Random Headcanon: The Klingon Empire’s “honourable warrior” culture isn’t such a weird, dysfunctional caricature just because of bad writing – it’s actually like that from an in-character perspective, too.
Most of the Klingons who appear on-screen are nobility of some description, and what we’re looking as is a warrior caste that’s made an imperfect transition to being a class of bureaucrats and administrators at some point between the Original Series and The Next Generation – sort of like what happened with the samurai in post-Shogunate Japan.
They’ve got a lot of cultural anxiety tied up in that role shift, and they’ve overcompensated by constructing this nostalgic mythos of a Golden Age of Glorious Battle that never actually existed. The vaunted warrior’s code is a recent invention – largely post-dating that transition, in fact – and those who take it most seriously typically hail from clans whose “warriors” haven’t seen real combat in generations.
Basically, imagine a society ruled by self-hating historical cosplay nerds who have the authority to have you killed if you point out how ridiculous they are.
DS9 pretty solidly backs this up.
CONSIDER: An au where Spock’s family is sent into the past, Sarek, Sybok, Amanda AND Spock through some freak accident, but cannot fix the ship (which was damage after landing on Earth) that sent them there.
They are stuck with “twigs and rocks” as far as technology goes for shaping the tools of the 21st century, and so fixing their ship is going to be a trying but not impossible endeavor. Keeping the future in tact and getting back to it is the ultimate goal, as well as making themselves as faded into the backgrounds of human society as possible: which, even for Amanda, is proving to be a most difficult task for the alien family (Three of which cannot tell lies and may undergo pon farr regardless of whether or not it is timely.)
It only gets worse when their new neighbors get nosy and try to force their way into the homestead they have claimed (probably through squatting) through the guise of pleasant neighborly welcomes, bearing apple pies and dessert foods. Social cues indicate that both Spock and Sybok resemble an age in which either should be in some type of schooling system should the familyswish to avoid drawing the attention of the law, and to say the least it’s a mind numbing ordeal to have to sit through lectures that will eventually be proven incorrect, and a headache enducing one not to correct the lectures themselves.
Bonus points if the Kirks are their neighbors or something, and Jim takes an interest in the family and their ever prominent attachment to hats, and beanies. I mean, “Seriously, Bones, do you think they all suffer premature balding? No, I think I saw Spock with a headband once… but his hair looked way too, I don’t know, silky to be real? Maybe it was a wig…do you think?” – “Why don’t you just ask him and stop blubbering to me about the skinny bastard? Did you know his brother’s in most of my courses? Had the damned audacity to assume we’d be buddy buddy because…”
Extra bonus if both/either Sarek or Amanda have to maintain a silly 21st century job to establish an income.
EXTRA EXTRA BONUS POINTS IF JIM FINDS OUT SPOCK’S AN ALIEN AT SOME POINT AND PROMISES NOT TO TELL ANYONE BECAUSE WHAT IF SOMEONE TRIES TO DISSECT HIM?: SPOCK’S TOO CUTE WITH HIS POINTY GREEN TINTED EARS AND THE WAY HE TILTS HIS HEAD JUST SO WHEN HE’S CONFUSED, AND OH MY GOD, SPOCK IS ALWAYS SO ADORABLY CONFUSED, AND EVEN THE MORE “COLORFUL” LANGUAGE THAT JIM TRIES TO TEACH HIM EARLIER TO HELP BLEND HIM TO THE CROWD, WHEN PRACTICED, SEEMS SO FOREIGN ON HIS TONGUE. AND SPOCK HAS A HABIT OF PRETENDING NOT TO SHIVER WHEN JIM TAKES HIS HAND IN HIS OWN, AND HE BLUSHES SUCH A PRETTY OFF-WHITE GREEN TONE WHICH NO ONE WOULD OTHERWISE NOTICE IF THEY WEREN’T STARING AT SPOCK AS CURIOUSLY AS JIM DOES, AND HOW COULD JIM EVER TELL ANYONE THAT SPOCK’S THIN FRAME IS SO POWERFUL HE CAN LIFT CARS WITHOUT BREAKING A SWEAT BECAUSE HE’S NOT HUMAN WITHOUT COMING OFF AS CRAZY ANYWAY? AND ALSO, SPOCK DOESN’T SWEAT AT ALL WHICH IS APPARENTLY AN ALIEN THING?
This post was supposed to be a joke based off of Phil of the Future but I’m really into this au now.
