Tam Elbrun was a Betazoid Federation first contact specialist and delegate, whose unusual telepathic abilities led him to be assigned to many first contact situations involving unusual species. 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 without the natural Betazoid ability to ignore background thoughts from others. Tam suffered from a history of mental instability and spent some time as a psychology patient at a university on Betazed attended by Deanna Troi during the 2350s. Tam was one of Troi's patients at that time.
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.
In 2366, Tam Elbrun was stationed on Chandra V, until he was transferred to the USS Enterprise-D from the USS Hood, to establish mental contact with the alien intelligence of an organic starship codenamed "Tin Man", discovered in orbit of the dying star Beta Stromgren. Tam encountered Deanna Troi again on this mission. In the transporter room, he greeted Deanna warmly; referring to her affectionately as Dee. The objective was to establish contact before the Romulans, who had dispatched two warbirds to claim the alien. En route, Elbrun intimated to his old friend, Deanna Troi, 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 sent 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")