Paths

Dragonlots aka Dana Bell

I do not own any of the characters from Babylon 5, Crusade, Star Wars, Dark Shadows, Kindred the Embraced. Or the briefly mentioned Dr. Who Time Lords, Highlander or Battlestar Galactica 1978. I just took them all out for a spin to see what would happen.

They were losing.

Valen watched the battle from CNC on Babylon 4, knowing, that the battle had been won on Za hu dum. His fingers clinched and unclenched. What had he missed? What didn't he know? What hadn't he told himself in the message he'd received on Minbar?

Another ship exploded, and another. The Shadow vessels screamed through space, destroying the army he had amassed to defeat them.

The station groaned as it took a direct hit. Alarms blared as a lower deck collapsed.

"We have to win," he whispered, even as the planet below expelled even more dark, deadly ships.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"Luke?"

The Jedi shifted his gaze from the streaking stars to his sister. She'd gotten older, her dark hair beginning to streak with gray. He could see the pain of Han's loss in her brown eyes and understood why she still wore a black gown. "Leia," he acknowledged, waiting for her question.

"Are we doing the right thing?"

He shrugged. "The senate seemed to think so." The ship shuddered slightly under his feet

alerting him they'd dropped out of hyperspace.

"What do you think?"

"We need allies." He knew that truth. Recovering after the New Order had been defeated had taken a toll on supplies, resources, and the people of the New Republic.

His sister came to stand beside him and he placed a comforting arm around her. Together they watched out the bridge viewport as the huge space station slowly grew larger. Its shape was not familiar to Luke, any more than the odd circular vessels, and the almost artistic ships hovering around it. He wondered about the long cylindrical one with three fins not far away.

"Welcome to Babylon Five," a voice greeted through the com.

The commander of their vessel replied, "Thank you. What are your instructions?" He'd survived many battles and Luke knew they could trust him.

"We're putting you in docking bay seventeen. Just follow the red arrows."

"Thank you." The commander's face looked tired. His blue uniform slightly wrinkled, as if he'd slept in it.

The station got closer and flashbacks of his encounters with the Death Star flashed through Luke's mind. He shut down the path and willed his attention to be solely on this moment.

Leia took a deep breath, straightening her back, assuming as much height as her small frame allowed. "We'll want to meet their leaders as soon as possible."

With a nod, Luke followed her off the bridge and to the crowded docking bay. X wing and Y fighters crowed the dark gray area. From what they understood, they would be able to board directly. No need for seals or waiting for pressurization.

The waiting time dragged, as Luke knew it would. His Jedi training had prepared him for such things and he shook out his tan and brown robes.

When the lock finally opened, he shadowed his sister as she walked confidently down the ramp. Outside stood a welcome party and he automatically scanned them for any sign of danger.

An older man with gray hair and neatly trimmed beard stepped forward, a smile on his face. "I'm President John Sheridan. Welcome to Babylon Five." He bowed slightly. Luke sensed something odd about him, yet couldn't determine what it was.

"We're glad to be here," Leia answered. "I'm Senator Leia Organa and this is Luke Skywalker."

He found it interesting she didn't introduce him as a Jedi.

"Allow me to introduce Michael Garibaldi, he's from Mars." A round faced man with no hair and a crisp suit nodded at them. "Senator MacQuade of Earth." The craggy faced man half-smiled. He reminded Luke of many of the Republic senators he knew and from the scant information they'd received he knew the planet the man represented was under quarantine.

"Captain Matthew Gideon." The blond haired man in the light gray uniform with red piping gave them a crooked smile while his shrewd blue eyes surveyed them. He nodded toward his companion. "This is Galen." The hooded figure revealed his face. He was bald as well and his amused expression echoed in his eyes.

"The rest of the ambassadors will meet you this evening at the reception." The president motioned with his hand. "If you'll come this way."

Luke knew those affairs well. He hated attending. Men and women dressed in their finery, plastering fake smiles on their faces and muttering pleasantries they didn't mean.

What did catch his interest was the number of different races he saw. He'd seen such mixing in bars and other gathering places or at senate meetings. Here it seemed to be more pronounced.

"How many different races in the Interstellar Alliance?" he asked

.

"I don't think we ever counted them," Sheridan replied. He led them through the lighted corridors and opened a door that slid at an angle. "Space is limited here, but we managed to find you quarters in the ambassadorial wing."

"We appreciate that." Leia gave the president a smile.

"We'll have someone escort you to the reception, senator."

"Thank you."

Luke followed his sister and listened as the door swished closed. He glanced around quickly. The room provided a place to sit, some cabinets on one side and a couple of adjoining doors. Bedrooms no doubt.

Leia sat down on a padded chair. "Now we wait."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Breathing deeply, Luke relaxed in his room, wanting to mediate before the reception. His body obeyed yet his mind would not. His thoughts drifted back to the early days of the New Republic. The alliances painstaking forged. The reassurances offered along with countless promises. The sacrifices made by the newly formed senate.

His sacrifice. Leia had arranged a diplomatic marriage for him with the princess from the Tullerian systems. Iraina had been her name. The young woman had been pretty, long blonde hair, styled in the current fashion of her world. Her deep golden eyes reflecting her confidence when she looked at him and her easy acceptance of the arrangement. She'd been thrilled to marry a Jedi.

Luke still couldn't understand why he had agreed. Probably to make his sister happy.

Four years they had been married. They had been companions in public, separate in private often sleeping in their own rooms. He had agreed to her shy request for a child. Their son had been born and he'd loved the boy the minute he'd held the infant in his arms.

Until the day he'd came back from a senate meeting and found his wife murdered.

Terrified he searched her blood spattered room until he found the boy safe and hidden. Luckily, Han had been in port and Luke had reluctantly given the baby to his uncle. "Don't tell me where you take him," Luke had ordered.

Han had never told Luke where his son had been hidden.

Recently he'd asked Chewie if he knew. The Wookie had no idea. Seemed the Corellian had taken the Falcon and disappeared for a few days. He even wiped the coordinates from the Navi computer.

Blinking his blue eyes open, Luke sighed. His memories of that time brought pain and he roughly pushed his emotions aside. His son he missed, yet dared not tell anyone, not even his sister, the child had survived.

The elaborate funeral had been carefully orchestrated so everyone believed both his wife and child had died.

He heard the soft chime and sensed their escort waiting for them. Entering the main room he found Leia waiting. She had changed into a different black dress. The fabric shimmered and she'd pulled up her hair with a glittering ebony band resting along her braid.

"You look lovely, Leia."

