Saturday, 11 June 2011

Scribbling Saturday: Balitoth, Communications Officer on the Kestrel

Balitoth is one of the non-human crew of the Kestrel. He is from Zoa, a reptilian race, with a longer jaw than humans and sharp teeth. His blood is cooler than humans too, so he wears an insulated jacket over his uniform, except in his quarters, which he keeps at a higher temperature. He shares quarters with the other non-human crew member, Reuel, who luckily is happier with the warmer temperature.

His face doesn't show emotions well, so he has learnt to compensate with gestures, especially in dealing with the more emotional humans. Zoans are not very emotional, as Balitoth puts it, "My people are … unsentimental." This can make them seem to be unfeeling and callous, so he has also learnt to show some emotions that he doesn't actually feel, but are expected of him. Still, he has never been known to raise his voice or lose his calm disposition.

Zoans don’t have marriage. Couples mate whenever and with whoever they want to, and then the children are raised by the whole community, particularly by the older females. Balitoth has several children, but does not keep in touch with them as they belong to the tribe of their mothers. He pays more attention to the children of the females in his tribe, as their children are his family.

The tribe is dominated by the males, but great respect is given to the females, they are not second-class citizens but recognised to have different roles, more nurturing and organising. Businesses are run by tribal families, with the males making major decisions but the females running the practical side.

In the first Kestrel story, Balitoth is suddenly taken ill and has to be dropped off at the nearest planet for emergency surgery. Which is a problem, as Zoans can only be operated on by Zoans, and this is a human colony. But Dr Robinson manages to get permission for the operation to be done by a doctor who has knowledge of Zoan physiology. His room-mate Shom Reuel is very worried, as they have become very good friends. Luckily Balitoth recovers and joins the crew for the main expedition.

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