Tom Sloane arrives at Gilmore Hall and asks how to find the room he is assigned to; in doing so, he finds that he will be sharing quarters with David Allen Farrington, an USAES cadet who he knows socially, as their families are both wealthy and influential.
Arriving at 397 Gilmore Hall, Tom recieves a coolly formal greeting from David Allen. During their conversation, David Allen finds that Tom has a mental shield implanted in his mind that keeps telepaths from reading his thoughts; he volunteers to remove it. The next day, Tom awakens to be told by David Allen that the block is actually a 'trip box' - a psionic restraint to dampen his full powers, and which includes a series of mental commands to render Tom under the control of the person who sets the block. It is also insinuated that trying to remove the block could have fatal consequences.
David Allen has circumvented the 'trip box' so that Tom can use the full scope of his powers; also, the block appears untampered with, but will not place Tom under hypnotic control when activated (furthermore, Tom will now know exactly who set the control off when this happens). Finding out that Tom is strongly attracted to Daria, David Allen informs him about his unencumbered powers but warns him that to use them will alert the persons who toyed with his mind; he also informs him that he only did this so that he could protect Daria, as she cannot yet protect herself. (It is strongly insinuated that he means for Tom to protect Daria from the forces of The Elite.)