run operations with our big allies, or to run smaller independent campaigns, we need certain levels of technology. I will cut to the chase. We need nuclear bombs but we can’t afford to build them. I have heard about the wonders of 3D printing. Can you fabricate some for us?”

Sami was alarmed by the request, but also relieved. This wasn’t a job for him at all; it was a job for Alfred. He said, “Have you tried AMP Co. in the village. It is a government funded facility doing vital work. It was recently declared a Strategic National Asset. I just run the public interface here.”

“Drat!” said General Singh. “You see the results of cuts in research funding? I can’t afford a full time assistant, so looked it up myself. Now, which way is AMP Co.? My GPS software needs updating.”

Red Carpet

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2012 by javedbabar

Most items were now set for the showing. The screen and scaffold, projector and speakers, VIP and ordinary chairs, and ropes and poles, were all in place. The red carpet however had not arrived.

The CORE – Customer Order Response Expedition – system was stupid, thought Sami. Sending items on individual trucks was a terrible idea, but what could he do? He wasn’t in charge of logistics. He was in charge of set up, and the global launch of the film HUMANITY was good to go, minus only one red carpet.

An hour before the show he called the delivery company again. The despatcher said he would ask the driver to call Sami right away.

The driver called him. “I delivered it an hour ago,” she said. “It’s at the mayor’s office. I was told that’s where to deliver it.”

The mayor’s office was one kilometre from The Place, the communal space at the heart of the village and location for tonight’s screening. Sami said, “Who told you that?”

“Well, I was sent round and round by detours. There were cops everywhere who wouldn’t let me stop. So I called another driver who said that was the usual place, so I dropped it off there.”

“That’s not the right place! Can you please retrieve the carpet and bring it here to The Place? I will direct you to the delivery entrance.”

“Sorry, I’m fifty kilometres away now, heading back to the city.”

Damn! thought Sami. He needed that red carpet for VIPs. He had better go and get it himself. The projectionist had set up early and was now relaxing, sipping a beer. Sami said, “Excuse me, can you please help me with something?”

He didn’t indicate a readiness to move.

“It’s important.”

The projectionist stood up and said, “Sure.”

With all the road closures and diversions, it would be quicker to walk. They reached the mayor’s office in ten minutes. The security guard said, “I was wondering why they brought that here. I thought it was for one of the mayor’s special parties.” He tapped his nose as he said this.

Sami and the projectionist threw opposite ends of the roll over their shoulders. It smelled quite clean, but there was a hint of beer – or was it champagne? – and fish – or was it oysters? They carried the rolled carpet through the village, looking like a pair of toy plumbers. Sami thought, it’s a shame it’s not a magic carpet. We could have ridden it through the valley, over forests, lakes, and rivers, across icecaps…

At The Place, Sami paced out the distance from the street to the VIP area. They rolled out the carpet, cut it at one end, and taped it in place.

Sami noticed specks on the carpet. Upon closer inspection, he saw they were a mixture of dirt, gravel, powder and leaf bits. He found a hoover and cleaned them up. The red carpet looked really good now, like a ribbon across a present. He took installation photos.

As he did that a family of five walked across the far part of the carpet, adjoining the street, before the VIP ropes and poles. Sami recognized them; he had seen them picking through dumpsters behind The Place’s restaurants. They posed and took pictures on their phones. They dreamed of being asked to grace a red carpet, but who ever welcomed trailer park folk?

The security guard was about to move them on; they were leaving dirt and crumbs; but Sami told him to wait. Right now the red carpet was acting as a band-aid, not a ribbon. Let them enjoy their moment of glamour. He could hoover the carpet again.