STAR DATE: 1986. HOW ON EARTH CAN THEY SAVE THE FUTURE?
"A catastrophe in the future can only be averted by a journey into Earth's past."
- - 1986 TV ad
Admiral James T. Kirk is prepared to take the consequences for rescuing Spock and losing the starship Enterprise, but a new danger has put Earth itself in jeopardy. Kirk and his crew must travel back in time in an old Klingon Bird-of-Prey to right an ancient wrong, in hopes of saving Earth – and the Federation – from certain doom.
It is the year 2286, and an alien vessel is moving through space. The vessel is detected by the USS Saratoga, and sensor analysis reveals it to be some sort of probe. The captain of the Saratoga contacts Starfleet Command and informs them that this alien probe is apparently headed to the Terran solar system. Starfleet tells Saratoga to continue the tracking and they will analyze their transmissions and advise.
Back on Earth, the Klingon ambassador to the United Federation of Planets demands the extradition of Admiral James T. Kirk for murdering a Klingon crew and for stealing a Klingon vessel. The ambassador also denounces the failed Genesis Project as a staging platform from which to launch the annihilation of the Klingon race. Just then, Ambassador Sarek arrives and says that Genesis was named for creating life and not death. He then accuses the Klingons of shedding the first blood in attempting to possess the secrets of Genesis. Sarek points out that the Klingons destroyed USS Grissom and killed Kirk's son, which the Klingon ambassador does not deny, saying they have the right to defend their race. Sarek then asks if the Klingons have the right to commit murder, which causes an uproar in the council chambers until the President calls for order. Sarek says that he has come to speak on behalf of the accused, which the Klingon ambassador decries as a personal bias, as Sarek's son was saved by Kirk. The president tells Sarek that the council's deliberations have already concluded. He then tells the Klingon ambassador that Admiral Kirk faces nine violations of Starfleet regulations The Klingon ambassador says that only facing Starfleet regulations is outrageous and decries that as long as Kirk lives, there will never be any peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. As he and his aides storm out of the council chambers, someone in the council chambers calls the ambassador a "pompous ass."
- "Captain's log, stardate 8390. We're in the third month of our Vulcan exile, and it was Dr. McCoy with a fine sense of historical irony who decided on a name for our captured Klingon vessel. And like those mutineers of five hundred years ago, we too have a hard choice to make."
Kirk surveys his crew and they all vote "Aye, sir." Kirk states then to them "Let the record show that the commander and the crew of the late starship Enterprise have voted unanimously to return to Earth, to face the consequences for their actions in the rescue of their comrade, Captain Spock." Scotty tells Kirk that it'll take him one more day to get their Klingon ship, named by McCoy as the HMS Bounty, ready to go saying that while damage control is easy, reading Klingon is hard. McCoy laments that Starfleet could have at least sent a ship to pick them up as it's bad enough to know they will be court-martialed and likely imprisoned but the worst is going home in the "Klingon flea trap." Kirk says the "Klingon flea trap" has a cloaking device which cost a lot. McCoy comments that he wishes they could cloak the stench. Kirk looks up and sees Spock standing at a cliff. Spock then walks off and goes back in a room and resumes computer testing of his mental faculties. While the tests show Spock has regained full control of his faculties once again, he is confused when the computer asks him how he feels. Then Spock's mother enters and reminds Spock that as he is half-Human he has feelings and the computer is aware of this. Spock says he must go to Earth with the others and offer testimony because he was there when the events occurred. Amanda asks if the good of the many outweighs the good of the one and Spock says it does. Amanda then says that it was a mistake by his flawed, feeling, Human friends for them to sacrifice their futures because they believed that the good of the one, Spock, was more important to them. Spock says that Humans make illogical decisions. Amanda says that they do indeed.
Just then, at the Neutral Zone, the probe comes close to the Saratoga. The captain orders yellow alert, but the probe begins draining the ship of all power. As the Saratoga begins to drift, the captain tries to issue a distress call to Starfleet Command.
Meanwhile, at Starfleet Command, the President asks Starfleet Admiral Cartwright for a status update and he tells the president that the probe is headed directly toward Earth and that its signal is disabling everything it contacts. According to Cartwright, two Klingon ships have been lost while two Federation starships and three smaller vessels have been neutralized. He then orders contact with the USS Yorktown and their captain says his chief engineer is trying to deploy a makeshift solar sail hoping they can generate enough power to keep themselves alive.
As the probe continues toward Earth, on Vulcan the Bounty is almost ready for launch. Kirk comes on the bridge and asks for status reports, Uhura says communications systems are ready and the communications officer as ready as she'll ever be. Sulu reports the on-board computer will now interface with the Federation memory bank. Chekov reports the cloaking device is repaired and available in all flight modes. Kirk admits to being impressed with all that work for such a short flight. Chekov then tells Kirk since they're in an enemy vessel, he didn't want to risk being shot down on the way to their own funeral. Kirk compliments Chekov's thinking and then calls Scotty, who tells him that they are ready to go. Scotty says the dilithium resequencer has been converted into something not quite so primitive and that he has personally replaced the Klingon food packs as they were giving Scotty a sour stomach. Kirk turns and tells all who's not going to Earth that they better get off. He then turns to Saavik, who is remaining on Vulcan, to tell her goodbye and to thank her. Saavik says that she's not had opportunity to tell Kirk how bravely David died and that he saved her and Spock and she wanted Kirk to know. Just then, Spock arrives on the bridge and Saavik wishes his journey to be free of incident. Spock tells Saavik to "Live long and prosper." Spock gets permission from Kirk to come aboard and tries unsuccessfully to get Spock to call him "Jim" as Kirk is in a command situation. Spock also apologizes for only wearing his Vulcan robes as he seems to have misplaced his uniform. Kirk tells Spock to take his station, a move that concerns McCoy as after all that Spock's been through, he's not liable to be ready to assume such responsibilities but Kirk expresses confidence that it will all come back to him. Kirk then tells Sulu and Chekov to take them home. Sulu and Chekov gently lift the Bounty off the surface and as Saavik and Amanda watch, the Bounty heads off into the Vulcan sunset, on course for Earth.
At that time also, the probe has reached Earth and begins the process of neutralizing spacedock before they can get the space doors open and all ships inside the dock, including Excelsior, are all neutralized and disabled. The probe then continues into Earth orbit and begins pulling water and moisture from the oceans and clouds begin gathering over the Earth as the probe continues its transmission.
Sulu reports planet Earth 1.7 hours away, and Chekov reports there are no Federation vessels on assigned patrol stations. Uhura tells Kirk that the communication channels are flooded with overlapping multiphasic transmissions sounding almost like gibberish. She asks Kirk for some time to try to sort it all out. Just then, McCoy sits next to Spock and asks if he's busy. Spock says that he is simply monitoring and that Uhura is busy. McCoy says that it's sure nice for Spock's katra to be back in Spock's head and not his, stating that he might have carried Spock's soul but he couldn't fill Spock's shoes. When Spock doesn't understand the quip, McCoy drops it and asks if he and Spock could speak about philosophical matters such as life and death but Spock says he didn't have time on Vulcan to review philosophical disciplines. McCoy tells Spock that he's "...really gone where no man has gone before" and is amazed that Spock can't tell him what it felt like. Spock says that they can't discuss the subject because they don't have a common frame of reference. When McCoy asks if Spock is joking, Spock defines a joke as "a story with a humorous climax." McCoy is amazed that Spock is inferring that McCoy would have to die in order to discuss Spock's insights on death. Just then Spock tells McCoy he's receiving a number of distress calls, which McCoy doesn't doubt as he gets up and walks away.
Back on Earth, the situation is worsening. Reports from all over the world pour into Starfleet Headquarters. These reports include weather conditions worsening around the planet, such as how temperatures in Juneau, Alaska were dropping and cloud cover was up to 96%. In Tokyo, Japan, all power was gone and only available from reserve banks. Both it and Leningrad had 100% cloud cover and their temperatures were decreasing rapidly. The president asks about worldwide cloud cover and a report of 78.6% comes in. At that point, Cartwright orders a planet-wide emergency and declares red alert. Just then, the influence of the probe comes over and power begins to fade. Cartwright tells the president that even with planetary reserves, they are doomed without the sun. The president states he is well aware of that fact. Just then, Sarek enters into the command center and the president laments that there may be no way to answer the probe. Sarek comments that one cannot answer easily if you don't understand the question. Then Sarek suggests that the president issue a planetary distress signal while there still is time.
