The Doom of the Future.

Talia Winters
Talia Winters

Talia Winters

Surprise. Reflection.
Terror. For the future.

Control

In the season 2 episode “Divided Loyalties”, original Psi Corps telepath assigned to Babylon 5 Lyta Alexander returns to the station with the shocking revelation that Talia Winters is part of a covert program where a second personality, loyal to Psi Corps, was implanted into her subconscious, unknowingly spying the chain of command of Babylon 5.

Our agent found out about a secret Psi Corps program. A sleeper program.
They bring someone in and work them over with drugs and deep scans to create a new personality. A personality suited to their needs. This personality is then submerged so far into the subconscious that it won't show up, even on a deep scan.
But it's always there, watching, listening, spying. Until the day the password is sent telepathically. It can't be just spoken, it has to be sent directly into the brain. At that moment the real personality is destroyed and the implanted one takes control.
Permanently.
So until then, someone could be a spy and not even know it [...].
All we have is a code name: Control.
- Lyta Alexander

The events ultimately lead to the implanted personality taking control of Talia permanently, and the original Talia is destroyed in the process. Soon after, Talia is removed from Babylon 5 and sent back to Earth, where her whereabouts afterwards remain unknown.

What happened to Talia ?
We will take a look at different clues and possible interpretations of what was said throughout the show and other canon media, to understand if and how Talia Winters, Original or Control, may be still alive, and how her arc could have unfold.

Personality

In The Quality of Mercy and Passing Through Gethsemane, we are introduced with the 22nd century replacement to capital punishment : death of personality. A process that may be or may be not linked to the one used on Talia.

It's the decision that you be sentenced to the death of personality. You will be conveyed to a Medlab facility where you will be brainwiped. The personality of Karl Edward Mueller will be totally erased. You will then be programmed with new memories. For the rest of your natural life you will serve the community harmed by your actions. The scan will be this afternoon and sentence will be at midnight tonight
- Juge Ombuds Wellington

- What exactly is this "death of personality"?
- Well, it started up when everybody decided the death penalty was a bad idea. lnstead, you mindwipe the guy. By erasing all his memories, you destroy the personality that committed the murders. You then build a new personality and send him someplace where he won't run into the family of his victims. After that, he spends the rest of his life doing community service helping society. They say it's more humane and keeps the prisons from getting overcrowded.
- Garibaldi discussing death of personality with Delenn

We can see that, as most people know about capital punishment practises and proceeds of their own society in 2258, the sentence is enough common knowledge so that neither the judge convicting Karl Mueller in Quality of Mercy, nor the news anchor in Passing Through Gethsemane, do not feel the need to explain it further to their audience. Also, Garibaldi’s reaction, casually reacting to the announcement of the sentence, and explaining it to Delenn without much difficulty, also confirms the process is largely known to the population. Several other parts of the episode give us more details about the history and nature of the sentence :

Date: April 3, 2251. At 12:05 tonight, the death of personality was carried out against Charles Dexter also known as the Black Rose Killer for the ritualistic mark left beside each of his victims. Nine people were murdered by Dexter before he was found, arrested and convicted. Following the mindwipe, Dexter will be transported out of the Orion system and put to work serving the society harmed by his actions.

Death of personality is on use since at least a decade.

- I'll check the equipment to make sure it's painless.
- If there's pain, I won't mind.
- I'll pretend I didn't hear that. [...] I’ll take care of the machine Mister Garibaldi, I assume you will arrange for someone to throw the switch.
- Steephen to Garibaldi

The mindwiping process is made through the use of a technological mean, and at least one of these machines is available at B5 Medlab.

- M. Mueller, I'm here to perform the scan prior to brainwipe. I can produce the order if you want to see it.
- Take away everything that makes me me so they can put me to work for the rest of my life
- Talia to Mueller

- Finished with Mueller?
- Yes. Enough for a comparison scan after he's blanked. You can proceed when you want.
- Garibaldi to Talia

A scan is performed by a Psi-Corps licenced telepath before and after the mindwipe so that a comparison can be made, and the success of the wipe ascertained.
The new personality and the original one have nothing in common, they are totally distinct.

