Luke sighed heavily, and shifted on the bed to sit evenly with her. 'So much for withholding,' 'Ana said as Luke considered how much to tell the distraught girl. 'Guess so,' he replied. For a moment he pinched and rubbed the bridge of his nose, pushing his glasses up higher, and then turned his attention back to her.
"Alright, look. Do I know more than I've let on? Always. Do I know more about you specifically? Not too much. Most of what I know is just public record, or provided to my from old Marcos, and it matches up with what I've already told you. I honestly don't know what kinds of experiments, what kinds of horrors, you must have been subjected to during your years under ArmsTech's control. But I do know you're probably happier for not knowing. I speak from experience, kid: some things are better left forgotten. There's a reason the phrases 'digging up a grave' and 'digging up the past' are so similar. It's because you can wind up buried in both of them."
Luke met her eyes squarely, hoping he had discouraged her from inquiring into this any further. But he could tell that he failed. He turned away for a few moments and massaged the back of his neck, deep in thought. After almost a minute, he turned back. If she wanted it so bad, then so be it.
"I can tell you a few more things, if you're sure you wanna hear them." He said, giving her one last chance to back down. Gwin just nodded her head, tear-filled eyes imploring him silently. He cursed to himself.
"First off, you're right. Like I said, I don't know the full extent of ArmsTech's experimentation, but even cursory scans suggest that you've been tampered with on a lot of levels. Your dna has been partially rewritten, and there are some unusual compounds in your blood. Not much, but enough to suggest some kind of mutation. It looks like you have the same genetic predisposition for displaying abilities as your friends do. We can't tell if that was hereditary, or something you picked up from ArmsTech. Whether you can manifest those abilities is something you'll have to figure out on your own.
"Second, there's the matter of your brain. When you slipped on my glasses, I had Nirvana perform a full spectrum analysis on your head. As far as we can tell, someone went to town on your brain with a vengeance. Entire portions seem to have been remodeled or removed, and several key synaptic gateways were completely rerouted. That means that not only were your memories doctored, but entire portions of your thought processes, your very personality, have been fundamentally altered."
Luke stopped for a moment and looked at Gwin; the poor girl was almost on the verge of a breakdown. He waited silently, allowing her a few minutes to absorb the information. Perhaps more than anyone else in the world, he understood what she was going through. He knew how it felt to suddenly learn that pieces of ones very self were simply missing, or destroyed. Even though her trauma had been forced on her, while he had done it to himself willingly, he felt a slight, burgeoning kinship with this girl. And strangely, he realized, with Ureha, as well; it stood to reason that if ArmsTech had butchered her mind, his had probably not escaped intact.
He waited until her emotions had receded slightly, then continued. "There's one more thing, Gwin. In your brain, you were given a set of implants. Synthetic neurological structures designed to overlay your own natural synapses. On their own, they don't do much. They allow you to think a little clearer, a little faster than normal people. Your ability to memorize and recall concrete facts is enhanced, and your senses are a little sharper. But the primary function of implants, Gwin, is to host an A.I. I have my own implants, as does Gabriel. And apparently, so do you. It doesn't look like you've ever hosted an A.I. of your own. But you could be outfitted with one, very easily. And on the bright side, if you choose to accept an A.I. at some point, it will be able to help you regain much of what you've lost. Nirvana tinkers around with my brain all the time."
He leaned back once again, watching her rock back and forth on the bed as she took it all in. 'Get ready, 'Ana. If she suffers a breakdown, you may have to enter her head and help bring her back. We can't afford her to go catatonic on us.' 'Affirmative. I won't be able to do too much, though; her connecting structures are very weak. It would take days for me to build up enough synaptic bridges to be able to bring her around.' 'I understand. Looks like we'll just have to hope she's still got that steel in her heart.'
After almost 20 minutes, Luke cleared his throat and drew her attention back to him.
"Was that about what you wanted to know, princess?"