Tiger and Simba Leones are Lion People, genetically engineered by Earth
humans. (The story of their creation is told in Simba Leones.)
Tiger stumbled upon the Coherent Quantum Momentum Transfer effect and
developed it into a sublight stardrive. She, Simba and two human co-workers
explored the epsilon Eridani system. A disaster obligated them to found a
colony on Thor, the Earth-sized moon of a gas giant, and to bioengineer
additional sentient species to populate the colony: the genus Novanima.
At the end of Tiger in the River terraforming is well advanced and
Tiger is concerned about the population structure of her colony, for she is
then 112 Earth years old and due to good Lion construction is not showing any
signs of senility.
As Rules of Engagement opens, Tiger and her team of senior colonists
arrive back in the Sol system. The population of Earth is 51.3 billion humans
(plus about twenty thousand lions), and even growing Chang bushes on marginal
land, farmers are not producing enough food to feed them all. Tiger is
concerned that the species that created her will go extinct in a population
crash, and the entire ecology of her homeworld will be wrecked in the debacle,
and so she, Simba and their team have returned to do what they can.
As the representative of Earth's only space colony, Tiger meets with high
officials. Most authorities on Earth are sanguine about their future.
However the United Nations Secretary General pays attention to Tiger's
evidence, and is convinced to begin preparations for disaster. The
Netherlands and parts of Belgium and Germany are flooded with terrible loss of
life. Calcutta and New Orleans are also under water. The Eridanus
Corporation has a number of salvage projects; one is a system of refugee
camps, which are filled using an elitist policy. During a World Cup final
match the New York power grid overloads, and most of the billion New Yorkers
riot in the streets. The insanity is contagious; the collapse is in full
When the population has declined to a sustainable level, that is, when 99% of
people have been cannibalized or have died of starvation, disease or freezing,
the Eridanus Corporation and the United Nations emerge from hiding and begin
the North American campaign. Strict rules of engagement are adhered to; they
insist on population control and very little else, but even so they have
plenty of militias and warlords who oppose them. In the popular view Tiger
and the Eridanus Corporation are little better than just another militia. But
blowing peoples' heads off, as well as restraint when it will do some good,
does bring results.
From their power center in North America the U.N. and the Eridanus Corporation
work south and east. Tiger's division is assigned the toughest job, to bring
population control to Illyria, the Balkan states. The program is sold to the
people, often at gunpoint. The Illyrians attempt to form a government that
will maintain the population control regime and manage the federation, but
they cannot put aside a thousand years of internecine conflict, and no
government is formed. Disgusted, Tiger declares the whole territory a
wildlife preserve and relocates all the humans to already governed areas. She
struggles to minimize the number of My Lai reenactments needed for her program
of cultural genocide.
The Chinese are unique and so must be the Chinese campaign. The Imperial
government in the north has given itself a pseudo-Maoist flavor, whereas the
Maoists in the south aren't even bothering with rhetoric about ``serving the
people''. The U.N. forces aren't strong enough to prevail in a stand-up
battle with either. But by truly serving the Chinese people, they subvert
support for the two governments. The young and idealistic Emperor defects.
The noose is tightened around Southern Mao. Population control, as originally
instituted by Chairman Mao himself, is brought to China.
Tiger hoped for an honorable death in battle, but she does not feel it is
necessary to surrender to any of the numerous ad hoc war crimes tribunals
howling after her. An offer of the Nobel Peace Prize seems bizarre. But it's
sincere: without population control, people on Earth would be doomed to
repeated cycles of growth followed by endless repetition of the horrors just
suffered, probably worse. So Tiger returns to Thor with the thanks of at
least some of the humans.
0. Prologue. Tiger L6-3512 Leones is a Lion Person, genetically
engineered by Earth humans. In a previous adventure she, her mate Simba
L7-1340 Leones, and human teammates explored the epsilon Eridani system and
founded a colony on Thor, the large moon of a gas giant, which they have named
Gondor (and a Tolkien theme was used for many place names). For their
colonists they have genetically engineered the genus Novanima: more
Lion People, plus Otters, Jaguars and 'Uomi, who are simulated humans on a Novanima
chassis, and who are being referred to as ``werewolves''. It's been
discovered that Novanima age much slower than real humans; by this
time Tiger and Simba are 130 years old, but they don't feel the least elderly.
