OPERATION: Pandora’s Box - AmsterDAMN, 24 January 2014

How this came to be
A few weeks before Christmas I had a conversation with my friend Jorge Steffen, he mentioned that he would be in the Netherlands during the Christmas break with his girlfriend and that he would like to get together for a day of Ingress. Two days later I asked him if he knew the date of his trip, “Well Albert, it appears my girlfriends trip is actually in April, I can’t tell you how much she complained that I don't listen to her” (of course we all know his girlfriend is right ;)).
So it was suggested that we move it to January and have a good night out in Amsterdam anyway. We would invite some German and Dutch agents and have a nice blitz krieg, totally historically incorrect! Unfortunately a few days later I happened to mention it in a general hangout and our lovely friend Matilde Tusberti got wind of it. 2 days after this the op officially became a European meetup, and a war plan was hatched.
Thanks to my sloppiness, Jorge who never listens to his girlfriend, and Matilde’s enthusiasm, we started Europe’s biggest non-official-anomaly op.


Planning
Then the stress began. There are 100 people who all have at least 30 questions each, and I am the one who is expected to answer them, because I am from Holland and should know everything! Luckily I quickly found people who could help, Czechs volunteered to help with the zoning in collaboration with Amsterdam locals JamesCleaveland and Panjim. Together they worked for many hours on routes, and planning. Vetsmurf helped with a lot of general planning and arranged our awesome breakfast location. Matti91Tilde,  with an endless supply of energy, arranged accommodation and invited more international guests. On top of this we had locals making detailed route plans and preparing the small details such as bikes, rest stops and (awesome) sandwiches and brownies.
Finally the biggest challenge, preparing for all the groups to start from Amsterdam Central Station, because there is always one person who doesn't check hangouts, we were 6 bikes short and there are 30 people who didn't know how to activate their brand new Dutch SIM cards. However we managed, everything came together. WE could MOVE OUT! 


Maxxion’s point of view
This is when the fun started. The stress was gone and we were on a roll with our #BikeStrike team. Unfortunately our luck only held for another 5 minutes, arriving at our first portal we discovered we had lost Leomwa, his bike was broken. After 5 minutes we finally made contact with him thankfully the bike was fixed and he was en - route to the rendezvous point. 
At our third portal we met up with Pieeet, who joined us to guide our team with his local knowledge, you did a great job Piet! But then disaster struck again, as the feet on MadMarkx bike broke, and he was unable to ride, however some quick thinking and macguyvering with a USB cable  fixed this problem and we were able to continue! 
After that we sailed through the portals in our zone. Leomwa’s bike broke down again, but he managed to fix it quickly with the support of Watdenkjenou. After that we were able to finish our zone before 2 o’ clock, well ahead of schedule.
We were then sent to the Jordaan to start restoring damaged portals, and we biked, built, hacked and rebuilt for the remaining hours. Around 6 o'clock we went to the Dam Square to congratulate our fellow warriors and to go and eat a celebratory breakfast! It was a great honour to fight with and lead such an awesome squad of people! 

Matti91tilde’s point of view
When one day during the Christmas holidays I discovered that Jorge and Albert had a plan to meet in Amsterdam and play Ingress, I thought that it sounded like fun.  I only had to book a flight to Amsterdam and I could go too! I started to check flights and gather hotel and hostel details and whilst I was doing this I had another thought,  why not invite a few more of my European friends and make a nice weekend of it!  I invited a few of my most trusted contacts and those contacts invited their Teammates as well. It was fantastic and I saw the list of invites expand day by day, from 30 people to 120. WONDERFULL.  
 