On the still Earth-bound Bounty, Uhura tells Kirk that a signal is finally coming through from the Federation. Kirk tells her to put it on screen and they all watch in shock as the president tells all ships everywhere to not approach the planet Earth as the probe is causing critical damage to the Earth, almost totally ionizing the atmosphere. The president says that all power sources have failed and all Earth-orbiting starships are powerless. The probe, according to the president, is vaporizing Earth's oceans and that everyone on Earth will not survive unless they can find a way to respond. The president warns all ships to save their energy and to save themselves and they should avoid the planet Earth at all costs. He then bids farewell and the transmission fades. A stunned Kirk and crew are amazed at what they saw and heard. After a moment, Kirk asks to hear the probe's signal and Uhura patches it through. Spock says that the probe signifies aliens of great intelligence that somehow, are unaware of the signal's destructive nature and that he thinks it illogical that the probe's intention is hostile. When McCoy asks if this is the probe's way of saying hello to the people of the Earth, Spock points out that human arrogance assumes the message must be meant for them. When Kirk asks if it could be for some other lifeform, Spock does point out the signal is pointed at Earth's oceans. Kirk asks Uhura to adjust the probe's signal to account for what it would sound like underwater. When she does so, Spock theorizes there can be no response to the message. He then excuses himself to test the theory and he is quickly followed by Kirk and McCoy.
In the Bounty's lab, Spock discovers that it is in fact a whale song, specifically that of the humpback whale. McCoy at first wonders who would send a probe across the galaxy to speak to whales, but Kirk and Spock recognize that whales were on Earth ten million years before Humans. Humpback whales, Spock points out, have been extinct since the 21st century, and so it is possible an alien intelligence sent the probe to establish why they lost contact. Kirk wonders if they could simulate a response to the probe's call, but Spock says the language would be gibberish and that the species was indigenous to Earth. When Kirk says they must find a way to destroy the probe before it destroys Earth, Spock reminds Kirk the probe would neutralize the Bounty with no effort. Spock does say then that they could theoretically go find some humpback whales. McCoy realizes what Spock is suggesting but is interrupted by Kirk, who orders Spock to start computations for a time warp.
Meanwhile, the situation on Earth is worsening.
In the Bounty's cargo bay, Kirk asks Scotty if they can enclose it to hold water and Scotty says he could and McCoy agrees that Kirk is about to go swimming "Off the deep end, Mr. Scott!" Kirk tells Scotty they have to go find a couple of humpback whales. When he and McCoy head back toward the bridge, McCoy wonders about the plan;
- "You're proposing we go backwards in time, find humpback whales, then bring them forward in time. Drop them off and hope to hell they tell this probe what to go do with itself?!"
Kirk says that's it and McCoy comments that Kirk's plan is crazy. Kirk tells McCoy if he has a better idea now's the time to tell him. On the bridge he asks Spock about the computations and Spock is working on them. Meanwhile, Kirk has Uhura open a channel to Starfleet Command.
On Earth, a faint transmission believed to be from Admiral Kirk is received and Cartwright orders it put through. Kirk advises Starfleet of their analysis of the probe's signal, tell them that Spock's theory is that only the extinct humpback whale can properly answer the probe and because of this, they are going to try time travel and they are computing their trajectory at the same time. At that moment, Kirk's signal degrades. Cartwright orders the transmission picked back up, but just then the windows behind him shatter and the wind and rain begin to blow into Starfleet Headquarters. At this point, all anyone in the command center can do is wait.
On the Bounty, Spock has completed his calculations and informs Kirk their time target is the late 20th century. Unfortunately he can't be more precise because of the limits of the equipment aboard the Bounty. Additionally he had to program some of the variables for his time travel computations from memory. When McCoy worriedly recites a line from Hamlet and Spock recognizes it, Kirk establishes his faith in Spock's memory and has the ship prepared for warp speed. Kirk orders Chekov to raise the shields and then tells Sulu to engage the Bounty's warp drive.
The ship slowly accelerates up over warp nine and then as they get closer and closer to the Sun, the ship begins to shake seriously between the effects of high warp and the high solar gravity. A console next to Uhura blows out, but she says she's ok. At the last moment, Kirk orders Sulu to kick in the last of the thruster power, and the Bounty successfully performs the slingshot effect around the Sun. For a brief time, the crew is unconscious as Kirk dreams of voices of the crew and their faces (quotes from later in the film are heard here, including Scotty's line "Admiral, there be whales here!"), of a whale, and eventually of a person falling from space, through Earth's atmosphere and landing in a lake in a tranquil forest, with a sound of what may be a ship landing.
Kirk awakens to find ship and crew seemingly still intact. He rouses Sulu from his unconsciousness and Sulu finds the braking thrusters successfully fired. When the viewer is activated Spock determines by the atmosphere's pollution content they have successfully arrived in the latter half of the 20th century. He then reminds Kirk they may already be visible to the Earth's tracking devices of the time and so Kirk orders the cloaking device engaged. The Bounty crosses over the terminator into night and Spock homes in on the west coast of North America. There, Uhura finds whale song, but is confused to find it coming directly from San Francisco. Just then Scotty calls needing to see Kirk immediately.
Scotty tells Kirk and Spock the Klingon dilithium crystals have been drained by the time travel and they are de-crystallizing. Unfortunately,even in the 23rd century re-crystallization is not possible and Scotty gives them 24 hours before they lose all power and become visible. Spock theorizes that because of the use of nuclear fission reactors in this time period, they could construct a device to collect some high-energy radioactive photons which could then be injected into the dilithium chamber which, in theory, could cause crystalline restructure. Spock then points out that nuclear power was widely used on Naval vessels.
Sulu recognizes San Francisco and tells everyone he was born there. McCoy says it really doesn't look so different. Kirk instructs Sulu to set down in Golden Gate Park. He then assigns everyone to teams, Uhura and Chekov will take care of the dilithium problem. McCoy, Sulu and Scotty are assigned to find materials to construct a whale tank aboard the ship; and Spock and Kirk are to attempt to find the two humpback whales they detected in San Francisco. Kirk then tells everyone to be very careful as most of their customs will doubtless be surprising to the time travelers. Everyone then looks at Spock and Kirk say that "It's a foregone conclusion none of these people have ever seen an extraterrestrial before." With that, Spock tears a piece from his robe and wraps it around his head like a headband which covers his eyebrows and ears. Kirk calls late 20th century culture extremely primitive and paranoid. Everyone is to have a phaser and communicator but is to maintain radio silence except in emergencies, and anyone in uniform should remove their rank and insignia. Then Kirk tells everyone that they should do their job and get out of there as their own world is waiting for them to save it. If they can.
The Bounty lands in Golden Gate Park, accidentally crushing a trash can (as well as indenting the surrounding ground) under its invisible landing gear, and when the hatch opens, it scares two sanitation workers, who drive out of the area leaving trash behind. Oblivious to this, the Enterprise crew continues onward, Uhura gives the coordinates of the whales to Kirk who quips, "Everybody remember where we parked!"
In San Francisco, the crew has trouble adjusting, from watching out for traffic to Kirk's realization that they're going to need some money. Kirk and Spock go to an antique shop to sell the glasses McCoy gave Kirk on his last birthday. Kirk receives one hundred dollars (which he wonders if that's really a lot) and then divides it among the teams. He and Spock walk down the streets of San Francisco and Kirk wonders how they're going to find the whales. Spock finds a city map and starts to work out the coordinates on the map. Kirk sees an ad for the Cetacean Institute and the two attempt to get on a bus, only to be tossed back off because they don't have exact change and don't know what "exact change" is, either.
In another part of town, McCoy, Scotty and Sulu walk the streets. McCoy wonders how they'll make the whale tank. Scotty says he'd normally do it with transparent aluminum but he and Sulu both realize he's well too early for that feat so they'll have to make a 20th century equivalent. Just then they notice an ad on a wall for the Yellow Pages.
