unarmed civilians connected to the telepath Resistance on Mars?"
"I deny their murder, yes."
"You deny the evidence brought before this court that you ordered their executions and killed three yourself."
"I don't deny killing them. I deny the charge that it was murder. And I applaud your semantic games, Senator. What you now call the telepath Resistance was at the time universally recognized as an illegal, subversive organization of terrorists. The normals involved were also terrorists and subversives."
"But they weren't armed, were they? Did they try to resist you?"
"Frankly, I did not care to give them the chance. Their activities had already resulted in the deaths of at least sixty-four of my colleagues. Senator, it was a war. However you look at it, those people fought in that war and they were casualties of it."
"Who declared this war? You?"
Bester raised an eyebrow mildly. "The terrorists declared it when they bombed our facilities on Mars. Everything we did after that was response, kind for kind."
"We've heard evidence that you, Alfred Bester, murdered civilians long before the beginning of the telepath conflict. Are you going to claim that that was war, as well?"
"Of course," Bester said.
"I, for one, am confused by that statement, Mr. Bester, and my guess is that many of this court are equally confused. Would you care to explain?"
"I would be delighted to, Senator," Bester replied.
"Please do so then."
Bester took a sip of the water next to him. "One hundred and fifty-eight years ago, the existence of telepaths was known to almost no one. One hundred and fifty-seven years ago, it became common knowledge thanks to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"By the end of that year, eighteen thousand telepaths were