Operation Cassandra – Washington DC Aug 17th

I was able to attend the anomaly event in Washington DC on Aug 17th that was part of the 2 week Cassandra event. I’d like to share my experiences with my fellow agents.

First and foremost, if you ever get a chance to attend an officially organized event from Niantic…Go. Don’t think, don’t question, just Go. It was without a doubt the most fun I ever had in my Ingress encounters and I would absolutely recommend you try to attend one. The flashy pin and stickers are fun, but the opportunity to meet and interact with agents on a large scale as part of operation is invaluable. I meet many agents I can now call friends, we shared stories and engaged in battle together and came out afterwards with memories we’ll never forget. I also now have a larger network of agents with whom I can exchange keys and plan future operations with.

So what was the anomaly like you might ask? In a word, Insane. Let me recap some of the days events.

 

9:00am – pre-event brunch 13767487301411376748757916

 

I’d say around 60 agents showed up in a small teashop where we were issued ID badges, team leaders were handed operational manuals (maps/portal lists/etc) and we had discussions of strategy, plans, ethics, and more. And yes, that is Thevanin (Bob) our compatriot from the triad in the second picture. The majority was operational information provided by the leadership of DMV (District/Maryland/Virginia Enlightened) Andrew Krug, Daphne D, & Lona Fowder. They deserve huge props for the amount of time and effort they put into organizing a battle plan for this event. The highlight for me was a motivational speech provided by Gadgetchaser, who the DC locals basically have branded a legend. He’s active army. He plays fair. He plays honest. He plays HARD. He has over 8 mil AP to show for it. I’m told that when he shows up on player tracker, the resistance tuck tail and leave the area. After listening to him, I had a whole new view of how I wanted to play. First, if you attack a portal, don’t stop until you’ve burned it down. If the R can deter you from capturing a portal they’ve won. On the other hand, if they accept you will be relentless, they will soon stop  trying and you can blaze a path. Let your reputation precede you. Second, it’s not just about destroying, it’s also about building. Don’t just destroy it and hang a single resonator trophy on it. Fill it out, shield it up and link it up. So now, not only have you taken their portal, but you’ve made it that much harder for them to reclaim. There is obviously, a degree of reason to apply though. 4 VR shields on a lvl 4 portal isn’t necessarily the best use. Use your resources in a way that makes you effective and in a way that you get the most value. I left inspired to play and battle and for the day’s upcoming event and we needed it.

11:00am – battlefield preparations 1357 Bursters

We headed out in our battle groups to our designated area of operation to begin capturing, building, shielding, and linking portals. We encountered no resistance as we captured the portals in our quadrant around the Martin Luther King memorial. Our group of 5 was composed of 2 attackers, 2 builders, & 1 moder. I was an attacker and as you can guess my job was to fire bursters. Just fire and fire and fire. The builders deployed and redeployed resonators to maintain control of a portal. The Moder placed shields, force amps, & turrets on portals to strengthen them and created links to nearby portals for added strength and points. I felt certain of victory when I even hacked a Jarvis from on the MLK portals. Some of the smaller 2-3 man groups on bike came through and finished upgrading portals. Prior to the start, all portals in our zone were level 8, linked up and fully moded. We were ready for war. As an interesting aside, we ran into puddinPOP. He was there as a tourist with his wife, but trying to get in a little ingress on the down low. You may recall meeting him when he visited a month earlier from Chincoteague VA. It’s a small world.

1:00pm – event commences Cassandra1

Finally the resistance shows up. They knock down two of our portals. We make our way over to them and reclaim them. They begin attacking the cluster at MLK so we head back over there to defend. No one there, it was apparently a drive by. We can see portals flipping in the adjacent zone but our’s seems to be fairly calm. A short while later we get a directive from command to go take the 2 southern portals at the world war 2 memorial. The first real skirmish ensues. Myself and my fellow attacker begin firing. They replace resonators as we destroy them. We begin firing all out. Two of us are firing level 8 bursters as fast as we can only stopping to use a level 8 power cube to refill xm. We manage to knock the portal back to gray several times, but their builders seem to have the upper-hand recapturing the portal. Occasionally we manage to capture, but they have attackers also who are taking out our resonators. We continue to battle over these two portals for maybe 10 minutes. I fired around 100 l8 xmps and used 4-5 cubes. The R finally stop attacking. Whether they succeeded or were giving different orders we don’t know. As they leave we watch and feel a huge sense of victory as we see it was a group of 10-12 agents and 5 of us were able to hold our ground against them. And then everything turned green. A BAMF appears over DC. We’re elated. I’d heard rumors of planning such a field, but actually seeing it appear was such a emotional lift. The resistance is visibly crushed. I heard comments after the event that after the field appeared many R agents even talked about giving up. We then get a call to rush to the Korean War Memorial. It’s been flagged as a volatile portal and the war is on. A bigger battle ensues. We meet up with more enlightened agents and a back and forth battle ensues for another 10 minutes. Very similar to the first skirmish except we now have double the forces. Our moder wanders in there direction doing a little recon. We’re still outnumbered significantly. We battle on until 5 after when we know the reading has been taken.

