I've calmed down a little about yesterday's Epithal encounter. A little. Okay, not really, because nothing's changed. It's just best not to dwell too much on it. An evening spent blowing the crap out of Sleepers would probably offer some light relief, though, so with glorious leader Fin available and no incoming wormholes, we prepare a small fleet to fend off the indigenous population.
Once again I board a Golem marauder, but screw torpedoes. I'm switching to cruise missiles this time. Don't get me wrong, I much prefer the involvement in maintaining range on Sleepers that naturally engage us from further out than torpedoes hit, it's just that there are other circumstances to take in to account. Mostly, the vulnerability of the marauder, particularly when in bastion mode.
Nothing much changes between a torpedo Golem in bastion mode and a cruise missile Golem in bastion mode, apart from the stupidly long, order-of-magnitude greater range of the cruise missiles. It is this increased range that I want to exploit, naturally, but not for the range itself. Rather, the range lets me keep the Golem in a less risky location within the anomalies.
The torpedo Golem has to be close to the Sleepers, which puts it close to either structures within the anomaly or wrecks of other Sleepers. This makes it easy for an ambushing tackler to get close to the marauder, prior to a fleet warping in for the kill. Warping the Golem in to the anomaly from an arbitrary direction and keeping it sat well over a hundred kilometres from any wreck or structure, on the other hand, significantly mitigates the risk from proximity.
Mitigates, not militates against. Bastion mode still immobilises the ship for a minute at a time, which keeps the marauder an attractive target, as one that can't immediately move when threatened. But we do what we can, and early detection of new signatures combined with an awkward positioning of the Golem should go some way in to keeping it safe from hostile intruders. That, at least, is my reasoning.
So off with the torpedo launchers, on with the cruise missile launchers. We apparently don't have a decent stock of expensive cruise missiles, standard ones will have to do, but the damage should be consistently applied between waves, with no intra-site positioning required. My main concern is with how slow they'll cycle, but I think that is more a reaction to using low-quality launchers previously. Now that I can use the Tech II variants I am hoping I won't be frustrated. Let's see.
In to the first anomaly, with Fin besides me in a Tengu strategic cruiser, and in to bastion mode. Probably. I've managed to warp us in to a blinding gas cloud. Still, activate the launchers and hope the missiles can find their way to the target. The Sleepers won't know what's hitting them. Yeah, they're not quite as satisfying or devastating as torpedoes, but the damage is decent, the range projection is stupidly good, and not having to gauge micro jumps certainly saves some aggravation. One wave goes down, just select a new battleship as a target from the new wave and continue shooting.
It's almost relaxing, like fishing in space. Simple target selection, my picking off the battleships as Fin's Tengu works on the smaller ships, and checking the discovery and directional scanners. No moving required, no following, just sitting and shooting. The lack of messing around gives me time to once again ponder on the relative squishiness of the first wave of battleships. Whether there is a reduction in mutual remote repairs between the Sleepers, or they are a kind of bait to lure us in to the stronger second wave, I can't say. Either way, it's an easy pair of kills.
Three anomalies cleared already. This is going smoothly and efficiently, I have to say. I'm glad I've experienced the torpedo Golem too, but sticking the marauder in bastion mode far out of the site does seem a more sensible option, one that requires the range of cruise missiles. Four, five, and we even have time for a sixth, pretty much clearing our system of profit. Well, nearly.
Swapping the combat ships for Noctis salvagers does the clearing up, leaving behind them a much tidier system to bring back a healthy collection of loot and salvage. Once we get all of this out to empire space to sell it will all pad our wallet with another half-a-billion ISK. That's a good result of a quiet evening, and should help fund some future foolish adventures.