After studying those facts concerning death of personality, people’s different reactions to both process and hints that come from dialogue, we can conclude that by comparison, the process of implanting a Control personality seems fundamentally different :

They bring someone in and work them over with drugs and deep scans to create a new personality. A personality suited to their needs. This personality is then submerged so far into the subconscious that it won't show up, even on a deep scan.
- Lyta Alexander

Those who have read the Shadows Past & Present comics are given additional informations about the Sleeper program process : while death of personality involves a technology of human origin, as even Stephen Franklin was seeing preparing the machine for the process to take place on Babylon 5, the one depicted in the comic and used in the Control program strongly hints at an organic and alien nature, almost certainly of Shadow origin.

Shadow technology

Why risking involving an unknown alien technology, drugs and telepaths, in a process that can be damaging to them, if the technology to do it properly was already mastered and exists since at least a decade, with the technology used in death of personality ?
Talia’s Control personality implantation took place on the Siria Planum facility in 2253, but death of personality and the involved technology is known and used since at least 2251.
So why having a second process hidden to the public with the same results ?

The answer can be deduced in terms of objectives, control and precision : we can observe the subjects sentenced to death of personality to have a naive, childlike personality after the wipe. They have a motivational imperative to help others, to develop empathy, which is consistent with the fact that sociopaths and psychopaths are shown to share a specific personality trait : lack of empathy.

The brain is nothing more that a biological processing unit, responding to electrical and chemical stimulus, and stimulating a given substance or a given area of the brain dedicated to an emotional response can result in the brain developing a more compassionate and caring personality.
But we are not just the results of synapses patterns and chemicals, we also responds to experiences, past and present, memories, and those experiences influence our personality, our intelligence, and how we perceive the world, hence a set of memories implanted to encourage those traits during the process of death of personality.

But what if you need to create a personality with a much more precise objective, vision, and behaviour on such specific areas such as politics, policies, loyalty to a specific organization ?
Creating a whole new personality with those traits, with whole sets of memories, would be a highly difficult task, maybe impossible at the human technological advancements of 2250s.
But from a logical approach, there is a much simpler alternative to achieve the same goal : use an existing personality and adjust it to your needs.
In essence, the same approach is used on some genetic engineering technologies like GMOs : instead of creating whole new organisms suited to a specific need, we change existing ones.

When you look at those differences in objectives, what can be deduced is why the process described by Lyta differs from death of personality and why those are different process : in the case of the Control program, the original personality is not wiped, but rather duplicated and then altered, through the mentioned scans and drugs, so that in the end, those changes form a whole personality suited to your need.

Talia Winters under Control process

No need to create a whole new personality, you change the existing one, no need to create new memories, the memories are still the same, but only their perception. And how is that ?
If you think about it, your personality and behaviour, in other terms, what defines you, is the result of your personal history, but not from an objective perspective, but a subjective one : the same event lived by two different people will have a different emotional impact, and the memory stored and remembered from the same event would differ, as the impact on their respective personalities.

What does that mean about the Control process ? It means that the drugs and scans may be used to create a new personality by changing the perception of the original memories, instead of implanting new ones. A much easier process, achievable through the use of a telepath, and which can be eased by the use of drugs that put a subject into highly suggestive psychological state.

Talia after Control process

This point is crucial, as it means that the Control personality that takes control of Talia after the event of Divided Loyalties IS Talia, with the same memories, identity and history, but a twisted, warped version of her.

This is implied by the exchange between Talia and Ivanova, and how both always precise which Talia they refer to :

- The program is complete. The Talia you knew no longer exists. There's just me... [...] There I was, trapped inside, able to come out only at night when she was asleep. Her invisible sister.
- You’re right. The Talia I knew is dead.
- Talia to Ivanova

The assumptions made in this section answer two questions about the Control personality, if we admit Talia’s second personality creation process :
- How the brain could store two different personalities
in fact, it does not, as the two personalities are just different version of each other and share the same factual memories, only the differences in intensity of the original personality in emotions and responses are hidden in the subconscious part of the psyche. We sometimes have voices, emotions, thoughts, that comes from our subconscious to influence us, telling how sometime, we may believe, feel, or behave differently than the way we end up doing it. Here, the same phenomenon applies, with the hidden Talia overlapping Talia’s subconsciousness and personality, influencing her behaviour, viewpoint and reactions, until the day they completely replace it. In that sense, only one full and entire personality is stored at anytime in the sleepers.
- How the second persona is hidden and can resist detection even through a deep scan
because while dormant, it is NOT per se a different personality, but only a particular manifestation of someone’s personality in his subconscious. You can sometime have a selfish thought in a middle of a benevolent action, it doesn’t forcely mean you have a second personality, but only a manifestation of your subconscious. The Control personality only really becomes one when it replace the original one, hence making it undetectable even with a deep scan.

