Early life and career
Whereas most Betazoids gained their telepathic abilities at adolescence when they are able to control them, Tam was born with these telepathic abilities already developed. His medical records and psychiatric profile show high scores on the extrasensory perception scale. Betazoids in this condition do not have the natural ability to ignore background thoughts from others. These abilities caused him stress enough to hospitalize him on several occasions throughout his life. He tended to take assignments which isolated him from other humanoids. However, he found that non-humanoid lifeforms' thoughts relaxed him.
Tam suffered from a history of mental instability and spent some time as a psychology patient at a university on Betazed. He met Deanna Troi there during the 2350s, where he was one of Troi's psychiatric patients.
Elbrun gained infamy following his involvement in the Ghorusda Disaster, in which 47 Starfleet officers from the USS Adelphi were killed. Tam later blamed the incident on his over-involvement with the Ghorusdans and failing to adequately advise Captain Darson of Ghorusdan customs.
Encounter with Gomtuu
He was called for a first contact mission during 2366 when an alien intelligence of an organic starship, codenamed "Tin Man", was discovered in orbit of the dying star Beta Stromgren. Due to the pursuit of the Romulans, who had the same goal, but seeking to claim the alien instead, his expertise was needed to contact it before they did. He accepted the mission because he could feel the loneliness of the creature even from his very far distance.
He boarded the USS Hood in order to quickly transport to the USS Enterprise-D which stood the best chance of getting there first and possibly fending off Romulan ships. There, he connected with Deanna Troi again. In the transporter room, he greeted Deanna warmly; referring to her affectionately as Dee. En route, Elbrun intimated to her that Tin Man had already initiated preliminary contact with him.
Elbrun also developed a friendship with Data, who had no thoughts that Elbrun could read, providing Elbrun with much needed relief. Tam was also fascinated by Data's research into Humanity. By extension, Tam also commented that even though he could not read Data's mind that Data was just different and that was not a bad thing.
Upon the Enterprise-D's arrival at the star, a Romulan Warbird fired on it before heading into the system. Elbrun sent Tin Man, whose real name was Gomtuu, a telepathic warning, to which the being responded by emitting an energy wave that destroyed the Warbird and caused serious damage to the Enterprise-D. With the star's explosion imminent and the second Warbird closing, Captain Jean-Luc Picard asked Elbrun to coax Gomtuu into returning with them to the safety of Federation space. Elbrun explained Gomtuu's desire to commit suicide after the long-ago death of its crew, and asked to be transported aboard to establish personal contact. However, Picard was hesitant, questioning the loyalties that had caused Elbrun to protect Gomtuu at a risk to the Enterprise-D.
When the second Romulan vessel arrived to destroy Tin Man, Picard was forced to send Elbrun and Data to communicate with the being. Once aboard, Elbrun established full mental contact with the ship. Gomtuu returned Data to the Enterprise-D and sent both the Federation and the Romulan vessels hurtling away from the star. Shortly afterward Beta Stromgren went supernova, but Gomtuu was nowhere to be found. Data explained that Elbrun chose to remain with Gomtuu, having found at last the mental peace that he had searched for all his life. (TNG: "Tin Man")