Chief asks Fenner where the seals are, and Fenner's face falls, like Cally's the day she realized Boomer couldn't do anything for her: "Oh, you son of a bitch." Locked up tight. Chief begs for Fenner's help, Fenner begs for the Chief's help. They're both right. They're both wrong. Chief ignores Fenner and starts to scream at Cabott begging him to listen, begging him to tell him where the seals are. That's all it would take, and none of them can break the deadlock. "It doesn't matter, say it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter..." Fenner screams, Chief screams, Cabott bleeds. Fenner calls Chief "Galen," begging over Chief's shouts, over Cabott's. Fenner begs Chief to just look at him: at the extremity he was edging toward, before the Occupation, before the Second Exodus, before detention, and where he is now. Where Gaius says they all are. "It doesn't matter! It doesn't matter!" Cabott screams; Fenner finally -- compassion, finally -- gives in. "They're in the central stern air vent," he shouts, and Chief finally asks a Marine to confirm their release with Madame President. Fenner paces. Cabott screams; his hands bleed.
Chief's hands are dirty again, replacing the seals in the refinery. Milo begs to throw the switch, and when Chief asks how old he is, he doesn't even blink: he's twelve. "I can run every machine we've got, the only thing I haven't done is turn the whole thing on." Chief gives him the con and Milo pushes the lever, the alarms go nuts, everybody stares, the tylium keeps rolling. Chief looks at them, and thinks about how young they are; how young Milo is.
"There are kids down there, Madame President." Roslin's willful: "There's children on every ship in the Fleet," she says, ignoring the spirit for the letter. He presses. "The children work in the refinery. They're 12, 15 years old..." She fights him again: "There have been families aboard the refinery ever since its beginning, and others were picked up after the Cylons attacked the Colonies." Ever since, the parents have been passing their knowledge on to their children, to keep the Fleet moving, to get everybody onboard working. "Perfectly normal," she says, and in that context it is. "It is not ideal. I know that," she spits. "But there is nothing ideal about this Fleet." He points out how the jobs are being inherited, which is a valid science fiction trope. But. But, add that to the emerging aristocracy issue Cally sees happening for some reason named Baltar, and the more legitimate question which is suddenly central to the episode: what if there's no Earth? What if we're not storing up riches in Heaven? What if there's no Gods, and Earth is a lie after all? What then? This is why Communists are atheists: what if this is all there is? What if we keep running, forever? The lines we draw in the salt now, the systems we put in place now, aren't just preserving the Colonies as they are, they're creating the Colonies as they will be. The responsibility isn't just to preserving democracy and the spirit of the Colonies while in a time of war, but making allowances for what happens if this never ends. If all we have left are rough spots, what then?