"Thank you, Luke." She answered the door and took his arm as they left, following their escort, a quiet young man dressed in black and his cloak billowing as he walked.

The corridors buzzed with life and many of the varied inhabitants turned and watched them. Not being familiar with the layout, Luke had no idea where they were going. Several twists later, their escort motioned them to a large room just off an eating establishment. Tantalizing smells reminded Luke had been a long time since he'd last eaten.

President Sheridan greeted them, walking with them into the orange room. Flowering plants adorned narrow shelves and several tables lay scattered about filled with food and drinks.

Giving them a reassuring smile, Sheridan introduced the many ambassadors. Captain Lochley the lovely red head who ran Babylon Five. The dark blue uniform with brown touches did little to hide her figure.

Another man was introduced and Luke felt something not quite human about him. Dark hair and eyes, wearing a well-tailored suit, carrying an odd silver headed cane.

"Senator Collins," Garibaldi greeted as he joined them. "Didn't know you were on Babylon Five."

"I have been here for a couple of weeks," the senator answered. He had an odd accent reminding Luke briefly of Ben Kenobi.

Captain Lochley gave the senator a quizzical look. "First I've heard of it."

Collins smiled. Luke noticed the pale man carried an aura of power. "I did not wish to be found."

Garibaldi snapped his fingers. "You're friends with Lillie Langtree and Julian Luna." The bald man leaned forward. "I'm betting you were counting on everyone paying attention to them."

With a smile the senator answered, "No one pays attention to anyone traveling with Lillie."

The group laughed. No doubt they understood the humor of it. Without appearing to do so, Luke looked around. Security guards stood at the door and several others dressed in a similar fashion as their escort had been posted around the room.

"Rangers," Sheridan explained. The president must have seen Luke's interest. "They provide security for me and the vice president."

"Where is Delenn?" Garibaldi asked.

"Our son wasn't feeling well. She stayed on Minbar to care for him.

"Makes sense. Elise would do the same. Hope he feels better."

"Thank you."

Luke nodded absently as he listened. The president must be married to the Vice President.

"I thought," Senator MacQuade growled, "that weapons weren't allowed on Babylon Five."

"They aren't," Captain Lochley agreed.

"You evidently haven't read the charter," Senator Collins interjected. "Jedi are allowed to carry their lightsabers on the station and anywhere else in the Interstellar Alliance."

All eyes turned to him, including Luke's. "How do you know what I am?" he demanded.

"There has been a Jedi in my life for a...long time." He gave the president a knowing look. "In your wife's as well."

Sheridan frowned. Luke felt the president's confusion.

"Speaking of which." Barnabas moved away to meet the woman standing in the doorway. She smiled as he approached and extended her hand. He kissed it.

A sense of controlled power rolled over Luke. The woman held the Force as easily as a cloak is worn. Her dark hair, with a single streak of gray, had been woven into a braid and some sort of sea creature secured it. Her dress matched the hues of blue and hidden in her full skirt he glimpsed a lightsaber.

"Another Jedi?" Leia whispered in his ear. She must have sensed the Force as well.

"Very powerful one." He wanted to shield his eyes and half raised his hand. The light she radiated blinded him.

His sister noticed his action. "What is it?"

"You don't see it?"

Leia shook her head.

The woman glanced up, her green eyes looking into his blue ones. A gentle caress touched his mind and withdrew. Her attention returned to the senator as they moved gracefully across the room, stopping to speak to a well-dressed couple.

"Julian Luna and Lillie Langtree," Garibaldi explained.

"Isn't her club opening soon?" The president took a glass of light colored liquid from the server.

"Yes," Captain Lockley answered. "I'll be glad when it does and all the commotion she's caused stops."

"Upsetting you orderly station?" Sheridan teased.

She glared at him.

Luke watched as the woman lightly put her arm around the senator's as they ended their conversation and the two finally reached them.

"Everyone," Senator Collins smiled charmingly. "This is my cousin, Angel Collins."

"Nice to meet you," President Sheridan greeted.

"You were here when we went online." Garibaldi stuck his hands in his pant pockets.

"You have a good memory," she answered, a soft lilt to her voice. "My cousin was as well."

"Yeah, I remember." His tone seemed to indicate it hadn't been a pleasant experience.

The senator spoke, "I have always supported this station."

"Support we count on," Sheridan agreed. "Thank you for your continued faith in us."

"It is needed." The senator turned to MacQuade. "I understand many of those not on Earth have taken refuge on Mars."

"The Mars gov has been," Senator MacQuade paused, "gracious enough to allow us to live there."

"Gracious?" Angel teased a sparkle in her eyes. "I suspect you mean tolerant."

"Doesn't matter what it is as long as we have somewhere to stay. You," he turned to Senator Collins, "should come and join us."

"I have family off world."

"And you'd leave those on Earth to die." MacQuade's voice held accusation.

Luke caught the look that passed between Angel and her cousin.

"I would not be so quick," Angel warned, "to write off the Collins family."

"That plague is going to kill everyone." MacQuade stood his ground.

Angel tilted her head. "Are you so certain of that?"

Captain Gideon joined them. "I apologize for being late. And yes, according to the experts back home, the plague will kill everyone."

"Then your experts don't know as much as they think they do." Her remark caused the Captain to stare in shock. Angel turned to the Jedi. "Tell me, Luke," Standing this close he felt her full power. He flinched almost afraid of her. "Have you taken a walk in their gardens? They are quite lovely."

Had he heard her correctly? "No."

"I always enjoy a walk. Would you like to join me?"

He saw his sister's slight nod. "I would be honored."

"I wonder at that." She lightly touched his arm. "This way."

Angel easily moved through the station as if she came there every day. Finally they entered an area filled with plants and trees. Luke took a deep breath, the exotic scents filling his nose and relaxing him.

"Nice isn't it." She walked to a bench and sat down. "I come here every time I visit."

"Why?" He hesitated before sitting beside her.

"My people are healers. It's the only alive place." She shook her head. "I'm not sure if that makes sense."

"But you're Jedi."

"I am many things, Luke." She faced him, taking his artificial hand. "I am the one thing the Jedi sought and never found.

"What are you talking about?"

"You really don't know?"

He pulled his hand away. The woman made him uneasy.

"They only had a partial prophecy." She looked out over the greenery. "Some nonsense about a chosen one bringing balance to the Force."

He'd recently found that promise and had more questions than answers. "You're saying it's false."

"I'm saying it's incomplete." Her gaze rested on him again. "I make you uneasy."

