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Field Report, Ingress

April 2014: Hide and Seek, In the dark… On a cliff top

Report from Agent: Midgie
Location: Aberdeen

It was a dark and stormy night…

Well, it was certainly dark in early April 2014 when a team of Aberdeenshire agents set off on an operation to field over a large part of Aberdeenshire:

Two agents – JerichoCaine and SafariBobz went off into the wild and scary parts of Northern Aberdeenshire (scary according to them anyway, though sensible souls shouldn’t believe a word they say).
Agent Sheaffer was on clearance duty, driving around the Banchory area as this was the most likely source of blockers.
Sweeper128 was eye in the sky for the night.
Midgie (me) was to capture Dunnottar Castle and make the southern set-up link to Edzell. All going well,  JC and Bobz would link to these from Turriff.

The plan was to field from Turriff to Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven to Edzell. If all went well, a secondary field over Aberdeen was planned from Turriff to Dunnottar to Slain’s Castle. If it didn’t, its preparation would divert attention from the main plan.

The riskiest part of the plan was prepping the eastern field over Aberdeen. A blue link from Girdle Ness lighthouse down to Auchenblae needed to go and the terrible-twosome made the unfortunate decision to Jarvis the Aberdeen end before setting off for the badlands.

We found out later that alarm bells were set off. The greens were dominant at that time around Aberdeen and our small group were the upstarts trying to upset the current order of things and inspire our fellow blues. As a result, we were often watched and/or followed. Some of the greens obsessively watched intel for activity as well.

So, a Jarvis right next to Aberdeen raised the greens to DEFCON 3. The next stop was Ellon to the North of Aberdeen which had a bunch of green portals and blocking links. All the necessaries duly killed. Greens at DEFCON 1 at this point.

Eventually, Turriff was reached and I headed along the track to the castle.

Dunnottar Castle lies around 10 minutes walk along a track followed by a load of steps leading down to the natural causeway leading to the castle. On a nice day, its a great walk with fantastic views of an amazing castle. One of my favourite places.

Tonight, there was mist, a smirr of rain and it was cold. Typical Scottish spring weather in other words.

Still, all went to plan. A worry about the poor reception at the castle never materialised and the portal was duly captured and the link put up. Off I went to sit in the car for the remaining time until the checkpoint in case Nikubenki came along to kill the field. In that event, I’d follow him down to defend the portal.  Meanwhile the Turriff to Dunnottar link went up.

Then it all went wrong.

Blockers were springing up from Peterhead and Aberdeen including a link from Ellon to Norway and Niku was out. Ok – we were rumbled and the eastern field was scuppered.

Then worse news came through on the hangout. Turriff couldn’t see Edzell.

Oh crap. I’d linked to the wrong Edzell portal and blocked the final link.

A frantic conversation on the hangout ensued. I could go back and Jarvis the portal and throw the correct link? But we’d miss the checkpoint and there was no way we’d keep that field up until 3am with Niku on his way. Yes, I’d royally screwed the plans and JC and Bobz had had a long round trip for nothing.

Then someone in the group spotted we were still nearly 50 mins away from the checkpoint. Eh? Oh yeah…. between planning and execution the clocks had gone forward and we were an hour early. Suddenly it was game on again. Excitement levels up, off I went again. I’d hang around and deal with Niku if he turned up.

Then, halfway down the track alerts started coming in. “Your Portal Dunnottar Castle is under attack by Nikubenki”. What the..?

No car had come into the car park and I was parked next to the gate to the track. Was I that absorbed in the hangout that he’d sneaked past? Was I about to get proof of spoofing?

I continued on and came to the top of the steps. Ok. No spoofing. There was a light down there. What to do? Try and sneak down and take the castle and throw the link when he was there? No. Plus I’d kill myself trying to go down those stairs in the dark.

Then the kid in me came to the fore and I knew exactly what to do.

Hide.

Where though? There was short grass in the field next to the track and I wanted to be nearby so I’d know when he’d gone past. One stray glance and I’d be spotted, so no good.

The other side of the track had longer grass though and more importantly he wouldn’t be facing me coming up the stairs. Better than nothing. But it also had a cliff. How far from the fence was the edge again? Only really close next to the stairs – just be careful, it’ll be fine. Back up the path again and over the fence. Torch off and phone muted I nestled down in the long, wet grass to wait.

Kevin
Meanwhile, when all this was going on, blockers were appearing in Banchory. Allegations that Sheaffer was driving around Banchory at breakneck speed to kill links are purely that. Allegations.

Eventually, after what seemed ages, Niku went past and after giving him a 5 minutes head-start, I set off down the stairs.

Damn. Now the signal quality drops.

Still, I persevered and eventually the portal was mine. Because of all the blocking, the link from Turriff came in straight away and the field was to be mine if my blasted phone kept working.

Ok, press Link. Link targets coming in. Stonehaven. Laurencekirk. Where was Edzell? “No linkable portal”. Damn, restart.

Meanwhile, the hangout was going wild. Something along the lines of:

JC: Kevin. Link!
Bobz: link!
JC: fuck!

Clearly calm and collected up there.

Right, second time lucky. Press Link. Stonehaven. Laurencekirk. Edzell….? Edzell? Seconds pass. Edzell! Double-check – correct portal? Yes. Confirm link!

Link thrown. Field up. Hangout goes wild.

By this point, Niku was already coming down the stairs. Oh well. I could always throw him into the sea if he tried anything with 20 minutes to go to the Check Point. Setting aside any homicidal thoughts, I just kept him talking and walked back to the car with him and found out their side of the story – how the alarm bells had rung when Girdle Ness and later Ellon went down, how he’d almost got a blocker in from Portlethen to Gourdon, how he’d parked in the bus park and hadn’t even seen me in the main car park – he’d been as surprised as I was earlier when I took back the portal.

Eventually, Sheaffer turned up as well and we had a final chat and set off to our various homes.

The result was a 24k field. Not too bad for the relatively sparsely populated Aberdeenshire countryside and it got me second place in that cycle.

That was nowhere near being the largest field I’ve created or the most complex plan I’ve been involved in, but it was definitely the most fun.

Ingress. Be a kid again. Take a risk. Have fun!

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