The College of Pilots was an old and venerable organisation which emerged from, it would seem, nowhere, as soon as the Empyraeum discovered the key to interstellar travel.
Pilots or navigatiom of the College are a strange lot. It is rumoured that they are either bred using strict genetic guidelines or were altered genetically. This is done not only to ensure they have the correct demeanour, temperament, and intelligence for their future role, but also for a latent psychic talent.
Once they have completed basic training, the Pilot's eyes are surgically removed, leaving the optical nerves intact. Their first augmetic is added immediately, a twin socket for a ships navigational system to connect to, directly into their optic nerve, deep inside their former eye sockets. They receive further augmentations later on; to their hands, as well as various additions to allow cables and conduits to be attached directly where needed. When a Pilot enters their sanctuary and activates the ship's throne, he or she becomes the ship in every possible sense, it exists as an extension of their body and senses.
Both their complete symbiosis with the ship and mild precognitive ability (usually boosted with esoteric augmetic brain implants) mean they can guide a ship through both normal space and the Void via Voidgate passages. Most people think a journey through a Voidgate is a straight line but it is not. A Pilot has the only extant map of the Voidgate system stored in their mnemonic implants. The void is as active and dynamic a place as the oceans of Gaia but only the College of Pilots knows its secrets.
The College was based in Alexandria-The-First but they vanished from all knowledge when the Kalshodar took to The Nest. The College's current location is unknown but new Pilots, demonstrating all of the normal traits and abilities continue to volunteer for service on Empyraen and Merchant ships capable of Void transit. No Pilot has worked for the Council or Union.
Their signature blindfold is worn both for identification and, it is said, for other people's protection. The rumours about their gaze being like a gorgon's holds no truth. It is simply that the ointment they smear into their empty sockets (hiding their interface ports) turns them into what standard humans see as bottomless pits and this causes nausea and disorientation in the majority of those who have seen such a sight. Pilots, it turns out, wear their blindfolds in order to be polite.