As an off-shoot of the Vulcan race, I'm assuming that they also have a Katra(?). I'm wondering if the Romulans ever try to hold onto a deceased person's Katra. I know life is cheap to them, but I had to ask and see if anyone knows the answer.

Do they actually care enough about anyone to hold on to a Katra, and for that matter, since they're so untrusting, would any of them try to put their Katra into someone else at the point of death?

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    Answering as a comment because I can't source it but my inclination would be to say either no or that, if they do, what the don't have are the mental adepts capable of extracting it at the time of death. If Romulans have Vulcan-like mental capabilities it has not been established during the run of the franchise. (Have not seen ST:D so can't comment on any revelations from that source.) – Emsley Wyatt Oct 17 '17 at 2:11
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    The Memory Alpha entry is inconclusive. I suspect this cannot be answered from canon sources. – Tim Oct 17 '17 at 2:13
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    The Romulans left Vulcan during the period when Katra philosophy and mental control were being experimented with. Since we know that they had little interest in developing mental control of their emotions, it's unlikely that they were especially interested in high-level Vulcan experimental psychology. – Valorum Oct 17 '17 at 7:17
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    Honestly, we don't know enough about what a katra really is to answer this until someone does a canonical story about it. The way it's described, I would argue that every sentient being has a katra...the real question is whether it can be extracted and transferred. Not being telepaths, humans and Romulans can't do this themselves, although I suppose a Vulcan could, at the moment of death, extract their katra for them instead--that is, a pull rather than a push. – Michael Scott Shappe Oct 18 '17 at 21:49
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    @Valorum, you're absolutely right. but we have to pick one of the two. we can't keep changing the question in ways that change the answer (see past edits) – LevenTrek Jul 5 '19 at 10:17

Main Canon

There's no specific confirmation in any of the TV shows, films or official novelisations whether (or not) Romulans have a Katra. Their general lack of telepathic abilities would suggest that they don't have the ability to use them to transfer knowledge, but then again, who knows what goes on at the highest echelons of Romulan society or behind the closed doors of the Tal Shiar...?

EU Canon

We have a couple of Extended Universe sources that indicate that Romulans almost certainly don't have Katras, or at the very least if they do, then they're entirely unable to do anything useful with them;

In Starfleet Academy #15 - T'Priell Revealed, Part II of III we see a Romulan archaeologist and specialist in proto-Romulan cultures who doesn't know what a Katra is, nor how to use one. This seems proof-positive that Katras aren't a thing in Romulan society.

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In TOS: The Lost Years we find that the teachings of the 'mind-lords' (instrumental in allowing the Vulcans to learn how to control and share Katras) never made it to Romulus when the early Romulans split from the Vulcans. It would appear that their telepathic powers are crude and ill-formed in comparison and that the level of mental sophistication required to share a Katra would be well beyond them.

“When the Romulans separated from the Vulcans,” Spock continued, “none of the old High Masters went with them. Those on Vulcan, after Zakal’s death, chose to align themselves with Surak. The discipline underwent a radical change in philosophy. The path of Kolinahr still harnesses great mental powers—but, for the sake of peace, applies them inward, to the control of one’s mind and emotions, rather than using them to control individuals and the outer environment.”

Star Trek: The Lost Years

  • I love this answer and all the detail - but I don't agree. The Katra is not a Vulcan invention, it's a natural part of living beings. Romulans may be unaware of it, and unskilled in manipulating it, but they absolutely have one. – LevenTrek Jul 5 '19 at 22:39
  • @LevenTrek - There's a body of evidence that suggests that not all sentient beings (humans, for example) have a Katra, nor is having one necessary to carry one; "Amanda, unlike a Vulcan woman, had no future … at least, no future that was perceivable or verifiable. As a human, she had not possessed a katra … so nothing could be placed in the Hall of Ancient Thought, to linger until it was ready to go on to whatever lay next." - TOS Novel: Sarek – Valorum Jul 5 '19 at 22:44
  • Respectfully, I don't see any evidence that contradicts the fact that all living beings have one. And the fact that Michael Burnham (a human) has one, and can use it, would seem to indicate the opposite. What am I missing? – LevenTrek Jul 5 '19 at 22:48
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    @LevenTrek - She has part of Sarek's as a result of a mind-meld. Basically a Horcrux – Valorum Jul 5 '19 at 22:49
  • My last comment was before you edited your comment - that quote from the book is great. Nice – LevenTrek Jul 5 '19 at 22:49

All living beings have a Katra.

But @Valorum's answer is correct - there's no evidence that Romulans are aware of it, or can "use" it.

In Star Trek: Discovery S01E06, Lieutenant Stamets explains his understanding of the Katra concept:

STAMETS: I got to say, this Katra stuff is way cool. An uncharted superhighway connecting all of conciousness and life?

  • The topic is not 'Does the Romulans have Katra?' but 'Do they care about it?' – nicolallias Jul 4 '19 at 9:13
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    Then let's edit the title. Because it very literally says "Do the Romulans have a Katra". If the question is "Do they care about it", then that should be the title. – LevenTrek Jul 4 '19 at 9:18

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