He nodded. No reason to hide it from her. "I thought Master Yoda was powerful and Ben. You," he rose and took a step away. "you hold so much light I can barely look at you."

"At least you're honest." She rose gracefully and joined him. "I'm not to be feared, Luke."

"What are you?" he demanded,

"What the Jedi could have become, had they allowed themselves to walk paths they thought forbidden."

"You mean the dark side."

"Do you sense any darkness in me?"

He took a deep breath and shook his head. "No."

"There are more paths then light and dark. Choices leading in ways the Jedi never dared to dream of."

She made him curious and he asked, "Why did you take a different path?"

"It was always meant that I should." She smiled. "I met Yoda and Ben, long ago."

He wanted to ask if she'd met his father.

"Yes," she said softly, "I met Anakin and your mother."

"What were they like?"

"Now is not the time." Lightly her fingers touched his cheek. "I think perhaps we should return." She moved past him. "Coming?"

He took one last look at the garden and followed Angel back to the reception. There she returned to her cousin's side and he to his sister's. The rest of the evening became a blur and when they returned to their quarters, he kept thinking about what the woman had said.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Angel sat on her bed aboard the Torreadour. The light blue walls made the space seem larger and Lillie had placed an arrangement of bright colored wildflowers on top of the built in dresser. She knew how much her friend's thoughtful gesture had probably cost. Shipping anything to the station was always expensive. She appreciated the extra effort taken to make her feel at home.

The reception had not been a total loss. At least she had finally met Luke Skywalker and his sister Leia Organa. Both had strong abilities in the Force. In fact, if she'd read Luke correctly, his abilities were even stronger than he realized.

Not as strong as his father thankfully. If he had been, Angel shook her head. That was not a path she wished to travel.

What she really wanted was a glass of Julian's excellent wine. He always took a few bottles with him when he traveled and no doubt there would be some in the galley.

Rising, she left her quarters and made her way through the partially lit corridors. As she suspected, they had spared no expense and the kitchen had been well stocked with food items and drinks. Seemed odd considering those who usually travelled on the ship were either Kindred or others of the various vampire species.

Locating the glasses, Angel poured herself some wine and found a few crackers along with cheese to munch on. A small lounge had been connected to the galley, filled with comfortable chairs with tables to make it homey. She sat down, ready to enjoy her snack.

"You found my wine." Julian said, sitting in the chair next to hers. He hadn't changed and was still dressed in his dark suit, his black hair smoothed back and his matching eyes dancing.

She took a sip enjoying the mix of grape and raspberry. "It's good."

"Been in the family for...a long time."

"Probably as long as I have known you."

"Longer," he agreed with a smile. "I tend to forget you are older than you seem."

"Advantage of my mixed heritage." She nibbled on some cheese. "What do you think of Senator Organa?" She'd seen the two talking.

"I think they're desperate."

"I have no doubt you're right." She sipped the wine again. "From reports I've heard, the civil war left a high death toll and limited resources."

"Information that should be shared."

"Barnabas has already been briefed."

"Gives him an unfair advantage."

"The Interstellar Alliance needs the intel to make a good decision for all concerned."

Julian gave her a knowing look. "You're not from the Alliance."

"Never said I was."

"However did the Dark Zone get involved in all this?"

She sighed. "That's a long boring story, Julian, dating back to the Shadow war a thousand years ago."

"Indulge me."

"No." She finished her wine. "I'm going to say goodnight." Picking up her now empty plate and glass she returned them to the galley, before going to her quarters.

Angel had always liked Julian and Lillie. She'd met them through her cousin back in the twentieth century. It amazed their friendship had lasted through several centuries. Not to mention Julian and Barnabas being business partners and had helped each other become quite wealthy. They both were more powerful than many suspected

.

Lillie's main reason for being at the station had to do with a new club, which would open tomorrow. Her friend had spent the last couple of weeks getting it ready.

Which reminded her, Angel hadn't brought anything appropriate for the club. Not that she couldn't afford it. Barnabas always gave her a generous expense account to use whenever she traveled with him.

Luckily, this trip would be a short one. She'd be back in time for her son's graduation from the Warrior Academy in the New Twelve Worlds. They were newest addition to the Dark Zone, if one could say twenty years was new.

As she slipped under the covers, she wondered if the rumors she'd heard were true. The Excalibur would be heading into the Dark Zone to search for the Drakh Plague cure.

Seemed the legends of the disappearing planet proved not been enough to keep Captain Matthew Gideon out, while most of the races avoided the area out of sheer terror.

She'd have to decide what appropriate action needed to be taken, since no agreements had been made with the Interstellar Alliance.

Time for that later. She needed sleep. Closing her eyes she calmed her mind and slipped into the land of slumber.

The Zokolo buzzed with life. Vendors displayed their wares and kept a sharp eye out for possible thieves. Security walked the aisles and greeted guests with polite nods. Pungent smells filled the air and Angel sniffed, appreciating some of the mouth-watering temptations.

She stopped to examine several dresses displayed at a Narn shop. Various styles and colors vied for her attention and she could tell what designs had been made for humans. Unfortunately, none would fit her needs.

Wandering on, she sensed Luke before she saw him. Scanning the area she saw him standing on the edge, unsure of whether or not he should brave the mayhem. Even older, he wasn't bad looking. His neatly trimmed light colored hair had some streaks of gray and his beard complimented his aging face. He wore the typical tan and dark brown Jedi robes. She didn't miss the startled looks as many saw his lightsaber, recognizing him for what he was.

The stuff of legends. Too bad they didn't know why they even knew of the Jedi.

She paused at a stall littered with various junk type items. A few minutes passed before she knew Luke stood beside her. "What do you think of the Zokolo?" she asked him as if were perfectly natural he should be there.

"Similar to other market places I've seen."

"Agreed." She turned to face him. "I'm searching for a new dress for tonight. Would you like to join me?"

He shrugged and she got the impression it didn't interest him. Not unusual. Most men didn't enjoy shopping.

"Where did you grow up, Luke?" She moved to the next vendor admiring the fragrant and colorful flowers.

"Tatooine."

"That's a desert world isn't it?"

"You've heard of it?"

"In passing." No need to tell him how many times she'd visited Ben over the years. He'd mentioned the boy he had been looking after many times and shared stories about Anakin, Yoda, and many others.

"You're not being truthful."

Startled she looked at him. He shouldn't have been able to sense her untruth. That he had confirmed her feelings about his abilities.

"Perhaps there are things about me you do not need to know. We all have secrets."

"Secrets can be destructive."

"A fact I well know."

