Vulcan

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United Federation of Planets logo.png VulcanUnited Federation of Planets logo.png
Homeworld:
Vulcan
Quadrant:
Beta
Affiliation:
United Federation of Planets
Average Male Height:
173 cm (5 ft. 8 in.) to 198 cm (6 ft. 6 in.)
Average Male Weight:
72.6 kg (160 lb.) to 104.3 kg (230 lb.)
Average Female Height:
165 cm (5 ft. 5 in.) to 188 cm (6 ft. 2 in.)
Average Female Weight:
59 kg (130 lb.) to 90.7 kg (200 lb.)
Minimum Academy Age:
17
Life Expectancy:
210
PC Rated:
Yes
NPC Rated:
Yes
BetaQuadrant.jpg
Surak, a Vulcan male
First contact with Humans (2063)
T'Pau, a Vulcan female (2154)
Note: This is a PC and NPC rated species.

Vulcans (also known as "Vulcanians") are a humanoid civilization instrumentally responsible for the founding of the United Federation of Planets. They are widely known for their logical minds and stoical natures. The Vulcan homeworld is the planet Vulcan.

Physiology

Genetically, Vulcans and Humans are similar enough that they can produce offspring with genetic help.

Externally, Vulcans are generally similar to Humans, the chief exceptions being the Vulcans' notably arched and upswept eyebrows and distinguished external ear structure, the top of which tapers into a into a clearly defined point.

Most Vulcans have pale skin with a very subtle greenish tinge, and straight, glossy dark brown or, more commonly, black hair. However, some Vulcans, including Tuvok, have brown skin, tightly coiled black hair, and physiognomic features similar to those found in Humans of African descent.

Others share physiognomic features similar to those found in Humans of Asian descent. However, most Vulcans have a vaguely Eurasian appearance.

Vulcans have body hair similar to Humans, and some males can be very hirsute. Vulcan males are also capable of growing facial hair (as evidenced by Sybok and both Spock and Soval in the mirror universe), but rarely do so.

In contrast to their external similarities, Vulcan internal anatomy differs radically from that of humans. For instance, their heart is where a Human's liver would normally be, and beats several hundred times per minute.

Vulcan blood is copper-based and is copper or rust colored when deoxygenated in the veins and green when oxygenated in the arteries. Bruises and dermal abrasions therefore take on a green color.

Vulcans possess a highly efficient respiratory system to extract the oxygen they need from Vulcan's thin atmosphere.

The Vulcan digestive tract is highly adaptable. Although alien foods, notably Human food, will occasionally disagree with a Vulcan, given time, their body will eventually adapt to the alien food.

Vulcan hearing is very sensitive. Vulcan females possess a heightened sense of smell.

Having evolved on a planet which is mostly desert, Vulcans have developed ways of surviving in desert conditions. For example, they can survive for several days without water and have inner eyelids which protect their eyes.

Vulcans also have superior metabolism to humans. Caffeine and sapotoxins have little effect on Vulcans. They are also capable of surviving for long durations without food or sleep. Under stress, Vulcans can do without sleep for weeks.

Vulcans are on average three times physically stronger than humans and are noticably more agile.

An anatomy diagram of a Vulcan.

One weakness of the Vulcans is their inability to metabolize nitrous oxide. After only a few minutes of exposure to the gas, a Vulcan will pass out.

Vulcans typically have a lifespan of 200 years or more.

The Brain

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Vulcan physiology is the brain. The Vulcan brain has been described as "a puzzle, wrapped inside an enigma, housed inside a cranium"; This has some basis in fact, as the Vulcan brain is composed of many layers.

It is in direct control of most of the bodily functions, acting as a control unit for many organs. Despite this, a Vulcan body from which the brain has been removed is capable of functioning and even walking around (albeit in a zombie-like state) with a portable life support system.

Unlike most humanoid brains, traumatic memories are not only psychologically disturbing to Vulcans, but have physical consequences as well. The Vulcan brain, in reordering neural pathways, can literally lobotomize itself.

Vulcans have learned to gain conscious control of many of these functions, allowing them to regulate their bodies to a high degree by simple will power. When injured a Vulcan can go into a trance-like state, using this ability to concentrate all of his or her energy onto repairing the injury.

This trance can be self-induced and give the physical appearance of near-death. It is similar, in principle, to Vulcan neuropressure techniques which can be used to relax the mind and body.

