While one of the oldest and founding members of the Federation, the Vulcans remain distant and mysterious to many of the other species. Vulcanoid species comprise almost a third of the sentient life forms in the Federation. The Vulcanoid population, excluding Romulan offshoots, was estimated at 21 billion by the Galactic Census of Stardate 5840.
Their homeworld is a double planet in what the Terrans called the 40 Eridani system, dubbed Vulcan by Terran diplomats unable to pronounce the native name (abbreviated T'Khasi). Vulcan is a large, dry world with only 14% surface water, high temperatures, and a thin atmosphere. It has a lower lower oxygen content and a somewhat higher gravity than Earth. The more uniform conditions have resulted in less racial variation among Vulcans than among Terrans. Its sister world T'Khut (dubbed Charis by the Terrans) is a highly volcanic world, with frequent storms and no native life.
Vulcans are closely related to humans, although there are numerous differences. They average slightly taller (6'2'') and are stronger due to the 1.83g surface gravity of their home planet. They have pointed ears, and a inner eyelid which blocks out dust and ultraviolet light.
Their internal organ structure is different from humans, but by and large functionally equivalent. For example, a Vulcan's heart is approximately where a human liver is. Their blood cells are copper-based, resulting in a slightly lesser short-term fatigue and a greenish color to their blood. Their lifespan is approximately 40% longer than Terrans, with an average of 205 years.
Far more significant differences occur in their hormonal system. Vulcans are subject intense emotional bursts. In additional, they have a mating cycle which recurs every seven years (?). The mating time is known as Pon Far, and it is expressed as an unreasoning emotional frenzy for up to two standard months.
Vulcans are adept telepaths, aided and restrained by centuries-old philosophy and techniques. Vulcans of almost all cultures go through rigid training which develop their concentration, meditation, and telepathic abilities.
Some non-telepathic training allows adepts to concentrate their strength,blood and antibodies onto the injured organs in a type of self-induced hypnosis when wounded.
At range, psionic abilities are extremely limited. A Vulcan can sense the presence and perhaps species of minds, but he cannot sense much regarding direction or identity. Some specialized disciplines focus this, so that the user can analyze in a given direction, up to a maximum of 5-10 meters.
At the level of Mind Touch, surface thoughts can be exchanged and manipulated. Surface thoughts are easily read and communicated. A skilled practitioner can plant suggestions or confuse his target.
At the level of a Mind Meld, virtually all aspects of the mind are shared. Memories, emotions, ...
There are a number of psionic institutions, called Sohk-Paks or "schools of the mind". The first great Sohk-Pak was supposedly founded by Sorinak 7200 years ago. The nine dominant Sohk-Paks are now known as the "Nine Paths", and are outlined below.
The Vulcan civilization began...
(From TOS) Certain elements of Vulcan prehistory suggest that the Vulcan race may have originated with colonists from another planet, possibly humaniods from Sargon's planet 500,000 years ago.
The Great Reformation took place some 1700 standard years ago. At that point, the Vulcans were well into their nuclear and space age. They had made landings on Charis some 300 years ago, and the first nuclear tests were conducted five years later.
(Taken from ``Spock's World'' by Diane Duane:) Some 45 years after the birth of Surak, the Duthuliv pirates attempt a takeover of Vulcan. In the surrounding region, the Inshai Compact - an alliance of some 36 settled systems - had come into conflict with the Orion Congeries. Inshai as destroyed by a starkiller bomb, starting an Orion ``reign of terror'' unleashing interstellar corporations who took the law into their own hands.
The Vulcans originally...
The planetary government of Vulcan tends towards fewer controls. It is a representative democracy with three branches. Roughly translated, these are the ``Proposal Group'', the ``Ratification Group'', and the ``Expunging Group''. The votes required are designed to make it much easier to remove laws than to impose them.
In the distant past, Vulcans killed to win their mates. Even in the present, Vulcans revert to acient rituals,apparently the price these people must pay for totally suppressing their natural emotions. When Vulcan children are about seven, their parents select a future mate, and the two children are joined in a ceremony that links them telepathically. When the two children come of age, they are compelled to join together for the marriage rituals. The time of mating, Pon farr, is when the stoically logical Vulcans pay for their rigid control by experiencing a period of total emotional abandon.
In Vulcan adults, Pon farr comes every seven years.
Vulcan names commonly begin with either ``S'' or ``T'', but that is not an absolute rule.
Male names: Spock, Sarek, Surak, Stonn, Sonak, Sybok, Tuvok, Taurik (_Lower Decks_), Xon (planned for Star Trek II series)
Female names: T'Pau, T'Pring, T'Pel, T'plana-Hath, T'Pan, T'Lar, Selar, Saavik, Valeris (ST-VI)
The Vulcans are an intensely spiritual people, who have no unifying faith but rather a variety of personal and group beliefs. They have a deep belief in the soul, or katra, which is passed psionically upon a person's death.