Cardinal Bless’s mission was not going as he had hoped. He had found the path he knew Darwin would walk down, had waited for his prey to arrive. But as the hours passed and the scientist failed to appear, all the baboon had to occupy his mind was how many shades of green this planet seemed to have. Once, he saw two men walk through the forest, so much taller than the picture in his mind. As they passed he leapt out from his hiding place, with a roar, keen to see what sort of fight he could expect from them. But they’d just howled and run away, and he'd had no idea what to make of that.
It was all very strange, the past and this planet, and God seemed absent in unexpected ways. He was reflecting on this when his fur bristled with the sense of an incoming call: it was Fliss, contacting him from his crashed time machine.
“Pilotoon!” he said as her face flickered before his, the knobs and dials of the ship dimly visible behind her. “Not much progress with the invisibility, I see.”
“That isn't possible,” said Fliss, “and it isn't why I called. Cardinal, there's a man in the ship! Or something like one, at any rate. And she says she knows Charles Darwin!”
Bless looked startled. “Then we can't waste time! I'm sure our archives have ancient teachings on extracting information from her race–”
“There's no need for that! She's quite nice. Doesn't seem to like Darwin very much, just like us! I wasn't able to convince her that our mission was a just one, but then it's not me who was hired for their pious mind.”
”I am by the path where Darwin often walks,” said Bless. “All I need to do is wait for him. Why would I waste time with some man who fell into your care?”
”It’s how she fell into it I’m worried about, Cardinal. Snapped up by a shadow, she was! If you just sit there waiting all day, the same might happen to you. You'd come back to the ship unexpectedly then; we'd both get a nasty fright.“
Darkness, thought Bless. Present even on the holiest mission, poisoning the best of plans.
He snarled and slunk his way back to the ship, oblivious to the shadows that snapped at him as he went.