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



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.


The Logic of the Forge

Recently, an excerpt from Surak’s teachings appeared in a publication commemorating the firstThe Forge 150 years of the United Federation of Planets. The selection is included as a sample of Vulcan philosophy and as an artifact of interest from one of the founding worlds. While the translation into Federation Standard English is satisfactory, the opening commentary is insufficient in detail to adequately introduce non-Vulcans to Surak’s writings. I would like to expand on and clarify that introduction here.

The journal entry featured in Federation: The First 150 Years is from a selection of writings typically referred to as The Logic of the The Forge, dating to the year 312 when Surak was 33 standard Vulcan years old. The entry is part of the Awakening phase of his life, after his family was killed and he lost his best friend Senet in the Sudocian Wars. While he took refuge in various part of Shi’Kahr, he was captured and tortured – not behind enemy lines – but by Shi’alan officials who believed he possessed military intelligence that would aid them in pinpointing the location of the mindlord Sudoc. Sudoc’s strikes on the region of Shi’al, and in particular the city of Shi’Kahr were Surak lived, were vicious and unrelenting. Shi’alan military officials sought to end the war by infiltrating Sudoc’s compound and executing the warlord. Sudoc knew they were getting close. Days earlier, his mind-controlled assassins penetrated Shi’Kahr and slaughtered several of its top-ranking officers, including General Solek, Surak’s father, and their households.

When they brought Surak in for questioning, they found him wandering the streets in a state of shock. He’d been out with his friends – one of whom was Senet – when Surak’s family was murdered. His confusion only increased when officials began interrogating him about his defection from the army. They accused him of desertion and, therefore, treason. They accused him of orchestrating his family’s murder. Surak, they said, deserted his position in the Shi’alan army and killed his own family because he was under the influence of Sudoc’s psychic powers. Stunned, Surak invoked the right of privilege. In those days, the sons and daughters of the wealthy were spared from the draft. Only a handful these young people freely chose to enter military service, preferring instead days of leisure. Surak was no exception and spent his youth enjoying games of strategy and debating the finer points of philosophy with a close circle of friends.

General Solek was so embarrassed by Surak’s lack of patriotism that he created a complete forgery of records detailing his son’s distinguished career in the army. Hence, the officials’ confusion and the comment in the aforementioned introduction: “The Vulcan philosopher Surak grew up in a world plagued by war and on the edge of self-destruction. As a young man, he fought in those wars in the infantry; he attributed much of his later philosophy to the changes he underwent during his ordeal.”[1]

This last statement is undeniably true.  In his journal, Surak wrote: “Vesht nam-tor nash-veh has-bosh fna’mesh; Nekal nash-veh agreibaya t’au, vesht tan-tor na’au ek’ro’fori ik psal au. I was sick over my humiliation; I had succumbed to their torture, given them all the information they had sought….”[2] In passages preceding the one quoted here, Surak described the nature of the information he had given the authorities and how that revelation affected him.

“I did have the information they sought,” he wrote, “for I had touched my father as he lay dying and saw it in his mind. I saw his hopes and his fears. I knew where Sudoc hid. I knew where all his wives and children were. I knew where his generals were, and all their wives and children. My father had learned their location through his operatives, who were also killed that night – before any of that intelligence could be utilized. With a few cowardly words, I sentenced them all to death.”

Later, when Surak began teaching peace and compassion in the crowded markets, he was often asked, “Why did you not rejoice at this information and give it eagerly? Here was your chance to destroy the man who destroyed your family and countless others.” Surak replied, “Does the destruction of the man who destroyed my family elevate me above him? Does the destruction of innocents for the sake of his execution absolve my conscience of the blood that has been spilled due to my words? Will not the survivors in his compound wish to retaliate? When will it end?”

Although Sudoc escaped the storming of his compound, the majority of his family was killed. During the raid, Surak managed to flee his cell and escaped through a series of tunnels into the neighboring kingdom of Lhai where he wandered the Forge for days until the search parties thought him dead.

In this journal entry, Surak wrote, “Katal nahp pa’svik mesh, heh vesht fai-tor hash-veh ta worla kupi hal-tor nash-veh na’ha-kel. The thought of my betrayal brought guilt, and I knew I could never go home.”[3] The betrayal he speaks of here is not only the betrayal of his close circle of friends but also the betrayal of self. At that point in his life, his friends had become his family, and during his incarceration, he had revealed their whereabouts through the pain of torture. They were all charged with sedition and wanted for questioning. But most of all, Surak was troubled by his betrayal of his own morals. By giving into his emotions and the pain, he failed to stand by his convictions, he later said.

