It is six thirty when I wake up. There’s a silicone mask attached to my face which is in turn, attached to a machine that helps me sleep at night. I blink a few times and do a short assessment.
I feel like I slept, which is remarkable, even with the CPAP.
I stretch a bit, cracking my neck and turning off the machine. I get up and remove the silicone mask and walk over to the bathroom. I start hot water in the sink and then wash the mask out with some hot water and baby shampoo. I shake the bottle and it’s almost empty.
I think amazon is already sending me another two bottles, so I don’t worry about it. It’s amazing how much of this stuff I go through in a month. I place the mask on the side of the sink to dry, then return to the bedroom to grab the humidifier chamber. I toss out the water in the bathroom sink and place the chamber on its side to dry.
I get dressed, and check the weather. Not too cold, but foggy.
I think I’m ready, so I activate my scanner. ADA’s voice, slightly clipped and yet familiar comes through loud and clear.
“Lock on established.”
“Downloading latest intel package.”
“Welcome back. It’s been 10 hours since your last login.”
“I was getting worried about you.”
There’s not a lot of activity. There’s a been a lot of turf changing hands over the last few nights, and my neighborhood was no exception. The late evening to early morning fighting that tends to characterize this battle has ended, both sides probably in bed for the next six hours or so. As I scan the Intel map, I see that someone has left me a present.
Two enemy Level 5 portals with less than 2K XM each. Almost all of the resonators are standing, just at extremely low levels of XM. It is icing on the cake that they are less than a klick from my house. I suppose that some of my comrades were already fairly high level and left this as a gift for others to take advantage of.
I get dressed and check my inventory. I’ve got a lot of Level 5 XMP bursters that I’ve been meaning to field test, and this looks like just the time to do so. It’s probablyÂ overkill, but I’ve got them to spare since I just made L5 two days ago.
As I walk out the door I feel the change in humidity on my face as the fog begins to lift. I put on my white earbuds and start walking towards the first portal.
It’s a nice day, and the fog doesn’t seem to affect my GPS lock. It’s a normally a fifteen minute walk to the first portal, but I make it in ten because I’m kind of excited. The second one is less than 40m away so its resonators overlap the first one.
I position myself in between the two portals, and select the level 5 XMP burster.
I hit the fire button.
There is the staccato sound of breaking glass as the first six resonators drop, right after another. I am elated. The L5s are way more powerful than the L4s I have been using. I reposition myself and it only takes one more to destroy the rest of the resonators.
The portals revert to neutral, showing up grey on my scanner.
I reposition myself and start dropping my higher level resonators, getting bonus AP for fully powering them up to L4. For good measure I drop a couple of portal shields for damage mitigation since I have the keys to these portals from previous hacks.
Once they are set, I hack them both and receive a couple of resonators and XMP bursters, as well as a portal shield for future use. I consider linking them but that makes them a bigger target. I can use them for now, to build up my inventory for a future assault downtown.
I hit faction chat on my scanner and see that the early risers are already busy on the National Mall, hitting the Hirschorn Sculpture Garden.
I haven’t been there in a long time, but it sounds like I’m due for a visit.
This is Ingress.
You may have also heard of it and have not gotten an invitation yet, and are frothing at the mouth to play it.
That was me for a while.
Then I got an invite, and then I rediscovered my city.
No, really. The first day, I was walking for four hours, I discovered and rediscovered places in Washington DC that I thought I had only imagined during a Freshman College Year Fever Dream.
Turns out, those places are real. Which is a great thing, because it means that my memory isn’t as faulty as I thought it was. Some of these things happened about twenty years ago, for instance, piling a dozen people into a Volkswagen golf in the middle of winter.
My experience with Ingress has been great. I’ve been wearing a pedometer, and watching my mileage. I’ve been walking about eight miles a day, where I normally average five or so. I feel like when the weather gets warmer, that average may go up. I find myself wandering, even when I have an errand to do. My normal routes are never a straight line because of the portals that are just a few hundred meters off from the paths well worn into my brain.
I know downtown DC better than I ever have in the last twenty years of living here, and my city is a lot smaller than I thought it was. I know it’s just a data mining app game, but Ingress really has opened my eyes to aspects of the city that I have been looking at, but not really seeing.
Ingress is in closed beta at the moment, but you can sign up for an invite at Ingress.com