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elastic property like skin, was a mottled grayish color.

The various shades of gray, rather than merging into each other as they did in living creatures, were separated in small block segments, giving the surface a mechanical appearance. The shape of the object had the feel of something organic, living, though her tests had shown her that it was a mixture of the biological and the mechanical. This object, the mouse as she called it, was the first example of true biomechanical technology ever discovered.

She tried not to think about that too much, tried to limit those embarrassing daydreams about accepting the Nobel prize to a quickie after lunch. The discovery was no good unless she could figure out how the technology worked, unless she could figure to work the technology. She'd run every test and scan she could think of, and while they had yielded incredible information, they'd left her no closer to understanding the purpose of this device or the method by which it was operated. She'd tried every method she could think of to activate it, to wake it up, from old-fashioned poking to subtle alterations to its environment, but it remained inert.

She took the mouse in her hand, feeling the slight warmth of it against her palm. Its skin felt like that of Dr. Chang's hairless pet cat. There was a slight smell to it, too, like the anchovies she loved and John hated, though more subtle and faint. She could almost feel the life of it in her hand, as if she were holding a sleeping mouse. She admired the simplicity, the smoothness of its outer shape, the complex, intricate skeleton she knew was within.

She visualized its heart beating quietly, steadily at its core, the brain waves' repeating oscillation within. She imagined the electrons flowing through the superconducting
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