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Darwin and the Men in Black: a Historical Sci-Fi Story by Nathaniel Bates


     Historian and popular Professor Klein spoke to a crowd that included current and former students.  “It is not my purpose to defend the American capitalist system.  I am a Marxist.  But to one-sidedly attack Jefferson as a slave owner without context undermines the Enlightenment tradition.  Jefferson and Marx both gave birth to unjust systems; Jefferson’s had structural racism and slavery while that of Marx had Stalinist control. But without the legacy of either one of those men we would not have any civil rights movement.  Jefferson gave birth to the idea of equality even if he betrayed it.  There would be no civil rights movement without that concept.  And there were Marxists in the civil rights movement without which it would not have been as successful.  I reject the idea that the entire western intellectual tradition is ‘structurally racist and colonialist’ even though our system clearly is.  Remember that race as a construct is only a few hundred years old, while class oppression goes back many thousands of years.”

     His opponent in the debate was a Native American activist named Sharon Running Bear.  She nodded, “No one doubts your sincerity and commitment to the Movement.  But the fact is that the systematic oppression of people of color is inherent in industrial civilization and is deeper than just capitalism.”

     “It is a product of agriculture and the transition away from the hunter-gatherer period really,” Professor Klein countered. 

Sharon and much of the room nodded.  The two were agreeing on more than they disagreed on.  Their main disagreement was the role of Nature mysticism in any social movement.  The idea that all of history could be boiled down to scientific materialism flew in the face of what Sharon Running Bear considered the central insight of indigenous people.  She ended the debate with what she considered her strongest statement, “The White man does not primarily suffer because of class oppression, egregious though it is.  He suffers from his own disconnection with his indigenous past.  Adam Smith and Karl Marx could never understand the world of the Lady of the Lake, the Cave Bear, the Ice Age that defined your people in its indigenous past.  Feudalism and capitalism had already cut that off.”

 Professor Klein noted that he was Jewish, and his people had been monotheistic for all time. 

“For all time?  Is that why the Prophets always had to keep the Jewish people from turning to Canaanite fertility religions?”  The debate ended somewhat unsatisfactorily with Professor Klein, an atheist, commenting that Canaanite fertility religions were brutal exercises of clerical oppression often involving child sacrifice.  “Religion is the opiate of the masses and I am an atheist.  But I credit monotheism for introducing the ethical in the world.  We got rid of the false gods.  Getting rid of Abrahamic religious idolatry is the next logical step in human evolution, but it would not have been possible to even begin if we had stayed in polytheism.  You have to credit Monotheism for shattering philistinism in its ancient form.”  

Sharon Running Bear protested that her people were highly ethical and did not engage in sacrifices.  But she realized that not all “primitive” people were the same.  Her people were actually very advanced and had a great deal of scientific knowledge about Nature.  There were vast trading networks and avenues of communication.  Her people had the same good points and the same struggles as other peoples.  They were not romantic primitives but complicated human beings who could not be boiled down to simple images.  What distinguished their science from that of the white man was the fact that Indians did not have rigid separations between the natural and the spiritual.  Each realm inter-permeated the other. 

Sharon also knew that it was unfair of her to say that all western philosophy rejected the indigenous.  Hegel, Schopenhauer, even Newton himself had esoteric ideas that hearkened back to the white man’s own connection with the European continent.  Professor Klein’s own people had the Kabbalah.  Perhaps if she met with Professor Klein privately she could discuss matters of esoteric importance that would stimulate his interest.  Over lunch the two shook hands and agreed to be friends.  “We are on the same side in the Struggle,” Klein said, “Even if I do believe in a land bridge.”  They laughed. 

“But we agree on human rights, the environment and what is truly important,” Sharon blurted out in a smooth continuation of the conversation.

It was at that point that the conversation turned in an unexpected direction, when Sharon brought up “The Star People.”  “The Indians knew of your outer space long before Galileo.  They knew of the Star People.” 

Professor Klein froze in his chair.  He stopped digesting his food and realized that he had to digest what he was hearing.

She slowly began, as if to cushion a blow, “You mentioned Charles Darwin in your talk today.  I have a copy of his secret writings where he mentions the Star People.” 