Elsewhere, Chekov and Uhura have also been perusing the phone book and have found the address for the Alameda Naval Base. Unfortunately, their luck in getting those directions isn't entirely successful with people (including one police officer) completely ignoring them and a lady telling them the ships are in Alameda, which they already knew but they don't know how to get to Alameda.
Kirk and Spock finally find a bus and, after rendering a punk rocker unconscious, arrive at the Cetacean Institute and join in with a tour group which is being led by Dr. Gillian Taylor, a guide and whale lover. During the tour, Spock jumps into the whale tank and performs a Vulcan mind meld with one of the two whales, which Taylor has said were named George and Gracie. Earlier in the tour, Kirk comments on the amazing stroke of luck in finding a male and a female humpback in a contained space, they can beam them up together and be on the way home. During Spock's mind meld, he is noticed by a completely astonished Kirk and then an elderly lady in the tour group notices Spock, which raises Taylor's ire and she and Kirk run back up to the tank and she confronts Spock. Spock tries to explain that he was trying to communicate. Kirk attempts to act as if he's there to help Gillian, but when Spock tells him that if they think the whales are theirs to do with as they please, they'll be as guilty as those who caused the whales' extinction. At that point, Gillian throws both of them out, threatening to call the police as Spock was messing with her tanks and whales. Spock says the whales like her very much, but they are not "her" whales and when she asks if they told him that, he admits they did.
As they walk away, Kirk asks about Spock's mind meld. Spock says the whales are not happy with how Humans have treated their species, which Kirk finds understandable and asks if they will help. Spock says he believes he was successful in communicating the Enterprise crew's mission.
Dr. Taylor is outraged by their actions, but later tries to relax with the whales and tells them the intruders didn't mean them any harm. Just then her boss, Bob Briggs, steps up and asks how Gillian is doing and she admits she's very upset. Briggs sympathizes but points out again that they endanger the whales' lives by keeping them at the Institute and they take the same risk letting them go. He tries to calm her by reminding her that they've never been proven to be as intelligent as Humans, but Taylor doesn't buy it, saying she doesn't limit her compassion for someone based on an intelligence estimate.
Chekov and Uhura finally find the location of a nuclear vessel. Chekov begins attempting to make contact with Kirk as Uhura locates the exact coordinates of the reactor. Once Kirk is reached, Chekov reports they found the ship which pleases Kirk, and then Chekov tells Kirk "And admiral... it is the Enterprise." Kirk acknowledges and asks the plan. Chekov says they'll beam in that night, get the photons and beam out before anyone can ever know they were there. Kirk approves the plan and tells them to keep him informed.
Just then Taylor approaches in her truck and agrees to give Kirk and Spock a ride back to San Francisco. Taylor asks Kirk where he's from and he says Iowa. She then asks what Spock meant about the whales' extinction. Kirk says he meant if things go as they are, the humpbacks will disappear forever, but Taylor recounts what Spock said exactly, including referring to the whales as already extinct. Kirk promises that they have nothing to do with the military teaching whales to retrieve torpedoes or anything like that. Spock then blurts out the fact that Gracie is pregnant, which causes Taylor to slam her brakes, stopping the truck in amazement because this is something nobody outside the institute knows. She demands to know how Spock knows this. Kirk says he can't say but if she gives them a chance, he'll promise they're not in the military and have no harmful intentions toward the whales. He then says that they may be able to help them in ways she can't imagine. Taylor figures she probably won't believe it either. Kirk and Spock manage to agree that she's not catching them at their best. Kirk then suggests that they all go out to dinner. Taylor asks if they like Italian and Kirk and Spock banter back and forth for a moment before Kirk can get out that he loves Italian and he tell Spock he does too.
In the meantime, Scotty and his team have managed to find a manufacturer of large plexiglass walls – Plexicorp – and he and McCoy masquerade as scientists from Edinburgh who were to tour the plant – unbeknownst to the plant's head, Dr. Nichols. Scotty makes a scene, but is given a tour of the plant by Nichols and Scotty, playing the role, asks if McCoy(his "assistant") can accompany. Nichols says he can and as he commandeers a forklift for them to ride on, McCoy tells Scotty "Don't bury yourself in the part!"
Sulu approaches a helicopter pilot and begins speaking to him about the old Huey 204 helicopter on which the pilot is working. The pilot asks Sulu if he's flown any and Sulu says he's flown "here and there." Sulu then tells the pilot that he flew something similar during his Academy days, and the pilot recognizes that the helicopter must be old to him which Sulu admits, but says it's still interesting. He then asks if he can ask a few questions and the pilot agrees to answer them.
Meanwhile in the plant, after the tour, Scotty tells Nichols that they have a very fine plant here and Nichols compliments Scotty's knowledge of engineering skill. Scotty then says he sees Nichols still working with polymers. Nichols asks what else he'd be using. Scotty asks how big a piece of the plexiglass need to be at the measurements they'll need for the Bounty's cargo bay, holding the pressure of the water that will be inside. Nichols says that a six inch piece would do it. Scotty then supposes he shows Nichols a way to make a wall that would do the same thing but only be one inch thick. At first Nichols thinks Scotty is joking but McCoy suggest Scotty make use of Nichols' computer and he obliges. Although Scotty mistakes the old computer for one he can talk to, when Nichols finally tells him to just use the keyboard, Scotty does so and quickly comes up with the formula for transparent aluminum. Nichols says it'd take years to work out the dynamics of the matrix, but McCoy tells him he'll be richer than he can dream. When Nichols asks what Scotty wants, McCoy excuses them and they go over to the corner. McCoy tells Scotty that if they give Nichols the formula, they alter the future. Scotty then asks how do they know Nichols didn't invent transparent aluminum? McCoy agrees to Scotty's logic and they go off to make the deal.
Kirk and Taylor bring Spock back to Golden Gate Park. She asks if Spock won't change his mind about dinner and Spock wonders if there's a problem with the one he has. Kirk says that's a little joke and then tells Spock goodbye. Taylor asks how Spock knew that Gracie is pregnant when nobody knows that. Spock says that Gracie knows she's pregnant and he'll be here in the park. Taylor asks Kirk if Spock is going to just hang out around the bushes and Kirk just shrugs and says it's his way. As Gillian and Kirk drive away, Spock is beamed back aboard the Bounty. Kirk and Taylor are at a pizza restaurant and Kirk allows Gillian to order for them. He then asks how she ended up as a cetacean biologist. She says she is just lucky and a sucker for hard luck cases, mentioning that while she'll never see the whales again after they're released, they'll be tagged with radio transmitters so they can keep track of them. She then asks why Kirk hangs around with "that ditzy guy who knows that Gracie's pregnant and calls you, admiral." Just then, Kirk's communicator beeps. He tries to ignore it, but it keeps beeping and Taylor notices, calling his communicator a pocket pager and then asks Kirk if he's a doctor. Kirk finally answers it and feigns irritation, saying he said not to call him. Scotty is the one calling, he apologizes for the interruption but he thought Kirk would want to know he's beaming Chekov and Uhura in now. Kirk says to tell them phasers on stun and good luck. He then kills the transmission. Taylor asks for an explanation, Kirk asks when the whales are leaving. Gillian asks who he is, he asks who she thinks he is. Taylor then speculates he's from outer space. Kirk reiterates he's from Iowa, but that he works in outer space. Taylor said she was sure outer space would play a role sooner or later. Kirk then decides to tell her the truth to try and gain Taylor's cooperation in getting the whales. Kirk reveals that he is, by her calendar, from the late 23rd century and he's come back in time to bring two humpback whales with him so they can repopulate the species. Taylor is enthusiastic about getting the details. Kirk asks again when the whales were leaving. Taylor decides to go ahead and tell Kirk that Gracie is indeed very pregnant and that at noon the next day, the whales will be shipped out. At that point, Kirk jumps up and tells Taylor they have to leave just as the pizza arrives. Gillian asks if they can have it to go and then asks Kirk if they use money in the 23rd century and Kirk confirms they don't.
At the same time, aboard the Enterprise, Chekov and Uhura hide briefly from a guard and his dog. They then finish their way to the collector and Chekov attaches the collector to the reactor. When Uhura asks how long this is going to take, Chekov says it will depend on how much shielding there is between them and the actual reactor.