+jim is concerned about spock because sometimes he looks so awkward. lke,
he doesn’t know how to eat bananas…or other earth fruits..
kirk: my cute alien neighbors could be kidnapped! dissected! drugged!
why there is no more of these AU?!?!? T0T
this AU is so goodd @t334
Obviously Amanda would get a job as a teacher at the school Spock goes, to make sure he’s fine. Sarek would probably be an electricist or a computer technician, because working for NASA would be too dangerous, right?
Amanda cursing in different alien languages when she gets frustrated because kids can’t hear that kind of words.
Sarek making friends at work (against all odds) and they inviting the couple to dinner. Sarek horrified with barbeques and seeing people eating with their hands.
Sybok joining the art club.
The family adopting a huge dog because they miss I-Chaya….
INHALES, OKAY SO I INITIALLY REBLOGGED JUST THE TOP ONE WITH AN ADD ON, BUT NOW i NEED TO ADD ON AGAIN
I’M SCREAMING, GOD BLESS YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR THESE ADDITIONS
It would be very easy for Spock to become exposed to tell you the truth, I mean he blushes green, has pointed ears, and his heart bumps on the side of his chest, so Jim would have to be diligent in his efforts to keep his alien neighbors from being found out.
I wonder if Sarek, Amanda, or Sybok would ever warm up to Jim? I know sure as hell though, Sarek will at least be vulcan pissed that someone found out they’re aliens. But would the beans be spilled that they’re from the future, too? Probably not unless Spock specifically tells him so.
I feel like Jim would half expect Amanda to be an alien too, but then she laughs and giggles along with him, and assures him that no, she’s human too.
I feel like Jim WOULDN’T REALLY BELIEVE HER THOUGH. ESPECIALLY GIVEN THAT SHE VULCAN CURSES IN FRONT OF THE CLASS.
Anyway, look at this family??? Would you invite them to dinner? I would…
I would draw more but I’m about to pass out. So, god bless you both again. ❤
LOOK AT SYBOK!!
I WOULD!!!! I would invite them!!!!
but to them it’d be just like ‘can your pet’ game! <link: can your pet reaction video
in future, even on earth killing animal to get food is not common. why kill chicken when you can replicate it? so it’s really shocking when they see ‘real’ chicken barbecue. Sarek and Amanda would probably ate something like this before because of embassy works. but to Sybok and Spock it would be nightmare!
by the way sybok’s hoodie is totally in character because he’s rebel???
if wind blows strong it could reveal his ears! he’ll be careful not to reveal his ears, but Sarek would be upset about hoodie
and since Spock doesn’t have gameboy thingy (because playing game is illogical in vulcan …etc) Jim would give him Nintendo to watch Spock blush & say ‘fascinating’!!!
Someone had to draw the little I-Chaya (he’s a boerboel btw)
timLETS TALK ABOUT THE LONG TERM EFFECTS OF STAYING ON THE PLANET.
I mean, should they STAY LONGER THAN THEY INTENDED TO.
I feel like resistance would begin to strike up, specifically from Sybok and also possibly from Amanda.
I mean, I think initially the planet is difficult to adjust to and it certainly has its share of problems BUT it’s also like breathing in a breath of fresh air, no one is holding them to a standard anymore. They don’t have to be logical all the time, in fact, it’s expected of them to just be themselves and everything that comes with it. It’s everything I think Sybok would want, and everything he would push to keep, and it would be so easy for him to say, “I don’t want to go home, I want to stay here.” And since it’s been shown that Sybok has no problem manipulating things to get his way, especially if he thinks he’s in the right, I think he may try to keep them there by playing on Amanda’s strong emotions for her son.
Sybok: So, remind me again why we have to leave this place? I mean, it’s so much better off here.
Sybok: Exhibit A, Spock has friends here! Friends who don’t even care that he has pointed ears, friends who think he’s cool and who want to hang out with him, friends who genuinely like him.
Sybok: You remember how it was for him on Vulcan. Don’t you want him to be happy? Then we should stay here.
I mean, Amanda has a good head on her, and she’s stubborn, so I believe she’ll probably see right through him, but at the same time, what Sybok’s saying isn’t untrue. She’d probably lose sleep thinking about it.
