I believe I have reached the limit of what I can decide without your intervention. A potentially powerful but incredibly dangerous opportunity lies before me and I beseech you to lend me your wisdom and your strength.
You have already been made aware of the strange bifurcation of my perceptions, and the reasons I've been given by my companions on this expedition for why this likely occurred. Since arriving at the derelict alien craft (or, from a certain point of view, re-arriving) that difficulty has passed and I am one with myself again. I threw myselves into studying the mathematical scrawl left by Dr. Gunderson as well as the actual technology of the craft with the aim of using it's abilities to find the phase-shifted satellites launched by the expedition to get a global map of Olaf for further exploration. While doing so, however, my companions discovered, somewhat far afield, a mysterious black cube which was, apparently, the escape pod for the crashed vehicle, a device that was, moreover capable of storing its contents outside of conventional spacetime.
Unsurprisingly, my traveling companions opened the box releasing the residents. This coincided with strange signals and alarms coming to life in the derelict ship which was able, mostly through blind intuition, to silence. They retreated while the box's contents… colonized the local soil, growing metallic roots into the ground. We all watched through the surveillance they left behind as the box itself dissolved or phase-shifted, its material repurposed to some function we did not comprehend. Then a metallic swarm congealed into the form of Ivan Kuro, then shifted to Kitano, and so on, switching appearances every three seconds or so. Apparently the spare-morph it appropriated from Kvasir still had a running instance of his ego in its cyberbrain and the entity was mining data from it stretching all the way back to Kvasir's creation.
Ultimate it settled on Ivan's form, and began speaking to entities we could not perceive. Eventually, however, it turned to the camera and stared expectantly. We took a number of precautions to prevent hacking or data corruption, mostly by removing communication equipment from the plane and tight-beaming to the surveillance node our message of greetings. It seemed capable of receiving and understanding the message, although it at first believed that we were beings consisting of electromagnetic energy. We explained that we were physical beings using electromagnetic energy to communicate. It asked if it could speak in person and my companions opted to take the risk.
For security reasons their excursion and direct communication with this entity was kept isolated from our systems. Eventually, however, Amber Jin Feng returned in advance of the rest and reported the contents of this very unusual First Contact situation.
It would seem that there is a civilization that lives in the space between the gates… a place where matter, space, and time have no conventional meaning, and are, in fact, greatly confusing. These being live in a state of "singing backward and forward to each other"… a metaphor reflecting a state in which they experience all time and existince as unitary. It spoke of "bright windows" or "stars" appearing in their existence and luminous beings moving between them. It seemed to indicate that all the stars appeared at once, yet they grew greater in number over time, a paradox it could not quite explain. By observing these luminous beings it became clear to the entities in that place that the beings could not perceive them, and in fact could not even perceive that there was a place between the windows they were traveling through.
The "windows" were clearly the Pandora Gates, and the beings were the various species who begain using the ever-expanding gate network over the billions of years it has existed. Our alien contact explained that its people became very curious about these windows and the beings that came from the other side and they began to create the means by which they could exit the windows into our reality and discover what was there. It quite casually described their disappointment at being unable to find the luminous beings, and all the civilizations, planets, and suns they took apart in the course of looking for them before realizing that, on this side of the windows, the luminous beings were contained in crude matter and trapped in linear time. They had, apparently, accidentally destroyed an unknown number of species and civilizations because they didn't understand the concept of physicality.
Indeed, basic communication with this being was constantly running afoul of its inability to clearly understand sequential time and individuation. The being itself seemed to have a dozen or more "names" which were, perhaps, entire identities or personality functions that it switched between based on the conversation topic. Ivan seems to think this entire species exists in a state of pure art, where culture and intellect and dominance are keyed to arising aesthetic expressions of personality and individualization… as if this species doesn't really consist of "individuals" naturally, but is like an ebbing and flowing sea of aesthetic and social pleasure.
The big reveal, though, came when the being discussed what its people did once they discovered they had accidentally destroyed the very people they were seeking. The started a vast construction project centered around seven gates in a binary star system… they are the true builders of the Olaf dyson sphere. They constructed the yellow crystalline intelligence as the "AI" for the sphere, intended as an interface between them and the species of our reality, a computational system that could bridge the gap of understanding between beings that perceived their worlds so fundamentally differently. The crystals "rebelled" and took the sphere for their own purpose, although the alien intimated that it was simply performing its intended function TOO well, seeking out and "unifying" various species.
This explains why the various ruined structures of Olaf all appear to be constructed to a design aesthetic different than "yellow crystals." Extradimensional aliens made it to, essentially, tear an enormous hole in space and time to permit their people and the people of our reality to interact and exchange ideas and culture. It sounds all very idealistic, but Ivan, who seems to have a connection with the crystals, seems to think the alien plan would have been catastrophic and the crystals did our reality a favor by rebelling and preventing it.
Whatever the case, by the time they brought the alien back here to the ship it became clear they were not actually interacting with the alien at all. The Ivan-simulacrum was an interface construct. The alien (actually five or six of them) were essentially undetectable to our senses. Occasionally sensors would see a blur or a distortion, and sometimes I could feel the nearby presence of one through our shared gifts, but they existed on a level of reality we could not perceive even as they began quite visible repairs to their former vessel. They would also speak to us through their construct in ways that made it clear they could see all "versions" of us as a unitary entity. It would reference, for instance, Ansel Ness as a being that was simultaneously present and also present in a solar system 73 thousand light years "that way" (i.e. presumably the Sol system). It once even apologized for accidentally killing Kitano, who was quite alive, standing outside the ship as they conducted their dangerous repairs.
Despite the dangers of consorting with aliens that have a very… loose understanding of mortality, time, space, and physical matter, our diplomatic approach proved profitable as they were able to finish the project I started. Olaf's near-orbit is apparently full of space junk, satellites from countless species (and multiple versions of each of them) launching things into space only to have them phase out. Eventually we found a human one, managed to link it to the alien ship and download data. We now have a full orbital scan of Olaf. There appear to be 7 gates, as promised, clustered on four different supercontinents. There are many ruins of city-sized machines such as the one my companions tracked Gunderson to in a different timeline. They also found remnants of a human expedition on an entirely different continent, presumably the one Hamza al Quraini referenced at the beginning of the expedition.
And here we come to my decision dilemma. My companions informed the alien of the Factor bio-TITAN and how it seemed to be holding open a gate connection to its homeworld and siphoning power from trans-dimensional space. This concerned the alien, who wondered if this was somehow harming its home. It has begun the large-scale molecular re-assembly of the derelict spacecraft to a terrestrial transport with the intention of traveling there and investigating. The unspoken side effects of this investigation is destructive conflict with a continent-sized biological computer. I have fragmentary quasi-real memories of doing battle with this bio-TITAN using our gifts. I may be able to travel with the alien, learning more about it and its transdimensional technology. I may even be of some use in helping it against the bio-TITAN. But it puts all of our resources here in one risky gamble.
I beseech your guidance and your wisdom. Please fill me with your light and show me the path to take.