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Headscratchers / Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

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    "I never understood Vulcan mysticism" 
  • When Kirk tells the chief of Starfleet of his plan to put Spock's soul back into the corpse, said chief reacts with disbelief and disdain. Now, the Vulcans are arguably the most important founding members of the Federation and possibly one of the most numerous, so how exactly is the head guy of the Federation's military totally ignorant of their telepathic powers? And even if he is, two minutes of a mind meld with Sarek could wipe out any doubt.
    • Even among Vulcans, it's a rare and dangerous ritual with a strong chance of failure. It's also likely something they don't go to any lengths to advertise.
      • In the 23rd century, two hundred years after first contact, the Vulcans were still keeping the seven-year cycle of pon farr - a basic fact of their biology and/or society - a secret from outsiders. They hid their common ancestry with the Romulans for the same period, through the War and beyond. And a century hence, their silence would contribute to the destruction of Romulus itself. Not big on sharing information, the Vulcans.
      • Remember at this point Sarek didn't want "Fal-tor-pan", just a way to let Spock's eternal soul keep on living, and Sarek says this is a normal thing for Vulcans. So, basically, a logical species known for scientific precision, with no psychological reasons for needing to believe in any sort of religious faith, consider themselves to be more than the result of pure materialism, i.e. to have some sort of metaphysical existence as part of their being. This shouldn't be taken lightly. In the Star Trek universe it's most likely scientific fact that Vulcans - if not all sapient species (there's several other episodes that act as if being have souls that contain their true metaphysical consciousness, although they usually call it "neural energy" or whatnotnote  in the show - really do have spirits.
    • Also at this stage, Kirk didn't know that the Vulcans would reunite Spock's katra with his body and bring him back to life. He didn't even know Spock's body had been resurrected until he asked Saavik if Spock's body was alive. Sarek only asked Kirk to bring Spock's body to Vulcan to allow Spock to find peace. The body may have been required along with the Katra for some more ordinary death ritual that would allow Spock to truly "pass on". Sarek asked for the Fal Tor Pan after it was revealed to him that Spock's body was alive and could receive the katra again.
    • Even if the Starfleet chief brushes off the katra thing - that still leaves them in the position of the Vulcan ambassador being understandably angry that his son's body wasn't brought home in accordance with the rules of his culture. What do Starfleet do to prevent this from turning into a diplomatic incident? Absolutely nothing, even though there's already a starship in orbit around the planet.
      • That is a little unfair. The Grissom's Captain only refused to beam up Spock's coffin when Saavik found it because he wanted to be sure there was no health and safety threat to his crew (admittedly an unusual course of action for a Starfleet Captain, who generally seem to want to go hand to hand fighting with a slime monster that has slaughtered a dozen Red Shirts). If they had beamed up the coffin and Spock then they would all have been on the Grissom when Kruge's "lucky shot" blew it up (Kruge was also jamming communications too). Film over.
      • The Grissom is at best tangentially related to the issue. Its fate is irrelevant to the conflict between Kirk and the admiral. The Vulcan ambassador is upset that his traditions are not being followed. Starfleet should have jumped at the chance to appease him. If they had any care for diplomatic relations, they would have pointed Kirk to the nearest Warp-capable ship and said "God speed."
      • Sarek is only an ambassador, not the leader of the Vulcan people. He has influence, but one angry ambassador is a minor issue compared to containing the intelligence and security disaster that the unplanned detonation of Genesis caused. Think of it this way: Had the son of the UK ambassador died from radiation exposure during the Manhattan Project, there's absolutely no way they'd return the body before the project was finished.
      • All kinds of explanations are possible, but the problem is, the movie doesn't really present any of them clearly. All we have is Morrow sniffing petulantly about Vulcan mysticism, like this is a reason for not allowing the mission!
      • Somebody in the Federation Council may have agreed with this; by next movie, Morrow is out and Cartwright was in - although that opened up a whole 'nother can of worms two movies after *that*.
      • Given the way things play out, there's a good chance that Sarek did approach Starfleet and/or the Federation about it. However, requests like "I want you to drop everything in the middle of figuring out a 23rd Century Cuban Missile Crisis so you can bring my son's dead body back from a planet who's very existence is controversial enough to ignite a full-scale war" isn't going to be met with very much positive response, especially if Sarek's main concern was simply the proper burial of the body. 'Vulcan mysticism' aka their religious beliefs, are pretty far down the ladder of importance when compared to the current situation.
      • This, exactly. The answer is "hell no, Kirk, YOU aren't going anywhere NEAR Genesis”. Morrow is just coming up with excuses.
      • Exactly this. Everything by Morrow's actions indicates that while he partially understands and is being polite to Kirk and crew he's REALLY ticked at that massive security issue they just handed to him and Starfleet and blames Kirk for the whole thing. Kirk championed the Genesis Project run by his son and former lover which was publicly detonated and shown for all the galaxy to see by Khan, the 20th Century Super Villain that Kirk allowed to have a planet to himself rather than arrest and bring him back to Earth for his many crimes and then forgot all about and didn't bother to check up to notice the planet had had a major cataclysm and Khan was now a crazy vengeful madman. Morrow places all but Scotty on extended shore leave, and uses an excuse to kibosh the Enterprise effectively grounding the whole crew. Then he has security follow them, and when Mc Coy even mentions Genesis they arrest him and are going to throw him in an Asylum. Based on all of this it looks like Morrow considers them all a huge security risk and isn't planning on letting any of them out of the vicinity of Earth any time soon, let alone go to Genesis.
    • Better question- why didn't Saavik tell Kirk that Sarek would want Spock's' body back for a proper Vulcan funeral? Or hell, why did nobody on the Enterprise even think of that? Honestly, as beautiful and moving as that funeral as the end of Wrath of Khan was, that whole crew were a bunch of dicks for not even thinking of that.
      • Not So. Everyone leaves behind a will, especially naval officers in high risk positions. Spock clearly left a will calling for a space burial. The entire point of the Spock character was to explore what it means to be human through an alien's eyes. Data repeats this. Throughout TOS, Spock believes he can't live up to what he thinks it means to be Vulcan, and he's averse to his Human half, so would feel he can't be buried on either planet. DC Comics' series expanded further in a comic book predating the Voyager episode where it turns out they're all copies that only think they're real, by having Spock save Pike's Enterprise from an alien of the week that tries to control human test subjects, yadda, yadda, yadda, point being: Spock's self-conflict is his defining trait that allows him to overcome both his Human and Vulcan halves culturally and beyond. In Bread and Circuses, McCoy points out Spock would rather die than allow himself to acknowledge his human, emotional attributes (This isn't quite true, as we see him subtly expressing emotion throughout the series) — this might explain one reason Spock wished to be interred in space.)
      • Also, Spock lovednote  serving on a starship and engaging in space exploration at the farthest reaches of the galaxy. As he tells us in "The Mark of Gideon", he was really a scientist first, and as Kirk said in "Journey to Babel", being out there seeing it all firsthand on the Big E was a great opportunity to study the universe. He wanted to be interred in the place he was most comfortable, his real home, among the stars.
      • The novelization goes into further detail: as a half-Vulcan, he wasn't sure if he could transfer his katra. So, his will requested burial in space, and his backup plan was to try transferring his katra and, if it worked, have that person override the will and take his body back. Unfortunately, due to McCoy's reaction to the meld, this didn't happen.
      • Saavik's Expanded Universe background (present in the novelizations of this movie and Star Trek II) is that she is actually a half-Vulcan, half-Romulan born into a hellish Romulan prison camp and was essentially a feral child until she was rescued by Spock. She had only been half-civilized by Spock at the time of the movies and didn't know about Katra or Vulcan funeral rites any more than any of the humans did.

