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. All three intelligences hover on the edge of extinction. The merger of Human-Kiiote-Yown’Hoo into a van der Walls Society might not only save all three – but become something not even they could predict. Something entirely new...
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) – whom we called Retired – said, “There was no solution in war.”
Suddenly ‘Shay said, “The only answer was peace.” I stared at her. When she said the words, her voice had changed. Her stance had changed. I didn’t recognize her.
But I did grasp the implication and all I could whisper was, “And we were the offerings of peace.”
I barely heard Great Uncle Rion say, “No one knows yet if the offering is one of honey…or one of blood.”
Nobody said a word for a long time. Finally Retired sighed and said, “We need to get some sleep. We’ve got a twenty-kilometer hike to do tomorrow.”
Normally, I would have been shocked; probably said something stupid. Almost for sure, ‘Shay would have slugged me. Instead, I nodded and said, “We need to get to safety. All nineteen of us.” I shook my head, looked at GURion and said, “Twenty-one of us.”
“You really want me to go with you?”
I shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t know. You stuck with my family for a century – but never bothered to let me know that you were…” I don’t know if it was quite right, but I figured I could cut him some slack, “…alive. You could have told me about Rion and my dad; hell, maybe you even knew Mom.” For a second, it seemed like something caught in my throat. I cleared it. “I haven’t seen either one of them since I was seven and they brought me to the Arena.”
“You were recruited,” GURion began.
I chopped him off, “I was never asked. My parents volunteered me for the Triad. I never had…” GURion cleared his own throat, though for an android, it wasn’t exactly a natural reflex. I couldn’t help but give him a dirty look when I said, “What?”
“You weren’t just recruited. You were made. All of you were.”
‘Shay turned to him now. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He shrugged, “Exactly what it sounds like. All nineteen members of this Triad – as well as the Eurasian Triad and the African Triad – have long genealogies. You were literally made for this moment.”
“What moment is this?” I asked.
GURion suddenly turned his gaze to Retired and gestured, palm up, “Ask one of the architects of the plan.”
Retired sighed, sinking his face into his broad hand. A thumb and a pinky finger massaged his temples. I expected denial. Anger. Maybe even Retired jumping up and blowing GURion away. Instead he said, “You could have at least waited for morning.”
My great uncle shrugged, “It doesn’t matter down here.”
“True, but I wouldn’t feel so…” he paused.
“I think the word you’re looking for is ‘old’, Patrick.”
A smile twitched his stubbly face. For a second I saw him as just some old guy; and my great uncle was right. Retired looked old. And tired. But he didn’t look like he was going to give up. He lifted his chin and said, “Computer?”
A voice floated form the walls, “Yes, Lieutenant Commander Bahksh?”
“Status of the Kiiote Pack and the Yown’Hoo Herd?”
“Both groups are eighty-five percent asleep, Sir.”
“Thanks.” He looked at me, then GURion, “I think we wait until morning then for a full briefing.” He looked at ‘Shay, then to me. “It’s not going to be a complete briefing yet, because there are still things you aren’t cleared to know. But it should go a long way to answering where we are, where we’re going, and – now that things have started heating up – who are the beings opposing the formation and training of the Triads.”
‘Shay glared at him, then gave a sharp nod, “Fine then. I won’t kill you tonight. I’ll wait until after you tell us what we want to know.”
Retired held her harsh gaze, then barked a laugh. “Just like your mother! Damn, you’re tough!” He sobered suddenly, “I just hope you’re as smart as she was. We’re going to need a new genius geneticist on our team.”
I’m pretty sure both of us looked stunned, because after busting out another guffaw, he pushed himself to his feet and headed for another room. “I’m going to bed. And so are you two.” He pointed suddenly, once at each of us, adding, “Separately.”
I don’t know about ‘Shay, but I suddenly found myself blushing about six shades of red…
(4 miles NE of Plum Coulee, MB; southwest of Winnipeg)
(4 miles NE of Plum Coulee, MB; southwest of Winnipeg)