My Debrief of a Geeky Mission

This is what I love about LFN fans… zany fun and boundless creativity wrapped up in compassion and kindness. This is why there was a successful convention 20 years later, and this is yet another reason why LFN remains a special period in my life. Congratulations to all involved, and a very happy birthday to you, Heather. I hope you enjoy the book.” -Christopher Heyn

*Disclaimer: Code Names of my mission team are used due to protection , but mostly strictly for fun.

For those who know of me, know of two things; my passion for film and my fandom of La Femme Nikita. As I stated in previous blogs, I got to experience a once in a lifetime event in Toronto earlier this summer to meet half the cast and help volunteer for the event. What I didn’t realize, is what ridiculous friends I would make and bring home with me from the convention.

My 31st birthday was and wasn’t recently; it was earlier this summer on June 6th. A week after a lot of us came home from the Reunion Convention in Toronto (my personal birthday gift to myself this year). I met few and very amazing individuals, as I also reunited with Maxine and a few of the ladies of the Official Roy Dupuis Fan Club during this trip. The memories are solid, however, I would have never imagine the wits and ends my new friends would go to put together a little adventure for me in order to receive a very special birthday present and a long winded birthday.

 So, what had happened was, behind my back, a couple of my LFN friends decided to team up to buy me one of Chris’s books, “Inside Section One,” due to my passion for TV, film, and writing in general. However, they wanted to make me WORK for the damn book and send me on a scavenger hunt that would take me “around the world.” It wasn’t just a scavenger hunt, it was a mission directed from Nikita. The objective of the mission was this, SURPRISE! The directory was taking down from digital encryption and transferred to hard copy, in result of multiple attempts of Red Cell stealing the damn directory again. I had to “travel” around the world and warn my team of operatives to execute Omega Protocol and go dark until instructed otherwise. In reality, my travels were teleported through messenger, tipping off each operative.

Mind you, I don’t do a whole lot of role playing, since my life is already 3-Dimensional as is, however with a little nudge from The Accountant and my team leader, Kendra, I gave in, and the mission was underway. Another note for you all, this scavenger hunt/mission/role play started on June 15 and finished on June 25! Here are the hints that came up for my travel log:

  1.   First hint to start me off was going to Melbourne, and connect with codename: Katiebug and tell her to execute Omega Protocol.
  2. Katiebug then sent me the hint, “give a message to the Bulgarian, by La Brea Tar Pits.” That hint sent me to codename: Bulgarian Lass.
  3. Once identity was verified, Bulgarian Lass cussed at me in her native tongue after giving me the hint, “What about Sag Harbor?” My first reaction was, what the hell is that?? Eventually the hint led me to a New York operative, which we don’t have a cool codename for yet. LOL!
  4. The fourth hint from the NY operative was, “I hear the band likes Nascar Hall of Famers, but they’re scared of the judge.” LOL! I pinned it down to N.C., but I knew of two operatives from NC. I sent a message to the first one, but within two minutes, I told her, “disregard.” I then remembered who codename: Judge Judy was.  
  5. After succeeding with the Judge Judy factor, she then sent me a hilarious, but long ass hint. “New assignment from Ops has me working on a TV show called ‘Judge Judy’ to infiltrate the networks. Agenda currently unknown…”

    That’s when the banter was taken a step further, “POGUE! YOU NEED TO COME TO ORDER OR I’LL FIND YOU IN CONTEMPT!” LOL! After she calmed Pogue down, she sent me back to our “b” channel to wait further instructions from ‘Nikita’. I then made my way back to “b” channel, where Nikita displayed a new hint.

  6. This next hint sent me out to Venezuela with a code to decrypt and a photo of the largest waterfalls in their country. That’s when I knew I found codename: LatinChica.
  7. After LatinChica, I would head to Washington State to an operative who goes by the codename: The Accountant. No, I am not talking Ben Affleck movie lingo.
  8. From there, The Accountant, sent me the hint, “There’s an operative who bounces a signal off Virginia. Their substation shares my coast.” 
  9. That hint led me to the operative, Valencia. Once I verified my identity and sent her to execute the Omega Protocol, she sent me back to NC to deal with the feds. LOL!
  10. I guess I was too good of an operative, because the last operative (*cough*The Fed*cough*) had me hanging for like two to three days, purposely. My retaliation, you may ask? I sacrificed her and fed her to Red Cell and went ahead with my team leader to head to the cargo plane to intercept the directory.

The reality of my next step to work towards my gifts, the cargo plane ended up to be another escape room for me and Kendra to piece together and get out. As I went behind the cargo boxes, an envelope dropped into my hands. It turned out to be a couple of the pieces of the extra goodies that Chris sent to everyone who bought the book during this time around! Even though I was distracted momentarily, Kendra and I managed to get out of the cargo bay of the plane with twenty minutes to spare. We were trained well! LOL! However, my mission wasn’t done. Saturday, I had another piece of the puzzle awaiting in my mailbox to reveal another essential of the gift. When I put everything together, I didn’t hesitate to call Kendra to demand my answer… “YOU GOT ME CHRIS’S BOOK, DIDN’T YOU!?!?”

As usual, Kendra had a good laugh over the phone and she finally explained the whole ordeal of putting the mission together and her and Jennifer both assisted in buying me the book for my birthday. She knew I was catching on quick with the scavenger hunt, but she gave me each piece of the puzzle separately just to keep me second guessing myself. Let me just say, it fucking worked.
Today, as she came over to have lunch and watch one of Roy’s more ‘current’ films, “Cyanure”, she finally delivered my copy of “Inside Section One” which will be a good tool for me for further education with the film industry and how film and TV projects are put together.

