A/N: Story starts after S2E19 'Divided Loyalties' of Babylon 5, and extends into season 3 and beyond.
"You did that on purpose! You know we only performed a PSYCHIC dissection on the patient after her debriefing" the Psi cop said to Alfred Bester telepathically. "Her body was unharmed in the process." The two black-clad operatives were in their ship awaiting the anti-telepathic injection in Bester to take effect so he could return and start his mission.
The injection was already beginning to take partial effect and Bester switched to speaking aloud. "I know, call it a weakness. I wanted to see Mr. Garibaldi's reaction; he knows he can't do anything against us. He doesn't need to know that we still keep the body; no need to throw away a perfectly good container when we can just fill it up again with whatever created personality we want. He's just mad because we killed a person he's been...rather fond of; he's not even sure exactly what we did..."
Talia Winters stood on a high cliff looking into dark storm clouds with a roiling sea below. The wind swirled around her and mist flung itself against her Psi Corp uniform-clad body until she felt completely soaked. Impossibly far below, miles it seemed, jagged rocks stretched out into the water at the base of the sheer granite face of the cliff that could be seen briefly before the mists and storm vapors clouded the view.
"What am I doing here?" she muttered to herself.
"I put you here" a voice said behind her. Talia turned and faced a familiar image - one she had seen in the mirror when looking at herself. The doppelganger was dressed exactly as she was, but completely dry. Apart from that, the only difference was a leer on the face of her seeming-twin as she/it stepped closer.
"Who are you - are you using a neural net?" Talia asked. The net was a device that could make someone appear as someone else, and its use was never for good in her opinion. She tried to penetrate any possible false appearance but was mentally rebuffed.
"You can call me...Control. I don't need a neural net, you see, because I'm you! Well, at least you without all the feelings and relationships and baggage that come with those things. And I've got my priorities in order too, not that you asked."
"I don't understand."
"Of course you don't - you're not supposed to understand...not even supposed to know, really. I'm a synthetic personality that's been implanted in your brain, just waiting and watching and listening until the right time. Unfortunately your friend Lyta Alexander triggered me early with that telepathic code she sent. Too bad - I was waiting for something important to happen; at least it's my chance to get out of that boring station and be with some real telepaths again" Control lamented. "Of course, I'll take over your body now; you won't have any need of it after I kill off your personality." She started toward Talia.
"How did you get me here?" she asked, backing up carefully. The cliff face was very near.
"Here? We're still inside your head, silly. I know, it's all rather symbolic and theatrical, but I have to do this to get you out of my head for good. I'm afraid you haven't a thing to say in the matter!" Control grinned as she gave Talia a mighty shove. She teetered on the precipice, and then fell off backwards as she flailed wildly. Control looked over the edge just in time to see the mists swallow her up. "Ah, I feel better already. Nothing like a little spring cleaning" she thought as her image vanished while walking away.
As Talia fell, she fought to control her panic even as fear gripped her. The mist shielded her eyes from the cliff face rushing past, and it was some time before she became vaguely aware that her fall was slowing. She broke through the bottom layer of a particularly thick cloud and saw that she was barely descending, until she turned and landed on her feet on a small patch of sand between two large boulders. She tried to will herself to rise up into the air, but failed to move at all. Confused, she spotted a larger patch of beach nearby and carefully stepped along the top of several slippery rocks to the area.
"That wasn't too bad, was it?" a voice spoke in her head. She knew the voice.
"Jason?" she said out loud, her stay on the space station having ingrained the habit of speaking aloud to others. An image of Jason Ironheart materialized on the beach with her. It occasionally wavered and refocused.
"Yes" the image answered. Ironheart was a former teacher and lover of Talia during her training at the Psi Corps. She last saw him over a year ago, when he was going through a metamorphosis that transformed him into...something else; an entity of pure energy and thought. Before he departed, he had given her a 'gift' and left her to find out what it was on her own.
"What happened?" she asked. "I was walking into Sheridan's office and then suddenly I'm here."
"Psi Corps created a spy personality and implanted it in your mind sometime in the past during your training. They hid it away where you couldn't find it, and it was watching and remembering what was going on. They planned on activating it later to get all the intelligence they could from the station" he explained.
"Did you know that when you left?" Talia asked.
"I did. But I didn't want to compromise their plan and expose it too soon. So part of the gift I gave you was the ability to create a partition in your mind to hide important things inside."
"That's why Bester couldn't read what I knew about the underground railroad for telepaths. I must have put it behind the partition without knowing it." Talia suspected it at the time, but wasn't sure. She had also found out that part of the gift had been a telekinetic ability; small, but it existed where none had before.
"That's right. When they went through Control's memories, there was nothing there of a sensitive nature. Well, almost nothing. They had to find something or they'd be suspicious, so I let them find out about your relationship with Ivanova. I made up a false memory of Captain Sheridan having a gambling problem too, and they'll think that Garibaldi is having an affair with one of the ambassadors."
Commander Susan Ivanova was one of Talia's greatest critics when the telepath first came aboard the station, but the two had grown…very close recently. Talia felt a pang of loneliness at the loss of her friend; the relationship had just started to blossom when Control took over. "What happened when I left?"
"Control basically threw out insults and threats on the station and left to return to the Psi Corps. There, she will be debriefed; as the first mole successfully recovered, they want to learn as much as they can about how well the process worked and what she has learned up to this point. In the process they'll probably wipe out the Control character leaving your mind empty. Well, except for you, safely tucked in here behind the partition." Jason paused. "It wasn't your fault, Talia. You had no memory, no inkling of the presence of the other personality. There was nothing you could have done, and you can blame the Psi Corps for the whole thing. I wasn't the only experiment they've had in the past, and I wouldn't be surprised if they try something else in the future; people's lives mean nothing to them."
"I know - the Corps is mother and father. Okay, okay, but what do I do now? Can I just stay here with you?" Jason didn't have a body any longer, but the important part - his mind - was still as vibrant as ever, even more so now than when she had known him during her training. Talia felt as though they were really standing side by side on the beach.
"I'm not really here either. We're still in your mind, hiding behind that partition. This is just a small part of me that is talking to you; the real me is out in the universe somewhere. Even Ambassador Kosh was aware of Control's existence and made a copy of your personality just in case; the Vorlon's methods are somewhat primitive and might not have been entirely successful if it was left entirely to him. But I'm going to help you grow stronger, develop your powers, and maybe in time you'll be able to reclaim that body of yours like Control did to you. Behold..."
A large keyhole appeared a dozen feet up on the side of the mountain, a keyhole that must have been at least three feet tall. A small key appeared in front of it, no larger than an old-fashioned door key. "As you discover and strengthen your powers, the key will grow larger. When it is large enough to turn the lock, you will be strong enough to safely take ownership of your body and mind again. At that point you'll understand what you need to do with the rest of your life; I fully expect you to join me in the universe one day. Now let us begin the lessons slowly so we don't create any mind quakes and tip our hand..."
A/N: I applaud the show's creator for devising trapdoors for all the major characters to account for possible departures during the five year plan, and I understand the real world reasons why the character of Talia Winters had to leave the show.
But it doesn't mean I had to like it.
Even if she didn't come back to the station, I felt that Talia needed to have a happier ending with some hope. This story gives her that chance. I haven't read any other Bab5 stories yet, but it wouldn't be surprising to find this has probably been covered several times already; it's just one of the ways I'd do it.
I've decided to add additional material to the story, so what previously was a single chapter is now the first half. If you're reading this, then the new part has been added and you can head to the concluding chapter.