Irina Shayk

Irina Shayk is not yet thirty, but life has already kicked her around the block more than once.

She used to hold a regular job when her nephew, Garik, first came to live with her. She worked at Fasst Market as a cashier for a time, then at Kerre's Dive waitressing. The distance without a car proved difficult, and when Arik, her boyfriend, moved into her apartment, it was easier to go on government assistance than fight his annoying complaints about why she wasn't cooking for him or had to spend money on bus fare.

Irina is kind and loves Garik. She would do anything for him, but she isn't a strong woman. When life pushes at Irina, she doesn't know how to push back. The same is true of her relationship with her boyfriend. When he is abusive, she doesn't know what else to do except try to make him happy. Irina tries to stand up for Garik with Arik, but she finds it impossible.

Irina rarely gets out of the apartment, except when the monthly food box runs low and she can't find anyone to run to Fasst Market for her. Irina is important to Garik, and he loves her, but he is aware she is a disaster waiting to happen. Her accepts her for what she is, and he doesn't try to change her into something she is not.

Irina's full name is Irina Ekaterina Shaykhlislamova, but she always uses the shortened, Americanized version of her last name, as does her nephew, Garik.

We first meet Irina in Book 1 of The Human-Hybrid Project, Shattered by Glass.