The next booth had what she wanted. Lillie had suggested a red dress and the vendor had the perfect style. "What do you think of the dress?"

He glanced at the dress and then her. His expression indicated he had no idea why she'd asked him.

She smiled and began to haggle with the vendor. Thirty minutes later she owned the dress at half the asking price.

"How did you do that?" Luke asked as they walked away.

"It's a game."

"You're good at playing it."

"Too much practice." Briefly the weight of her years rested on her before she pushed it away.

"What's happening tonight?"

"Lillie is opening her new club. She asked me to be there. My cousin as well."

He nodded, not really interested. Or was he?

"You and your Si..the senator should join us." He had no idea she knew of the pair's relationship. Better to keep it that way.

"I doubt Leia will want to." She felt his sadness.

She recalled her contacts had reported Leia's husband had been killed not long ago.

"You can always come."

"I'm not…good...with crowds."

"Not many of us are." They reached the edge of the Zokolo and she started down the corridor heading toward the bay where the Torreadour berthed. Luke followed along. She found it curious he did. At a junction, he turned, giving her a curious glance, before he left.

He'd had more questions. She knew that. Perhaps in time he would trust her enough to ask.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Matthew Gideon stared at the screen deciding between possible new destinations while he sipped his coffee. Other conversations reached his ears and he shut them out while he concentrated. Maybe he should have done this in his quarters and not the cafeteria.

The Dark Zone looked the most promising since it had gone completely unexplored. He'd discounted the rumors about the planet which, according to legend, had disappeared and none should go there because it had happened.

"Looking at the Dark Zone, Matthew?" Galen's mocking tone interrupted his thoughts.

"You could have asked if you were disturbing me," he retorted.

"I hardly think that's likely." Galen stiffly sat down. Sometimes Matthew wondered how the techno mage managed in his tight, almost leather like clothes. "I wouldn't recommend going there. Not even the techno-mages traverse that area of space."

"Why?"

"If you have to ask, you shouldn't go."

Dureena turned a chair and joined them. "He always says that." She always looked wild in her brown clothing and sometimes orderly reddish brown hair.

"And how often am I wrong?" Galen returned.

"Maybe the question is," Matthew sat back in his chair. "How often do you withhold information that could helped us."

"I thought you were more trusting than that. It's always worked out hasn't it?"

Dureena grinned and shook her head. "We never seem able to win an argument, do we?"

"Maybe, maybe not." Gideon hadn't forgotten Galen's comment about him being a stray cat the mage had rescued after the warship he'd been serving on had been destroyed. Evidently some sort of obligation went with it.

"What I find curious," Dureena added, "is there are two Jedi on Babylon Five. That never happens."

Galen threw her a knowing look. "Are you sure?"

"As I can be."

Gideon decided it was time to change the subject. "I wonder if they know anything about this Dark Zone."

Dureena's face reflected her horror. "Why would you want to go there?"

"Find a cure for the plague," Matthew reminded them.

Galen sighed. "He is intent on destruction isn't he?"

Mathew smiled. "And this surprises you why?"

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Angel smoothed the silky fabric of her dress and took a deep breath. She always felt like she had to make an entrance and the honor should have fallen to Lillie. Never mind her friend sat at the best table and held court with both Julian and Barnabas, along with other Kindred.

Eyes followed her as she walked across the exotically tiled floor and she smiled as Barnabas stood, pulling out a chair.

"You look beautiful," he complimented as she sat down

.

The buzz got a bit louder. Everyone waited for the main act to begin.

"Have a glass of wine," Julian offered, pouring her some and placing it before her.

"Thank you." She sipped the wine. It contained a hint of blueberry. Julian must be experimenting again.

"I've heard," Barnabas said, "Captain Gideon wishes to explore the Dark Zone."

"He won't be welcome." The last thing they needed was an Earth Force ship snooping around. "Both the Galactica and Pegasus can outfight the Excalibur."

"Even with their main gun?" Barnabas sounded concerned and skeptical.

"Do you have any idea how much damage a viper can do in a minute?"

"Gideon is good."

"Apollo and Adama are better, as are their warriors." Soon her son would join them.

Silence can be deafening and the lack of conversation caught Angel's attention. Her gaze shifted to the door. Luke stood there, looking a bit self-conscious by all the attention.

"I'll be right back." Angel rose and walked through the patrons, greeting the Jedi with a warm smile. "Please, join us." Gently she took his arm and guided him back to their table. He sat beside her, trying to be comfortable, yet obviously not.

"Have some wine," Julian offered.

"Thank you," Luke murmured.

Lillie got up. "I think I'll start the show."

Minutes later the red velvet stage drapes parted and Lillie stood there. She looked radiant in her hugging black dress and stylish diamond necklace and matching earrings. "Good evening and thank you for coming." She smiled at the crowd. "Welcome to the Retreat."

Scattered applause answered her.

"Tonight we're bringing you new acts, never seen anywhere. Welcome with me, Lois and Malcom." She clapped as a pair of performers took their places. The music queued and a complicated dance began.

Their hostess returned to her chair. A soft murmuring began and Lillie relaxed.

"I didn't mean to disrupt," Luke began.

With a dazzling smile, Lillie stopped him. "It's fine."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"How are you doing, Zack?" Girabaldi stuck his head in his old stomping grounds. The room had a stale odor and the same familiar computers and machinery.

"Hi, Garibaldi," Zack answered, rising from his cluttered desk. "Good to see you."

"Yeah, you too." He walked in, feeling a bit nostalgic. "How are things these days?"

"About the same." The haggard look on Zack's face said otherwise, as did the fact he'd probably slept in his rumpled gray- green uniform. His curled hair looked like it needed to be brushed.

"Figured." He paused before plunging into why he'd come. "You have family on the station."

Zack made a face. "I heard." He indicated a chair and they both sat. "I try to avoid my senator cousin whenever possible."

"Got the impression you got along with him."

"I do. Just don't want anything to do with the Collins right now."

"Isn't your father and aunt still on Earth, along with your cousin?"

Zack nodded, a guilty look flashing across his face. "I should want to stay in contact, but things with my father and I, well, let's just say they haven't changed."

"I understand." Michael leaned forward. "Zack, if a cure isn't found,"

"I know that." He sat back, rubbing a hand across his face. "I try not to think about it."

"What do you know about Angel Collins?" He wanted to know more about the woman.

"Other than the fact she travels with Barnabas?" Michael nodded. "She's family. Distantly. "

"Anything else about her?"

"She's an odd one."

"Anything to be concerned about?"