Back at Golden Gate Park, Taylor tells Kirk that was the briefest dinner she's ever had and the makes it clear she doesn't believe Kirk's story. Kirk asks what the whale's radio transmitter's frequency is, but Taylor refuses to tell him. Kirk then tells Taylor that he is here to take two humpbacks to the 23rd century and if he has to do so, he will go to the open sea to get them but he'd much rather have hers as it'd be better for him, for Taylor, and for the whales. He asks her to think about this but not to take too much time and if Gillian changes her mind about helping them, he'll be right there in the park. As Taylor drives off, Kirk walks toward where the Bounty is parked and Taylor hears the transporter beam taking Kirk aboard and sees the light in the corner of her eye. She looks back and sees Kirk gone and drives on.
Aboard the Bounty, Kirk asks for an update. Spock says the tank will be finished by morning and there has been no word yet from Chekov and Uhura since beam-in. Kirk grows frustrated that they are so close with two whales that will work great for them if they don't let them slip from their grasp. Spock says there is a possibility then their mission will fail. Kirk reminds Spock he's talking about the future of everyone on Earth and as he walks away angrily ask Spock that as he's half-human does he not have any feelings about that? McCoy and Scotty look at Spock but he does not answer and simply walks away himself.
Chekov and Uhura continue to collect the photons. On the Enterprise bridge, their attempts have been noticed in the form of a power drain evidently coming from somewhere aboard and the Enterprise crew begin investigating. Meanwhile, in the reactor area, Chekov and Uhura have gained enough photons and Uhura calls for transport but the signal is very weak. At that same time, the Enterprise crew confirm the power drain and the duty officer calls the commanding officer and reports intruders aboard. Uhura finally makes contact with Scotty but as power is down to minimum, he'll have to transport them out one at a time. Chekov sends Uhura first with the collector. Uhura transports out safely with the collector, but due to radiation, Chekov's beam-out fails, and as soldiers converge on the reactor area, Chekov continues to try to contact Scotty but his signal fails and he is discovered and taken prisoner. Chekov is held for interrogation. Chekov kept his Starfleet ID with him which is discovered by the investigator. He asks Chekov why is on the Enterprise and what the communicator and phaser are for. Chekov simply reiterates the truth about being a commander in Starfleet and gives his rank and serial number. The investigator and his aide see that he's obviously Russian but the main investigator says about Chekov "...of course he's a Ruskkie, but he's a retard or something!" While they're distracted, Chekov picks up the phaser and tries to hold the investigators saying if they don't lie on the floor he'll have to stun them. The investigator tells him to go ahead and do so. Chekov tries, but the radiation has disabled his phaser. He attempts to escape captivity but just before he can get off the Enterprise, he falls off a ledge and is injured. The Marines who were chasing Chekov call for a corpsman.
On the Bounty Uhura is desperately searching for any sign of Chekov. Kirk comes on the bridge and asks if she's found anything and Uhura says she should never have left Chekov behind, but Kirk tells her to keep looking and then she did what was necessary. He then contacts Scotty and asks for a progress report on the recrystallization. Scotty says it'll be well into the next day but Kirk says that's not going to be good enough and he needs to speed it up. Scotty acknowledges and mutters to Spock how he's in "a wee bit of a snit". Spock doesn't disagree and says Kirk is a man of deep feelings and Scotty wonders what else is new.
That same day, Gillian arrives at the Institute and lets herself in. She then heads back to the aquarium where she is shocked to see the whales gone. She runs back inside, horrified, only to be intercepted by Bob Briggs who tells her that to avoid a mob scene with the press they were taken away the night before and they felt it would be easier for her. In tears and anger, Gillian slaps Briggs across the face and calls him "You son of a bitch!" before storming out of the Institute, getting back in her truck and then speeds back to the park in hopes of finding Kirk.
Sulu meanwhile, has the helicopter he was speaking to the pilot about earlier and is using it to transport the large pieces of plexiglass to Golden Gate Park to be installed aboard the Bounty. Just then, Taylor arrives in the park and begins yelling for Kirk, when she sees the helicopter lower itself down and then she sees a man seemingly appear waist up out of thin air. After being stunned for a brief moment, Taylor begins running toward that spot still screaming for Kirk when she bumps into something invisible. She stands and feels along the cloaked Bounty's landing gear, screaming for Kirk still and saying she needs his help as the whales are gone. Scotty notices her and yells down at Kirk that they have a problem. Kirk sees Taylor screaming for him on a monitor and then transports her aboard. When Taylor materializes in the transporter chamber Kirk tells her "Hello Alice, welcome to Wonderland." Taylor is amazed then that what Kirk had told her before was true. Kirk shows her the whale tank and she tells him that the whales were taken the night before without her knowledge. She says that while they're in Alaska by this point, they're tagged as she said so they can track them but Kirk says that they can't go anywhere just yet. When Taylor wonders what kind of a ship this is, Kirk says it's a ship with a missing man. Just then Spock appears to tell Kirk full power has been restored. He then greets Gillian and welcomes her aboard and Taylor can only nod back at Spock, seeing him without the headband for the first time and his ears and eyebrows are exposed to her. Just then an upset Uhura calls Kirk and says she's found Chekov in Mercy Hospital and he's going into emergency surgery and he's not expected to survive. McCoy comes up and tells Kirk he's got to be able to go in there and begs Kirk not to leave Chekov in the hands of 20th century medicine. Spock comes up and tells Kirk he believes McCoy to be correct and they must help Chekov. Upon questioning from Kirk, Spock concedes that it is not the logical thing to do, but it is the Human thing to do. Kirk asks if Gillian can help them. She asks how and McCoy says they'll have to look like physicians.
In the hospital, McCoy, Kirk and Dr. Taylor begin their search for Chekov. While McCoy walks down a hall he passes by an elderly woman who is in serious pain. He stops and asks what's wrong with her and she says it's kidney dialysis. McCoy mutters to himself about this being the dark ages. He reaches into his bag, gives the woman a pill and tells her to swallow it and if there's any problem for her to call him. She takes the pill and he walks away. Kirk and Taylor finally locate Chekov and after meeting up with McCoy, the three grab a stretcher, put Gillian on it and cover it up, and run for the elevator. They reach the next floor and when they try to go into the operating room where Chekov is in, they're stopped by hospital security. Taylor screams as if in pain and McCoy tells the police guards that the woman has "Immediate postprandial upper abdominal distention!" The guards let them in, Kirk asks McCoy what he said she had and he said she had cramps. Just then, McCoy steps up to the operating table before the attending surgeon can start drilling on Chekov's head. The surgeon demands to know who they are and then what sort of device McCoy is using. McCoy diagnoses Chekov's problem as tearing of the middle meningeal artery. The surgeon asks if McCoy's degree is in dentistry. McCoy gets angry and asks how the surgeon would explain a slow respiratory rate and pulse with coma and he says fundoscopic examination will be useless in this case. The surgeon says the pressure can be relieved by a simple evacuation of the expanding epidural hematoma. McCoy passionately tells the surgeon that the artery must be repaired and you can't do that by drilling holes into the patient's head. He then asks the surgeon to let him save this man before it's too late. The surgeon threatens to have the new arrivals removed, but Kirk takes his phaser out and moves the surgeon and the nurses and the other techs into a small room where he melts the lock and McCoy can now heal Chekov's injury with 23rd century technology. When Chekov comes to, Kirk asks him his name and rank. Chekov recites his name and gives his rank after looking at Kirk as admiral.
McCoy, Kirk and Taylor come out with Chekov on the stretcher. The guards ask how the patient is doing and Kirk says he'll make it. But the guards realize they came in with a woman which Kirk simply mutters "One little mistake!" The guards run in, see the surgeon and others are trapped and they ask the guards to get some help as the patient has been kidnapped.