The substance trellium-D acts as a neurotoxin to Vulcans, destroying the neural pathways which control their emotions. Treatment must be provided quickly after exposure, otherwise the damage is irreversible.

Scan of a Vulcan's DNA

Of course, the most famous aspect of the Vulcan brain is the inherent telepathic abilities, such as the Vulcan mind meld. Vulcans are natural touch-telepaths. Though considerable training is required to utilize this ability to the fullest (this would be performing the fal-tor-pan), simpler contacts don't require any concentration, training or even conscious knowledge of the act.

Stronger minds are capable of non-contact telepathic projection and scanning, usually over short distances, but somtimes even over interstellar distances.

Another psionic ability of the Vulcan race is the telepathic suggestion/compulsion, so consciously performed by Spock, Sybok, Tuvok and T'Pol, unconsciously performed by Sarek.

Although, Vulcans do not, typically, allow themselves to experience uncontrolled strong emotions they may sense them in others.

Besides the Trill, who achieve through the Zhian'tara ritual, Vulcans are the only other known humanoid race capable of performing a synaptic pattern displacement, or the transfer of one individual's consciousness into another.

A similar feat was also performed by Dr. Ira Graves, Rao Vantika and Tiran, though all three of them used unique technologies instead of psionic abilities to achieve it.

Some Vulcans have also demonstrated the ability known as telekinesis. It should be noted that telekinesis has only been seen by high priestesses who have trained there entire life.

The psycho-suppression system responsible for the Vulcan suppression of emotions is located in the mesiofrontal cortex.

Pon Farr

Thank you to A.L. (Sevala) for writing this section.

One of the more misunderstood aspects of Vulcan culture is pon farr. Due to their concern for personal and cultural privacy, Vulcans do not discuss this condition with outsiders unless absolutely necessary Despite popular belief, pon farr is not simply a time of mating. It is a time of emotional abandon brought on by chemical changes in the body. Pon farr does not have to end in sexual contact. Other acts that produce strong emotional responses can also trigger an end to the condition. Also contrary to popular belief, pon farr is not the only time that Vulcans mate. Vulcans can and do mate whenever they want. Pon farr simply produces an irrepressible urge to do so.

Pon farr can occur either naturally or it can be induced. Only Vulcan males enter pon farr naturally. Females must be induced, usually by physical or telepathic contact, though it can be brought on by other outside factors, such as disease or a period of intense emotions. The chemical changes that cause pon farr in males are the result of the emotional suppression that Vulcans practice. Emotions produce chemical reactions necessary to maintain a healthy body, and without these reactions taking place an imbalance can occur. Every seven years this accumulated imbalance causes Vulcan males to enter pon farr. Females do not suffer from such imbalances, as their natural menstrual cycle produces the required chemicals on a regular basis.

Doctors or counselors who examine Vulcan patients suffering from pon farr are urged to handle the situation with the utmost privacy. Any attempt to delve into the details of the patient’s condition may be met with disdain, and it is not advisable to request personal information. Most Vulcans will not admit to having entered pon farr, let alone reveal details of their experience. As there is no current treatment for the condition, monitoring the patient’s status is primary. Vulcan males will exhibit symptoms of irritability, and they can be prone to violence. They also will experience physical discomfort. The initial symptom for females is a telepathic awareness that their bondmate has entered pon farr. They will both be driven by the need to mate, and they can become quite aggressive towards others. Isolating such patients from the rest of the crew is recommended, though that isolation can be self-imposed. The degree to which a patient will be irrational varies, and many often have the awareness to isolate themselves.

The final stages of pon farr typically only occur when the male and female unite. Physical contact, via a mind meld, will initiate plak tow, or blood fever. This is the most dangerous time of pon farr, and the patient will not be able to think rationally. Violence and aggression become the sole motive for their existence. A physician or counselor treating a Vulcan in plak tow should observe the utmost caution. Security measures should be in place, and the patient should be isolated until such time as the pon farr can be completed. It is imperative that patients be allowed to carry through with their emotional and physical needs at this point. Do not try to interfere. Death will occur if the chemical imbalance is not corrected.

The main treatment a physician or counselor can offer a patient in pon farr is to unite the patient with their bondmate or to find a suitable partner for them. Do not recommend holodeck simulations for relief of sexual tension, as this will only embarrass the patient and cause them to distrust further advice. It will also not satisfy their needs. It is dangerous in most situations to offer combat as an option to satisfy the plak tow. It is recommended that only Vulcan doctors and counselors treat patients in pon farr if possible.