Professor Klein paused for the minute that became eternity but became a minute again when it did not determine what was next.  He continued to chew his food.  “Where may I read this?” he asked with a Professorial skepticism that was always proforma when he dealt with Creationists, UFO believers, and even some students convinced the Earth was flat. 

Sharon pulled out a book clearly obtained from an Antiquarian bookstore.  It purported to be written by a certain Charles Darwin about his time as head of Her Majesty’s Investigative Committee on the Natural Philosophy of Wondrous Phenomena.  “Wondrous phenomena” was a nineteenth century term that often referred to paranormal events.  The notion that one of history’s greatest rational scientists would have been involved with the paranormal was too much to consider!

Professor Klein opened it and began to look through it.  It began, “I was called upon by Her Majesty’s Service to be the lead natural philosopher to engage with the wondrous.  The utmost discretion would be expected of all.  Only gentlemen should engage.  As I studied fossils and the breeding of dogs, I would also be on duty when reports of lights in the heavens, mysterious beasts on the moor, phantoms and visitors from other worlds would intrude on our pleasant country.  We would be expected to find the rational answers that would settle the human mind and to avoid the fatuous.  Our representatives often mused that the black clothing of our guards was synonymous with the black garb of the Jesuit. We teased them by calling them Jesuits when in fact all were Protestant and none were pleased.”

Darwin as Man in Black!  Or at least he was accompanied by them but still it was too ridiculous to be believed.  The book was clearly a hoax with a dark sense of humor.

Sharon was willing to sell it and Professor Klein bought it with good humor.  As she turned around and left the table, she shot back at him, “You know why you Marxists love the labor theory of value so much?  It is because that is how Marx connected with European and American males who value what you do more than the connections you have in family and tradition.  With indigenous people it is the connection of relationship.  With you guys, it is what you do.  It is why you dream of white men returning to the left, which is a fantasy and not much more.  The Left no longer speaks to you about doing, so it lost you and moved on.”  Her words sounded like a lament. 

Klein thought about what she was saying long and hard.  He also thought about the contradiction of history’s supposedly greatest agnostic biologist harboring a secret fascination with the paranormal.  He wondered if Marx, supposedly an atheist, also harbored a secret love of the mystical that he never shared with his followers. 

Klein opened the book and began to read,

I came to a room inside the Mansion of Lord Shaftesbury.  In the room were esteemed gentlemen of both the Whig and Tory Parties.  Robert Owen was there, as were Michael Faraday, John Dalton and a motley crew of mystics.  My old Captain Robert Fitzroy would be there on some occasions when he could visit from overseas.  Obvious charlatans were strained out with only the most honest left in.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge was honored among us as first among equals, a kind of mascot, though no longer alive.  I was seen as someone with unorthodox religious views, but not an atheist.  I was therefore trusted.  Few suspected that I harbored some doubts on the orthodox nature of Christianity.  Nor do I know that anyone suspected I harbored a view on the evolution of life. 

Klein knew that it was not until years later that Darwin would publish and give himself away as someone who believed in evolution. 

Klein became absorbed in the book:

With Darwin the committee came to order and decided to form an investigative committee about the strange happenings in England.  There were lights in the sky.  There were reports among those in the countryside about visitors from other worlds.  Some claimed to see ghosts.  Others claimed there were giant cats on the moor.  Black dogs terrified subjects of Her Majesty.  The reign of Queen Victoria seemed to hearken to a fascination with the unknown that did not express the fears of earlier centuries but rather fascination.  Her majesty selected Darwin because as a natural philosopher he could come up with “rational” explanations that the Crown needed to give to the public in order not to cause panic.  Darwin’s own name would be kept secret and the committee devised a ruse that he was too ill to travel when in fact he was ghost hunting.

Klein began to wonder whether Darwin’s reputation as a philosophical materialist was a public persona.  Was he really a deep metaphysician underneath it all?

The Darwin diary-like book continued:

The committee met and decided to interview those on the moor that saw giant cats.  One older woman on a farm began to nervously share her account with me.  “The cats were giant, I says.  And I ain’t foolin’.  You are a fine gentleman who studies breedin’ and other subjects of interest.  Maybe you can help me know why this giant cat were comin’ but never eaten’ no sheep.  Never hungry, like a ghost.  And I seen ghosts too.  Bright lights flyin’ on the moor.  What is odd is that they be talkin’ to the cats.  I tells you straight.  No lyin’ and no foolin’.”  She paused and added, “I never had a drink that night.  No foolin’.  One husband, no low’vers and no foolin’ around.”  She was a Non-Conformist in religion and austere in her morals.  I had every reason to trust her.