Realizing their cover has been blown, the three start running the gurney down the hospital corridors with the police guards after them. They run around several corners and pass the elderly woman who McCoy gave the pill to and she's happily telling everyone that a doctor gave her a pill and she's growing a new kidney which has all the hospital doctors and nurses stunned. They continue running and when Chekov tries to look up, Kirk puts his head back down on the gurney. They finally run into an elevator and the police officers run down the stairs intending to catch them at the next level but the four have disappeared from the hospital and have been beamed to safety while the elevator was in motion. When Kirk asks where the whales might be, Gillian says she can show them if there's a chart on board. But all Kirk wants is the radio frequency. Taylor wants to go with Kirk but Kirk says their next stop is the 23rd century but Taylor, saying she has no one there, insists on helping the whales but Kirk won't hear of it. He then asks her again for the radio frequency and Taylor tells Kirk it's 401 megahertz. Kirk thanks her for everything and then orders himself beamed up but Taylor jumps into his arms just as he's being beamed aboard.
On the Bounty, Kirk and Taylor come on the bridge just as Scotty calls Spock to tell him that he's ready. Sulu is taking a few moments to readjust to the Bounty's helm console as he got used to the Huey. Kirk accuses Taylor of tricking him but Taylor says Kirk will need her. He tells Taylor to sit down and orders Sulu and Chekov to take off. The Bounty, still cloaked, lifts off from Golden Gate Park just as a couple of joggers are running by and they get blown over by the dust and wind. The Bounty lifts up into the skies above San Francisco and head toward Alaska. As power settles in and stabilizes, Kirk orders Uhura to start scanning for the whales on the frequency Gillian gave him. When they reach the proper altitude, Kirk orders full impulse power which Sulu estimates should get them to the Bering Sea in twelve minutes. Scotty reports the whale tanks are secured but this will be the first time he's ever beamed up four hundred tons before. When Kirk asks why it's that much, Scotty reminds Kirk they're having to beam aboard not just the whales, but the water around them as well. Kirk then checks with Uhura but the whales haven't been located yet.
At that same time, McCoy checks on Spock who appears to be concerned. Spock says that he has tried to use the calculations he used to get them to the 20th century as a reference when calculating to return to the exact moment they left the 23rd unfortunately there are some issues with the calculations that just aren't working out. McCoy says Spock will have to take his best guess. Spock says guessing isn't in his nature and McCoy says that no one is perfect. Just then, Taylor recognizes the whales' signal and Uhura confirms. Just then, she detects another signal, which is determined to be a whaling ship. Kirk orders the Bounty into a full power descent and they arrive over the whales just in time to prevent the whaler's harpoon from hitting one of the whales. When the harpoon bounces off seemingly nothing the whalers are confused. Just then the Bounty decloaks over the whaling ship causing the whalers to panic and turn away from the whales in terror. Scotty asks for ten seconds to redirect power from all over the ship to the transporter. Scotty then beams the whales and the surrounding water into the whale tank. The tank creaks, but holds the whales and water securely. Scotty tells Kirk they have full power and as the Bounty leaves Earth behind and enters warp, Kirk takes Taylor to see the whales. But first, he stops and asks Spock about his time calculations and because Scotty couldn't give Spock exact figures he will have to make a guess. This statement surprises Kirk, who calls it extraordinary. When he and Gillian leave, Spock thinks Kirk is confused but McCoy tells him that means Kirk feels better about Spock's guesses than he would most anyone else's facts. Spock then understands it as a compliment and endeavors to make the best guess he can.
At the whale tank, Kirk quotes a line from "Whales Weep Not," which Taylor recognizes. Kirk then notes the irony of how in the past when men were killing the whales, they were destroying their own future. Scotty notes the whales seem happy to see Gillian and hopes she likes the tank. She calls it a miracle but Scotty says that's still to come and Kirk explains that their chances of getting home aren't great and she might have been better off staying where she belonged. Taylor says she belongs with the whales as she is a whale biologist. And suppose they do make it to the 23rd century, who there knows anything about humpback whales? Kirk admits her point there. Just then the ship shudders and Scotty reports a power fall-off. Kirk tells Gillian to stay with the whales and heads to the bridge.
The ship is at high warp approaching the sun and Scotty reports that warp 7.9 is the best he can do. Spock reports that not only can they not make breakaway speed, they might not even escape the sun's gravity so he shall try to compensate by altering their trajectory. Spock then requests thruster control which Kirk grants. At the right moment, Spock orders the thrusters fired and the Bounty again disappears behind the Sun.
Everyone wakes up again and Kirk asks if the thrusters fired. Spock reports they did and Kirk wonders where they are. Just then, he hears the drone of the probe as the Bounty begins to lose power. As the ship's systems shut down, the Bounty plunges through the Earth's atmosphere and when McCoy wonders where they might be Kirk can only tell him "Out of control and blind as a bat." Just then at Starfleet Command, the original transmission from Kirk to Starfleet fades. Cartwright calls for it to be restored just as the window shatters as it did before. This time Sarek points at something which is revealed to be the Bounty, and Cartwright notes it's heading right for the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bounty sails under the bridge and crash lands in San Francisco Bay. Kirk orders the hatch blown. He looks outside, sees it's the right place and now the task at hand is to get the whales out before the Bounty sinks. Kirk orders everyone to abandon ship. When he can't reach Scotty, Kirk runs toward engineering after telling Spock to ensure the safety of everyone else. Kirk runs down toward the whale tank and manages to force the door open, and pulls Scotty and Taylor out of the tank area which is almost completely submerged. Taylor notes the whales are trapped and if they're not freed, they'll drown. Scotty says the bay doors have no power and that the explosive override is underwater. Kirk sends them out through the bridge hatch and he swims underwater to the explosive override and pulls it open, knocking the hull of the Bounty open and allowing Kirk and the whales to swim out of the ship. Kirk reaches the surface just in time and is pulled up to safety by Spock and Taylor. After a few moments the whales are seen swimming. Meanwhile, the probe keeps calling for the whales and everyone at Starfleet just watches and waits as the power completely fails.
Just then the whales begin to sing back to the probe. After a few minutes of communication with the whales the probe deactivates its scanner and the weather on Earth begins to calm. Power begins to be restored all around the planet and as the probe leaves the way it came, it passes spacedock and power is restored aboard the station. As the skies clear over Earth, the Enterprise crew and Gillian celebrate at the Bounty's crash site. Kirk pulls Taylor in the water and everyone else except Spock jumps in. Kirk gets up on the ship and manages to toss Spock in, going with him as well. The crew celebrates the end of the crisis in the water as a Starfleet shuttle heads toward them to pick them up and George and Gracie head toward the Golden Gate Bridge to explore the new world they've entered, free of hunters and because of them the Earth is saved.
However, Kirk and crew still have to face court martial. The trial is held in the Federation Council Chambers with the President presiding. Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, Sulu and Uhura are brought in from where they are held, only to be joined by Spock, who was sitting in the Council with his father. The president reminds Spock that he is not accused, but Spock intends to stand with his shipmates and the president accepts. He then lists the charges and specifications against the Enterprise crew: conspiracy, assault on Federation officers, theft of Federation property, starship Enterprise, sabotage of the USS Excelsior, willful destruction of Federation property, USS Enterprise, and disobeying direct orders of the Starfleet commander. The president asks Kirk for his plea, and on behalf of all the officers, Kirk announces he is authorized to plead guilty. The president then says that because of "certain mitigating circumstances," though, all charges are dropped, except for one, and that charge: disobeying a superior officer, is directed solely at Admiral Kirk. The president asks Kirk if he recognizes the need for keeping discipline in any chain of command and Kirk tells the president he does. The president announces that Kirk's punishment is that he will be reduced in rank to captain, and as a consequence of that rank, he is given the duty for which he demonstrates unswerving ability, the command of a starship. The council chamber begins to cheer until the president silences them and he then tells Kirk that he and his crew have saved Earth from it's own short-sightedness and the people of Earth are forever in their debt. At that point, the council chambers breaks into cheering and applause, with people coming down to congratulate the Enterprise crew. Kirk sees Taylor and she says how happy she is for him and thanks Kirk before starting to leave. Kirk stops her and asks where she's going. Taylor says since she's got three hundred years of catchup learning to do, she's going on board a science vessel. Kirk asks if this means goodbye, especially as one might say back in the 20th century, he doesn't even have Gillian's telephone number and asks how he'll find her. Taylor says she'll find him, kisses him goodbye, tells him "See ya around the galaxy," turns and leaves Kirk alone.
