The Hardest Battle I've Ever Fought .......... And I Lost
Sunday, 12 September 2021, 10:33 am (GMT +2) I check my phone for the first time that day, after having spent all morning replacing parts on my motorcycle (which had been out of commission for 6 weeks, for the second time this year), to find the following Telegram message, a missed call, and even a WhatsApp message from one of our best Intel watchers, @Rath24.https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/f6ChqM3k_o-kGQNEEhlIOZnxdUOz57UHm8ca2TtQupBe5ay-NZWS-GkHSsIcJooQkqLYI6dDYsukaq1Y-9wnqJJkPt4Gu1oMn9figecgrZzivM88KTCkeryvGlOpQ1mAqemiB22w=s0
Without hesitation, I called the agent, while standing in line at a Clicks pharmacy, and jumping simultaneously onto Intel to see what on earth had just gone down…
Rewind a couple of weeks (yes, I think context is absolutely necessary), discussions with the local X-fac community regarding the September Second Sunday have been taking place, our wonderful vanguard, @Azhreia, had put together a Second Sunday mission banner for our Gauteng Counterparts, using the Ultimate Mission Maker IITC Plugin, and with my hands full juggling work, ingress, and my YouTube motovlog channel, I asked of she’d take the opportunity to put one together for us. With some advice from @CapeValkyrie (who used to dominate the Woodstock streets) @Azhreia, put together a mission banner in about an hour or so, and submitted it for approval. For all this effort she had put in, I was asked, “Soooo... you buy me a beer or two if I come down for Sept Second Sunday?”
Okay, last rewind, I promise….
Some time late in 2020, just casually making some high density BAF layers over Khayelitsha with @Rath24, after finally having our lockdown de-escalated to level 3, he says to me, “You know what would be really cool, if we could chase a solid year in a row, of cycle victory.” Well, that was it, the target had been set, and so began the start of 2021.01 in AF12-BRAVO-06, we claimed the first cycle really easily (3.6M MU), with our BAF growing bigger and bigger each cycle (up to 22M MU) with basically no Smurf interference.
Cycle after Cycle went by unchallenged by any resistance players, with me playing locally in my office park just for AP gain when walking around with our “Lunch Squad” when one of the crew finally decided to install the scanner on his cellphone to see what Ingress was all about, and why it had become such an addiction for me.
At this time I was without my motorcycle (for the first time in 2021) and had to wait an extra 90 minutes after hours for my lift to arrive, so him and I spent the afternoons strolling suspiciously around Techno Park, completing his agent training and explaining the different mechanisms behind Ingress… much to my dismay, he chose Resistance, which was great at first, I had competition, was making AP much quicker, and had spent several weeks having friendly, X-fac competition between each other, for dominance over the business park… Until he had reached level 8, at which point the war was on. and slowly but surely, the now, well-trained @Assert8 ( who had observed many of my gameplay techniques while getting familiar with the game) had started pushing back on the BAF that @Rath24 and myself had so comfortably been maintaining for about 20 cycles, He’d knock off a handful of layers or our anchor, and we’d go out and rebuild what we could, slightly adapting our fielding plan to work around a few missing spine portals every now and then.
Then, one Sunday afternoon, while sitting at home, our South African Enlightened group buzzed with activity, there was a big BAF spanning all the way across the country, and it was rearing its head inside of our cell, threatening to interfere with our scoreboard, So I jumped on my motorcycle to **** the field, before it destroyed the work myself and @Rath24 had been putting in (yes, there’s a sitrep for that, and a motovlog too)
A couple months later, my Smurf protégé thought it’d be a good Idea to fraternize with @NeoMitch and @JimboGB to cover my home portal with a Blue field that spanned from Robertson to Cape Point, in the hopes that I’d dial down my efforts within the game. Of course, he was wrong and I was soon out there, playing at my normal Ingress aggression level.
Okay, okay, stop yelling, here comes the good bits…
Entering cycle 2021.35, the persistence of @Assert8 was taking its toll on the scoreboard, with ENL only leading by around 200K MU, which left us little margin for error, and I was logistically challenged without my motorcycle, making it impossible to get some points back on the board.
Then, the second weekend of September was upon us, and with it, the looming threat of @Azhreia’s presence. I was constantly checking my activity feed to see her name show up on the scanner so I could get an idea of the imminent threat that she posed. Thinking that she and @Assert8 had been scheming to throw another BAF over my house, so I could sleep under another blue blanket for a few days. This idea was reinforced by agent @JimboGB hitting a few of my local portals at times he does not usually play in the area when finally, her first movement showed up in Paarl, looking like she was just doing some localized fielding, I checked intel and saw a possible vulnerability that would have left me covered, So myself and my fiancé @bubblesval, headed off, to go throw some blockers.
