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METRORAIL stops have elevators and bathrooms. Customers are directed to the escalators and good luck to anyone trying to get a key to the lavatory. Adriel and Gabrielle were very familiar with the ins and outs of the DC METRO and had visited Dr. Theia’s small office in the NIH complex before. As the day was nice, the distance short and the NIH shuttle buses less disabled friendly than the big METRO ones they chose to ‘walk’ to NIH security clearance. Once they were through the guard station and properly adorned with visitors’ security tags they made the way to Theia’s building and then up the elevator to her office.

The receptionist, Anna Tobbit, looked up from her desk behind the partition and smiled at them, “Well good morning, Gabrielle, Adriel. We were a little afraid you weren’t going to make it this morning,” she said.

“Oh dear. Are we late?” Gabrielle asked.

“Just barely; it’s only 10:03. You just usually get here at least fifteen minutes early, that’s all. Doctor Theia is waiting for you in examination room number two. Good morning, Adriel. You’re looking dapper this morning.”

“Thanks, sweet cheeks but I told you, I’m not taking you for a ride in my wheelchair.”

“Spoiled sport. Let me come around and lead you to the exam room.”

The exam room was small and Adriel positioned himself in a corner. Anna had barely left when there was a tap on the door and Dr. Theia entered without waiting for a reply. “Well good morning to the Gibeons. Nice of you to make it. Gabrielle, how are you today?”

“Excited. Anxious. Uncertain. And how are you, Doctor?”

“Rushed and pulled in multiple directions at once. Such is life. I’ve reviewed your file and the latest questionnaire that you filled out. I know that I’m the one who suggested that we submit your application but I want to make it clear that I really have no say in who is and is not selected for the next round of stem-cell research. You understand that, correct?”

“Of course, Doctor Theia. You’ve made that clear from the beginning.”

“Good. Just so long as we’re clear. I’m going to dim the lights so we can have a look at your eyes, alright?” she asked as she dimmed the lights with a foot control. “Okay, look up please, I need to dilate your pupils.”