"The Corps is mother, the Corps is father."
- – From the Psi Corps pledge
Culture of The Corps
Psi Corps culture naturally grew out what had already been established by the Metasensory Regulation Authority, some of which came straight from The Kith. The phrase perhaps most synonymous with the Corps, "The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father" came from MRA agent Desa Alexander, who along with her fellow Kith made a definite impression on Corps culture. She was frequent to remind her charges while training and tracking down blips that "The kith is mother. The kith is father." Another tradition that began with Alexander and one followed by many was the passing of family names within the Corps along the female line, rather than the male. Referred to as "Mitochondrial descent", the reason behind it was because the marker for the telepath gene was encoded within a teep's mitochondrial DNA. As such, Lyta Alexander could trace her linage back six generations to Desa herself, while Talia Winters inherited her name from former blip and resistance member Jenny Winters. The practice was not totally pervasive however, and by the 2250s it had become something only really associated with the older families of the Corps.
Children raised by the Corps were quickly and thoroughly indoctrinated. Raised mostly in Teeptown, they were kept in small groups or cadres where they were instilled with a sense of belonging and loyalty to a larger body, discouraging individual thinking and other solitary activities. Latents, children who had tested positive as teeps but had yet to manifest their psi abilities were kept in a separate dorm (sometimes called "the basement"), often shunned and rarely mixing with the others, however, once their talents manifested they would quickly be integrated into a proper cadre. Young teeps were taught that they were rare, special, and better than mundanes, and that two teeps should never be seen fighting in front of a normal.
It is the position of the Psi Corps that telepathic humans who do not learn how to control their abilities are mostly unstable or become insane, therefore they need guidance. In addition to that, unregistered telepaths can do severe damage to society by using their abilities for criminal reasons.
Under Earth Alliance law, all human telepaths have to be registered with the Psi Corps. After that, they have three choices: Join the Psi Corps, lifetime imprisonment, or take drugs called sleepers to suppress their abilities. Most choose to work for Psi Corps, because one common side effect of the sleepers is severe depression, sometimes so severe that it often ends in the patient's suicide. Unstable telepaths - such as schizophrenic ones - are locked away for "the good of everyone".
Always an insular organization, Psi Corps would always try to deal with incidents (or "family matters") concerning telepaths internally and tried to avoid interference by mundanes. Believing that as long as normals were kept convinced "nothing goes wrong behind these walls", they would be left alone.
To strengthen the dedication of telepaths to the Corps, there are a variety of slogans that shall remind the Telepaths, that Psi Corps is their family: -
- "The Corps is mother, the Corps is father."
- "The Psi Corps is your friend. Trust the Corps."
- "We Are Everywhere For Your Convenience."
- "Protect the Family."
- "Trust the Corps."
- "Maternis, Paternis"
- "United in thought, revered in memory."
The facilities at Earthdome featured hospitals, offices, and the Psi Corps Academy where young teeps and teeks were trained to make the best of their talents. Located nearby in Geneva was Teeptown, an enclosed community the size of a large village. Built out from the old MRA MetaSensory compound, this was where new members (mostly children) were indoctrinated into the culture and thinking of Psi Corps.
Unknown to many at the time, Psi Corps secretly maintained a series of motherships that remained in hyperspace. Ferrying Psi Cops back and forth on missions, the motherships only exited to normal space when maintenance and repairs were essential and could be done unobserved.
Psi Cops is the collective name for officers of the Metasensory Police, or MetaPol and were the police enforcement arm of Psi Corps, usually dealing with cases relating to telepaths, mostly rogues and blips. All Psi Cops are P-12s, the highest (natural) rating within the Psi Scale, but not every P-12 has the ability to become a Psi Cop, because it takes a certain amount of ruthlessness. Psi Cops receive a special training in blocking and scanning so that they are able to resist a deep-scan for at least an hour.
Following the dissolution of the Psi Corps at the end of the Telepath War, the role of the Psi Cops was divided between the new Bureau of Telepath Integration and the new Metasensory Division of the Earth Alliance Bureau of Investigation.
