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Sitrep - Operation: A Series of Tubes

On the sub-freezing December 3rd morning, agents of Alaskan Ingress community   #EnlightenedAK  awoke to a blue link blocking most of the North American west coast.   #Resistance  agents had linked Fairbanks Alaska, to the remote town of Iliamna, Alaska. In addition a larger link using a very rare link amp ran from Iliamna to Lompoc in southern California.  After collaborating with the global   #Enlightened     community, it was determined that the California termination point was completely inaccessible. If the link was going to come down, it was up to us.

The agents of EnlightenedAK sprang to action. Immediately they attempted to locate someone who could make the trip to a small town that was accessible only by bush plane.  Ingress is a way of life. However, agents still have to manage careers.  Finding that special agent meant putting life on hold at the drop of a hat. Enlightened agent akpyro volunteered to go. However, his tight schedule required that he return the same day. The prospect of being stuck in the Alaskan bush during the winter prevented him from making the trip.  Volunteers were in no short supply despite the peril. Alaskan’s are aware of the danger present in this area. The late Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens lost his life when his plane crashed in this remote stretch of tundra a little over two years ago. It was agent Artio who ultimately was selected for the honor. We had our agent, but still no means of transportation.

Getting to Iliamna proved to be no easy task. Due to daylight and weather issues, flights to Iliamna were limited to one way - per day. This meant the traveling agent would have to stay the night in a small town with few options for lodging.  Artio asserted that she would make the trip, “come what may”. Eventually, we were able to locate a small air service that had availability. The only challenge was, like the other companies, they would only make one trip a day with the plane being grounded overnight in Iliamna.

It was then that   #Ingress  was explained to airline service in a hope of pitching a passionate plea for a global cause with the eyes of over half a million people watching.  During the explanation and conversation the flight spokesperson from the flight service got excited and a miracle happened. By chance, they were scheduled to fly to a nearby community to pick a passenger up earlier in the day. They agreed to put us on the ground for about a half an hour in Iliamna with the other passenger in toe and then return to Anchorage for a single day round trip. We had our transportation.  Financial and moral support came pouring in from around the globe from other Enlightened agents and the trip was booked. 

On December 4th, the weather forecast looked bleak. Freezing rain warnings were in effect. In Alaska where there are very few roads connecting cities and towns we depend on the bush plane. Large planes have the ability to fly in the worst of weather. Small planes cannot. There was a chance that the weather would thwart and delay our efforts. Nevertheless, Artio arrived at Merrill Field at the arranged time. Immediately she found the pilot and staff were huddled discussing the flight. The exuberant discussions were not centered around the weather as it probably should have. Instead, the conversation was focused on Ingress and how excited they were to be part of the global action. The pilot assured Artio that the flight would take place. The pilot went so far as to offer to drive her to the portal once they landed ensure that she would accomplish the mission successfully. Artio and the pilot loaded up and took off. Weather be damned.

Ninety minutes later they landed at the Iliamna airport. The portal was in sight. Only one small unknown remained. Despite intensive research indicating that there was at least 2G cell service in the area, it was unknown if Artio would be able to get a GPS lock and if the data connection would be useable. Artio nervously launched the Ingress scanner app and stared at the static on the scanner which mimicked the snow and ice falling around in an almost taunting manor. As she waited for a GPS signal Artio contacted her team at the operation’s headquarters. Unfortunately, it was taking too much time for the GPS to lock. With every second ticking away it eroded the remaining takeoff window.  Eventually the pilot warned her that he could only give her a few more minutes. The ice was refreezing on the runway which could possibly prevent them from taking off.  Then it happened - her GPS had a lock and she had a data connection. Shear moments remained. Armed with a Jarvis virus she deployed it not wanting to waste time with taking it down using XMPs and risk the Resistance recharging it - or worse, losing GPS again. The scanner flashed and before her frozen face, the portal turned green - the links were down. The mission was a great success from an Ingress standpoint. Now the plane had to successfully take off. The Pilot said, "If we don't leave soon, we're not going to be able to. I'm not 100% sure we'll make it off the runway now, but we'll try". With almost no time remaining in their weather window they were able to take off. Because of the haste of their departure agent Atrio had no time to revel in her achievement or read the reaction from both factions. The flight time back to Anchorage was just under 2 hours and she returned home safely as the sun was setting on a victorious Enlightened mission. 

Ingress continues to surprise all of us with what individually and collectively we are able to accomplish. The global community’s determination and faith in the entire   #13Magnus    and   #shard    game has been exciting to be a part of. The agents from the EnlightenedAK community want to express their gratitude to the global Enlightened community. With very little time to plan the mission a ragtag bunch of frozen agents developed a solution to an urgent global need. The support worldwide from the Enlightened community shocked and humbled us. Thank you for your support.

Special thanks and Acknowledgements to:
+Andrew Krug  +Adam Siegel  +Terry Stout  +Sean Dufurrena  +James Pine +Justin Presler +Charlie Presler +Ryan Cubillas +John Revis +Jacob Stefan +EF Presler +Newly McCoin special agents whose contributions really made this mission a success.

