The young experimental Triads are made up of the smallest primate tribe of Humans – Oscar and Kashayla; the smallest canine pack of Kiiote – six, pack leaders Qap and Xurf; and the smallest camelid herd of Yown’Hoo – a prime eleven, Dao-hi the Herd mother. 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)
Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) held up his hand. The black, cold night that surrounded the former bakery delivery truck seeped in through old seals, partially open windows and rusty holes in the floor.
I opened my mouth, shut it, and held up my own hand. That was the last movement in the truck. A stunned stillness held everyone as shimmers – that’s the only way I can describe them, the night itself shook briefly – passed the truck. Something stopped at the windshield. My eyes bulged and I had to pee something horrible. The glass seemed to bow in, then the shimmer passed through the entire truck. The immature Yown’Hoo, Lan-mai-ti, Ked-sah-ti, and Eel-go-pot slowly sank to the floor of the truck as the shimmer passed over them. The aluminum of the shell creaked like it was windy outside.
Then it was gone.
I slowly let my breath out. I didn’t even know I was holding it.
Retired said softly, “It wasn’t real. It was a probe.”
Kashayla breathed back, “It was alive.”
The Herd mother, Dao-hi said softly, “Not alive, it was shoofis.”
“Hiihiiyip,” said Qap.
"A ghost,” I whispered.
There was a long silence until Retired finally said, “It wasn’t a disembodied apparition. It was an non-corporeal artificial intelligence scanning unit – an n-caisu. The technology is new to all three peoples.”
“That is not possible,” said Qap. “Everything that can be discovered has been discovered by Kiiote.”
Dao-hi made a rude noise and the herd shifted restlessly.
“Everyone settle down!” Mr. Retired said. “You think you’re the only Triads we created?”
Xurf said, “Of course not, two others were created for the same purpose.”
He snorted, “Then there are the anti-Triads.”
“The what?” ‘Shayla exclaimed.
“There are those who want nothing more than Humanity to die as a species – and it’s Humans themselves who are driving it.” Something in the distance lit, spilling fragile white light into the sky. Mr. Retired tipped his head in the direction of the light, “You’re worth your weight in antimatter if they can find you all and kill you.”
“But why?” one of the herd rattled.
“Because some of each of our peoples want to see us destroy our space-capabilities. They want us to slaughter each other back to our respective stone ages.”
“Why?” I blurted into the ensuing silence.
“Because they think that the manifest destiny of their own people is more viable alone – without the others.”
“But...” ‘Shayla began.
Mr. Retired cut her off, saying, “They not only that the war was a mistake, but that fighting to a stalemate was unnecessary. They believe that every one of our peoples – Yown’Hoo, Kiiote, and Human reached a point where they might have annihilated the other two.” He stopped talking for a long time before he said, “They want to start all over again and ‘do it right’ this time.”
“We’ve never believed that,” Qap said.
“True. This group was raised to believe that the strengths of all three peoples could be combined. A wise Human writer once wrote in a book called The Bible, in a division of the Book called Ecclesiastes, ‘Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.’”
Xurf said, “Yown’Hoo and Kiiote have been defending themselves for a thousand revolutions of our Sun.”
“We had nearly fallen into stagnation when we encountered the Kiiote,” Dao-hi said.
“But together it may be that we might not be broken at all. Together, we might do something none of us alone might have done.”
The light in the distance faded out. Mr. Retired tapped me on the shoulder and with a nod, I started the truck and headed north, into a destiny that included Yown’Hoo, Kiiote, and Human.
[Author’s Note: This is where the foundation of the story gelled into existence. This is the theme. This is the POINT I wrote this. This is what I have been working toward.]