Bloodhound units are specially trained telepaths under the authority of the Psi Cops, used to hunt down fugitives through empathic tracking and scanning of witnesses, informants and suspects.
Up until President Morgan Clark's increased dependence on the Psi Corps for civil intelligence gathering and black ops, the Bloodhounds were kept within the Corps, tracking blips and occasionally protecting their own.
One such incident occurred around 2253, when a serial killer murdered a string of commercial telepaths. With the "mundane" authorities seemingly uninterested in catching the perpetrator, the Psi Corps took matters into its own hands without such encumbrances as warrants, permission or due process. Illegally scanning anyone who might have a lead, the Bloodhounds left behind no traces save for lingering memory gaps, missing hours and headaches, eventually finding the killer. Reasoning that turning him over to the proper authorities would require an explanation as to how they found him, the Corps had him sent to an institution on Beta Colony instead, but not before they implanted visions and hallucinations in his mind so terrifying that he would spend the rest of his days and nights screaming at things that only he could see. To prevent him from clawing his own eyes out, he was kept in a straitjacket 24 hours a day.
During the Earth Alliance Civil War, Bloodhound units were assigned to the Earthforce military divisions and bases occupying Mars. Anyone suspected of being a member of the resistance was subjected to a very deep scan. Given the nature of such invasive scans, they were prone to causing heart attacks, seizures, strokes, and even death.
Directors of Psi Corps
A lifelong position, the position of Director of Psi Corps was initially filled by normals who were appointed by the Earth Senate as stipulated in the Psi Corps' original charter. Eventually the position was given over to telepaths.
- People who have held the position
- People who have held the position
- Basement: Informal name given to the dormitory for latent children. These children are kept separate from other telepaths until their abilities manifest, at which point they are integrated into an appropriate Cadre.
- Blip: a general term used by security officers for fugitives from the law, though it has also become synonymous with rogue telepaths. "Type A" Blips are considered to be merely misguided and open to re-education. "Type C" Blips are those who are considered sociopaths or "born criminals", who enjoy abusing their abilities and are much more difficult to re-educate.
- Bloop: Referring to the involuntary broadcasting of stray thoughts, either through weak blocks, poor discipline and/or loss of control through panic and emotional distress. Very young or untrained teeps, as well as teeks of any age are particularly notorious for blooping.
- Block: Telepathic guard against active scanning or passive sensing. Blocks usually take the form of repeating songs, nursery rhymes, or mathematical calculations. With training, mundanes can also use these techniques to block an active scan, although the mundane's ability to resist depends on how strong the telepath is. Blocks can be broken by a sufficiently strong and/ or well trained teep, however doing so forcefully can lead to the subject suffering strokes, aneurysms or cerebral hemorrhaging.
This can also refer to subconscious conditioning that restrains a subject at the point of action.
- Boot: Psi Corps security officers. Not full Psi Cops, they usually operated in support roles such as Bloodhound units.
- Cadre: Training groups composed of young telepaths, organized into boarding houses according to age group.
- Cadre Prime: A cadre of telepaths whose abilities manifested either at birth or before the onset of puberty. Housed separately from the other cadres, they account for less than 5% of all telepaths, and as such they are considered exceptionally rare and special. Other Cadres include Cadre Secundus and Cadre Tertius.
- Casting: (See "Mindcast")
- Cops 'n' Blips: An approved game played by children in the Psi Corps during "constructive playtime". Generally it involves one or two children ("the blips") who are tasked with getting to a prearranged location without being caught, while the others (the "cops") attempt to track and capture them.
- Deathbed Scan: Performed when a telepath combs a dying person's mind for vital information up until the very moment of death. Such scans are known to be harmful to the telepath's mental health, with some believing that one loses a piece of one's soul by being in contact with the soon-to-decease person as they cross the threshold. Almost no telepath who has done such a scan willingly does one a second time, since subsequent attempts are thought to be very damaging to the psyche. Psi Cop Alfred Bester repeatedly volunteered for such duty, once even following a subject's mind into the void. During that scan Bester very nearly died himself, and would have if not for the resuscitation efforts of hospital staff attending the dying subject. Some in the Corps say that Bester is the way he is because the better part of his soul is missing.