One of the most interesting segments of this entry is Surak’s confession that he broke one of Vulcan’s ancient taboos. After he had wandered in the Forge for several days without food and water, he was awoken by a scout craft flying dangerously low overhead. Moments later, he witnessed its crash and ran to the crumpled fuselage to check for survivors. He pulled the bodies of two pilots – both dead – from the wreckage and searched the craft for survival rations and water but found none. “Thirst was overcoming me,” he wrote, “and I thought…I could drink their blood. It would allow me to survive. My religious upbringing considered this a violation of sacred law. If I did this and was discovered, I would be an outcast, I would be tried and executed.”[4]

Surak sat with the bodies for a long time, thirst and uncertainty gnawing at his mind. He thought of his home and his family of friends. He struggled to find meaning in his life and why he even might want to continue living. He thought of all the emotional states that had brought him to this place, that had brought all of Vulcan to this place, and began to formulate his renowned treatise on fear. The elimination of fear, he believed, was the key. He concluded, “Vesht pla-ash-tor nash-veh s’riklopaya; u’samu-esh, khal ozhika eh vesht var-tor ozhika nash-veh rish-tor. Vesht mon-tor nash-veh plak, visolektal nash-veh vukhutlar heh fa’lefator nash-veh. I stepped back from my indecision; like a cool breath, logic took over and told me to survive. I drank the blood, buried the bodies, and continued on.”[5]

Surak’s treatise on fear remains to this day one of the most influential pieces of Vulcan literature.

While copyright restrictions prevent me from posting the FSE translation of Surak’s journal entry, here is the original in Traditional Golic Vulcan:  Ozhika t’ah’Hrak

[1] An Excerpt from the Teachings of Surak in Goodman, David A. (2012). Star Trek: Federation: The First 150 Years. London: Titan Books, p. 17)

[2] ibid, p. 19.

[3] ibid.

[4] ibid.

[5] ibid.

The Silences

Ralash WhiteDuring the time he spent speaking in Shi’Kahr’s public places, advocating for a change in Vulcan lifestyle, Surak often spoke of respect. It was the one simple courtesy he felt was essential for each Vulcan to master and practice on a daily basis. Without it there could be no emotional control and no peace. Respect was sorely lacking in Vulcan culture during his time, as he demonstrated in this speech given on the steps of the Suta Temple in the year 323. In it, he outlined a code of conduct which became known as The Silences.

“It is always a signal that something is wrong when leaders live by different rules than citizens. In fact, it is the breakdown of society, of all that is civilized. A citizen cannot access the networks without being tracked. Purchases, conversations, messages, information-searches, images, health records, employment records, academic records, criminal records, family records, and property records are captured by data-mining software. The information is sold to the one who makes the highest offer. Credit applications are denied due to political affiliation. Job applicants are turned away because of their genetic predisposition to diseases. Identities, access codes, and bank accounts are stolen. Political opponents contact voters directly and take positions or make promises that are shielded from scrutiny by the public. Students are expelled for criticizing their teachers. Surveillance cameras are installed along borders encouraging anyone to access and monitor illegal crossings. False reports and vigilantism come in waves.

“Yet one cannot learn by accessing the nets what Minister Pola purchased today, what he ate for breakfast, what vaccinations he’s received or what childhood diseases he’s had, what genetic diseases are prevalent in his family, his score on the Academy exit exam, what transportation he uses, what personal interests he has, what his marital status is, when his last pon farr was and if any offspring were produced, what his household income is, or even where his private residence is located. All one sees is a simple file which includes his educational degrees and specialty, his title of office, and his official commcode. No personal information is given.

“This is how it should be – for all of us. Only in the sanctity of privacy can we find peace. The intensity and complexity of life meant to evolve civilization have done the opposite – devolved it – making retreat from the world a necessity for Vulcan sanity and the control of the emotions. Modern technology and business practices, through invasion of privacy and lack of societal regulation, have subjected us to mental distress far greater than any bodily injury. We have lost our right as individuals to be let alone. Once information and images of an individual are on the nets, they can be used against that individual in perpetuity, making it impossible for him or her to leave an old life behind and start a new one. We have lost our integrity and far more. We have lost our soul because we have lost respect for one another.

“Only by leaving others the privacy of their minds and lives can we regain what we have lost. The courts do not protect individuals against the collection and selling of personal information. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the citizen to uphold the right of those around him to be let alone.

“How can we do this? Through the elimination of the incessant noise of life – through The Silences – by allowing each individual privacy in these aspects of life:

Birth:  This is a private journey shared by mother and child. No others should be present except those responsible for their care. The mother should not be distracted from bonding with the child. Announcing the birth on the nets and posting images leaves the child vulnerable.