Zack shook his head. "Naw. I always liked her."

"I remember she came with the senator when B Five went online. Seemed very at ease with all the ambassadors." Particularly Delenn as he recalled. The two had snuck off together and he'd always wondered what they had talked about.

"She would." Zack sighed. "All I really know about her is she lives off world. Barnabas went to see her a couple of months before the Drakh attacked."

"You keep track of your family." Seemed odd considering.

"Hard not to hear something about Barnabas. He's very popular with ISN. Rumor has it he may run for president."

"I'd vote for him." Garibaldi liked the man. Trusted him. A rarity for a politician. "Let's just hope he gets the chance."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Luke found it difficult to locate a place to meditate. His sister was holding private meetings in their shared quarters and he had left to allow her the privacy she needed. His wandering took him to the gardens and as he stepped out into the greenery, the scent of plants filled his nose. None were familiar to him. Still they proved relaxing.

Following the paths he stopped in area not well trafficked. A flat box filled with sand and swirling patterns met his eyes. While not huge, it did remind him of Tatooine where he'd grown up. He sat on the bench and stared at it, finding the patterns intriguing and restful.

"Interesting isn't it?"

He glanced up and offered a tentative shy smile to the woman he'd met at the club. Lillie, if he remembered correctly.

"Reminds me of home."

She sat beside him, folding her hands into her lap. He had to admit he found her attractive. Lillie wore a tight black dress accented with glittering jewelry.

"Tell me about your home." Her dark eyes met his and he frowned, wondering why he sensed she had a type of hypnotic ability, not Force based.

"I grew up on Tattooing. My uncle and aunt raised me."

"I'm not familiar with Tattooing."

"It's on the rim and not very interesting." He got to his feet, glancing around the garden. Faint voices reached his ears.

"But it's home."

"Not anymore." He looked at Lillie again. "How well do you know Angel?"

Something unreadable flickered across her face. "I've known her for a long time."

"She's Jedi."

"I think perhaps." Lillie rose. "You need to ask her those questions. She will answer."

"You know." He had no doubt the woman could answer his questions. Pulling from the Force, he ordered softly. "Tell me what you know."

"Your abilities don't work on me."

They didn't. He frowned for it so rarely happened. Jabba the Hutt, before he had met his demise, had been one such exception.

Lillie suddenly stood beside him, her long nails caressing his face. "I would enjoy tasting you, but I suspect you'd remember, and we can't afford that." She slipped away and he found himself alone, wondering what she had meant.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

The shuttle docked with the Excalibur. Angel disembarked with her cousin, smiling as Captain Gideon met them. He did look dashing in his gray uniform and neatly combed hair.

"Welcome aboard," he greeted them.

She glanced around. The bay was much like any other ship's, large and open ready to receive shuttles and fighters.

"Thank you," Barnabas answered. "I've heard a great deal about this ship."

He straightened slightly. "We're proud of her."

Her. Why were ships always a her? Adama and Apollo referred to their battlestars as hers as well. She remembered it well from the time she spent aboard the Galactica as a Colonial warrior.

"Angel?" Barnabas's voice broke through to her.

"Sorry." She pulled her mind back to the present.

"Captain Gideon wanted to know where to start the tour."

"Medlab if possible." She had a gift for Dr. Chambers.

"This way." They followed the officer through the gleaming ship. It hadn't been in service long enough to have the scars and scuffs she had gotten used to seeing. Dust hadn't even had time to collect.

Her cousin kept up a dialogue with Gideon, asking questions about the ship. The captain obviously was very proud of it and introduced them to several of this team along with his first officer, Lt. Matheson.

Angel sensed his abilities as a telepath and kept up a shield he wouldn't be able to get through. She knew from experience she'd prove more powerful than any other he'd encountered. No need to attract unwanted attention. She'd read the new laws about telepaths and had no desire for it to become known both what she was and where she lived.

When they finally reached Medlab, after a meandering course taking them to other areas, she glanced around. Filled with the latest technology, it would have been impressive, if Angel hadn't been familiar with other technologies more advanced.

"This is Doctor Sarah Chambers." An attractive dark skinned woman nodded at them, finishing with her patient before giving them her full attention. She wore a long white coat over her clothes. Her black hair brushed her shoulders.

Gideon continued, "This is Senator Barnabas Collins and his cousin Angel."

Barnabas immediately asked, "How goes the research on the Drakh plague?"

"We've made some progress. Not enough to stop it." Images of a woman and a child danced into Angel's mind. The doctor had family back on Earth.

"I think I can help with that." Angel pulled out the data crystals she'd worked so hard to put together. "We store information differently than you do. It took some time to convert it." She handed the container to Doctor Chambers.

The captain frowned. "What do you mean you store your data differently?"

"I live in the Dark Zone, Captain. Our technology is different from yours."

Doctor Chambers had opened the container and removed one of the crystals. "What is this?"

"It's the cure for the Shadow plague. We developed it during the Shadow wars a thousand years ago."

"Wait, you developed the cure a thousand years ago?" Gideon sounded doubtful. She didn't miss the bit of hope she heard.

"We did." Angel sighed. "The history is included, but I'll share with you what I know." She glanced down at the gray deck not wanting to share such a bleak time.

"Thank you." A dark hand lightly touched her shoulder. "You're saving a lot of lives."

"I hope it helps." Personally, she had her doubts since the needed science didn't exist in the Interstellar Alliance. The Vorlons, yes. They'd been responsible for the creation of telepaths all over the galaxy. They'd used the same basic principle.

Not for the Jedi though. Their creation had happened on another world centuries ago. The vanished planet. The home of the Time Lords. Gallifrey.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Luke felt Angel's discomfort. The emotion sent was not fear, more remorse, shame and resolve. He reached out touching her mind and felt her start.

You are more powerful than you know, Luke. You need to stop being afraid.

Fear is what keeps me in check.

It limits you. Release your fear and embrace who you are.

You don't understand.

I understand too well. I have taught many Jedi.

You're afraid.

You know that's not true. I'm resigned. Too long has the secret been kept.

Secret? He had no idea what she meant.

There are two branches of Jedi, Luke. We separated from those in the Old Republic after the battle at Zap Hu dump.

He didn't know the battle. I've never heard of it.

That was by design both by the senate and the Jedi. Our involvement...could not be shared.

Why?

I've convinced Captain Gideon to allow me to share this knowledge with not just his team, but with Alliance representatives as well. It's important if the New Republic is to form the agreement it needs to survive.

His sister would need to be there too. Leia needs to hear it.

So do you. You are not the last of us.

