Amidst the ongoing vigor of the great factional war, there is a strange undercurrent of dissention and disappearances

By CCP Spitfire

In itself this should not be surprising - war frays the nerves of all but the hardiest participants, and a galactic-scale war will have devastating effects on the morale of untold numbers of soldiers, no matter how many more are ready to take their place. According to analysts scrutinizing reports from the field, what is increasingly surprising is the complex nature of these defections.

Firstly, they seem to involve the least likely soldiers to run off. Enlisted members of the various factional armed forces go AWOL all the time - it's inevitable in a war of this size - but usually they do so either in a small, random trickle, or en masse following a disastrous series of campaigns. What's becoming oddly noticeable about this war is that there are clusters of defections, ones that are seemingly unrelated to war fatigue or bad performance. In fact, many of these soldiers have maintained immensely high rates of success.

Second, aside from their war prowess, these defectors were always parts of small, reportedly close-knit units that maintained a high degree of cohesion throughout their successful histories. What sparse data there exists for the public on these units all points to them having been of a much smaller size than platoons usually are. When their members defect, they have tended to do so en masse, with entire units almost being dissolved overnight. It is only due to those small numbers that these anomalies have been noticed at all: On a soldier-by-soldier basis they barely register, but when platoon size is considered, the defections are amazingly high in ratio.

Thirdly, it is remarkably hard, even for a known organization such as The Scope, to get any kind of information at all on these units. Secrecy is paramount in war, certainly, but in these cases it would appear to the empires' advantage to publish details on the soldiers gone AWOL, in part to shame the rest of their forces into staying put, and in part to transparently show that with these small numbers, dissention isn't an issue. Instead, the kind of secrecy that envelops these platoons is comparable only to what The Scope has encountered with special ops forces - even though, their recent successes aside, all data indicates that the soldiers in question have had perfectly average careers. Many have taken part in classified projects, but then most soldiers do, one way or another, during times of war.

Lastly, this is not an occurrence unique to a particular army. It is this final fact that has analysts entirely stumped. Soldiers who should be happy to stay in a war are leaving, they are doing so in small droves completely inconsistent with AWOL patterns, and their departures are being hushed up by their superiors - and this very same scenario is being played out in the forces of all four of New Eden's major empires, regardless of how they are faring in their respective wars at any given time. Whatever development this is, it seems to transcend ordinary New Eden politics, and may instead be irrevocably tied to some independent development that may never see the light of day.