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Dylan's Story (3)

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Senator Rosaki, as Chair of the Committee on Metasensory Abilities, met weekly with Psi Corps Director Johnston. She never invited Dylan to those meetings, however – he only glimpsed the aging Psi Corps director from afar. Dylan wondered what the two of them discussed – surely a closed door meeting between Senator Rosaki and Director Johnston had to be important – but he never tried to find out. He recalled that the senator’s last aide had been fired for snooping; whatever business the senator and the director discussed, it wasn’t his to know. So instead, he set his mind on his work, confident that if she wanted him to know something, she would tell him.

Johnston had been director for thirty-five years.[1] He had been appointed by the EA Senate in 2202, to replace Director Vacit, back when Rosaki had been in high school, and before Dylan had been born. Under the Psi Corps charter, the director served for life.

When Dylan finally met Director Johnston, it was entirely by accident. Dylan had gone to deliver some reports to the senator and found Johnston standing in her office. Dylan stopped in his tracks, and his heart skipped.

He wasn't supposed to be there.

Suddenly worried he might notice something he should not – the director was a normal, after all – he began his mental self-distraction routines.

Bah bah black sheep, have you any wool…

“And you must be Dylan!” said the director, standing to greet him, his pencil-gray eyes[2] reflecting his a falsely gracious smile. “I’ve heard so much about you.”

Up close, Dylan felt a sudden chill. He didn’t like what lurked behind those eyes – Johnston reminded him of a horror vid he’d seen as a small child, with a creepy old man who abducted neighborhood children and kept them in cages in his basement. His skin was too pale[3], and he looked like he’d had several facelifts too many. Perhaps he'd been trying to appear more youthful, but instead, he just looked creepy.

“A pleasure, sir,” Dylan lied.

“Marianna has spoken very highly of you, Dylan," the director said. "You know, after you leave the Senate, there a good job waiting for you in the Corps, with her recommendation. A smart young man like you will go far.”

“Thank you, sir.” Dylan nodded, eager to get out of the man's presence as quickly as possible. There was something wrong, even though he didn't know what.

“Things aren’t the same as they used to be,” Johnston added. “In the old days... in the old Corps, top jobs all went only certain people - those who grew up in the Corps, and especially those from Cadre Prime.  But that's not fair, is it?”

"...No sir," Dylan said.

"See Marianna? He'll go far."

The senator grinned thinly.

Dylan looked for a place to leave the reports. Awkwardly mumbling some excuse - "I really need to be going, I have so much work to do" - he left the reports on the nearest flat surface and took off.

Safely out in the hall, he replayed the scene in his mind. It wasn't fair that all the top jobs used to go to certain elite telepaths, right?  So why did he feel something was still wrong?

Dylan didn't know what the director had been getting at, and he didn't think he wanted to know.


[1] Deadly Relations, p. 37 implies that Vacit is still the director, the year is approximately 2201 since the cadre is thirteen, and then p. 205 has Johnston as the new director. On p. 41 (a week or less before Bester meets the new director) the cadre is as fifteen (as it seems to be summer, Bester is still fourteen chronologically) so the year is probably 2203. Thus Johnston becomes director somewhere between 2201 and 2203.

[2] Deadly Relations, p. 10

[3] Id.