Psi Corps Series #3: Final Reckoning: The Fate of Bester

Written by J. Gregory Keyes
Based on an original outline by J. Michael Straczynski
DelRey, October 1999

This novel takes place in 2271 (nine years after Season Five, four years after Crusade).

Final Reckoning: The Fate of Bester

The Telepath War is over, and Psi Corps is no longer.  Alfred Bester is still at large, wanted to face trial and punishment for war crimes, and the deaths of thousands of people, both telepaths and mundanes.  One of those spearheading the manhunt for him is Michael Garibaldi, head of giant Martian pharmaceuticals company Edgars Industries, determined to exact revenge.  But Bester still has contacts and colleagues in high places, helping him to stay one step ahead.

Bester decides to head back to Earth, thinking it to be safer amongst millions of people rather than alone on colony worlds or in space.  He settles in Paris under the name Claude Kaufman, at the Hotel Marceau, where he fends of the threats of local thugs on hotel owner Louise Bouet.  He soon finds himself falling in love with Louise, and gets a job as a literary critic in a local magazine.

Owing to a medical condition created by years of Psi Corps experimentation, Bester requires a rare drug called choline rybosylase.  Garibaldi tracks his source to try and find clues to Bester's whereabouts.  Bester discovers Garibaldi is onto him and recruits the leader of the local thugs, Jem, to help him acquire a new supply.

With Jem's help, Bester breaks into a pharmacists', stealing the required medicine.  He escapes the scene as police arrive, and Jem is killed after an explosion rigged by Bester.  Bester also meets Justin Ackerman, one of his leading officers during the Telepath War.  To be assured of maintaining his secrecy, Bester is forced to kill Ackerman.

Garibaldi contacts Inspector Girard, the man investigating the murders, to help him locate Bester, whom Garibaldi believes to be the one responsible.  Bester is forced to flee Paris, but has found himself madly in love with Louise.  When she discovers his true identity, Louise asks Bester to take her with him, but he feels it would be too dangerous.  He reluctantly wipes her memories of her time with him.  He flees, while some of his operatives still within the Metasensory Division hamper Garibaldi's progress.  Bester takes the Guillory family hostage before Garibaldi finds him, pursues him, and finally captures him.  He stops short of killing him, knowing that justice must be carried out.

During his trial, Bester makes an impassioned plea that the war against telepaths was first started by normals, killing his kind by the thousands since telepathy was first discovered.  Bester is sentenced to life imprisonment, where he spends the next ten years locked away in Teeptown, the location of his Academy days.  In the quadrangle below his cell, statues of the Resistance leaders, Matthew and Fiona Dexter and their child Stephen, are erected.  Bester dies in his sleep in 2281, accepting that the Dexters were indeed his parents, but he feels the information need not be disclosed in his memoirs.

Notes: Garibaldi's conditioning is seen in Whatever Happened to Mr Garibaldi? and Bester's part in it revealed in The Face of the Enemy.  Mention is made of the Drakh plague and the success of the Excalbur mission in finding a cure (Crusade).  Bester's lover Carolyn is recalled (Ship of Tears), and revealed to have been killed in a terrorist bombing of a medical facility before she could be revived.  Garibaldi also blames Bester for the death of Lyta Alexander, presumably during the Telepath War (which, given that it appears to be over by 2265 (see Legend of the Rangers), appears to have taken place in 2264).  Garibaldi had made good his promise to aid her fight against Psi Corps, and she in turn removed the "Asimov" planted in his head by Bester (Wheel of Fire).  President Sheridan's death is mentioned (Sleeping in Light).

Recurring Characters: Alfred Bester; Michael Garibaldi (also his wife Lise Hampton, and their daughter Mary (Sleeping in Light)); and cameo appearances by the ghost of Byron.