The Triads, by John Stechley
They were a small people, in number and in size, living on a suitably small planet. They had yet to have any contact with the inhabitants of other worlds. The people, who referred to themselves with their word meaning ‘Triads’, were unique in several ways. Primarily they were different from the inhabitants of other worlds in that they had three sexes, all of which were necessary for the reproduction of their species. For them, a ‘love triangle’ was a natural and normal phenomenon. Every child had three parents. And wedding ceremonies could be quite full of people, as there were three families attending. And 12 people walked down the aisle, the triad getting married, and the three parents of each one of them. The aisle was wide.
I was the first earthling to visit their planet. It wasn’t my original destination, as the planet was much smaller than the one I was aiming for. But I was glad I went there all the same.
I had something of a crash landing, and the Triads came quick to free me from my damaged inter-stellar flying machine.
Obviously, we could not speak to each other at first, but fortunately enough, one of their technicians figured out a way to make their translation devices and mine ‘speak’ to each other. For them to understand me and for me to understand them, we would just have to wear a specialized ear-bud.
The first words said to me that I could understand were strange, but not surprising given what I would soon learn about their three genders. It would help explain the times that I had already seen three people walking hand-in-hand-in hand.
“What is your tri-gender? We were wondering. There are no obvious signs of which one you are”
When I told them that we were bi-gendered, they gave me looks of wonder and surprise. Then I asked them in return. How can you tell what tri-gender someone is?
The person who had been speaking to me sighed, like a human would when talking to a particularly stunned child about sex. “Look at how many thumbs that a person has: one, two or three.” It would be quite some time before I felt confident enough in their friendship before I could ask them how their reproduction worked.
After living with the Triads for a couple of weeks (or their version of that), I had learned when one of them was happy or sad. Occasionally, I would see what I would call a great sadness on them when they spoke to each other. So I asked one who had become my friend, Garvix, whether there was anything wrong. He hesitated for a few seconds, and then let loose the cause of their sadness.
“We are beginning to starve. Our main source of food is not producing like it should. One of its triads is dying off, therefore the one that produces the fruit cannot do so”. I asked him to show me, as I was quite interested. I might spend the rest of my life here, so it was a concern to me that there would be food for all.
Another reason for my interest is that my first degree was in botany, and my honors thesis fourth year, one that earned me my only mark in the nineties, was on the reproduction of potatoes. The next year I took my minor in astronomy to the stars and a Master’s degree, and I became an astronaut.
When I looked at the plant in question with the problem, I could see that it was a lot like a potato, except that it required biological contributions from three genders. I told my friend about my research on the reproduction of a very similar plant, and he encouraged me to experiment. Soon enough some Triad scientists who had been working on the problem asked me to join them in their research. We worked on the problem for whatever passes for days on this planet. We had failure after failure, but I felt that we were getting closer to a solution, step by small step.
Then we had it! The third member of this plant’s Triad was no longer necessary. The potato-like plant could now reproduce with only two players instead of three. A lot on congratulations were passed my way. I was told that success could not have happened without my work. I should be the one to write up the results.
Not long afterwards, as I was writing up in English (which would be translated into Triad) what we had learned, my friend came up to me with a big smile on his/her/whatever’s face. Then he asked me: “I am guessing that you cannot leave our planet. Am I right?”
“You have the truth of it my friend. But I am beginning to really like living here. I won’t really mind if I spent the rest of my life here.”
“I was hoping that you would say that my friend.”
Then he snapped his finger, and in through the door came someone that I had often seen with my friend. I had seen them holding hands, but with no person as a third member.
“We were thinking that you could be our third. Not for reproduction, as we are not interested in having children, and we don’t think that you would like to be cut up like a potato.”
I answered not with words but with two outstretched hands that soon joined with those of my new partners. We were hand in hand in hand.
John Stechley has a book coming out next week, “Names of the Wyandot.” As an academic, he publishes articles and books based on 45 years work on the language, history and culture of the Wendat/Wyandot people.
Leave a Reply.
HalfHourToKill.Com is a literary website publishing authors of Flash Fiction and Short Stories in the genres of Fantasy, Horror and Noir. Feel free to submit your Fiction, Poetry and Non-Fiction work to us year round.
Site powered by Weebly. Managed by SiteGround