2:05pm – onto cluster 2

We begin making our way to the Smithsonian Gardens, out assigned area for cluster 2. Two of the players from the last battle remain with our team, so we’re up to 7. One member reaches out to a friend and he agrees to come join us. Shortly later we’re a fully roaring level 8 portal machine. The Gardens is a small fenced in area about 200×200 ft square with a dozen or so portals. There are at least 15-20 agents from each side in the area. We decide to conserve resources a bit and play a more defensive role, firing bursters to prevent them from filing out and linking up the portals. We have 30+ minutes before the reading so it seems wise to hold back on a full engagement. I discover my battery on the phone is down to 20% so I go into power saving mode. We believe we know one of the portals that will be a volatile from the photos flashed in the previous ingress report, so we make our way over there and set up camp. Seems the resistance had the same thought and we notice a large group stationed nearby. We battle over the portal for the next 10 or so minutes kind of casually, but as the top of the hour approaches the paces quickens. Somewhere amidst this the field over DC falls. It’s reappears briefly, but falls again. Then the volatile announcement is made and it’s all out war for this portal. This time flip cards start flying. I still am chain firing bursters and throw two Jarvii at the portal at well. It’s still back and forth until 5 after and we’re not really sure who controlled it, but it’s time to move to cluster 3

3:05pm onto the capital Dr. Lynton-WolfeCapitol

We make our way east up the mall. Each cluster is getting smaller and smaller and so the number of agents in the area grows. We station ourselves at the National Museum of the American Indian, a cluster of 9 portals. There are only a few resistance agents in the area. It seems they’re focused somewhere else. One agent we spot sitting nearby continues to try to deploy, so we still fire bursters at a measured rate to slow him down. We sit down and rest a little bit. We spot power cubes on the ground. Seems some R in the are are trading gear so some of our agents wander off and acquire some free power cubes. We notice a number of links coming from a nearby portal and radio into HQ. They deploy our two builders to go take them out while we hold ground at the Museum. They succeed. We get word of the next volatile and it’s off to the Capital building. As we arrive we’re greeted by Dr. Oliver Lynton-Wolfe and his “lacky.” We’re give a small envelope with stickers, a flashy pin, maps, and a code card. The items given out at the official kick off at 1pm that we did not go to. Dr Lynton-Wolfe shakes our hands and thanks us for our effort and hands us another code card (multi-hack). As he departs he makes a comment about let him know if there’s more he can do to help. I seize the moment and state we can always use more help. He looks back at me. I repeat my statement. He reaches into his jacket and pulls out a different set of cards. He walks up and hands me a code card…Jarvis Virus. He hands one to each member of the team and tells us to use them wisely. From the time we arrived we were also actively battling over the capital building portal. This time there are at least 50 agents fighting over the portal. We’re still greatly outnumbered. This quickly turns into another virus battle. There are so many being used that the portal is being flipped back before the animation even finishes. I contribute 3 or 4 more Jarvii to the melee. It’s an all out war.

4:05 Off to Penn Square portrait gallery

We make our way to the National Museum of Crime & Punishment. It’s another portal that appeared in the Ingress report so we plan to hold firm there. Another R team also stands here and we trade it back and forth for 15-20 minutes. Daphne arrives on scene to watch over the battle and is still carrying out communications to other groups on the phone. She’s clearly giddy with excitement. About quarter til the hour a new field appears over the sky turning everything green. We’re ecstatic knowing this could be enough to put our victory in hand. We battle over the portal while we wait with baited breath hoping the field would stand. Unfortunately, a few minutes later it fell. We get word to go to the Portrait Gallery and try to capture that portal. There’s a huge crowd and chaos ensues for the remaining time trying to capture and maintain control of the portal. Dr. Lynton-Wolfe stands upon the steps watching over the battle. Following the reading he invites us to Penn Station for an after party and to hear the results of the days anomaly.

5:30 After PartyPenn2 Penn3 Penn4 Comic Penn1White House

We converged on Penn Station for some cold celebratory beers and to await the results. I caught up with Thevanin and we swapped some stories of the day. Finally the score announcement was made and we were disappointed, but in light of the factor we we’re so severely outnumbered, we actually took the day as a moral victory. We also managed to setup three 1.5 million MU fields in a single day, which is no laughing matter. Dr. Lynton-Wolfe was signing copies of the first ingress comic pictured above. Furtive is more envious of that than you can imagine since she gave me the Hands of Fate moniker and clearly the doctor is also familiar with the movie. After an hour or so I decided it was time to go get checking into my hotel, take a shower and find some dinner as it had been an exhausting day. Later that evening I also went back out and captured some portals and brought home some souvenir keys. If you’re interested in a key, let me know

 

If I may, I’d like to share some thoughts as I reflect back upon the event.

First, I’ll start with the practical. Hydrate! I know you’ve heard it before but walking around DC for 6 hours was exhausting. Another tip, good shoes. I wore a pair of old sneakers and I had blisters on one foot to show for it. Also consider the weather. It was a gorgeous sunny day and I went most of it without sunscreen nor a hat on and I have the sunburn on my forehead to show for it. All fairly obvious, but two of the three I missed amid all the preparations I made. And on the technical side, charger cables. I have an anker 10k and still ran into battery issues. My issue was not the battery but a cable with a loose fitting which caused charging to stop at times and only charge as usb others. Buy a few good charger cables and always carry an extra if you plan to be out for an extended time.

The real takeaway for the day though was community. This seems to be the one thing the enlightened have excelled at and the resistance has failed at. The DC area was not much different than here in the triangle. They were outnumbered 2 to 1 just like us, but they still seem to win the battle and the difference is they play as a community. It’s not about how many portals you control or the biggest field. It’s about playing together and having fun. And when we as a community come out to play we dominate. So let this be a rallying call to you all. Talk to your fellow agents. Better yet, go meet your fellow agents face to face. When we come together as a group, we’re unstoppable. There will be more events organized in the area. I intend to see to that. Please come out and take part. Get to know your fellow agents and you’ll see how much more fun this game is as a group. We will paint the triangle green and I will make the resistance flee from me like Gadgetchaser!

 

Jeremy – Tumanos