are a bipedal sentient felinoid species who inhabit Compact Space, from the Chanur
books by C.J. Cherryh
. Shorter than humans, they are evolved hunters, with the associated killing-rage and hunter-reflexes that this entails; however, due to the generosity of their spatial neighbors the mahendo'sat
, they are a spacefaring species. Not limited to insystem travel, either; Hani jumpships such as The Pride of Chanur
and Chanur's Legacy
ply the trade routes of the Compact, trying against all odds to make a reasonably honest credit as merchants. Sometimes they aren't given that option, and become entangled in the political affairs of their fellow Compact species, the Kif
as well as the methane-breathing Knnn
The Hani are organized by patriarchal Clans on their homeworld of Anuurn; clans hold territory until their clan Lords are defeated in challenge combat by ambitious males. Because Hani males are typically quite prone to killing rages and in addition hold the fortunes of their houses in their prowess at mayhem, they are typically kept on the homeworld and coddled by their coteries of wives and female relations. Other male members of a family, if they do not challenge the Lord, can be turned out into the Hermitage (essentially a wilderness preserve) by the Lord in order to remove competition.
Hani had gone their merry way, learning to be canny traders, bar brawlers, jumpship handlers, and the like, and none of this looked to change until a strange creature from unknown space is dumped in the lap of Pyanfar Chanur, clan head and captain of the starship The Pride of Chanur. Dirty, unkempt, incoherent to regular Hani people and their ilk, he has run from the kif - a notably violent and piratic species - who then come after the Hani ship he is on. In the process of running from the kif and determining what the blazes is going on, Pyanfar Chanur and her crew come to understand the strange creature and the enormous implications of his presence in their midst.
His name is Tully. He's from an unknown planet called, unimaginatively, Earth.
This story is chronicled in the first Chanur book, The Pride of Chanur. An exquisite look at First Contact from the other side; cracking good action and alien species with completely unique and fascinating traits. I can't recommend this series highly enough.