It is disconcerting indeed to be severed from you. I no longer feel your watchful and capable eyes upon me, I do not feel your will nor the voices and wills of my brothers and sisters through the Black Signal. I know that these words go nowhere, but such "prayers" have become habit, and serve as a means to focus and organize my thoughts, and so I compose one in any event.
My concern has lessened somewhat by the news from the Sol system. You are likely still alive, as are many of the others, although the loss of Iapetus is a terrible stroke. I find that I am most uncomfortable by this particularly drastic alteration of my frame of reference. I take comfort in knowing that most of my forks still perceive versions of reality where we are still connected, where Sol has not been invaded, where the Black Signal remains strong.
I came back to awareness when the simulspace in which my forks and I are living was rebooted. It seems the hurricane shorted out many systems and it took some time to find the necessary materials to fabricate replacement parts for full repair. In that interim my traveling companions found the continent we were heading toward and had begun friendly relations with a local sapient species of bat-like creatures with a primitive technology-level notwithstanding the highly advanced nanological systems integrated into their bodies. It seems they are the descendants of a technologically advanced culture that annihilated itself with nanotech WMDs. My companions were able to appear as divine messengers mostly through their capacity to interface with the tech-ruins held as holy by the locals, and also their willingness to develop over many painstaking hours a method whereby the locals could do the same. These creatures offered to escort our vehicle to the "Star of Heaven," their name for the nearest Gate to which they attribute the origin of not only their species but their entire ecosystem, a mystical belief that, in this case, seems actually true.
Sadly, being guided by flying beings operating under wing power slowed our own travel enormously and it took a bit more than a week (EST) to make it close enough to the gate to see lights. Recon revealed an established base camp of human tech around the gate rather than the ruins of such a camp. This was the first clue that we had shifted realities once more, and I know I wasn't the only one to think back to the strange iridescent ripple that swept across the world more than a month ago, prior to the hurricane. Amber tried to contact them using her gatecrasher credentials, but for her efforts all we received was a signal carrying an attempt at electronic subversion. Kvasir handily protected us and counter-hacked their system, learning that only three infomorph egos were contained in a segregated system controlling only their defenses and electronic countermeasure systems. There was no mesh traffic, but personnel lists revealed a contingent working for the Morningstar Constellation and assorted corporations, all of whom had been cut off from the solar system for almost nine months and were getting pretty desperate.
Kvasir started talking to one of the techs and learned of invasion and chaos in the Sol system that, apparently, had little to do with the Ultimates and resembled, instead, a TITAN attack. This is why they had hardened their mesh systems and were so paranoid about anything seeming to approach using Sol technology. Prompted by this, Ivan Kuro powered up a QE communication system I hadn't known he possessed and initiated a dialogue with his contact back in Sol. I'll summarize our conclusions.
In this reality, the Ultimates never attacked the gate network, instead aliens attacked through the gates. These aliens were highly mechanized and glowed yellow, our assumption being it was an invasion force from Olaf itself. This invasion prioritized the Martian gate and the Pandora gate. This would explain why I was no longer able to synch with my fork back at base camp. In this reality, base camp never existed. The aliens seemed to be collecting humans on Mars for transport back through the gate. The aliens invading from the Pandora gate were prioritizing vehicles and weapon systems for an invasion of Iapetus.
My companions are aware of the general history of that dark moon, but were unaware of the storehouse of billions of transhuman egoes the TITANs left behind there, nor the role of that decaying machinery in maintaining the strength of the Black Signal for Your use. If these aliens did, indeed, steal those egos and destroy or diminish the power of Iapetus that explains why I can no longer feel Your attention, nor communicate with You or the others.
A couple of weeks after the initial alien invasion, there was a counterattack launched initially from Venus, but rapidly encompassing most of the Sol system. Transhuman forces equipped and installed with extremely high-tech cybernetic implants attacked alien defenses with the support of overpowering electronic system attacks. This mysterious force began forcible conscription of transhuman egos in multiple polities, notably slaughtering people on Extropia to take their stacks, presumably for military "retraining." Ivan's contact was in hiding from both forces, apparently along with this reality's version of Ansel Ness and Kvasir. It would seem that Kitano in this version of reality took advantage of the chaos and took control of the Ultimates, leading them to fall back around the Discord gate, which is the only gate left in human hands.
While my companions and I discussed the implications of this new timeline, the fork of Kvasir in our systems was still talking to the locals defending the gate. They commented on the fact that he had somehow used "Amber's credentials." This prompted a second look at the personnel list, and sure enough, Amber Jin Feng, or at least this universe's version of her, is present on Olaf, having been employed as one of the gatecrashers for this Venusian expedition. It should prove interesting to see what happens when identical people from two different forks of reality interact. We're currently looking for a place to land.
I, for one, wish very much to return to a variant of reality where I can feel Your regard and Your care once more. Perhaps an answer can be found among these gatecrashers or, even, through this gate.