Home and family life:  The location of one’s home must remain private information to preserve the sanctity of the house as a retreat from the world. While the honor and tradition of guest-right should be maintained, do not expect to be invited to the home of another. When wishing to meet with one whom you do not know, request that the meeting occur in a public place so that you do not intrude upon the individual’s personal sanctuary. Additionally, the individual should be contacted through his or her place of work or study and not at home.

Personal space:  Allow each individual a cushion of space. Do not intrude with your gaze, your voice, or your touch. Remain at a respectful distance, at least one pace away. Establish consent, even with the one to whom you are bonded, before you invade the other’s space. Do not ask another’s name of a third party. Wait for the owner to give it.

Spiritual beliefs:  Allow one the privacy of his or her experience with the being or force responsible for the creation and maintenance of the universe. It is a journey you cannot take and it is not your concern. We each have our own journey to which we must attend.

Thoughts and remembrances:  I have said before that it is the inherent right of all Vulcans to meld in mind and spirit. If you meld, do not invade the thoughts and remembrances of the other. Let the other reveal them to you, if that is his or her wish. Likewise, do not force your thoughts, desires, or memories on the other. Wait for an invitation. And above all else, never enter the other’s mind unbidden.

Time alone:  When you sense that you have come to the limits of your abilities, retreat into your personal sanctuary and conserve energy. Likewise, allow each individual time alone to heal and renew the mind, body, and soul.

Bonding and pon farr:  There are few situations in life that are more sacred than the link between bondmates. When their link is active through a mind-meld, pon farr, the birth of a child, or a more mundane event, no one else in the world matters, and no one should intrude. Even the status of their bonding is a matter only to be shared between the pair, their families, and close friends. And when their bond is severed by death, the survivor should be cared for but left to heal in the privacy of his or her thoughts and memories.

Death:  There is no life event more personal than death. While birth is the experience of two, death can only be experienced by one. It is a solitary journey. Allow those dying privacy. It is the last offer of respect that we can give. Death records, like all medical records, should be sealed, made available only to those who demonstrate a legal or scientific need to know.”

These are The Silences – the quieting of the noise of the Vulcan species.


For those of you who would like to practice reading in Traditional Golic Vulcan, here is the original text:   Ralash-Fam’eslar

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 Natural Features of T’Khasi

Although much has changed on the planet T’Khasi (Vulcan) since Surak’s time, many of the natural features remain timeless. The air, soil, and water have been cleansed of toxins and pollutants, but the mountains, seas, and deserts would still be recognizable to Surak today.

Listed below are various natural features as Surak knew them. Click on the link to see the map rendering by artist T’Rel.