“I set about the moor to explore with as keen a naturalist’s eye as I could,” Darwin wrote.

The cold climate of England could have allowed for a giant mammal to adapt to the moor.  Over time, selection could cause the species to become bigger.  This was a natural explanation, one I had to be guarded about as this was decades before Origin of Species, the book I have written since then as I reflect guardedly on those years.  But then why did no naturalist report this?  And what of the giant lights?  I suspected that these lights may have been a form of electrical phenomenon that could affect the brains to cause a human to see hallucinations.  Perhaps Mr. Faraday could investigate.  As my attendants were dressed in black, I noticed a somewhat menacing demeanor to them.  I wondered if they were natural philosophers or something else.  I had a vague sense of unease as I began to wonder if I was attending them or they were attending me.

Klein could see that Darwin was suspecting that the Men in Black were serving an agenda of suppression more than one of revealing. Darwin wrote,

The Crown wanted to make sure that superstitions did not spread other superstitions that could be used by enemies of England, or perhaps by revolutionaries.  Chartism was afoot in the land and dangerous social radicals could make use of the occult to suggest that the “stars” portended revolution.

 It did not take long for me to wonder if my own Whig politics, my own youthful liberal views, made me suspect to some factions of the committee or perhaps to powers beyond the committee.  As I walked along the Moor with my entourage, I paced my steps and at one point asked to investigate alone. 

“Roight’sir, we’ll go this way.  See you in the mornen’ then.” 

I walked through the night in the Moor.  One eye on the investigation while the other eye aside of me viewing whatever shadows may have been following me. 

Professor Klein put the book down.  There was a realism to the writing that suggested it was no ordinary hoax.  Klein immediately ran to his Study to read more.  As he ran, he felt as though invisible eyes were on him.  He tried to laugh it off but could not.  As he opened the book again, Klein found a segment on Black Dogs. 

Sir Lawrence, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, has complained to Her Majesty about black dogs who torment him.  His suspicion is that Diabolical Powers sent these Black Dogs as emissaries of Hades.  These dogs were giant and had red eyes.  Their breath smelled of sulfur.  I considered him as bedlam but for the fact that his was the testimony of a Gentleman.

One meeting had a harangue from Robert Fitzroy on the diabolical nature of what they were studying.  As for black dogs, Fitzroy agreed with the Gentleman. He warned that the “Old Deceiver is afoot.” 

Klein continued reading:

Fitzroy, my old Captain on the Beagle, fixed his eyes on me.  His eyes were sad from years of defending Maori’s against exploitation while Governor of New Zealand.  He would have to return there.  I knew that Fitzroy had once defended slavery.  I wondered if Fitzroy’s new-found racial liberalism in New Zealand meant a change of heart.  Fitzroy seemed even more certain of the authenticity of the Bible than when he was on board ship.  Signs of a nervous breakdown were evident as he did not appear to see the Mysterious through eyes of science but through the old certainty of Faith.  “It is best that we suppress what the common people need not know.  It is for the sake of their own souls.” Fitzroy, stood firm on Throne and Altar said. “Certainties should guide men in the Age of Revolution.”  The room roasted him in their disapproval but I stayed quiet.  I could only wonder what Fitzroy would think once my own views on evolution would be revealed to the world. 

Darwin writing went on:

I continued to investigate poltergeists, phantoms, and “men from Mars.”  One witness I interviewed even claimed to see lights on the moon.  The Committee was sworn to investigate them all but it was clear that some within the Committee were working more for suppression than for the truth.

I followed the trail of a robber who presumably walked through walls.  The “Jesuits” as I called them, the black cloaked knights of Her Majesty’s Service, followed behind me.  It was not too soon that one of them brought a witness before a cliff and threatened that if he ever told of his account the mighty arm of the Crown would cast him over the cliff.  I hotly protested to the Committee that the sacred rights of an Englishman were as sacred as when William of Orange assumed the Throne.  As I related my shock and horror to the Secret Circle later, the honorable Lord Kelvin, an explorer of heat and electricity, then confessed to me that the Circle was under the guardianship of the liberal Prince Albert who loved their work but that others within the establishment were not as keen on free inquiry.  Some in the establishment wanted to suppress knowledge rather than reveal it.

