The Third Earth — The Beta Earth Chronicles: Book Five
Now, Renbourn and five of his Betan wives are forced to cross the multi-verse once again, this time to the strange world called Cerapin-Earth. After startling and frightening physical transformations, the altered Renbourns meet two new kinds of humanity. One is the dominant pairs who are able to share thoughts and sensations at the same time. The other are the nams, single-bodied people the pairs deem defective mono-minds. As a result, nams are exiled from the overpopulated cities of pyramid hives.
Tribe Renbourn must join the outcasts and teach them they are as worthy of love and acceptance as any unkind pair. But helping the nams learn how to stand up for themselves ultimately leads to a catastrophic war. At the same time, Cerapin scientists plan another multi-versal jump that must also end in a costly catastrophe. Along the way, two sexy spies complicate everything.
On a world where technology is worshiped like a religion, how can the nam rebels overcome the superior armaments of the pairs using primitive weaponry? While this conflict brews, Tribe Renbourn explores what it means to be human in ways they never expected. Will their epic end like it began, forced to sacrifice themselves to save a doomed city?
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Without question, all eyes centered on the coming main event. The bridge. On one side, the pairs were lining up rows of their infantry that would lead the way for their armored troop carriers. A seemingly endless number of nams were preparing for their own, far less professional march. The pairs began by calling out through their loudspeakers and speaking-cones that resistance wasn’t necessary. No lives needed to be lost. No blood needed to be spilt. The 33 army was there to meet the needs of their people and cause no harm. Well, the nams were not interested in the needs of the unkind people of District 33.
Almost simultaneously, the two forces began their marches. I know not who fired first, but I’m sure it was the hail of arrows sent into the 33 ranks. They accomplished little beyond annoying the pairs. In response, the invaders shot the electric fire from their pistol-batons and sent waves of their whirling stun discs into the nams. The pairs sent hovering winged drones towards the nams, which suddenly wobbled in the air before crashing to the stones below. My eyes widened, as I saw nam arms pointing into the sky. I realized some of them were holding up signal blockers. Others responded to 33 technology by flinging bottles and jars containing fluids that ignited and exploded in the frontlines of the pairs.
Despite these opening shots, both sides moved relentlessly forward. For both sides, an obvious problem was the confinement of the walled bridge. Neither side could ever retreat as, especially in the nam hordes, there were bodies in the rear waiting to have their chance to join the battle.
With an ear-splitting howl and roar, the nams stopped their slow march and began screaming and running into the 33 soldiers. “Flam! Flam! Flam!” the nams cried in unison. Roughly translated, that little word meant “Those of us about to die will take you with us!”
That battle-cry was almost a weapon of its own. For the invaders, it resulted in confusion and surprise on so many faces. For the nams, they were voicing the rage and pain they had felt all their lives. While the 33 military was sturdily professional and didn’t break, the nams vented an emotional outcry that drove all of them to frenzied fury. They didn’t stop even as the bridge began to fill with the downed bodies of the dead and wounded.