“Scorpion fish inhabit most of the southern waters of the World. The West Indian variety runs up to only about twelve inches long and perhaps a pound in weight. Though a small fish, its heavily toothed mouth is so wide that it can swallow whole most of the smaller reef fishes, but its supreme weapon lies in its erectile dorsal fins, the first few of which, acting on contact like hypodermic needles, are fed by poison glands containing enough tetrodotoxin to kill a man if they merely graze him in a vulnerable spot. And Major Smythe was determined to find one, spear it and give it to his octopus to see if it would take or spurn it, see if one of the ocean’s great predators would recognize the deadliness of another, know of its poison. Would the octopus consume the belly and leave the spines? Would it eat the lot and, if so, would it suffer from the poison? These were the questions Bengry at the Institute wanted answered and today, since it was going to be the beginning of the end of Major Smythe’s life at Wavelets and though it might mean the end of his darling Octopussy, Major Smythe had decided to find out the answers and leave one tiny memorial to his now futile life in some dusty corner of the Institute’s marine biological files.
For, only a couple of hours earlier, Major Dexter Smythe’s already dismal life had changed very much for the worse. So much for the worse that he would be lucky if, in a few weeks’ time - time for the sending of cables from Government House to the Colonial Office, to be relayed to the Secret Service and thence to Scotland Yard and the Public Prosecutor, and for Major Smythe’s transportation to London with a police escort - he got away with a sentence of imprisonment for life.
And all this because of a man called Bond, Commander James Bond, who had turned up at ten thirty that morning in a taxi from Kingston.”