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)
Retired looked at him, then looked at me. He stared for a long time, then finally said, “He’s your family, ‘Car. Do you trust him?”
“Who, me?” I staggered back into ‘Shay. She shoved me forward. “Why do I have to decide?”
“Like I said.”
I looked at my great uncle, Tim. I’d known him during the first ten years of my life – well. Since being stitched into the Triad though, we hadn’t seen each other. I shrugged and said, “I trusted him when I was a kid.”
“Do you trust me now?” my great uncle said abruptly.
“Trust you ‘now’ for what?” ‘Car said out loud. He was asking himself the same question and it was deeper than the obvious one – trust him to lead our Triad, only one of three on Earth, to safety. But the deeper one had to do with the fact that he was an artificial Human. He had been built of alien technology after my flesh-and-blood great uncle had died. I said abruptly, “How did the flesh-and-blood Great Uncle Tim die?”
The plastic-and-metal Great Uncle Tim shrugged totally Human-looking shoulders and said, “He was killed in a hunting accident.”
“A what?” said Retired.
“In those days, there was an abundance of wildlife that Humans could capture and eat – it was called ‘game’ for some obscure reason. The animals were limited and Humans typically ‘hunted’ herbivores. I remember that my Template said that carnivores tasted ‘strange’.” He shrugged again. “At any rate, Humans who hunted used slug-throwing devices and scattered pellet devices. One morning, early, your great uncle was hunting. Oh, I forgot to mention that even then, Humans imbibed a great deal of alcohol to enhance their enjoyment of certain activities. Excessive use of alcohol could lead to anything from the slowing of reflexes to death.” The robot’s Human-looking eyes looked at me and for a moment, our gazes locked. He shrugged again, turning one hand palm-up. “I don’t know what they had to drink for then, nor do I understand the high incidence of alcoholism now.” He turned to look at the Herd mother, then the Pack Leaders, adding, “I also do not understand how the Yown’Hoo and the Kiiote, who both possess a cure for this malady, do not freely offer it to the Humans.”
Qap and Xurf lowered their bodies to the ground.
Dao-hi sheathed her tentacles and stamped once. The rest of the Herd backed away from the robot acting like it was my great uncle Tim.
Then I wondered what it was that had made my great uncle the man whom I remembered. It wasn’t his construction – flesh and blood or metal and plastic. It was how he spoke; what he said; even how he stood and what he thought of me. The robot whom I had thought was the flesh-and-blood great uncle of my childhood…it stood before me now. I held my breath. What I decided could help us escape or get us killed.
Either way, the alien robot in front of me acting like it was Great Uncle Tim hadn’t steered me wrong in the past; my own father had trusted him; and we were, in fact now hidden from people who obviously wanted us dead. I said, “I’ll trust you.” The group began to move and froze as I added, “I also want to know more about my Human great uncle. The truths.”
GU Tim snorted then said, “It’s not all pretty.”
I managed to keep a smirk from my face then said, “It never is with us Humans.”