Krak and Heller snuggle for a bit, then the Countess gets up, starts pacing, and begins wailing about "Oh, how I have wronged you!" and sullying "the honorable word of a Royal officer of the Fleet." Remember, Jettero Heller was born better than you.
While she goes on about how terrible her crimes are, she keeps ignoring Heller's protests that he instantly forgives her.
"Oh, no! It is too horrible!" She got down on her knees beside him. "I can never make it right! It's an absolutely unforgivable thing I did!" She sprang up again and began to pace. "Oh, dear! Oh, dear! How can I ever make it up to you!"
"By just being your beautiful self," said Heller.
No, Krak being Krak is what got you two into this mess. She needs to be not-Krak for a bit. Someone sane, rational, less prone to solving her problems through violating free will.
Krak continues to berate herself for believing the media and legal institutions instead of her "darling Jettero," then drops to her knees again and apologies to him for all the terrible physical injuries she's inflicted upon him - she "slashed [his] face to ribbons" with that thrown lotion bottle (Heller cut himself shaving without a mirror), "smashed [his] chest" with that hurled magazine Heller didn't think was worth dodging, and positively shrieks when she sees the state of his hands (a few pinpricks from those nasty metal cables).
So she plays doctor. She helps the man who was several minutes ago pinning her to the floor onto his feet, offering to let him lean on her as she leads him to a couch. She washes his terrible wounds and cries about how from now on, every time he looks or her or she looks at him, they'll remember the time she led him to get "maimed and crippled." Krak begs Heller to forgive her, and he forgives her, but she still isn't satisfied that she got exactly what she asked for.
So she has a mood swing.
She got back up. "No. That isn't enough. I can't permit you to forgive me. It is too awful!" Then she suddenly stood up very straight. She said in a firm voice, "I have no right to inflict my upset on you when you're in so much pain. You don't need an emotional female on your hands. So stop worrying. I will be efficient and effective."
Krak robotically strips Heller of his wetsuit, uses the magic light of science to turn his skin back to pure, sinless white, orders rooms service, and feeds him broth and crackers while he lays on her bed. She also does something reasonable by asking for the full story of his escapades on Earth, and Heller just as smartly decides to tell her things that might provide context or explanations for what's been going on. He mentions all the girls he's had platonic relationships with, that might get misrepresented in the paper. He mentions the "bad publicity," which neatly explains why there's so much sensational Whiz Kid stories in the paper. He mentions the arrest warrants out for him, which gives an idea of how the legal system is being used against him.
In short, he does all the things he could've done last book that would've made a lot of the nonsense in this book entirely unnecessary. He acts like someone in an equal, healthy relationship with another rational, intelligent human being.
He's wasting his time.
She thanked him and sat back. "It's the women," she said. "They caused the trouble. And because my Jettero is so handsome and so darling, I was a jealous fool. Yes. It was the women."
"Izzy says---" began Heller.
"No, no. Izzy is a man. He wouldn't understand these things," said the Countess. "A woman--any woman--would move Heavens and planet to get her hands on my Jettero. I understand that completely. It all makes sense."
"I think there is more to it than . . ."
But she was not listening.
Instead Krak steps out and has a muffled conversation with someone. I thought Heller had super-hearing at some point, but I guess it's too inconvenient for the plot. When Krak returns she has some sleeping pills to help Heller rest and recover. Despite his protests, she puts them in his mouth and gives him some water to wash them down, promising that everything is gonna be all right. Heller passes out.
Gris... well, it's puzzling. He knows that obviously Heller will be out for a while, but also knows when to set the viewer alarm for when he'll wake up. So either someone discussed how long these Nembutal pills keep you asleep in a conversation not recorded on the book's pages, or else the viewscreen recorder is smart enough to know when Heller wakes up.
So Gris decides to get some sleep. And since it's the end of a Part, he also decides to slather on the foreshadowing with a trowel.
Fool that I was, I had no clairvoyance whatever of the blazing storm of disaster which was about to be turned loose! With me in the eye of the worst series of disasters Hells had ever unleashed.
Stupid with shock, champagne and marijuana, I had no inkling that my last days on Earth were about to pounce.
Whaaaaaa?! We're not even on Book Seven yet and you're gonna leave? But how will the author be able to satirize Earth music if you're not around to listen to it?
Looking back on that moment, I am incredulous that I could have been so unalert and calm.
Dark, devilish disaster was on its devastating way.
Eh, if you're gonna try to be alliterative, don't end by breaking the streak. Better a terrific, truncated tidbit than a nearly noteworthy segment.
Back to Part Fifty, Chapter Five