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)
Fax, my Kiiote best friend, growled low in his throat and said, “What, you think I’m ugly?”
The conversation stopped dead as the choppers swung over what looked like an abandoned farm, then passed on. “That’s gotta be my uncle’s farm,” I said, “But where is everyone?”
Fax sniffed the air. Kiiote hated being compared to Earth canines, but the fact of the matter was that scent was how Kiiote communicated; scent was how they established hierarchy in the Pack. He could also identify organic substances – like poisons and explosives – from a kilometer away. He said, “There’s only residual Human scent here.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that as far as I can tell, no one’s been here for a long time.” He yipped when I smacked him, and he spun around, stretching into his humanoid shape. He opened his mouth in a snarl then froze. “There’s fresh Human scent coming from that way!” He started off through the snow.
“Retired,” referring to our leader, Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret), “Told us that we were to go to the barn near the farmhouse.”
Fax paused, gesturing with a paw. “There’s a light in the window. The Human Leader made is seem as if this place was abandoned. Why would there be a light?”
I had no idea, but it seemed strange. None of the others had any cause to go into the place, but it had belonged to my uncle. Who knows, maybe my parents were dead and he was my only surviving relative? Even if he was an android. “I don’t know, but we should check it out.”
“He told us to ignore the house and go into the barn!”
“It’s my house, I can do what I want to!”
I left him, cutting over the rough ground until I got to the driveway and went up to the house. It didn’t look as run down up close as it had from a distance. Fax suddenly pressed against my leg and jerked his head to one side. I could see the sill of the window faintly lit. I stepped up to the wall, turned my back to it then slid along it until I was standing right next to it. I made a face, then leaned a bit forward.
“Reflection!” Fax sneezed.
I widened my eyes then stepped back and strode out into the snow, staying out of the direct light, then looked at an angle. I could see a faint reflection in the glass. Not enough to see details – but enough to see that it was Human dressed in something dark. A moment later, a second shadow moved as well, dressed in white, not as tall as the first.
“Can you smell anything?”
“No. Metal. Oil. Machine smells along with another smell, like iron blood, but not. Like false iron blood.”
Strange, but that’s what I would imagine an android to smell like. I said, “My uncle. It’s the android who took my uncle’s place!”
“Who’s the other?” Fax said.
“What’s it smell like?”
He rose up into his humanoid form, opening his mouth to taste the air as well as smell it. He panted, his breath a white cloud between us. After a moment, he said, “Not of your world or ours.” He drew a deep breath, “Not of the Herd World, either. Something different. Of another world I’ve never learned of.”
“Something besides us?”
Fax snarled, “You didn’t think the Universe held only Kiiote, Yown’Hoo, and Human, did you?”