I think after some time on Earth even Sarek can see that their situation is not that bad.
ugh my brain…. gave me some angst idea
at first staying in earth seems fine, but with constant touching and cuddling spock and kirk forms weak link between them. it messes with their heads, eventually they’ll feel weird and sick.
sarek found that it’s some kind of bonding problem but don’t know how to solve this or he thought it’s because of departure with T’pring. they didn’t know at first it’s because of kirk/spock bonding.
worrying about their son’s mental health , they left in haste.
even though they are far away from each other, jim feels longing. since he knows that they are alien beings he worked hard to make first contact.
but after first contact with vulcan, jim found that spock isn’t born yet. furthermore, considering sarek
(or sarek’s father…)
is still a baby, he knows that he can’t live long enough to meet spock.
maybe when jim is dying from incurable disease old spock would come back from future and take jim with him. because council made spock to wait/ taking dying man away from past will not affect time line very much…
i think there should be more happy version of this ending but i couldn’t stop drawing….!!!!!! sorry
How about after Spock leaves and Jim grows up, he knows Vulcan is out there somewhere. He feels the faintest pull out to space but the technology isn’t there yet and he fears that it won’t be before he dies. So instead of waiting or giving up he signs up for a deep space, no return trip possible, cryofreeze mission.
He’s put into such a deep sleep that when Spock returns from the past he can no longer feel their mental connection. He assumes that Jim is long dead and that he will never see him again.
Until one day Jim’s ship shows up somewhere in space and someone wakes him. And Spock feels a sudden presence in his mind that he had not felt in a very long time…
Cue Jim and Spock trying to find each other again across space and after all that time, being pulled together again by just the faintest link.
i knew someone would make it better! 😀 thank you
I always react to these things a day or so late, but I READ THEM ASAP, it just takes a while for me to get out all my thoughts (and art).
ANYWAY, so, of course I’m going to add a little bit more lol.Because I can’t leave well-enough alone BUT I just really love development and I can only imagine how heartbroken Spock would be to have to leave the plent he’s come to know so well. It also intrigues me that when their brother’s/son’s health became endangered the family somehow manages to scrounge up all essentials and get them back to where they wanna go as fast as they can. I mean that’s love, but I wanted to expand upon what would be awaiting our individual parties upon the S’chn T’gai-Grayson departure from the 21st century, and expand upon the supposed “illness” that would be caused by the new bond forming, and why it’s forming in the first place.
If the problem is assumed to be a bonding issue wouldn’t both T’Pring and Spock be called forth by a healer to heal whatever damage attacked Spock’s systems.
T’Pring: I was told that your absence from me has brought great pain upon you.
Spock: That is the conclusion that has been reached, yes.
T’Pring: Strange then that I felt no similar factor. Perhaps due to your hybrid nature, your mind and body rely more heavily on the bonds you form?
Spock: I find no fault in your theory, T’Pring. However, this is only speculation until a healer permits an audience with us. As you are aware, my health has returned to acceptable standards since my return to Vulcan and the proper time period. A healer would be best suited to diagnosing then, whatever caused such an illness in me to occur.
T’pring: Yes, of course beloved.
Ensue the awkward silence that exists between two kids with a strangely dying(?) link. When a Vulcan does not exist in a timeline only because they have not yet been born, and his/her bondmate’s stay extends thereupon, I believe it is possible, especially for mixed physiology to attempt to survive Spock’s body in an attempt to survive would create a new bond (with Jim) finding that the old bond, one that would be essential to one’s survival in due time, has basically shriveled up, there is no recipient on the other end of the line, which means that a new mate must be acquired if Spock wants to survive.
Now all of that doesn’t mean it has to happen quickly at all, in fact, I believe Spock could have existed in the world without a bondmate for several more years without ever being endangered of his body’s instincts for survival to taking over. However, I imagine Spock to be around age 16 in this au, and Jim rounding out to be around 13-14, and I choose these ages for their childhood for a reason.
That’s right. Good old fashioned humanoid puberty. We all know it starts budding up around age 12, and around 14 our bodies start catching up, and we’re sometimes totally intoxicated by those opposite/same/whatever genders because of our sweet wretched hormones.
What I’m suggesting 100% is that Spock’s “illness” would be caused by Jim’s body reaching puberty, specifically. Now, vulcanoids probably go through puberty differently, and by that I mean it’ll kill them if it gets the chance, but that’s neither here nor there. I imagine Spock’s body being roughly affected by whatever humanoids/aliens he surrounds himself with during this tender period in his life. If he is surrounded by humans I believe it’s possible for his body to be affected by the hormones emitted by his surrounding companions. Their needs could very well cause some kind of reaction to the human half of his maturing hybrid body, what I’m saying. in other words, is that Spock could be placed into a mild Pon-Farr episode because he’s being surrounded by sexually-maturing individuals who cannot contain themselves in the same manner maturing Vulcans absolutely would. I’m blaming Jim in specific, because of his newly budding sexual appetite and the strong hormones that undoubtedly come with it, and his inability to leave his new neat alien pal alone.
