I've been up in Southern Aridia doing some covert reconnaissance in the [classified. Regards, PHP1 Legal Dept.] system and the [classified. Regards, PHP1 Legal Dept.] system.
I'd finished the tasking and was about to return to our base in Nandeza when I caught sight of World News announcing the first confirmed evidence of the anticipated commencement of regular, organized, openly-hostile Incursions into Amarr space by the Drifter faction - in Nandeza!!!
Right on our front door!!!
Now it didn't take long to return to our place because the Anathema I was using on task - Shoot Them Later - has highly-modified engines which facilitate a Vmax(warp) of 12.78 AU/s, so I didn't have much time to think about how I was going to address this because this was technically the opportunity of a lifetime; to witness this event, to be here, in-situ, to record the beginning of what will inevitably become an extremely long, costly war of attrition that I fear will be won by the side that brings the least emotion into it - the cyber-hive-mind itself. Ask any lecturer on military strategy: the battle is won before it even starts etc.
According to the databases, the Incursion was in three systems in the Homroon constellation, that Nandeza was a 'staging system' so the presence would be relatively light, with the map revealing two Amarr Navy defensive positions and a 'Drifter Influx'.
I arrived in Nandeza and headed to one of the Navy defensive installations. This was not about engaging them in any ship, even my Prophecy, because at my levels of skill and experience, that would be an irresponsible waste of a ship and a pointless waste of time and ISK.
No, this was about observing. Watching them. Recording them.
I arrived in their vicinity, stood off at 60 km range and waited to see what would happen next.
They did their thing. Six of them: sitting there, waiting. Five of one and one of the other. The Outpost appeared intact. There was some wreckage in the vicinity. Capsuleers had been here. NEOCOM/Local and the Defense Of The Throne Worlds Incursion channels saw comments implying swift, belittling responses in the form of action without language.
Speak to me...
Why do you wish vengeance upon the Amarr Empire? Why do you ignore the other lot?
Why did you assassinate Jamyl?
Do you not care to communicate except with weapons?
Are you capable of emotion or are you not burdened so?
WHAT DO YOU WANT??
Then the Navy showed up, and it started. I had a grandstand seat. Popcorn was not an option while jacked-in:
Why did you select the remote border regions of Khanid to start this?
Are you a hive mind?
Do you feel?
Do you love?
Do you fear?
"I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared...
"They are truly enemies! I remember when I was with Special Forces... seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms...
"And I remember... I... I... I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn't know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it... I never want to forget. And then I realized... like I was shot... like I was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, my God... the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure...
"And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters, these were men... trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love... but they had the strength... the strength... to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly...
"You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment! Because it's judgment that defeats us."
Unknown - Jovian Historical Codex
Knowledgable capsuleers will read more into these cam drone images than I can. Tactical doctrine may even be modified as a result, and if so, this report has done its job.
Three Drifter battleships were destroyed, while at least 20 Navy vessels - all of them - were lost. This is a kill ratio of nearly 7:1 in favour of the Drifters. They started from a position of numerical inferiority and still won. This is a war of pure attrition, in which the strongest weapon is the will to wait it out - to just keep on going, relentlessly, until time has the final say.
The Drifter Faction appears capable of extraordinary patience..