On Earth, there are three Triads intending 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 Braiders accidentally created a resonance wave that will destroy the Milky Way and the only way to stop it is for the Yown’Hoo-Kiiote-Human Triads to build a physical wall. The merger of Human-Kiiote-Yown’Hoo into a van der Walls Society may produce the Membrane to stop the wave.
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.
“We had nearly fallen into stagnation when we encountered the Kiiote.”
“And we into internecine war when we encountered the Yown’Hoo.”
“Yown’Hoo and Kiiote have been defending themselves for a thousand revolutions of our Sun.”
“Together, we might do something none of us alone might have done…a destiny that included Yown’Hoo, Kiiote, and Human.” (2/19/2015)
Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) – I’d started thinking of him as just “Retired” once he seemed to be on our side – sighed, “Plain and simple heart attack. Your uncle died out in the back forty once morning and we didn’t find him ‘til after sundown. Nothing we could do then,” he shot a glance over his shoulder, “Not even our highly advanced aliens could bring him back.”
We drove in silence and I took over. Pretty soon we were past even the few lights of the city. As the darkness grew, it became more than just an absence of light; somehow oppressive...
Retired said softly, “Sorry, kid. I wish I...”
“I think you’ve said enough,” I snapped.
For the first and only time in our friendship, he sighed and sat back, without saying anything else.
I didn’t want to talk to anyone. My involvement in the Triad had somehow been nothing at all about my choice or even my parent’s choice. The tests I’d taken; the ones they’d threatened me with they told me if I failed them, they’d turn me over to a life with normal people and the rest of war-torn Earth. I sighed. I’d read about “war-torn” Europe, the Reconstruction Era South, the divided Koreas, Fractured Africa, and Proxy America, China, and Russia – where Kiiote and Yown’Hoo maneuvered and skirmished each other. It didn’t have much to do with us.
At least it hadn’t. I said, “What happens to us now?” I shot a glance over my shoulder and said, “I don’t care what happens to them – or you for that matter.” I flipped my hand out into the heavy darkness. “I don’t care about any of it any more. What happens to me?”
Somehow, I was expecting Retired to be stunned by my question. Flustered maybe. Instead, he said immediately, “You’ll be moved to a safe location and sequestered for the rest of your life.”
“You mean I’ll be thrown in prison?”
“I didn’t ask for this!” I shouted. I knew the others were in the back of the truck. I knew they were listening. Somehow I knew ‘Shay was sitting behind me; her back to the wall; listening. I didn’t care. “I never wanted to be a part of…of…this!”
I looked over at Retired and he didn’t shout at me to keep my eyes on the road. Instead he said, “You’re absolutely right. You had no choice. Once your biological uncle agreed to help us start the Triad program, he signed your entire family up – forever.”
From the darkness of the back of the truck, a Kiiote voice said, “We, none of us had a choice, my Human friend.” It was Xurf and I suddenly felt embarrassed. Our Human and Kiiote and Yown’Hoo overlords had chosen all of us.
“What for?” I asked.
Even though Retired couldn’t have been reading my thoughts, he must have followed my logic train. He replied, “You were chosen for compatibility. All of you came from the most sympathetic lines your peoples could produce. Even though none of you had a choice, you were...” he paused for a long time, then said, “Chosen.”
“I didn’t want to be chosen!” Behind my head, something slammed against the wall. I knew it was ‘Shay punching it instead of my face. “I don’t care!” I shouted at her. Then to Retired, “Fine. The chosen thing, but the compatibility thing I get. But what’s the big ‘why’? We’re not in the Cities any more. We aren’t protected anymore! There are people out there – aliens! – who are out to kill us because of who we are!”
Dao-hi, the really young Herd Mother to ten Yown’Hoo, said, “There have always been those who have been ‘out to kill us’. The Herd has never been safe, even before Yown’Hoo thought coalesced. Predators have always sought to take us down one-by-one.”
“Us as well!” exclaimed Qap. “Make no mistake, Human, Kiiote are only one apex predator on the home world. Even Humans on Earth fall prey to your sharks, and tigers, and influenza – before they fell prey to Yown’Hoo...”
“…and Kiiote!” said Dao-hi.
“I don’t care!” I shouted. My voice even hurt my ears. There was silence as the truck hummed along in the dark.
Finally Retired said, “I can’t give any other answer, kid. That’s the only one there is. The Triads are the only hope we have of forging a viable civilization of Kiiote, Yown’Hoo, and Human that will not be dependent on war and dominance.”
From the depth of the truck’s cargo area, a tiny voice – probably one of the immature Herd, Ked-sah-ti, I think – said, “Without civilization, every last one of us…and the populations of all three…will die out until there is nothing left but semi-sentient ameba on Y’eh, Kii, and Earth.”
I don’t think anyone else felt like saying anything after that. Not even me.