From War to Knowledge: The Vulcan Science Academy

In Surak’s youth, there were centers of learning, but the Vulcan VSA Shi'KahrScience Academy did not yet exist. In its place stood a massive fortress complex known as Pelasht, named for the Phelsh’t, the ancient tribe which occupied the basalt cave and defended the oasis that became the city of Shi’Kahr.1  Vulcan education was centered in nearby temples and led by a pyllora, a word usually translated into Federation Standard English (FSE) as “mentor” or “guide.” One such pyllora was T’Plana-hath, whose dictum, “Logic is the cement of our civilization, with which we ascend from chaos using reason as our guide,” shaped the philosophy of Surak and the future of Vulcan.2 Surak was one of her prized pupils.

Surak himself became a pyllora at the Suta Temple, where he could be found on the steps spreading his message of logic and emotional restraint to a curious audience in the plaza below.3 Before a formal collegium developed around his school of thought, most of his early lectures were given in the open air in the shade of the temple. Eventually, his lectures became so popular that the old fortress was repurposed into vast halls to hold audiences of thousands. In 399, when Surak was 120 years old, it became the heart of the new Vulcan Science Academy. While he lived, Surak encouraged the study of all subjects and the application of logic to learning in order to reach a heightened understanding of the universe and its infinite possibilities. This ultimate quest for knowledge and truth led to the birth of the concept of IDIC, a leading dictum of the Academy to this day.4

It wasn’t long after Surak’s death in 481 that the campus of the VSA spread beyond the walls of Pelasht. Today this central core of the earliest building houses the administrative complex, along with the lecture halls, the archives, and visitors’ center. The silver-white domes and spires of ancient temples contain labs, classrooms, and offices, and blend with clusters of new facilities devoted to specific disciplines.5 Beyond the fortress complex, where public lectures and performances are held, only two other areas are open to the general public: the Archives and the Medical Center. The Medical Center serves as the main hospital for the city as well as a state-of-the-art research facility. Above its bronze gates on a plaque in flowing calligraphy is its simple mission statement, which reads: “Nam-tor hakaya svi’la na’fan-veh ma vi bolaya. (There is healing within for any who have need.)”6 The databases of the Archives serve as a repository of knowledge on a planetary scale, housing over 164 billion volumes. Offworld, the VSA Archives are often referred to as simply the Vulcan Archives. A few documents remain classified by the Minister of Defense, but the vast majority of the archival files are accessible to any who wish to do research.

In most cases, it is not difficult to gain access to other areas of the VSA. All visitors are asked to stop at the Visitors’ Center to gain admission. Tours of various colleges, labs, and research centers are easily arranged. A special stop on any tour of Pelasht is the stone building annexed on the west side. Archaeologists believe it originally served as an armory. Here T’Pau’s office is located, situated close to the bubbling spring. Outside the entrance one can find an interactive plaque featuring recordings in over 400 languages welcoming visitors and giving a brief history of the VSA. Here is an excerpt in FSE, recorded by Amanda Greyson:  “To this oasis in the desert, Surak came five thousand years ago with a small band of followers, to practice a new philosophy of nonviolence. It is said that when warrior bands approached, seeking to seize control of the precious source of water, Surak welcomed them and bid them drink their fill while he spoke to them of logic, and the peace found through emotional control…..The Academy grew up around the philosophers who followed Surak. Disciples came here to learn from them, and the first buildings are the ones clustered here about the spring. Over many centuries the Vulcan Academy of Sciences grew from this center into the huge complex you see today.”7

There are a few rooms, such as private offices, which are not open to the public and they are marked with signs only in Vulcan. All public spaces, including a small museum displaying some of Surak’s personal belongings, are marked with signs in multiple offworld languages.8 T’Pau often keeps a few relics from the museum in her office for study. At present these include scrolls written in Surak’s own hand.9 Offworlders are often puzzled as to why these writings were committed to a papyrus-like paper and the words hand-written in an ancient script when Surak had digital technology at his disposal and communicated with the masses through the nets. These scrolls were specifically created for the monks of the Kolinahru Monastery, who to this day lead an austere life and use no advanced or automated technology. The scrolls are currently on loan from the monastery for three more years and are displayed in the museum every tenth day.

Offworlders are surprised to find that classrooms, laboratories, dorm rooms, and other nonpublic areas of the campus are not marked with any signage. Instead, the Vulcan tradition is to use variations in texture and shades of color as cues to function and location.10

Following traditional Vulcan architecture, all interior rooms throughout the Academy complexes receive natural light through an elaborate system of skylights, even at ground-level and sub-surface locations in multistory buildings. The thick stone walls and minimalist transparent steel windows keep the interiors naturally cool. The acoustics of the lecture halls are such that no amplification is needed at the lectern or during theatrical or concert performances. The largest hall of the fortress complex, simply known as the Hall of Pelasht, is noted in many guidebooks as “one of the largest room in the known worlds – nearly half a mile long, a quarter mile across, five hundred feet up to the roof, and all carved out of the living stone, an ancient volcanic basalt.”11 Thousands of lamps recessed into the walls often remind visitors of distant stars.

Another of the Academy’s grand lecture hall complexes lies off campus on the other side of Shi’Kahr. Originally known as va’ne’meLakht (Hiding from the Rage), it was built as a place of refuge from sunstorms and was large enough to hold the entire population of the city and its environs just prior to Surak’s time – a time when there was a resurgence of solar activity. Today it is known as the Halls of the Voice and is constructed out of a smooth blue-grey stone known as bureki. The majority of the halls in this complex are located several hundred feet underground. They are cool in temperature and light but far from dark. Shafts, cut through the vaulted ceilings, allow sunlight to stream in slanting columns from ground level. The halls are mostly used today for the biggest lectures, debates, and meetings, in addition to many ceremonial occasions.12

The main campus, tucked away in Shi’Kahr’s oldest quarter is laid out so that its buildings, walkways, and green space make maximum use of the small plot of land. All VSA buildings are multi-story both above and below ground and are positioned so that the pedestrian has a view of most facilities from any one point on the carefully groomed pathways. The meditation gardens are open to all and no permission is needed to stroll or sit within their quiet beauty. Most species of trees planted on the grounds, such as lhm’ta and mah’ta, are actually giant herb specimens, according to their botanical classification. Other trees include the ancient flame-leaved induku, clustered near the fortress complex. The carpet-like blue-green groundcover is a plant known as kh’aa and may be walked upon. Unlike Earth’s lawn grass, it never needs cutting. The various fountains are programmed to display an endless variety of cones, parabolas, and hyperbolas through their water jets.13

The visitor is reminded that there are no parking facilities for vehicles of any kind. The closest structures are located in the adjacent government quarter. Shuttle services and grav-chairs are available for the non-ambulatory, and all campus buildings are connected through underground tunnels where it is always possible to escape the extreme heat of the day. There one will find cafés and full cafeteria services.

