The Cold War between the Kiiote and the Yown’Hoo has become a shooting war. On Earth, there are three Triads one each in Minneapolis, Estados United; Pune, India; and Harbin, 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. The Yown’Hoo know about the extra-Universe Braider, aliens whose own “civil war” mirrors the Cold War. The Braiders accidentally created a resonance wave that will destroy the Milky Way and the only way to stop it is to physically construct a sort of membrane. The Braiders don’t DO physical stuff on that scale – the Yown’Hoo-Kiiote-Human Triads may be their only chance of creating a solution. The merger of Human-Kiiote-Yown’Hoo into a van der Walls Society may produce a stability capable of launching incredible expansion, creativity, longevity and wealth – and building the Membrane to stop the wave.
The young experimental Triads are made up of the smallest primate tribe of Humans –two; the smallest canine pack of Kiiote – six; and the smallest camelid herd of Yown’Hoo – a prime eleven. On nursery farms and ranches away from the TC cities, Humans have tended young Yown’Hoo and Kiiote in secret for decades, allowing the two warring people to reproduce and grow far from their home worlds. Grendl, Manitoba is one such place. No one but the Triad Company has ever heard of it and the physical plant goes by the unobtrusive name of Organic Prairie Dairy.
The Triads never hear of anything they aren’t spoon fed in their luxury worlds and have heard only rumors of the farms and ranches. Surrounded by a Humanity that has degenerated into a “duck-and-cover” society as the Big Boys fight their war, they don’t care about anything but their own lives. Oblivious, cocooned, manipulated, they have no idea that their privileges are about to be violently curtailed and all of their biology ransacked for the correct Membrane pattern.
“Why north?” Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh, retired asked.
I shook my head, “I’m not entirely sure, but a long time ago, my teacher had me memorize a map on a tablet computer. I pissed and moaned and asked why. He just told me to memorize because someday, Humans might not have access to computers and I might want to go somewhere.”
“You didn’t think to ask any more questions?”
“I was ten years old. Not having computer access was all that caught my attention.”
Patrick snorted and said, “I can see why that you’d notice that . Must have scared you.”
“Scared me? I laughed out loud – like I did when I was four and a different teacher told me the ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ joke. The idea of being cut off from the Web was a joke.”
“You ain’t laughin’ now, kid.”
I nodded, “I ain’t ‘kid’, either, I’m Car.”
“Like ‘beep beep’?”
“No, that’s Road Runner.”
Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh, retired, guffawed, clapped me on the shoulder and said, “Perfect! I’ll call you Road Runner from now on!” He jostled me into the house, closing and locking the door behind us. He went to a keyboard and small screen mounted near the door and tapped in a long string of numbers and letters. The screen glowed a baleful red.
“You have security here?”
“I used to be in the Marines. I retired six months before they were vaporized in the Yucatan Action.”
I nodded. I’d even heard of that. Humans sided with the Kiiote in an attempt to stop a major Yown’Hoo landing – they were going to establish a beachhead on Earth to attack Kiiote drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Together with the Kiiote, Humans stopped them, driving them back into orbit.
Then the Kiiote withdrew from the peninsula suddenly, leaving their erstwhile allies behind. The Yown’Hoo used a massive weapon they’d never used before. The crater that remained after the KT Event in Chicxulub, Mexico – you know the one that pushed the extinction of the dinosaurs into high gear? – was now on the Island of Yucatan... The ancestors of my Herd Mother, Dao-Hi had disintegrated an area that was a hundred klicks across, centered exactly on Parque Nacional de Laguna del Tigre – and happened to include two battalions of Marines and Army.
“Oh,” I replied. “Sorry.”
“You weren’t born yet, Road Runner.”
We entered the living room just as Shayla came clomping up the stairs, shaking her head. She looked at the retired Marine strangely and said, “Did you used to have a kennel down there?”
“Yeah. Raised mixed-blood Golden Retrievers.”
“Aren’t you supposed to raise pure-bred dogs?”
He shrugged as he racked the shotgun he’d been carrying. “I raised dogs for hunting, not show. Purebreds tend to be too skittish and prone to hereditary problems. I mix compatible breeds – other purebreds, usually – to give me strong ‘Mutts’.”
The Herd Mother whistled a query and asked, “Define ‘mutts’.”
Patrick laughed, shook his head and sat down, “Time for fluff later. We have to figure out how to get you out of town.”
Shayla glared at him, crossed her arms over her chest and said, “You aren’t the boss of us!”
The light-heartedness vanished. “You want me to just put you back out on the street?”
“We can take care of ourselves,” she began.
Patrick made a hand motion and one of the walls – the whole freakin’ thing! – lit up with a scene from outside our home. He boosted the volume as a reported spoke and BBC America scrolled across the bottom, “This is Cyprian Ashimolowo reporting to you live from in front of the former Minneapolis Vikidome Sports Complex and Entertainment Center. It has just been reported that Human terrorists exploded a bomb inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Replica Metrodome. Casualty reports are uncertain at this time, but local wechat twitter is reporting that two Human teens as well as several Yown’Hoo and Kiiote tourists were killed inside. North American Criminal Apprehension Bureau authorities are on the scene investigating and we will bring you the latest breaking news. Now back to your regularly scheduled LiveFeed.”
Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh, retired look at me and Shayla, then over at the eleven in the Yown’Hoo her as they settled in an open corner away from the windows. He looked at Shay and said, “So, Missy, you plannin’ on holding your own funerals then?” He held up a finger, “Oh, and how will you be explaining the loss of a hoof of Yown’Hoo, a paw of Kiiote, and a passle of young’uns like you and your boyfriend?”
Shay opened her mouth, then closed it.
I have to comment here that that is the first time I have ever seen her speechless. I should also mention that in seeing that, I was terrified.