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)
Great Uncle Rion said, “You’re going to have to trust that I am operating from a very long-range, deeply-laid plan.” He turned, sweeping the Triad – fifteen of us with one member killed when we were chased underground, and adding Retired, who was in fact, Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh and I’d pretty much figured out that he was some sort of Triad babysitter. “You have to follow me and not ask questions.”
“We have to follow and never question you?” Dao-hi said.
My robot great uncle grinned then and said, “Of course I expect you to question me! What are you, a bunch of robots?”
There was dead silence for an second, then we all busted out laughing.
I had to admire my android uncle, that had been the perfect thing to say. After a good night’s sleep and good food, we were probably ready to go. I said, “So, what’s our departure time?”
Even though he was artificial and made of white plastic, he could do facial expressions. It was sort of creepy. Like the teeny empathetic robots that were really popular before Earth became a late Twenty-first Century Korean Conflict – with us Humans playing the part of the Koreans to the Yown’Hoo and Kiiote the clashing super powers. “Gather whatever it is you wish to take from here. We’ll leave in ten minutes.”
“Why would we wish to take things from this site?” asked Xurf.
“Once we’re ten kilometers away, I’ll give the command and this site will be disintegrated.”
“What? You can’t do that! My family lived here! My dad came from here! If you destroy it, what am I gonna have left?”
GURion tilted his head and studied me for a long time before he said, “You’ve only been here a handful of hours. How can this mean anything to you?”
I had to look down. I didn’t know why the basement of a rundown old farm meant anything to me. All I had was some really vague memories. I looked up, “‘cause I don’t remember my dad any more, except just a little bit. That little bit happened here.” I bit the inside of my cheek then said, “If this is gone and I forget about it, then that’s it. Everything I ever knew about my parents is gone.” I blushed ‘cause I was ashamed. ‘Shay’d lost her family a long time ago. As far as I know, she was an orphan. I didn’t have any idea where the Herd and Pack had come from – by that I meant where Dao-hi, Xurf and Qap came from. I knew where the others had – they’d made them in Dome Home. I looked down at the Pack Mistress and said, “Do you remember your bitch?” I used the Kiiote word that meant the same thing. Kiiote didn’t raise their kids like Human did.
She stretched herself out from her four-legged travel stance, the others doing the same. I could see bones moving under fur and muscle as the upper legs and pelvis flattened and his leg bent, unlocking the tibia and fibula, pulling the toes together into narrow food make for running, it’s wide pads ideal for keeping them from sinking while hunting.
Their teeth sank back into their jaws and the skin loosened a bit as well as the neck and chest sagging a bit, as if they were shrinking underneath. Arms collapsed from long, slender digits to slender fox-legs. Their broad shoulders slid together and their necks bent. As one, they dropped to their feet and their tails went down. Qap said, “We need nothing. We are ready.”
Retired stepped out of the room, then returned with backpacks. He tossed one each to me and ‘Shay. “Hey!” I grunted. The thing was heavy! He left and returned again, this time pushing a cart with one huge pack on it.
“This, Mother, is for you. It is supplies for you and the rest of the Herd.”
The lesser Yown’Hoo reared up, keening, rushing forward to claim the packs, tentacles whipping as they redistributed them until Dao-hi stood amid a sea of lumpy Herdfolk. She snapped a single tentacle in Retired’s direction and said, “Forgive any doubt I ever had that you understand the dynamics of a Herd, Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh.”
He bowed and said, “Primate tribal behavior has roots in the Herd behavior, Mother.” He added, “That’s everything. The Pack will be scouts and muscle. The Herd transportation.”
“Of what use is the Tribe?” Qap said.
Retired looked at us, winked, and said, “Any kind of dirty work that has to be done, us monkeys will handle.”