When attending lectures and other performances, it is important to remember that at the end of the presentation, there is no applause. It is customary to wait a few moments – to show respect to the speaker – before asking questions.14

It is hoped that your visit to the Vulcan Science Academy will be an enlightening and meaningful one. Below is a list of colleges and their corresponding departments, along with a map of the campus. Please direct your questions and requests for tour arrangements to Stepn, Head of Visitor Services.

Vulcan Science Academy: Shi’Kahr Campus

Vulcan Science Academy Map (click here)

College of Agriculture

  • Dept. of Agroforestry
  • Dept. of Conservation Biology
  • Dept. of Horticulture
  • Dept. of Hydroponics
  • Dept. of Soil Science
  • Dept. of Veterinary Science

College of Chemistry

  • Dept. of Analytical Chemistry
  • Dept. of Photochemistry
  • Dept. of Physical Chemistry
  • Dept. of Quantum Chemistry
  • Dept. of Theoretical Chemistry
  • Dept. of Thermochemistry

College of Computer Science

  • Dept. of Artificial Intelligence
  • Dept. of Computer Architecture
  • Dept. of Cryptology
  • Dept. of Holography and Optics
  • Dept. of Medical Imaging
  • Dept. of Network Engineering
  • Dept. of Plasma Engineering and Diagnostics
  • Dept. of Robotics
  • Dept. of Sensor Technology
  • Dept. of Software Engineering

College of Engineering and Applied Science

  • Dept. of Aerospace Engineering
  • Dept. of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences
  • Dept. of Chemical Engineering
  • Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Dept. of Electrical Engineering
  • Dept. of Industrial Science
  • Dept. of Macromolecular Science
  • Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
  • Dept. of Nanotechnology
  • Dept. of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
  • Dept. of Photonics

College of Geophysics

  • Dept. of Aquatic Sciences
  • Dept. of Ecology
  • Dept. of Geochemistry
  • Dept. of Geology
  • Dept. of Geophysics and Seismology
  • Dept. of Meteorology
  • Dept. of Volcanology

College of Historical Studies

  • Dept. of Archaeology
  • Dept. of Architecture and Urban Planning
  • Dept. of Art and Music
  • Dept. of History
  • Dept. of Language and Linguistics
  • Dept. of Literature
  • Dept. of Museum Studies
  • Dept. of Paleontology
  • Dept. of Political Science
  • Dept. of Religion
  • Dept. of Sociology

College of Information Technology

  • Dept. of Archival Sciences
  • Dept. of Communications Engineering
  • Dept. of Infomatics and Information Theory
  • Dept. of Information Analysis and Retrieval
  • Dept. of Information Services

College of Mathematics

  • Dept. of Adaptive Systems
  • Dept. of Analysis
  • Dept. of Applied Mathematics
  • Dept. of Fluid Dynamics
  • Dept. of Mathematical Logic
  • Dept. of Probability Science
  • Dept. of Topology

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

  • Dept. of Biochemistry
  • Dept. of Biology
  • Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
  • Dept. of Biophysics
  • Dept. of Cardiology
  • Dept. of Dentistry
  • Dept. of Dietetics
  • Dept. of Endocrinology
  • Dept. of Experimental Medicine
  • Dept. of Genetics
  • Dept. of Geriatrics
  • Dept. of Internal Medicine and General Surgery
  • Dept. of Kinesiology
  • Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Dept. of Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • Dept. of Pediatrics
  • Dept. of Pathology and Toxicology
  • Dept. of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

College of Physics

  • Dept. of Applied Physics
  • Dept. of Astrophysics
  • Dept. of Nuclear and Subatomic Physics
  • Dept. of Quantum Physics
  • Dept. of Theoretical Physics

College of Thought

  • Dept. of Mental Disciplines
  • Dept. of Philosophy
  • Dept. of Psionics
  • Dept. of Psychology

College of Xenology

  • Dept. of Xenobiology
  • Dept. of Xenolinguistics
  • Dept. of Xenopsychology
  • Dept. of Xenosociology

_____________________

SOURCES

1 Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s  World. New York: Pocket Books, pp. 117, 126.

2 The Way of Kolinahr: The Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 15.

3 ibid, p. 55.

4 ibid, p. 56.

5 ibid, p. 57.

6 Sherman, J. & Shwartz, S. (1999). Vulcan’s Heart. New York: Pocket Books, p. 366.

7 Lorrah, J. (1984). The Vulcan Academy Murders. New York: Pocket Books, p. 183.

8 ibid, p. 185.

9 ibid, pp. 187-188.

10 Strickland, B. & B. (1996). Crisis on Vulcan. (Starfleet Academy). New York: Pocket Books, p. 57.

11 Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s  World. New York: Pocket Books, p. 117.

12 ibid., pp. 184-185.

