Such an important celestial object should be a natural destination - a form of pilgrimage even; at the very least a massive tourist attraction, especially for any capsuleer who has a cosmic perspective and a scientific background by default. Knowing what the EVE Gate is and why it persists, raises more questions than it answers.
Visiting the New Eden system and the EVE Gate was the third reason I became a capsuleer, which is a hell of a commitment to make - having your body cyborgized and implanted, and getting killed a few times along the way 'just' to see a unique cosmic spectacle, but the state of regional and cluster politics in the current epoch means that becoming a capsuleer is almost the only way to see it. The reason why is that the New Eden system is at the end of a long 'pipe' of sparsely-populated resource-poor systems that have no regular transport services and yet, ironically enough, all carry names that imply a previous era of optimism and hope that failed to materialise, no doubt due to the 'abomination' that's at the end of this particular line, and how history itself panned out.
This 'pipe' to New Eden, to paradise, is all low-security space, so it should be a haven for gate camps and gankers, pirates, freelancers etc., but it isn't. It's that dead end: there's no reason to come down here unless you're visiting the EVE Gate. But that perception of a lack of threat does not mean you're exempt from the usual rules of lowsec conduct. In my case, I waited two months to train the skills necessary to get a Covert Ops frigate with an advanced cloaking device. A Purifier, no less (a stealth bomber on an exploration mission? Hell yes! It's my ISK. Why not?).
Transiting down this lowsec pipe towards the EVE Gate is different from any other part of space. It's like EVE is drawing you to it. An accident of galactic geography means the New Eden system is one of the most northerly systems in the cluster in respect to the galactic plane, so as you progress towards it, there is a commanding view of the region's three major nebulae: Verge Vendor, Domain and The Cauldron; the Domain looks like a hollow-eyed skullmask.
The last accessible orbital station is in Angur, a full six systems away from New Eden itself, and after Angur it's either gas giants or irradiated desert worlds with automated weather stations and hardcore agri-settlements that don't want to communicate and where people go to disappear. Cluster politics will have passed them by.
The theme in every system is abandonment and desolation, presenting an unsettling contrast against those systems' names: Promised Land, Access, Gateway, New Eden itself.
I passed long-abandoned orbitals, half-hearted Covenant gate camps, and tantalizing indications of pre-Dark Ages human presence in the form of fragments of unidentifiable wreckage or a derelict stargate-like structure that has to be Old Earth in origin. I was the only ship in the last three systems on the pipe, which meant that I was the only ship for several light-years in any direction; so when I got to the New Eden system and came face-to-face with the EVE Gate - Point Genesis - it felt like I was having a one-to-one communion with it.
The flaw in spacetime that the failed EVE Gate is assumed to be, projects a visible luminosity that far exceeds that of the New Eden primary, yet the object is not actually in the New Eden system at all; it's another 3.3 light-years beyond it. It pulses organically, like a beating heart. EVE is alive, and the Amarrian in me appreciates how this thing became the foundation of a religion.
On the other hand, the scientifically-literate capsuleer in me asks questions like any good scientist: what incredible forces are really at work here? Why, when the universe constantly tends towards entropy - when even a black hole evaporates eventually - has the EVE Gate persisted like this, in this flawed state, for over 15,000 years? It can only be because it is being fed - supplied by something. What power is feeding it? Who is behind that power?
The EVE Gate decided to show me a hint of a possible answer...
I was holding station near the automated customs satellite orbiting New Eden I. I heard the 'thump' of an arriving vessel - four Roaming Sleeper Cruisers! I cloaked up immediately and disappeared, mindful of the recent changes in Sleeper tactics. The Sleepers started their bizarre scanning routine on the customs satellite instead.
While they were busy, I noted the presence of another Jove Observatory, here, in New Eden. I decloaked and warped over to it, to see if the Sleepers would follow.
Sure enough, they did.
So I'm station-keeping, here in New Eden, and I'm within sight of the EVE Gate, a Jove Observatory and four Roaming Sleeper Cruisers.
I would have felt a shiver down my spine if I wasn't jacked-in and floating in neuro-embryonic fluid.
* * *
I made my way back to the station in Angur to dock for the night. The entire seven-system pipe was deserted. The lack of activity gave me plenty to think about:
Established wisdom/dogma tells us what EVE is and what it may have looked like. Listen to any capsuleer conversation in any bar in New Eden and they'll all talk about the same legend - that EVE is co-located with remnants of Old Earth pre-Dark Ages human tech: ships, stations, detritus that fell victim to whatever caused EVE to fail. The Jovians have apparently seen fit to hide much of it from us in our own best interests, and besides, EVE is supposed to be a radiation environment that is off-the-scale hostile, so we can't go anywhere near it to find out for ourselves. Sisters of EVE have an ongoing interest, basing their entire faith around it, but they aren't telling.
The Jove Observatory: this system is otherwise completely deserted and rarely visited, so the Observatory can only be monitoring EVE. Why?
The Sleepers are believed to be an ancestral offshoot of the Jove race. They will have come through the EVE Gate the first time round. Jove, Sleepers, an SoE 'research' presence somewhere round here...
Then, after the events of Caroline's Star (which was an event similar in spectacle to what the EVE collapse would have looked like) , you can't discuss the Jove and Sleepers without discussing the Drifters. Drifter Battleships are known to be responsible for the structural damage to the Observatories; damage which is also present on this example, so Drifters have visited this system too.
I believe the Drifters are associated with EVE - that their battleships use tech that is openly acknowledged to be in advance of ours, and that the tech is recovered from Old Earth remnants found around EVE, or maybe even from the far side of it; and that the Sleepers - rumoured to be the 'body snatchers' behind the Drifter faction that is a means for the Sleepers to return from their virtual world - are in turn behind the whole damn thing.
Since the rise of the Drifters, everybody has been watching Jove space for another sign following Caroline's Star. Could it be that we are all looking in the wrong place?
Meanwhile, the EVE Gate patiently watches us all go about our business from its position above the centre of the cluster, and has done so for at least 15,000 years. Any visitor to EVE must be prepared to leave with more questions than they arrived with.
We may not have to wait much longer for the answers.