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Many Names, But Always Me

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Summary: The IMDb list for ‘To Boldly Go…To The Movies’ keeps changing. I did a previous story for the film at the very bottom of the list, and now it’s been replaced. So, here’s another, the 1970 epic war biography tersely entitled Patton.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Other-Drama(Current Donor)ManchesterFR1511,7170871625 Sep 1225 Sep 12Yes
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Patton characters are the property of their original owners. Regarding the latter, this story contains the main personage of that movie, rather than the real-life military figure.

You did this!”

From where she’d been discreetly waiting in a concealing copse of trees several hundred yards away from the roadside accident near by Mannheim, Germany, a startled young woman previously observing this collision between two vehicles snapped her head around to stare at who’d just angrily berated her. Unlike any other pretty blonde girl in a whole country full of them, this supposed human female was in reality a thousand-year-old vengeance demon known as Anyanka.

Gawking at the transparent man wearing a hunting outfit while standing several steps away and glaring in return at her, Anyanka quickly realized she was experiencing for the first time ever something which her more experienced fellow demons had declared to be extremely rare, but still possible. Occasionally, the victim of a vengeance demon’s manipulations had both the psychic sensitivity and sheer willpower to move a portion of their soul from their bodies even at the very threshold of death’s domain, and then use this to locate and confront those responsible for their terminal situation. Who in this case was a former Viking lass named Aud that long ago caught the attention of a wish-granting dimensional ruler at the utter artistry of her revenge upon a straying husband.

Anyanka’s startled mood quickly shifted from astonishment into actual interest. For the past few centuries, she’d been growing increasingly bored over her unchanging task of wreaking vengeance upon people, but here was at present something new and intriguing. Besides, from what her co-workers had also stated, this spirit (for want of a better term) even now eyeing her in sincere wrath couldn’t harm Anyanka in any way, much less change what’d just happened to him. Given all this, it was only natural for the woman to indulge herself and speak directly to the spirit:

“Oh, you’re right about that. It doesn’t matter, though. You might still be alive there--” (Anyanka nonchalantly jerked an indicating thumb in the direction of the accident she’d recently arranged) “--but your injuries will turn out to be fatal, anyway.”

When the infuriated spirit started opening his mouth to deliver his surely irate opinion over what he’d just been told, Anyanka overrode him by smugly announcing, “What’s more, in a few minutes, you’ll return to your body, without remembering anything you learned here. What happens after…well, that’s not my problem.”

Judging from how the spirit’s face then contorted in absolute rage, if he’d really been here in the flesh, a genuine heart attack probably would’ve taken place. This transparent man’s body quivered as if he’d tried to stride forward, only to glance down in abrupt incredulity at remaining immobile and in place. All of this was witnessed by the woman watching him with faint amusement. The spirit looked up at her next sardonic words, “From what I’ve been told, all you can do now is to yell at me. Frankly, I’ve heard it all before, even with the cursing and crying, so if you want to go ahead and do that anyway, at least be imaginative about it.”

To Anyanka’s sudden surprise, the spirit’s rugged features shifted into definite consideration, indicating he’d managed to get himself under some sort of control. In fact, the cold, steady scrutiny now delivered by the phantom towards Anyanka was making her a bit uneasy. Which was ridiculous! Even if he’d accomplished the near-impossible, that person was just an ordinary human. He couldn’t do anything else--

Anyanka’s thoughts where interrupted by the spirit evenly inquiring, “Just who are you, and why’d you kill me?”

Well, that was certainly different. And what she’d been seeking out on an idle whim in the first place, moreover. So…all right, why not?

Giving a dismissive shrug, Anyanka peered around the small copse to make sure there weren’t any other witnesses. Fortunately, nobody else had shown up here. In fact, every other person in the vicinity was still concentrated down at the accident site. Satisfied, Anyanka turned back to face the waiting spirit, and she transformed from her human appearance into that of an unearthly monster, expecting the usual disbelief and then terror or some other cowardly emotion of fright.

What an extremely startled Anyanka instead got from the soul-spirit was an unruffled comment casually spoken by him, “I’ve seen you before. Your kind, I mean, now that I can better remember my past lives.” Beginning to tightly grin, the spirit next said in an ever-threatening tone, “Not just that, but when I battled with sword and shield against those other supernatural bastards, I damned well won, one way or the other, taking them with me if necessary!”

