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Tom Zarek was a Sagittaron political activist and terrorist who escaped the Fall of the Twelve Colonies on board the Astral Queen. Freed on the orders of President Laura Roslin, he achieved political success, at one point becoming Vice-President and then President of the United Colonies of Kobol, but was ultimately executed after supporting and co-leading a mutiny onboard Galactica.


Zarek's exact political activities in the United Colonies of Kobol are unknown, though he made a name for himself in triggering unrest against governments he considered to be corrupt, illegitimate or acting against the people. He was ultimately incarcerated after starting a terrorist campaign that resulted in the bombing of a government building. During his time in prison, he wrote a book to negate the negative publicity for his actions, and was successful in being seen by many people in the colonies as a victim of political corruption in spite of the bombing. His books had to be smuggled out of a labour camp due to harsh regulations, and was immediately banned by many institutions including military academies, but was otherwise provocative enough for people to dare obtaining a copy.[1]


Around the year 2000, Zarek was placed on board the Astral Queen prison transport bound for Caprica for a parole hearing alongside some 1500 other prisoners. During transport, the Cylons attacked the colonies, and all non-military ships were ordered to remain stationary in their space-lanes away from the fighting over the colonies themselves. Astral Queen was rescued by military forces loyal to the newly inaugurated President Laura Roslin. Zarek was spared emergency execution on the orders of President Roslin, when Captain Wilkens asked he be allowed to airlock the inmates for the good of the refugee fleet.[2]

In the days that followed, Zarek began to radicalise his fellow inmates and some guards. Disgusted at the present political situation, with an unelected President using up the term of another, and no Quorum to speak of, Zarek made plans to initiate a full-scale prison riot and hijack the ship. Knowing full well Galactica's marines would board the ship and kill him, he wanted to die with the appearance of being a martyr for democracy. Several days after the attack, representatives from Galactica boarded the ship and requested labourers, who would receive "freedom points" towards parole rather than the parole hearings they were promised. Zarek was able to initiate a riot at this point, and the rioters took everyone else prisoner, including Galactica's CAG, Captain Leland Adama. The riot ultimately failed when Captain Adama was able to put a gun to Zarek's head, but promised he would push for a restoration of democracy along with his freedom.[1]

Quorum career[]

In the weeks following the riot, Zarek was effectively in control of the Astral Queen, and began a push to restore his popularity. Through the use of his fellow ex-convicts, Zarek became the face of a well organised independent maintenance team who could answer calls and perform much needed repairs of civilian ships before Colonial One and Galactica could even respond by phone. When the time came for appointing a representative for the Quorum of Twelve, Zarek had gained sufficient support from the Sagittarons to become their representative. His status as a Quorum delegate posed a security issue for the government, who continued to suspect he would return to his terrorist activities, and while they had no proof of involvement, Galactica personnel halted a suspected assassination plot. Zarek himself used his powers to call for the election of a Vice-President to complete the democratic transition, though the government suspected the apparent assassination plot was to make him the new President if sworn in. Ultimately, Dr. Gaius Baltar, the Caprican delegate, was made Vice-President instead.

In the weeks following the transition, the fleet fell towards martial law upon the arrest of President Roslin for interfering with military matters; the office of Vice-President and the Quorum were similarly shut down. He was contacted by Captain Adama for help in smuggling the President into the fleet without being tracked, being suspected for some time for having special connections. Seeking political favours, Zarek agreed to protect the President.[3][4] When the fleet was split in two, Zarek stuck to President Roslin's side as they jumped to Kobol, and went with her to the surface to protect her for political gain,[4] and on the surface plotted the assassination of Captain Adama to ensure he would have more sway over her, hoping to blame it on a captive Number Eight.[5] This plot became more complex when the rebellion ended upon the arrival of Commander Adama and his men on Kobol to recover the President and restore democracy, and Meier was killed by the Number Eight when the plot was underway.[6] Zarek himself avoided jail time for his role in the plot.

Soon after reuniting with the fleet, Lee turns to Zarek for information on his "shady friends," who control a black market for essential goods. Zarek names a gangster named Phelan, who is later killed by Lee. Although he denies any involvement in the black market saying that he broke off contact with Phelan when he discovered Phelan's child prostitution ring, Zarek is nevertheless shown associating with one of the late Phelan's former henchmen.[7]

Subsequently, Zarek goes on to become Gaius Baltar's campaign manager in his bid against Laura Roslin. He engineers a winning platform that called for the fleet to settle on an isolated, newly discovered planet later dubbed "New Caprica." When Baltar is elected President of the Twelve Colonies, Zarek became his vice president.

First Vice Presidency and Presidency[]

Possing starting from the settling on New Caprica, Zarek fell to the political power of the office and became corrupt, using his office for criminal means.[8] A year following the settlement, the Cylons discovered the colony and put it under occupation, with Galactica and Pegasus forced to flee. Zarek was placed in confinement when he refused to collaborate with the Cylons after they forced the surrender of the Baltar administration. He, along with Laura Roslin and Cally Tyrol, was one of 200 citizens sentenced to death by the Cylon-controlled Colonial Government. Believing themselves to be doomed, Zarek elicited a confession from Roslin about the election fraud that almost denied Baltar the presidency. Upon hearing the truth from Roslin, Zarek admitted that in light of the Cylon occupation, settling on New Caprica was a bad idea. The group is saved at the last minute by the human resistance movement.

