The Humans

The alphabet, language, and culture of the human and various other species, in the Merchanter Compact, as depicted in the Chanur novels in the science fiction universe created by C. J. Cherryh.

Humans are not native to the Merchanter Compact. An accident caused a human ship to be brought near Compact space. Political and and social upheavals resulting from human contact nearly tore the Compact apart and led to armed conflict that was eventually resolved by treaty. The treaty allows limited trade between the various governments that comprise the Compact and the various human governments. Tully, the sole human to survive this initial contact, is now the only human allowed as a citizen within the Compact. These events are covered in the Chanur Saga novels.


Human space is divided among three (3) rival governments:

  1. Earth Company, including the Sol star system and the human homeworld of Earth, or Terra.
  2. The Pell Merchanter Alliance, including Pell station and planet Downbelow, homeworld of the primitive sapient species known as Downers.
  3. Union, including Cyteen. Union creates human clones, called azi, and uses deep-teach and other methods to teach them, almost programmatically.

Histories of the various human governments are detailed in C.J. Cherryh’s many novels involving the Earth Company Wars, the Merchanter Alliance of Pell, and Unionside.


Tully (last name unknown) served as a licensed crewman, a scan tech, on an (apparently) civilian ship, probably a merchanter, which Tully says was unarmed. His full name, post, and rank, if any, are not known. His ship’s name is unknown. He is from Earth, and his ship’s home port was Earth. As chronicled in the Chanur saga, his ship was near Compact space, possibly looking for jump-points and star systems into which Earth could expand, when his ship was caught up and forced into Compact space by knnn. After this, kif became interested, and captured Tully and four others and sought to force cooperation and a translator tape. Of his surviving shipmates, a woman was killed first, then two more were killed. Tully survived kifish torture and interrogation. His last surviving shipmate, Dick James, with broken legs and arms, asked Tully to kill him, rather than give in to the kif. Tully obliged. Tully managed to escape the kif and found refuge on The Pride of Chanur while the Pride was at Meetpoint station, after convincing Capt. Pyanfar Chanur that he, Tully, was probably sapient, by writing a sequence of numbers on the deck. Ker Pyanfar and the crew of The Pride refer to his species as Outsiders. In fact, all non-hani are regarded as Outsiders. Tully became the first human citizen of the Compact, and a licensed crewman aboard the Pride. The kif later gave Tully a ring belonging to one of his dead shipmates, possibly a relative or loved one, as a token of kifish sfik. Tully and ker Hilfy Chanur were captured by the kif at one point, and during this, grew strong emotional ties from their shared experiences. They were rescued by the Pride. A human ship was finally brought by knnn ships to Gaohn Station at Anuurn. The knnn apparently had had enough of kif interference in their space, and decided to bring a human ship to meet other oxygen-breathers. Tully was instrumental in establishing a treaty allowing limited trade, but little to no travel by humans within the Compact. The human ship was the Ulysses, with a crew of about 50. Tully translates its name for Pyanfar as “Far-Voyager.” Human space is somewhere near knnn space, on the other side of the Compact from the hani and mahendo’sat. Tully is pleased that the kif will be sandwiched between humans and the hani and mahendo’sat. Tully now serves as a scan and com officer on The Pride of Chanur.