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Hazel resurfaced from the freezing cold waters of Loch Morar. She looked up at the faces of her colleagues as they leaned over the side to help pull her back on board. The Faculty research vessel, or ‘the floating shithole’ as the Professor nicknamed it had never seemed so welcoming.Loch Morar was the deepest loch in Scotland. At over three hundred metres deep, it was cold and dark. Hazel, along with the rest of the team was supposed to stay on board and use the sonar equipment to track the floor of the loch and drop lobster pot type nets to take samples. Something however had snagged one of the nets about fifteen metres below the surface and Hazel had reluctantly agreed to dive down and investigate.Hazel swam down into the murky depths, using the powerful torch beam to follow the rope down towards the sample net. The darkness encroached on every side swallowing the torchlight. As she neared the net, she thought she saw large tentacles wrapped around the lobster pot but when she aimed the torch beam at it, they had disappeared.There was nothing snagging the pot and Hazel held the pot in one hand as she turned and swam back to the surface.“Fuck, that was dark.” Hazel shivered as she stepped onto the boat. “I need a hot shower to try and warm up.”“Have you seen what’s in the pot, Hazel?”She lowered the air tank to the deck and turned to see her supervisor, Professor McKinney peering intently into the pot as he lowered it into a tank of loch water.“It’s an unusual wee beastie, whatever it is. We’ll know more when we can examine it properly back in the lab.”Hazel felt the usual pang of jealousy as the other research assistant, Elspeth, leant in closer. She batted her eyelashes at the Professor as she simpered in agreement.Under the spray of decidedly lukewarm water, Hazel fumed. Despite being a more experienced researcher and having been on the team for longer, Professor McKinney seemed to have taken to favouring Elspeth as the first choice whenever he needed assistance.“‘Fuck that pretty little blue-eyed bitch,’” Hazel grumbled as she washed the loch water out of her dark curly hair. Hazel had taken a dislike to Elspeth on sight. Elspeth always seemed to dress in clothes that Hazel felt were a size too small. Hazel was also sure Elspeth must have a tic, she seemed to be rearranging her blonde hair so often.It didn’t help that Dr Joe McKinney was a bit of a maverick. He acted as if he was Marine Biology’s answer to Indiana Jones. She had been so excited when she’d been selected as the post-grad researcher on McKinney’s team. He had led numerous expeditions collecting samples and unique specimens from all around the globe. And yes, of course, she’d fancied him but she’d bahis siteleri never done anything about it. Elspeth however, well, she behaved like the way to get ahead was on her back with her legs spread.Hazel reappeared back on deck, dressed in her regulation jeans and jumper just as the Professor was docking the boat into the harbour. The three of them carefully placed the tanks of samples into the truck once they had unloaded them from the boat. It was going to be a long drive back to Edinburgh. It had taken almost four hours to get up here and she was sure the Professor would drive more sedately on the way back with their precious cargo.Elspeth naturally volunteered to sit up front with the Professor so Hazel spread herself out on the back seat and slept until the lights of the Forth bridge woke her up. She never tired of the view of the Forth Rail bridge as they crossed the Firth. It looked like a giant Meccano set as the summer sun set behind it. As the ten o’clock news came on the radio, the Professor swung the van into the parking bay behind the John Muir Aquarium at Heriot-Watt University on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The night security man unlocked the lab and watched disinterestedly as they unloaded and stacked the specimen tanks.“If you can be in for nine tomorrow morning, we’ll get started with cataloguing and mapping the samples against locations.” Professor McKinney looked at Hazel for confirmation and Hazel inwardly seethed again as she imagined Elspeth would no doubt be spending the night with him. The next morning, at 9 am, Hazel scanned her card against the door security system and made her way into the lab. She pulled her white lab coat over her sweater and had just opened the lid of the tank containing the pot she’d had to dive down to rescue when the door buzzed and the Professor and Elspeth came in together.Hazel ran her eyes over Elspeth’s outfit, noting it was the same one she had been wearing yesterday. Her eyes met Elspeth’s, but the girl just grinned and shrugged.“I was right. This is a curious wee beastie.” Professor McKinney transferred the creature into a smaller transparent tank and the three of them crowded around.It looked a bit like a cartoon drawing of an octopus. It had a large oval head and tiny tentacles which looked like they hadn’t developed properly. It had two large eyes with black pupils that reminded Hazel of Gizmo from the film, Gremlins.“Awww, he’s such a cute little octopus,” Elspeth cooed. Hazel was pleased to see that Elspeth’s inane comment drew a withering look of scorn from the Professor.