The Journey of Joy: Global Shard #67 After-Action Report

PongolynPongolyn ✭✭✭

The Journey of Joy (original post: 14-APR-2017)

Freude heißt die starke Feder

In der ewigen Natur.

Freude, Freude treibt die Räder

In der Großen Weltenuhr.

Friedrich Schiller, “An de Freude” (“To Joy”)

Chapter 1: Flight From Hawaii

#67 spawned at 2 PM on 3/10 at Kahu O Ka Wai Ola O Hilo.

Joy -- Shard #67 -- was born in the parking lot of the Hilo Judiciary Complex on the Big Island of Hawaii. Kahu O Ka Wai Ola O Hilo is an abstract statue of two hands, facing east; it guards the waters of Wailoa River. It guarded Joy through the first checkpoint of her life before her first jump.

By the time Joy was born, we had already made plans for @ajmama, @lost1, @Noobischactz and @TheDarthOtter from Oahu to join the Big Island team of @Carnage808 (who came out of retirement for shards), @catdog215, @sobernesian and others. Serendipitously, they were also joined by a San Francisco agent who was on vacation. These extra agents from off island proved vital.

The Resistance on Big Island outnumbers the Enlightened. As the first jump window approached, they descended upon Joy, outnumbering us by a fair margin. Just before the jump window, they began linking portals in Hilo to Mauna Loa, indicating an intention to move her to the mountaintop telescope where we would have no chance of recovery. Luck intervened when the shard was linked not just to the telescope, but also to a nearby church. This link, probably accidental, proved to be a turning point.

#67 jumped 2.7 km at 10 PM on 3/10 to Kinoole Baptist Church.

You make one mistake in the shard game, and you’re likely to pay for it. The Resistance made that mistake when they failed to move Joy to their preferred destination the first time.

Joy remained at Kinoole Baptist Church for two checkpoints while every available agent was called up to block the shard from moving to Mauna Kea. We started by turning the entire neighborhood green. We followed up by driving across the island, throwing the hardest blockers we could, defending with links terminated by lava pools. We hoped the spirit of the island would be with us.

At the last minute, we considered the possibility that they might try to move Joy instead to a macadamia nut facility that was closed. Most of our Hawaii agents had gone to bed, but Carnage stayed up and threw a last minute blocker to prevent the move east. We did not anticipate a link to California. However, the church portal was loaded up with VRLA and SBUL and we believe that the mainland was their intended destination -- a move that was prevented by our last minute link.

By the morning of 3/11, we had a team assembled to move Joy under our control. A direct move to the mainland was blocked until later in the day, but our Big Island and Oahu agents teamed up to move the shard to Kea’au Beach.

This beach exists because the Shipman family is legally required to provide access to the shore; their estate is just to the west of the beach. It’s readily visible on satellite. They are not, however, required to provide convenient shore access. The beach is a short distance but a meaningful hike away.

Once the shard was on the beach, our plans to move it to the mainland would be clear. It needed to spend no more than five hours there.

#67 jumped 10.8 km at 1 PM on 3/11 to Kea'au Beach Ha'ena Beach Nene Preserve.

We explored a number of options on the West Coast during Joy’s brief beach sojourn. Our preference was a direct jump up to the Olympic Peninsula. Unfortunately, Resistance coastal defense had been dogged throughout the week and late blockers prevented the direct shot into scoring range. We went with our backup, Point Arena Lighthouse.

#67 jumped 3680.5 km at 6 PM on 3/11 to Original Lens For Point Arena Lighthouse.

Previous Magnus shards had visited several of the canonical West Coast portal types: a Little Free Library, a Post Office in a ghost town, and the obligatory military installation. None had visited a lighthouse. Point Arena Lighthouse is over a hundred years old and 115 feet tall. We had some degree of confidence that Joy would not get lost on her way there.

And of course lighthouses are important to us; moving Joy to Point Arena wasn’t a calamity by any means. The grounds of the lighthouse close at 4 PM, so Joy would be safe overnight, calmly hopping from portal to portal within the gatesl. It would have been nice to extract her from the lighthouse at the very next jump, but unfortunately, a 30 meter link with both ends inside locked gates was blocking the shard’s early extraction.

#67 jumped 0.1 km at 11 PM on 3/11 to Point Arena Lighthouse and Museum.

#67 jumped 0.0 km at 5 AM on 3/12 to James Bird Memorial.

The Northern California team was ecstatic to get a chance to interact with shards. Point Arena Lighthouse opens at 10 AM, exactly the time of the next jump. We couldn’t count on getting in on time, but agents made the winding, 4 hour drive from the Bay Area just in case the gates opened early. In another part of the state, for the second time in less than two weeks, we sent people to the small, Sierra Nevada town of Downieville, where bad cell signal and a long drive made for a good place to land a shard for a few hours.

Being prepared paid off. One of the Point Arena agents negotiated early entry into the facility, some fifteen minutes before jump time. There weren’t many blockers; we made the decision to gamble, and the word to clear went out across the wires. A few minutes later, a link went up and Joy jumped to Downieville, where she was welcomed by a relative army of agents.

