(part 1 here: http://goo.gl/BrTTGc
(part 2 here: http://goo.gl/CbnwJm
Plans are useless – planning is essential. All the beautiful structures you was drawing in your mind can be easily ruined in seconds. Schemes are too rigid to use them for real tactical situations. Real operations require improvisation and changing tactics on the fly. That’s the moment when pre-planned system will help you when all the plans are trashed.
And that’s the moment when personal initiative comes into play. Real people making their decisions in the middle of Siberian night, working in synergy to fulfil our common goal. They rule the game, and HQ only works for them.Detour
While never considered as an option, shard #3 was quite easy for us to extract to Baku from Dubai when we were contacted by our friends from India and UAE (see sitrep here: http://goo.gl/XkS6QT
) . The problem was to send it further to Siberia. After spoofer attack our starting portal for Transsiberian Shardway in Kumertau was damaged and compromised – we could not use it anymore. Looking at the map we could hardly find any viable options except Chelyabinsk – bearing in mind keys available in Baku.
There was a problem, however. The portal which could be used as a new beginning of Transsiberian Shardway was known to be Resistance agent work portal. Thus it could not be used just as a transit point, it required close defence during transfer. Same time Chelyabinsk agents did not have keys from Novosibirsk and vice versa. Furthermore, this night Novosibirsk team could only dispatch one agent to deploy transit portal and he could not effectively defend it. So this was a kind of gambling throwing the shard all around Siberia hoping everything will be right.+Irina Belousova
, agent @Raspberries from Ekaterinburg was so passionate about seeing the shard and taking part in its transfer that she gathered a team to drive to Chelyabinsk from Ekaterinburg packed with Novosibirsk keys. It’s over 200 kms of snowy road drive, but who cares? Stakes are high – this is probably the last shard to pass through Siberia, and there will be no other chances. Local Chelyabinsk agents were to capture and defend this transit portal while Ekaterinburg team was on its way.
Timing was essential as we expected heavy resistance in Chelyabinsk despite it was late night. Ekaterinburg team was on the portal 15 minutes prior to the next hop, joined with Chelyabinsk agents. They raised the portal to the level needed and tried to link to Novosibirsk – and failed. Several more tries were also unsuccessful.
HQ was scrolling through the projected link to find possible blocker and found it – green link from Russia to Kazakhstan! There were nobody to clear it and, we expected Resistance to come to the shard portal in the next hour or so. Our only option was to move the shard to the south to evade this stupid blocker unseen during operation planning.
Chelyabinck and Ekaterinburg teams were splitted again. Local agents were tasked to guard the portal while Ekaterinburg team rushed 40 kms south to move the shard there, to the small town of Yuzhnouralsk. When split, Ekaterinburg team was underpowered to build the portal of the level required at once – they needed at least 2 hours playing flip cards.
In fact it turned to be 3 hours. The team was stopped by local highway patrol for routine check, but these several minutes were enough to be late for the next hop. And Novosibirsk agent could not wait on the transit portal anymore, leaving it shielded to the maximum but not really watched. Wish us luck now. Link back to Chelyabinsk and wait.
Finally the shard arrived to Yuzhnouralsk. Kicking around for 56 minutes – link to the neighboring portal – flip – upgrade – launchpad is ready… 3 hours late. One hour more to setup the shard on the launchpad. Luckily, transit portal is still there, no attacks, no Resistance activity. Now Ekaterinburg team links there, controls shard departure and minutes later link from Irkutsk lands on transit portal. No resistance. Why? We’re out of time, they could have intercepted it in Chelyabinsk and Novosibirsk, they could build blockers. Are we that lucky? Not really. There was an ambush.Ambush
11 of December, Siberian shards collider was working at full power sending 4 shards in a single package between Yakutsk and Severobaikalsk in random time periods. This very night they were transported to Yakutsk and then Churapcha 170 kms away. Irkutsk team was busy receiving the late shard #3 from Ural, Novosibirsk was asleep already.
At 0600 Yakutsk time Resistance agent @Toxyd himself surfaced in Churapcha at the portal storing 4 shards and linked back to Yakutsk surroundings. Later he told he was there for 3 days waiting for the shards to come. But he was a lone wolf there.
Yakutsk team was not ready to intercept and the next hour all 4 shards moved to Irkutsk, where the link to Tomsk was established in minutes. Resistance was planning to steal 4 shards while we were moving another one. Both operations were running at the same time – see the map with links spreading opposite direction through Siberia. 4 shards were to come to Tomsk by 0900 local time.
But this was not to be.
Who knows, was it a sudden XM blast to awake our agents in Irkutsk at 0700 and make them look at the logs the very moment when the link from Yakutsk was established? They were waiting for the shard #3 arrival and they were told to have a rest for 3 hours until Ekaterinburg team readied the launchpad. Anyhow, Tomsk team was alerted in the next few minutes and Irkutsk agents were driving to the transit portals.
It was 0858 – 2 minutes prior to the hop – when Tomsk team destroyed the transport link. Same minute Irkutsk team was establishing defensive blockers. Seems, Resistance have not had far going plans – they just wanted to steal the package. But we could not risk anymore. 2 hours later Irkutsk team transferred both intercepted package and shard #3 to Severobaikalsk, 5 shards in the same town. Homecoming was to happen today or possibly never.Homecoming
December 11, 0520 Moscow time, after scrolling through the Enlightened HQ chat, hours full of adrenaline, I’ve took my next coffee mug and pinged for Brandon Downey, telling him: “Today”. Five hangouts open, we were estimating timing to move all five shards. Because there’s no such thing as ‘today’ when you deal with date change line. It’s yesterday in California and tomorrow in Magadan – time travel in action. We were to choose an hour to make it, operating UTC times.
