Previously: Aeryn had lots of secrets, like how she was pregnant and how Scorpius was under her asylum. John also had lots of secrets, like he was on the smack so he could get over Aeryn. The universe loves secrets. Today, Scorpius is walking through Moya with a herd of DRDs, demanding to know why there's a trading vessel still aboard. "The negotiation is proving difficult," Pilot explains: they're gouging our kids on star charts because they know Moya has to get through Tormented Space. Um, how come Scorpius is not doing the negotiating? Knowing them, it's probably like Rygel and...who else is a crackhead? Noranti. I know Rygel has this diplomatic ability and whatever, but they've got Scorpius now. He could sell ice cubes to Alaskans and still end up drilling for oil.
Scorpius joins John, Aeryn, and D'Argo at the rear of the hangar bay, where they're watching Noranti and Rygel negotiate with the armed traders. Chiana's watching too. There's that symmetry where the big kids have equal guns on the other side as the game goes on. The traders are gross, with sores on their faces like the horrors of crystal meth. Aeryn's watching, tapping her fingers on her pistol with her teeth clenched, pretty much disgusted by John's presence. John watches her, but she won't talk to him or tell him what's wrong. "Musta been something I said." Noranti gets the traders over a barrel and she and Rygel retire; on their way out of the room Scorpius points out they look more than usually smug: "Your deal, it was successful?" Do Scorpius and Noranti ever directly address each other? Rygel giggles that Scorpius has no idea how successful, and the traders bring out one last piece of merchandise.
A young woman, held by her hair, bent over, hand in her hair where it's being pulled. Gasping. Chiana crouches now, up on her feet. This episode is stupid in many ways, but the balancing act itself is pretty much half the job, and they've been doing it all season. It's easier to swallow if you pretend Talikaa, the girl, doesn't actually exist. Like on Nip/Tuck, where nobody's real except those three people. She's not a plot device, the show's too smart to leave it at that. Call her a mirror. Call her Beloved.
"We enjoyed her," says the trader. "Plenty of good pleasure left." The girl stares at Noranti, lip quivering; Noranti signals nothing. "No value to an old woman, but..." Noranti turns away, leaves him talking. He puts his hands on the girl, one on a breast, the other rubbing her abdomen, and lower: "...But to men?" She grabs at his hands as he laughs; Chiana shrieks like a beast. She pulls a pistol on him: "Touch her again, fekik, and you die!" Everyone draws; D'Argo yanks out his Qualta once again. The trader stands behind the girl, now released, with arms crossed. John's got Winona trained on them, and he and D'Argo try to calm her down. Chiana's horrified: "Have you forgotten what it's like to be a prisoner?" But that's not what she's asking. What she's really asking is something only John knows. D'Argo closes his eyes, because he knows this look of Chiana's. Chiana asks impossible questions. The trader offers the girl for $800; Chiana begs the crew at large, asking them all: "We can't just leave her!" Finally, she nods to herself, after everyone's avoided her eyes. Only Rygel can say it's not his problem, everyone else has to be silent. "Okay. I'll buy her myself if I have to." Rygel reminds her about the Vorc; she almost smiles.