13 Strickland, B. & B. (1996). Crisis on Vulcan. (Starfleet Academy). New York: Pocket Books, pp. 55-57.

14 Sherman, J. & Shwartz, S. (2004). Exodus. (Star Trek: Vucan’s Soul, Book 1). New York: Pocket Books, p. 143.

Archaeological Find Linked to Surak

The Vulcan Science Academy has gained access to a section of tunnel deep beneath the city of Surak's Mug 1Shi’Kahr during an excavation sponsored by the T’Planna-Hath Historical Society. When the Society announced that it expected to link the tunnel to Surak, the excavation was funded in part by House Sekir, the dynastic family to which Surak belonged. While it has long been thought that the 2,567.83 kilometers of tunnels beneath Shi’al’s capital city had all been mapped, a previously unknown section, 15.91 km in length, was revealed to structural engineers after the T’keKhuti Quake. For millennia, the tunnels served as drainage conduits in rare but devastating floods, as well as escape routs and sally ports in times of war. They were places of refuge for the homeless, petty thieves, and smugglers. During Surak’s time, the tunnels had a dark and lawless life of their own. The Shi’Kahran government was too preoccupied with repelling the Sudocian invasion to patrol the seedy underground. In fact, officials had a mutual understanding with the gangs that prowled the tunnels, who efficiently defended these networks of caverns against foreign commando strikes and infiltration.

Although Surak never wrote about his experience in the tunnels, a few who encountered him there did. On more than one occasion, he used the tunnels to escape angry mobs in the city streets when impromptu gatherings and lectures drew violent opposition. As his popularity grew, civilian authorities considered his public teachings such a nuisance that they sought to arrest him for inciting riots, but they always lost his trail in the sprawling labyrinth of tunnels. There Surak and his followers found an enclave of supporters who could quickly smuggle them to a safe haven and cover their tracks.

Years later, upon his death, 5,786,411 people signed the online remembrance book, jamming the nets for 3.71 days. In that guestbook, preserved in the Academy archives, is an entry by T’Vei who wrote, “I shall never forget the day Surak suddenly appeared among us. I had previously seen him from afar and was familiar with his image posted on the nets, but he was much smaller than I’d imagined, and at first I didn’t believe it was him. He was very thin, for he was constantly on the move in those days. He had come through the tunnel leading to the storage chamber beneath my studio. My family mostly used it as a shelter from air strikes during the war.

“The day Surak came, I was preparing glazes for a series of firepots commissioned by the Suta Temple. He inclined his head and said, ‘I ask forgiveness. My days are not mine and I have no wish to disturb yours.’ He was not hurt, but one of his two companions had a cut over one eye. They had escaped a disagreeable crowd that corned them in the market. ‘We lost the fruit and bread we had purchased,’ the one with the cut said, ‘but not our honor.’

“I gave them fire and water in the custom of old and we shared a meal of mashya and fire-fruit. When they left in the middle of the night, I gave Surak a cup I had designed for the temple priests. Again, he inclined his head, and accepting the cup, he said, ‘What we begin here will alter the face of our world. Live long and prosper, t’hy’la.’”

T’Vei went on to write, “Surak and his companions carried very little with them, obtaining what they needed in exchange for their teachings. But Surak tied the cup to his belt with a scrap of cloth and it went everywhere with him. Every time I caught a glimpse of him on the nets, it was either cradled in his hands or tied to his belt. I was told later that he would drink from no other vessel – to minimize the risk of being poisoned.”

Surak's Mug 2T’Vei became one of Vulcan’s most famous potters, and much of her work can now be seen in the T’Sar Museum. The Suta Temple kept careful records of the work commissioned from her, and because of these records, the fragments of the cup found in the recent excavation have been identified as originated from her studio. DNA analysis of the residual protein molecules adhering to the glaze has revealed that the cup had been used by Surak and handled to a lesser degree by T’Vei. In a journal entry made accessible by T’Vei’s estate, she noted that the cup was returned to her following the death of Surak and kept as a prized possession on a shelf in her studio. The cup was presumed lost when the studio was destroyed in an earthquake. Although she had the means to hire a salvage crew, she allowed the city to fill in the area and retired from her craft. “Surak always said, ‘Kaiidth – what is, is,’ she wrote, ending her journal entry.

Surak’s cup, along with several other artifacts currently under study at the VSA, will arrive later this year as part of a special exhibit at the T’Sar Museum entitled: Surak: The Tunnel Years.

The Varith Tablet

Image of the Varith Tablet during excavation.

The electrical storm that recently ravaged the coast of Gol did more than damage the Engineering Quad on the T’Paal Campus of the Vulcan Science Academy and run the freighter Sadikh aground. When the dust settled, crews clearing coastal roadways of sand-drifts noticed what appeared to be the hull of a ship thrusting from the dunes. Authorities quickly verified that the shipwreck was not of the modern age, and the ruins were turned over to the Academy for study. Although the excavation began only a month ago, of particular interest in this find so far is the oldest surviving sample of the Dzhaleyl script in what archaeologists have termed Kitau-Krizhiv t’Varith, or the Varith Tablet in Federation Standard English (FSE).

The tablet, made from the red clay of the Na’Ri Valley, is estimated to be over 8,000 years old and appears to be a portion of the ship manifest or an early trade agreement. The script, in Traditional Golic Vulcan of the Dzhaleyl dialect, is read top to bottom, right to left: Na’kelek t’Varith, keh-leh dah subok mut…nau subok hirat, dah-leh steh kak mah’t[a]….s’kelek t’Sern. Na’kelek t’…reh chasulh zul-makh, sheh chasul[h]….This can be translated into FSE, “To the House of Varith, forty-two barrels [of] grain…nine barrels [of] hirat (a grape-like fruit), twenty-seven jars [of] mah’ta (an herb)…from the House of Sern. To the House of…three chests [of] obsidian, six chests….”

 The VSA has concluded a thorough study of fingerprint patterns still evident on some artifacts of the excavation. “The fingerprints pressed into the clay of the tablet fragment are consistent with the genome of the House of Sern,” said Dr. T’Prea, Chair of the Archaeological Department. “From what we know of ancient Dzhaleyl sea-trade, each merchant household had their own scribe, who was usually a family member. It was a great honor to be promoted to the position, and a good deal of wealth was expended to ensure a chosen son or daughter’s skills in the written language — in a time when very few could read and fewer could write.”

