It's pretty clear that the reason Steele's dreams are like that is that he's been inoculated with Nagari countermeasures. "They sneak in through dreams" obviously refers to the Vishnans.
I have always felt a bit different about that. Maybe Fedayeen. That would be a lot like them, instead going for enemy fleet assets (which is damn hard at the time) just go for the commander, the most dangerous of all enemies, himself. Force him into an error, push him into sleep deprivation, something like that - actually EWAR, but directed at people, not vessels.
If Steele would simply go nuts, he would be replaced for sure. A lot of stuff started to go really bad for the UEF sine Steele took over Severanti's role in this war. I really doubt that GTVA could find someone comparable to him - thus, if that would happen, UEF would actually have a chance of winning.
Very good point about the Duke. I always forgot about that little ship.
There is something more about the Duke. I've read somewhere, that it was the only vessel to actually posses in its memory banks the code needed to activate the Knossos portal in N362. That would make sense - firstly, the vessel with its entire crew has been (aggressively!) possessed by an alien influence (Vishnans? maybe). Then, it went to N362 and as soon as it arrived there, it sent a message to the Knossos portal, activating it. No other people anywhere around to intercept it. The only place it is stored is the Duke itself. Which defected to UEF.
Someone out there said that Shambala is actually a lot simpler concept that it would seem (or I misunderstood that).
So it's safe to assume that the Vishnan-influenced Elders are in possession of both the Duke and the key to N362 portal (with its presence in our realm actually confirmed by some Tev intel data), and at least 10.000 people that actually have been
out there, through the portal. It is also unclear, how many people in Sol have been influenced by Vishnans, but we can safely assume that it's the entire Council of Elders with their surroundings, and at least Byrne and his flagship crew. Maybe even a large portion of 1st Fleet.
Plus the Agincourt, Sanctuary and some Tev units - just as military assets. And the Murugan dreadnought that appeared lately on Dan Bell's channel on YouTube. And Byrne "saving up" military forces to his project.
From this point of view it looks like Shambala is not some mystic sentience uploader, but a military project. To create a powerful fleet, gather all of the V-influenced population, shove all of them up that Tev artificial jump node in a single, big and unexpected strategic push, and then just punch through to N362, open the portal... And then what? Physically join the Vishans? Or simply "invite" them into our space?
Whatever would happen right there, it would really attract Tev attention (if we assume that MORPHEUS is really going to wipe out everyone related to Vishnans in Sol). Maybe they would just go chasing Shambala and leave Sol, since they have no interest in sitting there, since their targets have left the system, which could free up resources needed for Laporte to gather a fleet.
That would seem to be correct with Morrigan in the Shadow story.