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troika, n. [Russ.], 1. a vehicle drawn by a team of three horses abreast. 2. the minimum coordinate set required to define a single point in three-dimensional space. 3. a jeep, a brontosaurus, and an old Mexican woman.Beneath the glare of three purple suns, three travelers—an old Mexican woman, an automated jeep, and a brontosaurus—have trudged across a desert for hundreds of years. They do not know if the desert has an end, and if it does, what they might find there. Sometimes they come across perfectly-preserved cities, but without a single inhabitant, and never a drop of rain. Worse still, they have no memory of their lives before the desert. Only at night, in dreams, do they recall fragments of their past identities.
But night also brings the madness of the sandstorms, which jolt them out of one body and into another in a game of metaphysical musical chairs. In their disorientation and dysfunction, they have killed each other dozens of times, but they cannot die.…[more]