Map of Surak’s Vulcan

ah’Hrak1 This is an ancient name for the planet, meaning “The Forge.” Later it came to be used exclusively for any extremely inhospitable place in the deep desert regions. Today, as in Surak’s time, these places were used for the kahs-wan ritual and other survival training. There are too many ah’Hrak locations to mark on the map, but nearly every kingdom or nation-state had one.
Cheleb-Khor2 Today the desert region of Cheleb-Khor is locatd on the southernmost edge of the Province of Tat’Sahr. In Surak’s time, it cut across his homeland, the Kingdom of Lhai. Here Surak survived the kahs-wan, crossing the desert from east to west in about ten days, resting and recovering at the Temple of Anonak. The desert was named for the god of anger, Ket-cheleb.
Eiktra t’Plak3 Known as The Plain of Blood, these sun-baked highlands were the scene of an estimated 9,000 deaths not only in combat but in execution during the Sudocian wars. Many of the fallen were priests of Seleya who attempted to stave off the mindlords of Sudoc. After a lengthy period of meditation at Seleya, Surak set out across the plain carrying his message of peace to the Lords of Raal. Today a barefoot journey from Seleya to the PirAelim oasis is a common pilgrimage.
Eiktra t’Vel’Sor4 Located in central Shi’al halfway between Mt. Seleya and Shi’Kahr, this ceremonial land belongs to the House of Sekir, the dynasty to into which Surak was born. Ambassador Sarek family also belongs to this house. Here amidst the megalithic structure, Surak’s mother T’Leia bonded with Solek, Surak’s biological father.
Heya Kolinahr5 The highest peak in Gol, Mount Kolinahr is the home of Shi’Kohl t’Kolinahru, the Kolinahr Monastery.
Heyalar t’Akranna6 Stretching across southern Zhir’tan, the Mountains of Akranna are legendary for their fire and ice, the weapons of Akranna, an ancient goddess of war, consort of Khosarr.
Heyalar t’al-Stakna7 The al-Stakna Mountains formed the western border of the Kingdom of Irik and the eastern borders of  Duveh, Lassirihen, Mahn’hen, and Ovek. The volcanic peaks of T’Raan, T’Rian, and T’Regar lay at its southern end while the Valley of Nal’Shin cut through its northern end. The Temple of A’morak is located in its western foothills. Surak visited a hermit who lived by the Lesser Sea at the foot of the al-Stakna range.
Heyalar t’Arlanga8 The Arlanga Mountains stretch across equatorial Vulcan from Raal in the west to Kir in the east. Its eastern slopes step down to the Hills of Kerak and to the Caves of Culvir and Kolinahr. At its western end are spectacular views of the Fire Plains of Raal and the Womb of Fire. The Temple of Anonak is nestled on its northern slopes.
Heyalar t’Gol9 The Mountains of Gol separated the Kingdom of Gol from Raal, Zhial, and Shi’al. The range stretches from the Pa’Utra oasis in the west to curl around the Plateau of Tai-la on its southern edge until it joins with the L’langon Range in the east. Its highest peak , Mount Kolinahr, lies on its eastern edge.
Heyalar t’Khosarr10 This mountain range, located in northern Zhir’tan and named for the ancient war-god Khosarr, was and continues to be one of the most geologically unstable regions on Vulcan.
Heyalar t’L’langon11 Separating Shi’al from Khomi and Khomi from Gol, the L’langon Mountains have long harbored strings of monasteries and secret brotherhoods, the most famous of which is the Tinsha Monastery, located in Khomi. The Shrine of T’Vet is set up on its northern edge. The highest peak is Mount Tar’Hana in the east. Many of those who opposed Surak’s teachings left Shi’Kahr to establish communes in these mountains.
Heyalar Zadik12 East of the Kalrenta Plateau, the Zadik Mountains run through south-central Gol to the city of Zhen’tal in the east. Venturing into these mountains was forbidden for many centuries, for it was believed that Sudoc’s katra was kept here by a secret brotherhood of mindlords.
Ku-li t’Nal’Shin13 From time beyond remembering, the temperate Valley of Nal’Shin in the al-Stakna Range was a place of dispute between Iriki and Mahn’heh warlords. The cooler climate with above average rainfall was suitable for growing a number of crops and the surrounding mountains were rich in metals. Fort Aba’Kur guarded the valley in the Kingdom of Irik.
Ku-li t’TsaiKal14 In the Time of the Awakening, the Valley of TsaiKal lay on the northern border of the Kingdom of Shi’al. The valley separated the fortresses of Shi’Kahr, the capital of Shi’al, and de’Khriv, the capital of the Kingdom of Lhai. Each faced the other in stark defiance, but in Surak’s time, neither needed to guard against the other. Shi’al and Lhai had been in alliance for several hundred years, and the fruits of the valley were shared by both.
Kunellar t’Kerak15 The Hills of Kerak lay between the TsaiKal Valley in Shi’al and the Sas-a-Shar Desert stretching from southeastern Lhai to southwestern Kir. Kerak is thought to be the legendary priest-king of the First Dynasty, for whom the first ka’athaira was made.
Masu-Naflar t’Ha’zen16 The Straits of Hazen separate the continents of Na’nam and Zhir’tan.  Due to the constant shifting of the tectonic plates which meet beneath the channel, the straits are difficult to navigate to this day. Various legends make reference to violent maelstroms appearing without warning to suck down or sink large freighters. Ha’zen is the name of an ancient king of Gol who drowned in the channel, but the legend containing his story has been lost.
Masutra t’Thanor17 Thanor is one of two great seas on Vulcan. Far back in the history of the planet, both seas covered a third more land but burned away in the great cataclysm that turned Vulcan into a desert world. There is evidence to suggest that the Thanor Sea once stretched as far inland as the Shival Flats. Mount Tar’Hana was an island, and much of Khomi was under water. The old-growth forests in the fertile costs surrounding the sea were carefully guarded and tended in Surak’s time.
Mastura t’Voroth18 From the earliest times, the Voroth Sea carried trade ships launched from busy ports in Na’nam, Zhir’tan, and Han’Shir. Dzhaleyl in Na’nam and Kwi’Inor in Han’Shir were the busiest of these ports, followed closely by tu’Khrev. By Surak’s time, maritime trade had long been replaced by air transportation and the seaports became luxury resort towns. Like the Thanor Sea, the coastal perimeter of the Voroth boasted more temperate climate and arable land. Competition for it, as with inland oases, sparked many wars.
Pa Ut’ra “Where there was once a mountain, now there is insight.” So ends the fable of Pa Ut’ra, the “Place of Insight,” which was said to be a monastery to where 17 paths led. Anyone who examines themes of self-awareness and growth will notice that the number 17 is common in Vulcan art. Pa Ut’ra is thought by many scholars to be located on the windswept plains west of the Mountains of Gol. It continues to be revered by the adepts of Gol, although only desert remains there now.19
