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 city 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: 5/2/2014)
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. Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) 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?”
“You had me scale a fence, get slashed by deadly wire and then when I get there, expecting you to give me directions to hotwire it, it’s open and started right up. Now we’re sitting at a gate that has magically opened...”
“All right! Drive and I’ll explain.”
“Start explaining and I’ll drive.”
The lieutenant commander scowled at me, sighed and said, “It’s short and simple.” I pressed the old-fashioned accelerator and the truck buzzed forward. He stopped talking so I stopped accelerating. He said, “You got bigger balls than I thought you did, kid.” For some reason, I found myself blushing furiously as I floored it and we rolled fast out into the deserted streets. “At the end of the street go left,” he said and at the first sign of me slowing, he said, “There’s plenty of Humans who back you kids up. We think the Triads are a good idea. It’s just we don’t have quite so much trust in the fact that you’re all owned by a major corporation.”
“The Triad Corporation isn’t a big company!” I exclaimed. The history of our sponsor was one of the first things they pounded into our heads. “It’s an independently owned and operated company whose board of directors are evenly split between Yown’Hoo, Kiiote, and Human members – two each, with each getting a single vote. A fourth alien is an absentee member who is called only in the case of a split vote.”
He sighed. “Your brainwashing’s good, but I’m pretty sure not even the Sacred Nineteen of you are that stupid.”
I was about to deny that we were smart enough to have a reasonable idea of the real structure of what we did was all about, but it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to admit that to him. I had no idea who he was. Or who he belonged to, so I hotly denied it. That’s what he’d expect. “We’re not stupid!”
“Don’t get your undies in a bunch, kid.”“What?”
He grunted and told me to turn right and slow down. “A colloquialism from the late 20th Century.”
“And you still say it?”
“I was born in the late 20th, kid. It’s how I talk.” He paused then said, “Stop.” I did. “Wait here.” He jumped out and I felt rather than heard a whistle, it was so high-pitched. Me and Shayla even have enhanced hearing.
A few moments later, the Pack slid up to the truck and the lieutenant slid the back door of the truck up, rattling so loudly I hissed and added in a stage whisper, “The whole neighborhood is gonna hear you and your little cabal’s gonna have staged this rescue for no reason.” Nothing happened, so I said, “Who really owns us?”
The Kiiote Pack was the first to arrive, drawn – I think he knew it would happen – by the faint scent of bread that permeated the truck. I could heard the soft thud of their paws on the floor of the truck and I heard Xurf say, “Where’s the bread?”
The lieutenant said, “On the higher shelves there are still loaves from yesterday’s delivery.
Xurf muttered a curse. That meant at least one of them would have reconfigure into their bipedal state. I knew Xurf hated changing, but as male pack leader it would be his job.
A few minutes later, Dao-hi arrived. By then Shayla must have showed up, too, because the truck rocked and I heard a long slide as a ramp was extended. Shortly, the truck sagged slightly backwards with the faint clicking in of split hooves. It was a good thing we were used to being packed and moved around. I was sure it was crowded back there. With anyone but a Triad, a fight would have broken out between Pack and Herd, and Humans would have died in the crossfire. That’s the way Earth was these days. The ramp was stowed, the rear gate closed and I moved over to the passenger seat.
The lieutenant came to my door and said, “What are you doing?”
“Aren’t you going to drive?”
He swore, spat, and said, “Who’s gonna ride shotgun, kid? Someone who doesn’t know a shotgun from a nose hair scissors, or someone who can kill with a dirty look?”