Staleek noshes on Crystherium Utilia, distractedly, as Ahkna paces behind him. Staleek demands of John and Aeryn where the codes came from. "Codes? We didn't need no stinking codes," John growls, and Aeryn turns her head to look at him. Ahkna protests -- since this is clearly an elaborate bluff -- that they couldn't have gotten into that particular and obviously hugely important cavern without the codes. "We didn't try to access anything. Some Charrids got off the elevator, we got on, we got off. Well, we tried to get off. We got interrupted." Ahkna asks him which Charrids, and Aeryn laughs in her face: "Are you serious? They all look alike." He tells her she should put numbers on their uniforms, and Staleek takes the opportunity to bitch at Ahkna about how the Charrid troops are her responsibility. She very smartly gets the hell out of there, promising a full inquiry.
The door closes behind her and Staleek hisses. John turns to him brightly: "You know, while you're at it, give me Scorpius." Just like that. Heh. Staleek's like, "How come? Because he's totally about to give up your secrets to the torture, even though so far no dice?" John shakes his head: "No, because the hat lady is pissing me off, and I wanna piss her off. Tit for tat. Call it a whim. And, I don't like watching people be tortured who don't know anything." It's very interesting, because in fact Ahkna didn't really do anything that shitty to John in this scene, but she sure is A) pissing Staleek off, and B) sure does seem to be getting nowhere with Scorpius. So really, the translation of what John just said is, "No, because the hat lady is pissing you off, and it would be fun to piss her off. Tit for tat. Call it my whim, not yours, and besides, we both know she's an idiot and paranoid and a naysayer, and Scorpius doesn't know anything. Don't we?" Because John is often awesome, and understands how to work The Man.
Stark caresses Scorpius's chin. "What do you know about wormholes, Scorpius? Tell me." He says he knows nothing, and Stark calls him a liar, and hits him with some stykera heat. "I said I know nothing! Know nothing!" Ahkna watches. Finally he sags forward in the chair. Stark approaches her, wriggling like a dog. "It's a normal part of the procedure. He's strong. Very strong. That means, when he finally breaks, it'll be all the more catastrophic." Fat Man stuff. Ahkna begins to threaten him, but he reminds her of his exact promise: only that he would break Scorpius. "Not that he knows anything, but if he does, you will know." Is this the hating of Stark that so many have claimed to suffer? Has it finally struck another victim? It is painful, yet exhilarating.