Pa’ash-Solektra t’Shvial The Shival Flats lie to the northwest of Shi’Kahr in Shi’al and provide one of the best places to view solar flare activity during the winter. During the summer, deadly lightning storms from the flares scour the flats, making travel impossible in the area.20 During Surak’s time, the flats created—at times – an effective barrier to Sudoc’s plans for expansion and conquest.
Pa’ash-Solektra t’Viltan Located in northern Tat’Sahr, the Viltan Flats are, as they were in Surak’s day, an area of vast hydroponic farming. The town of Ta’Vistar is located in the center of the flats.21
Pasutra t’Kalrenta The Kalrenta Plateau in southwestern Gol is home to adepts of the Path of Tas. Long before Surak’s time, these monks developed psychometry, the ability to detect psychic traces left behind on objects one has touched. Quite often, adepts can identify or describe the last person to touch an object and his/her emotional state. They may also receive vivid flashes of scenes from the “life” of the object.22 Today adepts of Kalrenta are assisting scholars in learning more about Vulcan’s ancient past. The Kir’Shara is now in their hands for analysis.
Pasutra t’Tai-la The Plateau of Tai-la is a desolate place outside the Kolinahru Monastery where the final ritual of Kolinahr takes place. Here, the acolyte carries only a robe and waterskin, alone, and enters a deep meditative trance, casting out all remaining emotion into the surrounding sands.23 The Path of Kolinahr was founded by Sanshiin in 319 about seven years of the Awakening of Surak. 24
Pilash t’Na’Ri The River Na’Ri runs through the heart of Raal form Lake Yuron. Here in the temperate valley, the Vulcan species (and later its culture) evolved. An early writing system developed by merchants in Dzhaleyl used red clay from the river as its medium. The river can be navigated as far up as Vulcinis Regar (or Regar, as it was known in Surak’s time) during the winter months. In the summer the water levels drop too low.25 Water levels were higher in the Time of the Awakening.
PirAelim This series of fresh-water springs offered an oasis to nomadic tribes from the earliest times in eastern Raal. The pools vary in source water, temperature, and drinkability. Some contain phosphorescent phytoplankton. Many of the springs are surrounded by thickets of kamor trees, which can reach over a thousand years in age and a spread of a hundred meters.26 PirAelim has survived countless battles and attempts to claim it. Surak rested here a tenday after crossing the Plain of Blood.
Sas-a-Shar27 This eastern equatorial desert stretching from the Arlanga Range in the north to the L’langon Mountains in the south was Surak’s home. Here he lived, taught, and died. For this reason, the Sas-a-Shar region became the heart of Vulcan civilization after the Awakening. The desert was tectonically more stable than others and cities grew up around its oases in Shi’al and Kir. Hundreds of te-Vikram clans roamed the Sas-a-Shar in Surak’s time.
Shi’Yon T’Raan Mount T’Raan is the northernmost of the trio of active volcanoes in the al-Stakna Mountains on the northern fringe of the Fire Plains of Raal.28 In Surak’s time it lay within the territory of the Kingdom of Duveh and was heavily mined for valuable metals and minerals.
Shi’Yon T’Regar The southern- and westernmost of the three active volcanoes in the al-Stakna Mountains, Mount T’Regar overlooks the Fire plains of Raal.29 In Surak’s time an ancient brotherhood of sword-smiths still lived here. It is believed that the original honor blades carried offworld in the Rihannsu generational ships were forged in the fires of Mount T’Regar.
Shi’Yon T’Riall Located in the Kingdom of Irik on the edge of the al-Stakna Range, Mount T’Riall is the easternmost of the three active volcanoes near the Fire Plains of Raal. 30The volcanoes have been active, though not violent, for many thousands of years and are believed to have been named for a trio of fire-goddesses worshipped by the te-Vikram.
Shi’Yon Tar’Hana Mount Tar’Hana lies to the east of Shi’Kahr at the edge of the L-langon Mountains. Its tall peak is recognizable from the city, although it lies nearly 300 miles distant. It was active throughout Surak’s lifetime but lies dormant now. Although it occasionally returns to life, there have been no violent eruptions for over 8,000 years. The first settlements in the valley below lie buried in ash.31
Sudef t’Yon The legendary Womb of Fire is often described as a region more desolate than the Forge. It lies east of the Fire Plains of Raal on the equator in what was technically the Kingdom of Lhai, Surak’s homeland, but the only folk who ever ventured there were the nomadic te-Vikram clans, who prided themselves on their ability to survive in the harshest wasteland of all Vulcan. For the te-Vikram Brotherhoods, it was holy ground ruled by the Old Mother of Fire, and their chief shrine lay within.32
Suk’Erg The Great Erg is a vast expanse in central Zhir’tan, rich in kevas deposits. Great chunks of the ore could be collected from the surface in Surak’s time.33
Suk’Muzh t’Yuron Located at the western end of the Arlanga Mountains, Lake Yuron is the headwater of the River Na’Ri.34 It is not know if Surak traveled this far into Raal, but today the lake is a popular destination for those wishing an introduction to Surak’s teachings, especially offworlders. Here one can enjoy leasurely seminars and lectures on various topics at the Kol-Ut-Shan retreat.
Tauklar t’Kolinahr35 These ancient caverns were renamed The Caves of Kolinahr by followers of Surak towards the end of his lifetime. Legend has it that Surak sheltered here during an airstrike on the Kingdom of Lhai. It is one of many sacred places today where Surak is said to have found enlightenment and taught pupils.
Tauklar t’Kulvir The old lava tubes known as The Caves of Kulvir were used to tunnel foot-and-pack-animal traffic from de’Khriv to the Temple of Anonak and the desert beyond. The intriguing rock formations and the ruins of an ancient temple destroyed by lava make the caves a popular tourist destination for day-hikers.36
Weh-pi’Masutra There is a little-known story about Surak visiting a hermit who lived on a small lake near The Lesser Sea.37 This inland sea is at the foot of the al-Stakna Mountains in what would have been the Kingdom of Irik at that time. The lesser Sea has grown and shrunk over the millennia with solar flare cycles. It is 31.7% larger today than it was in Surak’s time. The lake by which the hermit lived was likely a part of the sea in its evaporating phase.


1Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p. 161.

2The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 46.

3 Reeves-Stevens, J & Reeves-Stevens, G. (Writers), & Grossman, M. (Director). (2004). The Forge [Television series episode]. In Star Trek: Enterprise. Hollywood, CA: Paramount Pictures; Martin, M.A. (2009). Beneath the Raptor’s Wing. (The Romulan War). New York: Pocket Books, p. 240.

4George, D. R. (2006). The fire and the rose. (Crucible: Spock). New York: Pocket Books, p.355.

5The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 49.

6These mountains are pictured but not named on the map in The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 92.

7 Sherman, J. & Shwartz, S. (1997). Vulcan’s Forge. New York: Pocket Books, p. 151.

8The official Star Trek cooking manual.

9The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 92.

10These mountains are pictured but not named on the map in The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 92.

11The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 50.

12These mountains are pictured but not named on the map in The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 92.

13The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 58.

14Orion Press lexicon.

15 ibid.

16The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 48.

17ibid, p.42-43.

18ibid, p. 43.

19Perry, S.D. & Dennison, B. (2010). Inception. New York: Pocket Books, p.62.

20The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 53.

21ibid, p. 59.

22ibid, p. 89.

23ibid, p. 50.

24ibid, p. 17, 19.

25ibid,p. 53.

26Bonanno, M.W. (2010). Unspoken truth. New York: Pocket Books, p.350.

27The official Star Trek cooking manual.

28The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 52.



31ibid; Martin, M.A. (2009). Beneath the raptor’s wing. (The romulan war). New York: Pocket Books, p. 240.

32 Sherman, J. & Shwartz, S. (2004). Exodus. (Vulcan’s soul, book one). New York: Pocket Books, p. 106.

33 Sherman, J. & Shwartz, S. (2006). Exiles. (Vulcan’s soul, book two). New York: Pocket Books, p. 137.

34 Martin, M.A. (2009). Beneath the raptor’s wing. (The romulan war). New York: Pocket Books, p. 240.

35The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 93.

36ibid, p.53.

37Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p. 251.

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






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.


Vulcan Cities at the Time of the Awakening

In continuing our look at T’Khasi (the planet Vulcan) in Surak’s time, listed below are all the major cities that have been identified on the continent of Na’nam. Click on the map link to see Vulcan at the Time of the Awakening as depicted by artist T’Rel. If you have any questions or insights, or find any errors, please leave a comment or contact me at