1. From the Frying Pan to the Fire. The population of Earth is now
51.3 billion humans (and about 20,000 lions), carbon dioxide levels and sea
surface temperature are way up, and Tiger fears that the population and
ecology are about to collapse. In an attempt to salvage the situation she has
recruited a team of senior colonists consisting of Simba, Selen and Titania
(Otters), Quin and Valeria ('Uomi), and Wolf and Xena (Jaguars). They arrive
in the Sol system and get caught up with Claude, who is Tiger's son and the
president of the Eridanus Corporation, and who is now nine years older than
Tiger and Simba since they were frozen during space travel. They attend a
concert of clatter music composed and performed by Leo, one of the original
lions, and his garage band.
2. United We Stand. Being the representative of Earth's only space
colony, Tiger meets with the U.S. President, and is underwhelmed by his
understanding of the population threat. She meets the Secretary-General of
the United Nations, and points out flooding in his parking garage, and
convinces him that something drastic is going to happen soon and a drastic
response is needed. On her way to that meeting Tiger meets and befriends
Cricket, a street urchin girl who supports herself by picking pockets.
3. Ice Island Bavaria. A force six typhoon devastates Bhangla Desh;
force six isn't rare currently. Both Greenland and West Antarctica are
flooding subsurface; inadequate remote sensing prevents estimates of where the
meltwater is going in East Antarctica. Simba negotiates with the director of
the Louvre to save French artwork when Paris is eventually flooded. Ice
Island Texas barely misses Ireland; it will catch the Gulf Stream and will not
be entirely melted when it gets to North America. A madman sabotages the
Scheldt locks and half of the Netherlands goes underwater. Ice Island Bavaria
misses Scotland on the other side, destroys the Rhine locks (finishing off the
Netherlands), and wedges in La Manche, devastating French and British
4. Woodsey Hollow. Invited by Tiger, Cricket makes her way to one
of the Eridanus Corporation's refugee camps in the Adirondacks. She's lucky
to encounter Valeria, to whom she's attracted because (to her eyes) Valeria is
one of the few black people there. But when Quin shows up and starts cutting
vegetables for dinner with his claw, she panics and escapes: she's not having
anything to do with a naked white werewolf guy! Convinced to return, she gets
busy learning what well-trained children learn at age six, such as reading.
The next day she meets and gets into a relation with Jelani, a neighbor boy.
Following a suggestion by Cricket to ``steal it'', Valeria and Quin buy the
whole Armco Corporation to get their hands on a key steel mill to be preserved
through the meltdown.
5. World Cup Fever. Shadow, the young, but eldest, kitten of a pair
of Lion Person doctors in New York (population one billion), has a cold and
has to stay home alone. But it's not too bad; he gets to watch the World Cup
final match, in which the New York team is playing. Oops, power goes out.
Furious New Yorkers riot. Shadow's parents and siblings don't return. His
family has supplies stashed, but few do, and after the looting and burning and
building collapses subside, he sees starving thugs turn to cannibalism in the
street. There is a plague of flies (from the corpses), which are beaten down
by a force five hurricane steered north toward New York by Ice Island Texas.
The storm surge overtops the dikes and Shadow's building is now its own
island. The lonely months pass. The Chang seeds are getting low. When the
water freezes enough that people don't drop through, Shadow sneaks across the
Triboro bridge at night in a snowstorm, and only has to kill one would-be
cannibal. He hikes north hoping to find Woodsey Hollow, but instead holes up
in an abandoned farmhouse. Eridanus Corporation soldiers finally spot him.
Tiger and Simba give him a home with them.
6. Hard-Shell Baptists. At the start of the North American
Campaign, surviving army units from the USA, Canada and Mexico negotiate
intensely with the U.N. and the Eridanus Corporation to define their role in
the New World Order. Does the United States even exist? Policy is that
former Earth nations will be preserved. But the U.N. (prodded by Tiger)
insists that their population be controlled, at all levels. Only very
independent people have survived, and they do not take well to breeding
restrictions. At a meeting broadcast on the web (the Eridanus Corporation is
giving free net access and power feeds to villages) Tiger remonstrates with a
group of Baptists who quote the biblical injunction to be fruitful and
multiply. Their leader will not reinterpret the Bible, and Tiger blows a
large hole through him. The widow, with two children already, got pregnant
illegally, and another life is forfeit; she resolves to have the child and to
force Tiger to martyr her too.
