The Hurrians are a sapient species of monkey-like creatures with long thin arms and stubby tails. They stand about three feet high, with black skin covered in dense fur, and a mobile nose on their faces. They are described as the only intelligent species in the galaxy to have evolved from small primates, rather than apes. As such, they distinguish themselves from all humanoid species in a number of ways: by being the only exclusively vegetarian and mostly non-competitive species known. They are also the only known species to have developed space travel on their own.
Culture and societyEdit
The Hurrians abhor the idea of violence and war, yet accept these as the norm for their humanoid galactic neighbors, and never attempt to interfere in their warfare. Instead, they have long come to accept that all humanoid species end up destroying their own civilizations after discovering nuclear power. The Hurrians have thus developed the policy of monitoring intelligent humanoid civilizations from distance in their flying saucers, waiting for the nuclear wars to come for them to come down and help the survivors build a new civilization, genetically altering them to remove their competitive impulses and become subjects to the Hurrian empire.
Although they describe these actions as righteous and helpful to the humanoids, the Hurrians end up as the main benefited in two ways: by removing competition and maintaining their status as the dominant power of the galaxy; and by making each humanoid species pay for the help received in one form or another. The Mauvs for example, whose home planet is notably lacking in valuable materials, paid for it by becoming personal servants to the Hurrians. A Human, once upon learning of the Hurrian habits, described them as the interstellar equivalent of vultures, which left the Hurrians disgusted, as they genuinely see themselves as benevolent and their actions as good and necessary.
In the beginning of the atomic age, a group of Hurrian surveillance ships was sent to Earth to wait for the inevitable nuclear war among Humans and come in aid of the few survivors, expecting to receive their payment in steel (since the Earth crust is rich in iron) and to perform genetic selection on the race afterwards, as they had done with thousands of humanoid species encountered previously. In an unprecedented case in Hurrian history, the nuclear war on Earth never came, and the Hurrians developed an entire colony on the dark side of Luna just waiting for the first bombs to actually be dropped. Fifteen years passed and nothing, the Hurrian Council became uncertain of how to proceed: if the war didn't start, the Humans would soon develop space travel and for the first time there would be a violent, competitive, untamed ape-like species roaming free through the galaxy, which would be unacceptable for them. After abducting a Human and probing his mind, they came to the conclusion that the Cold War on Earth would not by itself result in a nuclear war, and the Hurrians would be obliged to start it themselves. Despite knowing this to be the logical course of action, they were psychologically unable to cope with the thought of doing intentional harm to another intelligent (no matter how bestial) being. As they came to the conclusion that no Hurrian would ever be able to drop the bomb, or even order the Mauvs to do so, they reluctantly decided to depart from Earth, even though knowing that once the Humans developed space travel the Hurrian empire would probably be doomed to fall.
- The Gentle Vultures, by Isaac Asimov (1957)