    The Ambassador Who Doesn't Do Anything 
  • Why didn't Sarek use his diplomatic clout to get Kirk permission to return to Genesis? Instead, Kirk has to defy orders, steal the Enterprise, and have his officers commit assault and sabotage. If not for The Probe almost destroying Earth in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, they all could very well have ended up mining borite for the rest of their lives. And the only help Sarek gives is off-camera (in the novelization, he grants asylum to Uhura in the Vulcan embassy after she departs Spacedock). What gives?
    • That only raises more questions. Is there no extradition between Earth and Vulcan? It would be like if a US military officer helped steal a warship and then the British government gave them asylum and a trip to England. Besides, I think if Sarek started pulling those strings it would show that he's emotionally compromised (he's already clearly angry at Kirk for leaving Spock on Genesis) and would be put on some sort of administrative leave by the Vulcan government. The "logical" thing to do would be to accept his son's death and not encourage an admiral and his crew to throw away their careers.
      • The logical thing would be to just have Sarek (a high ranking politician) ask the Federation to have its science ship pick up Spock's body. Why not simply explain the situation and make it an unusual rescue mission?
    • Given the nature of Project Genesis and how it seemed to be need-to-know in TWOK it could simply be that there's not enough diplomatic clout in the galaxy that will get Starfleet to bring anything back from Genesis as a personal favor. This was a top secret project that went awry and now everyone knows Starfleet has a device that can reformat a planet; they're going to want to limit access to the Mutara Sector as much as possible as a matter of security. That's probably why Sarek went to Kirk because he assumed the famous Admiral Kirk would be able to pull some more strings with Starfleet than he could as a civilian ambassador, Sarek never encouraged Kirk to do all those things and is rather astonished he did at the end of the movie.
    • Given that Kirk and Company succeeded in not only recovering Spock's body, but also in bring him back alive for the fal-tor-pan, Sarek undoubtedly pulled a grand piano's worth of strings to keep them from being extradited before they were ready to return to Earth. Given that the Vulcans have been shown to be willing to go out on a limb for Kirk before (Amok Time, where T'Pau pulls strings to retroactively get permission for Kirk to go to Vulcan), it seems likely that the government was involved as well.
    • Well, the United Federation of Planets is less a fully integrated government and more an alliance of independent governments like the United Nations. Vulcan may well have full control over its internal affairs, to the point where they really can harbor fugitives from Starfleet justice if they so choose (or the extradition process is long and convoluted enough that before Starfleet could make serious headway with it, Kirk and Co. decided to return to Earth on their own to face the music).
    • The novelization of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has Kirk claiming that Uhura has been given asylum on Vulcan and the rest of the crew are able to take advantage of the same offer. The movie infers it when Kirk takes a roll call and then has the record show that the crew had chosen to return to Earth. So the answer is, the entire crew could have lived out the rest of their natural lives among the Vulcans and never received any punishment from Starfleet for their actions.

    Rapid aging 
  • The movie states that Spock and Genesis are aging rapidly. Why is it that Genesis ended up blowing up but Spock didn't age rapidly into dust?
    • Once Spock is beamed off the surface the link between him and the planet might have been severed.
    • The transporter cannot detect the Genesis effect and therefore doesn't include it when transporting matter (or re-constructing it, depending on how the transporters work.)
    • Distance could also be a factor. The Genesis wave is presumably centered on the planet's core, and the farther Spock gets from it the less it affects him anymore. That might also mean that the center of the planet aged much more rapidly than the surface.