 Dr. T’Prea went on to explain that the script was originally scratched into wet clay with a stylus shaped from a reed, but as trade flourished and cargo holds swelled, stamps for commonly used words were used. “They needed a faster way to produce trade agreements and contracts,” said Dr. T’Prea. “Based on modern experiments with Dzhaleyl clay, documents can be produced 10.23 times faster with stamps and rolled cylinders than the hand can inscribe individual letters using a stylus. The Varith Tablet was produced with a stylus and is, therefore, of especially great interest.”

The Varith Tablet revealed.

The tablet is also remarkable in that it is the largest fragment to be found to date. The scale shown in the accompanying photographs is in the Vulcan decimal system. Translated in to Federation equivalents, the tablet measures 12.4 cm in width and 25.1 cm in height. At its thickest, the tablet is 0.6 cm. Smaller clay shards were found in proximity to the tablet, but none bore any inscriptions. “Although there is no clear evidence,” said Dr. T’Prea, “these fragments may have formed the backside of a tamper-proof envelope in which the tablet was sealed. To ensure that no one altered the document before the clay had dried, it was encased in two slightly larger and thinner pieces of clay sealed along the edges, and the entire document was reproduced on the cover. If there were any discrepancies as to the verbiage of the contract, an arbitrator would carefully slice the seal, remove the original, and compare the two.”

As the excavation proceeds, there are likely to be other small windows into ancient Vulcan life.

 

_____________________

NOTE: The Vulcan font depicted in these images was created by Briht’uhn. For more information about the Zun font, please visit korsaya.org.

Vulcan Shrines and Monastic Sites

Below is a listing of shrines and monastic sites known to exist at the Time of the Awakening. Click on the link below to view the accompanying map.

Map of Surak’s Vulcan

 

Oshi t’S’vec1 The Shrine of S’vec marks the place where one of the first adepts to be taught by Surak was executed by a warlord of Tat’Sahr named Lhai. By bringing Surak’s teaching to Tat’Sahr, S’vec ushered in a period of peace between the warlords there. While his defenses were down, Lhai was attacked by his rival Zhi’rev (sometimes spelled Xi’rev) and suffered heavy losses. Lhai accused S’vec of spying for Zhi’rev and executed him and his companions to discredit Surak’s movement. The commune where S’vec had taught was sealed by the sons of Lhai and Zhi’rev, whom he’d converted before his death. While the erected shrine was later destroyed in the uneasy times that followed, scholars hope that archaeological excavations may locate additional writings by Surak.
Oshi t’T’Vet Located at the foot of the L-langon Mountains in Shi’al, the Shrine of T’Vet marks an ancient tradition from before the time of Surak. T’Vet was the revered goddess of the warrior clans; her face, they believed was reflected in T’Kuht, Vulcan’s sister planet. Because the warrior way of life was threatened by Surak’s teachings, many of the attacks on Surak and his followers were carried out in her name. To this day, there are no computers or advanced technology permitted at the shrine, which is closed during times when T’Kuht is shining – a sacred time of meditation. 2 The worship of T’Vet was carried to Romulus by the te’Vikram.3
Akrelt4 In a canyon on the eastern arm of the Mountains of Gol lies the Akrelt Refuge, a retreat the followers of Surak established in a cavern with an underground spring. For many years they hid here from those who persecuted them and continued to train and teach the adepts of Gol. Today the monastery is a place to petition to enter the path of kolinahr.
A’morak5 The Temple of A’morak was established on the edge of the Nal’Shin Valley in the nation of Mahn’hen by Surak’s followers in an attempt to bring peace to the region. The monastery took its name from the a’morak bush, which provides a soft fiber for weaving and grows nowhere else on Vulcan. A’morak grew in reputation over the centuries as a place of wisdom, rehabilitation, healing, and training in the telesper arts.
Anonak6 In the foothills of the Arlanga Mountains on the edge of the Cheleb-Khor Desert, the Temple of Anonak offered rest and healing to boys who endured or were injured in the kahs-wan ritual. Each evening, the monks ventured out to search for the lost and bleeding. Today, search and rescue are still a part of the duties of the priests of Anonak. It continues to be a place of meditation and study open to all.
Kolinahru7 A cleft on the highest peak in Gol, Mount Kolinahr, is the home of the adepts of Gol known as the Kolinahru. Before the Time of the Awakening, they were the cruelest and most powerful of Vulcan’s mindlords who had the ability to make their victims’ blood boil by pyrokinesis. Their High Master listened to Surak’s teachings and became a follower, bringing the order along with him, and changed his name to Sanshiin. He returned the order to a simple, austere way of life. The Kolinahru to this day use no electricity or advanced technology and require guests to leave personal devices and vehicles behind. Beneath the monastery are the hot springs and the Hall of Ancient Thought.  The Hall is only open to members of the order and contains the katras of former High Masters. Since the Time of the Awakening, the Kolinahru have followed the path of kolinahr as outlined by Sanshiin.
Kul’Cha’Vir8 Ancient manuscripts refer to the Brothers of Fire and their secret retreat located in Tat’Sahr. While the Vulcan Science Academy has pinpointed the location of the monastery to central Tat’Sahr, to date the site had not been excavated. As the name suggests, The Brothers of Fire were skilled at pyrokinesis and in Surak’s time, their stronghold was positioned near the borders of Tat’Sahr, Irik, and Lalirh. Scholars believe they defended the territory of Tat’Sahr warlords, perhaps at exorbitant prices.
Seleya No other place on Vulcan is better known to offworlders than Mount Seleya and the temple complex at its summit. Very little has changed here since the Time of the Awakening. The priests of Seleya, whose traditions have always involved meditation and studies of the mind-body-katra connection, were the first to accept Surak’s teachings. Studying with the adepts of Seleya, Surak learned the mind-meld technique, a practice that was later banned in most Vulcan nations out of fear that it would lead to Sudocian-like mind control. But at Seleya, the mind-meld continued to be used in discreet healing techniques and in non-public rituals. Pilgrims journeying to Seleya approached on foot, as they still do today, from the well-travelled road leading from Shi’Kahr. The most devout will climb the 1,001 steps to the summit barefoot. Some make the entire journey unshod. Reaching the temple complex requires crossing a narrow bridge – a natural rock formation – over a yawning chasm without the assistance of railings. The temple itself is an ancient fortress, which has withstood numerous battles, including the most famous – the Battle of Seleya – in which the warlord Sulen attempted to capture the daughter of T’Vhet. Many precious katric arks are kept here, including Surak’s for a time. Most of the public ceremonies at Seleya take place in a natural stone amphitheatre at the base of the mountain in a grove of spindly trees surrounded by a ring of stone monoliths.9
T’Karath Fewer places have been more important in Surakian history and philosophy than the T’Karath Sanctuary. Located 37 kellicams south of Mount Seleya in the foothills of the Mountains of Gol, it was here that the Kir’Shara was discovered by Captain Jonathan Archer in 2154.10 The archaeologist Syrran, determined to locate a copy of Surak’s teachings as they were originally set down, traced the Kir’Shara from the Ulann Monastery to the T’Karath Sanctuary. Once his quest was known – and that he harbored the katra of Surak – he gained a substantial following. He perished in an electrical storm before the artifact was located. The Syrranites used T’Karath as a refuge from persecution by the Vulcan High command. Much of the sanctuary was destroyed by bombing ordered by V’Las that same year. The sanctuary was founded by T’Klaas, who was one of Surak’s first students and one of the first Kolinahr Masters.
T’Shen11 Famous for its instruction in the methods of healing, including the healing trance, T’Shen is one of the few monasteries on Vulcan to traditionally accept outsiders. Some scholars believe that the monastery is the birthplace of Surak and it was here that he learned to use the healing trance to recover form the many injuries inflicted upon him and to endure the fires of plak-tau. The monastery is located about ten kilometers east of Shi’Kahr.
Tinsha The Tinsha Monastery was founded in the L-langon Mountains in Khomi near the end of Surak’s life by the followers of Hakihr. Their work and research in biofeedback training centers around of Surak’s most famous sayings: “The mind controls the body; control the mind and the body will follow.”12
Ulann On a hillside overlooking the Thanor Sea in Kir, the Ulann Monastery is home to an order of silent monks who stress the importance of deeds over words. Long before Surak’s time, the place was referred to as the Guiding Light in reference to the fact that the monks operated a lighthouse. It was here that the Kir’Shara was hidden for many centuries before it was moved to rest in the tomb of T’Klaas in the T’Karath Sactuary. The publishing house located on the lower floor of the sanctuary produces 99.5% of all current editions of Surak’s works, along with the monks’ own teachings.13