Meanwhile Spock has caught up with Sarek and as Sarek is planning to return to Vulcan he wanted to take his leave of Spock. Spock thanks Sarek for the effort he put out for them, Sarek says there was no effort as Spock is his son and in any case, he was very impressed with Spock's performance during the crisis. Sarek then recalls how he initially opposed Spock's entrance into Starfleet, saying that judgment may have been incorrect. Sarek says that Spock's associates are people of good character. Spock tells Sarek they are his friends. Sarek accepts that and then asks if Spock has a message for his mother. Spock says he does, and to tell Amanda that he feels fine. He raises his hand in the Vulcan salute and tells his father to "Live long and prosper," and Sarek reciprocates. Then Spock turns from Sarek, who starts to leave Council chambers en route to Vulcan, and Spock rejoins Kirk and they walk out of the chambers themselves.
Flying through spacedock in a travel pod, following a shuttlecraft leading them, the crew heads toward their new assignment. McCoy, saying the only constant in the universe is the bureaucratic mentality, expects they will get a freighter, while Sulu hopes for Excelsior. When Scotty asks why Sulu would want "that bucket of bolts" Kirk simply tells Scotty that "A ship is a ship." Scotty tells Kirk that may his will be done. The travel pod indeed flies near Excelsior, but before they move in to dock, the shuttlecraft and travel pod fly over Excelsior's saucer section, revealing their ship, a Template:ShipClass starship, named USS Enterprise. Kirk looks and takes note of the ship's registry number, "NCC-1701-A". Kirk sees this and tells his friends that they have come home. As the Enterprise flies out of Spacedock, everyone takes to their stations, Sulu reports the helm is ready and Kirk says "Let's see what she's got."
The Enterprise accelerates to warp speed, flying out into space, ready for whatever may come next.
"Behold the quintessential devils in these matters, James T. Kirk, renegade and terrorist! Not only is he responsible for the murder of a Klingon crew, or the theft of a Klingon vessel; see now the real plot and intentions! Even as this Federation was negotiating a peace treaty with us, Kirk was secretly developing the Genesis Torpedo, conceived by Kirk's son, and test detonated by the Admiral himself. And the result of this awesome energy was euphamistically called the Genesis Planet! A secret base from which to launch the annahilation of the Klingon people!! We demand the extradition of Kirk! We demand justice!!"
"Klingon justice is a unique point of view, Mr. President. Genesis was perfectly named the creation of life, not death. The Klingons shed the first blood while attempting to possess its secrets."
- - Klingon Ambassador and Sarek
"Mr. Ambassador, with all respect, the Council's deliberations are over."
"Then Kirk goes unpunished?!"
"Admiral Kirk has been charged with nine violations of Starfleet regulations."
"Starfleet regulations?! That's outrageous! Remember this well: there shall be no peace as long as Kirk lives!"
- - Federation President and Klingon Ambassador
"Vulcans are well known as the intellectual puppets of this Federation!!"
"Your vessel did destroy USS Grissom. Your men did kill Kirk's son. Do you deny these events?"
"We deny nothing! We have the right to preserve our race!"
"Do you have the right to commit murder?"
- - Klingon Ambassador and Ambassador Sarek
"Does the good of the many outweigh the good of the one?"
"I would accept that as an axiom."
"Well, then you stand here alive because of a mistake - made by your flawed, feeling, Human friends. They have sacrificed their futures because they believed that the good of the one - you - was more important to them."
"Humans make illogical decisions."
"They do indeed!"
- - Amanda and Spock
"Cloaking device now available on all flight modes."
"I'm impressed. That's a lot of work for a short voyage."
"We are in an enemy vessel, sir. I do not wish to be shot down on our way to our own funeral."
- - Chekov and Kirk
"Are you sure this is such a bright idea?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, him back at his post like nothing's happened. I don't know if you've got the whole picture or not, but he's not exactly operating on all thrusters."
"It'll come back to him."
- - Kirk and McCoy, as Spock returns to duty
"Come on Spock, it's me, McCoy. You really have gone where no man's gone before. Can't you tell me what it felt like?"
- - McCoy, asking Spock about death
"You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death?"
"Forgive me Doctor, I am receiving a number of distress calls."
"I don't doubt it."
- - McCoy and Spock
"There is one possibility, but of course I cannot guarantee success - we could attempt to find some humpback whales."
"You just said there aren't any - except on Earth of the past."
"Yes, Doctor, that is exactly what I said."
"Well in that case...(it dawns on him what has been suggested)...now wait just a damn minute..."
"Spock - start your computations for time warp."
- - Spock, McCoy, and Kirk
"You're proposing that we go backwards in time, find humpback whales, then bring them forward in time, drop them off, and hope to hell they tell this probe what to go do with itself."
"That's the general idea."
"Well that's crazy!"
"You got a better idea, now's the time."
- - McCoy and Kirk, discussing time travel
"Judging by the pollution content of the atmosphere, I believe we have arrived at the latter half of the 20th century."
- - Spock, when the HMS Bounty arrives in 1986
"Did... did you see that!?"
"No, and neither did you, so shut up!"
- - Two sanitation workers, as the HMS Bounty lands in San Francisco
"Everybody remember where we parked!"
- - Kirk, as the Bounty crew begins their mission
"Hey, why don't you watch where you're going, you dumbass!"
"Well, a double dumbass on you!"
- - An irate driver and Kirk
"It's a miracle these people ever got out of the twentieth century."
- - McCoy
"Excuse me, weren't those a present from Dr. McCoy?"
"And they will be again, that's the beauty of it."
- - Spock and Kirk, in an antique shop
"Well, they'd be worth more if the lenses were intact. I'll give you one hundred dollars."
"Is that a lot?"
- - Kirk and antique shop owner
"What does it mean, 'exact change'?"
- - Spock, after he and Kirk are kicked off a bus
"Excuse me, sir. We are looking for the naval base in Alameda. It's where they keep the nuclear wessels."
- - Chekov, asking directions from a San Francisco police officer
"Ooh, I don't think I know the answer to that. I think it's across the bay. In Alameda."
- - A San Francisco local, answering about the location of the aforementioned nuclear wessels
"To hunt a species to extinction is not logical."
"Who ever said the Human race was logical?"
- - Spock and Gillian Taylor
"They like you very much, but they are not the hell your whales."
"I... I suppose they told you that, huh?"
"The hell they did."
- - Spock and Gillian Taylor
"There she is. From the institute, if we play our cards right, we may find out more about when the whales are leaving."
"How will playing cards help?"
- - Kirk and Spock, about learning more about the whales from Taylor
"Back in the sixties he used to be part of the free speech movement at Berkeley. (Kirk whispers to Dr. Taylor) I think he did a little too much LDS."
- - Kirk and Dr. Taylor, as Kirk tries to explain Spock's quirks
"Are you sure it isn't the time for a colorful metaphor?"
- - Spock, to Kirk
"You're not one of those guys from the military, trying to teach whales to retrieve torpedoes, or some dipshit stuff like that?"
"No ma'am, no dipshit."
- - Gillian Taylor and Kirk
"You're not exactly catching us at our best."
"That much is certain."
- - Kirk and Spock, to Gillian Taylor
"You guys like Italian?"
"No – Yes."
"Yes. I love Italian. (Kirk looks at Spock) And so do you."
- - Dr. Taylor, Kirk, and Spock, being asked out for dinner to discuss matters
"I find it hard to believe that I've come millions of miles-!"
"– thousands of miles...!"
- - Scott and McCoy, with Dr. Nichols
"Are you sure you won't change your mind?"
"Is there something wrong with the one I have?"
- - Dr. Taylor and Spock
"Wait a minute... how did you know Gracie is pregnant, nobody knows that."
- - Gillian Taylor and Spock
"Don't tell me. You're from outer space."
"No, I'm from Iowa. I only work in outer space."
- - Gillian Taylor and Kirk
- - Scotty, speaking into Dr. Nichols' mouse
"Ah – a keyboard! How quaint!"
- - Scott, trying to work a Macintosh
"You realize that if we give him the formula, we're altering the future."
"Why? How do we know that he didn't invent the thing?"