Anyanka couldn’t help but to unthinkingly take a step back at the air of pure menace issuing from the spirit. Stopping dead in her tracks, the ancient woman’s mood turned ugly at realizing what she’d done. Struggling to regain control of their encounter, Anyanka crossly snapped at the prideful phantom, “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, and I don’t care! Before you get too full of yourself, you’re the one who’s dying now, all because you were in the way and no other reason!”

“In the way of what?” the spirit suspiciously asked.

Bestowing her most malicious smile towards that insolent man, Anyanka chuckled, “My vengeance, of course. Early this year during the war, there was a German woman east of here trying to escape with her family from the advancing Russian army. Their refugee column got overrun with the usual consequences for the losers: rape, torture, and murder in all the vilest possible methods. This included the mother who summoned me with her wish just before she died. Naturally, I granted it, but not exactly the way she wanted. You humans have really got to be more specific as to the how and when. Anyway, I’ve set my plans in motion, and it’s true that the U.S.S.R. will someday pass out of existence. Just not for the next forty or fifty years. In the meantime, there’ll be lots of lovely suffering everywhere. I’ve made sure of it by cleaning up a few minor problems, and you were one of them.

Dismayed at what he’d heard of such evil, the spirit warily ventured, “Me?”

“Oh, yes,” Anyanka arrogantly nodded. “It’s barely possible, but you still could’ve managed to start another war with the Russians. I wasn’t going to have this, even if it might’ve been fun to watch, win or lose. No, Eastern Europe will stay firmly under the thumb of Stalin and his successors for the next couple of decades. Take that happy thought with you when you pop back into your broken body.”

Indeed, the spirit’s transparent form started to flicker, indicating his presence among a smirking Anyanka’s company was about to end. Understanding this, the man stood at attention, all while directly sending his grimmest stare towards the creature who’d just condemned entire countries to life under a totalitarian regime just as bad as the defeated Nazis. He growled, “Listen, you bitch, I don’t lose, ever. Somehow, by some way, I’ll remember this and track you down! Then, you’ll find out first-hand what a soldier’s vengeance is like--”

In the middle of this sentence, Anyanka watched the phantom vanish from sight. Now alone in the copse, she nevertheless sniffed in contempt at a departed shade, “Good luck with that, you silly little man! Oh, I’m so scared!”

Glancing again down the road where a small crowd was gingerly extricating a wounded general from his car, Anyanka sneered into that direction. Exasperatedly shaking her head, the vengeance demon said just before she also magically disappeared, “What’s he going to do, be reborn again in a new life, hunt me down, and then kill me?”

Fifty-six years later, one of the First Evil’s Bringers stood over the corpse of a young woman this mutilated minion had just chopped in two during the battle for Sunnydale High. Deep inside the awareness of a creature almost completely controlled by an incorporeal entity, the merest speck of another’s manifestation exulted in its long-sought victory.

The being known variously as Aud, Anyanka, and Anya Jenkins really should’ve remembered two things:

First, a dedicated soldier would unhesitatingly pursue their foe to the ends of the earth, wait for however long it took, and finally undergo any possible ordeal in order to defeat their hated enemy.

Second, General George S. Patton truly believed in reincarnation.

Author’s Note: The film Patton ends before the events at the start of this story. In real life, the four-star general was indeed severely injured in a car accident around the Mannheim region on December 9, 1945. While seeming not to be all that serious at the time, the internal damage suffered by this soldier eventually caused Patton’s death several weeks later. He was buried in the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial with many others who served in the U.S. Army at Europe during WWII.

Never one to refrain from saying what he thought, Patton hated the Communists and fervently argued the Americans and other free countries should band together to resist, by force if necessary, the Red menace. Since his suggestions also included rebuilding the German army with even those accused of war crimes, his superiors became increasingly annoyed with Patton. This general’s death put paid to any such attempts, though it’s interesting to wonder just how well Patton would’ve done against Stalin’s armed forces in an alternative conflict, given the Germans themselves rated that tough soldier as the best of their Western military opponents.

Regarding the latter, there’s a very readable alternate history novel by Bill Yenne labeled A Damned Fine War concerning this. It’s worth looking for, if you can find the paperback. Another work of fiction in the same genre includes an appearance by Patton in Douglas Niles’ MacArthur’s War, only this time he’s fighting the Japanese during a military invasion of that country. Since this book’s in hardback, it might be easier to locate at your local library.

Oh, by the way, from his own words and writings also quoted in the film itself, Patton was definitely a believer in reincarnation, even going so far as to write poetry about it. This story’s title is taken from one of these poems.

The End

You have reached the end of "Many Names, But Always Me". This story is complete.

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