 

 

SOURCES

 

 

1 The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 59.

 

2Lorrah, J. (1984). The Vulcan Academy murders. New York: Pocket Books, p. 116, 226.

 

3Martin, M.A. (2011). To Brave the Storm. (The Romulan War). New York: Pocket Books, p. 148.

 

4George, D. R. (2006). The fire and the rose. (Crucible: Spock). New York: Pocket Books, p.171, 236).

 

5Bonanno, M.W. (2010). Unspoken truth. New York: Pocket Books, p.19, 310.

 

6Taylor, J. (1998). Pathways. New York: Pocket Books, p.372, 378-379.

 

7 The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 49.

 

8ibid, p. 58.

 

9ibid, p. 61.

 

10Reeves-Stevens, J. & Reeves-Stevens, G. (Writers), & Grossman, M. (Director). (2004). The Forge [Television series episode]. In Star Trek: Enterprise. Hollywood, CA: Paramount Pictures; Moore, R.D. & Shankar, N. (Writers), & Singer, A. (Director). (1993). The gambit, part II [Television series episode]. In Star Trek: The Next Generation. Hollywood, CA: Paramount Pictures.

 

11 The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 53-54.

 

12ibid, p. 17.

 

13ibid, p. 51.

 

T’Khasi in Surak’s Time

The planet Vulcan was most commonly known as T’Khasi to its inhabitants during the Time of the Awakening. T’Khasi throughout Surak’s lifetime was in a state of extreme turmoil. Wars raged over its surface and borders shifted constantly as territory was lost and won or abandoned due to deadly radiation levels.

So much data and artifacts of civilization were destroyed during the Sudocian wars that it’s difficult to get an accurate picture of Vulcan geography. How was the land through which Surak walked configured? How many borders did he have to cross to travel from his home in de’Khriv to Mount Seleya? Where was the Pa Ut’ra, the fabled Place of Insight? By what name did Surak know Da’kum’Ulcha, the City of Shadows? A simple map would help answer these questions.

Back in March, I contacted the Archivist of the Vulcan Academy of Cultural Heritage to see if any maps showing political boundaries, settlements, and topography had been located from the Time of the Awakening. Today I received the first map released by the Academy, reconstructed through the work of  Dr. Sarahl of the History Department and Dr. T’Par, Head of the Archaeology Department at the Vulcan Science Academy.

Map of Surak’s Vulcan

Through literary and historical references and archaeological excavations, 16 nation-states have been identified in the Eastern hemisphere. Below is a brief description of each with source documentation following. All borders are approximate. Spellings have been standardized. In the next few weeks, I’ll post descriptions of major settlements and natural features found on the map.

