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 Xiomara; 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 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’d be safer with him than on my own. In fact, except when I slept in my assigned room – and not with Fax – I was rarely, really alone. And I hadn’t heard a growl, yap, howl, snort, hiss, snap, or any other noise from the rest of the Triad – which was to say, my family – after we escaped the blasting of my ancestral farm. Such as it was. I trudged along for a long time before GURion suddenly said, “Oh, quit moping! Your bodyguard, Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh and I, talked about something like this happening. We established a meet up spot about ten kilometers ahead. It’s provisioned and we can spend a day or two there and let things upstairs settle down.”
I ignored his thinly veiled insult and kept walking. I asked, “So, what if things upstairs don’t settle down?”
We trudged in the sickly green light of the glowing walls for a long time before he answered, “Commander Bakhsh discussed that as well.” Long pause. “The situation on Earth is incredibly unstable. The Yown’Hoo and the Kiiote are both wearing out. Their military forces are becoming demoralized because neither side can claim a decisive victory. We’re no help to them either – at least not as allies. Earth’s resources were pretty close to depleted even before the aliens showed up – even back in my time. We don’t have anything physical to offer them. All we have is real estate that both can use to breed on.” He kept walking. Even though he was an android, his pace was off. His feet dragged.
I said, “There’s us, right?”
I’m pretty sure he would have sighed if he’d had lungs. GURion said, “The three Triads are about all that we have to put our hope in. If the three of you can join up, form a sort of…van Der Waals society, then maybe all three civilizations can do the same thing.” I snorted. “What?”
“It’s not like there’s no pressure here, right? Me and the rest of the North American Triad have to join up with the Chinese Triad and the Russian Triad and ‘Poof’ save not one civilization; not two civilizations; but THREE technological civilizations from interstellar war and societal decay!” I paused for dramatic effect, then added, “No pressure on us, eh?”
We walked a long way before he finally said, “We’re guilty as charged.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“What you said. It’s true. We’ve laid the hopes of the entire extant populations of the only three intelligent societies we know of in the Milky Way on the hearts of fifty-seven young people. If you can’t make any kind of change, then it’s very likely we’ll all cease to exist as space-faring civilizations.”
I couldn’t help but feel the ground over my head as if was pressing down on me. “Thanks.”
I snorted. “Yeah, but you could have lied…”
GURion stopped suddenly and spun around. I could only just see him in the weird light, but his android eyes seemed to catch the light; glowing as if they were lit from inside his head. Which they could have been for all I knew. He said, “I may have done many things to deceive you, Oscar, but I never lied to you. I wanted to keep things from you – I had to under orders from the Triad Corporation. But when you asked, I told you…”
“You’d better not say, ‘some version of the truth’. The truth doesn’t have versions! I learned that from Xiomara’s favorite movie.”
He hung his head, lifted it then said, “I was going to say just that. But Xiomara’s movie is right. There are no versions of truth – only all of it or not all of it. I withheld things from you. Which I won’t be doing again. Ever. I can’t afford to any more. The nineteen – eighteen of you since Ked-sah-ti died – of you need to know everything that’s going on. But you have to understand that some things that Retired and I keep from you are for your own safety…”
“I never understood that,” I said. “If anyone captures us, they’re going to figure we know something and torture us whether we do or not! Either way, we’re going to be dead. So, why not just tell us what we need to know?”
GURion looked down, between us. When he looked back up, he said, “You’re right. When we get to the safe room, we’ll lay all of our cards out on the table.”
I shook my head, “You’re better at comprehensible metaphors than Retired is. And he’s Human.”
GURion took me by the shoulders, shook me gently. I thought he was gonna yell at me. Instead, he said, “I want you to promise that you’ll say that to him at the worst possible moment.” He shook me again, “Promise, Oscar!”
Shaking my head, I grinned then said, “I promise.”
“Now let’s get caught up to the rest of the family.”