- - Scott and McCoy, at Plexicorp
"Ok, let's take it from the top."
"The top of what?"
"No, my name!"
"I do not know your name."
"You play games with me mister, and you're through!"
"I am? May I go now?"
- - A Marine and Chekov, as Chekov is interrogated aboard the Enterprise
"They left last night. We didn't want a mob scene with the press. It wouldn't be good for them. Besides, I thought it would be easier on you this way."
"You sent them away without letting me say goodbye!? You son of a bitch!"
- - Briggs and Taylor
"Dammit, do you want an acute case on your hands? This woman has immediate postprandial upper abdominal distension! Out of the way... get out of the way."
"What did you say she's got?"
- - McCoy and Kirk, on getting past the guards
"Chekov, Pavel. Rank: admiral!"
- - Chekov, regaining consciousness
"How's the patient, doctor?"
"He's gonna make it!"
"He? You came in with a she!"
"One little mistake..."
- - Police officer and Kirk
"The doctor gave me a pill, and I grew a new kidney!"
- -Old woman in hospital
"Spock, where the hell's that power you promised?"
"One damn minute, admiral."
- - Spock and Kirk, after having learned "colorful metaphors" on 20th century Earth
"Admiral – there be whales here!"
- - Scott, as the whales are beamed aboard
"...The charges and specifications are, conspiracy, assault on Federation officers, theft of federation property, namely the starship Enterprise. Sabotage of the USS Excelsior. Willful destruction of Federation property, specifically the aforementioned USS Enterprise, and finally disobeying direct orders of the Starfleet commander. Admiral Kirk, how do you plead?"
"On behalf of all of us Mr. President, I am authorized to plead guilty."
"So entered. Because of certain mitigating circumstances, all charges but one are summarily dismissed. The remaining charge, disobeying orders of a superior officer, is directed solely at Admiral Kirk. I'm sure the admiral will recognize the necessity of keeping discipline in any chain of command?"
"I do, sir."
"James T. Kirk, it is the judgment of this council that you be reduced in rank to captain. And that as a consequence of your new rank, you be given the duties for which you have demonstrated unswerving ability, the command of a starship. Captain Kirk, you and your crew have saved this planet from its own short-sightedness and we are forever in your debt."
- - Federation President and Kirk
"I am returning to Vulcan within the hour, I wanted to take my leave of you."
"It was most kind of you to make this effort."
"It was no effort. You are my son. Besides, I'm most impressed with your performance during this crisis."
"As I recall, I opposed your enlistment in Starfleet... It is possible that judgment was incorrect. Your associates are people of good character."
"They are my friends."
"Yes... of course. Do you have a message for your mother?"
"Yes, tell her... I feel fine. Live long and prosper, Father."
"Live long and prosper, my son."
- - Sarek and Spock, making amends
"The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe. We'll get a freighter."
"With all respect Doctor, I'm counting on Excelsior."
"Excelsior? Why in God's name would you want that bucket of bolts?"
"A ship is a ship."
"Whatever you say, sir. Thy will be done."
- - McCoy, Sulu, Scotty, and Kirk, as the travel pod flies through spacedock
"My friends... we've come home."
- - Kirk, to his crew on approach to the Enterprise-A
"Helm ready, captain."
"All right Mr. Sulu, let's see what she's got."
- - Sulu and Kirk, as the Enterprise leaves spacedock and heads out into space
- The film is dedicated "to the men and women of the spaceship Challenger", which broke apart shortly after liftoff on 28 January 1986, almost ten months before the release of Star Trek IV.
- Prior to the release of the 2009 film Star Trek (which as of October, 2009, grossed over $384.9 million), The Voyage Home was the highest-grossing Star Trek film, making $109.7 million in the United States. Due to the success of this film, Paramount decided to make the second Star Trek TV series a reality (after the unsuccessful attempt of Star Trek: Phase II). That series eventually became Star Trek: The Next Generation, which premiered the next fall. The first US VHS tape release of the movie contained a small promo clip for The Next Generation, briefly introducing the new Enterprise and characters.
- Outside of North America, the film's title was changed to The Voyage Home: Star Trek IV (see UK trailer below), and references to the Star Trek brand were consciously avoided. This was done largely because Star Trek III: The Search for Spock had suffered badly from competition with Ghostbusters outside of North America and only grossed just over ten million dollars. A special prologue (see Trivia section below), in the form of a captain's log was created to detail the events of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock to aid newcomers, narrated by William Shatner himself.  While the tactic was somewhat successful, the rest-of-the-world gross of around $24 million was still less than a fifth of the film's overall total, and so Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was marketed as normal worldwide (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was not theatrically released in most countries). Although the early VHS releases also carried the inverted title, when the film was eventually released on DVD, its title reverted to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home worldwide.
- The Voyage Home is ranked #2 out of the #11 Star Trek-based films according to Box Office Mojo, not adjusting for inflation, which makes it the most successful film until the 2009's Star Trek.
Creation and Production
- This film marked the start of Michael Okuda's nineteen year relationship with the Star Trek franchise, both movies and television. For this film, he designed the computer displays as well as introducing the "touch screen" computer consoles, seen in the rest of the Star Trek films and television shows (except for Star Trek: Enterprise).
- According to several issues of the DC Star Trek comics letters page, the film was originally scheduled for release in the summer of 1986, but was delayed due to William Shatner still filming episodes of TJ Hooker and they had to wait until its shooting season was completed before Shatner could join the project.
- The character of Dr. Taylor was originally a male character who was a wacky college professor who was a "UFO nut," and, for added humor to the lighthearted script, actor Eddie Murphy was offered the role. He declined and decided on The Golden Child instead (a decision he admits later was a big mistake), and Catherine Hicks won the role. According to William Shatner's Star Trek Movie Memories, Eddie Murphy actually approached Nimoy and Bennett wanting to be in the film, as he was a huge Trek fan, but it was his agents and Paramount themselves who decided mixing the studio's two biggest (at the time) franchises (Star Trek and Beverly Hills Cop) in one film wasn't the best idea. Nicholas Meyer later stated that when he came in to write the 20th century section of the film, he realized the earlier drafts were written with Murphy in mind.
- An early draft of the script had Sulu meeting a young child on the streets of San Francisco who was his distant ancestor. According to William Shatner's Star Trek Movie Memories, the scene was an idea pitched to Harve Bennett by George Takei who, when he discovered the scene was to be shot was delighted. However, when it came time to film the scene, the child they hired to play the role of Sulu's great-great-great grandfather was not a professional actor, and his mother was on set, causing the child to be extremely nervous. Consequently, they couldn't get anything done with the boy and eventually they had to move on. The scene was scrapped, much to the heartbreak of Takei. The scene survives in Vonda McIntyre's novelization.
- Early drafts of the script had Saavik remaining on Vulcan due to her being pregnant with Spock's child, following the events of the previous movie when young Spock went through pon farr as he aged rapidly, implying that he had sex with Saavik on the Genesis Planet.
- Most of the shots of the humpback whales were taken using four-foot long animatronics models. Four such models were created, and were so realistic that after release of the film, US fishing authorities publicly criticized the film makers for getting too close to whales in the wild. The filmmakers reportedly said that they enjoyed telling those same authorities that except for the live shots toward the end of the film, the whale scenes weren't real. The scenes involving these whales were shot in a swimming pool in a Los Angeles area high school. A large animatronic tail was also created, for the scene on the sinking Bird-of-Prey, filmed on the Paramount car park, which was flooded for the shoot. The same spot was previously seen as a part of planet Vulcan in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The shot of the whales swimming past the Golden Gate Bridge was filmed on location, and nearly ended in disaster when a cable got snagged on a nuclear submarine and the whales were towed out to sea.
- The scene with Koenig and Nichols asking about the location of the naval base was shot with a hidden camera. In an interview with StarTrek.com, Layla Sarakalo stated that she approached the assistant director about appearing with the other extras and was told not to answer Koenig's and Nichols' questions. To the annoyance of the other extras, she did answer them and had to be inducted into the Screen Actors' Guild as a result, as the production crew found the line too amusing to be cut out. 
- Some of the Bird-of-Prey footage is reused from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
- A shot of the Bird-of-Prey heading to the Sun at warp speed was reused, with added disruptor fire in TNG: "Redemption II".