Additional acknowledgements:
+Ingress +Niantic Project +Joe Philley +Brian Rose +Brandon Badger +John Hanke  +Anne Beuttenmüller  #ingressreport   #sitrepingress   #sitrep  
Samuel K. Drayton Liquid Black's profile photoEric Darchis's profile photoSenan Musayev's profile photoBrian - (Brizzow)'s profile photo
Additional thanks to Agents: datawizard, SecretAsianMan, LacedUp
Bunny Joe,  iRefugee, Thrakazog, McChelsea, Denoche, the Southern California Enlightened and the DMV Enlightend!
To quote John "Best. Sitrep. Ever." Seriously you all amazing work! 
+Snake Plissken it might be worth noting (for out of state readers) that sunrise is at roughly 10:00am and sunset is around 4:20pm, and that these small planes can only fly during these hours. This, combined with the weather issues made this an awesome achievement.
Word John. Amazing sit rep snake, so proud to be a part of this tight community. I witnessed this entire operation from sprouting idea to resounding success and stand in awe of snake's (+Snake Plissken) leadership and driving force, Artio's courageous journey and triumph, and how our local agents and global enlightened worked together to make this happen.

It should also be noted that the night before, ENL L8 agent akpyro aka +maxwell edison travelled from Anchorage to Fairbanks, AK and together with Fairbanks ENL agent Rizme aka +darrell allen successfully destroyed the resistance portal linking both to Iliamna and Wasilla, AK, both very long blocking links in their own right.

Love this team! #EnlightenedAK #Enlightened 
Super nice pilot, he was all about learning the game. But,like a true bush pilot, did not have a smartphone/cellphone....
Well done ;-)
Wrong team but the effort displayed is worthy of massive respect :-) 
Fantastic story. THIS Is why Ingress has kept my attention for so long, stories like this. Great job, all agents involved. 
Amazing work. This is what makes this game awesome. And this is why spoofers such because of the hard work us legit players put in to make things happen. I'm with the Resistance but I'm an Ingress player first, so hats off to you guys who made this happen! 
Yep, I'd have to give kudos for the amazing work that went into this by those involved. Great job!
Absolutely Epic!! Great job!!
I am ridiculously proud to be part of the Enlightened because of stories like this one. All of you have a lot to be proud of here. Well done!
Now that's dedication.  Makes me feel terrible for the times where I won't even cross the street to get in range of a portal...  Congrats on a successful and impressive operation !
Tri Le
AMAZING WORK! So very proud of our team!
You all rock so freaking hard this is awesome
Jenn B
Awesome job you guys. I had no clue when I started playing Ingress that some 8 months later I would be sending cash to someone I didn't know so they could take a crazy airplane trip to an airport I had never heard of, or that I would be so happy that all that went down. Proud to be a member of this awesome team!
Fantastic. Amazing work. Respect.
Much respect to anyone willing to Ingress in AK this time of year, and infinite respect for someone who would go to these lengths. 
+Teagan Presler Needs to be added to the acknowledgments. When Wonder Woman catches the bank robbers, you list her in the Special Thanks. 👍👏
James G
Happy to help. Even happier that you and the pilot returned safely.
Very good work, even though I'm sad to see our faction's link go down :)
+Matthew Sill "small planes" can fly at all hours. Duty day (available for flight) is often from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.
+Steven Swaks not in winter. Sure they CAN fly, but safely? With Alaskan winter weather being what it is you don't mess with possibilities. Not safe, not flying. Edit: at least for charters. Private pilots fly in all kinds of wearer
Well, I was one of those pilots with 3000h of Alaska time (Bethel area), All the companies flew with a first flight around 8:30 am, last flight around 4:30 pm departure, year long.
+Steven Swaks interesting. I have been a passenger on quite a few flights of this type out the chain and around Kodiak island. My understanding was that they were restricted to VFR flight, but perhaps it was an insurance or safety guideline rather than a hard rule.

Regardless, I was just trying to emphasize that it wasn't a simple trip.
+Matthew Sill Smaller planes like the 206 or 207 are mostly VFR (aside from very few freighter exceptions) and cannot take paying passengers (Part 135) under IFR. Now VFR does not mean much! In controlled airspace we could get away with one mile visibility (special VFR) which we used and abused. In uncontrolled airspace, which is most of the area around Bethel, we flew down to 500' AGL(compliment of the Capstone GPS) with "reduced" visibility. 

Winter flying was very stressful as it was a lot harder to spot the weather until we ran into it! 

Those pictures were great, and that flight could easily become challenging as they had to deal with hills.

AK has lost another plane, a C208, last Friday, about 45 minutes away from Bethel. 4 people passed away including the pilot and a baby. Sad deal. 

Take good care.
You might be on the wrong side, but this is a fantastic story. Congratulations to everyone involved. 
Pete VR
With every second ticking away eroding the take off window...we stopped and posed for a couple of pictures.

Well written yarn. Nice outcome regardless. 
+Colin Angus I would like to see that as well, unfortunately it doesn't exist. Great job to everyone involved! Truly amazing. 
What service did you use? They deserve recognition! 
Epic, what a trek - this makes my stumbling around a cliff-top in rain, wind and darkness to claim a lighthouse seem easy by comparison.  Awesome achievement.
I'm a resistant but I have to grant you that this was one hell of single-handed operation.
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