When me and Kashayla kissed for the first time, there was fireworks. That would have been great except that the fireworks were real, they were in space, and they were mostly between the alien Kiiote and the even more alien Yown’Hoo.
Kashayla pulled away first, her eyes open. Nothing kills the mood like your girlfriend staring into your eyes from four centimeters away. She lifted her chin to the red and blue streaks in the sky and said, “There isn’t anything on the net about this.”
“You don’t read the right netnews,” I said. She was sort of irritating that way. She saw the world from only ten netnews sources which she checked only four or five times a day.
What can you find out about the real world from only ten points of view? I kept twenty-nine active links and got updates every half an hour. I said, “LunarEye saw all kinds of ship movement. Started yesterday.”
Kashayla pushed away from me and dropped with a thump on the park bench. We were in Spooner Park, not far from DownTown Minneapolis. The City had turned its lights out for the night, so we had a clear view of the eastern sky. It was easy to see the Twin Stars overhead now. One was a Yown’Hoo foldable plateship, the other was a Kiiote orbital den. She said, “When were you going to tell me?”
“I thought we talked about it? You don’t want to know...”
She snorted and started walking toward Dunwoody Boulevard. I ran to catch up with here. “Hey! Come on. We still have an hour before we absolutely have to be at the Dome!”
We weren’t supposed to be in Spooner Park. We were supposed to be meeting the other Triads in the old MetroDome. Me and Kashayla were in different Triads and while the Board didn’t care if we mixed up among ourselves, we were sure to get in trouble because we’d ditched our Kiiote and Yown’Hoo mates to have some alone time.
She said, “We need to be there, Oscar.”
I winced. Everyone else in our local branch of The Cooperative called me Car. She was the only one who used my real name. I let her ‘cause it sounded good in her mouth. I just didn’t want anyone else hanging around to hear it. She made it to Dunwoody and flagged down a bus. It hovered over the black surface of the CHEAPALIN road, on a magnetic cushion.
“Just wait!” I grabbed her.
I was looking up at her trying to catch my breath, thankful she’d thrown me so that I landed on the little strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street rather than on the hard concrete.
The bus driver – who was another woman – grinned down at me. Then she looked at Kashayla and said, “You want me to wait or let him walk?”
‘Shayla scowled at me and said, “You gonna grab me again?”
I managed to wheeze a, “No. Sorry,” as I lifted my hands from the ground.
“You better not.” She turned to the driver and said, “When’s the next bus?”
‘Shayla nodded. “Would you mind waiting a minute while I peel him out of the grass?”
“No problem, Honey. I haven’t seen such a good show in weeks.” She shook her head, still grinning and muttered, “Young love.”
Me and ‘Shayla said at the same time, “We aren’t in love.” ‘Shayla reached down. I took her hand and scrambled to my feet. Triad members were trained in multiple forms of unarmed combat. I wouldn’t have been so easy to throw – if I hadn’t been distracted by how much I like her. I brushed myself off and we got on the bus and sat down. It slid forward like it was on ice.
“What did you mean?” ‘Shayla asked.
“I meant,” I stopped. More than likely we were heading for our old argument. We’d been having it since we were ten so I was pretty sure we weren’t going to resolve the issue right here. On the night the Alien Cold War all of a sudden became a Hot War, I said, “One thing we can agree on?”
The bus stopped again. Outside were two of the alien Kiiote and two of the even more alien Yown’Hoo.
Our mates. The bus driver looked back at us, then hard at ‘Shayla and said, “You know them?”
“Yeah. They were supposed to be with us, but we ditched them.”
The woman grunted, no longer amused and opened the door, lowering the ramp for the lumbering, llama-like Yown’Hoo.
‘Shayla looked at me and said, “What’s that?”
I lifted my chin toward our mates and said, “I’m scared. How about you?”
We locked gazes, then she sighed and slid closer to me. Leaning her head on my shoulder, she said, “I think that’s an awful powerful thing to have in common.” We pulled apart as our alien mates got on the bus and started talking in the mixed up language only Triads understood. Despite how much I liked ‘Shayla, I relaxed as we separated. I’d been with my mates since we were all born. They were my friends.
The last Yown’Hoo in walked past me and with one of its strong manipulating tentacles, smacked me in the arm and whistled, “Idiot!”
I slugged him back and said, “Snotugly!”
The Kiiote that crouched into the seat behind me poked me with her prehensile tail and said, “Deviate!”
I jerked my head back, catching her tail between my neck and the bus seat and said, “Jealous.”
It was great to be with my best friends.