    Misassigned blame? 
  • While on the Genesis planet Saavik reprimands David for using protomatter (apparently a very dangerous substance) for Genesis, asking him how many have died or gotten hurt by this. Ignoring the idea that Starfleet and the other scientists involved apparently had no idea of this idiocy, what is she talking about? Up to that point in the movie no one has gotten hurt because of it. People have died because others wanted to steal Genesis but the exact nature of the planet hasn't gotten anyone hurt and won't until later on. She would be justified in reprimanding him for using something so dangerous but she isn't mentioning that at all.
    • I'm guessing that the combined emotional strain of Spock's death and attempts to come to terms with it—she even shed a tear at his funeral—the realization that he's now alive but an empty shell, witnessing the bloody dead Enterprise crew members, the murdered Regula 1 staff, the suicide of Terrell, the knowledge that Grissom and her crew are all dead and the anxiety of knowing they're stranded on an alien planet with an enemy who knows they're there and little hope of rescue left her emotionally compromised. The final straw was David saying that all that was for a project that doesn't even work. David saying "it might've been years [before Genesis was developed], or never" if they hadn't used protomatter, might also have been a factor: had he not taken shortcuts, then they wouldn't have needed a ship to search for a planet to test it on, Khan might never have escaped. Had everything worked as planned, Starfleet would've been able to test the device in a clandestine and controlled way that didn't freak out the Klingons and motivate Kruge to acquire Genesis as a weapon. But really, I doubt Saavik was thinking that far ahead when she got upset.
    • Well, look at it logically: If David had been honest about Genesis not working, then Starfleet would never have sent the Reliant to scout planets. Reliant would never have found Khan, negating the entire second movie. The scientists at Regula 1 (10 people) would never have been killed, the trainees would have completed their mission without incident, and Spock, Captain Terrell and all the Enterprise crew and trainees lost in the battles against Khan, including Scotty's nephew (whom the novelization of Wrath of Khan says was a protege of Saavik and whose death she was greatly affected by), would still be alive. With no Genesis planet to investigate, the Grissom (crew of 80) would never have been shot down. There would be no 23rd Century Cuban Missile Crisis over the Genesis explosion that heightened tensions with the Klingons whom the Federation already had a volatile relationship with. That civilian ship (crew of roughly 20) wouldn't have been destroyed, and the Enterprise would have been retired with dignity (most likely becoming a museum ship) instead of using her Self-Destruct Mechanism and incinerating in the Genesis atmosphere. Not to mention that David himself wouldn't have died, which wouldn't have left Kirk with a hatred of Klingons that allowed him to be the perfect scapegoat for the conspiracy in Star Trek 6 that nearly caused a galactic war, although there's no way David could have known about those events that happened years later. While a benefit may be that it brought Spock back to life, if Genesis hadn't come around, he wouldn't have died to begin with and if he hadn't died, the crew wouldn't have broken numerous regulations and risked their careers to save him and they wouldn't have gone into exile and gone on trial (although that ended up working out in the end, since it put them in a position to stop the whale probe and be cleared of charges.) That's 3 Starfleet ships and at least 100 lives that would have been spared and several galactic incidents avoided if David had just swallowed his pride and admitted that Genesis was a failure.
      • Actually, the events of the sixth movie wouldn't have happened since Earth would have already been destroyed by the whale probe in the fourth movie.
      • They also would have had no second, third, or fourth movie - at least not *these* movies. They might had had to fall back on Roddenberry's "Let's try to save JFK" movie idea instead.
    • I just assumed she meant that protomatter is an unstable substance that can lead to accidents and that she was specifically referring to the use of protomatter and any fatal accidents that it caused while still in development, not after.
    • I think Saavik's argument would have played better had Kirstie Alley played Saavik. Kirstie's Saavik had that simmering Romulan emotionalism just barely contained, while Robin Curtis played Saavik as a straight up Vulcan.
  • In a case of misassigned reinforcement of self-blame, I never understood Sarek's questioning of the cost Kirk's rescuing Spock. "But at what cost? Your ship. Your son." Way to go, Sarek. Kirk is undoubtedly already blaming himself for this, and you have to rub it in his face? Especially when, if you look at the situation logically, he would have lost those things anyway! The Enterprise was scheduled to be decommissioned, and David would have undoubtedly either been killed by the Klingons or left on Genesis to die in its explosion. Kirk's voyage to Genesis allowed him to rescue Saavik and Spock, who would have shared David's fate if Kirk hadn't done what he did. Sarek should be reminding him of this to help him get over any grief rather then rubbing in the losses Kirk suffered along the way. Good job thanking the guy who just saved your son's life!
    • As Sarek himself said, "my logic is uncertain where my son is concerned".
    • Sarek can't believe that Kirk was willing to sacrifice so much to bring Spock back. Remember that before he arrived at Genesis, Kirk thought he was just going to be beaming up a dead body, in the process torpedoing his own career. In the end, he destroys his ship, inadvertently gets his son killed, and still sees this as, in some ways, a win. Sarek literally can't understand the thought process that allows Kirk to get there.
    • Sarek expected Kirk to find some way to get to get to Genesis to pick up Spock's' body and deliver him and McCoy to Vulcan for a funeral, and he knew it was a big ask since going to Genesis was forbidden and Kirk could get in a lot of trouble for this. But he never expected that Kirk would lose both his ship and his son over it (though technically, has Enterprise not shown up, it's possible David would have died anyway, or been abducted and hauled off to a Klingon dungeon, so really it's just the ship that Kirk's actions cost him). Basically he's just trying to say "Had I known what this would cost you, I never would have asked", because of course, nobody could have predicted that a Klingon warlord would be caught up in all this.
    • Sarek isn't rubbing Kirk's face in anything. He's a Vulcan behaving like a Vulcan. Maybe it's his clumsy attempt at gratitude, or simply a poorly worded attempt to understand these events. At this point, reinstalling Spock's katra hasn't occurred, and is still considered unlikely, so Kirk's losses are astonishing. Also, while we viewers get to see a movie about all that happened, Sarek doesn't have the perfect information we have.

    "You will be remembered with honor. FIRE!" 
  • Why didn't Kruge just beam Valkris up to his ship?
    • They might have had their shields up so a cloaked ship couldn't just beam the info off the ship without paying.
      • Beaming Valkris up doesn't change the fact that she knew too much. She was an information dealer after all, and having her on board his ship for a span of time wouldn't guarantee that she'd never divulge what she knew to anyone else at a later date. Also, Kruge's mission may have been covert and "off the books", meaning that utmost secrecy was essential. Even Kruge's own crew (including Maltz) knew fuck all about the mission beyond "The Feds may have built a super weapon and we are going to go and stop them", and Kruge only told Torg what the real plan was.
    • Kruge is a bastard.
    • As mentioned, Valkris knew too much and Kruge probably justified it as a Heroic Sacrifice on her part.

    Asylum on Vulcan 
  • Given what Kirk told the admiral when he requested permission to go to Genesis, it seems like it would be pretty obvious that Kirk and company were going to eventually turn up on Vulcan. Why wasn't Starfleet waiting there to arrest them?
    • They were granted political asylum by the Vulcans. Sarek most likely pulled a harp's worth of strings for them in return for bringing his son back to life.
    • In the novelization of Star Trek IV, Admiral Cartwright shows up on Vulcan and tells Kirk that he'll eventually have to face the music.
    • Let's look at it from this perspective: One of your most famous and popular captains has gone off on a mission to retrieve the body of one of your most famous and popular first officers (who is also the son of said Vulcan ambassador). Now, he's either going to do two things once he's accomplished his mission... he's going to run like hell, or he's going to come back and face the music. Having a ship or officers waiting to arrest him would probably put him in the "run like hell" move, and besides, what are they going to do? Blow up the Enterprise, one of your most famous and popular ships and the flagship of the fleet? (Since these guys aren't prescient and don't know he'll be showing up in a broken-down warbird.) Zap the famous, popular captain with phasers while he's carrying the body of his best friend? In short, sending someone to Vulcan to arrest Kirk and his crew has "Diplomatic and public relations nightmare-bordering-on-apocalypse" written all over it. Much better to just assume, once they've failed to stop Kirk from leaving, that he'll own up and come back of his own volition.
    • With the change of command from Morrow to Cartwright in the next film, it implies that heads were rolling back on Earth when it was discovered that Morrow had turned down Sarek's request, delivered via Kirk, to recover the body. As stated above, unilaterally deciding to ignore a request from one of the most important ambassadors in the entire Federation, especially if the only answer you can give is "I don't understand their religion, so I'm saying no", is career suicide.
    • Source material backs up the idea that with the fallout over what just happened, there was too much chaos going on back on Earth for anyone to make the effort to bring Kirk and crew back. Also, Cartwright was allowing Kirk to remain on Vulcan while they learned as much about their commandeered bird-of-prey as they could.
    • Starfleet rarely even has a ship near Earth, so their police abilities are weak. And if you remember Amok Time, Spock's family is powerful enough such that T'Pau is able to have very serious charges against Kirk dropped.
  • Related to the above, how is Uhura not in jail? It's easy to forget because she was more or less Demoted to Extra for much of the film, but when she shows up on Vulcan toward the end of the film, it's after having committed several easily-traceable felonies. Even if she convinced the guy she locked in a closet at gunpoint not to report her, she's a former member of Enterprise's command staff who's working as a transporter operator—she's going to be one of the first people that Starfleet Security will want to find. It's not acknowledged, but the story of her getting from Earth to Vulcan without getting arrested must be one that rivals The Fugitive.
    • In the novelization Uhura beams over to the front gate of the Vulcan embassy on Earth (apparently it's shielded so you can't just beam right in) immediately after she beams Kirk and the rest of the crew to the Enterprise. The gate opens and she runs inside, but Starfleet security beams in a few seconds later to arrest her and they grab her 2-3 steps inside the embassy. Sarek appears and grants her request for asylum, telling the security guards to leave and have Earth's government make an official extradition request (by which time Uhura is already on a Vulcan ship on her way to the rendezvous).