#67 moved 254.3km at 10 AM on 3/12 to US Post Office.

Downieville is a Gold Rush town. People got rich there, once. In 1852, it lost the race to become the capitol of California by 10 votes. These days it’s home to perhaps 250 people: not quite a ghost town, but not really a going concern, either. We’d used Downieville before for both fields and shards, and our next step was obvious.

(next: Chapter 2: The Road to Mount Hood)


  • PongolynPongolyn ✭✭✭

    Chapter 2: The Road To Mount Hood

    The battle for the lane from Downieville to Mount Hood was tougher than the battle we’d fought for the same lane two weeks ago. Fortunately, California Resistance was content to leave Joy herself uncontested. Perhaps they felt Oregon Resistance would pick up any slack. For a while, Oregon Resistance did.

    #67 did not move at 3 PM on 3/12.

    We used every trick we had for the second jump window. We had to come up with new tricks: the batch we’d used two weeks ago were now familiar to the Resistance. We threw rails to familiar portals. We threw rails to zero cell portals we’d captured for the first time when we moved #76 south and lucked out when agents in the Sierras just happened to be holding a key to a grocery store in southern Oregon. The finale was a cat and mouse game of blocker clearing along Oregon’s Rt. 140, which we won by a nose. With one Resistance agent going east and one Resistance agent going west, we had occasion to be deeply relieved that our clearers had paused to green up unrelated portals in Beatty.

    It’s not often that you’re glad for a portal-sparse area, but in this case the distance was our victory margin.

    "Congrats, that was successful by exactly 2 minutes. Gigaspeed reached Lakeview 5 minutes ago."


    #67 moved 652.5km at 8 PM on 3/12 to Cooper Spur emergency shelter.

    (next: Chapter 3: The Road Off Mount Hood)

  • PongolynPongolyn ✭✭✭

    Chapter 3: The Road Off Mount Hood

    "Sharks and shards must keep moving, or they die."


    The Cooper Spur emergency shelter is another bit of history. It was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. During the winter, it is an impossible hike. Even if you’re an experienced mountain climber, the avalanche danger is too high.

    From Mt. Hood, our plan was to move the shard off the mountain to a defensible location, then either score it directly or punt it up to Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout in the Rainier region before scoring. Seattle and Oregon Enlightened mobilized for this purpose. The remainder of the weekend proved the point about motion: if we’d managed to make the first hop as we intended, we had a good chance in succeeding at either our scoring plan or our backup plan.

    #67 did not move at 1 AM on 3/13.

    But we missed that first jump due to signal issues.

    #67 did not move at 6 AM on 3/13.

    And we missed the second jump because we couldn’t get to our backup router portal.

    #67 did not move at 11 AM on 3/13.

    And we missed the third group because Resistance was out in force, and because our ground team was getting tired.

    And then the expected unexpected occurred.

    (next: Chapter 4: The Steal)

  • PongolynPongolyn ✭✭✭

    Chapter 4: The Steal

    "So...what’s the vulnerability of Cooper Spur to flyovers this weekend?"


    Somewhere in the Enlightened High Command Library there’s a battered binder containing our collective knowledge about portals. On one of the pages in that binder, we mention that you have to expect Resistance to get in a plane. Joy was sitting on top of Mt. Hood anticipating the first clear weather day in weeks. We were sad but not completely surprised when the ADA hit, turning Cooper Spur Emergency Shelter blue for the first time in almost two years.

    Unfortunately for us, the break in the weather closed almost immediately. We were unable to get in a plane of our own to recapture the shard. Our only choice was to enclose Mt. Hood in a nest of blocking links and hope the random number gods jumped Joy to a more favorable location.

    As the afternoon went on, it became apparent that Oregon Resistance had plans of their own. Our blockers began falling systematically, and were replaced by tough links that closed on Mt. Hood like pincers from the east. We were unable to maintain our eastern defense, and at dusk the greedy claw of the Resistance reached out from a military base in Umatilla, Oregon to wrest Joy from her mountain aerie.

    #67 moved 180.3km at 9 PM on 3/13 to Corporal M2 Guided Missile.

    “Damn, that’s pretty.”

    “I am in no mood to appreciate it.”

    Overheard in the ops room

    There’s a tiny town in Washington called Stehekin, nestled between a lake and a mountain pass, where ferries run sporadically and cell signal goes to die. But like most small towns, it has a post office, which makes it a great field anchor. Enlightened ops spotted Resistance agent @kellenb in Stehekin earlier that day, linking to a few portals of concern: the snow-locked Mt. St. Helens region to the south, and the avalanche-prone PCT Northern Terminus marker on the border of Washington and Canada. There was some discussion over whether the links were offensive or defensive in nature, but ultimately it was a moot point: the next ferry to Stehekin would not be for another two days, which greatly limited our ability to get there to undo our opponent’s work.