He thought himself so even after Ben and Rey and others.

Ask Captain Lochley when we're meeting. A reassurance flooded into him gently ebbing away.

Shaking himself, Luke entered the main room he shared with this sister. Leia looked up and asked, "Are you all right?"

He nodded. "We need to find Captain Lochley. Something important has happened and we need to be there."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

The council chambers had been expanded to accommodate all the races who had joined the Interstellar Alliance. Angel saw some signs of the original design, the black floors, the dull gray background, the raised seats. Still, it was filled to overflowing and chairs had been added for all the delegates.

Captain Gideon and his team occupied the front seats near the podium. Lochley too.

The Minbari and Narn ambassadors seated themselves facing the room, along with President Sheridan. Luke and his sister sat nearby and his blue eyes sought out hers. She read his question and she shook her slightly. Now was not the time to answer the questions he had.

"Are you ready?" Barnabas asked her quietly. He sat in a chair near the door along with a couple of the other Earth senators.

"As I'll ever be."

Sheridan rose, the room quieting immediately. Every eye rested on him in a manner of speaking. Not every race had eyes.

"Thank you everyone for coming," the president addressed the group. "I've been informed a piece of our history is missing and it holds the secret for the cure of the Drakh plague."

General murmurings fluttered through the room. She could feel the surprise, hope, and doubt.

Closing her eyes she blocked out the noise. What she had to share needed her full concentration.

Sheridan continued, "I know many of you have a fear of the Dark Zone. The person who brings us the answer is from there."

"Outrageous!" an ambassador yelled from the back.

"It is a dangerous place!" another added.

The president held up his hand. "I understand. I've heard the legends too." He motioned for Angel to join him. "I think many of you know Angel Collins."

Everyone watched her as she approached the podium. How fortunate she'd had practice addressing large groups since she sat on the ruling council in the Dark Zone.

Sheridan stepped to the side. "She has something she wants to share with you." He gave her an encouraging smile and took a chair to her left.

Her eyes swept the room. Controlling them would be easy if she wanted. She didn't. They deserved to know the truth and not be influenced.

Giving them a reassuring smile, she placed her hands on the podium and tried not to let her fear take hold. There was nothing to fear.

Briefly she felt Luke's mind touch hers, letting her know he supported her.

"Good evening everyone," she began. "As most of you know, I'm the cousin to Senator Barnabas Collins of Earth."

A slight movement on her right. A quick glance told her it was Zack Allan. She knew he had been stationed on Babylon Five, it just surprised her he'd shown up. He wanted little to do with his family.

"As many of you know, the Shadows were defeated at Za hu dum a thousand years ago." She stepped away from the podium. She didn't need the mic because her voice would carry. "What you don't know, is the entire truth."

The Minbari had much to lose and she would have to share facts sparingly. They kept an alliance with the Jedi and it needed to be honored.

"Some of you know about the mysterious disappearance of Babylon Four."

She had their full attention.

"It was transported back in time. Valen used it as a base to launch attacks against the Shadows and their allies."

Images, memories, floated through her mind. The screaming dark ships. The pain of the dying. The bravery of Valen.

"You lie!" Her eyes pinned the reptilian ambassador.

"You know I do not." She stood before them exposed.

"This is the story we know and asked those of long ago not to tell. For your welfare and ours…"

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Winds blew across many worlds and the same was true for Larik. The giant trees shook and the yellow grasses danced. Angel stood at the entrance, her unease increasing. The Jedi council had sent them there to study the vegetation and discover what possible new medicines could be developed.

"You sense it too," Karli said as she joined Angel at the door. The teenage girl wore a plain brown tunic, her lightsaber attached to her reptile skin belt.

Angel nodded. There were only six of them, comprising the entire order of Jedi healers. Karli, like Angel, represented humans, as did Tebi, who currently sat beneath a tree mediating. Herrell, the Wookie, liked to hunt and had left at dawn to see what he could find for dinner. Shoosh, a regal spotted feline, and Zeem had just left to fish in the nearby river. Zeem reminded her of a froggite and loved to swim. They would probably be gone the entire day.

"All we can do is watch and wait." There were many times when Angel wished the Force would be more clear. The images she'd seen had been murky, their meanings just out of reach.

"It'll come from the sky." Karli turned and returned to the cave where they'd chosen to live.

Dull fabric hung over the opening. It wouldn't keep out predators. The shield they used did.

Tebi opened his eyes and looked to the sky, a frown on his marred face. He'd been injured as a child and his parents had not been able to afford the treatment to correct the injury. When he turned five, he'd been discovered by the Jedi. The council had argued he was too old to be taught, yet Ado, her teacher, had insisted. The child could heal animals and such talent should not be wasted.

Remembering her mentor made her sad. He'd been killed five years ago and she'd become the Master and teacher of the Jedi healers. The council had given her a seat, one she rarely occupied. Healers always traveled. They didn't stay on Corsucant as the most the council seemed to.

Rising, Tebi joined her. "Something comes. Soon. It screams."

She tried to suppress the shudder. Half whispered rumors spoke of black screaming ships roaming the star lanes bringing death. "There's no reason for anyone to come here. Larik has no native species or settlers."

"What better way to instill fear than to kill Jedi."

She knew Tebi's insight could prove to be correct. "Let us hope that is not the way of it."

"Yet we both know how often it is." The young man glanced once more to the sky. He wore dark brown robes. "They will attack from there."

"Do you know how?"

"Only that it will be invisible."

That could mean many things.

"But I think," he paused, as if trying to clarify what he'd seen, "it will be something we can defeat. It will make us a target and they will seek to destroy us all."

Still vague, yet enough to make her hopeful. "Let us hope that is so."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Her story had caught the attention of all in the meeting hall. Luke gazed at her with both surprise and sorrow. Angel knew he had no idea of her true age. A gift from parents and a mixed heritage of Jedi and Time Lord, slightly different, but the same.

She shook her head. No need to go down that tanged genetic web.

"They came in the night…." she continued.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

The piercing screams filled the darkness and the animals shrieked. Angel could hear the animals crashing through the trees, trying to escape the horrible sound.

"By the Force!" Tebi rushed to the cave entrance, pulling aside the drape.

Shoosh snarled, her sensitive ears twitching, and her body shaking. Herrell howled. Zeem joined Tebi and Karli huddled next to Angel. She hugged the girl and waited for the awful sound to stop.

The sudden silence falling felt like a silence shock wave. Nothing sang in the branches or hummed in the grasses.

Angel led the way as they joined Tebi and Zeem. "What did they do?" she asked.

