Day 513: Pax Nemesis succombs to Saboteurs

I won’t keep the suspense hanging for long: Pax Nemesis III (Abaddon) is gone. Last night as Aeon accepted a level 4 mission to intercept some saboteurs, I made the mistake of not checking the damage I had to fit armor hardeners for. But that was not the sole problem – as always, it was really a sum of things that lead to this unfortunate turn of events. But before I explain in detail, let me make a brief summary of what has happened in the last weeks. I was very busy in real life, and did not have the time to write – you can always skip this part and come back to it later if you like.

Quick heads-up
After my level 4 preparation post, I made a trip to nullsec (I have a log entry in the works for that). My good friend Serotta Ortot let me fly his Armageddon there for ratting, and he was using active armor hardeners on it. I was baffled by how effective the setup was, and when I went back to empire I refitted Pax Nemesis III to use an active armor tanking setup. On top of that, Loreena was already within reach of an Exequror, the small brother of the Oneiros. I bought her one, and so it happened that I tried running a level 4 mission again. Aeon was using 4 active mission-specific hardeners, a Damage Control II and a large armor repairer in a permarun setup with eight large beam laser turrets (not the tachyons anymore, they use way too much capacitor). While the DPS was obviously not the same with less powerful turrets, the tank itself seemed impenetrable. At one point, the ship was tanking six battleships and they could not even dent the armor.

Since then, I have run quite a few level 4 missions without any forseeable trouble at all. I ended up tackling them without Loreena, as the tank was good enough to handle anything the missions threw at me.

Pax Nemesis III’s last battle
Probably over-confident in the new tanking setup, I warped Aeon into “Intercept the Saboteurs“. Everything went as planned, and I did not take Loreena along as I had already done the mission alone before. As I mentioned, I use two active hardeners for each of the main mission damage types: Kinetic and Thermal in this case. I must have misread that, because I put in the kinetic hardeners, but left the explosive hardeners on. Once in the mission, the tank was holding nonetheless by pure brute force. Had the Serpentis Megathron not gotten within range, Aeon would have made it. That ship’s blasters started tearing the armor apart slowly, but I was not especially concerned as I was still busy taking out the cruisers to bring down the overall DPS. My drones were dispatching the frigates on their own, so the situation was completely under control.

After a short while, I started to realize that was not entirely the case. Only two cruisers were left, and their DPS was not likely to change much. I switched fire to one of the nearest battleships, a Core Admiral or some such, and even set the drones on him. He died pretty fast, but to my dismay it did not make any difference. I must have been extra sluggish, because only then did I realize it was the Megathron that was the big damage dealer here. HE was the one that was profiting from the thermal weakness in my armor tank. I think by the time I switched targets to take him out, Pax Nemesis III’s armor hitpoints were already down to thirty-five percent. Logically, I aligned the ship for warp, made the drones dock and warped. Warped….? No. “What the HELL?”

Coming out of the comfort of months of level 3 missioning, I still had that last resort escape possibility of warping out in mind. Level four mission bring new dangers with them, including warp scrambling ships. Probably needless to say, but when the ship would not warp, I knew I was done for. I logged Loreena in on the second PC, but she was parked in Rens BTT of all places, four jumps out. There was not way she could be there on time, and my desperate attempts to take out the warp scrambling ships failed at recognizing which ones were scrambling me at all. Panic transformed into dismay, strengthened by my dismissal of thermodynamics as useless a while back. I do not know if overheating could have given me the edge I needed, but it was another drop in the bowl of dismay.

In the end I think the ship put up more than an honorable performance, going down all guns blazing to the last second. The armor repairer managed to put in several cycles, delaying the structural hits long enough for the drones to cut down a few more frigates – but still not the right ones. After that I sat there in my pod, eyeing the surrounding ships with a vengeful look. Had my eyes been fitted with laser turrets, I think I could have destroyed a small planetoid. Except I was more mad at my own sorry self for being so utterly careless, bordering on the plain stupid.

Pax Nemesis “X”
So I sat there in my pod, pondering what to do next. The corp wallet was at sixty million, not enough to buy a new battleship. I noticed the flashy mail icon, and checked the insurance message. The ship was not insured of course, and I was expecting a condescending, mocking note telling me I should have had the ship insured, gna gna gna. To my surprise, the default insurance payout was 79 million. Now that was more like it! 130 million should get me a new battleship, if not an Abaddon. The fittings were another matter… I decided I had to start liquidating some of the assets I had stashed so far.

Loreena cancelled most of the running buy orders to free up another twenty million, and shipped all the salvage and sellable modules to Rens. In the meantime, Aeon was already on his way to the Amarr trade hub, Oris EFA, as buying the ship and turrets was going to be cheaper there. The salvage sales had the effect of finding a fabled hidden treasure – when I had finished selling everything, the corporation wallet was at a new record of 450 million… nearly half a billion! Not only was I going to be able to replace the lost ship, even fittings and rigs were possible 🙂

I spent a good hour with EFT (Eve Fitting Tool) to come up with an improved setup for the ship, laid out for better survivability (I included the complete fitting in the extended part of this log entry if you want to see the details). Once I knew what I wanted, Aeon bought a new Abaddon and promptly christened it “Pax Nemesis X”. Already having gone through three versions of the name, I chose something a little more final. If I ever lose this ship, I will have to change the name. Fitting it was pretty quick, as everything I needed was available on-station, and quite a bit cheaper than Rens too: 202 million for the ship, modules and rigs as compared to about 220 had I bought all that in Rens.

Righteous revenge
Now was the time to finish what I had started, and at the same time test the slightly modified ship setup. Aeon made the twenty jump trip back to the mission system, Isendeldik, and this time Loreena was there too just in case. At warp-in, the cloud of enemy ships was all around at about 4 kilometres. This meant that the Megathron was going to be able to lay down its max DPS instantly, but I had the right hardeners fitted this time. The DPS was still pretty high, but the new tank held on its own. With three Auxiliary Nano Pump I rigs I expected no less. I was able to finish the mission easily, and even though I regretted losing the ship in the first place it could have been worse. As the saying goes, everything that does not kill you makes you stronger…

Anyhow, it was an interesting evening to say the least. Loreena will be Aeon’s wingman from now on when I run level 4 missions, regardless of how well I am prepared. I am NOT going to lose another ship to a mission – not if I can help it, anyway 🙂

Pax Nemesis X fitting

High Slots
8 x Dual Modulated Heavy Energy Beam I

Med Slots
4 x Cap Recharger II

Low Slots
1 x Damage Control II
1 x Capacitor Power Relay II
2 x Armor XX Hardener II, for primary mission damage (XX = Kinetic/EM/Thermal/Explosive)
2 x Armor XX Hardener II, for secondary mission damage
1 x Large ‘Accomodation’ Vestment Reconstructer I

Rigs
3 x Auxiliary Nano Pump I

Aeon's Status:
Skillpoints: 21.400.000
Level V skills: 34
Level IV skills: 38
Known skills: 117
ISK Balance: 12.000.000
Training: Large Energy Turret V

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