“Marcus,” said Dr. Vayer. “I’d like to have a word with you about the…item…on your desk.”

The graduate student turned his chair around, bumping his knees against the wall of his tiny shared office. “Yeah, isn’t it great?” he gushed. “It’s a limited-edition import. I got the last one they had online at Chibi-Go-Lucky, number 498 out of 500! It’s Shiraishi Noriko from Explosive Ice Force Pagan-5 in her Ultimate Aquatic Combat Goddess form.”

Vayer looked at the statuette, which took up most of the top of the office’s only file cabinet. It depicted a girl, pale to the point of near-translucency, with forests of suckered tentacles where each of her limbs ought to be and wearing nothing but a tiara. The squishy pseudopods were…well, “very busy” was the tamest euphemism that suggested itself. “We’ve had some…complaints…about it,” Vayer said. “Mostly from the female graduate students.”

“I can understand why they’d be jealous,” Marcus beamed. “You can’t get these anymore, and Shiraishi Noriko sets a standard of sensual purity that it’s hard for any woman to live up to.”

His graduate advisor cleared his throat. “That’s one way to approach it, I suppose,” he muttered. “Would you mind taking it home?”

“Not a chance,” Marcus beamed. “It’s such a rarity that I want to share it with the world and my fellow students who weren’t fortunate enough to get one.”

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