He shook his head. "I think we should alert the council. Ask for their advice."

"They will tell us to investigate and discover it ourselves." She knew them too well. "But they should know," she stopped, sensing the sudden death all around them. Animals died in astonishing numbers.

From their faces, she could the others knew as well. Tears streamed down Karli's face. "Why would anyone do something so awful!" the girl wailed.

They had been exposed to whatever dread virus had been dropped. Angel had to inform the council and have them place Larik in quarantine. It was the only way to protect the Republic.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Days passed. They examined the animals and even the plant life. The fish seemed unaffected and as did other amphibians. Yet if it was warm blooded, it contracted the virus and died. Quickly.

"I wonder why it has not killed any of us?" Angel asked, not really expecting an answer.

"Maybe it takes time to adapt." Tebi picked up yet another small furred body, gently stroking it. "Poor things."

Karli stooped to comfort one of the animals. Its sides heaved and it struggled to breathe. "It's okay," she whispered. "It's okay." The struggles stopped and the animal stilled. The girl sighed and rose. Angel could see the tears in her eyes.

So much senseless death. Whatever had the screaming creatures tried to accomplish?

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Shoosh proved to be the first affected. They could not rouse her and her breathing became more and more ragged. Angel rested her hand the feline's head, sensing a raging fever and fluid in the lungs.

From their examination of the animals, they'd learned each had died differently.

"It adjusts itself to the species," she whispered. A good insight to the virus, yet how to use it?

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"Angel," Tebi stood beside her. "Shoosh's death was not your fault. Neither was Herrell's."

She couldn't look at him. Her eyes rested on the two mounds near the gurgling river. "I don't blame myself." Anger curled in her and she knew while it was justified, she could not allow it to control her. Down that path lay the Dark Side.

"It is right to mourn." He'd lightly placed his hand on her shoulder.

"The oldest masters would say it isn't." In their lie a huge difference between the Jedi and the healers glaringly showed.

"We have learned much about this virus."

"Yet not how to treat it."

"Zeem has it as well. It is simply moving in him more slowly." Tebi had run blood tests on all of them. "You." He hesitated as if something troubled him. "Your system seems to be fighting it."

"Any idea why?" She tried to concentrate on him and not her anger.

"I'm seeing flashes."

She knew what he'd seen. No doubt she had some of the regeneration abilities of the Time Lords. "What we need, is something which adapts from species to species."

Tebi stared at her. "Of course!" He rushed away and she wondered what she had said.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"It took months," she continued, trying to ignore the many eyes on her. "To find the right answer." She took a quick breathe. "We only had ourselves to experiment on…"

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"Regular vaccines won't work," Tebi said as they ate dinner together, their fire crackling. Zeem had excused himself and had gone for a late night swim. "Whoever designed this," he shook his head. "They are centuries ahead of us."

Karli ate a piece of fruit. "Too bad we can't just change our genetics."

Tebi blinked, shocked at her suggestion. Angel understood. Such things had been outlawed by the Republic senate long before any of them had been born.

Tebi looked at Angel. "Do we dare?" The man was a genetics expert and seriously giving the idea some thought, despite the consequences. "We do need something which can adapt to any species and be passed down to their offspring."

"You know what the senate will do if they find out," Angel reminded him. The penalties would be very harsh and end their lives as Jedi healers.

"We've exhausted all the normal routes." He drank some water. "We need a way to make certain this can never happen on any planet."

Karli shifted restlessly. "I don't want to die."

"No one ever does," Angel told the girl. "Tebi, it could take a lifetime to figure out the correct sequence."

"You've already given me a place to start." He finished his dinner.

No doubt her Time Lord genes seemed to be fighting the virus. It made her uncomfortable as she'd heard about such experiments growing up. Something about some Immortals fighting an eternal game on a distant planet. They'd been created for the arena and entertainment before being released. **

However, if this one path held the only answer, then she would join Tebi and discover the answer.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"And we did." Angel stopped. "The cure proved to be an adaptable genetic sequence we could introduce into a population and it would be passed on to the child by whichever parent carries it."

Her throat was dry. She sipped some water and continued, "Four us survived and we returned to the Jedi Council. They didn't like what we did, but they accepted it was the only answer."

Her eyes met Luke's. "The Council decreed every Jedi would receive the cure and pass it among the populace."

Now came hard part. "We also decided, the race responsible could not be allowed to do this again."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Far scouts brought reports of a battle raging near a world known only by legend, Za hu dum. The Jedi informed the senate they would go and join the battle, yet did not share they did so to avenge the death of two of their own and the danger placed on four others.

Their ships jumped into the middle of a battle.

Contact with the station and speaking to a leader called Valen, quickly told them who to side with.

The war raged for several days before Angel figured out there was only way to win.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"There is no other choice," Angel told Valen. "Babylon Four is the only thing which can get through their defenses."

The Minbari leader shrewdly looked at her. The bald head with the bone crown around it, while different, didn't strike her as odd. She was familiar with many species in the galaxy.

"You don't know what you're asking," he replied.

Why did she get the feeling he knew her? "I believe I do."

"The rest of the Jedi agree with you?"

"I talked with our council." Argued with had been more accurate. They'd only agreed after losing a ship to one of the screaming black ships. Half of the masters had been on board.

"That's not an answer."

She sighed. "Reluctantly."

"The ship you lost?"

Valen was perceptive. She nodded.

"I suggest," she went on, "you evacuate the station and bring it as close as you can to the planet."

"I'll make it look like we're planning a massive strike."

"A good diversion," she ageed.

It took a few hours to get everyone off. She made certain Valen had been on the last shuttle.

Once alone, she went to the control room, set the course and stayed until the very last minute, before using her fighter to escape.

Babylon Four pierced the atmosphere and crashed through the glass bubble. Debris and flames spewed from the gaping wound. The Shadow ships screamed in fury as they died under the massive attack.

The battle ended the Shadow war.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

One last meeting had been held on a Minbari cruiser. The surviving council members met with Valen and the other leaders.

"We have only one request," Zaphyr, the elected Jedi leader said. "Forget we were ever here. Do not share how we helped defeat your enemies."

"Why?" Valen demanded.

"It will be best for all concerned."

Used to the Jedi, Angel knew no further explanation would be offered.

As they filed out, she took a moment to speak with Valen. "We're glad we could help."

"Don't explain much do you?"

"Not when it's in your best interest." She hesitated before asking. "Do we know each other?"

