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)
What I understood was that Kiiote had been animals, driven by the Pack to expand their territory – wolves did it on Earth, or do it still, I don’t know, the only wolf I’ve ever seen is on vplate. 3D, projected full size, but v, anyway. The Kiiote ran into the Herd on their homeworld and dominated. Yown’Hoo got smarter, faster and pretty soon fought back and nearly destroyed the Kiiote – but worse than that, they became Pack Leaders in the psyche of the Kiiote. They submitted, bit Yown’Hoo had no idea what they were doing. Having defeated the enemy, they started to get stupid again.
Their war was wearing down when they ran into Humans.
We gave the Kiiote a challenge, though we couldn’t beat them. We became subordinate in the Kiiote mind. They rose to take us; to lead us. They pressed Yown’Hoo…we were part of a cycle.
Yeah. Makes only a tiny bit of sense to me. When I told ‘Shayla, she said, “What the def are you talking about?”
Shaking my head, I looked at the Leaders, the ones who’d set up the Triad Corporation, shrugged, and said, “I think they need us. I think Minneapolis is going down, so I think we’d better trust them to get us out of here.”
The Triad: Qap, Xurf, Doj, Qilf, Fax, and Towt; Dao-hi, Zei-go, Seg-go, Ali-go, Hil-hi, Jus-hi, Nah-hi, Por-go, and the immatures, Lan-mai-ti, Ked-sah-ti, and Eel-go pot; me and Kashayla Kimpo – looked to me all of a sudden.
The Masters – Pan and Zir, Ji-Hi, St. Admiral, and Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) – looked at me as well.
“Why are you all staring at me?”
St. Admiral said, “It’s an eerie feeling, isn’t it? When you begin to ask intelligent questions and ask intelligent questions, people begin to take you more seriously. It appears to me that you are the questioner – and therefore our leader.”
I couldn’t help but snort, “Leaders are brave, and bold, and blow stuff up.”
Bakhsh laughed, “You got the first two. I think it’s time you do the last one – before the really big one goes up.”
“What do you mean?”
He gestured to the bakery truck, and I could see clearly in the lights of the parking ramp, that JACK’S BAKERY was written on the outer panel. Bakhsh walked up to the side of the truck and slapped it.
The thing shimmered like it was on the far-side of a burning hot parking lot, then suddenly the truck turned brown and the UPS symbol appeared. Shayla said, “It’s got mimepaint?” She looked at Bakhsh, “Isn’t that a little unusual for a bakery to have?”
He shrugged, “The bakery is just one of a few companies we use now and then for transporting personnel and supplies.”
“Supplies for what?” Qap growled.
Pan snarled back, “There are some things you do not need to know at this time. What you do need to do is get inside!” She added a snap and laid her ears back.
Qap’s tail lowered and she moved to the truck along with the rest of the Pack. The Mother of All Herds snapped a tentacle, filled the air with a pheromone of command and led the Herd that gathered with her to the back of the truck.
“How long will it take us to get there?” I asked.
“Get where?” said the Lieutenant Commander. He managed to keep a straight face, but even though I’d only known him for a few hours, I could tell he was teasing.
"Wherever it is we’re going to be hidden until you oldsters can figure out something to do,” said Shayla.
He grunted and said, “You’re going straight north. You’ll arrive at the safe house in eight to forty-eight hours.”
Dao-hi exclaimed from her place at the back of the Herd, “That is a wide spread of time, Bakhsh! There is a reason?”
“Yeah, seems to be an awful long time to be in the back of a bakery truck,” said Shayla.
He shrugged. “Everything depends.”
“On what?” asked Qap, risking a nip from the nearby Zir.
He paused a long time before he answered. Shayla shuffled her feet. The Herd moved closer to the Ji-Hi. One of the pups whimpered.He made a face and finally said, “It all depends on whether the trip goes off without a hitch – the truck’s carrying several cutting edge defensive technology – or if the Humans who are set to nuke this city find out how we’re transporting you.”
“What are the chances of that happening?” I asked.
He was silent until he finally said, “High, son. Very high.”