Say 'NAE shah'.
- AVERAGE HEIGHT/LENGTH: male: 7-9 ft. / female: 6-8.5 ft.
- AVERAGE AGE: male: 150 years / female: 157 years
- GESTATION: thirteen months
- AGE TIMELINE: 0-1 baby; 1-14 child; 15-23 adolescent; 24-50 young adult; 50-75 middle-aged adult; 76-130 mature adult; 130+ elderly
The Naysha resemble mermaids of myth, but with vaguely animal-like upper bodies. They have two rudder fins on their tails, sometimes four, and one streamlining fin on their backs. Their hands are long-fingered and webbed, with web-finned elbows. Their eyes have several eyelids. The tails of the Naysha are horizontal, like dolphins (as opposed to the vertical tails of sharks), and are capable of generating great power. The Naysha have no claws or sharp teeth, and lack vocal cords.
The Naysha can be any number of surprising colors; much of this exotic shading was lifted from tropical fish. Their scaled tails are often bright colors, blue, violet, neon pink, yellow, red, striking green, peach and many other colors in many combinations of stripes, spots, 'eyes', or other patterns. Their upper bodies can be a continuation of their lower bodies' coloring, but are often a combination of dark and light color patterned like the countershading of orcas.
The Naysha were manufactured from the discarded notes of Project Homefront's former lead geneticist, Joseph Shandlin, and came out perfectly save for a single mistake: their vocal cords were missing.
Following discovery of this error, the entire first run of Naysha were transported to a tank to work with a speech therapist named Hannah Esterby. Together they created a usable sign language.
Fascinated by the mer-creatures, Hannah went to Triple Helix and found out who was responsible for their design. Learning that Shandlin had not been told, she went to his private estate, dragging him from his home with the cryptic remark that 'there's someone that you REALLY want to meet'. Reaching the tank, Helen called for Selena, the primary of the pod and foremost partner in the creation of their sign language. Shandlin was enchanted. He became deeply attached to Selena and fell in love with Hannah during the work on the sign language. He married her and had children, and when the Naysha were called on to join the Pelted in the migration to space, only one elected to remain behind: Selena. The Shandlins remodeled their house to include an extensive water environment for Selena, who lived with them until her death. It was this extensive network of water tunnels that formed the model for current Alliance ships that carry Naysha and other water crew.
Of all the races in the Alliance, only the Naysha remembered that they and their brethren were engineered by humanity. This was preserved in 'oral' tradition down through generations, because the Naysha had great love for their creator, Joseph Shandlin, and great respect for the Matron of their race, Selena, and the woman who developed their sign language, Hannah Esterby. However, on learning that the other races had chosen to let this knowledge fade, it was elected by the Naysha to not mention it...and this was an easy thing to do, as it takes great effort for the Naysha to communicate with air-breathers, they do not waste words.