Repping ain't easy

4th February 2010 – 5.32 pm

Another new pilot gets thrown in a Guardian logistics ship to accompany me. In a bid to make me more nervous, our small cadre of wormhole engineers can only field a fleet tonight if this new pilot dual-boxes to simultaneously fly a battleship. Whilst straight DPS superficially requires little focus beyond switching targets and activating weapons, repairing a small fleet of ships against Sleeper fire demands a little more attention. Sleepers don't pick one target and keep shooting it until it explodes, like we do, but switch targets dynamically. Having an ECM boat in our fleet also makes the incoming damage variable, as jamming cycles occasionally drop. The state of the fleet needs to be continually monitored and remote repair modules moved between ships actively.

I suppose there is unlikely to be a problem dual-boxing a battleship and Guardian if the logistics ship is given priority. A dumb DPS machine would certainly be helpful, and it reduces the amount of panicked distress calls every time the battleship's armour is scratched. The new pilot in the Guardian is also quite knowledgeable, and his understanding of the ship should help. But when we get started, combat doesn't go quite as smoothly as I like. I get close to running out of capacitor more than once, and on one occasion my ship runs dry. The Guardian's tank becomes unenergised, my energy transfer arrays drop, and the reppers can't be brought on-line, putting the whole fleet at risk.

It's good that we are only engaging relatively unchallenging anomalies in a class 3 w-space system. The Sleepers aren't causing any problems for us and I am soon fed a bit of capacitor from the other Guardian, allowing me to activate one of my transfer arrays to return the compliment. It is not long thereafter that all my systems are fully operational again. But it worries me a bit that the shutdown occurred. I think it shows the difference between technical knowledge and experience, and the value of good communications.

I am flying in training mode, keeping everything as simple as possible and reserving the intricacies of Guardian fleet repairing until later excursions. Paired with a new pilot, I consider it better to have both energy transfer arrays running constantly, so that all four reppers can also be run constantly. It may be possible to run only the one transfer array and use reppers as needed, but in times of heavy incoming fire I would rather not have to worry about trusting my twinned Guardian to understand that the second transfer array needs to be activated for us to run all of our reppers. Besides, the extra energy transfer array is only otherwise used to keep capacitor-hungry battleships from running dry, and I also maintain that our fleets should be as cap-stable as possible when we have a new Guardian pilot. Balancing transfer arrays between Guardians and battleships is certainly possible, but it's an added layer of complication that can be avoided in early flights.

My twinned pilot, on the other hand, is flying in theoretical mode. He is assuming that I am competent and experienced and trying to be as efficient with his systems as possible. Whilst admirable to aspire to such levels, I feel it is unwise to attempt to be an expert on a maiden voyage. Without experiencing how the Guardian's capacitor drains and fills, how many reppers it takes to keep a battleship or the other Guardian afloat under heavy Sleeper fire, or the mobility of remote repair modules, it cannot be fully appreciated and remains theoretical. Keep it simple, I say. Learn how the systems interact at a fundamental level, adding incremental levels of exposure, before trying to finess high levels of efficiency.

Essentially, communication is key. If we had both kept a simple configuration running, or both taken a more progressive attitude towards pairing logistic ships, we probably would have been fine. But we both made assumptions about the other. My communication can be lacking much of the time, a result of my shyness and lack of confidence in not wanting it to seem like I am telling smarter people than me what to do, and I need to overcome this somewhat to avoid misunderstandings. Communication is easier in certain arenas and with some people, I simply need to build on my positive experiences. And once we have the initial troubles between the Guardians resolved, two anomalies are cleared of Sleepers easily enough. The fleet then has to dissipate.

I get to jump in to a Catalyst and salvage the two sites of loot, which lets me end the sortie doing what I do best. The wormhole engineers also end with another pilot getting some flight hours in a Guardian logistics ship. The more pilots we get with Guardian experience will allow us to be more flexible in fleet configurations for future sorties, which should increase our operation capabilities.

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