Origin

The Shadows Past & Present comic reveal to us that the technology involved is of Shadow origin. But how come a secret division of Psi Corps took possession of it ? Why did the Shadow have this technology in the first place but not use it ? In fact they do, but not intentionally, as it was not the prime objective of the technology involved, but rather a consequence of its use. If you look carefully at the story of Babylon 5, there is one other instance when, by use of a specific Shadow technology, a person, while keeping her memories intact, have her entire personality replaced : Anna Sheridan.

- The memories are there, the voice is there, the DNA is there but the personality... I look in her eyes and the woman I love, the woman that I married isn't there. She would never go along with this. [...] You stuck her in one of those ships, didn't you?
- How did you know?
- A few months ago we intercepted a shipful of people who were going to be merged with the Shadow vessels. They had implants in the brain stem, right back here. Scars in the back of her head are in exactly the same place.
- Our associates needed fresh bodies for the central processing units in their ships. But we pulled her out as soon as we found out who she was and who you are. But once you've been inside of one of those ships for a while you're never quite whole again.
- Justin, John and Anna

- I know this isn't the Anna that you knew. What I am is what was made in her. A new personality. She can never come back but I can love you as well as she did.
- Anna to John

Again, please notice how it is clearly implied that this is Anna, her body, her memories, but only not John’s Anna anymore. Justin clearly states that it is exposure to the Shadow’s ship that caused this and changed Anna.
A Shadow’s vessel, over time, seems to cause irreparable changes into the brain and mind of its pilot. Looking back at season 3, “Ship of Tears”, that fact is confirmed, as Caroline, Bester’s lover, having been implanted but not yet connected to a shadow vessel, seems to retain her original personality, calling Bester for help, while Anna, do not seem to have anything to do with the Anna John knew.

It would indicate that the process used by Control involving the shadow biomachine saw in the Shadows Past & Present comics is nothing more that a Shadow vessel pilot unit, only retroengeneered by Bureau 13 for their need after realizing the potentiel of the technology.
How come Bureau 13 came in possession of this piece of technology and know its link to telepaths ?
The answer lies in the comics, but also the Psi Corps Novels and the show :
- several other similar artefacts have been discovered decades ago on Mars on the same sector, before the very birth of Psi Corps, and were shown to respond to telepaths interaction, something that was recorded on the files related to the different missions that took place to retrieve and study those items (Dark Genesis, Birth of Psi Corps).
- the piloting unit was likely salvaged from the shadow vessel discovered on Mars, Siria Planum just a little before and very close to the location of the Psi Corps base (Message from Earth).

Fears & Reflections

As we previously said, a same event, lived by two different people, won’t have the same impact, and therefore, the memories resulting from that event won’t have the same emotional impact nor consequences to the overall personality. What defines us ? You could be encline to say “my consciousness”. But what defines your consciousness can be list to at least 2 components :
- Your memories, defining your past life and how you came to be “you” at a given moment in time (context)
- Your personality, that is a result of your life, and by extension your memories, and how you reacted to throughout your life to these events (content)
We will not debate on the context on this article about the innate and acquired parts that could define and shape the boundaries of those two parts, but for the scope of our reasoning, only define them for now.

Since your personality in a given time is also the result on how you decided to react, feel, and appreciate your life up until that given point in life, how you remember it is as important if not more in your personal mental construction than what really happened from an objective viewpoint.

So what if someone or something, influences or changes your perception of those events, for a more joyful or on the contrary, more grim vision ? We all experience what we call “bad moments”, moments in our lives where we do not react the same way we would have normally do to the exact same event, because we “are” different in this particular moment. But remembering who we are, and how we know or remember we would react in another day help us define what is a “regular” and “unusual” behaviour for us. Your memories are your point of reference database.
Theoretically, without changing the fact of events in themselves from your memory, changing your emotional, psychological appreciation and perception of them, over an extended period of time, can therefore dramatically change your overall resulted personality.

