Chapter One - Discovery

Disclaimer: I own nothing. All the names of character's are plucked from my imagination except those created by the geniuses over at CCP and thus any coincidental name stealing is purely that, coincidence.

Authors Note: This was the opening I wrote for an EVE/Mass Effect crossover I was working on but I decided I couldn't really make that work so now I have a blank slate, so to speak. I haven't decided what to cross it over with yet but I'm thinking maybe the Vatta's War universe, or something similar. Ideas and suggestions would be much appreciated.

Chapter One - Discovery

The ship was drifting; it appeared to be aimless in its wanderings as it slowly cruised through space. However the menacing, slightly organic looking hull of a Proteus strategic cruiser dotted with the protrusions of weapons and thick armour plating was anything but aimless. The pilot of the Revenge was constantly alert for danger, the readings of the many sensors and cameras on and around his ship being fed directly into his brain giving him a godlike view of his surroundings.

"I've got something" said a voice in the pilot's head, as he sent the location to his companions, "moving to investigate, over."

"Copy that" a different voice replied.

With one of his camera drones Jeb, for that was the name this seemingly omnipotent being went by, studied the exterior of his ship while with a hull mounted imager he watched one of his companions delicately approaching an object drifting against the bright light that drew eyes as it shone brightly enough to be seen for light years.

"Stay alert guys" he broadcast on the fleet communication channel, a vague feeling of unease drifting through his mind.

Jeb, or Jebel Pierre Boisseau to give his full name, was an enigma, an immortal lord of space, known to the inhabitants of the systems of the EVE Cluster as a capsuleer. For most capsuleers death holds no fear for even if they were surrounded, their ship destroyed, their capsule split and their lifeless body exposed to the vacuum of space they would not die. Light years away the capsuleer's mind would open the eyes of his new body and simply be irritated at the loss of his ship, and perhaps feel some grief or compassion for the loss of his crew.

However, despite being a capsuleer Jebel still feared death. Perhaps it was watching the pirates and slavers that descended on a peaceful world and taking anyone old enough to work to be sold into slavery, brutally killing any that resisted or fought back. Perhaps it was kneeling by the dead body of his mother after they left sobbing at the horror of watching her murder. Perhaps it was the days and nights following that dreadful day scratching out a meagre existence with his fellow survivors, none of them older than eight years, watching many of them simply give up on life and waste away in the weeks it took rescuers to arrive. Perhaps it was all of these, or perhaps it was none, the fear coming from some deeper, more primal part of his psyche that dated back millennia to the days when human race was something else entirely in the primitive jungles and plains of a distant, and lost, planet called Earth. Perhaps it was something as simple as not having yet undergone the process of reincarnation, whatever the cause his fear of death kept him alert in this dangerous system as his small fleet examined the space around the massive structure that was the source of life in the cluster of stars, known to the inhabitants of the cluster simply as the EVE Gate.

The massive structure had been built at one end of the massive wormhole that had been named EVE and was the end of the bridge between the Sol system and the New Eden system. However the seventy years after the discovery of the New Eden system disaster struck, the EVE Gate collapsed severing the vital link and the colonies in the EVE cluster fell into an age of darkness that would last for nearly ten thousand years. What followed was an epic tale of the rise of civilisations, expansion, exploration and conflict. Now nearly twenty thousand years after the first discovery of the massive wormhole the EVE cluster was filled once again with the glory of huge space faring civilisations.

The space around New Eden was a lawless zone and full of pirates, the EVE Gate itself seeming to contain a powerful magnetic storm strong enough to rip any vessel that gets too close to shreds, which combined with the fact it is constantly spewing out huge amounts of electromagnetic radiation means that despite the fact it has been the subject of an immense amount of study very little is known about the object.

The space around the EVE Gate is likely full of wrecks from the final days before it collapsed, as evidenced by the discovery of a Terran artefact that turned out to be a super weapon that was deployed by the new head of the Amarr Empire allowing a single battleship to destroy an entire fleet, including the super capital titan that headed it, with one blow. This was the reason Jeb and the small fleet of ships were here, they were searching for Terran artefacts, trying to find something that had been overlooked in all the previous searches that had been conducted around the massive structure, trying to find something of value they could salvage and either develop or sell.

