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Baliflids – Another rat tale

The gigantic monster stared with amazement at the little Baliflid girl, barely standing two feet tall, looking back at it with a big smile.

Any other creature would have fled at the presence of one of the biggest predators of this planet. The large and scaly Strak beast was feared by most, its hunger as legendary as its brutality. In fact, being devoured by a Strak beast has been said to be one of the most gruesome deaths in this Universe. But not for the furry rodent-like child standing in front of it. That little Baliflid, didn't even attempt to move a single muscle of her tiny body.

She was just standing there, with a relaxed and, at the same time, joyful expression. The predator kept looking at her confusing expression, unable to decide its next move. Something in that little furry being was stopping it for giving her a fatal blow. It could be over in seconds and a bloody mess would take the Baliflid girl's place.

No, the Strak beast couldn't think straight while the monster had its eyes on the Baliflid's. So the beast slowly stepped back, still staring at the rodent girl. When it was about thirty feet away from her, the predator turned its back to her, leaving the area with swift steps, unlikely for a creature of its size. It just wanted to stay away from that rat kid.

What seemed an awkward moment for a Strak beast, for a Baliflid this was their everyday. Even for the youngest ones.

"Samy," a male, adult yet high-pitched voice called her name.

The little Baliflid turned to see her father coming. He was nearly twice her size, still a little individual compared with us or with many other sentient species. His rodent features were a bit more accentuated than his daughter's, something that happens to every Baliflid. He hugged her when he arrived.

"Darling, don't play with predators... or do you want to miss the Old Storyteller's new tale?"

"Yes, I want to listen to Granpa!"

"Fine, so let's go," her father said as both of them went back to the city.

It wasn't like the Old Storyteller was Samy's actual grandfather, but many Baliflids called him Granpa, Gramps and the like. The Old Storyteller was the closest this humanoid three-tongued rodents had as a leader. No one knew how old he was, but it was sure by many that the Old Storyteller had surpassed the Baliflid lifespan the furthest anyone could remember. He was the last of his generation... and he had more than enough energy to keep rocking and telling tales.

It had been five weeks since the Old Storyteller spoke about dreams of space conquest in one of his usual speeches at the Great Plaza. Some youngsters and comfy rich guys had laughed at his words before his blueish cane came down to their skulls and shut their traps up. Yes, some of those who dared to question his words usually ended with a little bump on their heads. It was his way to make himself respected and not getting interrupted, and it worked.

But those were just a minority, most of the people gathered around the old Baliflid actually listened with interest. His listeners were usually divided in two groups: those who just wanted to listen to a nice and optimistic tale... and those who were wishing for these stories to be true with time.

Among those who wished for this stories to become a fact were scientists. Baliflids were known by their empathy that made them able to engage in any kind of diplomacy – or even survive predators, like little Samy did – and for their non-serious attitude. But they also had some scientific worries.

And the finest ones worked endlessly in all the institutes and universities of science and technology scattered all over Central City, considered the capital of the Baliflids. Truth to be told, the had achieved many important results in their investigations.

One of the most important research groups was in charge of designing and making the engines for their future spaceships. The had created a very powerful engine, at least enough to take them to other planets in their planetary system and then come back.

Advances in this field were possible not only because of their persistence, but also thanks to the notes left in the old Tonklin's – rest in peace – diary. Tonklin was a Baliflid scientist that lived many decades ago, one of the first Baliflids to dream on space exploration. And this is why this powerful engine was called "Tonklin Engine beta". The 'beta' was due to "Tonklin Engine alpha" exploding, sending many scientists to the hospital. And the were hoping to just call it "Tonklin Engine". That would be a bigger advance for them. The laughed at this every time they remembered it... that and the two weeks healing their wounds.

Meanwhile, another group was making progress in the study of future space colonies. Baliflid scientists had determined that their kind couldn't survive in the vacuum or with less oxygen than their bodies needed. Theirs was the duty to create base colonies which could provide Baliflid colonizers working environments similar to their home world in case other planets couldn't provide them. In any other case, they could work as naked as they usually did.

These thoughts flashed fast in Samy's father's mind. This was interrupted by his daughter's voice.

"Dad, it's about to begin! Let's find a good place!"

The adult Baliflid shook his head. He was so deep in his thoughts about the progress their civilization was making he lost the sense of time. They already arrived at the Great Plaza, where many Baliflids were playing, both kids and adults. All of them were impatient to see the Old Storyteller and they needed a way to distract themselves.

The elder Baliflid entered the Great Plaza. He saw the last of his audience arriving as well. He cleared his old rat throat and even coughed a couple of times. Those were the signs to make his audience know they should stop their games and sit down, because he was about to begin.

And so, in his old deep voice, the Old Storyteller began to narrate a new story...
So here is the second short story based on Ascendancy. Now it's the Baliflid's turn. The three-tongued non-serious alien rats. They have their charm: you look at the equivalent of a cute rodent and you can't think of harming it. That's how they became excellent diplomats: empathy is their main treat.

But of course, if they want to go to outer space, they need to investigate too. :P

---

Baliflids and Ascendancy (c) The Logic Factory
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September 25, 2011
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