    "You should take the Vulcan too!" 
  • When Kruge told the Enterprise and Grissom survivors to gather ("all but Kirk"), why didn't someone lift Spock up and take him with them? Then Kruge wouldn't have had the opportunity to deny Spock his beam-out just to be a dick. (The real reason: Because drama demanded that Kirk beat Kruge and get back to Spock just in time to save him).
    • I'd imagine that nobody really wanted to move while a pissed off Klingon had them at gunpoint. All Kruge really needed was one person who had the information on Genesis that he wanted, and at that point, everybody there except for Spock had knowledge of Genesis. As long as he kept one of them alive, Kruge would have probably loved an excuse to shoot everyone else.
      • Except they all do move, about 15 feet over. They were all standing over Spock when Kruge tells them to move ("over there, all but Kirk"). His question is why they didn't just pick up Spock instead of just leaving him lying on the ground.
      • Since he only told them to move, they might have thought he would shoot them if they tried to do anything else, like pick up Spock.

  • The Vulcan ritual that rejoined Spock and his katra (Memory Alpha calls it the Fal-tor-pan) is said to be exceedingly rare. That's understandable; after dying, not many bodies spontaneously come back to life—Spock's resurrection the result of some very, very, very unlikely events. So. . .why, exactly does this ritual exist? Are there any explanations for the Vulcans ever having practiced this ritual that aren't, you know, horrifying?
    • Perhaps there are situations where it could be used that don't require the person to actually die. Some sort of brain damage or mental illness that could be cured by restoring the mind to an earlier state for instance.
    • I imagine there was an instance where some Vulcan had a medical condition and expected to die, so he passed on his katra. But then later he didn't die, instead he merely went into a coma or something. Eventually they found a way to fix the condition, and they restored his katra to his body.
    • The priestess does tell Sarek that what he's asking for hasn't been done in a long long looooong time, "and then, only in legend." It's possible it actually never did happen before then.note 
    • Have you ever done something without all the information, just because it was the right thing to do? Or because you had to know? And there is speculation by the characters that there might be something to find. Although in-universe it is about the power of friendship.
    • The ability for Vulcan to transfer their katra to another is considered routine, as evidenced by what Sarek says to Kirk. He was even certain that Spock would have put it in Kirk. Moving it to a resurrected body: It's possible that the procedure had only occurred in an equally highly improbable event ages ago, hence why it's considered a legend. After a few millennia, the whole "Kirk, Khan, nebula destroying Genesis detonation, body resurrection, Ambassador, Enterprise destruction, Kruge, dead son, escape via Klingon ship" thing would certainly sound more like a legend than reality.

    Spock's Indestructible Casket 
  • At the start of Star Trek 3, Kirk finds out that McCoy has Spock's Brain in his head and they need to do something about it. But crucially he has no idea that Spock's body has been 'resurrected' on Genesis, and neither does Sarek or anyone else. As far as they know the body was incinerated when they fired it off inside a torpedo and there is nothing left, Saavik was surprised to find it was intact on the surface and later on Kirk was certainly surprised to find that Spock was alive. So why do they feel the need to steal the Enterprise and travel to Genesis? If you forget about the Klingons, the Grissom, Spock boffing Saavik and all that other stuff that they don't know is happening, what were they planning to do when they arrived? The most sensible thing to do, given the information they have available, is to get a few tickets on a commercial trip to Vulcan so someone can extract that annoying Katra and let McCoy get back to being grumpy. There is no reason to even consider going to Genesis, well except that the film would be pretty brief without it.
    • For the sake of argument let's say that Sarek explains offscreen that the dead body is required for the katra ritual (even though Spock speaking through McCoy first says "take me to Vulcan", not "we need to go back to Genesis", and if the body is crucial you'd think Spock would have made sure to slip a "take my body back to Vulcan" into his final conversation with Kirk rather than risk driving Bones insane). This raises another question - what the hell is Starfleet's problem? You've got a top-level diplomat from one of the Federation's most important worlds, who's understandably upset that his son's body has been dumped on an alien planet rather than brought home in accordance with his culture. Even if you can't agree to another ship going into that sector to go get him, why not contact your ship that's already in orbit and tell them to take ten seconds to beam the tube aboard?
    • As far as the casket, itself goes—and I recognize this isn't a particularly satisfying explanation—it is established on TNG that the photon torpedoes Starfleet uses in the 24th century are equipped with deflector shields (Enterprise-D uses torpedoes to deliver phlebotinum into a dying star). Spock's casket, a photon torpedo casing, may be similarly equipped; preventing it from burning up.
    • They planned to pick up the casket and bring it to Vulcan, for cultural reasons. Once there, they planned to do whatever ritual was required to release the katra from Bones. By happy coincidence Spock turned out to be alive, so they were able to just re-insert the katra instead.
    • From what I remember from the novelization, the existence of the casket/torpedo was a complete surprise. They were expecting it to break up on impact - but as the Genesis process was underway, it slowed and entered the planet's atmosphere.
      • Actually the novelization states that Saavik programmed the torpedo to soft-land before Spock's funeral, because she didn't like the thought of his body burning up in the atmosphere. She is only feigning surprise when they find it with the sensors, at least until a life form is detected...
    • David addresses this with his comment of "The gravitational fields were in flux. It must have soft-landed." When the planet was forming, the gravity wasn't stable, so Spock's casket was able to get caught in a pocket of diminished gravity and was brought to the surface gently enough to leave neither a crater or an organic smear that used to be Spock's body.
    • The Grissom did report to Starfleet that the casket had been found. Kirk as an admiral closely concerned with Genesis might have access to the regular reports and might very well have been checking them.

    Star Trek 3: The Search for Baby Klingons? 
  • Why weren't David and the Klingons killed on the Genesis Planet turned back into babies like Spock?
    • If we take the novelization at its word, Spock was regenerated because he landed while it was still forming.
    • Furthermore, who says David and the Klingons weren't resurrected? Certainly we never saw them but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Remember too that the planet broke apart and exploded not long thereafter, and there ain't no coming back from that.
    • Unless there is. Oh my.
    • There's at least some weeks between the Spock's funeral and the Klingon attack. There's at most few hours between David's death and the end of Genesis, depending on how long it took Kirk and company to get from the cliff they beamed onto before the Enterprise blew up to where Spock and Saavik were.