Let’s recall different moments of Talia’s relationship with B5 command staff :

- Sinclair: Problem with the transfer tube?
- Talia: No, not really. It seems like every time I get into the tube, Mr. Garibaldi is there... it's like he knows.
- Sinclair: Talia, Mr. Garibaldi is many things, but he's not omniscient.
[Garibaldi gets out of the transfer tube]
- Talia: I think I'll take the stairs.
- Sinclair: I think I'll join you.
- Talia to Sinclair & Garibaldi

- And yet you're as much of a victim as my mother.
- I don't feel like a victim.
- No. And so far I cannot tell if that is good or bad.
- Perhaps tomorrow we can start out on better terms.
- I very much doubt it. Good night.
- Talia to Ivanova

Those two moments, respectively, are viewed and perceived as amusing and touching retrospectively by the Talia “we” know. But let's imagine for a second that it is happening to her on a context, stress and environment where she feels threatened, judged, or pushed.
The first memory could feel infuriating : “Garibaldi is just a not-so-subtle goon security officer harassing me”.
The second humiliating and hurting : “The second in command in the station judges me only because I am a telepath, and even though I made the first step twice toward her”.
As you change how you felt, react, and recall the event, your present emotional states change, and over time, your whole personality construct does so with. This vision may seem wrong, but it does correspond to how Control Talia describe B5 chain of command once activated :


- [...] You don't know what it's like living only in the shadows of her mind, watching, laughing at all of you out here: foolish, petty, stupid. There I was, trapped inside, able to come out only at night when she was asleep.
- Talia to Ivanova



Talia's second persona has been foreshadowed by two aspects mentioned from the beginning :
- Fear
- Reflection (notice the duality of the word in English, carrying at same time the meaning of “careful thought” and “seeing oneself”, like in a mirror

In the past five years, I've scanned minds that were so different that at times I was afraid I wouldn't find my way back out. At least those minds held more humanity than what I saw a few hours ago. The things that live inside us, Mr. Garibaldi terrible things. Terrible.
- Talia to Garibaldi

- What kind of images?
- Well, at first, just quick flashes, but then Years ago I was assigned to scan a suspect in a murder case on Mars. He was a serial killer. I had never been inside a mind like that. His thoughts were brutal, violent, terrible. It was the most frightening experience. I still have nightmares about it. Today I felt those thoughts again.
It was no nightmare.
It was provoked.
- Talia to Garibaldi

"Reflection. Surprise. Terror. For the future."
- Kosh to Talia

- He's a Vicker. It's a slang term from Earth tech, a VCR. They're cyberorganic, part machine, part sentient. Aliens use them. They can record anything: Sights, sounds, biorhythms, thoughts. I'd say you were set up.
- But why?
- The Vorlons are leery of telepaths. He can use what you fear against you.
- Garibaldi and Sinclair to Talia

Talia - Control vision

- Can you tell me what these negotiations are about?
- I could. But it's not good to reflect too much.
- Kosh to Talia

While it is is easy to understand how the reflection pattern foreshadows Talia’s Control Persona, it is interesting to note that it may also be a clue that the persona is another Talia, rather than a totally different personality. The Fear pattern is very interesting if we analyze it the light of the deductions we have made so far : how would you adjust someone’s personality to be only loyal to a single entity, and hate anybody else ? By playing on the intensity of their fear, modulating it, infusing fear of mundanes, fear of monsters, fear of destruction, fear of harm, so they consider their only valuable safe haven to be the one you designate. In that sense, this echo of constant fear in Talia’s exchanges may be seen as the clue to the one emotion that was used to fuel and give birth to her second persona.

Deceptions

[...] we learned some interesting things about Ms. Winters in the course of her debriefing and dissec-- that is, examination.
- Bester

That exchange is object of much debate, as it seems to reveal that Talia was killed and dissected after being sent back to Earth. But as soon as Bester pronounces those words, Ivanova, one of the closest people to her in B5 Command staff, and latent telepath, quickly adds :

Don't. He's trying to provoke you. Strong emotion is harder to block, and he can ride that into the rest of your mind.
- Ivanova

It is important to point out that previously during the episode, Sheridan asked Ivanova to try and keep an eye on Bester, to detect any deception from him. She may have caught the vague feeling that it was, indeed, a tactical lie from Bester from her telepath abilities.