So, if Spock’s going into a mild case of Pon-Farr, is it not a concern of his that he would have a mate if he wishes to survive it? Even if Spock himself is unaware that he is undergoing Pon-Farr, his body would not be fooled for a second; It would choose a mate. And who better to choose than Jim with the big bright eyes, calloused hands, the brilliant smile, and the hearty laugh? I mean, I honestly can’t find a reason Spock wouldn’t subconsciously choose Jim, even on an emotional level he will undoubtedly come to serve as a safe-haven for Spock, someone who never judges him, and he is someone who will likely have shown a physical interest in Spock, as well. So with all the green lights ahead, why wouldn’t he choose him?
Answer: There isn’t a reason, Spock would 100% choose Jim as his mate, and the next time Jim takes Spock by the hand and runs through golden fields of farmland with him the bond will undoubtedly form with or without regard to Spock’s own conscious decisions.
So, they get tossed into the throws of Pon-Farr at younger tender ages for both species, and it’s the family’s job to guess what’s going on and what do they do? Well, obviously they go back to the future desperate to save their son, unaware of his saddened mate left behind in the 21st century:
Jim: How could he just leave like that, the house was empty. It was like no one ever lived there.
Bones: Ugh, look kid. I’m your babysitter, not your couple’s counselor.
Jim crying: I’m never gonna see him again and he didn’t even say goodbye!
Bones: Hey, don’t cry! Who says you’ll never see him again? Ain’t like you fon’t got his number or nothin’, just call him.
Jim: You don’t understand, Bones. He’s gone forever.
Bones: Well, of course he’s gone forever if you don’t even try to reach out for him! Look, that family’s been shiftier than a fox outside a chicken’s pen since the moment they got here, but that kid adored you. Ain’t like him to just run off like he did, and it ain’t like you to just sit here crying about it. The way I see it, you can keep up your pity party or you can do something about this.
-6 yrs later-
I get a sick kind of pleasure out of making Bones’ own words be the reason that he and Jim would volunteer years later, for a cryogenic experiment that will ultimately freeze them for about two-hundred years or so.
Anyway, I was just trying to expand upon and fill in some gaps here and there about this au which I’ve affectionately dubbed “Spock of the Future.” I will totally be posting more about it later, but I did not mean to go on for as long as I did.
my headcanon for startrek is that humans look, to vulcans, like a dog frathouse. like signing on to a human ship is exactly that thrillingly loud and frustrating and fast and stupid and fun. the humans are going to dash off to a new sector to see if there are friends there and then they will jump up and down with delight and stuff their faces up against their new friends’ genital array. the humans are going to bark for ten minutes at a rock. the humans want to chase things they can’t possibly catch just because they like running around. the humans are madly passionate about their arbitrary group identities. the humans can be divided into new arbitrary group identities which they will then be passionate about. the humans want to stick their heads out of the window of their starship and go ‘wheee!’. if you step on a human’s paw they will act like you just killed them for about thirty seconds and then want more headpats. the humans can be immediately distracted from crucial duties by the appearance of a small animal. if you howl all the humans in earshot will howl louder just to show off. a human just humped your leg. ‘don’t make it weird bro’ the human says. later the human will dig a weird bug out of the ground and eat it.
Tagged: “#spock: when i look at you i feel shame #kirk: that’s nice but i bet i can eat the next bug twice as fast”
Yeah, I find this oddly persuasive.
Another quick sketch thing. Random poor naked Betazoid, along with a kind of skeletal diagram thing. Not super accurate because it’s a work doodle and I wasn’t setting it up super seriously (like whoops it’s missing some shoulder blades, and I messed up pelvis placement through getting too excited about that lowest… fin thing).
The “neck” is sort of a neck, but is also the entire bottom jaw. The fur grows thick and coarse so you can’t see the line straight down the middle that marks where the mouth opens normally. The teeth tend to tuck in more than that too, then the whole mouth unfurls when it’s opened. Nice and terrifying.
