People of the Tiger

         Book One of The Rational Future Series! 

    When we've solved the great problems of humanity, how will we integrate those who are prone to violence? What if the system is then disrupted by the introduction of a genetically engineered human? Join us for action and adventure as these questions are answered in this Science Fiction blockbuster! Tika has been altered in many ways, most of which are not immediately apparent, and she doesn't know how or why. It's not always easy being a very gifted and unusual child. With the help of her friends and family, she struggles to deal with the unknown, to find the truth, and to learn her destiny. Contains some of the best hand-to-hand combat and hunting scenes in print! 

An Excerpt from People of the Tiger


December 3, 2154

            A year later Tika sat on a log outside the den studying her lessons on her screen.  She looked up and realized there was a woman crouched in a tree across the clearing.  There had been a few adults who had visited before, people Tika knew from the trading post, but this woman was someone Tika had never seen before.  Besides that, visitors walked into the clearing and called greetings.  They did not crouch in trees, staring.

            "Where is Tira?" the woman asked.

            "She is taking half a crocodile to the trading post.  She should be back soon." Tika replied.

            "I will wait." the woman stated.

            For fifteen minutes Tika tried to continue studying, but found she could not concentrate with the feel of the woman's eyes upon her, so she turned off her screen and sat staring back at the woman.  After a minute of this Tika was unnerved, and went into the den to try to resume her lessons.  Five minutes later her mother arrived.

            "Tira-Mother, there is a..." Tika began.

            "I know." Tira interrupted.  She took off her pack and went back outside, Tika following.

            The woman jumped ten feet out of the tree and landed lightly, rising slowly to her feet and removing her backpack.  She was of native Indian stock, about twenty years old, and around five feet ten inches tall.  Her muscles rippled, each well defined.  She looked as fierce as any woman Tika had ever seen.

            "I am Paginna, Magnificent, of the Central Zone.  With honor I challenge you for status, territory, and rank."

            "Rank?" Tira asked in surprise.  "I have not challenged for rank in eight years!"

            "It does not matter." Paginna replied curtly.  "Your child is no longer an infant; you are eligible for the challenge.  And you are still ranked."

            "I see." Tira returned.  "And where do I stand?"

            "Two hundred fifty-second among Tiger women, six hundred eighty-third among Tiger People, one thousand four hundred sixteenth among all fighters."  Paginna rattled off, having obviously memorized the stats from studying her opponent.

            "That is flattering.  Two hundred fifty-second after eight years.  So you want my place in the tournament?"  Tira asked.

            "Yes.  And your territory is beautiful.  You have many high status animals, good location, pure springs, river access."

            "I see." said Tira.  "You have studied me.  Will you tell me your records?"

            "I will tell you my record in challenges for rank.  Undefeated in twelve fights, all with Claws." Paginna stated.  "I will give you ten minutes to prepare."

            "Fair."  Tira said.  "With honor I accept the challenge."

            "One more thing.  I wish to record three views.  Will you and your child participate?" Paginna asked.

            "Yes.  I wish that as well.  Shall we flash it?  I will set my screen to alerting those who used to watch my fights.  I had many fans.  We may want to wait a while for the word to spread.  There are many credits available in this."  Tira advised.

            "That is a good idea." Paginna stated with a smile, "I had not considered the interest this fight might generate.  In that case, shall we make it an hour?"

            "An hour then."  Tira agreed.  She turned and ducked into the den.  Tika watched Paginna take out her screen, then followed her mother.

            Tira sat cross-legged with her screen in her lap.  Tika began to speak but her mother held her hand up for silence.

            "General Broadcast." Tira's screen activated at her command words.  "Notice of Accepted Challenge.  Challenge by Paginna, Magnificent, Tiger Woman of the Central Zone of the Vishnu Region of the Great Indian Forest, with Honor, for Status, Territory, and Rank.  Accepted by Tira, Magnificent, Tiger Woman of the Northern Zone of the Vishnu Region of the Great Indian Forest.  Fight starts at 14:20 today.  Third view by Tika, daughter of Tira.  Personal Flash, all who have watched previous fights of Tira, Tika or Paginna.  Same Notice.  Transmit.