- Fugue: Telepathic attack. A favorite trick of blips, a fugue forces the target's mind to suddenly repeat its last thought over and over, effectively freezing the person's mind in the moment. The effect is short lived, but if timed right it can be enough to give the attacker an edge. For a telepath, a fugue state is akin to a psi seizure or stroke, and can sometimes be brought on by extremely severe emotional distress or shock.
- Grabber, The: A children's nickname for William Karges and the statue that bore his likeness in Teeptown's alpha quad. Destroyed during the Telepath War, what was left was eventually removed and replaced by a statue of Matthew and Fiona Dexter with their lost baby Stephen in 2281.
- Grins: Term used by Psi Corps children for the faceless monitors within Psi Corps Cadre Prime youth training programs. Noted for their grey robes, almost mechanical voices, impersonal nature, and their blank featureless masks that display only very basic emotional symbols. Dealing out both punishments and rewards, they are more often than not a source of apprehension and mystery for most teep children. At age 12, the children are shown the true identities of the Grins, who are revealed to be their teachers and caregivers during a ceremony in which they receive their first pair of gloves.
- Glyph: Projection of a telepathic image. Can be used as a means of deception (making a subject think they saw something they didn't) or to accentuate communication through illustration.
- John Trakker, Psi Cop: Fictional character that features in a weekly vid series produced by the Psi Corps. A Psi Cop that works with his partner Heng, every week they work to capture "evil" and "stupid" rogue telepaths and send them off to be re-educated by the Corps. Also featured on a merchandising line based on the show.
- Latent: Referring to a telepath who has scored positive on the screening test, but whose ability has not yet manifested. Also called "late bloomers".
- Later: Referring to a telepath whose ability manifested after or during puberty.
- Mindblast: A sudden and powerful brute-force telepathic attack, a mindblast leaves its target in a telepathic fugue. Partial amnesia is also a common side effect of a mindblast.
- Mindburst: A sudden and debilitating burst of background "noise" from other minds, most commonly suffered by laters as their psi ability first manifests itself. The mindburst's intensity is directly proportional to the teep's psi rating. For example, to a P10 the experience is akin to a deaf person suddenly hearing a rocket engine right by their heads. The sudden shock can be severe enough as to render a teep unconscious.
- Mindcast: Direct telepathic communication.
- Mind shredder: Term applied to an individual trained in attack probes who has an exceptional knack for disrupting the abilities of other telepaths.
- Mindquake: A localized kinetic agitation, usually the result of an unstable teek who is unable to control their ability.
- Monitors: (See "Grins")
- Mundane: non-telepath, meaning literally "normal". Often pejorative.
- P'see: Term used for a telepathic perception that manifests and is interpreted by a teep's brain as visual information, a sort of telepathic sight. Similar terms include "p'squint" and "p'hear".
- Psi Cop: Psi Corps police officers.
- Rogue: (See "Blip")
- Scan: An active telepathic probe. Surface scans, while difficult for even a trained P5 to detect, can only reveal what a person happens to be thinking from moment to moment and is routinely used in business negotiations to detect falsehoods, omission and obfuscation. A deep scan, while often uncomfortable, can uncover deeper thoughts and memories. Under certain conditions deep and extended scans can cause seizures, heart attacks, strokes, permanent brain damage, or if the subject is particularly resistant, death. Sustaining and blocking extended scans can also affect the telepath running the scan - the best human telepaths can only sustain a deep scan for up to 40–45 minutes, at which time they burst arteries, have strokes, or black out.
- Teeptown: Closed community for telepaths in Geneva, originally built up by the MRA and later Psi Corps from the old "metasensory compound".