Klein stopped reading and decided to take a run.  He knew that fresh air would do his mind good.  Klein ran and breathed hard.  He cleared his mind to determine once and for all whether or not he was reading a hoax or a genuine diary.  Klein knew that the revolutionaries could exploit belief in the occult.  But he also knew that most revolutionaries were atheistically inclined or at least inclined toward Deism.  Belief in the occult did not imply radical politics.  Quite the contrary, some of the most reactionary characters in history were involved in the occult.  It was just as possible that the mysterious men in black were actually hoaxing some of the events in question to encourage a more mystical population that would also be more inclined toward traditionalism.  The thought, Klein realized, had even occurred to Darwin himself in one passage.  But was it possible for them to fake all of them? 

At the end of his run, Klein decided to crack open the diary to a fortuitous page.  Darwin was describing in an agony the sickness of his daughter Anne. Darwin wrote,

I knew from my studies of the claims of the miraculous and mysterious that some believed in a water cure.  As a man of science, I am expected to be skeptical.  My contemporaries outside of the Secret Circle are skeptical men of materialism, as are many men in the Circle when they are their outward selves.  For myself, I agonize.  I want to Believe in a Benevolent Higher Being but the suffering of my daughter makes me wonder.  If a Creator exists who is all perfect, then what of suffering?  I ask these words guardedly and ask that the keeper of this diary, T.H. Huxley, keep my thoughts secret and guard that no one tarnish my reputation whether by the devout or by the scientific.  I trust him to keep this within the Huxley family, but my doubts were strong at this point. 

The Huxley family apparently kept Darwin’s secret. But in the book there were liberal amounts of underwriting by someone who signed his name as ALDOUS HUXLEY.  Apparently, Aldous could not help but be fascinated decades later at Darwin’s struggle with the mysterious in its most impersonal facet.

In his own mind Klein reviewed what he read in Darwin’s book that was certainly written like a diary. Klein put what he read in Darwin’s book into his own words.

Darwin really marked and told of the crisis of his faith in these pages.  Darwin was still formulating his hallmark theory of natural selection that seemed to most to rule out a role for God.  But his exploration of the paranormal for him still left open a doubt.  Maybe some kind of Divine Intelligence existed due to reports of the miraculous.  But what Darwin could not accept was human suffering.  The death of his daughter marked a crisis of faith that almost led him to resign his post as chief natural scientist of the Royal Society’s “Secret Circle of the Mysterious” as the group of paranormal explorers called themselves.  Being an atheist was easier than to believe that a Divine Intelligence could create such suffering as the death of an innocent.

It turned out that Emma Darwin, the long-suffering wife of Charles, was herself a full member of the Secret Circle of the Mysterious.  In the outward society she was a second-class citizen, being a woman in repressive Victorian England.  But the Secret Circle decided that her spiritual intuition was greater than that of her largely materialist and skeptical husband.  Queen Victoria and Prince Albert themselves had become members and were investigating ghosts.  Emma Darwin would participate in séances as part of official business for the Secret Circle, all paid for by the Crown!  During Charles Darwin’s crisis of faith, she spoke up to her husband and said, “Charles, you must have faith.  We will contact our dearest Angel Emma.”  They agreed to engage in a séance over the severe objections of Charles.  Investigating giant cats and black dogs was one thing.  Believing in ghosts or the afterlife was something else entirely and it rankled Darwin as a man of science.  But agree he did, if only to assuage the grief of his dearest companion.

Klein continued Darwin’s story with the séance:

A group of Secret Circle members gathered around Charles and Emma to hold their hands.  Queen Victoria cleared her mind of all distractions while focusing on a point of light.  “God who created man in His Image made him spirit” the Queen said regally.  Darwin froze.  His Queen did not know that he had been doubting the special creation of man for years, that he secretly believed in the doctrine of evolution as his grandfather Erasmus did.  She assumed that like other members of the Gentry Darwin would aspire to be an Aristocrat.  Aristocrats have always needed religion to legitimize themselves to society if not to themselves.  Darwin dared not give himself away and he closed his eyes.  In the middle of the circle sat a Medium who would channel Emma. 

“Dearest father,” the Medium began, “Anne is speaking through me now!” 

