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)
“Who’d want these scruffy old things?” said GURion. He lifted me to my feet and shouted, “Run like the wind, Bullseye!” A line from my favorite movie as a kid – one I’d watched over and over when I was little. Right upstairs in the house that was probably a disintegrated fog of ashes blowing in a cyclonic wind over our heads.
“My name’s not Bullseye!” I managed to shout over the increasing rumble around us.
“I don’t think we’re gonna make it to the blast doors before your bodyguard blows the nuke!”
“He’s not my bodyguard!”
“Then he’s your worst enemy! Run!”
Instead of arguing with my great uncle, I ran, pounding after Pack, Herd, and Bodyguard – or whatever Retired was. Him and me were gonna have major conversation once I caught up with him.
“Hang on…” GURion shoved me and I dove at the floor, head up, like ‘Shay and I had learned from our swim instructor when we were little. That didn’t keep me from bumping my chin on the floor as me and Rion slid across a floor that was smooth and frozen solid. We passed under a slowly lowering door that thudded into place as we hit a slide that took us deeper underground. It also cut off the roaring maelstrom we’d left behind and magnified my scream as we accelerated downhill.
The ground bucked once more, tossing me into the air, the landing knocking the air out of me for the second time in as many minutes. The ceiling of the tunnel groaned, dumping sand and clods of damp, cold earth on us. We slowed down really fast. I ended up rolling wildly, on my side, somersaulting, smashing into the walls, bouncing like a ping pong in a tumble dryer. For a second, I thought the tunnel was going to come down on us. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t scared or anything.
I was terrified.
Being raised in the Triad – all nineteen of us had the best of everything Earth could offer. We didn’t get hurt except when we were training with each other. We didn’t have to worry about being “accepted” by our peers. We were all without peers. That’s what the Tutors told us. We were the last hope for the Universe – at least our part of it. See, the worst calculations said that we’d be alone in the Milky Way; the best said there’d be zillions of alien races.
According to the Yown’Hoo and the Kiiote, the three of us are all there is. According to the Triad Corporation, we were the last, best hope of knitting the three intelligences into one civilizations. A Van der Walls society.
In the split second it had taken me to think all that, I found myself face-down and panting, my heart racing and my hands balled into fists like I was clutching the ground but pressed against a wall.
GURion said, “Are you alive?”
I managed to gasp, then said, “Yeah.”
“Good. Get up and get moving.”
“There’s a door in front of my face but pressed against a wall. If I stand up – and I’m not sure I can – there’s nowhere to go.”
I heard Rion’s foot step next to my head rather than saw it. I couldn’t see anything because it was cave-dark. The only light I could see was the phosphenes in my retina when I rubbed my eyes. He said, “I know there’s got to be a handle here.”
“Why does there have to be a handle?”
“It’s how I made it.”
“You dug the tunnel?” I couldn’t help sounding amazed. “How long did it take?”
“Not alone,” he said. “But a lot of it I did. But I never had to use a shovel or anything like that. We could use Yown’Hoo and Kiiote tools.”
“How far does it go?”
“All the way,” he said softly. “Here it is.” I heard a sharp crack and the door swung out a bit, creating a breeze there on the ground.
“The doorway north.”
“North to where?”
The idea of walking a zillion miles underground… “Insane!” I blurted.
GURion snorted in the dark, though I noticed the walls beyond the door were starting to glow a faint green. He said, “Not insane. Just a long walk. Staying down here will keep the Triad safe.”
“Where’s this ‘Grendl’?”
I blinked, startled and started to get to my feet. “Canada,” I said. Even the echo of my voice was flat.
“Yep. Let’s go.” He started walking.
No matter how crazy he was, I didn’t have anywhere else to go.
And I didn’t hear any noise from the rest of my family…