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Oh, his lawyers tried. Hadn't Bester been an appointed official of an organization created and overseen by the EA Senate? Had he really been doing anything more than implementing the policies of Psi Corps, the president, EarthGov itself?

All of that was just marking time. The prosecution was full of answers. Nothing in the Psi Corps charter allowed for the murder of unarmed civilians, the blackmail of EA senators, unauthorized experiments on detainees, torture, distribution of illegal substances. No, Bester had taken matters into his own hands, creating a government within a government, and had gone to war against not only the law, but everything that was right and decent.


Now he sat in the chair himself, the place of truth. He wore a black suit. He didn't wear his telepath's badge. He smiled when the mouthpiece for the prosecution-a young EA senator named Semparat-stepped onto the floor. Semparat looked... small.

"State your name, please, for the record."

"My name is Alfred Bester," he replied. He paused, cocked his head slightly to the side. "Or would it make you feel better if I said my name was Hitler, or Stalin, or Satan?"

"Alfred Bester will do," the senator said, dryly. "I think by the end of this we will see that it will do quite nicely."

"Oh, but you knew that coming in, didn't you?" Bester asked. "You had no need of a trial, did you?"

Semparat frowned, but ignored that last.

"Mr. Bester," he continued, "you have heard all the charges against you before, at your hearing. At that time, you maintained that you were innocent. After all of the witnesses that have come before us, do you still so maintain?"

Bester raised his eyebrows. "Of course I do."


"I do."

"You deny, for instance, the murder of forty-three
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