I don't own any of the programs or characters for B5, Crusade, Stargate Atlantis or SG1. I write fanfic for fun and practice.

Always Comes Back to Haunt Us

Dragonlots aka Dana Bell

Prologue

A slight smile touched President Clark's pudgy lips as yet another scream sounded outside. His office walls rattled from the constant gun fire and he scrawled his signature on the final decree invoking marshal law.

"Done." He pushed the document across his desk to a general who waited for it. "Make certain this goes to Mars, Babylon 5, and the rest of our colonies."

The career soldier curtly nodded as his fingers reluctantly took the order. "Yes, sir."

"Oh, and General, attend personally to that 'other' matter. Quietly."

"Already done, sir."

"Good." Clark sat back in his leather chair, crossing his arms across his stomach. He closed his eyes and listed to the sound of the door closing and the sweet music of disloyal senators dying.

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Chapter 1

Listening to the steady hum of the hyper drive engines, Matthew Gideon sipped his coffee. An old fashioned newspaper was spread across the dining room table and his eyes scanned the print for any interesting articles.

"You're up late, Matthew," an amused clipped voice remarked.

"Haven't seen you in along while, Galen," he looked up at the techno mage. "Where have you been?"

"Oh, here and there." Galen pushed back his black cloak and sat down in the chair opposite Gideon. "Anything interesting?"

"No."

"Pity. I rather enjoy the crossword puzzle."

"Go for it." He pushed the paper toward the wizard. "We'll be at Babylon Five in a day or so."

Galen gave Gideon a knowing smile as he unfolded the paper and located the puzzle. "You do seem quite fond of the place."

"My relationship with Captain Lochley isn't a secret, besides we need some supplies." Gideon took another drink of coffee. "She told me that President Sheridan will be there and he wants a personal update on our progress."

"Or lack there of." The mage examined the puzzle and frowned. "You're running out of time, Matthew."

"I know." Technically, there were two years left, but because of the agreement he'd made with the leaders on Mars, there was only one remaining. If he hadn't found a cure for the Drak plague by end of the next year, he would have to spent the final fifth year in orbit shooting down any ship that tried to escape Earth.

"You should have never made that promise."

"We'll find a cure." He finished his coffee.

"You hope."

"I will." Matthew knew the promise he'd made was one he didn't want to have to keep.

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President John Sheridan hated the formality of his official visits. He took a deep breath as he exited the docking bay area and entered the station. Beings from many planets lined his route, their adoring eyes watching his every move. Several rangers moved ahead of him, their dark cloaks billowing out behind them. He smiled and inclined his head in acknowledgment of his audience's presence.

"Welcome to Babylon Five, Mr. President," Captain Elizabeth Lochley greeted as she stepped out to intercept him partway across the lounge area.

"Thank you."

The two fell into step together as they proceeded across the area and down a side corridor toward the diplomatic section.

"You hate this don't you?" she said just loud enough for him to hear.

"Part of my role," he replied. He couldn't keep the regret out of his tone.

"I just received a message from Captain Gideon. The Excalibur will be here in a few hours."

"I just hope he has some good news."

"We all do." She pointed around a corner and he ducked that way. Immediately the Rangers cut off the crowd to keep anyone from following.

"Thanks."

"Figured you'd like an early escape." She stopped by the door to his quarters and the security guard there snapped to attention. "Zack worked with the Rangers to arrange your security."

"Glad there's someone here I still know. I'd like to see him later."

"There have been changes and I'll see what I can do." She gave him a smile. "If you'll excuse me, I have a dozen things waiting." Lochley handed him his access card.

He smiled in return. "So I remember." Sheridan took the card and entered his quarters.

The door slid closed and he found his bags already sitting on the carpeted floor next to the couch.

"Wish you could have come with me, Delenn." His wife and Vice President had stayed on Minbar. There had been too many assassination attempts and they'd decided to no longer make joint appearances in public unless it was on her home world. In the event one of them was killed, the other could keep the stability of the Interstellar Alliance. So, for security reasons only one of them was off planet at a time.

Besides, it also worked out well for raising their son David.

