Threat Level: Civilian
Species: Fsst (aquatic invertebrate)
Birthdate: July 3
Height: (avg length) ~6ft (~2m)
Weight: 350lb (160kg)
Short Description: Aquatic ET: brightly-colored; cuttlefish-like shape but doubled fins and no tentacles; sea-slug-like 'ears' and 'hair'; usually found in forcefield-shaped suit of water; often enthusiastic and inquisitive but seldom courageous
Ren's blunt porpoise-rounded face is crowned with a pair large forward-facing green eyes with horizontally-slitted pupils. The eyes project upwards a bit like a frog's (except during 'blinking'). Behind them are a pair of floppy 'antennae' shaped something like rabbit ears. These rhinophores are colored a deep blue but are given texture and an iridescent sheen by tiny lines ringing them. Around the base of one is a black cuff with silver girih patterns. A mohawk of fleshy, fractally-branched blue gill 'feathers' starts between the antennae and tapers off toward mid-back. Said feathers are protected by a clear slippery film. (Incidentally, Ren hasn't any teeth, but does have a white tongue whose iridescent texture would put any cook's Microplane grater to shame.)
As for the rest of Serenity's shape, it's rather impermanent. Bunching can create a pudgy four-foot cuttlefish-like shape just as stretching can create a lithe eight foot eel-like shape. In any case, slick skin covers a multitude of muscles and a distinct dearth of bone. In lieu of limbs, Ren has cobalt-colored undulatory fins down both sides, rather like a cuttlefish. Unlike the cuttlefish, Ren's fins come in two parallel layers on each side, with one set completely overlying the other. Also different is the fact that they're far more flexible and can be extended to a six-foot span, either as whole sheets or in finger-like projections.
For fashion, Ren has an oval patch of highly-flexible cloth pasted on about two thirds of the way down the smooth belly. This cloth maintains whatever pattern it was designed with, no matter how it's stretched or twisted.
Also accompanying Serenity is a gadget to keep the person properly aquatic. A shiny black disc hovers (usually a couple inches above the ground) and follows along according to Ren's movements. The forcefield generator supports both Ren and a thick layer of warm, brackish water that shapes to the core of Ren's flexible form as well as possible, but pulls the water back when fins or antennae are extended beyond its reach. The forcefield allows sound and anything besides water or air to cross freely. The water smells like wintergreen. It may sometimes also smell like cheese or less pleasant things- but that would be due to lunch enclosed along with other odds and ends in the storage container affixed to the top of the field generator.
Serenity's voice is somewhat lacking in voicing, being rather like a loud stage whisper, but rarely lacking in either volume or spiritedness.
Dancing: Ren is a skilled and reasonably athletic dancer, having studied a variety of styles from the homeworld. Ren also knows a fair amount about the dances of humans and other species (but the ability to perform them is limited by anatomical differences).
Forcefield environment suit: Along with the usual luggage for an extended trip, Ren brought along an environment suit. The equipment is packaged in a rugged circular disc. It can use solar or stored power and (if a suitable power supply were found) wireless recharging. The forcefield generator normally hovers just above the ground but can rise a few feet to accommodate low obstacles like stairs. Its design is intended to allow the occupant to move about on land by just swimming normally. It does this by supporting the occupant and a sufficient amount of water in mid-air above it. The forcefield holds the water against the occupant and shapes it to the occupant while partially negating the momentum of the mass it holds. The forcefield is completely permeable to most substances. But free water and liquids that are mostly water cannot cross the forcefield unless they are inside of or adhering to the surface of another object. In addition to allowing movement on land, the forcefield also allows sound to pass freely instead of reflecting off the air-water boundary.
Swimming: Being wholly aquatic, Fsst are as good at swimming as they are bad at walking. Like cuttlefish, they can maneuver in any direction.
Decompression sickness resistance: Fsst generally can't get the bends. Unlike humans, they don't breathe air. Unlike fish, they don't have swim bladders.
Infectious disease resistance: In accordance with their diet, Fsst have well-developed immune systems (both specific and nonspecific) and communities of normal flora to protect against mundane sorts of viruses, bacteria, and toxins thereof. Food poisoning by microbes is unheard of in healthy individuals. Ren also had the usual vaccinations for visiting (an alternate) Earth.
Biting parasite resistance: Fsst secrete a bitter-tasting (and vaguely wintergreen-scented) mix of salicylates from the skin.
Flexibility: Fsst have no skeleton, and so are highly flexible, able to change shape dramatically by twisting or stretching. However, their total volume remains roughly constant.
Slime: Like hagfish, Fsst can secrete protein threads that mix with the surrounding water to become a large mass of thick, ropey, and extremely slippery slime. (Failing to suppress this fight-or-flight response is embarrassing.)
Diet: Fsst do not have proper teeth or a strong digestive system, so most food needs to be well-stewed or fermented. Alcohol and caffeine are somewhat toxic. Excessive carbs are likely to cause indigestion.
Breathes water: Seawater or freshwater will do, even pool or tap water for short periods of time. But Fsst need wet gills to breathe. Warm, brackish water is best.
Lacking leverage: A Fsst's structure is maintained only by muscular hydrostats (like a human tongue); therefore, heavy lifting is impossible. Likewise, walking won't work. Even a seal is more mobile on land than a Fsst.
Susceptible to internal injury: A Fsst has no skull or ribs (or any other bones), and so is very susceptible to internal bruising from a sudden blow.
Stands out in a crowd: Even setting aside shape and life support needs, Fsst skin coloration is glaringly obvious and difficult to hide.
Serenity was expecting to spend time visiting Earth-- getting to know the locals, writing about culture, studying dances, perhaps even taking a few classes. But Ren did not expect to arrive in a train station rather than a spaceport, nor to end up in this country or even this planet.
It took a few days before Ren was quite sure that this was not all a big misunderstanding, but by then, Ren had optimistically resolved to make the most of the experience and set aside worries of home and family for the time being.
So far, Ren is living in a charity apartment in the Integra Arms. Through the magic (or is it technology?) of the building, the proprietors have managed to turn this into a comfortably aquatic living quarters.
Ren hasn't yet managed to make a living off dancing or the study thereof, but has acquired a secretary position with TASK
While still seeking a comfortable fit in this society and despite some "interesting" experiences since arriving, Ren seems to be keeping a quite positive attitude about it all.
Ren's home planet has a wide variety of cultures, but there is a tendency toward building upward and high population density, even in smaller towns. The particular region that Ren is from is known for the easygoing and casual nature of its inhabitants.
Ren is the child of mother Zeal and father Charity, while Ren's sibling Mirth was (equitably enough) child of mother Charity and father Zeal. The family was comfortably middle class. Ren turned a childhood interest of dance into a university degree and afterwards the beginnings of freelance career.
While Ren grew up with quite a bit of exposure to humans and humanoids through the media, hardly any of this was by personal experience. Frugal living allowed Ren to save up for a trip to Earth and an extended visit to remedy this situation.