There was a plan and there was a solid document behind this plan – links estimations, possible portal options and tracks codenamed and readied. Precise links traces and killsheets for each of the variants. Times to raise Magadan portal to appropriate level. Blockers estimation and counteraction plan – #Team9
agent is landing in Petropavlovsk in the next few hours loaded to perform a full city cleanup when needed. He was also given VRLA passcode to create fake launchpad which seemed like transit point to send shards to San Francisco. #CrazyRussians
were determined to use most precious VRLAs for distraction only – you may see this fake launchpad on the screenshot of the longest link. And our agent was determined enough to act immediately on arrival, after 11 hours flight – jet lag included.
This was plan A – meticulous and sublime. It was set for Thursday (in US), and we were to shift it for Tuesday. US team has got the choice of the portal not to mess with blockers cleanup. They have had keys and assumingly they could raise the portal to L8 fast, while our Magadan team required 3 hours or more to do that. Weapon is armed – just pull the trigger. Just choose the time – and the time is today.
There were also plans B, C and D – different trajectories, splitting shards, distraction operations etc. But they were not polished enough. The main question was how much it will take to @Toxyd to get to the transit portal from Yakutsk. It was estimated that it will take more than an hour, but just a scratch more. However, this was our best plan and we decided to stick with it despite the possible risk of disruption. We knew that Resistance could only try to interfere and have no solid plan where to actually move the shards package. So, we speculated, on the long run we will anyhow succeed. Today.
Next few hours we were synchronizing Yakutsk, Magadan and San Francisco teams. Different timezones and different dates – solid planning, but never tried before. We have not even tried colliding 5 shards, nobody tried 6380 kms links, but everything needs to happen for the first time. Failure is not an option.
Homecoming was initiated at 2000 Yakutsk time, 1400 Moscow time, 0200 in San Francisco. Spread of links flew from Yakutsk surroundings towards Severobaikalsk to collect all 5 shards and it was successful. For the first time 5 shards were joined on a single portal. Severobaikalsk shard colliding lab said goodbye to them and eliminated the links. Magadan team was to get into position in 20 minutes, and US team was driving to the Moss Beach to receive the package. International voice comm channel was online to coordinate our joint efforts.
At 2110 Magadan time local team started to clear the way, very cautiously, not to attract attention. This point has never appeared before in our plans and we wanted it to stay secret as long as possible – nobody knew where we will send the package. 2130 Magadan time the team was assembled and moved to the small town of Ola 37 kms away from the city, safe time margin if Resistance will rush there after seeing the link. They have arrived at 2230.
Magadan link was established at 2255 local time, both parties ready to defend their endpoints. Same time #Team9
agent @Ilerien started destroying possible blockers hosting portals in Petropavlovsk (sitrep here: http://goo.gl/E593xW
). He was tasked to use Resistance launchpad detected in the city to raise our own launchpad packed with VRLAs for distraction.
At 2100 Yakutsk time all 5 shards departed to Magadan for the final hop of their long way across Siberia. Resistance agent @Toxyd arrived to the shards transit portal in Yakutsk at 2104 – now we knew what the scratch for this hour drive is. He was welcomed by Yakutsk team and was so good to destroy the link sparing ADA for them.
Now US team could link to Magadan. It was unforgettable to see the longest link flying all the way across the Pacific. 2315 in Magadan, 1515 in Moscow, 0315 in SF – countdown commencing. Now waiting and defending.
It was Siberian midnight when 5 shards travelled to USA in the single package. 5 minutes later Magadan team destroyed this longest link in Ingress history. Mission accomplished for Russia – it has just started for SF. Magadan team was heading home. Yakutsk agents were about to share some beer with their Resistance opponent. Severobaikalsk lab was closing for the night. Irkutsk team was celebrating. Novosibirsk could sleep for a while after this nervous night. Ekaterinburg was waking up in the evening to hear the enlightening news. Baku team was heading back home from work. Moscow HQ – exhausted but victorious – was thinking on a day to have a party. Today. It’s over.Aftermath
You know the rest, don’t you? San Francisco team is yet to tell their story of elegantly carving through the city to deliver the package to Cupid’s Span in the next two hours. There will be stories of collecting 3 more shards from US, Asia and Australia. This was a time of really global effort with many teams around the world acting as a whole for the largest joint operation in Ingress history. The most epic achievement.
“That’s one small link for the Enlightened…” – said Brandon when this longest link was established from California to Magadan. And I responded: “Yeah, we choose to go to the Moon and do the other things.” I was quoting JFK speech. This quote was not complete. It ends with the words:“Not because they are easy. But because they are hard.”
Last hours of Homecoming audio: https://soundcloud.com/vitaly-kabernik/homecoming-mixdownParticipants:Ekaterinburg team:
@grundegShards intercept emergency response Irkutsk:
@region38Shards intercept emergency response Tomsk:
@jedaineco #Team9 detachment in Petropavlovsk:
@IlerienUS shards receiving party at Moss Beach:
@tertiaryMoscow Enlightened HQ:
@Slnet #ingress #ingressreport #sitrepingress #sitrep #ingressenlightened #ingressenlightenedrussia +Anne Beuttenmüller +Joe Philley +Brandon Badger +Brandon Downey +John Hanke