“I don’t think it’s an octopus, Professor.” Hazel pointed out. “It’s only got six tentacles.”Hazel was just about to canlı bahis siteleri tell the Professor about the large tentacles she thought she had seen holding onto the pot in the loch when the phone rang. The Professor grabbed the receiver and had a short conversation which seemed to mainly consist of ‘Yes’, ‘Uh huh’ and ‘Right away.’He hung up and turned, an excited look on his face.“That was the University in Galway on the phone. Their research vessel is just back from an expedition at a previously uncharted field of hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. They used a robot to get samples from almost three thousand metres under the sea. They have some amazing specimens and asked if I want to get involved.”He paused, looking from one research assistant to the other.“Hazel, as the senior research assistant, I’d like you to take over running the lab for the next two weeks.”At last, Hazel thought. She glanced at Elspeth who wasn’t looking too amused before smiling at the Profesor and agreeing.‘Of course, Professor. I’ll make sure everything is kept in perfect running order.”“Thanks, Hazel, I knew I could count on you.” He smiled and turned to Elspeth. “Elspeth, if you want to come to Galway, it will be a great experience for you to see how a different team works. We should get packed as the team wants us in Galway tomorrow.”Hazel felt like she’d been kicked in the teeth. “Fuck, I’m such a sucker,” she thought. She would be spending the next two weeks cataloguing the samples and trying to work out what they were while Elspeth was off in Ireland fucking the Professor.She couldn’t bear to look at Elspeth. She knew the little whore would have a smug look on her face as she rushed off to hang up her lab coat and go home to pack. Not that she’d need to pack much, Hazel thought. No need for knickers where she’s going. The next few days were, however, quite exciting as she got used to having the lab to herself. Every pot, all fourteen of them, had been logged with coordinates of which part of the loch they’d been collected from, together with spectrum analysis of the water. She’d tallied the water temperature measurements they’d taken on the day together with the depths of the sample pots and by correlating them with the scans of the loch floor, she had built a 3D map of where each creature had come from.The only rogue specimen was her little octopus friend which she had taken to calling Gizmo. She couldn’t be exactly sure from where in the loch he’d been collected. “Hello Gizmo,” she called out as she opened the lid of the tank. While she’d been on her own, she’d begun to let Gizmo probe around her fingers as she dangled them in the tank. She’d felt a frisson canlı bahis of excitement when it swam it’s way over to her and rubbed itself against her hand.“What are you?” she wondered. Its behaviour reminded her of a dog or a cat trying to snuggle in against its owner’s hand rather than a strange little sea creature. Without thinking, she lifted the creature up to have a better look at it and as she held it in her hand, it scampered over her palm and stroked the creases with one of its tentacles, almost like it was reading her fortune. Realising it was out of the water, she quickly lowered it back into the tank.It floated on the surface, it’s eyes staring up at her. Hazel felt sure it was looking at her and she reached down and stroked its head, she thought again about the tentacles she thought she saw gripping the pot in the loch.“Oh Gizmo. That was your mother, wasn’t it? She was trying to rescue you. That’s why the cage was stuck, wasn’t it?”Gizmo just stared back at her. Hazel could have sworn the eyes were glistening with tears. Hazel was puzzled. It appeared Gizmo could breathe out of water. Just what sort of creature are you? She wondered. She turned to her laptop and began a search.Three hours later, she closed the laptop lid and stared again at Gizmo. It was still floating on the surface of the water, watching her. Her research had drawn a blank. There was nothing in seventeen scientific databases of anything resembling Gizmo. She’d ploughed through ScienceDirect, PubMed, JSTOR and DeepDyve and drawn blanks everywhere. By rights, Gizmo didn’t exist.“I need a coffee I think, Gizmo. I’ll be back in a bit.”The door closed and locked behind her. She slowly walked down the corridor, chastising herself for talking to it. After all, it’s only a six-legged octopus, isn’t it?She poured a splash of milk into her Americano and turned to look for a seat. She made eye contact with a guy sitting at a table who smiled and indicated there were plenty of free seats by him. She felt the blush rise up her neck to reach her ears and quickly plonked herself down at the nearest empty chair and stared at her coffee cup until she felt the embarrassment fade.Sitting in one of many of the University coffee docks, she watched the students and lecturers coming and going, As a researcher, she felt disjointed from the teaching side and with the Professor and the slut away, she felt quite lonely.With a shock, she realised it was probably a month since she had last orgasmed. She’d split up with her boyfriend about three months ago and while she had been flirting with the Professor, once Elspeth had arrived on the scene, that had become a lost cause. When the batteries had run out in her vibe, she hadn’t even felt the urge to replace them.That’s going to change, she decided. She’d get some batteries on the way home and she would try and be more outgoing the next time someone showed any interest in her. 

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