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"...you're as much of a victim as my mother."
"I don't feel like a victim."
"No. And so far I cannot tell if that is good or bad."

Ivanova to Ms. Winters, 2258


Talia Winters was a human telepath, rated P5 and the second Psi Corps licensed commercial telepath assigned to Babylon 5.

History

Early age

Talia Winters was born in Vienna on Earth in 2233.[1] Her telepathic abilities manifested at age five. The law required her to be taken in by the Psi Corps to be raised and trained by them. She was tested for telekinesis, but her test results came up negative.[2] Upon her arrival, she had a difficult time adjusting to her new environment. She was assigned an older woman named Abby to be a kind of "big sister" to her, which greatly helped her adjust in that first year.[3]

As with most members, she became extremely loyal to the Psi Corps, unaware of its darker aspects and doings. While training she met and befriended Lyta Alexander.[4]

While at the Psi Corps Academy, she had a relationship with Jason Ironheart, one of her instructors. The two would share a deep bond for many years.[2]

She also married Matthew Stoner via a Psi Corps arranged marriage, as they were a match likely to produce more powerful telepathic offspring. The marriage occurred quickly and she soon discovered she did not care much for Stoner. Inexplicably, Stoner managed to find a way to leave the Corps. Once he did so he disappeared and the marriage was annulled.[5]

After leaving the Academy, she briefly worked with convicted criminals that were to have their minds and personalities wiped. She left that work after she had to scan a serial killer, something which haunted her for quite some time.[6] She also worked briefly on Mars, where her duties included (among other things) scanning several Free Mars terrorists. She would later claim that all the ones she scanned were "violent fanatics."[3]

Talia Silent Enemies

Talia on Mars.

In March 2253, while still on Mars, Talia became involved in an incident out on Syria Planum when she and others were used as test subjects in series of experiments conducted by Department Sigma following IPX's excavation of a Shadow Vessel beneath the permafrost. Though the encampment was all but destroyed, Talia survived and was later recovered by Sigma personnel before the scene was scrubbed of all evidence of their presence.[7] After Syria Planum, Talia's memory was wiped and she was transferred to the sleeper program. After a series of deep scans and injected with various pharmaceuticals, a new personality - one utterly loyal to the Corps - was created in her mind and submerged so deep into her subconscious that not even a deep scan would detect it. There the personality, called "Control" was to remain, silently watching, listening, spying and waiting.[4]

New Assignment

In February 2258, Talia was assigned to Babylon 5 to replace Lyta Alexander as the station's resident commercial telepath, her predecessor having been recalled to Earth six weeks after she scanned the Vorlon ambassador Kosh Naranek.[8][9]

For several weeks after arriving on Babylon 5, Miss Winters attempted to check in with Lt. Commander Ivanova, per Psi Corps regulations requiring her to check in with the second in command. Being unsuccessful, she went to find Ivanova at C'n'C, where Ivanova quickly dismisses her. Winters asked Michael Garibaldi for advice in approaching Ivanova. Garibaldi suggested meeting Ivanova at the casino after her shift, and invited Talia to his quarters to see his second favorite thing in the universe. Winters met Ivanova at the casino, where Ivanova apologized for her behavior and related the story of her mother's experiences as an unregistered telepath.

An accidental telepathic contact with ambassador Londo Mollari revealed his intent to murder G'Kar during the Ragesh III incident. She then warned Garibaldi of Mollari's intentions.[10]

Talia acted as a mediator for the station as well as strictly commercially. She was part of the negotiations between the Narn Regime and the Centauri Republic as they finalized the Euphrates Treaty.[11]

A Gift From Jason

Her former lover Jason Ironheart, arrived on the station later in 2258. Affected by experiments done on him by the Psi Corps, he quickly became unstable and began to transform into a higher form of life. Talia helped him evade a pair of Psi Cops, Alfred Bester and Ms. Kelsey, long enough for his transformation to be completed. After his transformation, he secretly gave Talia the gift of telekinesis. Thanks to Sinclair, Talia was not reprimanded by Bester for her involvement.[2]

