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)Banned from their Home World and congress with any Herd but their own; branded Human freaks!; their breeding line cut from the records, as good as Wilds; Retired, Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) who had been recalled by his Human military commander – now under the care of an android designed to look exactly like my Great Uncle, Timothy Orwell, all I could say, “We are one sorry ass bunch of saviors of the Universe.”
Retired shrugged, “I’ve ignored ‘cease and desist’ orders before. I’ve been decorated twice after ignoring the order.”
“Not one of those times, I think.” GUTim looked us over, adding, “I think there are going to be lots of people looking for you – Human, Yown’Hoo, and Kiiote alike. I say we move out right now. You may not have another time when you’re not surrounded by hostiles.”
Herd Mother Dao-hi, Qap and Xurf, and as the only Human third of the Triad, me – all looked to him. She said, “What is your plan of action, Protector of Hope?”
Tim shook his head, “I’m not the protector of anything, Mother.”
“You protected me when I first ran free.”
“You were freed here?” GU Tim said. I’d seen a Yown’Hoo birth – even though they looked like llamas, they were more like ‘possum. The young were delivered and crawled into small pouches on one of the herd mother’s backs. Every Yown’Hoo female is born with twenty or so potential pouches. Once in a pouch, the free embryos actually grew…I guess the best way to describe them are “roots” – though that’s not exactly the term. When they got too big or too numerous for the mother to carry any more, there was a solemn ceremony and the young were cut free and released. The pouches weren’t re-usable, so no female could ever have more than twenty cria (it’s a Spanish term for a baby llama. None of the Yown’Hoo ever objected to it, so it stuck).
Dao-hi said, “I was, so you are the Protector of this Herd.”
We all looked at Qap and Xurf. Xurf did his weird transformation from “runner” to “walker” – it never ceased to amaze me – as his bones and muscles rearranged themselves. He bowed in a weirdly Human way, and said, “My sire was raised here, so you are Protector for this Pack as well.”
Retired looked at GU Tim and nodded, “I guess it’s unanimous then, Mister OrwellAH.” He used the weird honorific some old folks used that made a name into a comment be noting that someone was an Artificial Human.
My Great Uncle, who I called Uncle Tim when I visited here looked startled. He took a deep breath and said, “All right then, I guess I get to lead our little clan.” The sun had started to wash the eastern sky with lavender bands against darker banks of clouds. “It looks like it may snow soon. We’ll go underground for now, but we can’t stay here. Your truck’s a burned out hulk by now, so they can’t track you with that any more. But walking seven hundred kilometers in the winter would be tough even for me. Trying to keep this tribe together, alive, and inconspicuous…” he sighed – even though I now knew he didn’t even need to breathe. He was an android. Weird. Continuing, “But I think we can do it. We’ll need a plan and some transportation.” He nodded, “We’re going into the tornado shelter.”
“The tornado shelter?” I said. “Doesn’t sound very safe.”
GU Tim said, “The shelter itself has kept us all safe four times in the last hundred years. But it’s got an underlevel that we’ll need access to if we all want to make it to Grendl alive.”
Qap said, “You have antigravity transportation there?”
He smiled then said, “No. Something quite a bit better.” He stepped to the door, opened it and leaned out into the cold air of morning. “We have to go now. I don’t hear the choppers anymore and there’s no other sign of ATVs, but I doubt that will last for long.” He held the door open and said, “Head for the outhouse.”
Retired scowled and said, “The outhouse?”
GU Tim nodded, “Nobody would think to look under there for an entrance.”
Sighing, Retired said, “I’m not even sure I would want to think about it.” He stepped past the Triad squatted and gently picked up Ked-sah-ti, and strode across the open grassland, stopping at the small, bleached wood shack. It was definitely leaning slightly to the left.
I sniffed then said, “Good thing it isn’t summer anymore,” and followed him to the outhouse.