Word Count 500
A Brief Introduction To Kuflex
By Mike Ceccoini
It was difficult enough, as a newly faster-than-light humanity made contact with the extra-solar races, to figure out how to translate each of their written and spoken languages back and forth to the more-commonly used Earth tongues. Depending on the syntax, depending on whether it was phonetic or non-phonetic, we would start off with North American English or Mandarin Chinese, respectively, generally.
Sometimes it was easier, when a species we already knew had previously made contact, serving as a Rosetta Stone between us and them. Sometimes it was harder, when we came into contact with planets that had millions of different languages within a global culture. Some species only speak and do not write, some it’s the other way around. Some use heartbeats or variations in their breathing. Some species use only pictures and others still speak in pure math.
Interstellar wars are occasionally started and often just barely evaded over misunderstandings of the intricacies of language when only the basics were understood. On Earth to this day after all in some city-communes the Your Mother joke will be received with laughter, while in others it will be received with a laz-shank to the ribcage. We are of course not so different from anyone else.
Still, the hardest language of all to translate was that of the Kuflex, a people who communicate solely through the art of dance. The word “Kuflex” itself is just onomatopoeia for the sound of a quick left-foot shuffle and a bend of the right knee. There is no “word” for their name, there is only that dance move. Our word is merely an approximation of their meaning.
As the great xeno-lingual historian Lucee Quan-Ramirez once noted, we are actually lucky how much like us the Kuflex are in terms of having four limbs with bilateral symmetry, not plasmoid like the Illani or having seven irregular limbs like the Oru. We are at least biologically equipped to “speak” with them, after the eleven years to took to figure out how to say “hello, we dance in peace” as the old Kuflexi phrase goes.
All their communication is either watching each other dance in-person or in videos of each other dancing. They paint, as we do, though you applaud in their art galleries by clicking together your heels instead of clapping. They sing too, just like Earth humans, though there are no words, just in tones rising and falling, not unlike the sound of a low-registered flute.
As a species of dancers, of course, the Kuflexi make love spectacularly. I myself have had lovers in both of the two of their seven genders that roughly equate to female and I must agree with the adage “once you go Kuflex, to humans you’ll never reflex.” But most fascinating, in my opinion, is how the only time they ever go dancing as couples is when they want to whisper to each other.
That is what a waltz is to the Kuflex, a tender secret sweetly shared with only one.