The spaceship appeared soundlessly, not there and then there in the space between breaths. It lowered its ramp in a smooth ballet of technology.
Bernard of Clairvaux did not know it was a spaceship. In fact, he suddenly did not know for certain that he was awake. Surely he must be hallucinatining. Perhaps God had wished madness upon him.
Abelard walked out into the courtyard and looked over at where Bernard was staring, transfixed. Bernard hated that guy. He apparently preferred to write love notes to that nun – who he also hated; speaking Greek and Hebrew wasn’t that great an accomplishment, and certainly didn’t eclipse the deficiencies of her sex – than illuminate texts with Bernard. Now that he thought of it, Bernard hated most people. It was mostly their fault, though, not his. Why did God not put any other worthy humans on His earth? The amount of corruption he had to stymie among other monks alone was a full time job. He shuddered to think of the wanton excesses of those outside his abbey’s walls.
“What! What is this?” Abelard exclaimed, pointing. His lack of composure was as characteristic as it was disgraceful.
For once, Bernard was thankful for Abelard’s presence – either the madness was a collective one, or Bernard was sound of mind still.
“It is probably the Lord, sending an envoy to reprimand you for your heresy.” Bernard’s voice was dry, but the spaceship was the most beautiful thing he’d ever beheld. To what ends had this magnificent, alien object appeared?
An unnaturally tall grey figure emerged and advanced down the ramp. It completely ignored Abelard and headed straight for Bernard. It did not possess the beauty or light of an angel, or even the form of man, but the Lord’s work was ineffable. Perhaps the weight of an angel's grace could not be processed by the feeble minds of humans.
It stopped in front of Bernard. Bernard stood up straighter and glowed with pride and anticipation. He even turned up the corners of his lips slightly. It was his first smile in five years.
The angel pulled out a board with a piece of paper held to it via a metal fulcrum and lever. And then, gloriously, it spoke.
“Are you…” It consulted the piece of paper. “Bernard of Clairvaux?”
“Yes, I am.” Bernard said with great dignity. He had dreamed of this day in his childhood, but had cast such fancies from his mind when he matured. A few other monks had walked into the courtyard while he had been contemplating the angel's visage. How fitting, that he would have an audience to witness what was doubtless to be his Ascension!
“You,” said the angel, “are a wanker.”
“What?” said Bernard. The courtyard was otherwise deathly silent.
“You heard what I said. You’re a complete and utter tosser.”
The thing – for whatever that was, it could not be an angel – nodded to itself and retraced its steps back up the ramp, which retracted soundlessly. The spaceship disappeared in the pause between breaths and Bernard never saw it again.