Map of Surak’s Vulcan

Aba’kur1 This capital city began as a fort erected 5,000 years before the Time of the Awakening to guard the entrance to the oasis at Ku-li t’Nal’Shin (The Valley of Nal’Shin) in the Kingdom of Irik. The Mahn’heh and Iriki peoples warred constantly over this fertile region and its resources.
Ara’Kahr2 There was a bio attack on this coastal city in Kir during Surak’s youth. Although records of the war have been lost, the weapon is believed to have been launched from Tat’sahr, based on trajectory analysis. The remnant that survives from the song The Heroes of Ara’Kahr suggests that Kir and Tat’sahr were ancient rivals.
Chi-ri3 Located in north-central Zhial, Chi-ri was a walled fortress guarding the border that the nation shared with the Kingdom of Raal in Surak’s time. Chi-ri was successful for a time in holding back the tide of Sudoc’s expansionist excursions, but the Eiktra t’Plak (Plain of Blood) is aptly named. It is estimated that 9,000 perished there in the Sudocian wars. Chi-ri is now the headquarters of the Vulcan Subministry of Agriculture.
Dahhana’Kahr4 Shi’alan literary references merely state that Dahhana’Kahr was a city “some distance from Shi’Kahr.” Vulcan Science Academy excavations have now identified the ruins at the foot of the L’langon Mountains in Khomi as the remains of Dahhana’Kahr. The walled city dates back to the First Dynasty.
de’Khriv5 Presently located in central Shi’al Provence, de’Khriv receives nearly 2,000,000 tourists annually. It was formerly the capital of the Lhai nation but is best known as the home of Surak and possibly his birth place. Surak worked for a time as an accountant in his father’s firm located in the city. De’Khriv supported about 250,000 inhabitants at the Time of the Awakening.
Devlarm6 Standing on what was once the eastern boarder of Lhai, the ruins of Devlarm are a reminder of the total devastation caused by anger and revenge. Here the warlord Dvir financed and developed the first Vulcan ship capable of spaceflight, but before it could be commissioned, it – along with 90% of the population were vaporized in a neutron blast by the warlord Nu’Val of Duveh. Nu’Val feared that by winning the space race, the nation of Lhai would soon take over the continent. Devlarm’s population then was just over 1,000,000. The place is now called Da’Kum’Ulchra (City of Shadows).
Dzhaleyl7 The walled city of Dzhaleyl ( sometimes spelled Jaleyl), located at the mouth of the River Na’Ri on Raal’s west coast was a sovereign city-state over 8,000 years ago. About 300 years before the birth of Surak, it was absorbed into the Kingdom of Raal, ruled by Sudoc at the Time of the Awakening. For much of its existence, Dzhaleyl’s economy has been based on coastal commerce. In the age of sail, it was a busy port of entry for those traveling from the western continent. Dzhaleyl trade-lords controlled all traffic up and down the river and exacted steep tolls. It was here that an early writing system was developed and inscribed on clay tablets, much in the same way cuneiform was used on Earth. The Kir’Shara was preserved in this script.
Dzhaya’an’Kahr8 Not much is known about this coastal city in Raal, the walls of which were uncovered about 100 years ago. A dozen clay tablets, shipped from Dzhaleyl to the House of Dzhaya’an, were found in strata dating from over 6,000 years ago. The city was destroyed in the Sudocian wars.
K’lan9 For millennia, K’lan was the only settlement in the Kingdom and continent of Zhir’tan, a region continuously plagued by devastating earthquakes. The kingdom grew wealthy from the rich kevas deposits and in ore lying scattered across the plains and in veins deep below the surface. In 2265, K’lan was destroyed by a massive quake and sank into the Straits of Ha’zan.
Khir’Ahl10 Khir’Ahl was once the capital of Kir and a prosperous port in ancient times. As a city-state, it was its own kingdom. The tale of Sulen and T’Vhet begins in Khir’Ahl. As the unrest continued in Surak’s time, its population dwindled to a mere 33.5% of what it once had been, and the capital was moved to Kir’Kahr.
Kir’Kahr11 The rolling grasslands of southeastern Kir were the breadbasket of the kingdom and as such were fiercely guarded in the Time of the Awakening. With the pollution of the Thanor Sea, the marine food supply grew scarce and disease ran rampant through the coastal population. The fortress complex at Kir’Kahr was erected to protect the surrounding farmland and the population flocked there. Today the city’s population is around 140,000.
Nah’namKir12 For centuries, the city of Nah’namKir had served as the capital of Lalirh, a kingdom in the Time of the Awakening that is now a part of the Tat’sahr Province. Nah’namKir was for the longest time the northernmost settlement in Na’nam until the town of Retakh grew up around a robotics research station.
Regar13 In Surak’s time, this busy trade center was known as Regar. Sometime after the unification of Raal Province under the reformed government, the city was officially renamed Vulcana Regar. It had been a place of mass torture and execution in the Sudocian wars, much like the Auschwitz of Earth. The very name of Regar was an embarrassing stain in Vulcan history. Therefore, various politicians sought to change it to Vulcana, a name that proved to be the most popular with religious leaders. But city officials refused to accept it saying that it was illogical to sweep the past – and the name along with it – under the proverbial rug. The compromise of Vulcana Regar was suggested and accepted. Today the city, now the capital of Raal, is a flourishing spaceport.
