Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades

(9x19) Virtuality Immanent: Part 1, Episode 1

In due time, all of the Sphidi have adopted the "magical" bodies, newly freed Sphidi begin their time in the physical world with them, and even most humans operate through them in their day-to-day lives. But the Queen of Hell has smelled opportunity in this development, and as soon as the adoption rate reaches 100%, she takes advantage of it. While working in the facility where Xio's body is kept, Tom notices his Sphidi compatriots all begin to suffer what looks like a seizure interrupted by a tranquilizer, and as their projected forms float convulsing in air, they dissolve and darken into clouds of ashen fog that Tom, too late, recognizes as the forms of Demons from Sphidia.

Before he can react, Tom finds himself suddenly awakening from the stasis pod in the virtual World Ring through which he interfaces with his artificial body in the real world, which he surmises has been destroyed by the projected Demons. Next to him as always is Xiuying, who moments later awakens herself, confused. Looking into the other stasis pods around them, where they should find the Dwarven forms of the other Sphidi who have been connected to the outside world, there are instead writhing Demons contained within the columns of Darklight rising from the surface of Sphidia below. They surmise that the Queen of Hell has "killed" the Dwarves to convert them to their Demonic ghost-forms, whose self-images are then projected through the "magical" bodies in the real world, exporting all of their destructive power to there.

Tom and Xiu do a double-take as they realize that though they are on the virtual World Ring, it towers above not a virtual Earth, but over Sphidia. In the sky hang a realistic sun and moon that do not radiate the fiery and icy components of Darklight as the Sphidian sun and moon once did. And the Sword of Darklight, which they are now able to recognize as a virtual starship and the manifestation of Xio's administrative access, is docked nearby with the virtual World Ring, presumably so the Queen could come and kill the Dwarves. Acting quickly, Tom and Xiu are able to pursue her onto that ship, and a battle commences, one they can't seem to win against her unprecedented might, but which, with their unique regenerative abilities in the virtual world, they can fight indefinitely.

Next: Virtuality Immanent: Part 1, Episode 2