Agnes descended, the dawn only minutes away. Her mouth, gullet, and hands were flowing with the blood of her enemies. She was content, now. Now, as she entered her home, everything would be all right at last. Except that it couldn't be.
As she went to open the door to her home, she pulled back her hand in agony.
Indeed, every potential entrance to her house had been locked and laid over with garlic flowers and bulbs. Agnes Potter both felt and heard someone walk up.
"Sherman? Son, help me get into the house. Someone has locked it up tighter than....."
Agnes saw her 26-year old son, dressed in his army fatigues. He had his rifle wih mounted bayonet, a canteen full of holy water, stakes at the ready, and garlic flowers laced round his neck. No male could ever be a true Slayer. But Captain Sherman T. Potter of The Boys From Golgotha was ready to try it--even on the woman who gave him life.
"Mother--you and me, we have to talk. You can't just go around doing what you did. Not all of those people were as vile as Henrietta's brood."
Agnes was enraged that her own son was challenging her, and especially right then.
"Sherman Potter! You were a soldier. You know that the war ends when the enemy is all dead. No more Knights in torn bedsheets, for this county. No more bullies. I intend to insure that."
Sherm's face grew narrow.
"Like you did tonight?"
"Sherman, they were animals. They deserved to die."
Captain Potter shook his head.
"Mother, it seems to me I've heard that song before. From those people you just butchered, when they hurt us and Auntie--and Grandma Russell's family."
Agnes put her finger over her lips.
"Sherman, the night has ears! You want some stray passerby to know we're all part Colored?"
At that time, in that part of the country, this was a very real concern. But not for Sherman.
"Mother, its hardly the darkness of some folks skin I'm worried about. Its about the darkness that is right as we speak eating your very soul. You've avenged your kin. Now come back to us."
"I never left. And its not about vengeance anymore. Its about justice. I am going to use my power to rattle this corrupt nation to its core. No more will women like my own mother be shown casual contempt. My own nephew, hung like a side of meat, and me unable to even beg for his life. My little niece--she had my face, Sherman-- killed by the same MacMartinson that killed my sister, and released and applauded by the same jury. When I'm through, it will be the 'pure' Anglo-Saxons that are shipped back. And you can't stop me, Sherman. I'll simply bring you and Mildred over."
Sherman responded by hurling two stakes right into her. His face was like cut stone. Agnes looked more annoyed than hurt.
"Son, you won't destroy me. We both know that. Now stop this."
When Sherman attempted to throw two more stakes, Agnes rushed him, and held him up with one hand. Her face was now distending, as her vampiric nature took over entirely. Her voice was like gravel in a deep bowl.
"I told you--you won't destroy your own Mother!"
Sherman's eyes were tearing, the stone facade gone.
"I don't have to. I'm sorry. So very damned sorry."
She turned, and saw that Sherman had succeeded.
"NOOOO!!! Please, not the Sun! I have to find a place to...."
Sherm did what he had to once again, and emptied his canteen over the ever-more feral vampire. Thinking to find a knife in her pocket, she instead found the Cross she had taken from the MacMartinson home. As she burned three ways, she realized what she had truly done. She looked at her boy, and nodded.
"Thank you, Sherman. You did the right thing, son. I'll tell your father--you did the right thing."
Still grasping The Cross, Agnes rose into the air, heading towards The Sun, now fully risen. She hoped as her body was destroyed that God would forgive her this night of unholy vengeance. When The Cross fell, Sherman caught it, and fell to his knees, grasping it, and praying that God would forgive him, as well. When Nick emerged from the house that night, Sherm was still praying, still crying, a now-obviously pregnant Mildred beside him. Nick, who had not had use for faith since the Crusades, watched this and realized his time was done there. He had never had the heart to tell Agnes that her cure was one he had already tried. He whispered about what Sherman held, to himself.
"...And exchange it some day, for a crown."
MASH 4077TH, 1952
Lacroix nodded at the tale's sad conclusion.
"A pity about poor Agnes. But when a mixed-clan vampire goes feral, they attract a great deal of attention. I too am proud of Sherman. His action was the correct one, and he had the courage to deliver the blow himself."
Knowing his master well, Nicholas decided not to press as to why Lacroix seemed to have an affection for Sherman. Instead, he wrapped up the loose ends of his story.
"As demobilization finally reached its end, Sherm was called back to active duty, and completed medical school through the army. Mildred had a little girl. They sold the big house and moved to Hannibal proper--fewer memories. They named the girl Eve, after their new beginning. I said my goodbyes, and disappeared into the West, and Los Angeles."
"Where I found you, then as now. Nicholas, let us wish Sherman and his comedic troupe well--and leave this place."
Not wishing to challenge Lacroix in a place with so many innocents, Nick Knight merely nodded in acquiescence.
PROJECT : IMMUNITA, UNIT 3966TH
Small, red lights swirled around the caged form of General Bartford Hamilton Steele The 3rd. He heard dark, whispered voices. Sherman Potter's lookalike said some odd words.
In a dimly lit void now, the delusional manipulator saw beings who looked like his son, Dorian Taylor, and even the late Henry Blake. 'Blake' spoke first.
"Your Pagh--is so very rich with fear and hate. So strong."
"You Are The General."
Bart the Fourth.
"You will destroy The Clay before The Priest can deliver it unto The Potter, and thereby forge a vessel for The Emisarry, The Sisko."
Steele looked around.
"Alright, I'll do it. But first--a number!"
The General began to dance a jig.
"Buffalo Gal, woncha come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight, Buffalo Gal woncha come out tonight, and we'll dance by the lighta the moon!"
The Pagh Wraiths observed this. 'Blake' commented.
"His Pagh is strong--but he's a complete nutburger!"
"Its either him or release Dukat and Winn to do it."
Bart The Fourth shook his head.
"No. We must not. They would start giving speeches again. That is unthinkable."
Even pure Evil has its limits.
CO'S OFFICE, MASH 4077TH
Potter's face was ashen, to hear this account from Pierce and Houlihan.
"People--erased like lines on a page? Turning to goo while making whoopee? Supply lines threatened by Cloak and Dagger types? Even maybe spacemen?"
"And that's the heavily condensed version. The real soup is pea-thick."
Margaret agreed with her odd ally and future friend.
"Colonel, this thing extends so long and so deep, there's literally no telling how high is up. The experiments performed upon us--were successful, because we lived. Or maybe that was a failure. Personally, I'd rather listen to some of McIntyre's bathroom humor than really think about what all this means."
Potter was shaken, but now certain things were starting to come into focus.
"So our story ends with these folks killing Henry Blake--just to be sure."
Radar was heard to yell.
"You ain't goin' in there, you lousy..."
A small crash was heard, and a thud. Bartford Hamilton Steele the Fourth, one day to be known as The Cigarette Man, entered.
"Colonel, you should tell your company clerk to keep his hands to himself. He might just live to be 20--then again, maybe he won't get any older."
With trademark arrogance, the code-talking junior spy sat on Potter's desk.
"Now lets discuss how things are run at this camp. My father once had a similar discussion with Henry Blake. It kept the peace for a time. Deal, Potter?"
Pushing his desk up suddenly, Potter felt his rage rise as the punk fell down on his behind. The Colonel's words were quite ominous.
"You--are nothing to me."