So, is it the truth ?
Aside from the provocative tactic mentioned by Ivanova, one element also may tend to show that maybe Bester does indeed believe that Talia is dead, though it would not mean it to be true : Talia and the Control Program are part of the Bureau 13 Operation, a secretive organization operating outside of Psi Corps itself, apparently without Bester even knowing their existence prior to Talia’s reveal as Control (no clues are given during the 5 seasons of Babylon 5 that Bester was aware of Bureau 13 nor, if he knew, the extent of his knowledge).
Members of Bureau 13, for a full liberty of operating off the book, have telepaths who are part of it officially declared dead. In that perspective, Bester, as with the rest of the Psi Corps and Earth Alliance, would have been informed of Talia’s death if she joined back Psi Corps through Bureau 13, even though the information is untrue. 3 other scenes are very interesting to understand the scope of his declaration regarding Talia's dissection and what it might or might not mean. From Mind War :

If the Psi Cops take him back, they'll dissect him. Take him apart to find what combination of drugs released this power.
- Talia, about Ironheart

This sentence sounds odd, since the words “take him apart” doesn’t seem to fit a proper description for a dissection. A proper wording would be “tear him apart”. It may be a first clue, that the process Talia is referring in "dissect" is not a “proper” dissection in the common “mundane” meaning, but one with a specific, although related, meaning to telepaths. “Take him apart” induce a notion of “disassembling” like pieces of a mechanism, something that also can be done… telepathically. Proof of this can be found in the first Psi Corps novel, where such a process is described during a scene depicting the struggle between a telepath against a group blocking him:

Nor did he want them there. The force was clearer to him now. This wasn’t one very strong mind, but many weaker ones bound together. And yet not entirely together; their gestalt was like an octopus, separate tendrils supporting one another, working in unison to pry him and the others apart. Their monstrous forms were, of course, illusion. He took his own mind from its box, a keen, razor-edged saber, a sleek and deadly thing. He cut in small slices at first, but with precision, one tentacle at a time. Panic. They hadn’t considered him a threat—hadn’t been able to see, even, that he was a teep. It was his mother’s parting gift, this invisibility. Whick, whick—snicker-snack. They fell away, but his mind was starting to ache, like a muscle clenched too tightly for too long. One of the Psi Cops shook loose, saw what was happening, and his pistol barked. The priest went down. Again, and what remained of the octopus flew apart, worms wriggling away, trying to burrow into the earth.

Also, from the episode “Corps is Mother, Corps is Father”, we see two psi cops in training visualize a mental attack from one telepath on another, where they see “mindprints” attacking and defending, while one trying to harm the other through a force scan, with what we see as tendrils trying to slice pieces of the probed mind.

Psi Corps mind fight between telepaths

We can see that the telepaths touch, sense and harm each other telepathically through a way that can be “seen” or “feel” as if two organisms would interact physically. It would be consistent that, describing those process and interactions, telepath would use terms that would have a given meaning in a physical description, but another interpretations on their telepathic meaning, as they are the closest terms to describe it : “touch”, “see”, “hit”, “slice” and… “dissect”.
In the end, those clues may hint that Talia was not killed and dissected in the physical sense, but rather in a psychic meaning, to reveal every secrets she has learnt during her time spent spying on B5.

Psi Corps

Let’s look now at the first part of Bester's statement regarding Talia and the Control program :

That operation was initiated by my predecessors in the Corps. When we found out about the program, we discontinued it.
- Bester, about Control

Let’s assume that what Bester is telling in the very first part is true : after all, Bureau 13 operates outside of the official Psi Corps, and all of its members, including Psi Cops, are officially deceased.
What is more curious is the fact that once discovered, Bester claims that the program was discontinued. Why would Psi Corps end a program they could obviously benefit from ?
After all, of all the sleeper agents, only the one assigned on Babylon 5 has been discovered, meaning that a certain number of other sleeper agents may still be useful to Psi Corps as source of intel.

Let’s go back again to when Lyta explained to B5 Command staff the sleeper program, one thing is very interesting :

Our agent found out about a secret Psi Corps program. A sleeper program. They bring someone in and work them over with drugs and deep scans to create a new personality. A personality suited to their needs. This personality is then submerged so far into the subconscious that it won't show up, even on a deep scan.
- Lyta

Two things should be noted :
- “They”, used to designate the people behind the sleeper program, are not clearly defined. They are clearly affiliate to Psi Corps, but in what capacity ?
- “won't show up, even on a deep scan”. That comment is very interesting. Why create telepaths like Talia, having a submerged second altered consciousness, only to be activated with a telepathic password, but at the same time invisible to even the most powerful telepaths of Psi Corps ?