    But when Joy reached Umatilla, the purpose of the links became clear. The Resistance were building a shardway, a sort of railroad of difficult-to-access portals upon which a shard could be routed effortlessly to a more advantageous location. This one appeared to be pointing straight north into Canada, where regaining control would be much more difficult for us.  The shardway had to be defeated if we hoped to score any shards in Seattle, and it had to be done before targets changed alignment that Friday.

    "I like shardways. They tell us exactly where a shard is going to be in ten hours."


    #67 moved 213.9km at 2 AM on 3/14 to Mount St. Helens: Fire Mountain of the Cascades.

    #67 moved 253.9km at 7 AM on 3/14 to US Post Office Stehekin WA.

    Enlightened had a very difficult time producing agents with military access in time to intercept the shard from Umatilla. (It’s a decommissioned chemical warfare depot and a Superfund site; there’s little reasonable excuse to visit.) In fact, each hop of the shardway appeared specifically constructed to be a challenge to attack in the time window Joy could be found there. Ops determined late that night that the best place to thwart the shardway was at Stehekin, and it had to be done before noon, or we'd risk losing Joy forever. At about 3 AM, 2 agents were dispatched from Seattle and advised to head to the western shore of Lake Chelan, where they gently kicked a helicopter pilot out of bed, only to be told that icy conditions would make flying to Stehekin impossible. But the pilot did have a friend with a boat who might be up at this hour…

    Enlightened agents arrived in Stehekin with an hour to spare. They destroyed the links connecting the shardway while their teammates (many of whom had returned to work from a weekend of intense activity in the field) cheered them on. Our team attempted to link the shard to our original staging portal, Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout, but were defeated by the shard anti-spoof code. And as Murphy’s law and competent opposition would have it, the delay was enough time for Resistance to send a blocker up between Stehekin and Mt. Fremont.

    But PNW Enlightened never leave home without a backup plan. We quickly pivoted and linked the shard to Stevens Pass, a ski resort southwest of Stehekin.

    "Well done."


    #67 moved 71.7km at 12 noon on 3/14 to Jupiter Express.

    There was only one problem: Stevens Pass was open during the day (albeit an unattractive ski destination in the rain), practically an invitation for Resistance to steal the shard back again. They tried; it was perhaps fortunate that the Jupiter Express ski lift was closed, making a direct steal impossible. Instead, we had to double link from another lift portal to Jupiter Express and Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout.

    With Resistance on the mountain, we played a bluff game. Will they figure out which ski lift we’re really going to use? Nope. After the links to Jupiter Express and Mt. Fremont was established, the returning Stevens Pass team witnessed some desperate-looking Resistance agents seeking to persuade the park ranger (unsuccessfully) to let them up the mountain after the lifts had shut down for the day. Joy was ours again, ready to float down our shardway closer to our goal.

    #67 moved 1.7km at 5 PM on 3/14 to Stevens Pass Trail Map.

    #67 moved 98.7km at 10 PM on 3/14 to Mount Fremont Fire Lookout.

    Spirits were high. A huge team of agents started clearing early with the intention of razing the earth and cleaning up remaining blockers for the 3 AM jump. The lane to the target from Mt. Fremont wasn’t easy, but we were confident Enlightened forces could clear a path. Puget Sound  Resistance appeared to have the same estimation of our abilities, and turned out in force. Fierce opposition prevented us from establishing and maintaining key rails early enough to secure the lane. Resistance managed to remain one step ahead of us in the resulting five-hour dogfight, and made the 3 AM score impossible.

    (next: Conclusion...)

  • PongolynPongolyn ✭✭✭

    "Before you fall asleep, I have one more favor to ask of you…"


    Many of the Resistance forces left the field immediately after checkpoint. We don’t blame them; it was a weeknight after all, and the effects of fatigue were making themselves known to both factions. Ops determined that Enlightened forces could send Joy home at 8am if we were willing to keep pushing, and asked agents to remain in the field. It is a testament to PNW Enlightened stamina that we were ultimately successful. A few hours later, the lane was clear and we put up a rail from a quiet military facility very close to the lane. Shortly before 8 AM, a team of 17 Enlightened agents assembled at the target, several of them on the way to work after being awake for thirty hours or more. We were able to maintain our rails through the remaining opposition, and the last Resistance agent on site stopped firing bursters about five minutes before...

    #67 moved 92.1km at 8 AM on 3/15 to Adjacent, Against, Upon, scoring a piece of ADA for the Enlightened.

  • 💚

  • StranditStrandit ✭✭✭

    Some personal recollections from this one...

    "The finale was a cat and mouse game of blocker clearing along Oregon’s Rt. 140, which we won by a nose." This was one of the most stressful moments I've ever had in Ingress. I made some calls on instinct. I imagine I'll never know if they were necessary or not. I was glad it worked out.

    "The lane to the target from Mt. Fremont wasn’t easy, but we were confident Enlightened forces could clear a path." I'd hoped to wake up to find a new shard on our target. Getting to go down to the target and help score the shard was, in the end, even better.

    Shards were so much fun for us.

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