To my knowledge, no organism on Earth is tri-sexual--meaning it takes three to reproduce. It's easy to see why this is a bad idea but can there be such a life-form? While creating descriptions of alien life for the Galactic Alliance I've often wondered about this. So much so, that one of the cultures I've created is indeed a tri-sexual species. Here's my idea of how it would work and why.
Shiltans are an intelligent species vaguely resembling spiders. They have six legs, two of which double as arms. They are also a tri-sexual species. Like most other species in the Alliance, they are divided into males and females. There is a third partner that most other species refer to as the mother. A newly paired couple must create their own mother. When the female becomes pregnant the growing child is always a mother. Mothers are smaller than the parents and rapidly develop into an adult mother. They are less intelligent and are built specifically for rearing children. Their entire mentality is focused on the care of newborns.
When the Shiltan female becomes pregnant again, she will carry the infant for 3 months. After that time, she must transfer the unborn infant to the mother or another mother will be born 3 months later. After the infant is transferred to the mother, it will continue to develop and grow into a full male or female. This arrangement is an evolutionary trick to increase the Shiltan's survival rate. Mothers can remain sheltered, caring for the young until they are old enough to escape from predators on their own. The male and female can continue to hunt and provide food and protection for the mother and their family. A couple can have more than one mother.
As brutal as it may seem, the life of a mother is not protected under Shiltan law. If a couple no longer desires to have children the mother is killed after she is no longer needed to care for any children. They are also killed if either of the mating pair of Shiltan's passes away or the couple separates (a rarity in Shiltan society).
The editing of Peacekeeper is going quite well. I've added a lot of new material and changed quite a bit of what was already written. All for the better of the book. I am about 30% through the manuscript and the book now stands at 92,491 words. If you recall, I have not written the last couple of chapters. So, it's beginning to look like this is going to be a 100K book. So, instead of writing here, I'm going back to editing.
Until next time.