Jeb's fleet consisted of around thirty ships, a small fleet by most standards but it was composed of well trained and highly skilled pilots all flying highly advanced vessels and who all belonged to the corporation Jebel had founded and nurtured. Jebel was the overall commander of the fleet but he had devolved command to his Director of Operations in his powerful and hardy Damnation class command ship and its suit of advanced warfare processors. The rest of the fleet, were flying a mix of the powerful new strategic cruisers, heavy assault cruisers and the lighter assault frigates alongside some advanced recon cruisers. This gave them a mixture of speed and sheer destructive power that made them a force to be reckoned with and ensured the roving bands of pirates stayed well clear of them. It also meant that if they managed to recover anything they should be able to get it safely back to their corporation headquarters in a nearby system.

Perhaps it was his fear of death, perhaps he was naturally more focused than his companions, perhaps he was simply looking in the right direction at the time, whatever the reason Jeb was the first person to see the distortion in space. Broadcasting to the fleet he shouted a warning watching as a wormhole ripped its way into existence near his companion's ship.

"Watch out, everyone pull back to twenty five klicks and stand ready," his calm words belying the apprehension he felt. "Who knows what might come through that thing, and who might be after this end."

"Bleeding heck Jeb" his friend, deputy and lover, Sala Tribias, said on their private channel with an awed tone "that thing is flipping huge." He momentarily glanced through one of his cameras, instantly pinpointing the sleek and deadly lines of her ship, the Freedom's Resolve, a Legion strategic cruiser. Having known each other for over thirty years they could almost read each other's thoughts and trusted each other implicitly.

"It's bigger than any I've ever seen before, bigger than anything I've ever even heard of. Bloody hell, that monster looks big enough to swallow a station."

From the scans he and his companions were conducting it appeared to be perfectly stable, which was impossible, or at least previously thought to be impossible. Pondering what it could mean he sent out a corporate alert instructing all his employees to rendezvous at their location. Then he alerted his contacts at various authorities in Empire space informing them of the strange phenomena.

Within hours a massive fleet of over four hundred vessels had assembled around him, reinforcing his small fleet with ships of every type from every corner of the EVE cluster, ranging from small frigates up to battleships and even a few huge capital ships like the Nightfall, a two and a half kilometre long carrier, with its compliment of fighters.

Upon contacting the ruling governments of the Empire and the various enforcement agencies they had contracted Jebel's corporation to investigate the wormhole while they assembled a fleet to secure the system. It was decided, in a rare example of cooperation between the five races that populated the EVE system, that depending upon where the wormhole led the likely outcome would be the construction of a jump gate, a device that created an artificial wormhole to allow instantaneous travel between the two gates, at each end as the larger a wormhole, the greater the distance it could reach and the potential of this wormhole was truly mindboggling.

"Alright guys, listen up" Jeb broadcast to the assembled fleet "we don't where this thing leads or what's on the other side but since we're being paid an exorbitant amount to have a look I think it's about time we did. Stay sharp and watch each other's backs, no shooting first and only fire upon my order, we have been instructed to avoid starting a war at all costs. CONCORD and the Empire nations are sending a fleet to back us up and guard this side of the wormhole so if we encounter superior forces, the priority is to escape and evade, someone needs to make it back to warn them. I even heard that some Jovians were coming down" he ended with a chuckle.

With this decided the fleet approached the opening of the wormhole, with the scout craft jumping through first, followed by the cruiser sized vessels, the battleships and finally the massive capital ships. What they found on the other side was a binary star system orbited by three uninhabited planets and no evidence of civilisation. Their scans revealed nothing else, just some debris that may have been wreckage in the system. However one glance at the surrounding stars was all they needed to send a message to build the jump gates, for the pattern of stars did not even closely resemble any view from the EVE cluster.