“I am well!!!  I am sitting in Heaven in the lap of my Father.  He feeds me spiritual food.  I play ball in His fields.  At night He tucks me in.  Fear not, for the faith of a little girl can move mountains.  It moves worlds.  The world of the Father is more real than the world of flesh.  Many dimensions are beyond this one!”

Emma was enraptured.  The Secret Circle was too.  Charles was sickened.  It was obvious spiritual hoaxing.  Anne was not “in Heaven.”  She was dead and he felt deep down in the cave of his bowels the sadness that he would never see her again.  Why was he wasting time on researching the “mysterious” when his real passion was studying bees, plants, dog breeding and the mysteries of real physical Nature?  He even had to fake a mysterious illness as a cover story for his vigorous explorations through the countryside, a deception unworthy of a gentleman.  This mysterious illness was invented to keep him “bedridden for months and unable to travel” when in fact he was in Her Majesty’s service the whole time.  This was hardest of all, not being able to attend Royal Society conventions that dealt with fossils.  Instead he was chasing ghosts and apparitions.  The fact that a whole room of Worthies and Gentlefolk would be taken in by a medium of fraudulent intent only demonstrated that the high folk of England were susceptible to deception.  It was as if humans of the highest status were just like any other human, and humans as fallible as any other animal.  It is as if…

Darwin stopped mid-sentence, thought about it, and continued:  It was as if humans and animals had differing intelligence in degree but not in kind.  There was his theory of humanity in a nutshell and it did not include spiritual candy for children in Heaven, as much as he wanted to believe it.

The Circle left with smiles on their faces.  Apparently, Anne Darwin would reincarnate soon as a beautiful Princess to marry the future King of England!  She even invited the members of the Circle to render her services in the future (for a modest fee).  Darwin knew he had to make a choice as to whether he would continue with the Secret Circle.  But he also knew that he had to more fully develop his more earthly scientific theories.  He would redouble his efforts to demonstrate his theory of natural selection and eventually publish it, even if it lost him friends within the Metaphysical set.  Darwin was more firm than ever that human traits were derived from animal traits, that populations evolve through natural selection.  A vast stream of life, impersonal and meandering, connected all living things.  Perhaps the Metaphysical set was correct in that all life was connected.  But the connection was impersonal and silent.  It possessed no human emotions.  Perhaps his daughter was resting comfortably there but he knew that there was no playing ball and no tucking into bed.  Charles felt more lonely than ever and felt the loss of his daughter along with the distance between himself and his wife.

The story going on in Klein’s words:

Darwin knew he had to continue because science demanded dedication even when the road seemed bleak.  There were glowing orbs, circles in fields made by visitors from Mars. Coins dropping from heaven, levitating monks, telepathy, all claims that were made with degrees of verification.  Darwin never had enough evidence and always it seemed as though the “Jesuits” were conspiring to hide the phenomenon more than to expose it.

One day Darwin was investigating a farmer’s widow who claimed that a man from the future had come to her to reveal events in time to come.  “She told me a great war was coming.  Then another war would come with New York as the house among nations.  A bomb would exist that would destroy cities made possible by science not yet known.  There would be a ship of sorts to the moon, an airship that rises above the air.  Sheer bedlam and I dare say I almost quit!” 

Klein stopped reading.  He was stunned.  It was not far from the truth.  Not far at all.  World War II, the bomb, the United Nations could all be written into that enigmatic framing of the future.  He would dare say that this time traveler “predicted” a future that was close to what would come to a pass.  And what was most unbelievable was that the time traveler claimed that all of the ghosts and strange creatures haunting England were actually temporal distortions made possible by future time travel technology!

Klein immediately called Sharon Running Bear and unloaded on her.  “The time travelers from the future are said to be behind the whole paranormal reality.” 

She smiled, “Our people don’t believe that they are from the future in the same way that you think of the future.  Remember that the ‘future’ so-called is all around us.  The buffalo have returned, now.  These time travelers so-called are really the guides to take us to the world after us.” 