    Deadly Secret? Let's Send Our Least Capable Ship! 
  • In The Wrath of Khan, the Genesis Project had a dedicated space station and a Starfleet cruiser at it's disposal. Starfleet knows that there's potential for Genesis to be used as a weapon of mass destruction, and so, quite understandably, they restrict access the entire sector in the aftermath of the weapon's detonation. Why was the Grissom, which is explicitly a small, low-power science vessel—with a captain that probably doesn't go to the bathroom without consulting Starfleet Command—the only starship that Starfleet has in the area? While Grissom's busy with its research mission, who was Starfleet expecting to enforce the no-fly zone; especially against interested foreign, say, the Klingons?
    • Starfleet tends to have a habit of only having one ship in the entire sector (usually the Enterprise), even if that sector consists of Earth itself. So while illogical, it's at least consistent.
    • Perhaps Starfleet was enforcing a no-fly zone outside the system, but Kruge's ship cloaks and could therefore sneak through.
      • They probably would have intercepted Enterprise if that were the case.
      • Maybe the no-fly zone was deployed to protect the system primarily from out-of-Federation threats, so they weren't in position to intercept the Enterprise (coming in from Earth). Plus, the Enterprise may have been waved through as a friendly before word got out that it had been stolen.
      • Enterprise was at the time the fastest ship in the fleet, with only Excelsior potentially being able to outrun it which had already been disabled. Ships probably were sent to intercept or pursue Enterprise, it's not like Morrow didn't know exactly where Kirk was planning to go when Kirk had already asked him about going to Genesis earlier. They just wouldn't be able to catch them in time. And there likely wasn't any kind of blockade around the sector for the same reason they didn't want to send anything other than Grissom to avoid looking like they were trying to hold the planet as a tactical advantage as well as Starfleet usually only having one ship per sector.
    • Most likely because the Grissom was a small, low-power science vessel; equipped only for scanning and reporting, a ship like that would cause the least amount of friction when gathering data on something as controversial as Genesis. Imagine if Starfleet had sent another Miranda-class, or even a Constitution-class ship, both of which are capable of destroying ship's like Kruge's without even getting their paint scratched. A full-blown war could have ignited simply over the Federation appearing to be reinforcing the planet. It was a matter of defusing the situation, since Grissom couldn't have possibly held the planet in a hostile situation. Kruge destroying Grissom could have easily lead to a Starfleet armada blasting Kronos with a Genesis torpedo, given how high the tension was at the time, which is why the Klingons weren't actually gearing up for a fight.
    • Grissom being a small, defenseless science ship is probably the exact reason it was sent, since it would be considered by most Klingons to be dishonorable to attack a ship like this. Even Kruge, when he ordered the attack, ordered his gunner to only disable the engines and lost his shit when the ship was destroyed.

    No True Klingon! 
  • For the record, I know real reason for this is because the movie was made before TNG where the Klingons were more fleshed out with honor and a warrior code, but I was curious all the same: is there a canon explanation why Kruge acted so Un-Klingon? For example demanding prisoners and even using hostages among other things.
    • The record of TNG seems to make clear the Klingon honor code is more honored (no pun intended) in the breach than in the observance; perhaps Kruge is a glory-seeker who is willing to use underhanded means to get what he wants.
    • I think there's some evidence in the TNG-era to suggest that even for 'true' Klingons, matters of national security trump personal honor. Maybe Kurge felt duty-bound to use whatever means were necessary to secure intelligence on Project Genesis, which the Klingons thought to be a devastating weapon of mass destruction that could be used against them.
    • Given his criminal contacts, desire for secrecy, non-standard tactics and underhanded cunning, Kruge was likely the Klingon version of Section 31. No one is claiming they uphold the ideal of Federation honor, and Kruge is the same. He upholds the honor of getting shit done, and woe be anyone who questions it.
    • Kruge is a Klingon nobleman (given that everyone calls him "My Lord") and it is implied that he is an extremist working on his own- for example, he complains offhand that the Federation and the Empire are engaging in peace talks while the Federation is working on the Genesis Project. This would neatly explain why he was willing to attack and destroy Federation ships and invade Federation space even though both are acts of war- he's basically a warlord or a terrorist, with his own ambitions and agenda (some of his dialogue implies he is a racial supremacist). And if he is from a noble house that also explains why he is so bent on secrecy- if he gets caught, the Empire will be just as pissed off at him as the Federation. Also adds a neat bit of subtext to the standoff between him and Kirk after they disable each others' ships- neither of them are authorized to be there and neither of them can afford to admit it.
    • If Kruge isn't from House Duras I'll eat my sash.
    • It's likely that Kruge was trying to avoid any Starfleet fatalities because of the high tensions surrounding Genesis. He is there to gather information, not wage a war. Taking hostages would allow them to be interrogated without any permanent damage, and they could be returned to the Federation later. He knew going in that, if he failed, he would be blamed as a rogue agent to deflect blame from the High Council. Thus, he sought to avoid fatalities and executed the crew member who screwed that up and put them all into the "terrorist/war crimes" category.
    • In the early drafts of the script, Romulans were going to be the antagonists, with the Bird-of-Prey being a Romulan ship. It was then changed to be Kruge and his crew who had stolen the Bird-of-Prey from the Romulans, and from there everything Romulan-related was dropped and the Bird-of-Prey was a Klingon-built ship. But it does feel that some aspects of the older scripts were kept, which would explain why Kruge acts rather Romulan in some of his techniques and motives.
    • Kruge comes across as a glory seeker, whether a low ranking Klingon with delusions of nobility, or a fallen noble seeking to redeem himself. That he had a smaller ship is an indication he was not of the same rank as Kor, Koloth or Kang.
    • Considering in the Klingons' very first appearance, they immediately detain Spock on a mission to enslave an entire planet... I never thought the "Klingons don't take prisoners" line was meant as more than a joke by Kirk. HOWEVER, since it was taken seriously, maybe there's some subtle terminology difference between prisoner/detainee/hostage, etc. Rura Penthe looked an awful lot like a prison. It could also be that Kruge is indeed an intelligence officer of some sort and the rules are different for him.

