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)
In a well-lit room with walls and a few laptops, my great uncle stood with his legs slightly spread, pointing a large, ugly weapon at us, the tip glowing a dull red; like the eye of an alien robot.
The ten Yown’Hoo came through after us, the Herd throwing themselves into a huddle after some soundless signal from the Herd Mother.
Qap and Xurf followed them, along with the rest of the Pack, all of them folding back into four-legged attack form in moments.
Last through was Retired – his full title was Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) – the man who had just led us into this trap. He brushed the front of his uniform off, looked at Great Uncle Tim and said, “Always the one for a surprise, Tim. You gonna let what a little girl says control your behavior?” He crossed his arms over his chest adding, “You’re going to support the paradigm.”
My great uncle smiled then said, “It’s not what the kid said, it’s what has been said over and over; the whole of Naturals distrust us. It’s why we were banned.”
Retired said, “True. But I don’t think you’ll deny the atrocities committed when some of the Artificials not-quite-died.”
The blaster ray gun’s red blowing chamber drooped a little. GU Tim sighed, “I cannot deny them.” The chamber came up, “But not all of us became zombies!”
“Any ugly word,” said Retired.
The group of us was squishing away from our Master guardian. Why was he saying stuff like this to my great uncle? Did he WANT all of us to be vaporized down here in the dank hobbit hole? On the other hand, Tim said, “It was an ugly time, Pat. You were there for the end of it.”
“I was. I was there when the best Artificial Humans sacrificed themselves to the zombie hordes.”
The muzzle of the gun went dark, and Tim lowered it – the arc of dimming death drawn as if he were writing words with sparkler embers. He said, “We poisoned our best then disguised them as Naturals to kill our sick brothers and sisters.” There was a long pause. No one in the Triad moved or made a noise. I was pretty sure if I took the slightest whisper of a breath, Great Uncle Tim would lift the gun, turn it on, pull the trigger and blow all of us into our component elements.
“But if the ill had succeeded?” Retired said softly.
“Then we would have all died at the hands of the Naturals.”
There was a long pause, then Retired said, “So you run an underground railroad of sorts to keep Triads, the Masters, and the rest of the Humans of Earth safe – both Natural and Artificial.”
“We do,” GU Tim said. He set the weapon aside and slapped the wall. Lights came on behind him, lining a corridor that shrank away to a single point of very, very distant light. “This is the way we have to go.”