The two of them sat in silence.  Then Klein opened the book and read out loud from Darwin’s writing:

It was at this point that I excused myself for a brisk walk in the night air.  I was resolved to publish my thoughts on the selection of species and to leave the metaphysical bunkum to weaker minds. 
     I had one more investigation to pursue.  I resolved to investigate the claims of a man in the forest who claimed that fairies had communicated with him a secret of State.  He claimed that they had told him of agents of the Tzar of Russia who had attempted to steer the British Crown to their own advantage.  The revolutions of 1848 and the attempts of Germany and Italy to become stronger were apparently being thwarted by agents of Russia operating in Europe and in Britain.  The whole thrust was to overcome liberal movements and to ultimately keep Chartism down.  An attempt would eventually be made to assassinate Karl Marx and other leaders of working parties.  The final attempt would be to bring the Protestant Parties under the Pope again whose restored power was seen as a precondition for the eventual reunification of Rome with Eastern Churches. 

When I communicated my plans to the “Jesuits” I saw a pained look on their faces.  They were clearly disconcerted.  But I persisted and continuing on our way, we met this man.  He was visibly disconcerted by the appearance of the black cloaked police and I bid them to retreat back out of his door.  He began to explain that a little person, a fairy, had warned him of the evil designs of the enemies of the British Constitution in high places.  “And they are everywhere.” he said.  “You yourself may be surrounded by them and you will not know.”

Darwin stood up and thanked the man.  He left and went on his way.  A few days passed when a report came that the man had been murdered.  It was in the daily paper and the blood drained from Darwin.  A sense of grief had overcome him from the death of Ann, his dear one.  It was compounded now by the horrible news.  Then he was stunned.  The man WAS MURDERED.  Darwin did not want to think about it but the murder lent credibility to the case the man made.  The fairy was obviously non-existent, just like the non-science he had been pursuing about giant cats, time travel, and strange men from Mars.  His real science was in fossils.  But somehow perhaps this man had true information about espionage.  A conspiracy could well exist to overthrow Parliament and Queen, or at least Parliament and Prince Albert with the Queen as a kind of hostage.  This was not bedlam but potential fact. 

It was then that a strange thought occurred to Darwin.  The only ones who knew of the man and his obsessions were himself and the “Jesuits” in black.  None of the other partisans of the Secret Circle knew.  It was not beyond the realm of possibility that the menacing men who accompanied him could have foreign designs.  A large number of them hated and despised the new philosophies of democratic reform.  Perhaps it is possible that they did know of dark sinister forces that wanted to hoax the English people into believing in strange and mysterious phenomena.  It would be a faction of the men in black themselves, not the radicals, behind all of the forgeries they had been investigating!  No one more than those who wanted the return of Throne and Altar, the return of the Mysterious, would encourage ghosts, witches, giant dogs and magic to roam the countryside again!  The scientists employed by them would be unwitting dupes who would actually be chasing hoaxes that the “Jesuits” themselves were creating.  One unfortunate Bedlamite, believing the hysteria and imagining himself in communion with a fairy, may well have confounded a legitimate discovery of espionage with the Tzar.  He had become the loose end that needed to be discarded.  Darwin knew he had to warn friends inside the Secret Circle that their efforts might have been employed to the wrong end.

Darwin left from Down House at night to meet with Lord Ricker down the road, his handler in British Intelligence.  Darwin did not know if he could trust establishment figures because he did not know whom to trust.  As he left Down House, every shadow felt like a menacing hand.  Farm hands were asleep after a long day.  Darwin passed them and realized that all of them were patriotic and loyal to their country.  The idea of a conspiracy in the heart of London would have frightened them.  He saw the stars overhead and smiled.  The “spacemen” were the only claims he might possibly believe.  It was possible that the same evolution that brought about men on Earth could bring about men on Mars, or even in other Solar Systems.  They would be men of some type.  Hopefully freedom would exist everywhere, along with the courage to defend it.  Lord Ricker did not know he was coming as he did not send advanced warning.  Darwin’s coach was driven by none but himself.  He turned the corner of the street whereupon he saw his least favorite “Jesuit” standing in from with a pistol in his hand.  He had been walking toward Down House with one aim, one aim in mind.

“Hello sir,” he began, “going anywhere?” 

Darwin grimaced.  He was not afraid.  Treason made him angry, not afraid.  “Yes I am.  For, while I bear no ill will against the Tsar, I am afraid that it is his own people who ought to bear him allegiance, not those on this Island, sir!” 