     The Genesis "torpedo"? 
  • The Klingons argument that Genesis is really a super-weapon is ironically backed up by demonstration video that Carol Marcus and her cohorts made as part of their pitch for the project to the Federation government. Despite their anti-militarist attitudes, they depict the Genesis Device being fired like a torpedo at a planet — imagery that positively invites the assumption that Genesis is a weapon! Now, had they altered the presentation to suggest that Genesis be installed on the body to be terraformed, as opposed to be shot at it, then the evidence would have looked a lot less incriminating!
    • The name "Genesis Torpedo" was probably not going to be the public name of the device when they got past the prototype phase. Making it usable from a torpedo tube was probably part of their pitch to make the project look less expensive "any ship in the fleet with a torpedo launcher can deploy the device!" It may also have had some poetic appeal to the science team to be using a starship's torpedo launchers to create new planets.
    • I'd even speculate that humans in the Trek universe are particularly fond of "swords into ploughshares" imagery. A whole new era in human civilization was kicked off by Zefram Cochrane turning a Titan II missile into a starship, after all.
    • The Klingons are the only ones calling it the "Genesis Torpedo." Everyone in the Federation calls it the "Genesis Device." Now, we have a long, proud, real-life history of calling weapons "devices" when we don't want to acknowledge what they really are, but in this case, Genesis was never intended to be a weapon, though it had exceptional potential towards that purpose. And all things considered, given the massive amount of energy involved in reformatting a planet from the subatomic level up, you probably don't want to be anywhere near that thing when it goes off. Firing it at your target from a few hundred light-seconds away seems pretty safe.
    • There might an interesting meta angle to this. Bibi Besch, Carol's actress, played in "The Day After" (1983). Besch was completely unaware of the effects of nuclear weapons and said she would have played Carol very differently had she been aware. Basically the actress didn't really understand the horrific potential of Genesis, nor the implications of it being in the form of a torpedo. It's reasonable that Carol was the same way considering the VERY cheerful attitude she had at the beginning of TWOK.

     We are Klingons! 
  • Seriously what was Kruge going to do if the Enterprise was fully crewed? There's no way 10 Klingons could take on a ships crew of over 200, Klingons or not. Torg even says as much to him. And Kruge didn't know they were only manned by a few because he was surprised the ship was apparently deserted.
    • 10 is not enough to take the full Enterprise crew in a straight fight, no, but Kirk had already surrendered. Kruge was expecting his boarding party to take control of the ship with little resistance, because he had the hostages on Genesis to ensure Kirk's good behavior.
    • A Constitution-class ship has a crew of 430, but Kruge maybe had to suspect something was up, as he noted that the Enterprise should have laid a more effective smackdown on them than popping off two torpedoes and not even getting its shields up. Maybe he rightly suspected that the ship was undermanned or otherwise compromised in such a way that a small-scale boarding party would've been enough, especially with the hostage threat.
    • Rules of Law. Once you have surrendered, you don't get to do take-backs and then keep on fighting. Once Kirk had surrendered, if he was acting as a regular officer and not as the space pirate he was, then he was what is known as hors de combat and it is a very literal warcrime to then attempt to continue the fight. Yes, ten Klingons would have been enough to take control of the Enterprise if it had been fully crewed and commanded by a regular officer in that situation. One Klingon would be enough.
      • On the other hand, isn't setting the Enterprise to self-destruct continuing to fight after you've surrendered? It's like raising a white flag and inviting your enemies to approach your headquarters through a minefield.
      • Kirk would probably argue that Kruge threw that out the window the moment he murdered a civilian hostage. It was a clear demonstration that the Klingon commander had no intention of honoring his obligation to treat surrendered prisoners with humanity. And given the information he had at the time, Kirk could only assume (correctly) that Kruge had ambushed and destroyed the starship Grissom, in Federation territory, in peacetime, while it was engaged in a research mission. Under those circumstances, Kirk's perfidy would probably be seen as a justifiable act of self-defense.
      • Or more accurately Kirk is silently calling BS on Kruge's big talk of arresting Kirk in the name of Galactic peace and being there because the Klingon's are accusing the Federation of becoming Galactic tyrants using Genesis as an WMD, the story that Kruge sold to most of his crew as the reason they were illegally in Fed space blowing up ships, taking prisoners and killing their own information broker and presumably why he's playing it up over the comms but as he tells Torg and says to keep from the rest of the crew is not true at all he just wants Genesis for himself. So Kirk is correctly assuming Kruge is little better than a terrorist who the Klingon government will disavow if they find out what he's really been doing there. Unfortunately for Kirk, since the entire Klingon crew including Kruge is killed, the Empire takes Kruge's story at his word and nobody is around to say otherwise which is part of why the Empire views him as a war criminal in the later films since it seems like Kirk did in fact commit the crime of False Surrender during a legitimate battle encounter.
    • The Enterprise is a sitting duck. If the boarding party runs into resistance and can’t beam away, Kruge simply has to push one button to destroy the Enterprise, trading six Klingon lives for 430 Starfleet officers. That’s the threat that’s supposed to keep the Enterprise crew in line.

     "Vill ve get another ship?" 
  • When Kirk tells Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura that the Enterprise is being decommissioned, Chekov asks, "Will we get another ship?" Why is Chekov asking? He wasn't part of the Enterprise crew, he was first officer on the Reliant, and was picked up after the events of Star Trek II. While he would care what happens to the Enterprise for sentimental reasons, whether the crew gets another ship doesn't have any direct bearing on him, since he's no longer part of it."
    • It's possible that Chekov was transferred to the Enterprise crew between II and III. He seems to be acting as part of the crew in the first part of the movie, even though as the highest-ranking officer left from the crew of Reliant he should probably be off in charge of the crew they rescued from Ceti Alpha V, possibly preparing for his court martial for having lost a ship he was technically responsible for after Capt. Terrell killed himself. Maybe Admiral Kirk pulled some strings.
    • Likely a writing hiccup. Nobody there was on the Enterprise crew. The only ones part of the Enterprise crew in Wrath of Khan were Spock and Scotty. Everyone else came aboard as part of a special cruise to train the cadets and then got wrapped up in the Khan incident. Kirk doesn't even have a command anymore, he's an Admiral stationed on Earth who lives in San Francisco and commutes to work every day. Chances are the guys writing probably forgot the TOS cast wasn't the official crew of the Enterprise anymore.
    • Kirk did take official command when they got the distress call from Regula I and Spock deferred command to him. After dealing with Khan, Spock wasn't around anymore for him to give command back, by virtue of being dead, so Kirk was commanding officer of the Enterprise until someone relieved him. The ship was assigned to be decommissioned instead. In fact, since no one else was assigned to command the Enterprise and Kirk's court martial wasn't held until IV, he was technically still in command when he blew up the ship.
    • Probably should chalk that up to the writing crew forgetting most of the Enterprise crew is no longer having weekly adventures on it and the Khan incident was a one off thing where they were training and swept up into an emergency as was the V'ger incident. Kirk's first words to Scotty in the film are asking how much repair time before "We can take her out again" even though even if it was repaired Kirk wouldn't be taking Enterprise anywhere being an Admiral working out of Earth. Where exactly what he planning on going?