This could mean that the program, initiated by a covert Branch of Psi Corps, unknown to mundanes, was also hidden to the majority of telepaths of Psi Corps.
So the answer is in the fact that Psi Corps is not aware of the activity of Bureau 13, but still doesn’t explain why, having discover this program, Bester and his own ‘faction’ chose to discontinued it.

An answer to that can be found in a Season 5 episode “The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father”. In the episode, Bester and two Psi Cops trainee encounter a very dangerous telepath suffering of personality differentiation, and we discover how this can affect Psi Ability. It is interesting to note that in the following exchange, Bester may be well referring to Talia :

The same person with multiple personalities. That's why we misidentified his rating. One personality was a P-10 the other was a P-12. It's rare, but it has happened before.
- Bester, about Control

Bester answers two questions at the same time :
- Does Talia, after the personality change, still have to power of telekinesis and enhanced psi abilities given by Ironheart, especially if, as we established, she is “still” a version of the original Talia with a changed personality ? Probably not. The change in persona, even though the memories are the same, may have well destroyed the enhanced abilities.
- Why the sleeper program might have been discontinued : used on telepaths, it could be permanently damaging, even destroying, psi abilities. In the case of the episode, the second personality has a higher psi rate the original, but in the case of Talia, it would mean that her new personality may have destroyed instantly her P-13+ and Telekinesis abilities and revert her back to P-5. For Bester, pursuing with his allies the goal to enhance telepathic abilities, the sleeper program can cause great damage, as it may have make them lost the possibility of studying the results of Ironheart's intervention on Talia.

All those events tend to prove that there are at least 2 factions in Psi Corps :
- a faction ready to use telepaths and experiment on them to access technologies and positions of power
- a second faction, inclined to a society lead by telepaths, not inclined to harm telepaths, considering them unique and superior to mundanes, explaining why Bester was unaware of the use of telepaths in the Shadow War, despite the cryogenic units clearly labelled as being sent from Psi Corps (Ship of tears).

Restoration

We need to speak. The Psi Corps is dedicated to one thing, Commander: control. Control over telepaths, the economy, the courts, over matter, over thought itself.
- Ironheart

Looking at the scene, one detail strikes the viewer. At the exact moment Ironheart pronounce the word "control", he repeats it twice, looking directly at Talia, before looking back to Sinclair just after, as if he was trying to show something to Sinclair without saying it clearly. It could be a clue to the fact that Ironheart, being able to see through time and space, did detect Talia's alternative personality, and tried to warn Sinclair about it. If it was the case, although he knew of Talia's Control, he did give her the gift of telekinesis, meaning that it could either help her escape her fate, or that the Control personality was of no consequence to her future.

- Can you tell me what these negotiations are about?
- I could. But it's not good to reflect too much.
- I know that, but you don't really need a telepath.
- What is need compared to the path?
- Talia and Kosh

What is incredibly rich in this exchange is in the enigmatic way Kosh chose to answer Talia. Notice how Talia's question and Kosh's answer mirror each other. In his way, Kosh is answering exactly to Talia’s question, but you have to dig into ethymologies of both the words "path" and "telepath".

Though similar, the two words have in reality completely different ethymologies :
Telepath comes from the Greek tele (distance) et πάθεια, patheia (sentiment : πάθoς, what we feel)
Path comes from Old English paþ, pæþ "path, track," from West Germanic *patha- (source also of Old Frisian path, Middle Dutch pat, Dutch pad, Old High German pfad, German Pfad "path"), of uncertain origin.
In reality, Kosh is misleading Talia by using a similar word in sound, but totally different in nature, mirroring her own word ‘telepath’, but in the end having his mirroring word having a misleading nature, because even though the 2 words look alike, they are from different nature and origin : "telepath" and "tell a path".
This is a first clue that Kosh is trying to subtly explain to Talia that he does indeed need a telepath, and more specifically, her, but he can not "tell her the path" he needs her for.

He emphasis more clearly his hidden intentions when Talia asks him for clarification again later in the episode, in another form :

- And these phrases you keep speaking in don't make any sense.
- You seek meaning?
- Yes.
- Then listen to the music, not the song.
- Talia and Kosh

If those assumptions are true, why do Kosh and Ironheart both hide to Talia what they have discovered ? Here again, the answer lies in the nature of the Control program.