Medical Conditions

There are several diseases that the Vulcan species suffers from which include:

Psychology

Thank you to A.L. (Sevala) for writing this section.

Vulcans are well-known for their logic and reason. They do not view the world in the same manner as other species, and one should not expect them to do so. Their approach to life is pragmatic. Unnecessary and irrational concepts such as social pleasantries and material possessions have no value to Vulcans. The pursuit of logic is foremost, and they devote their entire lives to that ideal. Though they typically look down on other species who they see as less socially advanced, it is not done so out of arrogance. To them it is a scientific observation with a logical conclusion. They do not see other beings as any less deserving of status. They simply choose to isolate themselves and their culture from outside influences, finding them incompatible with the chosen goal of living by pure logic.

A common fallacy is that Vulcans have no emotion. Vulcans do experience emotion. They simply choose to suppress them, and they instead rely on logic to dictate their actions. When disease or physical injury diminishes their ability to control their emotions and to think logically, it can be a very stressful experience. In such incidences they can be quick to anger and prone to violence. The utmost caution is urged when dealing with such patients. As Vulcans are physically stronger than most species and possess more intense emotions, such a state can make them highly dangerous. Patients should be restrained and isolated, for their own protection as well as for that of others, until such time as they can once again regain control of themselves.

Counseling a Vulcan

Due to their logical training, most Vulcans do not understand emotions. They see them as simply irrational and illogical without fully grasping their complexity. Traditional methods of counseling should not be attempted when treating Vulcans. They will not make sense to the patient, and it will be seen as an indication that the counselor is not competent. Vulcans are also highly private individuals. They do not reveal details of their personal lives or of their cultural traditions, and any attempt to pry such information from them will be met with disdain. It is recommended that only Vulcan counselors treat Vulcan patients if possible.

Treating a Vulcan

Vulcans live by the concept that the greater good is more important than the individual. As such, they will often jeopardize their own health and safety for others. Vulcans also can be highly stubborn. They won’t admit when they are ill or injured. To them it is illogical to express their discomfort or to let it interfere with their duties. Often they will only seek medical treatment when their physical state has deteriorated to the level where they can no longer function efficiently or they are a danger to others.

It is a fallacy that Vulcans cannot tell a lie. They can and do lie when they see a logical reason to do so. As such, Vulcans may not be honest in revealing details of their condition. Physicians are advised to take readings instead of relying upon the patient to supply them with the necessary information to make a diagnosis.

Vulcan patients will often resist treatment. Physicians may be required to order treatment rather than suggesting it. Vulcans will not disobey orders directly, though they may find ways to circumvent them. Simply telling a patient to rest may result in them doing their work sitting down instead of standing up. Doctors should be specific in their orders.

In some instances Vulcans have the ability to heal themselves without the help of medical personnel. The Vulcan brain is more advanced than those of other humanoid species. They have the ability to control many key bodily functions, such as heart rate and respiration. When a Vulcan is severely injured, they may appear to slip into a coma when in fact they are inducing a state of suspended animation, shutting down unnecessary body functions and slowing others in an effort to concentrate on the healing process. It is dangerous to wake a Vulcan from this state. They will awaken themselves. Such a total shutdown however can require that the patient have help in regaining consciousness. They may make requests that seem bizarre or unusual. It is imperative that these requests be honored though, no matter how strange they may seem. If a Vulcan patient asks that you strike him repeatedly, please do so until they tell you to stop.

The Vulcan brain also has the ability to reroute neural pathways. This most often occurs after traumatic events. The brain literally shuts off access to the area where the memory is stored, and the patient may have no recollection of what happened. Counselors should be aware of this.

Society

The government on Vulcan is a representative democracy. Individual political advancement is based on meritocratic principles.

For an intensely logical race, the Vulcans do have spiritual beliefs. Though little is known about the details, their religious system is polytheistic. They also believe in the "katra", the soul and consciousness of a person, which can be transferred psionically prior to death.

Vulcans are generally non-violent, but logic dictates that combat is sometimes necessary. Vulcans can and do use weapons and practice martial arts called "Tal-Shaya", and "Suus Mahna". Most modern Vulcans are vegetarians.

Vulcans are known for their high degree of honesty. They are extremely reluctant to tell a lie, and indeed it is said that "Vulcans cannot lie". However, they will do so for what they percieve as logical reasons, though they rarely refer to their dishonesty as "lying."

