The Triads are made up of the smallest primate tribe of Humans –two.
The Triads are made up of the smallest canine pack of Kiiote – six.
The Triads are made up of the smallest camelid herd of Yown’Hoo – eleven, a prime number.
On Earth, there are three Triads – one in the US, one in India and one in China.
Protected by the Triad Corporation, they intend to integrate not only the three peoples and stop the war that threatens to break loose and slaughter Humans and devastate their world.; but to stop the war that consumes Kiiote economy and Yown’Hoo moral fiber (literal in their case) – and eventually confront the extra-Universe aliens who created the Interstice.
According to the best and wisest of the Triad Societies, the Merger of Human-Kiiote-Yown’Hoo into a Congenic will produce a stable construct capable of incredible expansion, creativity, longevity...and wealth – for it seems that it is the Three alone who inhabit the Milky Way, though unknown to them, there is another called the Hive which must complete the Triad – hold it if you will.
Earth-Free Activists plan to blow up one of the Nurseries – places where the Yown’Hoo and Kiiote can actually breed and the young survive far from their homeworlds. One such is south of Winnipeg on the Canadian Prairies. It falls to the North American Triad to move to stop them without letting them know that they have been betrayed...or discover that Humans know that the entire Milky Way has been betrayed.
It’s really dark here outside of the Center of the city – ours used to be called Minneapolis – because what power there is, is rationed.
“Why’s it so dark?” asked Zie-go. He was an immature male in the Kiiote Pack that we here Tribe to. He’d gotten big enough though that he felt he could speak for the rest of them.
Kashayla, the other half of our little Human Tribe of two, said, “The city authorities only power private houses for a couple hours after sunset. It’s way past that now,” she said, looking up at the sky.
“The city is lit,” said Doj, a pack member who hadn’t decided if it was a male or female yet.
I said, “Public lights stay on all night so the cameras and satellites can make sure everybody’s staying calm. It’s just dark inside of people’s houses.”
The voices from up the street had gotten louder. Someone shouted, “Why should I listen to you?”
Another voice shouted back, “Because I’m better than you are!”
“That’s racist shit!” the first voice shot back.
“We ain’t different...” more voices raised in bellows and cursing until they finally blurred into an incoherent roar as the sound of breaking glass and something large and wooden falling added to the sound of a riot.
‘Shayla grabbed me and pulled, leaning to my ear and saying, “We have to go or we’ll get caught up in the police dragnet!”
“They wouldn’t dare...” I began as the street lights suddenly flared to life, far brighter than even the Dome lights where we lived.
It was surreal as Humans who had been fighting froze in mid-punch or kick or clubbing. In the distance the sound of fire engine horns honked like a flock of monstrous geese. Dao-hi, Herd mother shouted her youngsters into action to pick me up.
The Kiiote pack – except for Qap and Xurf, the pack leaders – did their creepy bone and muscle rearrangement squirm.
Kiiote could walk on two legs like a Human, and usually did. But when they wanted to move fast on four legs, they had to rearrange their bodies. They crouched as one, shoulders down, tails in the air. Rear legs were forward bent as in Humans, but their hips tightened as the ankle bent in a hideous way as if it were going to break, but didn’t, becoming a dogleg. Their faces relaxed, the muzzle sinking back until their faces became more dog-like as the chest muscles relaxed as well. As they leaned forward, he could see bones moving under fur and muscle. Each one bent its neck with a snap, shoulders slid forward at the same time bending and wriggling four slender digits as two others folded up the forearm and dropping on paws. Chest muscles loosened, tilting the head and neck forward where it swung side-to-side, nostrils on the muzzle twitching, sniffing the signals in the air. With a final shake, the Pack moved forward.
“You must come with us,” Qap said. Upright, he motioned to two of the others who dove between my legs. His paw snapped out, helping me keep my balance. I almost cussed him out except that Xurf had done the same with ‘Shayla.
Dao-hi snapped her tentacles and the Herd formed a cordon around us just as the thump of helicopters sounded low over the trees. She said, “We must get you out of this situation. Your arrest will break up the Triad. No one knows what will happen...”
The helicopters swooped in and opened fire on the crowd – the race riot. I screamed as trees exploded overhead. The shouting changed abruptly to shrieks and the fight dissolved into panicked flight. The Herd raced away, corralling the Pack with me and ‘Shayla on top.
I thought we’d made it to safety when a Human Tribal fighter, rare in the skies of Earth as we’d had to buy it on the weapons black market. It was old and whined loudly with antigravity repellers and energy grabbers and swung shakily out of the sky, ignoring the police helicopters and heading straight for us…