School of Biosciences, Vulcanis University, Vulcan – Controversial research reveals new answers to old questions.
It’s one of those subjects you just don’t talk about at the dinner table; declining Andorian population, Terran dominance of Federation politics, and Pon Farr in Vulcans.
The seven year itch is a known biological peculiarity of our otherwise extremely logical Vulcan brethren, and their reluctance to discuss the subject seems to derive from a collective cultural embarrassment. For much of Federation history information has been sparse and grudgingly granted, and a large part of this particular biological cycle still remains shrouded in mystery.
Since incidents in the early days of Starfleet, it has been known that Pon Farr is an aspect of ever mature Vulcan’s male’s life. But the question with a far less certain answer is: do Vulcan woman undergo Pon Farr? The famous Vulcan Science Academy apparently deemed research on the subject beneath their notice, and it’s only now that their home-grown competitors on the other side of the planet at Vulcanis University are starting to ask questions that others dare not, and shed light on old mysteries.
Professor Saleris of the Vulcanis University’s School of Biosciences has been leading the research, and agreed to talk to us. We asked her why no one had shown interest in performing this research previously.
“It is perhaps due to a combination of factors,” she told us. “The social taboo is strong in certain Vulcan cultures, and the practice of forging preliminary bonds between children has largely removed the need to ask the question.”
We asked why that was. “In a fully bonded pair, if one member experiences Pon Farr, the other generally follows suit. With a preliminary bond in place, two individuals are able to be fully bonded as soon as symptoms exhibit. They usually exhibit first in the man, and when they do not, the fact is often glossed over.”
So Vulcan women go through Pon Farr when their mates do, but do they do so independently? Would an unbonded woman still experience it at the appropriate age, and how has Professor Saleris’s research sought to elucidate this?
“We began by looking at ancient historical records dating to pre-Surak times, before the practice of preliminary bonding became common-place. We then studied family histories, both written records and word of mouth, both of which revealed a variation in incidence. Some families had no records of women who experienced independent Pon Farr, some had a few and some had a large number of occurrences.”
“Finally, we selected families at both extremes of the spectrum who agreed to participating in a genetic analysis. Using specific gene probe hybridisation techniques we were able to identify a priming sequence which differed between the two groups.”
Much of which went over this reporter’s head. But the important question is what this means for the future.
“The importance is considerable, and will become more so as the practice of childhood bonding becomes less rigorously adhered to in modern times. It will allow a woman to be discretely tested for the pro-Pon Farr primer, and from these results know whether she will or will not undergo Pon Farr of her own accord. She can then plan her life accordingly; the results will be significantly liberating for women.”
This reporter understands that both the research and the results have come under criticism from other researchers, particularly at the Vulcan Academy of Science. Does the prospect of having her theory debunked and results disproved phase Professor Saleris?
“In order to disprove our work, they must perform the research for themselves.”