     Grissom's design is just kind of weird. 
  • Pretty mild as far as these things go, but the Grissom's design (reused throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) has one distinctly weird touch: The saucer hull connects to the secondary hull via the warp nacelle struts. While I can't think of any reason why you couldn't use the nacelle struts for that purpose, it seems like a simpler design choice would have been to just connect the saucer hull to the secondary hull via a central section like what we see on many other Starfleet designs. Then again, if we're talking simple design choices, the whole idea of a separate secondary hull like what we typically see on larger Starfleet ships is problematic all by itself.
    • It kinda makes sense for a science vessel. Makes it easier to enforce quarantine and keep sensitive materials separate from the engineering section.
    • As an interesting aside, when one takes into account the most likely intended size of the Oberth-class, to which the Grissom belongs, there's no obvious means of conveniently accessing the engineering section from the saucer section, because the struts are slightly less than two meters wide—probably too narrow for a turbolift. A great analysis can be found here. In all likelihood, the lower section of the ship contains automated equipment and machinery that doesn't need to be regularly accessed and maintained.
    • One explanation found in a few non-canon sources state that the ship's systems are located entirely in the upper section, and the lower section is an interchangeable mission pod, in this case a sophisticated sensor suite. Depending on the mission profile, the lower pod can be replaced by an extra nacelle, a weapons unit, a cargo container, or any number of attachments. This is non-canon, however.

     Klingon Ships Don't Self-Destruct? 
  • Given their whole "we will die before being captured" deal, why didn't the other Klingons realize that the ship was counting down to self-destruction? It could be explained if they didn't speak English, but they clearly do and Kruge knew what was happening immediately. Why else would an abandoned ship's computer be counting down backwards from 60? Just made them look like real dummies, IMO.
    • Who says they speak English? They appear to be doing that when they report back to Kruge, but why would they? Clearly they're speaking Klingon and we hear English as a translation convention. Kruge does speak English and when he hears the computer speaking he recognises it as a countdown and realises right away what is happening.
    • Granted they might not be all that bright, but Klingon ships probably don't self destruct all that often - the preferred Klingon tactic when facing a no-win situation seems to be to ram the enemy and try to take him with them.
    • Also, none of the Klingons knew the ship only had a half-dozen people onboard for this trip - Kruge thought they must be hiding somewhere until he heard the countdown.
    • It should be noted that the dialogue makes it pretty clear that the boarding party doesn't realize that the countdown is a countdown—even though context clues really should have made it obvious to them right away:
    Torg: Yes sir. But the bridge appears to be run by computer. It is the only thing speaking.
    Kurge: Speaking? Let me hear.
    Enterprise Computer: Nine, ...Eight, ...Seven, ...Six, ...Five,...
    • The novelization states that Torg, not speaking English, assumed it was the ship's clock constantly chiming the time and commented on how weird humans were.

     Why did the boarding party beam need to beam into the enemy transporter room? 
And how is it that they knew exactly where that transporter room was? Star Trek established that you are not limited to beaming between two transporter chambers. If it was, then they couldn't beam down to that new alien planet of the week. You just have at least one transporter chamber for the departure and return. The Klingons could have beamed directly onto the bridge and realized what was going on a lot sooner. And they could have been beamed out directly from wherever they were instead of Kruge yelling desperately for them to "Get out of there!". Kruge's desperation was implying that the boarders needed to return to the enemy transporter room before it was too late. If Kruge wisely had a Klingon manning his own ship's transporter, then he still had time to beam them off, regardless.

  • Trek almost always depicts transporter to transporter transports when available. Likely because it’s considered safer. The Klingons didn’t have to know where that transporter room was, because their transporter interlinked with the one on the Enterprise. Also, transporter capabilities were considerably more primitive in the TOS era. They do site to site willy nilly in TNG, but when they did this in TOS, it was considered highly risky. As for Kruge—- well, he wasn’t acting wisely at all. He let his apparent victory over Kirk go to his head. He should have kept someone standing by at the transporter controls. He hadn’t, and when he realized what was happening, he freaked out and started screaming and it was far too late. Fun fact: when Kruge is later shown sullen and moping, it’s not grief from losing his men— he’s ashamed that Kirk outwitted him and in a rather spectacular way.

     If Scotty Didn't Expect a Battle, What the Hell Was He Expecting? 
  • When Enterprise's jury-rigged automation is knocked out, rendering the ship incapable of raising her deflector shields, Scotty tells Kirk that he never thought that they'd be taking Enterprise into battle. If that's true, why were there at least two armed photon torpedoes sitting in the torpedo bay, ready to fire at a moment's notice? Scotty had to have done that deliberately, because Wrath of Khan showed us how this version of Enterprise loads its torpedoes, and it doesn't look like a process that can be quickly automated. In fact, a single torpedo tube was crewed by at least nine crewmen (gunner's mates?), scrambling to get ready for battle. There was also an officer, who, naturally, didn't seem to be doing much of anything. And it doesn't seem like a good idea to have active antimatter warheads just sitting around for days on end unless you think that there's a good chance that you may suddenly have to use them at some point.
    • We see the torpedo room during what was supposed to be a training mission, with a full trainee crew, and this is also after the ship had been severely damaged. It's quite possible that the normal procedure without all the trainees being given busy work is easy to automate. Scotty put the automation system in while the Enterprise was returning to Earth, so he wouldn't have been expecting a battle when he installed it.
      • Except that was an actual combat situation, not a training scenario. Jamming unnecessary bodies in the torpedo bay when lives actually depend on the defensive systems operating as quickly and effectively as possible is suicidal. And you certainly don't have anyone doing busy work.
      • In Wrath, the Enterprise was configured as a training ship filled with trainees. They did end up in a brutal real combat situation, but didn't have time or personnel to either repair everything or reconfigure the ship for proper operation.
    • The Enterprise was running on emergency power "Bypassed like a Christmas tree" and even turbolifts were not working on the lower decks. It's likely the automatic loading system was one of the things they couldn't spare power to and they had to load them manually. In Star Trek VI Spock and Bones have to load a tube manually with their homing torpedo and take about a half minute to get it loaded up, but not 10 second later Enterprise follows up with several torpedoes in a row which couldn't have been manually loaded in that kind of time frame. Plus earlier they seem to seriously consider they may have accidentally fired on someone despite the torpedo area shown to be unmanned at the time (Scotty has to run from engineering to check it) That would suggest that normally torpedo's can be loaded automatically (and much faster than crewman loading manually) but the damage Enterprise had prevented it from being an option in that fight. Note that Chekov has to fire that manual torpedo from an emergency firing switch in a secret compartment when in other films he can fire directly from his console, another hint that the torpedo system was being used in an emergency manually operated mode.

