And that's what makes Gaius dangerous: They're a ragtag Fleet on the run, a gang. One nation, under twelve flags, numbering less than a small town. Their social systems are outdated and scary. Our institutions always form a symbiotic relationship with our religions, and the Lords of Kobol are just as obsolete as the emerging aristocracy, and just as dangerous. In the life of a people, culture shapes religion just as much as religion shapes culture. Gaius's revolution never ended. It just got bigger.
"But they're not meant to be taken literally," Laura answers the letter and not the spirit of Emily's concern. "They're metaphors, Emily." But it is too late in the day for that: "I don't need metaphors. I need answers." A physical, explicit, present experience of the divine, a sense of purpose and love. A flagstone on which to stand.
Laura nods, allowing herself -- if he's Admiral Atheist, she's President Prophecy -- to wonder, for just a moment. Like Caprica, down in the brig, going TILT. "You're like my mother. She wasn't satisfied with metaphors either. She was convinced that Aphrodite herself was gonna swoop her away when she died. And she believed it. Even after the diloxin and the radiation failed to stop her cancer. She was a teacher, she was ... Oh, she was something to behold. ... In the head of a classroom, and ... And her students..."
Laura coughs, chokes back tears, whispers the story. Ever wonder why a woman, a minister of the highest cabinet in the Colonies, a woman so on top of things that she could help run a government while carrying on a passionate affair with the President, could let the cancer get so far before she noticed? Here's how:
"Her students loved her. They... They'd walk through fire for her. And then you see this woman who seemed so eternal, she ... withered away, and I find myself having to change her diaper because she couldn't even... And at the moment she died, there was ... No gleaming fields of Elysium stretched out before her, there was this... Dark, black abyss. And she was just terrified. She was so scared... I'm sorry..."
Emily's sympathy and concern are palpable; she reaches out again. "Laura. Laura, you were terrified. You saw only darkness. You can't possibly know what your mother experienced. You're still searching, you're..." She rears up, coughing out her life. Laura screams for Cottle, her voice breaking and raw, summoning all she has to bring him, faster. He injects Emily with morpha as Laura clings to her, squeezing her hand, whispering softly to her. "Shh, it's okay. It's all right." She holds onto Emily, strong as strong, and they lay her back together.