Since the bottom jaw is not joined in the middle, it can be manipulated far more and open much wider. There’s also a large range of motion in the joints, and the muscles around the neck area are really strong and developed usually. Which means you can get a Betazoid twisting round like this, then unfurling their mouth at the same time to create this horrific body horror kind of image because they look like they might turn inside out. That rarely happens though, because Betazoids are a really tranquil peaceful people, and the sight of teeth is almost universally threatening. They keep their mouths tucked away unless it’s absolutely necessary.
The sixteen limbs along the body each have four digits, but only the eight limbs close to the spine are able to splay the digits. Those limbs are used to help empathic powers. The eight limbs that line the rib cage closer to the front/bottom of the body are used for walking mostly, but the digits have just enough movement range that they can be used to grasp things. The tips are little hooves though, so they don’t have touch senses there, and aren’t very dexterous as a result.
Deanna Troi is a big cute cuddly space ferret with a death mouth. WELCOME TO MY BLOG, OH DEAR.
(I hope this works, tumblr has messed up my gifs before)
irascibly continues to convince myself that Vulcans don’t need quadrants
But what if Surak established Vulcan quadrants :>
okay I hear you, I do, but “Romulans retain their ancestral, boisterous, Alternian-style militarized quadrants and Spock needs to pretend to be Romulan on a treacherous Romulan backwater which means pretending-to-be-dating 4 other people on an away mission all at once”. Spock being guilted abt finding himself actually experiencing shamefully primeval desires TIMES FOUR. everybody else being magnetically pulled into his sad sorry-for-himself orbit when their formalized, performative roles transmute into weirdly compelling reciprocation. Spock ashamedly pining after the four quadrantmates he’s supposed to be faking his regard for. 4 entire other people professionally-unfolding-into-personally tag-teaming him from every emotional angle his ancestral cat-brain has.
I am down for this (but with Ashen that number would totally be 5. 5 hotties to mack on in variours ways.)
I’m not super well versed in canon! Lots of my particulars are vague. But as far as I’m aware, Vulcans used to be warlike psi juggernauts who did what they pleased and razed their world, then decided they’d really better listen to Surak about how to run things. As far as I’m aware the practice of (het) child betrothals was begun in Surak’s time, a time of recovery from disastrous war in a very harsh environment. Guaranteed, dependable prospects for survival for every male child and safety from feudal shenanigans for every female one became accepted, presumably, as part of thoroughly dismantling the prior unrestrained, competitive Vulcan state and prioritizing the welfare of the many (everybody’s kids) over that of the few (wealthy landowners’ kids). Much more interesting marginal cases aside, to be formally het is to be compliantly Vulcan, and Vulcan society seems to be a lot about compliance and acceptance and abnegation of certain parts of self in favor of other (very narrowly prosocial) parts.
The way I like to think of it, Surak’s teachings were about learning to sit there and be a cat vs. dash around tearing shit up being a cat. Like–I like to think that Vulcan tempestuous, warlike emotions ARE the destructive, predatory sort, COULD do with restraining, and that what’s up with Surak’s teachings, is to forbid these expressions and behaviors in favor of slow contemplative cat-contentment and control. An absence of wildness, of impetuous action, the spurning of emotions that might ever make somebody… pounce. To be collected, divorced from the need to chase and bring down and win by killing. Nothing tied in to the prey drive allowed! No impatience, no fury, no joy; instead readiness, withdrawal/disdain, pleasure of the sunbeam sort. No possessiveness or territoriality either, nope, disallowed, in favor of “pride in being Vulcan” which is ok. They’re all clearly proud as fuck and I’m assuming basically all other drives for recognition, status, regard etc., have instead been bound up in “successfully attaining propriety,” which is to be “properly” Vulcan, which I’m assuming on their awful cinder of a world means “all resources should be allocated and put to use logically and thoroughly,” including the resource that is each particular Vulcan.
(DIGRESSION I also think that That Vulcan Lyfe is very carefully structured, even at the civic planning level, to remove quite a bit of temptation to violence or conflict–I assume that Joe Vulcan’s facade of propriety is reinforced by society and surroundings, and that a regular Vulcan civilian in a time of crisis or even real not-culturally-covered inconvenience would get unpleasantly stroppy, unpleasantly fast.)