After Galactica's return to help the remnants of humanity escape, Baltar is left with the Cylons. Zarek becomes president of the Colonies, but decides to step down, believing that without the military's support he wouldn't be able to control the fleet. Before his resignation, he appoints Laura Roslin as his Vice President. Although saying he would like any position in Roslin's new administration, Zarek is clearly surprised when Roslin asks him to be her new Vice President.

Second Vice Presidency[]

Before Roslin resumed her presidency, Zarek in conjunction with Saul Tigh secretly authorized "The Circle" to carry out death squad executions of those who collaborated with the Cylons on New Caprica. Roslin is horrified when she learns of this, but Zarek says that the fleet needs quick justice to prevent chaos and that Roslin's new mandate needs to start with clean hands. The executions are stopped when Roslin declared a general amnesty in her inaugural address. After Baltar is returned by the Cylons to the Colonials during the Eye of Jupiter incident, Zarek repeatedly counsels Roslin against giving him a public trial, again citing the potential for chaos in the fleet that could ensue. He strongly advises Roslin to declare martial law as a precaution during the trial. When Zarek leaves, Roslin and Tory note that Zarek seemed extremely worried about possible unrest, as Zarek's political philosophy has always been fundamentally opposed to martial law.

When Roslin is kidnapped by renegade Cylons in the episode "Sine Qua Non", Zarek, under the Colonial Constitution, declared himself "Acting President" pending Roslin's return. Although the Quorum of 12 fully supported Zarek's actions, Lee Adama later advises him to step down due to the fact that the military will not back Zarek's administration. Zarek reluctantly agrees to exercise a provision that allows for an "Interim President" to be appointed in a time of crisis. This results in Lee Adama becoming interim president until Roslin is returned to the fleet.

After the fleet finds Earth to be a desolate, irradiated wasteland, Roslin retreats from the public eye, leaving Zarek as the government's de facto leader. In "A Disquiet Follows My Soul," tensions quickly arise between him and Admiral Adama over the latter's plan to install advanced Cylon jump drives on all civilian ships. While the admiral believes the use of Cylon technology will expedite the discovery of a new homeworld, Zarek sees it as an illegal military usurpation of civilian authority, and yet another step towards an unwise permanent alliance with the rebel Cylons. At Zarek's behest, the Quorum soon passes legislation forbidding Cylon engineers from boarding any ship whose captain refuses them, and Zarek privately exhorts the fleet to resist Adama's attempts to force compliance. The fleet's tylium ship, the "Hitei Kan," jumps away shortly after communicating with Zarek; Admiral Adama then has the Vice President arrested. In Galactica's brig, Adama confronts him with a stack of documents purportedly proving that Zarek is corrupt. Although it transpires that the documents are merely ship laundry slips, Zarek relents, giving Adama the coordinates to which the "Hitei Kan" jumped.

Mutiny and death[]

Not long afterward, Felix Gaeta visits Zarek in the brig, proposing a mutiny and coup d'état. Zarek agrees. In "The Oath", Gaeta sets his plan in motion, removing Zarek from the brig and escorting him to the hangar deck. Claiming to have spotted a dangerous fuel leak, co-conspirator Racetrack clears the deck of all personnel save for Crew Chief Laird and Jeanne, one of Baltar's acolytes. A suspicious Laird is about to contact the LSO when Zarek strikes him in the back of the head with a wrench, killing him. Racetrack then flies Zarek back to Colonial One, where he claims to Lee Adama that the Admiral had changed his mind about the imprisonment. Zarek remains in communication with Gaeta throughout the mutiny aboard Galactica, expressing annoyance when he hears that Admiral Adama had not been killed but congratulating Gaeta on his good work.

Shortly after Gaeta seizes control of Galactica, Zarek meets with the Quorum. When it becomes clear that the Quorum will not follow Zarek as the new President, Zarek orders the entire Quorum to be executed. With the Cylon Basestar now under the control of President Roslin and transmitting anti-mutiny messages, Zarek lost the confidence of much of the fleet, and he and Gaeta decided to instead split the fleet in two and leave with only the ships still on their side. When the FTL drives were shut down, the mutiny reached a further crisis point, and Zarek began openly berating Gaeta for his slow responses and demanded he have Vipers launched to engage with the Basestar. Gaeta instead ordered a cease fire, cutting Zarek off from military support. Immediately after, CIC was stormed by Marines loyal to Admiral Adama, and the mutineers were detained. Zarek was found guilty of treason and was executed by firing squad next to Gaeta.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Battlestar Galactica, episode: "Bastille Day".
  2. Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries, "Night 2".
  3. Battlestar Galactica, episode: "Resistance".
  4. 4.0 4.1 Battlestar Galactica, episode: "The Farm".
  5. Battlestar Galactica, episode: "Home, Part Ⅰ".
  6. Battlestar Galactica, episode: "Home, Part Ⅱ".
  7. Battlestar Galactica, episode: "Black Market".
  8. Battlestar Galactica, episode: "A Disquiet Follows My Soul".