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, the Triads 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)
Both me and Kayla shouted, “What’d you do that for?”
Qap snarled and led Xurf and the rest of the Pack down the basement stairs.
Dao-Hi sprayed the Herd with the pheromone we Humans had learned meant, “Run!” With nowhere to go, Dao-Hi charged the door and bounced off. She must have weakened it though, because when the rest of the Herd picked her up, they kept going and blew the thing out of its frame.
Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) grabbed my arm and Shayla’s and shoved us after them, shouting, “Run with the Herd!” It wasn’t until a second later that I realized he’d said it in Hoonish. By then we were already out the door.
It was cold outside. After a brush with Global Warming, Earth had dived into another Little Ice Age. Winters had been getting colder and snowier and summers quite a bit cooler. It wasn’t uncommon in central North America to have snow piles well into July. Some places even farther north had snow most of the year. We’d heard that cities around Hudson Bay now never thawed completely. Anyways, all that to say we were gonna freeze our butts off – even us Humans – if we didn’t figure out what to do next.
Kayla said, “Sir! We have to get out of the city – fast! Your people knew we were here. They’ll be here to collect us...”
“That much I figured out, Daughter. The question now is how do we make it out without...” He paused, snapped, “Stay here.” He removed a smaller handgun from a shoulder harness and tossed it to Kayla, “Only use it if you have to. It has enough charge to bring down a charging herd of fifteen bison without killing any of them. But focus long enough and a Human, and their brains will end up being about the consistency of oatmeal.” He shouted a recall in Hoonish, then let loose a genuine Kiiote Gathering Howl which was answered instinctively by the Pack. A few minutes later, they came loping around the back of the house, keeping to the shadows of the alley drive. “Tell them I’ll get transportation.” He looked at me, “You. Follow me.”
He turned. I said, “Me, Sir?”
“I don’t see any other skinny white boy capable of slipping through a really narrow opening in a gate.” He paused, glaring at me, “You wanna come with, impress the girl and win her lasting thanks?”
I didn’t think this was the right place to share personal histories, so I nodded and followed. He turned down the alley as I heard Kayla say something in Kiiote Snarlsnap, their everyday language.
“Don’t get lost kid, I don’t think this is much like your part of town!” the Lieutenant called back to me. I hurried and pretty soon I realized I could go faster if I mirrored his movements. That’s when we started to really move. He stopped one time and I was frozen, practically on top of him. I think he figured he’d lost me somewhere six turns ago. Did I mention that me and Shayla have eidetic memories? So do the rest of the Triad. He grunted. I was closer than he’d expected. I felt the puff of air on my face. With a jerk of his chin, he moved again.
We stopped a few blocks away at one of the few institutions that all three Sentients on Earth enjoyed – a bakery. The Yown’Hoo were herbivores already who’d developed a passion for Earthly beer; Kiiote carnivores had evolved into multivores (their beloved Earth delicacy was a salad of daisies (stems and all) with crushed honeybees, sprinkled with ground cinnamon and warm milk), and Humans, committed omnivores with a bad sweetener habit – would easily go out of their ways to stop at a bakery, cease hostilities and eat together. He ran around to the back of the bakery where he stopped at a towering chain-link fence topped with razorwire. It was probably electrified too – and there was, I’m sure – a hidden moat with alligators in it. He said, “You ready?”
“You didn’t say anything about scaling hundred-meter-tall, electrified chain link fences, topped with razorwire and alligators!”
He nodded and said, “You’re right. I forgot to tell you that the alligators have been replaced with cold-hardy piranha.”
“What?”He hissed me silent and whispered, “We have about twenty more minutes before your Pack, Herd, and girlfriend get picked up by a Human, Yown’Hoo, or Kiiote patrol.”
“She’s not my girlfriend!” I snapped.
“Go now or she’s going to be your ex-alive friend and your Triad’s going to be a Gone-ad!”
Cussing, I climbed, hopped and dropped slowly. I didn’t notice I’d hurt myself until the Lieutenant said, “Put pressure on the top side of your left forearm. Quick.” I did as I was told then looked down. “Now spring to the truck and start it.”
“The keys are in it!”
Shaking my head, I sprinted. The door of the truck was already open and I hopped in and started it – with a palm to the steering wheel. Scowling, I drove it to a gate in the fence. It opened. The lieutenant jumped in and I crossed my arms over my chest and said, “You gonna explain this to me, or am I gonna get out and walk home from here?”