Losing to Sleepers

19th October 2010 – 7.12 pm

I need to get some ECM quickly. Returning to hear that 'this is the biggest fail of the year' is not encouraging. Colleagues have gone to a radar site in our neighbouring class 4 w-space system and rather than heading back with boat-loads of loot are instead encountering difficulties. But just as I get a Scorpion battleship out of the hangar and aligned to our static wormhole I am told that it's too late. I can't stop the ship from warping, though, and land on the connection in time to see pods jumping back in to the system.

Three battleships and two Guardian logistic ships are lost. I can't remember the last time we had an entire fleet wiped out by Sleepers, and I am curious to learn how it happened. I am told the radar site is the type that culminates with four Sleeper battleships, which helps explain the loss. The alpha strike of the final wave is significant and can easily catch pilots unawares if they lack the specific experience. I know that when I pilot the Guardian in this situation I need to de-activate all my remote repair modules, breaking the otherwise standard procedure of keeping a 'safety' repper on the other Guardian or ECM boat, and react to the battleships' choice of target quickly. Holding back even a single repper can cause a ship to be knocked in to structure damage, and a slight delay in repairs on the final wave could destroy one friendly ship and perhaps cause a chain of events that wipes out the fleet.

The squad leader is not to be beaten by the Sleepers. Current w-space logistics won't let us visit empire space and bring back replacement battleships, the connection to the class 1 system being too weak to allow such massive ships through, but we can squeeze in a new Guardian to pair with our spare. We have extra battleships and plenty of fittings in our hangar anyway, letting us rebuild the fleet. And now I am available to add the Scorpion's ECM to the fleet, which should mitigate the damage down to more easily manageable levels. But whilst we wait for the replacement Guardian to be brought in from high-sec I take my stealth bomber out for a roam, looking for any activity.

All the systems I scanned my way through earlier remain quiet, although I find a pod sitting on a wormhole. It is a capsuleer of the devastated fleet, having warped to the wrong wormhole—leading from the C4 to the C1 and not the K162 leading home—and gone AFK for a couple of minutes. Sitting AFK on a wormhole is rather more dangerous than on a celestial body; even though wormholes need to be scanned, and celestial bodies are on the overview and directional scanner, anyone jumping in to the system will immediately find you with no detective work required. Much as I did, in fact.

I am promoted to wing commander of the squad which allows me to warp the hapless colleague's pod safely away from the wormhole. I bookmark an arbitrary point in space between the wormhole and a planet and warp him to that point, which is not the best safe spot that can be made but off-grid space is certainly better than where he was. I can think of an even safer place, though, and offer to get my still-absent colleague back to high-sec empire space. In to the safety of a station, in fact. The squad leader is unsure about my suggestion, noting that you can lead a capsuleer to a wormhole 'but you can't make him jump'. But he soon understands the innuendo and forbids me from shooting the pod. Spoilsport.

A new Guardian is bought, battleships are launched and fitted, and I return from my quiet roam to pilot the Scorpion. The fleet is ready to return to the radar site. Once more unto the breach, my friends, or collapse the hole with our broken ships. The squad leader's defiance is clear and we are going to exact revenge against the Sleepers. We have an extra ship and foreknowledge of what awaits. Except an escalation occurs from warping in the extra ship, me in the Scorpion. Instead of the four Sleeper battleships that caught my colleagues off-guard we now face five.

My aim is still to jam a couple of the Sleepers and let others engage the ones still able to shoot, and it starts well. I gain a positive lock on the battleships and activate my ECM modules, jamming three of the Sleepers immediately. The incoming damage drops to a relative trickle and the situation is under control, at least until the first failed ECM cycle. It may seem ambitious to jam three ships with six ECM modules, particularly as Sleepers get vengeful when they break through the ECM and target the source immediately, but even switching all modules over to two and then one battleship still results in no successful cycles. My Scorpion feels the force of five focussed fire battleships and, unsurprisingly, doesn't last long.

The bulky Scorpion battleship bolstered with armour plates doesn't even last long enough to align and warp out of the site when my armour starts to drop dangerously low. The blare of warning alarms only adds to my increased sense of impending doom, not actually helping the ship accelerate any faster. On the other hand, my pod flees without my intervention as the squad leader abandons this second attempt at clearing the site and tries to get everyone clear. All but my Scorpion and an unfortunate Abaddon gets out of the radar site intact, the Sleepers claiming two more of our battleships. And I call it 'my Scorpion' but I have merely borrowed it from an absent colleague, as were many of the other ships lost today. Next time I think I should adopt the safe practice of aligning for a quick exit prior to one being needed.

What should have been a standard Sleeper engagement has been thwarted by complacency and bad lack. None of us wants to admit the Sleepers have won, but the escalation to five battleships now loitering in the site and us now lacking an effective ECM platform means we have to retreat. Looking for the silver lining, the imminent move of our operation to a class 5 system has become simpler now we have fewer massive ships to transport across w-space. But the mood is clear, as one colleague says, 'everyone type /clear and never speak of this day again'. And so I share this sad day only with you, my journal, as I know my thoughts and deeds remain private between the two of us. The embarrassment goes no further.

  1. 4 Responses to “Losing to Sleepers”

  2. Probably wouldn't have been good corporate personal relations to shoot at the corpmate who's pod was sitting afk on a WH. Not politically correct to shoot at! However that's a bit of complacency to be going afk exposed like that in WH space and especially sitting on a WH in a pod afk for who knows how long. The EVE to me from everything I've learned would of been to shoot the pod! Thats EVE. Yeah not quite politically correct to do that to a corpmate. But that's complacency as well sitting afk in a pod on a WH unless it happen tone a emergency to go sudden afk right there.

    Learning to succeed is often not learning from times of easily won success but at times learning and recovering from the jaws of stunning defeat. Sometime only through defeat can one re-evaluate, adapt and properly prepare or be less complacent.

    They Won this round! It was part of their very sinister play to enact revenge for months of constant defeat. Imagine the sleepers smack talking back in their radar site what they must be saying.

    By Ardent Defender on Oct 22, 2010

  3. Yep, sometimes you need to go AFK quickly, but warping to a wormhole is perhaps not the best place to leave yourself. We've lost a couple of pilots and pods in a similar way. At least a friendly ship found him and I was able to warp him to a safe spot.

    The Sleepers were good sports not to smack-talk in local about their victory, but, yeah, I wonder what the chatter was like between their ships.

    By pjharvey on Oct 22, 2010

  4. Best place to go afk in your pod when not inside the safety of a POS shield...the sleeper site.

    By Selina on Oct 22, 2010

  5. Yeah, that's an interesting point. The more threatening the site the better, too.

    By pjharvey on Oct 23, 2010

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