     So the "resurrected" Spock is just a clone, right? 
  • Spock placed his katra into McCoy's head before he sacrificed himself, yet was perfectly alive long enough to do what needed to be done. This would indicate the katra is just a copy of information, akin to a biological version of copying computer files to another machine. Spock's body, deceased likely more than enough time to cause brain damage, was "reborn" due to Genesis reconstituting the body into a Vulcan child with only basic instincts but no memories. McCoy is eventually used to place Spock's memories into this recreated Vulcan body- they effectively have Spock back, seemingly as he was but... it's not really Spock. It's merely a functional replica of a dead man that everyone just accepts as "good enough" yet no one ever brings this up in the future. This is fairly similar to how Data was brought back after Nemesis(in fact they deliberately copied the idea) using B4's body as a vessel for Data's uploaded information to be reactivated. It also has implications to the transporter being a "kill you & clone you elsewhere" device, in that perhaps everyone is so used to the idea of people being merely functional organic copies of the people they knew, that Spock being a clone just doesn't bother anyone because it's become the norm for society to be clones of the dead.
    • The Star Trek Wiki describes the Katra as being "a Vulcan's eternal life force" and "likened to their soul", so it seems that he is more than just a copy.
    • Spock in this movie remembers his conversation with Kirk that occurred after he melded with McCoy. That should be impossible if the Katra was only a copy of Spock's memories up to the point of the meld.
      • What seems to have happened is that the meld with McCoy was to prepare his mind to receive Spock's katra, and the actual transfer only occurred after Spock's death. So no, he isn't just a clone. It is the original Spock's immortal soul reunited with his original body, which was regenerated by the Genesis effect.

     Pon Farr as a teenager? 
  • The resurrected body of Spock goes through Pon Farr when he appears to be a teenager. That seems to be pretty standard for Vulcans... But back in Amok Time, we get to know that Spock - at that point definitely far older than a teenager - hadn't yet married T'Pring, which is usually done during the first Pon Farr, and he says "I'd hoped I would be spared this", which again implies that was his first Pon Farr (else he'd know that he would not be spared that). Meta, they probably didn't want to find an actor who looks like "Leonard Nimoy but 17 years ago" and/or they wanted to tease a Spock x Saavik romance, but in universe? Just "the genesis effect did it"?
    • It's Spock's body, but his mind and soul are elsewhere. The young Spock was able to prevent Pon Farr until the Classic episode, but the mindless regenerated body is just a bunch of raging hormones and impulses with no conscious mind to subdue them.
  • In "Amok Time" Spock tells us that he was bonded to T'Pring as a child. The resurrected body of Spock was not. Perhaps the formal bonding can press "pause" on the Pon Farr for awhile.

    "What's up with time passing so slowly during that self-destruct countdown??" 
  • If you start a stopwatch when the 1-minute self-destruct countdown begins, you'll get to 1 minute well before the Klingons even get to the bridge and hear the countdown happening. What, did the computer pull a dad joke on the Klingons during part of that countdown? "25,...24 3/4....24 1/2...."
    • Movie time is different, and sometimes scenes we see in succession happen simultaneously. For the viewer the passage of time is not the same.

    Kirk would rather commit Treason than let someone else do something 
  • Kirk goes to Commander, Starfleet to ask to send the Enterprise to pick up Spock's body. Commander, Starfleet denies the request, as sending a old, damaged spaceship into a possible hostile territory which includes a top secret planet would be stupid. Kirk decides to throw away his career and steal the ship. Why couldn't he ask the science team already there to pick up the body and return it to Vulcan? Thankfully they didn't do that as the U.S.S. Grissom was destroyed in an apparently legal Act of War, but still Kirk wouldn't have known that at the time.
    • Kirk was being completely stonewalled by Starfleet Command, apparently including being denied permission to contact Grissom. With McCoy getting worse he felt he didn't have time to wait for Starfleet to get its act together. Time was of the essence.

    Starfleet Fleet Deployment Makes No Sense 
  • Kirk and his friends steal the U.S.S. Enterprise, an old, soon-to-be decommissioned Federation Heavy Cruiser from Starfleet Headquarters. Commander, Starfleet responds to this Treason by sending the U.S.S. Excelsior, a untested Federation Experimental Prototype after them. Meanwhile, the Federation is testing the newly created planet by sending the U.S.S. Grissom, a Federation Science Vessel, into hostile territory. That composes all the ships that was actively used in this film: a ship that is being retired, a prototype, and a laboratory. Commander, Starfleet sends no other ship to hunt down the renegade Enterprise as it flies through the Federation, and sends no cover to protect the Grissom, who as a science vessel has no chance in a battle. Screw Genesis! Kruge could've taken Earth inside of a day!
    • Look Elsewhere in the section. For Grissom, the answer is that it was the least offensive ship they could send without potentially starting a war with the Klingons over Genesis, and it's implied in the film even doing that took considerable effort on the part of the Federation Council. Enterprise is there's fuckin Enterprise, (and yes, she was due to be decomissioned but the Constitution Class itself remained in service all the way up to Generations, with the Enterprise-B being built the same year the Khitomer Accords were signed). As for Excelsior, Enterprise was still the fastest ship in the fleet and powerfully armed, so Excelsior may have been the only readily available vessel for the Admiralty to send after Kirk. It's possible Morrow might have tried to send another ship after Kirk but there probably wasn't anything in range of Genesis that could reach the area in time.
    • Star Trek isn't Star Wars. Despite Earth practically being the center of the Federation (politically, not geographically), it generally has clear skies whenever someone comes to visit. Indeed, when the Galaxy-class starships are built, some seventy or eighty years later, they built six, with provisions to build six more spaceframes. Space is an awfully big place, and Starfleet, perhaps because they stopped using money, apparently can't build and/or staff enough starships to fill it. Indeed, from conception to launch, it took twenty years to design and build the Enterprise and eight or nine to destroy it. In that time, they lost at least one more - the USS Yamato.
    • This is not the only movie where Earth seems to have only the Enterprise within close enough range of Earth to handle a crisis. It also happens in The Motion Picture note , Wrath of Khan note , Final Frontier note , and the opening of Generations note .
    • With Uhura staying behind, it's logical to assume that she's running interference to help Enterprise escape, i.e. sending conflicting orders to ships being ordered to intercept, shutting down the tractor beams on Spacedock, jamming communications as much as she can, etc.

    No debris or evidence at all? 
  • Kirk and company arrive at Genesis and say they don't see any sign of U.S.S. Grissom anywhere. Shouldn't they have detected the debris and the energy signature left behind by a warp core breach?
    • Sure. If they were looking for it. And had a full complement of crew. And the ship wasn't still beat up all to hell from Reliant. And everything wasn't rigged so that the beaten up ship could function with only five people on it. Scotty might be a miracle worker, but he had to cut a lot of corners in the name of bare functionality. Plus whatever funky stuff Genesis might be putting out too.
    • Also remember that this wasn't very long after the detonation of the Genesis Device. That whole area was probably swamped with weird energy signatures. Even a fully staffed and operational Enterprise would probably have had trouble spotting a specific signature among all the noise.