"Behind me you can see people leaving the clinic. These are the first patients to have undergone genetic testing for the relaunched Human Genome Project. We will catch up with some of them later on their thoughts on this mandatory testing, possibly the first ever international collaboration of its type."
As the reporter continues, hood pulled up against the blustery Autumn weather, the line entering the clinic grows ever longer with those trying to get this legally required task out of the way before they must head to work. Most are dressed in suits or carry briefcases and are by themselves, expensive watches on their wrists a source of frequent but brief moments of attention as the queue moves forward slowly. Some have come prepared with books or newspapers in their hands although many more scroll through their much more portable phones, idling the wait away.
Few seem much interested in the reasoning behind the requirement for them to be tested, shrugging and muttering about the inconvenience of it. A minority express equally informed and uninformed opinions but they are apart from the small protesting groups who have formed up outside near every medicinal outlet, trying to shout each other down over whether the testing is a scientific boon or an intrusive and unproven authoritarian move by the government. The queue ignores the passionate argument, shuffling forwards slowly into the clinic.
Matthias Llywelyn - New Haven, Connecticut
It was late morning by the time Matthias finally made his way down to his nearest clinic, following instructions on the email he had been sent. A letter had arrived the day before as well, reminding him of his requirement to attend with the same information on the digital version he was now reading; that had arrived early in the morning, 07:00 sharp which probably contravened some data protection laws but the governments of the world seem little concerned about such a thing. All that mattered was this genome mapping.
Science of any kind was not Matthias' strong suit, being a Master of Arts, that art specifically being medieval history; still, he had read around a little and asked Rhiannon to fill in the blanks for him. She had a way of explaining the complex theory to an amateur like him which made it understandable, if somewhat simplistic. What he had taken from it, at least, was that this whole testing could help make most any treatment that much more accurate, specifically with regards to cancers, and that it was all built on the basis of an old project which had ended in 2003. Beyond that it had become too complex for him to follow, not that he had much interest in the first place so he hardly applied his academic prowess to the matter; Rhian had said it was a good thing so he had just gone with it.
The queue had gone down considerably since the morning news report he had watched although it still took him nearly half an hour to get inside. There were mostly other students from Yale around him although plenty of locals from New Haven had come too, sole parents with their children in tow while their partner was at work and the elderly. He had come prepared for a long wait, his latest novel on the go open in his hand as he shuffled forwards with the rest of the queue. Siege of Heaven by Tom Harper, an interesting and somewhat heavy read in the historical fiction genre. Matthias liked to read such books in his downtime, testing his own knowledge and the interpretation of the author and enjoying successful identification of inaccuracies although Harper, being an Oxford graduate, was proving a tough challenger. So much so that Matthias was reading this book, the second in the series, and finding few enough problematic alterations that he could properly immerse himself in the tale.
His turn came and he marked his page with a bookmark, a leather one Rhian had sent him from a gift store in Cardiff dyed blue with a gold design of the waterfront on it, before stuffing it into one of the near-bottomless pockets of his winter coat. One of the buttons was looking a little lose on the front and he made a mental note to re-sew it when he got back, lest it pop off and he lose it altogether. It had been his grandfather's, probably an antique if clothing could truly be called such a thing, and he had yet to find anything of its kind that fit him so well without an excessive price tag attached.
He was invited into a small room, nothing particularly different to a General Practitioner's office from back home in Wales, which housed a bed, desk and office chair and two guest chairs with a sink in one corner and plenty of informative posters plastered to the walls. It was supposed to appear homely and it was certainly more welcoming than a clinical hospital environment, with its bright lights and constant underlying scent of bleach, but there was no getting away from the fact that the room had a certain businesslike aura to it. The nurse, a young clean-shaven man in plain blue scrubs who named himself as Carl, efficiently took some blood from Matthias' right arm all the while engaging him in friendly conversation.
"I read they preferred sperm to blood from men for this test." It was a bad habit of his, to spout often strange and uncomfortable information, but medical procedures always made him nervous and it helped to keep him calm. Carl laughed, explaining that the tests had come on along way in the nearly two decades since the end of the original project and it was the white blood cells they were really after so blood was the easiest to use. After a few standard questions Matthias was dismissed and he left the clinic quickly, not wanting to dally in a place that made him feel awkward at the best of times, and headed for his favourite cafe shop a few blocks down. It was one of the few in New Haven which served tea, brewed in the British fashion, and so it had become somewhat of a third home, outside of the university library and his actual abode.
He settled down with his drink and a small slice of chocolate cake, Carl's recommendation of a caffeinated drink and something sugary to make up for the small blood loss something Matthias was all too keen to take advantage of.