The 2nd Massachusetts has arrived in Charleston, land of milk and honey (and all being gathered in one place for a nice big attack – yes I still question the wisdom of this) and Colonel Porter congratulates them on how long they’ve lasted out there, his own unit having been largely wiped out.
The New Charleston is an underground mall, a construction that survived the destruction of the city. They walk down into a food court where people are eating (meals that are far better than what the 2nd Massachusetts has been eating) and they all stand to give them a standing ovation for what they did out in the field. Captain Weaver gets to reunite with his daughter. And Pope is already plotting with the berserkers to leave.
Matt is happy to be where there are other kids and even a school (and if you think a kid missing school is unbelievable, try to grasp that Ann and Tom, after weeks of rations and privations, are tucking into a salad. Yes, salad. Who, after weeks of unappetising rations, craves lettuce?) and Tom gets to reunite with an old professor – Arthur Manchester. He’s the majority leader of the new congress and presumptive president
Weaver goes to see Charleston’s General. With the intelligence Weaver has from the field, he offers to use his people to scout. But the General doesn’t want to know and doesn’t need scouts - he dismisses Colonel Porter when he protests.
It turns out that Manchester, as the civilian leader, refuses to provoke the aliens. It’s believe that the aliens have no reason to hit Charleston again since they think it’s pacified, and it’s best to hide and “rebuild” rather than pick fights. It’s apparent that the General isn’t Manchester’s best friend.
But there’s a ruckus since the Charleston folks want to disarm the 2nd Massachusetts and spread them out around the place. Tom and Ann aren’t happy but Colonel Porter talks Weaver around, having them disarm and spread to where they’re assigned.
The next day it’s all domestic with Ann and Tom going to their various assignments – with Tom reporting to Manchester who has statesmen dreams of putting together a new government for a post-invasion world (ink on paper after the aliens aren’t about, methinks). But there’s a confidence vote for his government coming up and he wants Tom to speak for him (how can he speak for him? He has no idea what the government is doing!) Tom takes the chance to tell him about Red Eye and the rebel Skitters – which Manchester greets by saying they can stand back and let them kill each other. He’s adamantly against any kind of alliance, or poking his head out of the hole, and won’t do anything to threaten the city – which he links to the vote.