(9x26) Virtuality Immanent: Part 3, Episode 2
Unexpectedly, Metis awakens from Virtuality, in the recovered postapocalyptic world she knew. Confused and disoriented, she is reminded by Tom and Xiu that she entered the virtual world so as to merge with her counterpart, the Queen of Hell, and free Virtuality from her control, so the Sphidi can be downloaded directly into their new virtual bodies without fear that the Queen might somehow take control of them, and so that Xio can be awoken again without killing all of the Sphidi still trapped in virtuality. Very confused, she is told that the galactic cataclysm she professes to have just witnessed must have been an attempted defense by the Queen, and not real. But she doesn't believe it, and now she is the one unsure of whether she has actually woken up from a simulation, or if she's now inside of one herself.
Besides Xio, who has been witnessing the entirety of Sphidian history from his disembodied omniscience while his avatar was imprisoned, only Tom and Xiuying believe Metis about the apparent alteration of the history that Metis remembers. Not because they remember anything that she remembers, but Xio believes her just becasue he trusts her, and Tom and Xiuying believe her because they were still never sure any of this was reality anyway. Suspecting that perhaps whatever forces lie beyond reality have redacted history as she remembers the Minded-Worlds saying they can do, Metis wants to travel to Niarba to speak with Keius and through him the Minded-Worlds and see if that is indeed the case. They will have to face the wrath of Kron and his Horsemen in the rest of the galaxy before they can get to there.
But now Metis has Xio with her, to whom she has already granted the same magical powers that were granted to her. And Tom and Xiu, along with the rest of the Sphidi, now inhabit bodies powered by the same technology. Unwilling to risk granting full magical power to the general Sphidi populace, but realizing she will need reinforcements if she is to win against Kron and his brothers, she grants Tom and Xiu access to the full power of their magical bodies as well. Being already intimately familiar with the magic interface of Virtuality, they are immediately as adept as Metis herself is at wielding the power of Ehrban magic through that very same interface.
As all of this unfolds, on the same schedule that Metis remembers from the timeline that no longer seems to have happened, Kron and his invasion force arrive via subluminal travel at Sol. Together, the four of them repel Kron's invasion, then reopen the portal, rallying with Osan and Amouch, and beginning their rebellion against Kron and his Horsemen, now outnumbering them six to five. But when Kron and the Horsemen rally the Berol under their control and prepare to bring them to war against the Ehrban and humanity, Metis and company realize that they require a more permanent solution, so they fall back to Entu, as Amouch makes telepathic contact with Keius and begs him to open the portal for them. As in the other timeline, Keius is extremely hesitant, but learning what Metis claims to remember convinces him to let them through.
Next: Virtuality Immanent: Part 3, Episode 3