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In 2387, the Hobus star went supernova and threatened to destroy both Romulus and the entire Galaxy. Federation Ambassador Spock promised Nero and his fellow Romulans that he would save their world. Though Spock was able to get Red Matter to destroy it, he arrived too late to save Romulus as it was consumed by the supernova. Despite deploying the Red matter to destroy the supernova, Nero, in revenge, went after Spock. However, Nero and Spock were pulled into the singularity and went back in time. Nero arrived first in 2233, creating a alternate reality. Spock then arrived 25 years later in 2258 and was captured by Nero along with his ship, the Jellyfish. Instead of killing Spock, Nero, following his battle with Koth's fleet of Klingon warships, marooned him on Delta Vega to force him to watch the destruction of Vulcan.(ST comics: "Countdown", "Nero"; TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek).
When Nero arrived with the Narada and started to drill into Vulcan's core, the Vulcan High Command sent a distress call to the Federation and Starfleet. Starfleet responded by sending a task force of ten star ships. However, they proved no match against the Narada's advanced weaponry and most of the ships were destroyed. It is unclear if any crew members survived.
However, one starship, the newly christened USS Enterprise, arrived late due to the actions of rookie helmsman, Lt. Hikaru Sulu. Despite difficulty in maneuvering through the debris, the Enterprise arrived to attempt to stop Nero and the Narada. As Nero watched the arrival of the new starship and was prepared to destroy it, he realized just which ship it was, and that this reality's Spock would be on the vessel. He stopped his attack on the Enterprise and then contacted the captain of the Enterprise, Christopher Pike, to surrender himself and come on board the Narada, which he agreed to do. Before he went to the Narada however, Pike dropped an away team comprised of James T. Kirk, Sulu and Chief Engineer Olson onto the Narada's drill platform due the drill's neutralization of the Transporter.
Olson was killed when he delayed deploying his parachute until the last possible instant. Unfortunately, Olson badly miscalculated as he crashed into the platform, fell off the side and was incinerated by the drill's energy discharge. This left Kirk and Sulu at a disadvantage, since Olson had been carrying explosive charges with which they intended to destroy the platform.
Two Romulan crewmembers emerged from the drill and a hand-to-hand fight began between them and the Starfleet officers, which eventually ended when one of them was burned to death by flames from an exhaust outlet, while the other was impaled and thrown off the side of the platform. Using captured disruptor rifles, Kirk and Sulu shot at the mining platform's machinery until it ceased functioning.
Unfortunately, their efforts came too late; the Narada had already reached the planet core. Nero then ordered a sample of red matter from the Jellyfish to be dropped into the planet's core, and when it detonated it created an artificial singularity within the planet. Upon hearing of this, and that the entire planet would be obliterated within a matter of minutes, acting captain Spock sent a largely futile evacuation order to the planet and beamed himself down to retrieve the Vulcan elders (including his parents) who were tasked with preserving Vulcan's cultural heritage and wisdom.
Not all of the elders escaped as the surface began to collapse and among the casualties was Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson. Seconds later the planet completely imploded into the singularity, leaving no trace of its existence, and resulting in the near-total destruction of the Vulcan species.(TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek)
The battle concluded with the destruction of the planet and the death of its six billion Vulcan inhabitants. The Narada had suffered only minor damage and the loss of two crewmen. Nero was also able to detain Captain Pike as a prisoner and information source. Through the use of a Centaurian slug, Nero gained knowledge of starfleet defense plans from Pike. Knowledge of the Federation's defenses would later be utilized in a follow-up attack against Earth.
Acting Captain Spock and Ambassador Spock felt deep emotional effects as a result of the destruction of Vulcan. This was later used to justify Spock in relinquishing his command of the Enterprise to its temporarily promoted first officer, Jim Kirk.
In the wake of the devastation, Ambassador Spock was able to locate a suitable planet to establish a colony and assist the estimated 10,000 remaining Vulcans in restoring their way of life. The colony was simply named New Vulcan. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek; TOS movie & novelization: Star Trek Into Darkness)
The destruction of Vulcan resulted in Section 31 taking a much more active role in defending the Federation. They began to aggressively explore uncharted regions of the galaxy, with the USS Vanguard recovering the SS Botany Bay and awakening Khan Noonien Singh. Alexander Marcus threatened to Khan's 72 surviving crew members, blackmailing him into helping Section 31 design weapons and warships, among them the Dreadnought-class USS Vengeance. (TOS movie & novelization: Star Trek Into Darkness; TOS - Khan comics: "Issue 4", "Issue 5")