She tumbled out of the net, and landed roughly back in her body. Her timed jack-out had caught her unawares, as usual. Time passed differently when you were a virtual dung beetle. Another five hours spent sifting through the digital detritus of the human race had proven fruitless. She was always searching, it seemed, never finding. While she’d made a credit or two from some of the things she’d stumbled over, her real objective, the needle in the haystack, remained elusive.
She ate standing in the kitchen of her condo, back to the window. Familiarity had dulled the wonder of the Earth-rise behind her. Her chrono was flashing red, indicating under three hours to morning. She swallowed the sleeper dry, and barely made it to the couch before passing out.
There was another assignment waiting when she woke, so she hopped the commuter shuttle, dozing through re-entry, and just made the Nozumi to Tokyo.
She grabbed a stim and a mapstick at the station, and plunged into the crowd, her coat belted over her weapons.