            "Records request.  Fights by Paginna."

            The screen listed all 43 fights Paginna had had in chronological order, marked those that had been recorded, and marked them won or lost.

            "Playback in order from most recent." Tira stated, and the screen began showing Paginna's last fight in a three way split screen.  The top half of the screen was split vertically and showed the view as seen by the two fighters.  The bottom half showed a third point of view that showed both fighters.

            "Listen, do not talk." Tira told Tika as she watched the fight.  "I can guess your questions.  This challenge is as serious as it gets.  It will end when the loser submits, or is unconscious, or is dead.  If I lose, we will have to move to Paginna's territory, or I will have to challenge for another one.  None may interfere until the challenge is done.

            "You will record the fight with your screen.  I will tell you more before the fight.  Now let me study her."  With that, Tira gave her full attention to what she was watching.

            Tika came and sat beside her, and took out her own screen.  She wrote: On show Tira's screen.  Her screen began showing the fight her mother was watching, and duplicating Tira's view commands as well.

            Tira watched the fight at half speed, occasionally zooming in on a small section of one of the views, usually that from Paginna's opponent.  She would slow the zoomed view to one tenth speed, and watch a single move by Paginna several times, then return to the half speed three way view.

            After a few moments Tira noticed her daughter duplicating her actions, and put an arm around her with a smile.  She began thinking out loud for Tika's benefit.

            "We are Tiger People, but our fighting style is more like people.  Most of the moves I have taught you have been used in the fighting arts for hundreds of years.  Some for thousands.

            "Paginna is different.  Her fighting style is more like a tiger.  She is quick and vicious and attacks with an all out snarling screaming style like a tiger.  She fights on instinct, simply unleashing nurtured aggression.  It is a Gift.  Very few can fight effectively that way.  She uses Claws.  They are shaped like a cat's claws, they're steel, and sharp on the inside curve.  They can be no more than half an inch long and are worn on molded rings that are glued to the finger.  They can be worn on any of the finger bones or the fingertip, and facing in or out at any angle.  Paginna wears them on her second finger bones facing out, and outside the thumb joint.  This allows her to make a semi-closed fist and use them much as a tiger uses its paws.  She does have some skill with a knife, and is not above taking her opponent's knife and using it on them.  I consider Claws a sadistic weapon.  It is hard to kill or disable with them, but it is easy to use them to cause many very painful shallow wounds.  Most who submit to them do so because of blood loss and pain overload rather than wound severity.  They allow the wearer an almost unbreakable hold on their opponent once they are sunk in.  A knife fighter has the advantage on the knife side and the disadvantage on the open hand side, so I will put my knife in my left hand."

            Tira played the third view of the fight through once at full speed on full screen.  At full speed the sound played, and Tika was astounded.  At half speed with no sound the fight had been a series of moves, easy to think of in an abstract, technical way.  At full speed, full screen with sound, it was an explosion of violence and fury, and splashing blood looked like splashing blood.  She had watched many recorded fights before, but they had never mattered before, and Paginna was unusually vicious.

            Paginna leaped at her opponent screaming, her face a death mask of rage.  Her opponent, a five foot six inch oriental woman, got her knife into Paginna's thigh as she was knocked to the ground by Paginna's knees.  There was a quick, rolling exchange on the ground that ended with the oriental woman throwing Paginna off.  When they rolled to their feet Paginna had another stab wound rib deep in her upper left chest, but the oriental woman had three deep parallel slashes down the right side of her face that continued from the right collarbone four inches down her chest, and pairs of slashes on her left shoulder, left fore-arm and right bicep.  She began bleeding heavily from most of her wounds but Paginna gave her no respite, leaping back in with an explosive snarl and three quick slashes that connected with her opponent's knife hand, left wrist and throat.  The woman's knife flew and she fell backward, clutching at her slashed throat with one hand and tapping out on the ground.  Paginna began screaming her victory dance, and Tira said `Next'.  The screen began showing Paginna's second most recent fight, and Tika shuddered at what she had seen.

