He had felt at odds with the implants at first, yet already, he realized, he had begun to use them automatically, like he used his eyes or his hands. For someone who had lived with them and used them for twenty-five years, he couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose them.
"Get off," Burell said, pushing Isabelle away. "Get off."
Isabelle stepped back, revealing Burell's slumped, twisted body.
"There are things I must tell you," Burell said, her face broken, misshapen, "if you will hear them."
Burell's hands were emaciated, her skin yellow, almost translucent. Within her robe, her body was hunched, her left shoulder poking upward. Her face looked like it had been broken into pieces. Her lips cut across her face at an odd angle, no longer quite able to close. Her right eye was twisted, drooping down to the side. Her left eyebrow stretched high on her forehead. The skin of her cheeks hung flat and papery. Galen thought it looked almost like the results of a stroke. Was that the condition Burell had been hiding?
"You should rest," Isabelle said.
"No, I can keep silent no longer." Burell's voice had lost its depth, its power. Yet she somehow managed to enunciate clearly through uneven lips. She rubbed one hand over the other, her head hanging. "I've kept my work from you these many years because I didn't want for you the life that has come to me-a life of reprimand, condemnation, and isolation. But I have taught you too well-to question, to examine, and to continue until you find an answer. And I have, perhaps, told you bits of my work when I should have remained silent. It was hard for me not to tell you everything.
"I know that you have managed to access some of my findings. I know that you have conducted experiments