In mid 2258, Talia was approached by Ambassador Kosh of the Vorlon Empire to "mediate" a series of talks he had with a strange being named Mr. Abbut. Talia was surprised when she realized Abbut's mind was completely blank. The talks, however, confused her all the more, as Kosh and Abbut merely spoke in a series of riddles. Finally, during the last talk she began to have flashbacks to when she scanned the mind of a serial killer, a terrifying experience. Abbut removed a data crystal from his own brain and handed to Kosh. The Vorlon cryptically responded to Talia's question regarding its contents. She sought out Garibaldi and Sinclair to ask them about it. Garibaldi explained that Abbut is a Vicker, a cyborg capable of recording thoughts. He explains it seems Kosh set her up so he could record the memories--but for what reason is anybody's guess.[6]

The Corps Takes Care Of It's Own

Later in the year, Talia met Alisa Beldon, an orphaned teenager living on her own on the station, when Alisa's latent telepathy suddenly emerged. Talia correctly guessed Alisa was a P10 and assumed it would be a simple matter for her to be sent back to Earth and the Psi Corps. Susan Ivanova, however, made it clear that she had no intention of sending Alisa to the Corps, leading to more friction between the two. Alisa eventually left the station to become an envoy for the Minbari Federation with the hope she could help foster relations between humans and Minbari. Talia, while not agreeing with the decision, found she could respect it.[12]

Soon afterwards, Mars became the site of a series of deadly riots. Talia was approached by Garibaldi, who was looking for a favor. At first she tries to rebuff him, annoyed at his almost uncanny ability to always be aboard the particular transport tube she needs to board, but he pleas for her that his request for help is genuine. He explains that his ex-girlfriend, Lise Hampton, still lives on Mars. He has not spoken to her since he came to Babylon 5 and is worried about her safety. He surprises Talia when he explains he knows of the location of a secret Psi Corps facility on the planet. He asks her if she can find out via the facility whether Lise is alive. Talia reluctantly agrees to help him. She privately contacts the location, but they refuse to concede to her request for fear of exposing themselves. Talia is able to obtain independently a list of injured persons (of which Lise is not named) and share this information with Garibaldi.[13]

On New Year's Eve, 2258, Garibaldi is shot in the back. He remains in critical condition for over three weeks but is eventually brought out of a coma. Hoping Talia can jog his memory, he asks her to scan him to try and determine who shot him. She does so, though she assures him that any results she finds will be inadmissible. Talia is able to focus Garibaldi's memories and help him realize it was Jack, his own second-in-command who shot him.[14]

A Mission From Thirteen

Control

Control.

Soon thereafter, an old friend of Talia's, Taro Isogi, comes aboard to conduct negotiations with Amanda Carter, a member of the Mars Provisional Government. Isogi, CEO of FutureCorp, has a plan to help Mars become both self sustaining and politically independent of Earth. He hires Talia to moderate the negotiations. They start off well, despite doubts Talia herself voices to Isogi during a break. Unfortunately, Taro is brutally murdered by an assassin during the recess. Talia scans the assassin, but detects no emotion or feeling at all--only a single memory which she has a hard time sorting out at first. She is placed under protective security, which finally gives Garibaldi a real excuse to spend time with her. Despite being pained over Isogi's death, she does bond with Michael.

GaribaldiTalia01

Garibaldi tries to cheer Talia up

The assassin comes after her the following day, however, but after killing her guard, he stops short when she scans him and wanders off. Again, she sees only the one memory, but this time she senses that what she is remembering is the assassin's death. Her influence makes the assassin's submerged personality begin to resist his cyborg programming. She managed to pull some hair off him during the incident, enough for security to confirm the assassin's identity as Abel Horn--whom Earthforce confirms has been dead almost a year. Horn is able to lure Talia to him by having Amanda Carter invite Talia over. Once there, Abel begs Talia to explain what has happened to him. She scans him again, again seeing his death, but also sees a different memory--Abel was "rebuilt" as a type of "cyber zombie," and a Psi Cop was involved in the process. Security storms the room, rescuing Talia and Carter, but Horn explodes, destroying all evidence. Talia chooses not to tell Captain Sheridan or Garibaldi about seeing the Psi Cop. Pulling up Psi Corps records privately, she sees that the woman in question is supposedly dead.[3]