Retakh14 The city of Retakh is T’Khasi’s northernmost settlement. In the Time of the Awakening, it was a small seaport in the Kingdom of Lalirh, inhabited by 1,500 people. It is the only city to be established in the frozen wastelands of the arctic region. Its sister city Nah’namKir lies on the fringe of the arctic circle and its snowpack thaws during the two hottest summer months. In Surak’s time, Retakh was a research center in robotics and AI.
Shanai’Kahr15 Shanai’Kahr was an industrial town in the heart of Zhial. Its factories were devoted to the aerospace industry and were bombed by Raalan forces in Surak’s time.
Shi’Kahr16 Home of the Vulcan Science Academy and now the planet’s legislative capital, Shi’Kahr had a rich and variegated past. As an oasis in the Desert of Sas-a-Shar, Shi’Kahr was fought over by numerous warlords and dynastic families for thousands of years and was sacked more times than history has recorded. Some of the walls which divide the city’s quarters and neighborhoods have stood for millennia and the oldest trees still thrive  here. It was at the Suta Temple in the heart of Shi’Kahr that Surak and his followers were first allowed to teach.
Sura’Kahr17 The city of Sura’Kahr remains to this day a popular resort town on the coast of Raal. Some of the stately homes, dating back to Surak’s time, belonging to the oldest ruling families can be seen high upon the white sandstone cliffs.
T’Lingshar18 Once Surak’s teachings began to take hold later in his life, he settled in Shi’al on the outskirts of the city of T’Lingshar, located on the northern edge of the L’langon Mountains, southwest of Shi’Kahr. There an enclave of followers quickly grew up around him. It became a gathering place for artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers. Today the city is the most cosmopolitan on Vulcan with permanent residences for offworlders. Some accounts claim that Surak’s life ended here in execution on the Bloodstone where thousands had been executed over the centuries.
T’Paal19 The walled city of T’Paal, located on the cliffs of Gol overlooking the Voroth Sea, served as the capital of Gol for millennia. In the Time of the Awakening, it lay on the Gol-Raalan boarder and defended Golic maritime interests. Today the Vulcan Science Academy has an extensive campus there.
Ta’Vistar20 The city of Ta’Vistar, capital of Tat’Sahr, dates back 25,000 years when it was a nomadic oasis before it became a walled fortress. In the Old Quarter, the streets are so narrow that only foot traffic can get through. Today Ta’Vistar is also divided into a Market Quarter, Academy Quarter, and a Government Quarter where the old palace is located. It is estimated that Ta’Vistar predates Shi’Kahr by about 7,000 years.
Ta’Vaish21 This port city on the coast of Tat’Sahr was ancient even in Surak’s day. Lords of Ta’Vaish developed considerable wealth from an exclusive trade agreement with the Kingdom of Kel across the Thanor Sea along with other locations on the continent of Han-Shir.
ta’Valsh22 This small town on the northern end of the al-Stakna range in the Tekeh region saw its fair share of hostilities during Surak’s time. The Mahn’heh and Lalirhi battled over the region on numerous occasions, leaving the nation of Ovek caught in their crossfire. Ovek came to the aid of ta’Valsh to repel invasions.
Te’Rikh23 The city of Te’Rikh, capital of the Kingdom of Lassirihen, is known for its waterfalls – both man-made and natural. Tours of the palace and large estates, with elaborate fountains and water features, dating back to Surak’s time are popular day trips.
Zhen’tal24 Today Zhen’tal (sometimes spelled Xen’tal), home of the Vulcan Institute of Defensive Arts, is a small village on the eastern edge of the Zadik Mountains in Gol. At the Time of the Awakening, it was a city of nearly 500,000, but the population dwindled as the region became more seismically unstable.



1The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 58.

2 Sherman, J. & Shwartz, S. (2004). Vulcan’s soul, book one: Exodus. New York: Pocket Books, p. 80.

3The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 61.

4Orion Press Lexicon.

5Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p.240.

6The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 53.

7ibid, p. 20.

8Vulcan Language Dictionary

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

10ibid, p. 92.

11ibid, p.51.

12Bonanno, M.W. (2010). Unspoken truth. New York: Pocket Books, p.210.

13The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 48.

14Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p.198.

15Sherman, J. & Shwartz, S. (2004). Vulcan’s soul, book one: Exodus. New York: Pocket Books, p. 23.

16The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 53-55.

17Vulcan Language Dictionary

18Bonanno, M. W. (1985). Dwellers in the crucible. New York: Pocket Books, p.38-39.

19George, D.R. (2006). The fire and the rose. (Crucible: Spock). New York: Pocket Books, p. 329.

20The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 59-60.

21Vulcan Language Dictionary

22Duane, D. (1988). Spock’s world. New York: Pocket Books, p.147.

23Vulcan Language Dictionary

24The way of kolinahr: the Vulcans. (1998). Culver City, CA: Last Unicorn Games, p. 49.