- The aircraft carrier sequences were actually filmed aboard the conventionally-powered Forrestal-class carrier USS Ranger (CV 61). Ranger can be told from Enterprise by her longer rectangular superstructure (barely visible behind the hair of Nichelle Nichols) and different arrangement of aircraft elevators. Enterprise was out at sea at the time and unavailable for filming. Even if available, in 1986, the engineering spaces of the nuclear carriers were deeply classified and filming a movie in them would have been impossible. All Enterprise sailors were played by Ranger personnel (in certain scenes, freeze-frame reveals sailors wearing Ranger ball caps rather than Enterprise ones).
- Dr. Taylor orders Michelob beer over dinner, one of the few instances where an actual product is named in Star Trek. While the beer's label was never shown, another company managed to have a rare Trek moment of product placement. The computer used by Scotty at the Plexicorp factory is clearly a period-appropriate Macintosh Plus, and Apple Computer Company – as it was then known – receives a credit at the end of the film. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier offers one of the few other instances of product placement in the franchise's history, when Kirk, Spock and McCoy go camping wearing Levi's jeans. Another instance of this was in the opening sequence of Star Trek Generations, when a bottle of Dom Perignon was smashed on the hull of the Enterprise-B at the ship's christening. In Star Trek, a young Kirk uses an integrated Nokia mobile car phone, while Uhura is seen ordering Budweisers in an Iowa bar.
- The scene where Uhura and Chekov are asking where to find the naval base was not filmed using actors. Nichols and Koenig were recorded on the streets of San Francisco asking random passerby where to find the ships. The reactions and responses of all of the people they speak to are completely genuine and not acted.
- Madge Sinclair's character as the captain of the Saratoga was the first female Starfleet captain shown in Star Trek. This stands in direct contrast to Doctor Janice Lester, who switched bodies with Kirk in TOS: "Turnabout Intruder", in which she states that women aren't allowed to be starship captains.
- This marks Majel Barrett's final performance as Christine Chapel.
- The film marks the last on-screen appearance of a Starfleet commodore, seen as a non-speaking extra in the Federation Council chambers, until the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "First Flight". This remains the last chronological appearance in-universe, however.
- The city of San Francisco would be visited by time-traveling Star Trek characters again, in the episodes TNG: "Time's Arrow" and TNG: "Time's Arrow, Part II", and DS9: "Past Tense, Part I" and DS9: "Past Tense, Part II".
- Brock Peters, who plays Admiral Cartwright in this film (and later in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), also played the father of Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- According to Kirk, this film takes place three months after the end of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
- This film establishes that Kirk is from Iowa. However, Kirk doesn't specifically say he was born in Iowa but was from there. According to Roberto Orci, one of the writers of Star Trek, the USS Kelvin was headed to Earth where James T. Kirk was eventually going to be born in Iowa and not on the Kelvin or Medical Shuttle 37 in the alternate reality created by the Narada's arrival in 2233.
- Star Trek IV was nominated for four Oscars, more than any other Trek film: Best Cinematography (Don Peterman), Music (Original Score) (Leonard Rosenman), Sound, and Sound Effects Editing (Mark Mangini).
- Nominated for the 1987 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
- Nominated for the ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases (Don Peterman).
- Nominated for eleven Saturn Awards: Best Science Fiction Film, Best Director (Leonard Nimoy), Best Actor (both Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner), Best Supporting Actor (both James Doohan and Walter Koenig), Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Hicks), Best Costumes (Robert Fletcher), Best Writing, Best Special Effects, and Best Make-up — of which it won one (Best Costumes).
- The lighted table in Starfleet Command eventually became the famous "pool table" located in main engineering of the USS Enterprise-D
- The USS Saratoga seen in early scenes was actually a slightly modified shooting model of the USS Reliant from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- The bridge set for the aforementioned USS Saratoga was, like the bridge of the Reliant before it, a simple redress of the bridge of the Enterprise. The camera angles used for scenes aboard the Saratoga do not make clear whether modifications seen to the bridge set at the end of the film had yet been made.
- This film has a sense of historical irony regarding ship names. The film depicts the USS Saratoga and mentions the USS Yorktown (which Roddenberry claimed became the Enterprise-A) while featuring the aircraft carrier Enterprise (which was actually portrayed by the real life USS Ranger). During the period before World War II, the aircraft carriers USS Enterprise, USS Saratoga, and USS Ranger, were three of the seven fleet carriers in United States Navy service. The other four were Saratoga's sister-ship, Lexington, the unique Wasp, and Enterprise's sisters, Yorktown and Hornet.
- The clothes worn by Leonard Nimoy as Spock during his swim in the whale tank were auctioned off in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction. 
- During Spock's retraining, an original configuration Template:ShipClass ship appears on the monitor.
- The whaling ship used in the film was a World War II minesweeper called Golden Gate. 
- The whale hunters speak Finnish, even though the script called for a crew of famous humpback hunters like the Norwegians, Icelanders or Russians to be used.  Finland has never had any sort of whale hunting industry. However, Norway, a prominent whaling country, has a minority of Kvens, who speak a dialect of the Finnish language.
- Director Nimoy mentioned in the film's DVD commentary that in the scene where Gillian Taylor slaps Bob Briggs for letting the whales leave without letting her say goodbye to them that Catherine Hicks really did slap Scott DeVenney rather hard, and that while DeVenney was not expecting it nor was he very happy about it, he took it and was a good sport about it later.
- Since the producers decided not to use subtitles for the Finnish dialogue or the probe/whale song sequence (although Paramount at one point did want subtitles for the film's climax), this is the only film of the first six Star Trek movies to not have any subtitles – not even to establish location or timeframe.
- Due to Star Trek III: The Search for Spock being released direct-to-video in some European and South American territories along with the whole of Australia, a prologue recapping the events of The Search for Spock (seen via YouTube above this item) was added to release prints of this film in the territories listed above. Some of these releases omitted the Challenger dedication in order to make room for this prologue, but some releases, including the one from which the YouTube video accompanying this article was taken, kept both the prologue and the dedication.
- Several costumes, props, and items from this movie were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including a puppet which stood in as an alien ambassador. 
- This is the only Star Trek film to date to not feature a starship Enterprise as the primary setting of the film.
- The novel The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh established that Chekov's Klingon phaser and communicator, which he threw at the investigators on the Enterprise in order to make his escape attempt, were sent to Area 51 and then subsequently recovered by Roberta Lincoln (who was sent by Gary Seven) before they could be analyzed and potentially alter history.
- In the Star Trek IV novelization, during the court martial, when the president tells Spock that he's not accused, Spock tells the president "Mr. President, I stand with my shipmates. Their fate shall be mine."
- The novelization also expands on McCoy and Scotty's discussion on whether or not they should give Dr. Nichols the formula for transparent aluminum. In the novel, Scotty knows for certain that Nichols did indeed invent transparent aluminum and so it is ok for them to give him the formula and it may well be essential that they do so.
- The unfilmed scene between Sulu and his great-great-great grandfather (see above) was also featured in the novelization.
- In the novelization Kirk recaps the tragic events of TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever" while discussing a possible time travel with Spock and McCoy.
Video and DVD releases
- US Betamax release: 1987
Links and references
- All credits
- Uncredited co-stars
- Joseph Adamson as a doctor
- Cynthia Brian as a street passerby
- Jay Crimp as a Vulcan electrician 
- Monique DeSart as Madelaine
- Stephen Liska as Torg (archive footage)
- Genevieve Martin as a Vulcan noble-woman 
- Nanci Meek as a mental patient
- Kimberly Ryusaki as
- Layla Sarakalo as a passerby on San Francisco street
- Madge Sinclair as the Saratoga captain
- Rhoda Williams as alien vocals
- Unknown performers as
- Uncredited stunt performers
- Gregory Barnett as a Starfleet technician
- Jim O'Rear
- Unknown stunt performers as two Starfleet technicians
- Uncredited production staff
- Al Fleming - Makeup Artist
- Pieter Folkens - Advisor, Designer, and Sculptor: Humpback whales mechanics
- Rick Stratton - Makeup Artist
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