Unwelcome Visit

Soon afterwards, Talia received an unexpected (and unwelcome) surprise when he ex-husband, Mathew Stoner arrived on the station. Stoner met up with Talia, offering her a way to leave the Psi Corps. He explained that a way had been discovered to remove a person's telepathy permanently. Talia decides to accept and leave with him. She explains the situation to Garibaldi after he tried to warn Stoner away from her, explaining that she is tired of being a telepath and part of the Corps. Michael appeals to her, however, to help him reveal a secret about Stoner--they trick him into revealing that he is in fact an empath, someone capable of influencing people to do what he wants. The Psi Corps steps in an assumes jurisdiction once the station tries to file charges against him (for attempted escape). Captain Sheridan speculates that Stoner was sent to bring her back in the hopes that she would conceive another empath the Corps could use. Stoner makes one last appeal for her to come back with him, but she turns him down flat.[5]

Questioning Everything

"I'm tired of learning things about people I don't want to know. I'm tired of having them shrink away because of what I might find out. And I'm tired of being part of an organization that scares the hell out of me!"

Talia


In March 2259, Psi Cop Bester returned to Babylon 5. He had become aware of an underground railroad operating through the station and came to shut it down. While meeting with Talia in the Zocalo, several rogue telepaths attack them, trying to kill Bester. Talia flees but is seized by some of the rogues. They take her into Downbelow, to the hiding place of the rogues moving through the station. At first she tries to talk them all into rejoining the Corps, but they patiently deny this as an option. One by one, they explain the horror stories inflected upon them by the Corps (one was raped, impregnated, and had the child stolen at birth; another had his brother murdered for speaking out against the Corps). One of them, a leader of sorts, explains that he endured the same experimentation that Jason Ironheart went through (though while his abilities were increased, to level P12 or above, they were still far below of what happened to Ironheart). The Lurker is aware of the "gift" Jason gave her, a gift that has only been growing with him.

Talia is swayed and agrees to help them. She meets the unofficial "conductor" of the railroad, none other than Dr. Stephen Franklin, and the two of them approach Captain Sheridan and explain what has happened. Sheridan agrees to turn a blind eye, allowing the rogues to escape, provided that the railroad shut down on the station. They agree, but still have to deal with Bester. He finds Talia gathered with the rogues in Downbelow, and collectively the rogue telepaths are able to create a complex false memory in Bester (he sees Talia betray the rogues and the two of them shooting all of them). The telepath lurker warns Talia that Bester could scan her and learn the truth, but Talia is confident that her growing powers are enough to block his casual scans. It works, and Bester leaves the station without suspecting her.[15]

Control

GaribaldiTalia02

Control's cover is blown

In late 2259, Lyta Alexander learned of the Psi Corps sleeper program while hiding out with members of the Martian resistance. She found out that one of these sleepers was on Babylon 5, though she was unsure who it may have been. She discovered the password required to unlock this hidden personality and traveled to Babylon 5. Lyta scanned the minds of all the command staff but was unable to discover who it may have been. By chance, Talia walked into the room and Lyta scanned her mind, unlocking the hidden personality.[4]

With the hidden personality completely unlocked from the subconscious, Talia Winters was effectively dead. The control personality then was removed from the station by station security. Alfred Bester suggested later she had been studied and dissected, though this may have been a ruse to provoke Garibaldi. [16]

Relationships

While Susan Ivanova did not like Miss Winters, much of her dislike was due to the constant reminder of the Psi Corps and what they had done to her mother, Sofie Ivanov. Ivanova blamed Psi Corps for her mother's suicide; her experience gave Talia her first opportunity to learn about the darker side of the Psi Corps. When she began helping telepaths on the underground railroad, Susan Ivanova began to develop a respect for her which, shortly before Talia's personality was wiped, became a romantic relationship. Before leaving Babylon 5, Control taunted Ivanova, claiming to have influenced Talia to get close to Ivanova and her secrets.

Within the Psi Corps, Talia had a passionate romance with Jason Ironheart as well as a failed marriage with Matthew Stoner.

Michael Garibaldi had a crush on Talia, despite considering her to be out of his league, and Talia rejected his advances.

References

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