Earth’s most secret agency is explained, examined, and demystified for the average Babylon 5 resident.
[singlepic=74,200,,,left] The Psi Corps and You
Issue 11 (December 1995)
Setting: Season two, before “Confessions and Lamentations”
Writer: Tim DeHaas Artist: John Ridgway
This issue is in the form of an infomercial produced by Psi-Corps. Since it isn’t a story in the usual sense, the following is more a description than a synopsis. It’s not entirely clear whether the presentation is supposed to be in print itself or if the comic is a print rendition of a television program; this description assumes the latter.
The host of the show, Diane Matthews, introduces herself as one of the commercial telepaths working on Babylon 5. She demonstrates how commercial telepaths aid in business dealings, sitting in on a deal between a human and a Markab. She points out that Markab is lying about the quantity of merchanside he has available; the human reduces his order. Next, Matthews visits Medlab, where she assists Garibaldi by scanning an assault victim and descibing the assailant. She points out to the viewers that she won’t be allowed to scan any suspects; she can only produce information to help point Garibaldi toward admissible evidence.
A Psi-Corps training center is the next stop, where a few psi training exercises are shown. “Psi Corps knows how to help you achieve your innermost desires,” claims Matthews.
“These days,” she says later, “people have learned to trust and accept telepaths, like this Psi-Cop.” That wasn’t always the case, she says, and launches into a narrative about the founding of Psi Corps. The Corps was founded on the basis of a single, heroic act by her great-grandfather, William Karges.
Karges discovered his talents at age thirteen. He didn’t know what to make of them, so he sought out activities that would teach him self-disciplined and isolated. Later, he joined Earthforce; during his training he trained himself to control his skills and use them to be a better soldier. Eventually he was promoted and transferred to Earthforce Security. But even then, he kept his secret, afraid he’d be locked up by the government.
After distinguishing himself by stopping three terrorist plots, Karges was placed in charge of Earth Alliance President Robinson’s personal security staff. One day, Karges and his forces were escorting President Robinson to a campaign rally. Karges sensed a strong thought from the surrounding crowd: “The bomb is ready!” Concentrating, he zeroed in on the man responsible and cornered him. The man claimed to know nothing about a bomb, so Karges forcibly scanned him. As Karges rushed off, shouting into his link to tell his team about the man’s accomplice, he was shot in the back. With the last of his strength, Karges sent a command into the mind of the bomber, forcing him to drop the detonator. The President was safe.
In the hospital, dying, Karges admitted to President Robinson that he found out about the bomb by reading the perpetrator’s thoughs. Some time later, President Robinson passed laws ensuring opportunities for telepaths. A special agency already existed to monitor the recent sudden increase in telepaths; Robinson changed its mission, to help telepaths function in society,
and the Psi Corps was born.
“Nowadays, all telepaths are asked to register with Psi Corps, for their own good,” Matthews says. “That way, the Earth Alliance and Psi Corps can help them achieve their full potential!”
Some telepaths don’t want to join the Corps, Matthews admits. She visits Lisa, a lawyer, as a doctor administers telepathy-inhibiting drugs. Lisa is delighted to receive the injection, as numbing her psi abilities allows her to continue working in the legal profession. “Sometimes it makes me tired, and I have to rest,” Lisa says. “But that’s okay, because I can still be a successful lawyer.”
Matthews describes the Psi Corps’ work placement programs, designed to help telepaths who don’t want to join the Corps and are allergic to the medicine. She says she started out there, but eventually realized she wanted to be a commercial telepath, having the adventure of a lifetime on Babylon 5.
“Even far from Earth, Psi Corps has influenced all our lives,” she says. She describes a little-known aspect of the Battle of the Line: a telepathic pilot in Sinclair’s squadron, Lt. Andrew Denmark of Psi Corps, used his powers to steady the nerves of other pilots. Without his help, Matthews claims, Sinclair would never have lived long enough to make his legendary attack on the Minbari cruiser.
The Psi Corps helps on Mars, too, Matthews continues. When there was a food shortage, Psi Corps rushed to get food supplies to all the hungry colonists. Recently, a small group of terrorists began an uprising, and Psi Corps stepped in to protect the colonists. “You could say Psi Corps’ mission is to protect,” Matthews says. “Protect the future — for those who want to make it better and safer.”
“On Earth, on Mars, or on Babylon 5, you don’t have to be alone. Psi Corps is here for you! And if you or a friend discovers they’re telepathic, Psi Corps will always help.” As an example, she introduces the case of Alfred. On Earth, as a ten-year-old boy, he was a bright student at the top of his class. But when a teacher claimed he was copying parts of a test from someone across the room, Alfred and his friends discovered he might be a telepath. One friend offered to take him to Psi Corps — he had an uncle there, and knew the Corps took good care of its members.
Alfred went to the Corps and chose to stay there. Today he’s one of its most valued members: Bester.
“So, if you ever feel you might be a telepath, too — remember, kids, you’ve got friends, here on Babylon 5! One of us is always stationed here to help you. Come talk to us any time! With Psi Corps as your friend, you never have to feel… all alone in the night.”
• Psi Corps was founded around 2160. According to the Corps, it was founded after the death of a Presidential security official, William Karges, who revealed he was telepathic at the time of his death.
• Officially, Bester was born on Earth and entered the Corps at age ten. He’s placed highly enough to warrant mention as one of the Corps “most valued members.”
• Psi Corps claims to have had representatives in the military, flying Starfuries, during the Earth-Minbari War. If the presentation is to be believed, one of them was in Sinclair’s squadron during the Battle of the Line.
• How much of what’s said in this issue is true, and how much is fabricated propaganda?
• Was there really a telepath in Sinclair’s squadron? What influence did he have on what happened to Sinclair, if any?
• Psi Corps’ claim that one of its members was in Sinclair’s squadron seems unlikely, given that in “Eyes,” Mr. Grey says he wasn’t allowed to fight in the war because he was a telepath.
• This promotional program was produced before “Confessions and Lamentations,” since it shows someone dealing with a Markab trader.
- There’s nothing that I’m aware of in comic #11 that would place it
after “Confessions.” It’s a general pamphlet prepared by Psi Corps some
- Tritium: you actually believe *anything* in a Psi Corps propaganda
booklet? Only about 10% of what’s recorded in that booklet is true,
and even that’s distorted. The character in the booklet is totally