They were born in machinery, nurtured by steel and darkness, their soft minds plugged in to the network. Each thought perfectly synchronised to the Cloud, each experience vivid and lifelike.
With every other mind they met in the Cloud, each being to which they became entangled, the mess of flesh in the machine twitched. Behind the Cloud a real body longed for a human touch. Shrivelled shoulders, arms with wasted muscles, longing for a kind embrace.
In the Cloud, they try to forget the emptiness. A hollow life with no challenges. A coldness, even in warmth. Real feet somewhere twitching, yearning to run. Real hands in the haze of the veil, grasping at air where there should be a human body. A real chest, trapped in metal, with a heart that beats faintly, alone, sick of delusion.