(9x07) Virtuality Transcendent: Part 3, Episode 1
Tom suddenly finds himself standing on a gentle hill in a beautiful green countryside. Compared to the harsh war he had been experienced moments before, he is caught off guard by the sheer physical comfort and aesthetic warmth and softness of this new setting. A soothing but familiar voice from behind him welcomes him, and he turns to see the face of the Queen of Hell again. Now jaded by the constant deception, he does not immediately attack her, as before, but only sighs, rolls his eyes, and addresses her flatly by her given name, "Metis". But she explains, over his palpable incredulity, that she is not the Metis he knows, though she purposely wears that face for him as she has no true visage of her own. She claims to be the "true goddess", and that the one he knows as Metis is, as she claims, a mere human made immortal by aliens, who has adopted just one of the many personas by which the true goddess was known in ancient times.
Tom is not buying any of this, and quickly and effortlessly accesses the magical powers granted within Virtuality to demonstrate that he knows quite well that none of this is real. But Metis is not surprised, and says that this world is purposefully soft and malleable, for the comfort of its residents; for it, she claims, is the true afterlife, or rather a stepping stone to it; it is not the fully transcendental, entirely noumenal state of nirvana, but it is the final, most easily permeable layer of experiential phenomena shrouding those who, like Tom, have pierced the veil of maya that hides the true reality from those trapped within material existence.
He insists that this is some kind of trick on her part, or at the least, if something like the story behind that last, dystopian world is true, that maybe he was captured by the attacking automata, and is back inside their virtual world again. But Metis insists that it is not so, and that he is definitely not a prisoner here, or even barred from the world he knows. As he did not come here by dying, like most, but by learning to see through the veil of maya as only the greatest bodhisattvas usually can, he is free to return to his material body in the phenomenal world any time he likes, and to return from there to here again as well. Hesitant to believe her, Tom asks how, and Metis tells him to simply will it. Finding it suspiciously similar to the ability to travel between realms in the old Virtuality before the cataclysm, Tom wills himself back to "phenomenal reality", and vanishes from this idyllic world.
Next: Virtuality Transcendent: Part 3, Episode 2