            "She is mean."  Tika said.

            "Yes, she is poison mean." Tira agreed.  "But I have fought her kind before.  She is a young adult, and not a great thinker.  She let me use her want of fame and fortune to lead her into extending the time, and now I have enough time to study her.  She had already studied me, so she gave up an advantage.  She is very dangerous, but I am fairly sure I can take her."

            "Do you have to fight her, Tira-Mother?"  Tika asked concernedly.

            "Yes child.  If I do not fight her I lose my territory anyway.  Also, since I have no real reason to not fight her, if I refuse the challenge it will seem that I am afraid, and I will be much shamed and lose most of my reputation.

            "As well, I think you do not realize that I have been expecting a challenge for months now.  It is considered dishonorable to hunt or challenge mothers with infants, but you have been a child nineteen months now, and this territory is too valuable to hold it without challenge for too long.

            "More importantly, I am looking forward to fighting her, and I will enjoy it.  At times like these the life sings strong inside you, and makes you glad that you are Tiger People.  I am fully prepared, and training you has pushed me to my limits in new ways and given me a different style that Paginna will not recognize from my recorded fights.  A quicker, far more deceptive style.  This will not be as useful against Paginna as it would be against most fighters, but still, I am going to spank this nasty child like she was a kitten."

            Reassured by her mother's confidence, Tika fell silent as they studied Paginna's fights.

            With eight minutes to the appointed time Tira put her screen down and reached down a hole under a root for her strong box.  She opened it with her handprint and a voice check, and removed her combat knife, a beautiful and wicked-looking eight-inch stiletto with a `T' guard, razor sharp down both sides of the blade.  The blade was an inch wide at the guard, narrowing evenly to the point, the handle made of a light brown African Ironwood, and the whole thing laser etched with a beautiful hunting scene, a tiger on the handle stalking a deer on the blade through deep grass.  She also removed a two inch blue plastic cube.

            "What is that, Tira-Mother?" Tika asked.

            "This is a remote camera, and an earphone/microphone.  They will transmit my point of view to my screen over a distance of eight hundred yards."  She removed a half inch black disk from the plastic box.  It was shiny and convex on one side, black and sticky on the other, and Tira pressed the sticky side to the center of her forehead, just above her eyebrows.  She inserted the bright blue earplug, then picked up her screen and led her daughter outside.

            Paginna was not in sight.  Tira began her warm up.

            "Listen Tika.  Tell your screen `Third View Fight Recording'.  That sets your screen with auto-zoom and image stabilizer.  Stay twenty feet away from us and hold the screen down and in front of you so you can see your feet in the bottom edge of your vision and not trip.  Keep us both in the screen, and try to hold the screen steady, especially if you have to move to follow the fight.  Practice doing that now."

            Tika recorded her mother's warm up while running around her in a circle.

            "I do not think I will lose, Tika," Tira said as she stretched, "But if I do, give first aid.  The med will be standing by.  If there are class two injuries or worse, they will send an ambulance flyer.  Remember, a fighter can submit by saying `I submit', by tapping out against the ground or their own body like this," and she demonstrated by slapping herself repeatedly on the thigh, "Or by going completely limp if you cannot do the other two.  Keep a close watch.  I would not put it past Paginna to miss the sign in her rage.  If one of us submits and the other does not notice it, shout `Submission'!

            "Soon the time arrives.  When it does, shout `Begin!'"

