The Shivans are, over the course of WiH, engaging in a whole lot of manipulation literally behind the scenes. Canonically, when Laporte defies them at Capella, they consider this particular experiment a failure and go back to more straightforward omnicidal tactics again.I know this was a while ago, but I'm very confused by this. Firstly, when the heck did Laporte defy the Shivans at Capella? She only talked to Ken, and she doesn't so much defy him as doubt her own sanity--and only briefly (hell, in real time, only seconds had passed)--before accepting Ken's mission and the reasons behind it. And Ken would be able to tell the Shivans that she ultimately did accept the mission.
It's referring to something that happens in an unfinished future act. There should be a short story about it somewhere in this thread.