Prime Directive - Telemachus
Surak, the Father of Logic
The Vulcans are a warp capable humanoid species from the Alpha Quadrant. This species is widely known for their logical minds and stoic culture. Hailing from their homeworld of planet Vulcan, the Vulcans are instrumentally responsible for the founding of the United Federation of Planets.
Externally, Vulcans are generally similar to Humans, the chief exceptions being the Vulcans’ notably arched and up-swept eyebrows and distinguished external ear structure, the top of which tapered into a clearly defined point.
Most Vulcans have straight, glossy dark brown or, more commonly, black hair and pale skin with a very subtle greenish tinge, much as the skin of Humans of European descent had a very subtle reddish or pinkish tinge. However, some Vulcans 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 East 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, but rarely do so.
Vulcans possess teeth that Humans did not have. These include anterior tricuspids, the presence of which imply that Vulcans also had posterior tricuspids.
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. They also have no appendix.
Vulcan blood is copper-based and is copper- or rust-colored when deoxygenated in the veins and green when oxygenated in the arteries (although it is unclear if this transport mechanism was a hemocyanin as in Earth molluscs). Bruises and dermal abrasions take on a greenish color.
Vulcan body chemistry uses little, if any, sodium chloride compared to that of Humans.
Vulcans possess a highly efficient respiratory system to extract the oxygen they need from Vulcan’s thin atmosphere. They are most comfortable in high temperatures, which is natural given the hot, arid climate of their homeworld. A Vulcan of advanced age may become more sensitive to lower temperatures.
The Vulcan digestive tract is highly adaptable. Although alien foods, notably Human food, will occasionally disagree with a Vulcan, given time, their body can adapt to the alien food.
Vulcan hearing is very sensitive. Vulcan females possess a heightened sense of smell.
Having evolved on a planet which was mostly desert, Vulcans developed ways of surviving in desert conditions. For example, they can survive for several days without water and have inner eyelids which protected their eyes. Interestingly, Vulcans have exceedingly poor night vision.
Vulcans have a superior metabolism to Humans. Caffeine and sapotoxins have little effect on them. 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 have considerably faster reflexes.
Vulcans typically have a lifespan of two hundred years or more.
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” and this has some basis in fact, as the Vulcan brain was composed of many layers.
Unlike most humanoid species, 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 learn 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 gives 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 controls their emotions. Treatment has to be provided quickly after exposure, otherwise the damage is irreversible.
The most famous aspect of the Vulcan brain are 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, simpler contacts do not require any concentration, training or even conscious knowledge of the act.
Approximately every seven years, adult Vulcan males have to endure pon farr, the Vulcan mating period. It is marked by intense emotions and primal urges (known as plak tow, or “blood fever”) that can kill the Vulcan if not satisfied. Physiological symptoms include elevated dopamine levels and fever. For such an orderly society of quiet sobriety, the madness which accompanys the outbreak of pon farr is an unavoidable evil.
Contrary to stereotype, Vulcans do possess emotions; indeed, Vulcan emotions are far more intense, violent, and passionate than those of many other species, including even Humans. It was this passionate, explosive emotionality that Vulcans blame for the vicious cycle of wars which nearly devastated their planet. As such, they focus their mental energies on mastering them.
The essence of their logical society is in arriving at the truth through logical process. Emotions are 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 gave them the impassivity they sought.
Though not all could 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 was said to purge them of all remaining emotions. Vulcans believe knowledge to be the best defense against unknown dangers, and pursue it with the intellect and logic that made them some of the finest scholars in the Federation.
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.
Although Vulcans are highly integrated into the Federation, in the 23rd century, some Vulcans view service in Starfleet to be less prestigious than attending the Vulcan Science Academy.
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 later Vulcans are vegetarians.
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