The Smurf activity in Paarl seemed to die out after the blockers were thrown, so I, in my self-absorbed naivety, thought that we had saved ourselves from spending at least one night under a blue blanket.
Sunday Morning, when all hell broke loose, local groups were buzzing with the hot topic of the day
Smurf fields were covering everything, there was nothing but blue, 38 layers of it and it was a sickening sight (SITREP here).
Agents @Rath24 and @Jacklynza were already on route to **** it, whilst us frogs just stared in horror at what we were witnessing, while making our ways to the agreed upon meeting point in Woodstock, where our Second Sunday shenanigans were due to take place. With a nice little dent of 12M MU on the scoreboard we now needed 4M MU to catch up to RES, we still had a chance to reclaim the cycle.
Of course, we never anticipated that RES would return to Paarl before @Azhreia’s flight back to JHB, where they relayed four of the layers of their MFBAF which we could not take down that evening.
Burned out from a weekend of running errands, and playing Ingres, we got an early nights' sleep, but this seriously backfired on me, as I woke up on Monday morning at 1:15 AM (GMT +2) with a sinking feeling in my stomach: There was no way I was letting the Smurfs beat me, least of all one from across the damn country. So I opened Intel, and started plotting my revenge. The plan was simple: 1. **** BAF and blockers; 2. Create a field from Paarl, that’d stand for at least 2 cycles, so we can equalize, 3; If I’m fielding, I will have to **** blockers on my way to Paarl, so I had to plan my route to Paarl accordingly; 4. Get keys for everything In Paarl, so we can throw another BAF that evening, when @Assert8, or @chizbitz would inevitably take out the initial field we had created during their commute that day.
The fielding plan for Monday (blockers outdated)
Monday, 13 September 2021, 4:00 AM (GMT +2) Curfew is over (yes, we’re still in lockdown) and I start my motorcycle, gear up and head out of the house, only 1 goal in mind: revenge, it’s do or die and I head off to take out the first blocker, only to discover that the 250-ish L7 XMP’s I’d been stocking up on, had disappeared from my inventory, (I’m pretty certain that they were dumped by a Smurf during our obstacles doing the Second Sunday banner, but that’s a SITREP for another day). Now I had to be super conservative with my weapons too, I pulled out the last 100-ish XMP8's I had, that I was trying to replicate in my Quantums, and my 20-ish US7’s and began my onslaught. I had dropped all the blockers, and off I went to Paarl, cruising on the highway in the early morning traffic, in a state of sheer bliss.
I got into Paarl around 6:00 am (GMT +2) after another Checkpoint had been reached before I took down the Smurf blocker, and according to my planning, Here I was supposed to throw my temporary field. However, as things go whenever I’m in the heat of field Ops, and pressured by the fact that I had to leave Paarl within the next hour to still get to work on time, I lost track of my plans. All I was focused on was killing the blue MFBAF that was making the goal of every 2021 cycle victory an even fainter dream.
So there I was, puttering around Paarl on my Suzuki Bandit 1200S, Bikegressing, gloves off, one-hand on the scanner, the other modulating my clutch; hack, deploy, hack, deploy, hack deploying all the way up the Paarl main road until I arrived at the MFBAF anchor… I knocked off the Mods, and flipped the portal with a Jarvis (only to realize when I read @Azhreia’s sitrep that afternoon, that I’d made the same mistake that @Rath24 and @JacklynZA made when they flipped the portal the previous day, leaving enough l8’s on to allow for long distance modding)
I drove all the way to the end of the town, keeping an eye on the time, and then the realization of having missed my planned field hit me like a ton of bricks, I checked Intel, still no Smurf movement that concerned me, but my time was ticking away, so I headed back to the portal I was supposed to field from to try and salvage what i could.
But alas, I was too late, not even 2 minutes before I’d arrived at my target, @Assert8 threw the first blocker, ruining my hopes of creating a field big enough to bump up the scoreboard. I quickly threw a blocking link into Monwabisi and gave the tiny little banter on COMM, before making my way off to the office, racing against the clock, and kicking myself for the stupid mistake of not fielding earlier that morning.
I left the office after 4pm (GMT +2) and made my way through to Gordon’s Bay. My target - re-capping the GB Anchor in the mountainside which had been my LSP for about a year and a half and the anchor to our herringbone fields over Khayelitsha , before @Assert8 thought it’d be a good Idea to go after it. I’d let it go neutral over the last two weeks, because every time it turned green, you could be certain that a Smurf (mainly @Assert8) would scramble up the mountain within 2 days of it being capped, to **** it and cap it for their own faction.
