Solstice was enjoyable, the family getting to know my beloved more. The medical part of it, not so much. I did not quite feel as if I were a lab specimen, but the questions seemed to be endless.
"How does this keep happening?", Great-Uncle Ibiz muttered as he sorted through the notes.
"Hy thought hyu knew, but Hy can draw hyu zome diagramz," my mate said helpfully, grinning wide enough to show all of her fangs.
After the laughter died down, Ibiz shook his head, "No, the mechanics we know. The chemistry is the problem. Outside the immediate family, every other documented pairing from that plane has had to have major help adjusting chemistry in both partners to match well enough to procreate. If you were related to Haus Loewenstein, that would narrow our line of questioning."
"Na, my village might not be dere anymore, but it schtill dunt haff any tiez to Annechen'z femily." Birdie shrugged. "Dey're all op from de pass, und my village vaz down in de foothillz."
Amarantis chimed in, "I've checked the bloodlines, and she isn't even related to the Old Bat."
"For which we can give many thanks," Mother muttered. She went on in a clearer tone, "So far, the only thing the mates have in common are the general area. Claude was born in the schloss, and had been in Mechanicsburg perhaps a decade or so before I met him. We can track some of the variables, but some might be lost, because we did not think to ask when the girls were born. I had been trying for Annechen, but Alexandra was a surprise."
"Yes, at the time we just wrote it off as residual effects, considering they were less than two years apart." Ibiz frowned and went through his notes, "...and Annechen's pregnancy was noted as possibly within normal limits, since she was mixed."
"I am still not happy with that explanation, and now I am glad I kept up the pennyroyal extract therapy after Wolfgang was born." My sister spoke quietly from the back of the room. "Though now it will be imperative to explain reproductive responsibilities to him, as we still do not know."
Father had been staring at the map of Europa the entire time this discussion had been going on. He quietly asked, "Do we have any other documented pairings from this area?"
Ibiz nodded, and motioned to Amarantis, who was acting as his assistant. she pulled out a sheer overlay from the cabinet, and placed it over the map. "The red spots are the birthplaces of the mates who have been fertile without help," he said as he pointed them out. "The greens are the ones that were fertile under the normal conditions, and the yellow ones are the ones who were not able to procreate, even with the chemical adjustments."
"Who iz de red schpot downschtream from my village?"asked Birdsan.
"That is Griggs..." I said, as Ibiz muttered, "... downstream... could that be it?"
Annechen got up and stood closer to the map. Quiet muttering between her and Ama, as they poked at the map, then lifted the overlay. "Look at the topography, what does this valley suggest to you?" Annechen asked.
Father said, "Multiple meteor strikes, or a gouging skip, with the central blast being near Mechanicsburg, perhaps a millennium before the area was settled." From the looks of the crater, it was a bloody big impact. Mechanicsburg is not in a pocket-valley, it has the battle plains and home farms nearby.
Ibiz pointed to the overlay, and Amarantis lowered it. "The ones not born within the rim of the crater were all born within the Dyne watershed, if they were not born in Mechanicsburg." He stared at the map a few moments more, and said, "It is a theory at any rate."
"It gives us a place to start asking questions." Amarantis said. She then morphed into human form, one of the least memorable people she could devise. "And I think I know how to do it, if I can get on the medical services survey for the area."