Anyway I 110% headcanon that several of the meditation levels, when arrived at properly, are in part maintained thru a soft Vulcan purr. & that purring has about as much valence for them as their psychic bonds; one purrs to children, to soothe and heal and foster restraint (a focus on purring rather than equally instinctive but inappropriate action, such as Feelings or Developmentally Inappropriate Unstructured Play), one purrs in moments of quiet contemplation of things being generally okay and no current action being required, one purrs for satisfactory reunion or while tending to simple, fulfilling work. Or–one doesn’t. To not purr at all is to come off as untrustworthy or unpredictable–if you’re never enough satisfied with the course of action you’re taking to purr about not having to currently do anything or change your plans, what irons have you got in the fire in the back of your mind, what are you hiding–and to purr all the time would probably be suggestive of not quite properly perceiving reality, which necessitates the sort of active perception and participation that purring precludes.
GOD anyway–since the adoption of Surak’s ways, control is now paramount, and thereby pon farr and sex stuff now EXTRA VERBOTEN. We know pon farr is hideously embarrassing to the extent that Spock would rather canonically risk his life than talk about it, and he at least seems to imply that’s due to the loss of self (wow) that males at least are saddled with (I still can’t believe this is something that really happened) (to Spock) (on TV). However, I would also make the claim that, especially with pairing so backhandedly regulated (child betrothals going on to determine lifelong adult status), Vulcans are probably “supposed to be” insulated by design from a lot of the negative emotional drives SURROUNDING sex, all the impulsive stuff like desire (bad), powerful desire (powerfully bad), jealousy (BAD), incredulous joy (no-no), all the stuff that makes relationships WORTH FIGHTING FOR, in a literal sense of literally making you feel like actually getting up out of your chair and sowing glad mayhem. So, I’d argue that not only are they prudes about “losing control” when it comes to the literal biological function where they literally go into heat and lose control, but they’re genuinely prudes about sex, in a slightly skewed-from-human way where sex is the thing where you can feel a lot of stuff if you’re not careful, a lot of THE EXACT sort of stuff they spend lifetimes learning how not to leap on each other spitting and yowling about. So like, clearly sex is something adults do, but in the properly Vulcan fashion, where shit’s navigated carefully so that nobody gets too up in arms about it.
UGH MY POINT BEING that if I ever felt like reading a story about love triumphing soulfully over space homophobia I’d be hella down for the hangups being Spock’s much sooner than I’d like any more rides on that tired merry-go-round with Kirk. Like–to NEED to deviate from the match made by your parents?? To NEED to? To be spurred to ACTION… by that NEED? It’s at the least irregular, and half-human Spock’s already to his enduring dismay that. I refuse to accept a physiology so poorly-thought-out that homosexual pairbonding isn’t possible, since it’s so common in nature, so I’d say it’s a safe bet that prior to Surak back when Vulcans did whatever there was plenty of homo pon farr happening. But that now, as it stands, with a culture so in love with its logical-utilitarian self and its historical dictates, and the longstanding mainstream practice of pairing opposite-sexed kids… I’d accept a Vulcan riddled with homophobia, even in the space future, just due to the irregularity and the >implications of a possible passion-match. Like, that unless two ladies or two dudes had some sort of INARGUABLE utilitarian reason for consummating that union, it would invite hella tiresome speculation as to why they couldn’t Just Be Normal, and that the couple’d have to earn back their Vulcan credentials just like Spock is already constantly trying to.
Like, or Vulcan, land of the people who ruined Spock’s childhood for being half-blooded, is freely accepting of those who’re different or make choices against the ~Inarguable Wisdom~ of the main. sure. Right
the only thing I’d add to this is that, at the time of the schism, basically anyone who wasn’t “properly Vulcan” could just go be Romulan. They weren’t really that distinct at that point, and since the Romulan way is all about strength and passion and visceral joys they were scary, but fairly open to people just joining in as long as you didn’t mind occasional fights to the death and/or sabotage. It was the other way out of that trap of feline aggression, a sort of scaled-up version of a pride of lions, where nothing is truly stable but strength and success are respected; where pouncing and hunting and hissing are all perfectly good behaviours with useful social functions, and anyone who tries to rein them in is probably weak. While Surak taught any who would listen, not all of them could bring themselves to stay, and so Vulcan became an echo chamber. And on Romulus, those who argued for compassion and restraint beyond “what will help us win?” had a tendency to die young, and a similar pattern emerged. So we get two societies with semi-functional but horrific societies out of one culture well on track to driving itself to extinction.
Also IIRC, Vulcan proper was a planet that had so few resources that no-one in the Romulan faction particularly cared to fight them for it, rather than being their homeworld.