Gol1 At the Time of the Awakening, Gol was a southwestern kingdom, largely unpopulated, in Na’nam. Due to the extreme desert climate, frequent earthquakes, solar flares, and violent electrical storms, the Province of Gol today remains virtually unchanged from Surak’s time. Settlements clustered in arable strips of farmland along the coast, highly mobile caravans, or mountain caverns.  T’Paal remains Gol’s capital city.
Irik2 The Kingdom of Irik was a nation-state bordering on Lhai, Raal, Duveh, Lassiri’hen, Mahn’hen, Ovek, Tekek, Lalirh, and Tat’sahr. Being completely landlocked, it was often in direct competition with its neighbors for resources. It came into conflict on several occasions with Lhai, Surak’s homeland, during Surak’s lifetime, but details of the conflicts have been lost. The Lesser Sea lay within its borders, and Aba’Kur had long been its capital.
Khomi3 The Kingdom of Khomi, located in southeast Na’nam, was another geographically unstable region with few settlements outside of the caverns of the L-langon Mountains. Its wealth came from mining operations, automated back to the time of Surak. The city of Dahhana’Kahr was its largest settlement and served as its capital until it was destroyed sometime in the late 300s by Shi’al forces. It was most likely at this point when Shi’al gained access to the Thanor Sea through land annexed east from Mount Tar’hana.
Kir4 The Kingdom of Kir, like its western counterpart Raal, was a maritime region with more temperate climate in its coastal lowlands on the Thanor Sea. The volcanic plains in the Mount Tar’Harna region were long a traditional boarder between Shi’al and Kir until Shi’al forces seized control of the barren plains in the War of Dahhana’Kahr and pushed to the sea at the expense of both Khomi and Kir. The Clan of K’vec ruled Kir and was ancient even in Surak’s time. Their opulent fortress at the capital of Kir’Kahr has been restored, but their most lavish estates are at Ara’Kahr and Khir Ahl.
Lalirh5 Throughout Surak’s lifetime, the Kingdom of Lalirh in northwestern Na’nam was engaged in conflict with the neighboring state of Mahn’hen. Both wished to gain control of the Tekeh area, a region rich in ores and minerals. When Lalirh launched a nuclear attack against Mahn’hen, the missiles fell short of their target and destroyed the neighboring state of Ovek.
Lassiri’hen6 This northwestern kingdom warred with its neighbor to the south, the Kingdom of Duveh, for mining rights in the al-Stakna Mountains. Its capital was Ta’Rikh.
Lhai7 The Kingdom of Lhai was a land-locked nation centered on the Cheleb-Khor Desert and the Arlanga Mountains. The Womb of Fire, a no-man’s land, lay on its western edge. In ancient times, caravans traversed the Caves of Kulvir, which linked the major population centers of the south with the Temple of Anonak and the northern deserts beyond. De’Khriv, the home of Surak, was its capital. Lhai was at times in conflict with the Kingdom of Irik over boundary disputes in the central grasslands.
Mahn’hen8 The people of Mahn’hen, the Mahn’heh, were often at war with the Iriki over the control of the Valley of Nal’Shin. Near the end of Surak’s life, the Temple of A’morak was established in an attempt to bring peace to the region. Mahn’hen also battled the Kingdom of Lalirh for the rich mines in the Tekeh area.
Na’nam9 Of the three continents that comprise the planet T’Khasi, Na’nam is the largest. Scientists believe that it was here in the Na’Ri River Valley that the Vulcan species evolved. Millennia-old fossil finds discovered near Lake Yuron support this hypothesis. The fossil evidence also suggests the early vulcanoids migrated across the land bridges in the polar regions and down through the continent of Han’shir prior to the cataclysm.
Ovek10 While Surak was young, the nation-state of Ovek in northwestern Na’nam was devastated by a nuclear bomb launched by the Kingdom of Lalirh against the Kingdom of Mahn’hen. Although there were no major population centers at ground zero, the people of Ovek continued to suffer from radiation sickness and related diseases. Today the region is the location of six water reclamation and desalinization facilities as well as a breeding ground for migrating birds.
Raal11 The Kingdom of Raal on the west coast of Na’nam grew up around Vulcan’s oldest settlements. Dzhaleyl, Dzhaya’an’Kahr, Sura’Kahr, and Regar all predate Surak by over a millennia. Except for the Fire Plains in the north, Raal contains some of Vulcan’s most geologically stable areas and arable land. By the time Surak was a young man, Raal had expanded to include all of Zhial and the western half of Gol. Today the Province of Raal stretches from the River Na’Ri to the pole and contains most of Vulcan’s navigable coastline along the Voroth Sea. In ancient times Raal was also known for its swordmakers who dwelt at the foot of T’Regar and forged their steel in the volcano’s fires.
Shi’al12 The Kingdom of Shi’al had the distinction of being one of the few nations to hold out against the control of Sudoc’s mindlords. Shi’Kahr, its walled capital, was one of the last strongholds of resistance, along with the adepts of Seleya in Zhial. Throughout most of the Sudocian wars, Shi’al enjoyed an alliance with Kir, Khomi, and Lhai, but a century into the hostilities, Sudoc’s mindlords were able to turn Kir and Khomi against Shi’al. The kingdom faced attacks on three sides. Many Shi’alans were captured during the wars and taken to T’lingshar where they were tortured and executed by the Kolinahru, Sudoc’s most powerful and cruelest mindlords. Today the Province of Shi’al borders Tat’sahr. The Kingdom of Lhai was absorbed into Shi’al not long after Surak’s death when the dynastic clans of Lhai left their lands to live a monastic life at the Temple of Amonak. The rulers of Shi’al agreed to be custodians of the territory.
Tat’Sahr13 Today the Province of Tat’Sahr is known for its vast hydroponic farms in the Viltan Flats of its northeastern region where the temperatures averages 40 degrees cooler than the equatorial region. In Surak’s time, the Kingdom of Tat’Sahr was bordered by Lalirh, Irik, Lhai, and Kir – all of which were absorbed into Tat’Sahr about 200 years after the Time of the Awakening during a phase of government restructuring. The region is geologically stable now, but in ancient times there were frequent earthquakes in Irik to the west and active volcanic eruptions in the al-Stakna range, which brought valuable ores to the surface. Tat’Sahr’s warlords frequently battled with those of Irik and Lhai to gain and control access to these vital resources.
Tekeh14 Both the Mahn’heh and Lalirhi disputed over this area, which was a protectorate of Ovek in the Time of the Awakening. Wars over access to rich ores in the al-Stakna Mountains continued for centuries.
Yiliw15 The nation of Yiliw was a protectorate of Gol at the Time of the Awakening and was located at its southernmost tip. Like Zhir’tan across the Straits of Ha’zen, Yiliw was geologically unstable, with the bulk of its population clustered in coastal regions and underwater mining rigs. It was later absorbed into Gol during the governmental restructuring.
Zhial16 The Kingdom of Zhial (sometimes spelled Xial), home of Mount Seleya, was a war-ravaged land at the Time of the Awakening. Seleya’s priests and adepts held back the mindlords of Sudoc for as long as they could before thousands were slaughtered on the Plain of Blood. Today, although the Province of Zhial is equatorial desert, it is now Vulcan’s breadbasket, where huge gravbarges, loaded in the cool of night with fresh produce, streak off in a trail of flashing lights to deliver their goods to major population centers.
Zhir’tan17 Formerly a kingdom at the Time of the Awakening, Zhir’tan (sometimes spelled Xirtan) is plagued by seismic activity and has never been overly populated. The city of K’lan, long its capital and only settlement, was destroyed by a massive quake and sank into the Straits of Ha’zen in 2265. Rich kevas deposits and loose ore could be found in Suk’Erg (The Great Erg) – a vast plain – throughout Zhir’tan’s early history.