John moved his bags into the bedroom. The room wasn't as large as his previous quarters on the station, but it was nice enough for a diplomatic visit. He went back into the living area and noted the bowl of oranges on the marble counter. Lochley must have done that. She knew he liked them.

The door buzzer sounded. Sheridan frowned wondering who that could be. There weren't any visits on his calendar for the rest of the day. "Come."

"You know, if you don't check, anybody who could walk in." Garibaldi's round smiling face greeted him and he stepped inside.

"Michael! What brings you here?"

"Long story. Mind if I sit down?"

"Go ahead." Sheridan sat down on the brown leather couch. Garibaldi sat in a chair. "How's Lise?"

"She's good. Told me to tell you hello and invite you to dinner at our place next time you're on Mars."

"I'll see if I can arrange it."

"Speaking of which, are you hungry? I'm starving."

"Yeah. I didn't have time to eat lunch before we landed. Want to dine in or out?"

"Better be in. Security would be a nightmare. Zack would never forgive me if something happened to you."

Sheridan laughed. "What do you feel like?"

"Do you need to ask?"

"No." John rose and activated the com unit. He ordered spaghetti for Garibaldi and some flarn for himself.

"Going native?" Michael asked.

"Acquired a taste for flarn. I blame that on Delenn."

"Hope she's well."

He nodded. "And David, too. The kid is growing up so fast."

"Tell me about it."

"So what brings you to Babylon Five, Michael?"

"The Drak plague. I'm hoping Excalilbur found something useful."

"Makes two of us." Sheridan's parents were still back on Earth along with a number of old friends. "You heard from Franklin?"

"Enough to know he's nervous. They're running out of time."

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"Just once," Max Eilerson complained to no one in particular during dinner, "I'd like to make the find of a life time."

"Like you haven't made several already," Doreena returned with a grin. She stabbed a piece of meat on her plate and ate it.

"Yes, but, other IPX teams have gotten to do all the field work and received all the glory and profit."

"You still got credit," Matthew observed.

"It's not the same." Max pushed his plate aside. "I missed the thrill of each new discovery."

"I'm not sure your team would agree," Galen said. "The ones still living that is."

"My line of work has its risks."

"Sorry, I'm late," Dr. Chambers apologized as she joined them. "Busy day." The pretty coffee colored woman took a sip of juice before cutting a piece of meat.

"Didn't miss much," Doreena informed her. "Just Max's usual lament."

"I'm so under appreciated," the xenoacheologist complained.

"If that were the case," Gideon interrupted before more of the familiar gripes began, "you wouldn't be on this expedition."

"Oh, yes, the grand privilege of saving Earth." Eilerson looked disgusted.

Gideon's head piece beeped in his ear. He'd taken to wearing one on the ship when his first officer, Lt. John Matheson complained about not always being able to reach him. "What is it?" he curtly asked.

"Uh, Captain, we're picking something up on our scanners."

"Probably just another ship."

"I don't think so. It's off the beacon and it's Big."

Matheson's last word caught his attention. "How big?"

Conversation had stopped at the table. His team were all looking at him.

"Big. We can't get a clear fix on it because we're in hyperspace, but it's larger than anything we've encountered before."

"Lost Shadow vessel?"

"I don't think so. We're getting faint life signs. Human."

"I'll be right there." Matthew got up and headed out of the dining area. He wasn't surprised when he got to the tube, to find Galen beside him.

"Just curious," the techno mage said with a shrug of his shoulders.

Minutes later the two of them entered the bridge. Lt. Matheson turned slightly to look at them.

"Let's see it," Gideon ordered.

His first officer nodded.

A hazy cloud descended from the ceiling. Shimmering dots of red and black filled it with what looked like an irregular dot in the distance.

"That it?" Matthew stepped closer wishing he could clearly see what they'd found.

"As clear as we can make it out. We can't get a closer look because we'd get off the beacon."

The dangers of getting lost in hyperspace he knew well. Still, the chance to find something unknown was too good of a chance to pass up.

"Not a problem for my ship," Galen said.

"You volunteering?" He'd never gotten a good look inside the mage's ship and he really wanted to an opportunity to snoop around.

"Well, we are here."

"You realize we'll have to take Eilerson and Doreena."

Galen sighed dramatically. "I suppose."