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tomorrow only added to the pressure.

Anna turned away from the window. The mouse sat still in the circle of light cast by the lamp, a point of calm in the center of the maelstrom she called her lab. In the last two days, it had deteriorated from cluttered to barely controlled chaos. Test results were scattered over her desk and lab table, where the three isocases holding the quasi-skeletal remains and the mouse's cocoon sat waiting for her insights. The counter along the left wall was covered with testing equipment she had borrowed from other labs, several comp-pads, only one of which was hers, and reference books she'd pulled down from the bookcase beside the door. Along the right wall was the isolab and the console controlling it, her personal computer hanging over the edge of the console alongside a scattering of unlabeled data crystals. Hardly the corporate image Chang so often reminded her they wanted to present. But she knew where everything was, and she got results. Usually. But for some reason, after her big breakthrough, here she was delaying. The thoughts of the mouse, so clear and so powerful, had shaken her. Losing her self, even for a few moments, was terrifying. And she sensed that the mouse had only been brought to a minimal level of activity, awakening only for a few moments. What would it do when fully activated?

She returned to her desk. If her touch had activated the mouse, then she'd re-create the environment of her touch until she found the factor that had activated it. She took two of the printouts on her desk, used one to nudge the mouse onto the other. Then picking that printout up from either side, she carried the mouse into the isolab and sealed it inside.

With the mouse now isolated, Anna sat at the isolab console, where she could observe
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