Sleepers meet the new Guardian

3rd February 2010 – 5.58 pm

Our new logistics pilot is thrown in to an anomaly for some experience in the Guardian. Luckily, he's not by himself, with my Guardian for support and a couple of battleships to take care of the Sleepers. Anomalies are the least challenging of Sleeper combat sites, but still require attention and focus to ensure our fleet's survival. The first task upon warping in to the site is to get the Guardians twinned together. There is a moment of consternation after I lock on to the second Guardian, begin the energy transfers and start pre-emptively repairing the Scorpion, when my capacitor runs dry. It turns out only to be the lag induced from dropping out of warp preventing the other Guardian locking on to me in time. Once the logistic ships are twinned, systems run smoothly.

Because it is the pilot's first active engagement in a Guardian I try to keep the operation simple. Both transfer arrays exchange energy between the two ships constantly, and 'safety' reppers are maintained, one each on the Guardian and Scorpion. Perhaps Sleepers really don't like the jamming ECM it generates, preventing them from locking on to us, or they find its pilot a bit too smug, but the Scorpion certainly tends to take a beating. And being Caldari in design it doesn't have a strong armour tank, so it needs all the help it can get from our reppers. And without both Guardians the fleet is ineffective, hence that safety repper on each of us. Unfortunately, I make a mistake.

The Megathron in the fleet is a little hungry for capacitor, and occasionally asks for a few cycles from our transfer modules to keep his guns firing. The pilot also needs to get within optimal range of his guns relative to the Sleepers, so he checks with us to find out the maximum range of the energy transfer modules. But instead of calling up the datasheet for the fitted module I accidentally put the module off-line. That isn't good. Whilst it is possible to take a module off-line anywhere, putting it back on-line away from a fitting station can be difficult. I feel clumsy, but hopeful. The limiting factor of bringing a module on-line in the field is having enough energy in the ship's capacitor, and Guardians are designed to supply ships with large amounts of energy. A handful of transfer cycles pass, and my capacitor blinks to full for a moment. Before the reppers or my own transfer array cycles again, draining the capacitor from full, I punch the control to get the second array back on-line in time. All systems are functioning again.

The anomaly is cleared without any more drama, both Guardians working together and the battleships happily destroying the Sleeper infestation, and we warp to a second anomaly. Having smaller hulls, the logistic ships reach the next site first as usual. The Sleeper battleship waiting for us knocks my shields down to nothing in one shot and starts scraping away at my armour. My Guardian companion has me covered, though, repairing any and all damage inflicted whilst the rest of our fleet warps in to return fire. Despite the competence of the new logistics pilot, it is awfully peculiar not having Fin in the other ship. There is a certain element of mutual understanding and trust that is built up over many months of working closely together, and although I trust my new Guardian pilot to do his best the rapport isn't quite the same without my normal wingman. My curious unease is quelled by how well the anomalies are being run, with the twin Guardians operating smoothly throughout.

Warping to the third site, there is a spike of incoming fire before the Scorpion's ECM kicks in, taking seven large remote armour repair modules to keep the Megathron afloat. If I were more cynical I may think the Scorpion pilot deliberately breaks jams occasionally, to remind us how brilliant he is. Then again, he reminds us in other ways occasionally. Taking time to clear all the lovely salvage from the previous anomalies, after receiving a peculiar traffic advisory warning out in w-space, he calls a general command during our approach to the next site. 'Make sure hardeners are on', he starts, ensuring the fleet have their tanks working, 'and rep me fast'.

On dropping out of warp, instead of reaching an anomaly we find ourselves in empty space. 'Do you still need repping, sir?' He doesn't respond, and even breaks his own orders by warping the fleet elsewhere, thus dropping my target lock on him and disengaging my reppers. But at least when we next come out of warp we are back in a Sleeper-filled anomaly, and he starts getting shot as desired. I could have just set my drones on him. Another fun salvaging effort ends the evening and we head back to the tower. With the evening's profits paid out quickly I even reach a new milestone, finally exceeding 1 billion ISK in cash! I should buy something to celebrate.

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