Originally published on TheNerdistheWord July 2016
As a Niantic reaches incredible heights of popularity over the imergence of its most recent mobile game, its first location-based augmented reality endeavor, Ingress, has been undergoing a solid revival as new users join everyday. The mapping, stops, engine and functions of this game have been redeveloped and fine-tuned over years of strong activity to deliver an engrossing experience that feels practically real. Even still, international events, an in-depth plotline, large player-organized operations and daily battles wage on across the surface of the globe. Why not download Ingress, activate your scanner…and help us save the world?
DISCLAIMER: The author of this is an Ingress Enlightened Agent. All Ingress Enlightened or Resistance philosophies are open to interpretation. If you are jealous, write your own piece and we might publish it.
You are walking home following your usual path when a sudden realization hits you. It comes with a snap, like a rubber band hitting your cheek- the pain is real and you shut your eyes tightly for a moment, as new observations come into focus.
“What the heck am I doing?” you ask yourself, rubbing your temples.
You open your eyes again, and you see it!
A greyish, groggy shade of blue stretches across the landscape around you like an indelible sticky film. When did this happen? Why didn’t you notice it? You walk the streets around your home in disbelief; the blue light sweats out of all existing matter, goes through walls and enters the homes of unsuspecting neighbours. They swim through it, slothful, idle, their blank stares looking down. You try to stop a passing dog walker, try to reason with her, but she refuses to see the strange blue, she doesn’t want to hear about it, scampers off quickly. You wonder what can be done to reverse this as you start to walk aimlessly, any previously made humdrum plans forgotten.
As though summoned, a faint white glow calls out to you, like a murmur. You can see its mysterious light in the corner of your eye firstly, then manage to see it past a row of houses. Its luminosity can be seen between buildings, beyond fences. It takes you a while to find the park courtyard where it silently awaits. You wonder why you never bothered to explore the secret paths and wayward streets of your neighbourhood before. A little voice inside is pushing you to turn back…it feels like it’s the blue mass that is speaking to you: ‘Why not just go back home and accept this? You haven’t noticed until now, so it can’t be all that bad. Resist, it’s probably not even worth it. Let’s just go home.” Briskly walking on seems to shake off these doubts, and the urge to find the mysterious white light becomes more powerful…yet still, you feel almost drugged, your curiosity supressed.
You finally find it. It stands as tall as a building, the faint grey white light is oozing out from the ground surrounding a statue you have never bothered to really notice before. Your read the plaque and discover it is a monument raised to a nun who dedicated her life to working with orphaned children. She stands proudly, smiling, a hand on her heart. You reach out and touch her cold stone hand with your fingertips, and for a moment, you seem to connect with the memory, with the intentions and the zeal this woman left behind.
You hear footsteps behind you, a small group of people is approaching the statue, talking among themselves in a friendly manner. You turn to see them, and they see the confused look on your face.
“Are you feeling the XM?” One of them asks you nicely. When you don’t answer, they continue.
“It stands for Exotic Matter, there is still much we don’t know about it, but seems to emerge from places of importance, places of energy. Like this monument. We call them Portals.”
One of them asks if you have a smartphone, and if they can teach you how to activate a scanner so you can see the XM better. You follow their instructions and finally see a little marker on your screen where you stand, the white glow around the statue right in front of you, and the strange blue film, clearly not imagined, overlaid across the map.
“If you want to fight, you can activate these portals with your own power.”
Fight? You get a bit hung up on that word. What exactly do you need to do?
They show you that when you touched the statue earlier, the portal granted you with a weird looking item called a Resonator. Out of sheer instinct, you apply it within the portal, putting down with it your desire to dispel the oppressive blue energy.
The statue’s portal suddenly blooms with green light; a large beam rises like a tower into the sky. It shines through the park, bounces against the windows of nearby houses, flickers in the leaves of the trees. At the core of the portal, you see a faded silhouette unfold from a foetus position, they stretch out to their full height, arms extended and toes pointed.
“It’s me!” you exclaim, look at your new acquaintances in confusion. There stands a perfect reflection of you, bathed in green light.
“Welcome to the Enlightened!” You are told. “This is your first claimed portal, it will keep a sliver of your identity, your energy, for as long as we maintain and protect it. It is a beacon of knowledge, for those who want to keep an open mind to the mysteries of XM, and the changes it could incur for humanity.”
The speech is a bit cheesy but it does stir something within you, and you do feel a bit of an attachment towards your new portal. The green version of you gives you a little smile. Two words remain etched in your mind: Maintain and Protect.
The group comes a bit closer and each pulls out a resonator of their own; they seem more concentrated, more powerful. They attach another seven of the strange items to your portal, completing some sort of mosaic that seems to bolt down the bits of energy you gave it, solidifying it. You step back a bit, looking at the portal through your scanner, and again with your eyes; it’s beautiful.
Something is missing still. You want to free your home and the minds of your neighbours of the blue XM field applied upon it. You learn not only those portals must be claimed, but that enemy portals must also be taken down. Blue portals belong to the Resistance, the ones keeping everyone in a lull, wanting to protect humanity from change, afraid of evolution. With the help of your new teammates, you attack their portals and destroy their influence, dismantling the control they impose. Instead, you link three of your treasured green portals together creating an uplifting field, encouraging minds to be open to the future. Fields, like growing moss on a tree, multiply and spread across the landscape. You find yourself exploring further and further, finding new portals and discovering new paths.
You are an agent of the Enlightened; your new knowledge of XM has changed you forever. Everywhere you go from now on; you will feel the XM and seek ways of extending the territories of your faction. Of course, the Resistance agents attack continuously, trying to reverse your hard work and undo the effects of the enlightened light. As you learn to defend your portals by uniting with the rest of your faction… ‘you’ becomes a ‘we’.
We are the Enlightened and always will be.
We will roam the world and let wanderlust be the wind in our sails. We will climb to unexpected heights, visit the unseen below. We will eagerly visit the secret nooks where the best tea is served, solemnly, the forgotten parks where trees were planted in honor of good deeds, respectfully, the graveyards where the fallen rest. Without harming our environment and its ecosystems, we will travel in search of new natural wonders. The world is ours for the taking, so long as we are willing to fight for it.
The conflicts based around the discovery of XM wage on even as you read this. Join us! Bring your strength to the perpetual battle you have fought, beneath the surface, for your entire life.