Elyra is very small (around 4’ tall) but perfectly formed. She is milk chocolate in color, and (like Derik) monotone in that skin, hair and eyes are all the same shade, though her eyes are veined with copper. She is R’il’noid and an important member of the genetics board. Like many R’il’noid women she is sexually active and easily aroused when she is not pregnant, but loses interest in sex when pregnant or nursing. At the start of Homecoming she has agreed to try to have a child by Lai “the old-fashioned way,” although most natural pairings with R’il’nians are infertile. Laboratory manipulation has been the norm since Çeren’s work made it possible. I’ll let her explain it.

Homecoming coverR’il’noids are essential to the survival of the Confederation, especially now that the purebred R’il’nai are almost extinct. Most have at least some degree of ability to detect and remove Maung parasitization, and many have the even more important talent of conditional precognition. My job as the chief geneticist of the Genetics Board is to encourage pregnancies that could produce R’il’noids without undesirable traits, and since Çeren’s work, that generally means laboratory pregnancies. Natural matings of R’il’nian males with human females were producing about one pregnancy per R’il’nian a century, and Çeren was getting a much higher rate with his lab technique.

But with the lab technique we were getting an increasing number of R’il’noids with no sense of responsibility.  Lai, the last of the R’il’nai, suggested that might be due to the laboratory techniques. Further, he’d gone back to Jarn’s Journal, where he detailed the first, natural cross-species pregnancies, many millennia ago. “I think I’ve figured out what he was doing,” he said. “Emotional connection — love — is necessary. Knowing what I now do, I think I can manage it with strong liking and desire for a child. I won’t claim to love you as I loved Cloudy, Elyra, but we’re good friends, and I think it might work. Are you willing to move in with me and try?”

I’ve never been exclusive in my loves, but Lai is special, special enough that whatever my doubts about whether he could get me pregnant, I was more than willing to try. “Of course,” I said.

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. Background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.

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