The beginnings of The Corps date back to 2117 and the formation of the Metasensory Regulation Authority (itself an outgrowth of the 2115 Senate Committee on Technology and Privacy and the subsequent Committee on Metasensory Regulation.) In 2156, following first contact with the Centauri Republic and the revelation that the Centauri and many other alien races possessed telepaths, it became apparent that Earth would need a more permanent and comprehensive solution than the MRA was able to provide. What finally tipped the balance of public opinion was the self-sacrifice of Earthforce Security Commander William Karges in thwarting of an assassination attempt on EA President Elizabeth Robinson in October of 2160. Karges had been an unregistered telepath and had used his ability to sense the thoughts of the bombers before they could detonate the President's motorcade. With this swing in public opinion concerning telepaths (which had until this point had been at its lowest since the pogroms of 2115), on April 12 2161, President Robinson was finally able to realize what Senator Lee Crawford had been working toward for decades and institute universal registration for Earth Alliance telepaths and an independently chartered MRA, dubbed "Psi Corps." Though the Karges incident is often credited by Psi Corps propaganda as the deciding factor, more cynical students of history have compared it to George Washington chopping down a cherry tree. Robinson immediately offered Crawford the position of Director of the Psi Corps, though his tenure was short-lived, as on May 19, 2161, Crawford was assassinated while on his way to a meeting with Earth's first Centauri ambassador. Kevin Vacit, Crawford's assistant of nearly 30 years became the new Director.
While its public image was always that of a "friendly" service to society (though the facade was at times rather thin), under Vacit's direction, Psi Corps was fashioned into a keenly balanced machine, dedicated to honing and cultivating telepaths for the inevitable day when co-existence with mundanes would become a matter of survival. So adept was he at setting the Corps on its course that it could continue without him and without even knowing its true purpose.
Collaboration with the Shadows and the underground railroad
Doctor Stephen Franklin participated in an underground railroad to help rogue telepaths escape from the Corps. Eventually, some of the telepaths who escaped provided assistance during the closing days of the Second Shadow war, while the highest levels of the Corps allied itself with the Shadows, providing them with captured rogue telepaths to operate on and surgically alter. Via Morden, the Shadows took an active role in the assassination of Luis Santiago, allowing some of their technology to be used by Earthforce.
After the Shadows and Vorlons left the galaxy with the other First Ones and Clark's defeat following the end of the Earth Alliance Civil War, a group of rogue telepaths led by Byron formed a small colony on Babylon 5, granted sanctuary by ISA President John Sheridan. The situation later ended in violence when the Psi Cops attempted to take the rogue telepaths back to Earth.
After the colony on Babylon 5 was forced to leave following the death of its leader, Byron, Lyta Alexander began a crusade against the Psi Corps. Her actions led to a conflict in which both rogue telepaths and mundanes fought against the Psi Corps. This conflict would later become known as the Telepath War.
Having lost the power it held during the Clark administration, the Psi Corps attempted to take over Earth's government, but eventually was defeated by the Earth Alliance, aided by the Interstellar Alliance and the rogue telepaths.
Following the end of the Telepath War, Psi Corps was formally dissolved, and the Earth Alliance began to take steps to re-integrate its telepaths into mainstream society. Freeing them from many of the past rules and restrictions, teeps were now allowed a much wider range of options as to what they chose to do with their lives, such as serving in Earthforce and working in the private sector. Many private schools were set up to educate telepaths around this time, though their success rate was somewhat mixed.
After the dissolution of Psi Corps, the Psionic Monitoring Commission was created, dedicated to hunting down those members of the Corps who had committed war crimes such as Alfred Bester. Eventually captured and put on trial for his past atrocities, Bester was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison, his abilities taken away by the very sleepers that he once administered to countless blips.
Some Psi Corps members, like John Matheson, joined later Earthforce.
- Dark Genesis - The Birth of the Psi Corps
- Deadly Relations - Bester Ascendant
- The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father
- Mind War
- The Face of the Enemy
- A Tragedy of Telepaths
- Phoenix Rising
- Ship of Tears
- A Race Through Dark Places
- The Paragon of Animals
- Objects in Motion
- Final Reckoning - The Fate of Bester
- Divided Loyalties
- A Spider in the Web
- The Psi Corps and You!