The implanted personality is conditioned for self- preservation. It will react to anything it perceives as a threat.
- Lyta, about Control

And what was on that data crystal he gave you?
- Talia

Kosh data crystal

Those exchanges explain why Ironheart and Kosh, both showing very strong hints about knowing of Talia’s altered personality, did not warn her openly : for fear that it might trigger a response from Control. Ironheart, being able to see through time as well as space, might have seen that his gift would not be possible to used by the altered Talia for the reasons mentioned, and that somehow, Talia would survive her apparent personality death.

Kosh's data crystal may hold the key to Talia's survival. To understand how, let's take a analogical approach with a data file :
- Take a data file containing a text 100 pages long, edit a word.
- Edit another word.
- And another word.
After that, you realize that the changes you made were not good, and you revert back to the initial state of your file, to the original text.
Did you, or the software you used, save to a different file every time you made a change to the initial text ?
No, that would be a huge waste of time, disk space, and also a very complex system to organize on the long term : 3 files and 3 times a 100 pages-long text for only 3 different words.
Instead, the software usually stores only the changes and the initial values of the words you edit, so that those changes could be removed at any time in order to restore the 3 words to their initial state, allowing you to retrieve the 100 pages-long text as it was at the beginning of your editing, by only saving the 3 words you have edited.

Given the previous assumptions about Talia's Control personality nature, Kosh may have well done the same thing : by scanning and analyzing with a Vicker her mind, looking at the psychic “scar tissue” left by the process, he may have stored on the crystal all the initial settings that constitutes Talia’s original personality, so that even though the altered personality took her place, the crystal would reverse the process and restore her personality, so that “our” Talia could come back. Since the memories and overall psyche are the same, they don't need to be saved, only the point of modifications.

Telepath War

I had heard you arrived. I was just coming to see you...
- Where?
- I'm sorry... I wasn't here. I was doing what he told me to do.
He wasn't with me when I left. Not even a piece of him.
- Lyta to Ulkesh

After Talia’s demise and Kosh’s death, the only person that may be in the know of those facts would be Lyta, her being Kosh’s aide, and trusted in some secrets about the Vorlon’s agenda.
Vorlons are beings living and experiencing time in a non linear way, sensing and thinking of notions like past and future in a totally different way than us. As Kosh knew the consequences of his actions for helping Sheridan would be his own death, he may have deliberately choose to send Lyta away for safety, and with her, the crystal and the secret it holds.
This is reinforced by the stated fact that the Vorlons do not engage in trade or commerce with other races, making the missions Kosh sent Lyta to all the more mysterious.
Just as Kosh tried to touch and help Sheridan et G’Kar, did Kosh also try through those errands to teach Lyta to learn and discover her powers, and in the meantime, to take action to the coming Telepath War by ensuring Talia’s restoration ?
This is interesting as, by being part of the Control Experiment, and changed by a shadow pilot unit, a restored Talia could have a unique personality construct that would allow her an ability that even Lyta doesn’t have, an ability that could shift the balance of power one way or another during the Telepath Crisis and the Drakh War : she may well be the only telepath in existence that is capable to interface and control shadowtech and shadow vessels, without the use of any brain implants.

Destiny

Bester and his buddies had reamed her out, built a fake personality, hidden the real, nasty her way down deep. Or maybe it was the other way around.
Maybe the woman I liked was the real person, and the buried creation ate her alive. Whatever the case, Talia, as I knew her, died because of Bester [...].

For Talia, dead even though her heart was probably still beating, somewhere.
- Garibaldi

Even Garibaldi, with Edgar Industries position and leverage, could never find a conclusive answer to what happened to Talia.
And maybe nobody never will.
Which was Talia's destiny and ultimate fate ? As Garibaldi stated, Talia may have been forever altered by the change of personality.
She may also have been restored to her original personality to take arms, destroy Psi Corps and free telepaths alongside Lyta, making them the two most powerful telepaths in existence.
Or somehow, maybe after being restored, having the memories and thoughts of two personalities, a new Talia was born, by the merger of the two personalities.
Until one day, that story is told, we can only hope, like Garibaldi, that somewhere, somehow, Talia lives...

Did Garibaldi ever get a chance to speak with Kosh about the Talia/Abbut data crystal as hinted at in "Divided Loyalties"?

Yes.
- JMS