"The world's upside down. And someone has to turn it right side up again. Felix Gaeta said that to me. He believes he's that someone. I believe he's that someone. But he has very big shoes to fill..." Jacob Cantrell is unmoved and unamused; he has every reason to hate Tom Zarek and the devilments he causes; he's the swing vote, the key. Tom knows that too: whither goes Sagittaron, in this new upside down economy, so goes the Quorum, because they've all just joined Sagittaron in the place he's been all along: where nobody has anything to lose, because it's all been taken away. Zarek spent 25 years in jail for a reason, he thinks. "I brought you here because I wanted him to meet people who refuse to give up, people who have the courage to voice their dissent, but at the end of the day, still stand by your President." (Reminiscent more than anything of Laura's patronizing speech to Chief after the first time Hitei Kan wigged out: "Sure, your voice matters. Just keeeep talking. I looooove dissent.")
They talk, he hopes; Cantrell stands and asks him to leave. When? "Now. Mr. Vice President." The Quorum gives a chorus of Hear Hears and So Say We Alls. I wonder how much they even know, at this point. Last week he had them so cooped up they didn't even know he'd been busted out of the brig. But I'm happy for them, the way they finally blink at Zarek's presumptions; I'm proud that Cantrell, in Lee's absence, tries to carry on the science of governance even as the world goes mad. I don't think it's a bad thing exactly, how this goes down, because Zarek would have found a reason to kill them eventually, so this is more of a last hurrah. I can't think of a better farewell for old Cantrell, anyway, than getting shot in the head for calling bullshit on Tom Zarek. That makes me want to hug the world.
And I'm glad it's done, because this is not a workable system of democracy, because the Fleet is not a republic. One thing Dee and Tom were always right about is that this is not a system that needs to be fixed, because it no longer suits: it's a Senate without a House, pretending to equal representation of a demographic wasteland warped by death and prejudice. There are only 35 ships in the Fleet at this point, and less than 40,000 humans. That's a town hall meeting twice a month, not the fucking UN. I've always thought the twelve flags of the Colonies were one of the saddest things about the Fleet, because it says so much about how lonely the science of governance actually is.