            Paginna entered the far side of the clearing.  She took off her pack and stuck her remote camera to the center of her forehead as Tira had done.  She already had her claws on and started pacing back and forth, slightly crouched.  She clenched and unclenched her fists, muscles rippling, and wore her face of hate.  She looked like she desperately wanted to kill something as she tended her anger.

            When there were thirty seconds left Tira finished her preparations and moved to within eight feet of where Paginna paced and waited in a slight crouch, knife in her left hand, calmly watching her opponents' motions.  Tika took her position twenty feet away to Tira's right, and watched the clock.  Paginna watched Tika, continuing to pace aggressively.

            When there were three seconds left, Tika drew a deep breath for the call.  Paginna, seeing this, faced Tira and gathered herself.

            "Begin!" Tika called when the moment arrived, and gave all her concentration to her role as recorder.

            Paginna leaped with a snarl as Tira moved to her right.  Paginna corrected as her feet left the ground, but Tira's movement was a feint.  As soon as Paginna was in the air Tira moved forward and to her left, out of reach of Paginna's left hand.  She blocked hard against Paginna's right forearm with her own and stabbed down at the younger woman's back as it flew by.  Paginna almost evaded the strike, and received an inch-deep, four inch cut above her right hip bone.  At the same time she tried to claw Tira's right arm where it blocked her own.  Tira almost withdrew the arm in time, but Paginna's index Claw went though the skin where it was thin over the bone.  The Claw tip caught in the bone, and Paginna used it as an anchor to spin herself so as to land on her back and pull Tira down on top of her.  Her Claw pulled loose from Tira's arm as they fell.

            Tira was falling across her opponent's body and moved to pin Paginna's left arm against the ground with her right knee.  Paginna got two of her left claws into Tira's right thigh for small wounds before Tira's knee slammed her arm to the ground, breaking a forearm bone.  As this happened Tira stabbed Paginna completely through the abdomen three inches right of her navel, the point of her knife sinking into the hard packed ground an inch.  She had no time to worsen the wound as Paginna slashed at her knife hand, and she was forced to pull the knife straight out as quickly as possible to avoid being clawed.  Paginna struck Tira in the side with both knees as her right Claws struck the knife blade with a `Ting'.

            Paginna's knee strike knocked Tira over her head, and both women rolled to their feet.  Three seconds had passed.

            Tira reached her feet a fraction of a second before Paginna and prepared to leap.  Paginna leapt to counter, but again Tira's movement was a feint.  She pulled back, leaving Paginna clawing at empty air, and kicked high at Paginna's left arm.  The edge of her right foot connected perfectly with the broken bone, spinning Paginna around a quarter turn, and Paginna used the rotational momentum to launch a slash with her right Claws at Tira's knife hand, clawing two fingers to the bone.  Tira jumped back, then back-pedaled quickly for three steps, staying well out of reach of Paginna's charge.

            The pain of Paginna's wounds reached her mind, especially that of the broken arm, overcoming most of the effects of her pain control techniques and sapping her anger.  She paused, and Tira threw her knife to her right hand and attacked.  Paginna backed up, but Tira was relentless.  Two out of three of Tira's movements were dekes, feints, and deception, and she scored consistently with her true strikes.  Paginna received a slash to her right arm, a stab to her right breast, a deep cut on her left hand and then a stab in her right thigh as she backed up faster and faster.  Finally she stumbled on an irregularity in the ground and Tira leaped, knocking her backwards and landing atop her and between her legs.  Tira used her left arm to pin Paginna's right to the ground and head-butted the younger woman in the face, breaking her nose.  Flipping the knife in her right hand point down she stabbed Paginna just below her collarbone, the point lodging in the inside surface of the shoulder blade.

            "Submit!" Tira screamed into Paginna's face.  Ten seconds had passed.

            Though stunned, Paginna tried a last ditch, feeble slash at Tira's throat with her left claws, though the hand was cut and the arm broken.  Tira blocked it easily with her right elbow without letting go the knife, and gave the handle a wiggle from side to side.  Blood squirted out of the wound, some of it spraying Tira in the face and dripping down onto Paginna's.

