Plot Summary

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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 swing.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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. Plot Summary

Chapter Summary

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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 agriculture.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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.

Plot Summary 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 through.