SOURCES

1The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 48.

2Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p.242.

3 The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 50.

4ibid, p. 51.

5Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p.197, 221.

6ibid, p. 198.

7ibid, p. 240, 242.

8ibid, p. 197.

9 The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 48.

10 Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p. 198.

11 The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 52.

12ibid, p. 53.

13ibid, p. 58.

14 Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p.197.

15ibid, p. 208.

16 The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 60.

17ibid, p. 48.

A Message from the Vulcan Academy of Cultural Heritage

While we wait for the release of Surak’s Second Analects, I thought I would share with you a message I recently received from the archivist of the Vulcan Academy of Cultural Heritage. A few months ago, I wrote to inquire about the existence of a map, showing major settlements and territories, from Surak’s time. I’m frequently asked about the history of Na’nam Province, political alliances and divisions, the location of various monasteries, and I’m not always able to answer such questions without a cartographical reference. Unfortunately, maps from Surak’s time were lost through intervening wars.

Here is what Archivist Karek had to say. A translation into Federation Standard English follows:

oSidzhan,

Ki’poprah n’ya’akashan s’odu na’to’ankha-besan t’Na’nam s’pal t’Surak. Vun-ro’fah ta veling ri kup-prah n’ish-ro’fori-ves fna’noshtra khrashik t’ish-pal. Ma n’yeht’es ta fator kla-hil-tor heh besau Sarvahl tsokallar heh shi’fiferhanaunlar ik vesht nam-tor fa’Va’ken-Izaya. S’talal tuwak s’T’Par t’razhilan t’Aba’kur heh fna’ta hau n’oska t’Anonak, kup i’fereik-tor n’nen-besan t’krusol. I’ma n’toyeht-sep-wafikhan k’besan-tanafsu ik T’Rel, heh gish ta ovsoh n’ar’tu fa’tevun-shataya. Dungi mestau n’odu ish-wak ik nam-tor is-bosh-besan la’ka-yehat.

Kal-tor fator tal-tor n’kilkolar t’deshkerlar t’odu.

s’Karek ik Oskasu t’Shi’Oren t’Ek’Iyula-Visak’a T’Khasi

____________________________________________________

Sidzhan,

We have received your request for a political map of Na’nam dating to the Age of Surak. We must inform you that due to the violent nature of the times, such information does not come readily to hand. You are correct that Sarvahl continues to research and plot the territories and settlements which existed prior to the Reformation. With the recent findings by T’Par of the Aba’kur Excavation and the records kept at Anonak, we can now create a basic rendering of the province. We have a contract with artist T’Rel and expect her to complete the project before year’s end. We will contact you when a useful image is available.

May you continue to find answers to your questions.

Karek, Archivist of the Vulcan Academy of Cultural Heritage

____________________________________

If you would like to see the original transmission from the Academy, click on the link below. Here you’ll see the Academy’s official logo and letterhead. The text appears in the Zun typographic system, developed by Briht’uhn. For more information about Zun and the Ogen dialect of Modern Golic Vulcan, please visit korsaya.org. Special thanks to Briht’uhn for the Ogen translation and transcription into Zun.

Transmission from the Vulcan Academy of Cultural Heritage

In Service,

Sidzhan

The Dzhaleyl Script

ORIGIN

Not long after Surak’s death, his Analects were disguised as ship manifests to prevent their destruction. Although Surak had gained many followers by the end of his life, there were still those who found his teachings a threat to their way of life. The script of the Kir’Shara, the artifact believed to contain the Analects in their original form, has been identified as Dzhaleyl. It was a writing system developed by traders who sailed the Voroth Sea from the city-state of Dzhaleyl. The earliest examples of the script are preserved in the red clay of the Na’ri Valley. The Varith Tablet, dating back over 8,000 years, is the oldest find to date. Images from the excavation are expected to be released by the Vulcan Science Academy in a few months and will be posted here when available.

Five hundred years before the birth of Surak, the Dzhaleyl script was still in use but had moved from the cumbersome clay medium to scroll with the invention of dun, a paper-like material made from the fibers of the dun-yar plant, much like papyrus. It was on such scrolls that the Analects were preserved in Traditional Golic Vulcan (TGV). At the time, TGV served as a universal language in the way Latin did on Earth for over a millennium.

The Dzhaleyl script – sometimes spelled Jaleyl in Federation Standard English (FSE) – consists of twenty-four glyphs. Like the Hebrew of Earth, the script originally contained only consonants, with vowels and the glyph for heh/eh (and) added sometime after the year 100. According to an ancient primer used to teach the young sons of merchant-sailors, the script — to aid memory — was designed to resemble Vulcan plant-life. Although the flora throughout Vulcan is restricted to small cacti and succulents, the temperate Dzhaleyl Region is known for its vines and creepers. The carnivorous d’mallu is particularly aggressive there.

CONSTRUCTION

Written on consecutive vertical lines or stringers, the script is read top to bottom, right to left. Glyphs often flow into one another, although in some hands, spaces are left between words. In others, the text continues without a break, although paragraphs are always started on a fresh line. There is no punctuation.

In keeping with the botanical theme of the script, the vertical line is commonly referred to as the kas-fek or stem. The top horizontal, which heads each line, is the gel (branch). The sinuous curves of the S, K, H, G, Z, C, L, R, F and V glyphs suggest a kas-elakh or vine and the semi-circular form of M and N stylized mor (leaf). The nei-savas (berry) can be seen in the A, O, and U glyphs and the kastik-og-lum (thorn) in E, I, and Y. The B and P glyphs are thought to represent buds and W the svai or mature bloom. The T glyph is a delicate tendril curling up from the branch of the glyph it precedes or follows.

