Sleepers and system failures

13th March 2012 – 5.53 pm

I'm back in space and hoping to keep it that way. I'd rather not see any more systems failures in my ships, requiring tedious reboots at unpredictable and arbitrary times that may lose me my third ambush this week. An unresponsive ship is a liability. I can only stalk if I find targets, though, so I get to the task of getting out of the home w-space system. The lack of signatures here hasn't lasted long, some new rocks drifting in presumably from the Kuiper belt, and I swing past to activate the site before jumping through our static wormhole.

The neighbouring class 3 system looks clean from the wormhole, according to my directional scanner. I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system, revealing six anomalies, twenty-four signatures, and a lack of occupation. Maybe when my glorious leader arrives we can make some profit here, but if we decide to do that I'll need to make as sure as possible now that we won't be interrupted then. I sift through the signatures looking for wormholes, positive indicators of activity in themselves.

Rocks, rocks, rocks, rocks. It's like Star Trek V in this C3. There are no obvious K162 connections in the system, which bodes well for simple Sleeper slaying, and the strength of the remaining signatures suggests I'm going to find a static exit to null-sec k-space. I keep digging down to resolve a radar site, a wormhole that could be the static connection, and more, rarer rocks. And more, and more, and that's it. Thank goodness. And here's Fin!

I'm asked to check the static wormhole, opening the connection so that a colleague can potentially get back home if he becomes available, exiting w-space to be in a system in the Insmother region. There are eight juicy Angel anomalies here but one other pilot in the system too, so I can't really risk ratting. But all that was required was to bookmark the null-sec side of the wormhole, which I've done. This has also given Fin time to refit one of our Sleeper Tengu strategic cruisers with a local shield booster, which means I can take the new Golem marauder out for combat. Oh yeah.

The Golem and Tengu pairing may actually be a bit weaker defensively than two remote-repair Tengus flying in tandem, but we're pretty much expecting the Golems offensive capability to more than make up it. On top of that, the marauder is designed to loot and salvage in combat, rather than requiring a third pilot to follow behind us or a second sweep through the sites with a salvager. With my torpedoes ripping the battleships apart, Fin's missiles taking care of the frigates, and the wrecks being cleared up as we fight, Sleeper combat should become much more efficient. It's all coming back to me.

There was some concern that the overhead of having to lock on to, tractor, and loot and salvage the wrecks would be too much for me to cope with along with my usual tasks of keeping track of the anomalies and marking targets. It all seems okay, though. Marking targets only needs to be done at the start of each wave, and that's when there are the fewest wrecks. I am kept busier during combat, I can't deny that, which means Fin is doubling up d-scan duty for the both of us. Even so, having Tech II tractor beams and salvagers gets the job done smoothly enough that I can still poke d-scan occasionally myself, just for peace of mind.

The first anomaly is a little shaky in parts, particularly when being webbed by three frigates at once, but our tanks survive and we get a better idea of what each of us can do to improve for the next site. If only both of us could reach it. The Golem drops out of warp to see only empty space, a sure sign that its systems have crashed and need restarting. And I don't even get half-way through the second anomaly before needing a second restart, which is pretty pathetic. The only saving grace is that we're not hunting, or being hunted, or the failures could be catastrophic.

A third systems failure in the second site begins to wear me down, but I want to continue if only to get some decent salvage. Two sites clear and barely any salvage worth an iskie. We may not be raking in the profit, but 'at least d-scan is clear', says Fin. That's a good point and it's probably worth pushing in to more anomalies whilst the space remains empty. A third anomaly is cleared and so we continue past our favoured types in to those lesser known to us, as demonstrated when we end up dealing with three waves of Sleepers at once in one of them. It is challenging, and a good demonstration of our adaptability and capability, both of our ships and ourselves.

One more systems failure of the Golem gets us in to and through the sixth and final anomaly in the system. Combat has been smooth on the whole, even if stability hasn't, and it has been a real joy to pilot the Golem in to combat again. It really takes chunks out of the battleships with each volley of torpedoes, speeding up the normally slower waves. The salvage from the sites stays poor until the end, although it isn't dreadful. Without having to get a Noctis salvager out of the hangar, we bring back 270 million ISK in loot for the evening. Getting home, Fin suggests collapsing the wormhole and starting again. I help in destabilising the static wormhole before I go but I'm off for an early night. Having to restart every so often takes its toll on me.

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