On waffle day (Dec 28), in the last few seconds before Ceara switches back to Verinal, Olavien and whoever else is present and conscious see him completely stop moving until Verinal returns. Verinal has full memory for now of what happened, but from an outside perspective, and he completely doesn’t understand any of what Ceara was doing aside from the conversation. He does have a massive headache, which quickly gets worse, and is exhausted, and after doing a quick self-check, is pretty sure that if he wasn’t already dead, he would be now. He drinks a bunch of alcohol, and something Little Miss gives him, and staggers into Olavien’s ritual room to be in the quiet and dark until the world is no longer pain.
Ceara, just in advance of Verinal’s impending return, created an alpha fork to send over to the ship. There was an unexpected delay, during which there was a “processing” message, coming from a 3rd party, not the fork. After the short delay, the fork got back in touch, and was freaking out. The original started running checks to make sure the fork had gotten across unchanged, and noting that there wouldn’t be enough time to send another fork, streamed the results over to the fork in the hope that it would be able to use them if needed. All the copies of Ceara in Verinal’s body devoted all processing power to this task, causing the apparent lockup, and probably also the headache.
Ceara’s fork, upon arriving on the ship, realizes it’s been hacked almost instantly, through the countermeasures that were intended to buy time against TITANs, had it’s code disassembled, analyzed, and reassembled faster than should be possible, hence the freak-out. The amount of stress taken would normally cause multiple permanent derangements, but somehow that was avoided or prevented in the reassembly process. The comparison report from the original confirms that nothing was changed, only a friend-or-foe flag was added. This version of Ceara will have occasional moments of self-doubt (i.e. doubt that the self hasn’t been altered) in high stress situations, but will otherwise be fine.
As Verinal returns, Ceara’s fork notices a link from Verinal to the original Ceara in the Eclipse Phase universe which closes. It also notices that while it’s still able to access some “energyware”, it’s not as easy anymore, probably partly because of the closed connection, and partly because of the ship not having the necessary hardware to interface with it. There is, though, a pervasive field of the energy (sort of like the Force), which Ceara could probably copy into. This may be a promising line of research, with previously unconsidered applications to Ceara’s goals, but there are too many unknowns right now to risk it excepting an emergency.
Over the following weeks (and probably months), Ceara studies the ship and learns more about how existence in this universe works. The ship is a very high-end (from Ceara’s perspective) assault transport ship, designed to get in and do a lot of damage, and not worry much about getting back out. It can carry 40 troops with full gear, plus 8 in power armor (or the equivalent). It has a nano-fabber sort of thing, which converts energy into fuel, repairs, and ammo, though not very quickly. It has 4 servers designed for AI very much like Ceara to slot into to control the ship.
Ceara quickly notices during standard forking and re-merging that divergence is happening much faster (around 60x or so) than normal. It turns out that this is to do with how XP works, and how it applies to a person with multiple selves (which Aaron apparently hadn’t previously considered, and had to spend some time to figure out). While multiple Cearas exist, the XP they would gain is split among them. When they re-merge, the XP combines, but there will be some (but not all) overlap in the specific things the individual points were awarded for, and overlapped XP only counts once, so there is overall some loss. The gaining of XP by the different forks causes divergence much faster than in the Eclipse Phase universe. If there are only 2 selves, Ceara’s relevant skills are high enough that this can be readily dealt with in most cases. With more forks, it becomes much more unstable much more quickly. In theory, with many forks, Ceara would start working as more of a hive mind, and Aaron and Hannah were saying stuff about 2nd Ed proto-gods or something like that, but this is not something Ceara currently intends to pursue.