The man in black smiled.  “You sir have missed an important point.  I am a loyal son of this Island.  I see it falling to radicals, to Chartists, whose designs are the overthrow of all of our sacred institutions.  And you sir are among them in your own way.  Yes, I know.  You have plotted all along to eventually publish a tract of same kind claiming that we are descendants of monkeys.  I know about you and your correspondences.  It is not I who pollute the halls of London.  It is you and your ilk.  You are the most dangerous man in England!”

“It was true in a way,” Darwin thought to himself, “Perhaps I am the most dangerous man in England.”  I was so dangerous that these plotters may well have been seeding the countryside with tales of ghosts as a strange mechanism of thwarting my plans of science.  They might even go to that length.  They thought of themselves as agents of salvation of souls, not as traitors. 

The man continued, “And now you will make peace with the God you have rejected.  Beg his mercy.” 

“No, traitor, it is YOU who beg his mercy!”  Robert Fitzroy emerged with a pistol in his hand.  His deepest intuition had told him that something foul was afoot.  The “Jesuit” turned to shoot the gun out of the hand of Fitzroy when Darwin rushed him.  They two men wrestled while Fitzroy looked for his gun.  Another “Jesuit” then rushed Fitzroy and struggled with him as Darwin wrestled with the first.  Darwin picked up the pistol and was set to fire when the second man in black fired at Darwin.  Fitzroy knocked the gun out of his hand again and pulled out a second one.  A Christian man, he did not rejoice in sending souls to eternity.  God and Queen were in that order.  But it was the Queen whose duty called.  The shot rang out through the entire countryside as dogs began to bark. 

The other man in black ran off while Darwin and Fitzroy chased him.  His arrest was what concerned them, not killing.  They needed evidence of treason or else they might be indicted for the murder of policemen.  The countryside was filled with torches and dogs.  Clearly their neighbors were ready to handle the likes of scoundrels, not suspecting that it was the venerable gentlemen Darwin and Fitzroy they were after.  Soon enough the two of them caught the man in black and Fitzroy put chains on him.  They then paraded their prisoner openly before the mob that ensued.  Fitzroy, a religious man who never lied, said “Here is a man unafraid to pull the trigger as Cain against his brother!”  Darwin was shocked at his willingness to lie as it had not been the truth.  But it was an Affair of State, Darwin realized,  a matter of secret Intelligence.  In all likelihood the world would never know and the matter covered up.  A cheer went up as the bailiff came.  Darwin realized that the Crown would soon take the prisoner and no one would speak of it again.

Klein put the book down.  He knew from history that the designs of the Tzar were thwarted, that liberalism in the west succeeded.  He also knew that Darwin and Fitzroy would later become bitter to one another after Darwin published Origin of Species

Charles Darwin dropped out of the Secret Circle while Emma became its head, a first for women and a true milestone.  The group flourished as it remained secret.  But to Charles it seemed as though all mysteries had been solved.  The real mystery lay in the physical, namely the heart of Africa where the missing link between man and his apelike ancestors rested in a pillow of rock.

Klein focused his mind.  “Sharon,” he said, “there is no mystery here.  It was solved.” 

“Professor Klein, you are a reasonable teacher of History and Political Science.  Do you actually believe that a few guys could travel the countryside and hoax everything?  What about the time travelers?”  Sharon got up and walked out of the room.  Klein thought long and hard on the question and decided that Darwin had solved the case.  He was not only a great scientist, but a detective.  The world would never know.

 Klein opened up the book one last time and continued:

I would have given up the entire search as bedlam were it not for my own strange encounter with the mysterious.  There was an Indian woman with a mild countenance.  She announced herself to be from the future.  She put in my hand mechanical devices of types that I would not imagine have been invented thus.  This woman warned me of a time when life on our world would hang by a thin thread, when species would be extinct.  She told me of a need of mine to warn the future that life is one.  She gave what I could only surmise was an impassioned plea for all humanity to come to world peace.  She then disappeared into the mists of time as I was sure her contraption allowed.  Of her appearance I could only draw a figure. 

Klein looked and blinked.  He stared out at Sharon but she had already left.  A coincidence, Klein said.  He put the Diary down and decided to return to his long needed course notes on the Industrial Revolution and its influence on the development of the scientific enterprise, his next lecture.  He picked up the book for one last look at the picture and thought to call Sharon when he put the book down.  “Sheer bedlam!”

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