Dr. Kerry Miller brushed back her stray brown hair and straightened up from the aquarium. Her specimens were doing well today, she thought as she fed them. She loved aquariums…they relaxed her as nothing else did. In her lab ashore, she had dozens of aquariums abounding with dozens of fish, crabs, anemones and other sea critters. She couldn’t get enough of them.
In a few minutes, Dr. Gerald Knight would join her in the laboratory and soon they would be headed to sea where Dr. Knight’s new transparent submersible habitat…a transparent bubble would be gently placed on the face of a reef amid a plethora of sea life. She was thrilled by the opportunity to watch an active reef community at leisure without the bother of diving gear. She had invited Dr. Knight to accompany her on the Reef Master, her research vessel to try out his new transparent habitat in the waters of the Bahamas. Now, with the habitat secured on the stern of the research vessel, the vessel hit the first long Atlantic swells on the way out to the outer reef.
“Ah, good morning, Dr. Miller…A beautiful, day, the beautiful sea and beautiful day for you and me, to see, to see what ‘ere there be, ‘neath the beautiful, beautiful sea!”
“Good morning, Dr. Knight, you’re in a good mood this morning!”
“Indeed, I am. I get to take a beautiful woman to my undersea habitat and show her the wonderful undersea world of Dr. Gerald Knight.”
“That’s good! I can’t wait to see it from inside your habitat. It should make observations a lot easier and more comfortable.”
“Indeed, it will, indeed it will!”
A few hours later, the Reef Master anchored over a rocky drop off of the reef with sandy bottom at about forty feet. As the crew hoisted the habitat over the side, Drs Miller and Knight climbed into it and settled into seats.
“I’m not sure I like not having any diving equipment aboard,” said Miller, “I feel helpless. In an emergency, we have no way to escape.”
“Forty feet is an easy free-dive,” answered Knight, “You can easily leave through the lock and ascend to the surface as though you were free diving in shallow water.”
“Yes, I suppose so.”
The habitat began to descend, soon it settled squarely on the white sandy bottom. Bright colored reef fish swam in huge schools around the habitat. Curious grouper and schools of snapper came to check it out. Sea fans, Tube worms and anemones waved in rhythm to the current. “It’s truly beautiful,” said Miller as she began making notes.
After an hour or so, the intercom crackled. “Dr. Miller, this is Reef Master, we are going need to retrieve you. The weather is building quickly from seaward and it’s going to get rough quickly.”
“Roger, Reef Master, we’re ready to go when you are.”
Abruptly, things, beings…half fish, half men crowded around the habitat darting and swimming with phenomenal speed. They quickly disconnected the Reef Master’s cable.
“Look, Gerry, what are those? I’ve never seen those before…they look like…like…mermen? That’s not even possible!
“Possible, yes…those are my people Kerry. You call them merman. We call ourselves Guardians.
She looked at him in amazement. “Your people? How is that possible?”
“Dr. Miller, just because you have never observed or measured something with your own eyes does not mean that it does not exist. In many cases, it simply exists outside of your personal experience. So it is with my people. Air breathing people do not encounter us, so to them we do not exist. They consider us impossible. But, as you can see, we are not only possible, we exist quite nicely, thank you!”
The mermen surrounded the habitat and lifted. Swiftly, it moved through a passage in the reef and quickly down the ocean face of the reef.
“Where are they taking us? We can’t survive down here.”
“No, you can’t survive down here. I’m one of them, remember.”
They came to a level ledge at about five hundred feet deep. Gerry Knight went into the air lock.
“Wait! Where do you think you’re going, Gerry?”
“Oh, come now, Kerry…you like aquariums. So do we, but we don’t live in them any more than you do, so I’m leaving the aquarium to you.”
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