(9x02) Virtuality Transcendent: Part 1, Episode 2
Metis tells Murdock and Annabelle that they are suffering from side-effects of overuse of Virtuality, which she struggles to explain to them in terms that they can understand from the barely-industrial world that they know. She eventually connects with them by describing it in terms they have already heard inside the virtual world: the world they know is the "afterlife" constructed by the real humans from beyond their world by artifice beyond their comprehension.
But, Metis tells them, they are not, as they have believed, actually dead in any meaningful sense. Instead, she says, they they have merely lost their sense of reality, and been consumed in a narrative that isn't real, the fantasy they thought they knew inside the virtual world. Seeing from the outside that they were suffering in their delusions, Metis and her associates who run the virtual construct have pulled them out for their own well-being.
Murdock and Annabelle are given therapy for their condition by the friendly associates of Metis whom they now find themselves among. Over time, they gradually recover their memories of their original human lives, when they went by the names of Tom and Xiuying, and they were early adopters of the virtual world. They recover centuries of memories of living inside the virtual world, including memories of meeting the Queen of Hell when even she was new to Virtuality. (Murdock also remembers learning of a Metis in his time as Tom, who avoided Virtuality out of annoyance at being mistaken for the Queen of Hell, and wonders if this is not the same Metis and how she came to change her mind about that). Their recovered memories culminate in some kind of cataclysm that seemed poised to destroy not only the virtual world, but the real world as well, including the World Ring on which they now stand.
Next: Virtuality Transcendent: Part 1, Episode 3