The Jovian Disease is a primarily genetic disorder among the Jove that eventually results in psychological breakdowns and death. The disease has no known cure and is noncommunicable, yet it afflicts every Jove eventually. The Jove blame the disease on their extensive bioengineering, but they are unable to utilize their technology to reverse it.
The exact origin and history of the Jovian Disease is mysterious, with the Jove only offering bits of information about it. While it is possible that the disease existed, at least in some form, during earlier parts of Jove history, its current fatal variant - effectively, what is being referred to with the "Jovian Disease" moniker - first arose as the Jove exited a time known as the "Shrouded Days", when they manipulated their own genetic structure to extreme degrees. These manipulations eventually came to an end, but the damage had already been done. Some fatal element had been introduced into the Jove genetic structure.
The Jove tried many things to fight the affliction, but found even their advanced technology impotent against it. Eventually they created the three Jovian Motherships and placed the majority of their population into cryo-stasis, leaving their home region in the process. Any who showed symptoms of the disease were left behind to perish.
However, the relocation failed. The Jovian Disease continued to afflict the Jove. It led to the Amarr believing them weak and ripe for conquest, though the technological superiority of the Jove allowed them to prevail in the short-lived Amarr-Jove War. Some believe the capsule was given to the Caldari in a convoluted effort to discover a cure for the disease, but if so it has yet to bear fruit.
Eventually, the Jove cut off all contact between themselves and the rest of the cluster. Today, the Jove are rarely seen by the rest of New Eden, leading to persistent rumors that the disease has claimed them completely, though long range sensors continue to report activity in Jove space.
The Jovian Disease has two forms. The rarer and lesser known form strikes Jove fetuses, causing them to suddenly die as they develop in their artificial wombs. One in ten Jove fetuses die in this manner and there is no way to predict or prevent it.
The more common form presents itself as a continual decline in mental health. In its initial stages, this can be only long bouts of mild apathy, an inability to concentrate on tasks, a loss of appetite, and poor mental focus. These symptoms progress to depression and mild dementia, with the individual unable to find purpose or joy. In its final stages, the afflicted is unable to perform any but the most basic tasks, believing any effort is pointless and wasted. In these stages, additional psychological disorders may arise, such as paranoia, psychopathy, or sociopathy. Finally, the Jove simply loses the will to live and will cease eating or drinking, eventually succumbing to dehydration.
The Jovian Disease has a quick onset. An individual may be healthy one day, only to show sudden signs. When the disease first strikes, however, is variable. An individual may live a hundred years before the symptoms manifest, while another may show them after only a few decades. The progression from one stage to the next can also vary, though once it reaches its final stages, death usually follows shortly after.
The exact cause of the Jovian Disease is poorly understood. The Jove blame its existence on extreme genetic tampering that is reflected in their inhuman appearances. However, similar genetic manipulation is unable to cull the disease. Whatever gene or combination of genes causes the disease remains a mystery.
Certain members of the Jove, known as Modifiers, are more susceptible to the disease than others. These individuals constantly tinker with their own genetic code, both in an attempt to make themselves more perfect beings and out of base curiosity. Because this tampering accelerates onset of the disease, there is some belief that it arises out of genetic manipulation altogether.
There is no cure for the Jovian Disease. The Jove have expended an extensive amount of time and effort into discovering a cure and it remains one of the primary goals of their civilization. Further alterations of their genetic code in an effort to stymie the disease seem to only have negative effects, accelerating its onset.
At times, the Jove have experimented with splicing genetic code from the other races of New Eden into their own. This has proven ineffective in stopping the disease, however, though as it has not yet been shown to speed the disease, it remains an area of scientific interest. There are some conspiracy theories that the Jove introduced the capsule in an effort to harvest data and genetic samples for this research; if this is true, it seems to have been ineffective.
Some therapies have been shown to slow progression of the disease slightly. Psychological counseling and anti-psychotic drugs can temporarily counteract the depression associated with the disease. However, eventually the depression worsens until the Jove gives up taking the medication or attending sessions, which typically causes a rapid decline.
Rumors persist of other, often unsettling attempts at establishing cure vectors, including the usage of advanced medical technology to forcibly keep afflicted Jove alive far beyond what would be considered legal or even ethical in other societies. It should be kept in mind that by this stage the subjects in question would not only have lost their ability to function as human being under any definition, but would, in fact, have their consciousnesses geared by the Disease to desperately crave death. The decision not to grant this to them - under the presumption that the Jove are in fact engaging in this kind of experimentation - is not one that receives much open debate.