"Not yet."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

She did not share that Valen, who had been born Jeffrey David Sinclair, had become Minbari. Angel had served with him briefly during the Battle of the Line. He never clearly remembered what had happened, but she knew. She'd been there when the discovery had been made by the Grey Council. After all, she'd known Delenn since the child had been born and the nine never hesitated to allow a Jedi to attend their meetings.

"After the battle and our return home, the Jedi healers broke all ties. We founded our own order and settled on a world far from the galactic center. Given the events of recent years, it proved to be a good move." No need to share about the emperor and Lord Vader.

She took another sip of water. "The cure has already been given to Dr. Chambers. Whether or not it can be adapted to save Earth and any other affected races, now lies in the hands of the team entrusted to find the answer."

Several groups began to talk among themselves. She raised her voice to finish. "We're glad we could provide an answer and hope Earth survives." Angel already knew it would.

Stepping away from the podium, she retreated to where her cousin sat, who promptly escorted her from the room.

"You should go home," he told her. "Go see your son graduate."

"You're right." Angel felt exhausted and decided not to argue with him.

"I know you left out details."

"I had to. It was best for everyone." She gave her cousin a wry smile. "I didn't dare tell them the Collins family has the gene."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Luke had wanted to speak with Angel. Where they sat in the council chambers made it impossible for him to do so without raising questions. The debate afterwards took hours and while he tried to follow the various concerns, many centered around beliefs he wasn't familiar with.

When the meeting adjourned, he followed Senator Collins and made his way to the man's side. "I'd like to speak with your cousin."

The polished man shook his head. "I'm afraid that's impossible. She's already left the station."

"Where did she go?"

"To New Caprica." He lowered his voice. "Her son is graduating from the Warrior academy."

"How do I get there?"

"I would suggest, you stay with your sister until an agreement is reached with the Interstellar Alliance." Briefly the senator touched Luke's shoulder. "Speaking with my cousin can wait."

"How old is she?" he asked the question he hadn't meant to.

"Honestly?"

Luke nodded.

"I have no idea."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Standing on the bridge of their vessel, Leia smiled in relief. "We have our agreement, Luke."

He nodded. The station slowly dwindled and soon the captain would make the jump to light speed.

Relief filled Luke. It had taken several weeks of negotiating and working past some cultural differences, but at least they had what they had come for.

The commander of their ship would see his sister safely home. Luke had somewhere else

he wanted to be.

"I'm not immediately returning," he told his sister.

Leia gazed at him, understanding in her brown eyes. "You have questions you need answered."

She kissed his cheek. "When you find the answers, please come home."

He hugged her before going to the landing bay. Crawling into his X-wing fighter, he punched in the course Senator Collins had provided. It would take some time to get there, yet he had prepared himself for that.

He launched and jumped to light speed.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"Now that you have your answer to the Drakh plague, Matthew," Galen grinned at him. "What new challenges face you?"

"The Excalibur is still an exploratory vessel, even with teeth." He placed his coffee mug on the table, enjoying the rare moment of peace in the cafeteria. "President Sheridan wants an accurate map of the Dark Zone."

Dureena spoke up, "I was under the impression we wouldn't be welcome."

Matthew pursed his lower lip. "I want to know more about this supposedly vanished planet."

"Yes, it is an interesting puzzle." Galen moved an orb around in his hands.

"One I'm looking forward to solving." He touched his communication device on his wrist. "Lt. Matheson,"

"Yes, sir."

"Set our course for the Dark Zone."

"Yes, sir."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Zack knew his cousin would be leaving in a couple of hours. He nervously tapped his fingers on his desk before rising and making his way to the bay where the Torreadour docked. The senator stood talking with Julian Luna, probably about some business deal.

Luna left and Barnabas walked over to Zack.

"It's good to see you."

"Yeah." Being around family, except his cousin Pru, always made him nervous.

"You don't need to worry about your family. They will survive."

"My dad," he grimaced, "always said they do."

Barnabas glanced around. "Our family carries the gene and will prevent them catching the plague."

"But Earth gov,"

The older man shook his head. "They don't know everything. Most planets have a population between eight to ten percent who are already immune." He chuckled. "Seems the Jedi have been busy."

"So our family will survive." Zack wanted to make certain of that, even if he never intended to go home after the falling out he'd had with his father.

"They will."

"Thanks." He moved away not bothering to glance back.***

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Luke found Angel sitting on a bench near the shore. He'd been very surprised the Colonials had been expecting his arrival. As the warrior who had greeted him had explained, Jedi came to visit all the time.

"Hello, Luke," Angel greeted. Her bare feet wiggled in the sand. She wore a light colored dress.

"The Dark Zone is where the Jedi Healers went." He sat beside her. A vast green ocean with spread out before him while white and gray birds floated on the breeze.

"We did." The wind caught her black hair and her fingers tried to reorder it. "We never adopted the custom of not marrying."

"Is there one planet where you live?"

"No." She glanced over at him. "We don't even have a council. There is no need. We simply do what we do best. Heal people."

"But you train as Jedi."

"We've adapted the training to fit how we need it to be."

"I suspect you could best me."

"I wouldn't take the bet." She outstretched her hand and a bird landed on it. It peered at her before taking flight again.

A young man joined them. He wore a tan uniform with gold braiding around the neck. His dark brown jacket fit across his shoulders and he wore a light saber. "Hi Mom."

"Hi Zac," Angel greeted. "How soon before you join the Pegasus?"

"Tomorrow."

Luke sensed the strength of the Force in the child and the facial features made him think he knew the boy.

"This is your son, Luke."

"What?" Luke stared at the woman.

"By some miracle your child came to me and I raised him. We know because we ran genetic tests."

The young man grinned at Luke. "I always knew. Mom told me."

"No need to keep it a secret." Lightly her hand rested on Luke's.

Luke wanted to know how his son ended the one place he needed to be. Had Han arranged it? Or had another hand played a part?

"Does it matter?" Angel asked.

She must have followed his thoughts. "I suppose not."

"You have the freedom to be whatever you would like to be, Luke. Never doubt that. The path of the Jedi is not set."

"Look at me," Zac said, with an impish grin. "I'm Jedi and a warrior."

"As I once was." She rose, taking a deep breath. "I live here and sometimes with my cousin Barnabas."

"I'm used to Mom traveling."

Luke wanted to get to know his son and the woman who raised him. "Do you mind if I stay?" he shyly asked.

She gave him a warm smile. "We would be delighted."

Author's note: Suggested reading:

**Serendipity – about the Immortals and their ties to the Time Lords

***Heritage – it explains Zack's relationship with the Collins family