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In the first half of the next century, a band of warriors is raised from infancy in ignorance of the real world, raised in a virtual-reality environment of endless battle where they grow into superb soldiers. But as war breaks out in the real world between Japan and China, the puppet masters who control their lives tighten the leash. Their virtual scenarios become maps of reality, and their strategies are acted out by real battle units. But Cat, Trickster, Dreamer, Snake, and the others don't know it. All they have ever known is the endless settings of the virtual world. And then they discover the real world, their real bodies held prisoner in a secret military facility on an island in the pacific. They decide to reclaim themselves and enter the real war. And the first thing they discover is pain.