7. Colonel America. Numerous militias and warlords have filled the
power vacuum. One of the best organized is led by Colonel William America.
Xena, the military expert, puts on a guerrilla war against him, then uses her
superior mobility to trap him. He and his force are convinced to surrender
rather than be slaughtered, to join the real American forces, and to fight for
the U.N. (abroad). Meanwhile the Baptist widow has died in childbirth and the
two children are being abused by their foster parents. They call on Tiger to
rescue them. She asks Selen and Titania to care for them.
8. Summer on the Dalmatian Coast. Tiger leads a division of troops
who are pacifying the Balkan states and setting up the population control
procedures. One Montenegrin village complies very reluctantly and with much
recrimination. A nearby village of Albanians fight back furiously, shoot down
Tiger's hover vehicle, and are slaughtered. One teenage boy was tending sheep
and can't get back in time to join the carnage; Tiger captures him.
9. Call Me Rat. Instead, Tiger names him Gerbil, a tough survivor.
He struggles to decide what to do: hurl himself on Tiger and strangle her (not
very likely) before she slashes his throat, or survive and carry on his
village's and parents' existence. Learning to live among the foreign monsters
isn't easy. Gerbil is put to work in the military hospital, and is impressed
by a young orphan Croat girl's courage. (At that time, Albanians normally
kill Croats on sight.) On his own initiative he adds her to their family.
Valeria is helping get a Slovak factory back in production, but there's a
grenade attack and she and others are near death. Gerbil's injuries are less
severe, and he displays both grit and brains getting Valeria and the other
injured people back to the hospital.
10. There Is Only One Illyria. Tiger and her division of troops
can't govern Illyria forever, and she puts together a caucus to organize an
Illyrian government which can take responsibility for enforcing population
control and keeping the villages from each others' throats. The caucus is a
fiasco. Tiger has no choice but to have the Illyrians governed by competent
governments -- at their locations; Illyria is proclaimed a wildlife preserve.
The whole cycle of intimidation and slaughter has to be done over to expel the
Illyrians. Gerbil overcomes his ingrained antipathy to non-Albanians and
falls in love with a Serb girl.
11. Chang Seeds Bought and Sold. In Beijing Tiger meets with the
young Mao Emperor and his ``advisors'' to induce the Imperial Chinese to get
serious about population control. In the South she has no better luck with
the Chairman of the Peoples' Congress. A standup battle is out of the
question because the two governments are entrenched and have more resources.
However, capitalizing on traditional Chinese corruption, in the border area
the U.N. forces set up honest basic infrastructure such as net access, crop
sales, and a pickup and delivery service. Both governments are incensed, but
are led into a ``let's you and him fight'' situation. Xena rescues three
starving refugee children who are trying their best to elude Imperial troops,
and she and Wolf give them a home.
12. Technical Support. In a supposedly safe area one of the
children and Shadow are setting up a peasant family with net access when
Southern Mao troops sweep through. Guile, guts and internet access keep the
kids and the peasants alive until they can be rescued by U.N. soldiers. Xena
traps a Southern Mao column and bluffs them into surrendering. The U.N. is
choking the Southern Mao. They try to break out and rid themselves of the
pests, but are picked off piecemeal.
13. The Mao Dynasty. In the North the U.N. strategy of providing
basic services has sapped popular support for the government, which has to
abandon Beijing. The Emperor is missing -- but turns up at a U.N. checkpoint
and defects. The demoralized Imperial Army evaporates, and China is once
again united under their Mao Emperor, who is willing to learn from Tiger what
his advisors never taught him about honest government.
14. The Legacy of Alfred Nobel. Several rump tribunals indict Tiger
for war crimes. She is astonished to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Careful investigation reveals that the award is not a trick. At the award
ceremony several assassins are detected by the door guards, but an Illyrian
with a nonmetallic hand cannon interrupts Tiger's speech. She is wounded but
not out of action, and twisting the Illyrian's arm she finishes her speech by
forcing him to acknowledge that without population control the world would be
subjected to interminable horrors, probably worse than what they had just been