Max was raised with a purpose, but her accelerated development had nothing to do with it. She was born to be a Demyani, a Girl Bringer. In a community full of men who could only generate boys, she produced a hormone via her passive presence that tipped the scales and made girl babies enter the families.
Her extreme height and immense strength were secondary characteristics to her place in her adoptive family. She brought the girls.
Life was routine, but she had a plan for her retirement when her family no longer needed her services. That plan was set on its edge when she meets an investigator from the Cluster Team Project. She is a candidate for Team Eight, but she has to strike a balance between being there for her family and going off-world to be there for everyone else.
“I would like a Demyani that is cute if there is one available. One that looks like us.” Mrs. Zenacka looked at the administrator.
The woman making notes looked up. “You have sons already, yes?”
“We do. Four. We are ready for daughters.” Mr. Zenacka smiled and took his wife’s hand.
“Do you have a lot of land to inherit?”
The Zenackas smiled and nodded. “We are sixth generation farmers. We have inherited all that we have from my mother and the aunts who didn’t marry.”
“So, you are content to divide your land among your daughters?”
The Zenackas nodded. Mrs. Zenacka looked at the woman and said, “We are ready to take the next step as good citizens.”
“Good. Well, you have passed all the investigatory levels, and as you cannot naturally have a daughter, a Demyani does seem to be the right path for you. You have plenty of property to divide, so you can take on the girls that she will spur in you. The moment you have had enough, have yourself altered so that the girls will stop. If you hesitate, they will continue. The Demyani that we have here are tremendously powerful.” The administrator got to her feet.
“Shall we go and see if we can find one to fit your family?”
The eager Zenackas followed the woman down the hall to where the soft sounds of snuffling babies could be heard. There were ten little cribs, every two attended by a nursemaid.
“There are three candidates here with your colouring. There is this one.” She walked over and showed a baby who was tiny, pink, and looked timid.
“This one.” The child was slightly less pink and perfect, her skin paler with a dark cast to her eyes.
The administrator’s voice grew warm. “And then there is Maxuna.”
Mr. Zenacka asked, “Why does she have a name and the others don’t?”
The administrator moved and let them have a good look. The child was in robust health and a third larger than any other baby in the creche.
“Is she a reject?”
The administrator shook her head. “No, she is the youngest here. She was normal at birth, but she is the strongest, healthiest, and best-natured baby here. Her growth isn’t very peculiar. Her mother wasn’t sure who the father was but could definitely state that he wasn’t local.”
That was code for off-world.
Mr. Zenacka swayed. “Can she still be a Demyani with that pedigree?”
Mrs. Zenacka looked at her husband. “What is wrong?”
“The pheromones that she is already putting out are working on your husband. Any male within a twenty-foot radius will be creating girls after ten minutes. She is strong, powerful, sturdy, and everyone loves her. Even the most grumpy of nurses dotes on her. She is the perfect Demyani.”
Mrs. Zenacka looked at her husband’s expression and the doting expressions of all the woman in the room. “We will take her, but must we keep the name?”
“She answers to it, but by all means, wrap her in your family names. I am sure she will appreciate it when she is an adult. Now, we need to discuss her retirement package and the education that you will provide her with. She needs to be more than a daughter as her chances of finding a mate of her own are nearly impossible.”
The administrator tried to shoo them out, but Mrs. Zenacka stepped to the crib and scooped up the child who was lighter than she looked. “Maxuna, we are going to give you a family name and a bright future. You are welcome in our home.” She pressed a kiss to the baby’s forehead, and instantly, her heart was given. This child would be hers, and she would herald in a wave of daughters.
She settled the little one in the crib and walked out with her husband and the administrator.
Back in the office, they sat and answered questions about their village and the fact that no Demyani had been there for the last six decades.
“So, your neighbours will want to use her, but do not let her out of your sight. They can come into your presence with her, but do not let her go to their places for sleepovers and such. It isn’t appropriate, and she might lose her chemical signature for you. She will need standard and advanced medical training. Your daughters will need her there to have their own children. If your neighbours don’t respect the Demyani in your household, involve the law. The next generation will need her.” The orders and information were barked out, and the Zenackas signed on for each and every caveat.