Development of a Vulcan's life of logic begins at a young age. Vulcan parents will utilize learning tools, such as pleenoks, to train their infants in primary logic. Vulcan children will then learn to detach themselves from their emotions at an early age.

Despite this early training in logic, Vulcan children in nursery school are allowed to dance. These dances are reminiscent of the dances of the Orion slave girl, just not as well coordinated.

As parents, Vulcans never shield their children from the truth. Doing so would only hinder their ability to cope with inevitable difficulties. A Vulcan parent's attachment to their children cannot be described as an emotion. They are part of the parent's identity and the parent is incomplete without them.

Vulcans sometimes have mates chosen for them by their parents at the age of seven. The mates are joined in a ceremony that links them telepathically that is "less than a wedding, more than a betrothal". When the two come of age, the link compels them to follow through with full marital rituals, which cement their relationship.

If, for whatever reason, the female does not wish to go through with the marriage, then the ceremony of "Koon-ut-kal-if-fee" ("Marriage or Challenge") is invoked. The male must fight for the right to keep his mate against a challenger of her choosing. The female becomes the property of the male who wins the contest, unless he chooses to release her.

The Koon-ut-kal-if-fee is a fight to the death.

The essence of their logical society is in arriving at the truth through logical process. Emotion is illogical, thus making them impure, and deterrent to truth. Vulcans are born with the same emotions that afflicted their violent ancestors, but continual mental conditioning generally gives them the impassivity they seek.

For example, emotions like remorse, relief, joy, and embarassment were all displayed by Spock when he thought Captain Kirk was dead. Additionally, T'Pol showed romantic interest in Commander Tucker on the Enterprise, especially due to imbalances caused by exposure to Trellium D.

Though not all can arrive at the ultimate pure logical state, the exacting process of mental control gives Vulcans enough to conform to the ideals of Vulcan society. The ultimate level of logical thought is achieved through the attainment of kolinahr, which is said to purge them of all remaining emotions.

It must be noted that not ALL Vulcans follow the path of Surak and kolinahr. Some believe that knowledge and enlightenment can be gained by understanding and embracing their emotions. These Vulcans are known as "V'tosh ka'tur", or "Vulcans without Logic". They are considered a fringe element in Vulcan society.

Vulcans believe knowledge to be the best defense against unknown dangers, and pursue them with the intellect and logic that makes them some of the finest scholars in the Federation. Their pursuit of knowledge and impassivity of emotion are the driving forces in a Vulcan's life.

Vulcans consider death to be the completion of a journey. Therefore, they do not fear it happening, however the loss of one's Katra is to be avoided if possible, since the Katra lives on beyond the physical death.

Culture and Tradition

  • Vulcans were fermenting wines, notably Vulcan port, during the 21st century.

This contradicts a previous statement made by Spock in, where he notes: "My father's race was spared the dubious benefits of alcohol," when offered a glass of Saurian brandy by Dr. McCoy.

T'Pol also noted that Vulcans don't drink wine, indicating that perhaps Vulcan port is for cultural purposes only, or perhaps is nonalcoholic.

  • Although it has not always been so, most Vulcans are vegetarians, and do not touch food with their hands.
  • Guests in a Vulcan household are expected to arise before sunrise to prepare the morning meal. Plomeek broth is considered a traditional Vulcan breakfast.
  • Vulcans play a game known as kal-toh.
  • What little is known about Vulcan religious beliefs indicates that beginning prior to the "Time of the Awakening" they were polytheistic. Suraks teachings became the primary focus of Vulcan sprituality/mysticism, but as late as the 23rd century it was still not unheard of to find Vulcans honoring the traditional gods. There are, however, no demons in Vulcan literature.
  • Many Vulcan females have names beginning with T' (T'Pol, T'Pring, T'Pau), but not all (Valeris, Sakonna, Selar); many males have names beginning with S (Spock, Sarek, Sybok, Surak, Stonn), but not all (Tuvok, Lojal, Vorik).

Holidays

  • Kal Rekk
  • Rumarie
  • Tal-Shanar

People

Vulcans do possess family names, although they are pronouncible by Humans only after many years of practice.

History and Politics

Culturally one of the most fascinating species in the Beta Quadrant, the Vulcans were once an extremely violent and emotional people (even by Earth standards) who waged almost constant warfare on one another. They believed in a variety of gods, such as war, peace and death. As their level of technology improved, the Vulcans eventually reached a point where their violent nature threatened species extinction.