I scrambled up the mountain, recapped the portal, and headed back down to my bike, ready to go flip a few of my own blockers with an ADA, capture a backup anchor (in case @Assert8 was ready to troll us by taking out the GB Anchor), and take out the Smurf blocker, while @Rath24 made his way to a spine portal, to start throwing fields.
10 Minutes before the 8pm checkpoint, and we’re both in position, on a Telegram call to each other, me **** the blocker, @Rath24 capping portals and throwing fields, we managed to get 4 layers up, but it was just not enough to overtake RES on the scoreboard. I headed home, defeated from being out of the house for 16 hours, while @Rath24 just kept on making layers.
I had just pulled my bike into the garage, when @Rath24 messaged me, saying “@Assert8 attacking”, leaving me feeling useless as I watched the ongoing battle on Intel, while @Rath24 fought valiantly for the cycle. Around 9:30pm, @Rath24 reckons @Assert8 is low on weapons, He’s now flipping portals, as @Assert8 flipped the last portal, bringing our fields down, @rath24 started re-fielding from the inside, in a last attempt to recover what he could. But within 15 minutes, @Assert8 was back on the job, happily flipping away layers of our fields. Near the top of the spine though @Rath24 noticed there was a portal that @Assert8 had shot, and re-captured instead of flipping, so used a Jarvis to Flip the portal green, and he threw a single layered field from here, just in time too, as it was 10:30 pm, and he had to leave the field to make the journey back home in time for curfew at 11pm.
I had to work from home the next day which I used to my advantage, I started work at 6am, skipped lunch and clocked off at 3pm, took a look at Intel and came up with a quick plan. I was going to attempt to march through SMURF TURF and try to steal this thing from right under their noses. I saw an opportunity to make a BAF between Bot Rivier, Ceres and Muizenberg, Identified Blockers, and planned counter blockers. And jumped on the bike. A quick visit to my restock portal, a trip to refuel the bike, and off I went to Bot Rivier to farm keys and throw a link to Ceres.
I made my way back to The Giant Strawberry, to take out blockers here for the 3rd day in a row, and headed off towards Brackenfell, to block back to Giant Strawberry, but @Assert8 was faster than I, and was able to block me off with a link from Techno Park to Zewenwacht Mall, before I could throw the first link. Realizing this, I stopped at my next target portal a little longer than intended, while I poured through intel to re-plan my counter-blockers, which bought me enough time to burn out the portal and harvest a fair deal of keys which I could put to use. Suddenly I got the ping, “Your portal, Gordon’s Bay under attack by @Assert8”, Well, why am I not surprised…. (I’d planned on setting up a spine to make it look like I was going to layer off of this portal again, as a diversion to what was really going on, but now it’d been taken out.)
And off I went, riding through Brackenfell, taking out blockers, moving into position to throw counter blockers, take out the next blocker, and decided on a portal in Belhar to go throw another counter blocker, one I had not planned on throwing earlier, where I spontaneously decided to create a fielded blocker instead of just a line of links, that’d be easy to penetrate by killing just 1 portal. (this paid off later on)
Around 7:45 pm, and I was in SMURF TURF, clearing the last of the blockers that would put a stop to my planned BAF before the 9pm checkpoint, threw a pathetic 1MU field, and rode off, to Monwabisi Pavilion, with one last trick up my sleeve: make it look like I’ve given up and I’m heading home… 8:20pm and I’m racing back to Muizenberg, back to Smurf turf, against the clock and the last 40km of range I have left in my tank, but there I was 8:40pm standing in position at lakeside station, checking Intel, sending voice notes to @Rath24 and my nerves going over the top. 8:50pm. Go time. I ****, Cap, Field, 1.1M MU, Next Portal, ****, cap, field, 1.1M MU, next Portal, I can’t field from here, #Rath sends me a voice note, “You can field from Radloff Hall” so, I go to Radloff Hall, prepare to field, and boom: my link was blocked by a 5m link just down the road, 20:59, I check intel, I can link from Gemeente Op Die Rots, I head in the direction, try locate it on my scanner, and miss the turn, as I turn around, to get to the target portal, the clock rolls over, cycle complete, and we’re still 1.2M down on the scoreboard. Defeated, disappointed, and kicking myself for not doing some proper planning for the layering, I head off to the closest fuel station, fill my tank, and head home, tail between my legs, broken for not having achieved what I wanted to, but lessons learned along the way.