Tc'a are a sapient, serpentine, methane-breathing alien species. They have multiple eyes and brains, and are part of the seven-species Compact.


Tc'a are yellow, leathery, and snakelike in appearance, and are most well known for having multiple brains. They also have some sort of symbiotic relationship with one of the Compact's other methane-breathing species, the spiderlike Chi, whose homeworld lies within Tc'a space. What exactly this relationship entails is unknown.

Their means of reproduction are rather peculiar. Tc'a fission off a small, new Tc'a when placed under extreme stress. This has been observed in a moment when a Tc'a's life was in danger. It's not known what level of stress or danger is needed to trigger this reaction.

Culture and societyEdit

Tc'a speech sounds like layered multitonal wails. Single-brained species (like humans) almost always need technological assistance to communicate with them, and even then, messages read out as a seven-part matrix that can be interpreted in any direction. Another Compact member-species, the oxy-breathing Stsho, appear to be able to communicate more directly.

Tc'a are the most interactive of the Compact's methane breathers, and almost exclusively handle methane-side operations at Meetpoint Station, the physical center (and trade zone) of the Compact. Tc'a are the only ones able to communicate meaningfully (if there is such a concept) with the mysterious Knnn.


  • The Pride of Chanur, by C. J. Cherryh (1981)
  • Chanur's Venture, by C. J. Cherryh (1984)
  • The Kif Strike Back, by C. J. Cherryh (1985)
  • Chanur's Homecoming, by C. J. Cherryh (1986)
  • Chanur's Legacy, by C. J. Cherryh (1992)
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