Nobody knows where the College of Pilots came from or where on Gaia they were located. Fewer still know to where they went after abandoning Gaia following the rise of The Union. Various planets have been put forward as possible locations but none of these have been confirmed.
Pilots, graduates of this mysterious College, continue to appear when needed; when a ship's current Pilot dies or becomes incapacited, or as soon as a new interhelion craft is ready to sail. They accept or demand no payment; they just show up, move into a space close to the prow of the ship, and carry out their duties of guiding the ship through the Void silently.
Pilots make everyone they meet uncomfortable. Whether it is their long, strangely proportioned faces, their obvious psybernetic aumentations, that black silk embroidered blindfold they refuse to remove, or simply their unsettling manner, a Pilot rarely has friends among the crew of the ship he or she serves on. The fact that next to nothing is known about neither the Pilots nor their College does not, of course, help matters.
It is widely thought that the VoidGate network is a steady-state, fixed and closed system; that the Sentinel of origin opens a 'Gate as, at the destination, the process is repeated and a wormhole or brane tunnel is formed between the two points, no matter how far apart they are. Travel is simply enter the 'Gate, follow the tunnel, emerge from another 'Gate, done. This, Pilots will tell anyone who asks the right questions, is not the case. Voidspace, that medium beneath space-time, is a chaotic place in constant change and flux. What they call the Alchera-Ungud, is a reflection of the universe above and, as such, changes as often as the universe itself does. Every little things that happens within the limits of our perceptions can affect the Alchera Ungud to varying degrees. Pilots, with their archaioteknik augmentations, the mageimekanik devices they install in their "Throne Room" aboard ship, their genetik alterations bred into them from childhood, can perceive the Void through the ship's "eyes" of sensors and monitors for they ritually remove their own in The College.
It is because Pilots use a rather strange-smelling ointment on the empty sockets of their eyes that they wear their blindfolds. Properties of this salve cause the empty sockets to appear a bottomless nightmare pits to the untrained or unwary and secondary psycho-hallucinogentic effects as well as mneumostigamata syndrome can cause anything between panic and seizures in unmodified humans. The Pilots do not, as such, possess a single ciclopes eye that can strike a man dead with a look, as the rumours about them go.
Though they look, so the cruel jokes go, to be always about to board Kharon's ferry, Pilots are rather longer lived than most baseline humans; averaging somewhere between 6-900 years. It is not uncommon for a new captain to inherit the pilot with the ship, as it were.