            "Oh, look." Tira said calmly with an evil grin on her face.  "It seems I have cut an artery."

            The realization of defeat struck Paginna, and she relaxed with a despairing air.  "I submit."

            Tira rose to her feet, leaving her knife in Paginna's shoulder.  She threw her head back and her fists in the air, and screamed her victory to the sky.  Much of both women's bodies were covered in blood.

            Tika set her screen down and ran for the first aid kit in her pack.

            Before she reached the two women with it she heard the sound of the approaching med flyer.  She realized that it must have been hovering just out of hearing, waiting for the fight to end.  Tira grabbed her by the arm and they ran for the edge of the clearing to avoid the down-wash of the flyer's thrust nozzles.  The white flyer landed right beside Paginna with lights flashing, it's rear facing her.  When the fans were about halfway slowed down to idle they ran back as all six of the local Meds jumped out of the flyer with a stretcher and loaded Paginna onto it.  By the time Tira and Tika reached the Meds they were already closing the rear door on the flyer.  One of the Meds leaned close to Tira and yelled over the thrust noise.

            "She's at least a couple of fours.  Coming?"

            "I have five ones.  Later."  Tira yelled back, and the Med nodded before jumping into the last open door.

            Tira and Tika ran back for the edge of the clearing, the flyer's thrust fans started to build in pitch when they were halfway there, and it lifted just before they reached it.  They watched it as it disappeared over the trees.  Less than two minutes had passed since the fight started.

            "Wow."  Tika breathed in amazement.  "Those Meds are fast."

            "Yes." Tira agreed, "And as skilled as any, anywhere.  She will be all right."

            Tika remembered what she had seen of the fight.  For the first time she realized the true significance of the title: Magnificent.

            "Tira-Mother, your fight...I mean your fighting really was magnificent!  I...I congratulate you!  Is that the right thing to say?"

            Tira laughed, and ruffled Tika's hair.

            "Yes Tika.  That is very much the right thing to say.  Help me with cleaning up and first aid, then you can walk me to the med."

            Tira let Tika do most of her first aid, and was pleased with the quality of her work.  Meanwhile Tira was kept busy answering congratulating calls on her screen.  Finally, as Tika was placing the last bandage, she recorded a message thanking the well-wishers and set her screen to play it for the rest of the callers.  She and Tika set out for the med.


Author's Note & Caution

            This story is about people whose culture and values are very different from our own.  Many of the behaviors that we take for granted would be considered highly offensive by them, and many of their behaviors would be considered highly offensive in our own society.

            Their attitudes towards violence are significantly different from ours, and there are many graphic descriptions of intimate and deadly violence in this story.

            Many of the characters who are closely related and of the same gender have very similar names, (Tika daughter of Tira, Raz son of Naz, etc.), so names must be read carefully.  This is done to show relationship in a sub-culture that does not use family names.

            Theirs is a culture wherein venereal disease and ineffective or inconvenient birth control are problems of the past, and it is free of the personal dominance and treatment of people as chattel of the patriarchal system.  Therefore they have very few sexual taboos or sexual restrictions.  They tend to be completely comfortable with their sexuality, and are very open about it.

            Sexuality is a fairly small but important part of this story, and explicit descriptions of two present-tense sexual events are included.

            The aspects of the lifestyles of the predator peoples in this book involving combat and homes are just plot devices, only designed to contribute to a good story.  The other sociological changes that have taken place in this book are not only practical solutions to global problems, they are necessary policies if we are to continue to grow and advance over the long term.  They include policies dealing with the environment, climate change, overpopulation, and transportation, and laws dealing with human genetic engineering, recreational alcohol and drug use, and sexuality.

The thinking that led to these policies is bio-sociological engineering, and it is based on bio-sociology as introduced and advanced by Professor Edward. O. Wilson.