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 that will produce a canceling wave – generated from the rim of the Galaxy inward. 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. (update: 2/13/2014)
“What’s that mean?” I exclaimed.
Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) took a deep breath, let it out then said, “What was your plan to leave the city?”
I glanced at Shay and the man followed my look and said, “What’s your name, girl?”
“I’m not a girl!”He snorted and said, “Girl, compared to me only my momma and my grandma aren’t girls.”
“You’re not that old,” she snapped.
His eyes narrowed and his smirk appeared again. He looked at her intently and then said, “How old do you think I am?”
“Forty-three,” said Shay automatically. Both of us can do that – estimate the age of structures from buildings to living organism. I don’t think it was anything The Corporation tried to breed into us, I think it just happened.
He laughed out loud and said, “So, how long ago was the Yucatan Action?”
“Easy – nineteen years ago, Old Calendar.”
He shook his head, “Daughter, that’s the only calendar I use. So, at the time I’d been in the Marines for 30 years. I was 22 when I was commissioned.” He waited.
Biting her lower lip, Shay dipped her chin and finally said, “You’re 71,” she paused, “Sir.”
I looked at Shay, shocked. I’d never heard her treat anyone with respect – and not mean it as a sarcastic commentary.
“What’s your name, young lady?”
“Kashayla Maria-Natalia Kimpo,” she said slowly. Even the Herd mother was looking at Shay intently. She added, “We’d planned on riding the Yown’Hoo...”
If I hadn’t had the hearing I do, I’d never heard the Herd Mother’s derisive hoot. It was infrasonic. It was a good thing the Kiiote heard higher register and Humans couldn’t hear that low...
“I’d agree Herd Mother,” said the Lieutenant Commander.
The Herd packed more tightly around her so that she had to butt Nah-hi and Jus-hi out of
her way in order to address him, saying, “How can you hear the Speech?”
“I was gengineered back in the day,” he gestured to me, adding, “Not as well as these youngsters were, but enough to sometimes hear your comments.”
The HM took a step back. I got mad. It’s not that me and Shay tried to intentionally hide things from the Herd and Pack, but sometimes there were things we didn’t necessarily come out and tell them. What right did he have to spill one of our not-secret secrets. Dao-hi wasn’t going to be happy when we had a chance to talk.
“Riding Herd would have been disrespectful – at least as far as I knew,” he said.
“It would be sacrilege!” the Herd Mother spat – literally. I ducked, but it caught the Pack runt, Towt in the face where he was climbing. Qap stepped up the stairs slowly, her face puffed, facial spines erect and glistening with poison.
Kayla said abruptly, “But we rode you through the creek! Was that sacrilege?”
The Herd Mother’s arms slipped from their sheathes, making a gross sucking sound. But it was a signal in the Herd; the mucus in the sheathes released pheromones that gave the Herd a shock into action. In the tiny house – though it was larger than any house I had ever seen – there were no prairies to charge across. The situation went from tense to impossible. I thought the Herd was going to attack the Lieutenant right there – except that if they moved in violence Qap would probably snarl the Pack to respond. Me and Kayla could each kill a Kiiote or a Yown’Hoo apiece. After that – it was chance if we could manage a second kill.
The Old Man finally started to notice what was happening. He looked from Qap to Dao-hi then at us, his eyes widening. I was suddenly afraid. I opened my mouth to try and defuse the situation, when the wall screen at the end of the room flared into blinding light. An instant later, the broad face of an old woman in a military uniform filled the screen and said, “You are being reactivated...”
Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) turned his gun on the wall screen and fired
three shots in quick succession.