In an effort to avoid this fate, a Vulcan named Surak developed a new philosophy thereby igniting the Time of Awakening. Surak maintained that the root cause of all the problems on Vulcan lay in the uncontrolled outpouring of the people's emotions. His followers swore to live their lives by an ethical system devised by Surak and based purely on logical principles. All expression of emotions, negative or positive, was completely forbidden.

Although this new philosophy spread rapidly across Vulcan, a minority, many of whom were known as "those who march beneath the Raptor's wings", rejected Surak's ideals. A destructive war began including the use of atomic bombs and among the victims was Surak himself.

Eventually, however, those who opposed logic left Vulcan and founded colonies elsewhere - most notably on the planet Romulus, where they founded what eventually became the Romulan Star Empire. At some point in history, the Romulans and the Vulcans engaged in a 100 year long war against one another. The war was instigated by the actions of a member of the Q Continuum.

Another group that rejected Surak's philosophy was known as the "V'tosh ka'tur" or "Vulcans without Logic". The V'tosh Ka'tur believed in controlling emotions by allowing themselves to actively experience them rather than surpressing them. Many of these also left Vulcan, and took up a nomadic existence.

The Vulcans were one of the first of the current powers to develop warp drive, though a century would pass between the first warp flight and the breaking of the Warp 2 barrier. The Vulcans conducted a series of survey missions to the Sol system, as early as 1957.

The official first contact between Vulcans and Humans came on April 5, 2063 when a Vulcan survey ship detected the warp flight of Zefram Cochrane's Phoenix. The Vulcans met with Cochrane at his launch site on the day following the flight.

The Vulcans eventually became Earth's "big brother" in a way, advising Earth officials on how to proceed into the galaxy. The Vulcan High Command considered Humans volatile and similar to Vulcans before the Time of Awakening, and so attempted to slow down humanity's move into the galaxy until the time was right.

By the 21st and 22nd centuries, the Vulcans would have also made contact with the Cardassians, Trill, Tholians, Klingons, and scores of other races.

In contrast to their tradition of peaceful exploration, the Vulcans have also had a long history of border skirmishes with the neighboring Andorians. The Humans helped negotiate a peace between the two over the disputed Class D planetoid, known to the Vulcans as Paan Mokar.

In the 22nd century, the Vulcan High Command, once in charge only of space exploration and planetary defense, gained much more control over civilian affairs. Under the High Command's leadership, Vulcan policy toward other planets became more aggressive and interventionist, using the ancient monastery at P'Jem to spy on Andorian activities.

Vulcan also became less tolerant of political and philosophical challenges towards the High Command's operations, notably engaging in purges of the Syrrannite group, who claimed that Vulcan society was no longer following the teachings of Surak. These tensions came to a head in the crisis called the Vulcan Reformation, which resulted in the overthrow of the High Command (and its leader, V'Las) and a restructuring of the Vulcan government under the leadership of Kuvak and T'Pau. (Although it was not known at the time, V'Las was secretly allied with the Romulans.)

One of the first acts of the new government was to end the policy of holding back human expansion into the galaxy.

As of the 23rd century, Vulcan had never been conquered in its collective memory. That memory goes so far back that Vulcans can't conceive of a conqueror.

Spock declines to have a drink with McCoy by saying that his people were "spared the dubious benefits of alcohol", McCoy scorns Spock's refusal by stating that he now knows why Vulcan was conquered. This directly contradicts the above. It has been argued that McCoy was probably just being facetious. However, since the Federation is based on Earth, even after the Vulcans held sway over humans a century before its foundation, one could figuratively attest that at least Vulcan's "influence" over Earth was conquered.

Today, Vulcan remains one of the principal Federation members, and is deeply involved in all levels of that society. Their tradition of exploration has continued; in the 24th Century, a Vulcan ship was the first to make formal contact with a Gamma Quadrant civilization, upon encountering the Wadi. They were at the forefront of exploration in the Gamma Quadrant, encountering the Rakhari and finding the remains of the Hur'q civilization.

Despite the enmity between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, some Vulcans have been attempting to forge a more cordial relationship with their cousins, ultimately hoping to reunify the two cultures. So far these efforts have met with little success.

In the 24th century, the Vulcan ministry of security was known as the V'Shar.