Travelling to Amsterdam: The journey to Eindhoven was so exciting I felt giddy! It was my second event (first #13Magnus in Rome) with a lot of agents and the first with so many agents from all over Europe! The italian team was ready at Pisa airport and they tried to calm me down, but I was too excited: I was jumping everywhere and singing and laughing. Once we landed in Eindhoven, we continued to Rotterdam to collect the data cards bought by “The Good Albert”, the agent who had organised the whole operation. This journey wasn’t so easy: our train to Rotterdam had broken down and the journey took 2 and a half hours instead of 1 hour. Finally we arrived and met up with Albert,  who was a little stressed,  and after a little lvl8 farm and a meal, we continued on to Amsterdam.  Viljar from Estonia was waiting for us along with the Czech team and  I gave out the Dutch data SIM cards from Albert.  The Czech team announced they had bought a drink for us to share “This is Green and if you are Enlightened, you must drink this‼” this turned out to be a bottle of Absinthe! I am enlightened so of course I drank some,  it was like liquid XM for Enlightened agents!
We spent that evening in an Irish Pub drinking, eating and making small talk.  We did not play Ingress because we were under strict orders not to touch a single portal until the start of the operation. The whole team was in stealth mode! 
The day of the 24th passed really quickly,  we visited the city as a group, did some sightseeing and met the last few arrivals.  Then after dinner, the madness began! 
There were about 70 agents in Amsterdam Central Station,  all busy arranging teams and preparing things for the operation. I started sharing out Niantic gadgets and meeting people for the first time that I only knew from Hangouts and Google+. It was fantastic: we were there and we were acting together as a huge team! My only regret is that I didn’t have enough time to spend with all of them! 
 
I was in team Echo with Maxxion and Pieeet and I couldn't believe how fast they were going on their bikes! It was very hard to keep up, but fun. Everybody was joking and calling me “Duuurtlaang" which means "slow" in Dutch, but I didn't mind,  I was happy just to be there having fun.  
Even the trouble with broken bikes didn’t stop us,  we managed to fix them and carried on,  all the time building lvl 8 portals. I heard operators talking about the numbers of portals growing hour by hour, 250-530-600-870-900, and it was incredible watching the Intel images change from blue to green! Pieeet was a brilliant guide, his orientation skills were amazing and he always seemed to know the quickest and best direction to go in!
Unfortunately I missed the meeting at the Dam Square because a few minutes of rain meant I needed to go and change into dry clothes,  but I made it to the group breakfast and i shared out some ingress tshirts to those who were still awake at 7.30 AM!
It was a great experience and I want to do another one as soon as possible.  I'm sure there is another blue city in need of assistance somewhere! 

elToro’s point of view
We started the trip with a car fully packed with ace agents from Düsseldorf, Germany and its surroundings. JBTEX, mother of the DUS Enlightened Community was our driver and we tried to make sure there would be no repeat of my famous Spanish delay. After a smooth drive with a lot of laughter, we arrived 40min before the operation. Amsterdam is a bicycle loving city, so cars are best parked away from the center. We had a 3 km walk to the meeting point at central station and arrived 15 minutes before ops started. 
As soon as we arrived at central station I found two of my teammates were already leaving in a hurry shouting ‘the team is already on its way to its starting point, hurry up!’. So I quickly searched my way through masses of agents preparing to rumble, asking for Maxxion who should have a bliep card for me. Within minutes I had my card, I quickly greeted several familiar faces and in doing so I missed a very important little detail that maxxion told me about activating the card. I rushed out to catch up with my team, put the card into phone, booted the phone and it showed network connection, great! Looking around in front of central station I couldn’t see my teammates any more, so I started walking in the rough direction of our starting point while trying to communicate with the team. Several hundred metres later I realised, something was very wrong. The network symbols indicated a connection, but no communication was possible so I decided I had to return to central station to ask about the SIM and my connection problems. AmsterDamn, ElToro would be late again! 

So back to Maxxion, who couldn’t believe I was still around after 20 Minutes and nicely pointed out, that there was a 2 line instruction printed on the cover of the sim card. I would have needed to read just line 1: “Bel 1350” and do that, but if something needs instructions, it’s broken, right? Finally I could tell my team I was catching up, Google maps indicated a 30 minute walk, but I made it in 15. Only to realize, our starting point was just around the corner from where we had parked the car. Nice warmup walk I had.

As we were warned in advance that team Foxtrot would be a dedicated booze & bursters team, I thought to be well prepared having brought typical beer from Düsseldorf. A full box was waiting in the car around the corner. Only the keys were with JBTex in Team Golf. AmsterDAMN! 