Let me tell you a small secret, I have had NOBODY in my life that went through all of this planning to feed my geekiness, and to give me a gift that I would cherish for life. My life is nowhere easy for me. I found Kendra has certainly earned a place in my “chosen” family here in Madison, and I am super blessed that ReCon seriously brought us together to cherish so many memories together already!! I just hope someday I can provide such amazingness creativity to celebrate her life and our friendship!!

Also, I am blessed for the individuals who played their part in this game. It was soooooooooo perfect and fun with everyone involved!!!! All the clues and banter was priceless between me and those involved. I just hope the Bulgarian Lass can teach me a few words in her native tongue. Last, but surely not least, thank you Chris for giving us this opportunity for a crazy birthday ride that lasted ten damn days with these friends!

My suggestion is… Add the Solar Eclipse to your bucket list.

Eclipse Shadow Art

It’s hard to even describe in words. When folks who are unfamiliar with phenomenons are focused on the question, “How or why is the solar eclipse such a big deal?” or the bitter citizens who barely grasp any unique opportunities in life and live slowly. How would you respond? Do you react based on emotions, or do you sit back and try to comprehend the messages prior to your response?

Well, this is my response. If you missed the eclipse, I HIGHLY suggest you plan to witness the phenomenon in 2024. Plan now! Yeah, you can watch the eclipse from the comfort of your home and in front of the damn TV, but you won’t ever be able to experience the feelings that the solar eclipse gives this atmosphere. Especially when it emerges to darkness in the mid of day. There is an effect in the environment that the eclipse reveals, that no other abnormality event does.

Not even the highest resolution of live streaming nor photography can really emphasis the emotions behind the two minutes and a few seconds of change in this experience.You witness animals react differently, even us humans, get some type of sensation. For me, it was a calming sensation in the midst of darkness. The beauty that is captured with the moon’s moment placed in front of the sun is unspeakable. It is just another part of evidence that we are all connected, not just with one another, but with the rest of the universe.

Now on to my road trip story…

Lincoln Memorial Bridge

My friend and I drove down Sunday afternoon. Mind you we got all the way to Marion, IL in 6.5 hours that night. That’s about 370 miles from where I live. Just remember that minor fact. We were some of the crazy solar eclipse road trippers that planned this less than a month out of the event. So, we packed only our necessities, and just camp out at a truck stop for the night. 

When we got to our destination, it was packed. There was no where to park at the truck stop due to liked minds traveling down to this event. It took about 30 minutes for us to find a spot, so we could set up our sleeping quarters in the Subaru. It surely was summer down in Southern, IL. We had to crack open the windows and the sun roof to get air into the vehicle. It wasn’t too comfortable early on the night, but it was interesting to just sit there, listen, and observe the atmosphere that was created by the curious population, world-wide. You couldn’t help, but embark the excitement that everyone else was inkling. 

As we woke in the morning, you can just sense the summer heat that was creeping in to challenge our patience. The weather wasn’t the first thing we noticed; we noticed all the vehicle swap outs from those who were sleeping along with us when we went to bed, to those who were currently sleeping next to us as we woke up. One of those individuals was a sweet elder lady named Mapie, but ‘Map’ for short. She had an accent, but we failed to ask about her background. She drove down from Chicago during the late hours of night. My friend did most of the talking with her, since I am not a huge morning person and when it comes to meeting new people, I am a bit shy and reserved. Shocking, I know.

The Vault Cafe

After the bit of sharing road trip stories and the advice she shared with her experience of road tripping across America, my friend and I adventure to a small local joint called, “The Vault Cafe.” The people of Marion turned their old bank into a cute and hot brunch spot for locals. For a minute, I felt I was on “Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives” with Guy Fieri while finding this delicious and unique spot. The food was delicious and filling, and the prices were just right. The hospitality from the employees was just on point. I gave them a five star review! So in 2024, if you are planning for the next eclipse, look for this spot!

After we got done eating, we headed to Ray Fosse Park in Marion. The priority was to find shade, because the forecast was calling for a heat index of 100-105 degrees. So shade and drinking our beverages were a priority while we patiently wait for the eclipse. We got to the park about 10-1030am, with a few other participants. Everyone was friendly regarding conversations, or just sharing a smile with one another. It’s like we all found more individuals that belonged in our ‘love for Science’ tribe across the states. I set up my camera and just waited. 

Camera shot through solar glasses

The eclipse started roughly at noon. It was the start of a twilight zone. The start to the total eclipse seemed rather quickly, while the two minutes and some change of the total eclipse felt completely in the moment. Time had stood still. It was beyond gorgeous and a calming effect on my half during the totality. Darkness of day, and I had never felt so carefree in my life. My soul, mind, and body just embraced the mystic muse. If I could rewind back in time, this is surely an experience I’d love to repeat. Like I said, words can’t really explain the experience, no matter how long I drag this post out.

The traffic was extremely painful in the first 170 miles driving home, as it took us 6.5 hours to go only that amount of miles. With music, the Wazer app to chat and joke with other Wazers on the road, and the locals waving at us from off the Interstate, while we participated in the parade of traffic moving like molasses, I can’t help, but be proud and present a smile on my face for having the courage to find myself in the middle of the celebration and beautiful chaos of this once in a lifetime opportunity! Road rage had to wait another day.

This is a trip I’ll never forget and I plan to do it again in 2024, but better prepared. This event has helped remind me, no matter how big or small choices may be in life, live it with no fear and with all the passions in your life. That is where your happiness resides. Even if the smallest moments can bring people together, embark on it, don’t try to crumble the moment. Remember, it’s a moment of togetherness, but it’s also temporary. Let the people have that precious moment. Live life with the pride and love that comes from within. Don’t let negativity dictate your life or make you feel bad. As long as you aren’t harming anyone or yourself, physically, emotionally, or mentally, do you!