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Synopsis by Katrina Glerum (kat@midwinter.com)

Franklin is approaching his new job of developing complete medical profiles of all the Alliance member races with his usual enthusiasm. He convinces the Pak'ma'ra he is examining today to drink a barium solution so that he can track its upper digestive tract, and gets treated to an impressive demonstration of projectile vomiting an instant later.

Three rogue telepaths arrive on the station without money or papers. Zack is reluctant to let them in, but Byron and Lyta are there to force the issue. Zack accedes, but asks Lyta if he can talk to her alone.

In the transport tube, Peter, one of the new arrivals, demonstrates how much stronger his telekinesis ability has become by lofting a steel ball.

Zack demands to know why Lyta is hanging out with "those people" and orders her to stop seeing Byron. Lyta responds that Byron is trying to create a better world and accuses Zack of jealousy. Without letting him interrupt she tells him that she has been used by everyone, risked her life for everyone and received nothing in return, even from him. Finally someone cares about her and others like her. She would follow Byron gladly into hell, she says and asks Zack what he could possibly say to change that. He is speechless and she leaves.

Byron is leading the new telepaths through DownBelow towards their quarters when their way is blocked by a surly lurker and his mates. To the man's surprise, three times Byron asks him to hit him. After this Byron asks if the third strike was any better than the first or second, or if he expects anything more satisfying from the fourth, fifth or sixth. He leans forward and tells the man quietly that no amount of hitting others will satisfy or solve his anger, then walks on by leaving the man stupefied. When his mates ask what Byron said, the man angrily calls it a teep trick.

Doctor Franklin formally requests a complete medical and genetic history from the Hyach ambassador. She replies that for the first time, the Elders of their geritocracy have decided to make this available to an outsider. Her young assistant, Kirin, demands to know if Franklin would die to protect the confidentiality of the information they will provide him. He explains the security precautions he is taking with the files. She asks him even more fiercely if he would put his life ahead of theirs, and he snaps "You aren't asking anything that I haven't already considered, and the answer is yes, I would die before I allow my work to be used in biogenetic warfare." Kirin's concerns are quelled for the moment.

When the doctor leaves however, Kirin says this is a mistake. "What if he finds out?" The Ambassador counsels acceptance of the will of her elders. Kirin says that if he betrays them, then she'll kill him.

Lyta gets angry when she sees the state Byron's in. Ignoring his hint to be left alone, she begins washing his wounds, and demands to know why he didn't fight back. He explains that violence is not their way. Violence is the way of the mundanes and the Psi Corps, and it always fails. If they wish to form a system that can last, it must be built on nonviolence. Lyta begins sputtering, don't bullies make him want to strike back? Byron begins to laugh, and calls her a BCMFO (brightly colored fast moving object) a comet who blazes into every room she enters. "There's so much more to you than meets the eye," he marvels. "If you only knew," she replies dryly. She kisses him tenderly, and bashfully moves to leave. He asks her why she never stays the night and when she explains that she doesn't feel like part of the group yet, he takes her out of his room and asks the others what they feel about Lyta being one of them. The other telepaths surround and embrace her.

Kirin delivers the final data crystals Franklin requested. He asks her why the records only date back 800 years when the Hyach civilization has been around for 7000. She tells him to make do. Her attitude only exacerbates his feeling that the Hyach are hiding something, and his formidable curiosity is roused.

Peter gets separated from his fellows in DownBelow. Suddenly he is set upon by the men who hassled them earlier. When he uses his talent to fight back they beat him senseless. He is rushed to Medlab where Byron makes a special appeal to Dr. Franklin to save him. As Byron looks at Peter's broken body, the rest of his people watch through his eyes. When they set out to punish the perpetrators, Byron rushes off to stop them. He finds them in a corridor torturing one of the bullies with a vision of immolation. He calms them down and steps over to the man who has passed out from shock, just as Zack comes along and arrests him.

Franklin's search for ancient Hyach records is fruitless so he initiates a search for Hyach in other species' records.

Byron frantically tries to get released from his cell. He can feel his people assaulting Peter's attacker somewhere.

Franklin is roused from his observation of Peter by a return on his search. A Drazi pilot reports a rare sighting of a Hyach-doh coming into their camp and begging for transportation, but says in accordance with his contract he refused, and reported the Hyach-doh for "collection." Intrigued, Franklin starts a search for references to Hyach-doh.

The results are stunning. Walking slowly back to his quarters, Franklin keeps reading the material he has uncovered. Kirin is waiting for him and orders him at gunpoint into a deserted storage room. He shows her what he's found. The Hyach-doh were a species that developed through parallel evolution alongside and cross-fertile with the Hyach. The Hyach Ambassador enters and confirms that about a millenium ago the Hyach began a religious-based program of exterminating the Hyach-doh, Now the Hyach are regretting their "success" as their birthrate has been dropping ever since. Something in the Hyach-doh DNA was necessary for the Hyach race to survive.

The ambassador asks Franklin to help them find what it is that they are missing. He refuses. Even though did not kill the Hyach-doh themselves, their complicity in the cover-up makes them accomplices, he says. Besides, it would take far greater resources than he has to find the answer. If they want help, they must reveal their past. The Ambassador orders Kirin to free Franklin. Now that one outsider has discovered the truth, the Elders are prepared to acknowledge it more widely. The ambassador asks Franklin's forgiveness, but he replies, only the Hyach-doh can give that, and they're all dead.

As Zack releases Byron he asks about the murder. Byron asks, how should he know, he's been locked up all day, but if he'd been allowed out the man might not be dead.

Byron steps dejectedly over sleeping bodies to his curtained corner with Lyta in tow. He is depressed and ashamed that his people won't follow his creed. Lyta offers him to take comfort in her for awhile. She nervously explains that she hasn't been with anyone since she was altered by the Vorlons and warns him that he might get burned. "Then let it burn." he says. As they make love he begins to see her memories of her time with the Vorlons. Her rescue, her carrying duties, her punishment by Kosh II, her ability to feel the Shadows, and then her alteration. She envisions floating in a tank.

Byron is horrified to see Lyta's eyes go full black. The other telepaths in the room wake up to the intensity of Byron's thoughts.

Floating Lyta sees another tank nearby. It contains a nonhuman fetus.

The telepaths are weeping.

There are more tanks with fetuses, and many, many more tanks with adult forms floating in them.

Byron embraces Lyta tightly as the telepaths stand in a circle outside his curtains watching them.

Afterwards Byron questions her about what she has revealed. The Vorlons were responsible for creating telepaths as foot soldiers in the war with the Shadows. Now that the Vorlons are gone there is no one to give an accounting for this genetic violation of the human species. So since they were created to save everyone else, Byron argues, everyone else owes them a homeland. If the Alliance refuses to grant them this, "Then we'll make sure they have no other choice," Byron says ominously.

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Last update: June 10, 2018