No one minded that the beer was locked in the car, i was assured that there would be plenty of opportunities for drinks during the night, and i promised to deliver the beer at breakfast. And so we rolled. I met the representative from Spain, Daedalus42 from Barcelona for the first time, it felt like meeting a long lost brother again. Then I saw how he played grasshopper style. Whenever something grey appeared in the scanner he couldn’t control his legs and started hopping and jumping towards the portal to capture it, then came back and we continued chatter. he was like this all night long. Nearly half of the portals on our route got captured by him while the most of the rest were captured  by Freakz0rz. He seemed to have magic superpowers.  Like most of my teammates actually! 
Suddenly a green horse appeared besides me, speaking czech, presenting himself as special agent xlorien and with his partner premik they offered me a container full of shimmering green liquid XM! Liquid XM that was obtained on board a polish airplane and had the letters Absynth printed on the bottle. What could probably go wrong? 
So we shared Absynth, mixed it with Energy drinks and as soon as we had converted the first portal group into green P8, the portals were already attacked from behind. Little did those attackers know,  we were waiting for this. Just a handful of our team was sufficient to drain the attackers inventories. So everyone continued building P8s, chatting and having a great time. 

Our local team leader Vetsmurf was doing his job brilliantly and our team worked like a perfectly oiled machine.  He led from upfront, with great battlefield awareness, a perfectly memorised route, never got stressed and always in good mood, even when the boozing troops slowed everyone down a bit too much. 
At 2a.m. the magic container of liquid XM was emptied and we realized we had only done 50 Portals so far and being the team in the zone with lowest portal density and the longest walking distance,  this was too slow!  But the liquid XM all of a sudden developed an unexpected and wonderful side effect. The agent grasshopper, the green Horse, the Bull and the rest of the team did some serious scanner actions over the next hour. Actually the most efficient hour of the whole night.

We climbed dutch mountains - no joke - like 10 crawling minutes uphill, just to find the path ends nowhere and everyone has to climb over some fence. Then we made several home portal visits to local resistance players leaving them best wishes from all over Europe. After a middle of the night snack break, we moved to the neighbouring zone that had been confronted with the most opposition during the night. But the team that started there also had done a fantastic job and less and less portals needed to be worked on. The rest of our way to the big meeting point everything was already full of green P8. It was marvellous.

Looking at my personal actions per hour stats (destroy, deploy or link), we definitely need further investigation on the matter of the positive effect of liquid XM for agents in the field. When our preliminary theory proves right, agents should empty one bottle of liquid XM per hour for up to 10 times better performance. These numbers were scientifically measured and are not made up:

Hour
23:00     00:00     01:00   02:00   03:00   04:00   05:00
Actions per hour
45            12          28         143      26         12        16
 
Operators point of view
#AmsterDAMN! Did we rock this place, and what fun it was!  At an early stage there was only one, then two, then four and in the end seven operators to guide the various teams through the city within the A10 ring road boundaries. The Ops team consisted of one Dutch, two Australian, two Belgian and two Russian agents.
To ease operations there were car and bike teams for larger areas and several groups on foot to conquer and turn as many portals into P8 portals as possible.
Just hours before the scheduled 23:00 (GMT+1) starting time several of the Google services went down and with it also one of our communication tools : Google Hangouts. This left us worried for a while, but luckily all services were running stable again roughly an hour before the event was about to begin.
At the exact hour some teams began prematurely, some other groups had not yet fully gathered or were not ready otherwise and had to be put on hold, very much to their disliking. Finally at 23:15 almost all teams were good to go and the final signal was given: Fire at will!
In the following hours the teams followed the movement plans they had developed, supervised and aided by the operator’s team whenever needed, which was hardly ever. After a slow start the teams got more and more in the mood and around 02:00 everything was in full swing and approximately half of the final number of portals captured. At 03:45 all zones had been completed once and most groups decided to either take a break for a drink or to get something to eat. After the break two agents left because they were ill, and some others had to leave to drive home safely.
At approximately 06:45 the highest number of portals had been captured, a COMM based count of 983 portals.
Overall the team had the opportunity to get to know each other and to learn from past experiences from each other, and the positive feedback given by many agents was re-assuring that the work done was sincerely appreciated.
We are sure there will be new opportunities ahead to further increase our connections and to continue to work together.  

In the future
Be prepared, be ready, we are coming!

#AmsterDAMN #Ingress #Enlightened #lighthouse  
+Anne Beuttenmüller +Brandon Badger +Joe Philley +Brian Rose +Ingress 
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