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Synopsis by Katrina Glerum (kat@midwinter.com)

Bester enters his superior's office. He is introduced to two young Psi Cop recruits, Lauren and Chen, who he will be expected to take under his wing for a few weeks. The recruits are nervous being anywhere near their great hero, Bester.

A young man sits at a cluttered desk in a small room at the Psi Corps. He is arguing with himself, saying, "It's my mind, not yours." He sees an advertising brochure for Babylon 5, grabs it, and leaves the room. There is a bloody corpse on the floor.

Bester takes his charges into a Psi Cop scanning-countering training session. Two people are seated at a table sparring with each other. From the outside, they seem to be in a staring contest, but the mental image of them shows a complex attack and defense exercise going on. Bester says that field agents must be able to withstand this for an hour. Telepathic strength is not enough to be a Psi Cop, he explains, it also requires intense training, and a dedication to caring for rogue telepaths as if they are family members gone astray. Blips are happier when they are brought back home, he tells them and ushers them into a room where they can watch a propaganda film about this. The film is interrupted when a woman comes in and whispers something to Bester.

They go to the murder scene where Bester is informed that he must track down the victim's roommate and presumed murderer.

Later that evening, Bester is visited in his apartment by Lauren. She wants to talk about the murder. Bester explains that a dead mundane means nothing, but a telepath is rare and special, and so it is never easy when one dies. She worshipfully asks him about his history, and he tells her about being an orphan raised by the Corps, and his loveless marriage. When he suggests that she go home. she offers to stay, and he kindly ushers her to the door saying he appreciates it, but his heart is taken.

After she leaves his superior arrives to inform him that the suspect has booked passage to Babylon 5. Bester grimaces.

In the briefing the next day, the superior explains their mission. Since the suspect, Harris, is a P10, there is no way a mundane security force could catch him. And as Bester points out, this is an internal Psi Corps matter anyway. They don't want mundanes turning their eye on the Corps for any reason. Privately the superior tells Bester that the suspect is a trained "mind-shredder" who could even destroy him.

Later in his quarters, Bester prepares himself before departure by envisioning an interview with Harris, using his own image in a mirror. "Why did you do it?" he asks. Harris's image responds, "Because I could," and taunts him by saying, "You'll never understand what [went wrong]."

In the Babylon 5 casino, Harris sits down to a blackjack table and innocently asks the dealer to explain the rules.

Bester, Chen and Lauren depart from the Psi Corps mothership in a shuttle. Bester explains that just like all the other ships, the mothership never leaves hyperspace, lest outsiders discover the extent of the Psi Corps' resources.

After cleaning up in the blackjack game, Harris laughs and leaves the casino under the watchful scrutiny of a shady-looking man.

The Psi Corps trio arrives in Customs and are greeted by Zack. Bester suffers Zack's sarcasm for a moment, and then explains his mission and sends a dirty joke to Lauren who giggles, leaving Zack wondering what they know about him.

One of the losers in blackjack confronts Harris in a corridor and demands his money back. After getting knocked to the ground, a change comes over Harris, and he shouts "You shouldn't get him upset!" The loser begins to scream. His eyes turn bloody and he collapses.

Bester determines Harris's room from a Drazi lowlife. He goes to get B5 security and leaves Chen and Lauren to watch the room. He tells them explicitly not to approach the suspect.

Chen of course immediately decides to enter and attempt an arrest. He scares himself silly by stumbling over a corpse with his first step.

The corpse turns out to be that of a 5-day-dead gambler. Zack tells the Psi Cops that the man's identicard has been used in the casino several times since his death. The loser's corpse has just shown up in medlab, and Zack implies strongly that Bester has had something to do with the deaths.

When Franklin describes the way the man's brain cells exploded, with the worshipful recruits in tow, Bester explains with extreme condescension that the suspect couldn't have been the perpetrator since P10s can't do that kind of damage. Franklin bristles at the telepaths' mockery.

Bester is deeply worried now. He sends Lauren off to get more evidence from the investigators back at Psi Corps HQ, and sends Chen to Downbelow to find more gambling dens. Bester goes to check customs, in case Harris has booked passage elsewhere.

Chen discovers Harris, and places a call to Bester. As he does, he is stabbed to death by the man who has been shadowing Harris.

Chen's killer has partnered up with Harris, taking ten percent of Harris's winnings for the service. They only need one more session to have enough for Harris to get away. Harris claims that he doesn't even know why he's running away.

Lauren's work has turned up a recording of Harris's last training session. The session ends abruptly when Harris jumps in pain or anger and then shouts when his roommate apologizes, "He said let it go!"

Bester realizes that Harris is a multiple personality. The deadly personality must be a P12 who killed the roommate in order to avoid detection, since, as Lauren says in a happily brainwashed manner, "Unstable telepaths are put away for the good of everyone."

As Harris and his new pal amble towards their next gambling session, they are ambushed by security. Bester begs Harris to trust him, saying that they will take him back. Both men are overwhelmed and Bester is shot in the shoulder.

Franklin tells Bester he shouldn't leave before he has healed. Bester scoffs and the doctor's concern and Franklin says that he treats all his patients equally, "Even the annoying self righteous arrogant ones with self-important delusions of godhood." Bester smirks, hops off the table and collapses. When Franklin quickly catches him, Bester remarks that if Franklin had thought about it he would have let him fall. Franklin contends that he wouldn't and authorizes a scan if Bester wants to see the truth.

Just then Lauren comes up announcing that Zack is releasing both prisoners to their care so they can depart immediately.

Back in their shuttle in hyperspace, Lauren offers Bester a back rub when they get home and then tells him what a hero he is to her because he never gives up fighting for their people. Then she begs Bester to allow her to deal with the mundane captive on board. He grants permission and within a few minutes the man is spaced.

Bester asks if it's her first and she swallows and says yes. Then she beams proudly when he comments that she "might just be Psi Corps material after all."


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Last update: November 29, 1998