A thick, heavy voice shot back from beyond the altar, surprise lending it a hint of shrillness that seemed wholly out of place. A few heads turned and looked up from among the pews.
Joseph hobbled into sight, his hand occupied with a set of thick, leather-bound volumes that stank of old, yellowed pages. He was a man of middling height, but quite stocky, his dark skin speckled with age and thinning hair a mixture of whites and greys. A large, boxy set of glasses that had not changed in style since he’d graduated from college some thirty years ago rested upon his nose. His robes hid his braced leg, but their folds did little to conceal the metallic clink of its steps.
He seemed to notice the stares of those seated in prayer and cut the surprise from his voice.
“At last, we meet in person. I’d extend a hand, but these are quite heavy.”
A smile cracked open along his face.
“Come along.” He turned away and motioned with his head for Gerard to follow. “There’s a small alcove around the back where we can talk.”
[[The Field Museum]]
The curator’s office was larger than one would expect – an octagonal room in which four of the eight vertical surfaces were dominated by deep, wooden bookcases. Strangely, there was quite an abundance of room upon them; in fact, most of them were currently empty, though the room was littered with box upon box of what appeared to be books. Opposite one of the eight walls was a long, bare desk with only a monitor upon it, the partially-assembled components of its adjoined computer strewn around its legs.
At Mia’s question, a man bobbed up from behind a particularly cumbersome pile of boxes, giving her a somewhat hounded stare before patting down his waistcoat. He was tall, though not awkwardly so, and likely in his mid thirties, his blonde hair swept neatly over his head and his eyes a bright shade of blue.
“Oh, well, actually, that would be”–
He paused as Nathaniel craned his head in, glancing between his two visitors. His accent was clearly British – it was, perhaps, the most British accent that had existed, ever, in all of Earth’s history.
“That would be me.”
He paced past the crowd of boxes, over to the desk.
“How can I help you two?”
[[Outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital]]
“There are no major studies ongoing on Polio.” He corrected, jabbing a finger at the sky. “There are, however, many professionals in the field who continue to put their own time into the endeavour. And while there is currently no cure for your brother, there are several treatments that can help to ease his condition, and I would see to it that he receives them.”
Stretched exaggeratedly, he rocked himself to his feet.
“You’re a diligent, hardworking member of the community here at Northwestern, Ms. Wiśniewska. You deserve to give your brother what the hospital can offer. Now, I really must be going, but I promise to speak with the Chief of Medicine on this matter.”
He tipped his hat and grinned widely.
“Have a nice day, Ms. Wiśniewska.”