Glyphs from Dzhaleyl (Click for chart)

The glyphs in this chart are arranged according to FSE custom – as individual symbols read left to right – to make it easier for the learner to distinguish them. For Vulcan children, they are presented in the customary vertical strings. Here the glyphs are shown in relation to the gel, the head of the line. If a glyph – such as those for S, K, W, M, N, T, B, and P – incorporate the gel, then it must always be written with a horizontal line. The rest of the glyphs do not incorporate the gel and are shown here below it. Vowels are placed within the sinuous curves of vine glyphs. The H glyph (hla’meth) is only used at the start or end of a word. Where it serves to denote aspirated consonants, as in kh, ch, th, or zh, the hla’meth-nei (hla’meth seed) is used, which is recognizable in the example at the right as a double line intersecting the S glyph.

To date, Shi’Oren t’Ek’Iyula-Visak’a T’Khasi – the Vulcan Academy of Cultural Heritage – had not released a Dzhaleyl font for use with Terran computer systems, but since interest in the ancient script is growing, the Academy will likely do so.  At that point, a more detailed analysis, along with practical usage, will be appropriate.

In the meantime, since curiosity runs strong among humans, here is a listing of the glyphs and the translations of their common names. Logically, they are plant species.

sh’rr

an herb1; a bushy, grey-green creeper with a sweet resinous aroma that reminds some of lavender. Its oils are used in teas and soaps.

kh’aa

an herb2; a pungent creeper with a refreshing, minty aroma. Its fresh leaves are used in teas and baths.

waneti

a flowering plant with tiny white blossoms3; a desert succulent, growing in dense globular clusters. Its flesh is used as a source of water by travelers.

mah’ta

an herb4; tall with deep crimson spiky flowers. The leaves make a resinous, citrus-scented tea not unlike bee balm.

nar’ru

a night-blooming vine.5

tikh

a grain-bearing grass; a staple in the Vulcan food supply6. The tips of the grass blades dry and curl in late season, making it an excellent choice for dried arrangements.

hla’meth

an herb7; its olive-green tendrils invade crevices and affix themselves to the smoothest stone.

g’teth

a berry bush8 producing small, brownish-green buds which are crushed to make the beverage known as Vulcan mocha. The spiral of the glyph can be seen on the tips of the berries.

zhari

rust-plant; a tall, tree-like cactus with a growth of rust-colored wooly hairs. The abundant pollen from its golden blooms resembles rust.

chakh’

dried strings of this plant were used for weaving nets for hunting.9

lhm’ta

an herb10 with a leggy growth habit and long, narrow leaves. The leaves when crushed remind Terrans of lemon and are used for tea and salads.

relen

a vine grown on trellises for tea.11

fori

a legume12 used in soups; has a nutty flavor.

vedik

weed13; the generic term for a weed or nuisance plant, but even weeds are utilized on Vulcan. If threatening more desirable plants, weed species are carefully removed and encouraged to grow elsewhere or immediately used for their various benefits.

birkin

a sweet herb, often used in flavoring water.14

plomik

A squash-like vegetable used for the soap that is a staple in Vulcan cuisine.15

d’mallu

a large, carnivorous plant.16 Although the glyph looks nothing like the dangerous, sprawling creeper, folklore explains that the glyph represents the plant after the Vulcan child had successfully dealt with it during kahs-wan.

a’morak

a bush that grows nowhere else but the temple that bears its name. It provides soft fibers for the weaving of fine cloths on handlooms17 and nut-like edible seed-berries.

ozhi

finger-plant; a cactus-like plant this is columnar at first but produces finger-like shoots – usually five in number. The tender nodules of the shoots are edible.

urozh

crop(s)18  This glyph was likely inspired by hirat, a grapelike fruit – a common export of Dzhaleyl.

eshi

breath-plant; a pungent herb used to ease breathing and congestion, especially in cases of lung-lock fever. The fresh leaves are also chopped and used with dried fruit in the baking of krei’la.

i’su’ke

a berry bush19, gnarled and tiny-leaved20 with thorns.

yar

grass21; an invasive species that when disturbed produces stinging nettles.

SOURCES

1Bonanno, M. W. (1985). Dwellers in the crucible. New York: Pocket Books, p. 5.

2ibid.

3Gardner, M. R. & The Vulcan Language Institute. (2011). The Vulcan Language. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Enterprises, Inc., p. 58.

4Bonanno, M. W. (1985). Dwellers in the crucible. New York: Pocket Books, p. 5.

5 Michael Sussman (Writer), & Allan Kroeker (Director). (2004). Home [Television series episode]. In Star Trek: Enterprise. Hollywood, CA: Paramount Pictures.

6Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p. 118.

7Bonanno, M. W. (1985). Dwellers in the crucible. New York: Pocket Books, p. 5.

8The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 45.

9Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p. 127.

10Bonanno, M. W. (1985). Dwellers in the crucible. New York: Pocket Books, p. 5.

11Crispin, A.C. (1994). Sarek. New York: Pocket Books, p. 89.

12 Gardner, M. R. & The Vulcan Language Institute. (2011). The Vulcan Language. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Enterprises, Inc., p. 21.

13ibid, p. 56.

14Orion Press Lexicon.

15Gardner, M. R. & The Vulcan Language Institute. (2011). The Vulcan Language. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Enterprises, Inc., p. 40.

16ibid, p. 16.

17Bonanno, M.W. (2010). Unspoken truth. New York: Pocket Books.

18 Gardner, M. R. & The Vulcan Language Institute. (2011). The Vulcan Language. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Enterprises, Inc., p. 55.

19Martin, M.A. (2009). The Romulan War: Beneath the raptor’s wing. New York: Pocket Books, p. 71.

20Fontana, D.C. (1989). Vulcan’s glory. New York: Pocket Books, p. 10.

21 Gardner, M. R. & The Vulcan Language Institute. (2011). The Vulcan Language. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Enterprises, Inc., p. 59.