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Headscratchers / Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

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Admiral James T. Kirk

     Eulogy: Spock gave his life to protect Genesis planet 
What exactly is Kirk talking about here: "this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world, a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish"?

Spock wasn't motivated whatsoever by the Genesis planet. His motivation was entirely to save the Enterprise.

Eulogies tend to praise the deceased, but this is so far off, it's bizarre. Considering how on the nose it is, it kind of sounds like something written for an earlier version of the script where someone did specifically do what it says.

  • Eulogies can also look at the good that came from the dearly departed’s life, even if those things or events were unintended or unknown. Eulogies have been made in that style.

     General Order Twelve 
Why did Kirk decide to be an idiot and not raise shields when they first encountered the Reliant? Khan and Joachim even made a point of being amazed that he didn't raise shields. Presumably, this is what Saavik was going to tell Kirk to do before Spock interrupted her, especially considering Kirk later told her "you can go right on quoting regulations". So... what was Kirk thinking?
  • Joachim is amazed. Khan isn't surprised at all, since they are, after all, a vessel from the same Federation. Also note the regulation is never quoted and may not have been shields-up, but possibly just a yellow alert, more cautious posture, etc.
  • Yellow Alert raises the shields but does not charge the phaser banks like red alert.
    • But in the film, you can see Sulu (I believe) activating the phasers at the activation of the yellow alert. It would seem like an policy odd to acknowledge that there was enough of a threat to charge the weapons, but not enough to activate shields.
  • I think it was supposed to be an example of Kirk's humanity (i.e. his arrogance/hubris), and his over confidence that go them in a bad situation.
    • It's a shame, too - it's not as if he has anything to gain by NOT raising the shields, why take the risk?
    • Reliant and Enterprise are both Federation ships. Yes, Reliant is behaving strangely, but what kind of trouble will Kirk & crew be in if Reliant was just having comm troubles and Enterprise reacted like it was a hostile? Kirk had no reason to believe Reliant had been hijacked, and he had a ship full of rookies.
    • Except Kirk knew that Commander, Reliant had just lied to him. It only took Spock seconds to confirm that the ship's "chambers coil"— the component that they claimed was damaged—was working properly. Whoever was in command of Reliant lied to a Starfleet flag officer, was not responding correctly to Enterprise's challenges, and was avoiding visual communication. Factor in the frantic, agitated call from Carol Marcus (the leader of the project Reliant was attached to), the fact that she was inexplicably cut off mid-call, and Kirk not being able to call her back, and it seems like Kirk missed several huge red flags.
    • I would say that whatever the state of the Reliant, the fact remains that the Reliant did raise her shields. This basically means one of three things: 1. The Reliant intends to attack. 2. The Reliant is responding to some threat the Enterprise is not aware of, possibly one that could threaten both ships. 3. It was a malfunction, which means you are dealing a well-armed Federation starship that is, at the very least, not in full control of its systems if not outright compromised by a computer virus/saboteur/etc. In any of these cases, raising the shields is fully justified as a precautionary measure.
    • The Reliant only raised shields just before attacking, and Kirk did give the order to raise the shields as soon as Spock reported the Reliant was doing so - it was just too late.
    • Actually, it was even worse than that. Kirk didn't order shields up until Reliant had actually locked its weapons on Enterprise.
    • The way the action scenes are cut between the two bridges makes it seem like it takes longer than it did. The way it's seen on film is: Khan orders shields; Spock tells Kirk their shields are going up; Reliant locks phasers; Kirk calls for shields. The way it really went down, though, was: Khan orders shields up; a second later he orders phaser lock. Meanwhile, on Enterprise, at the same time Spock detects the shields going up, a second later he detects the phaser lock and Kirk orders shields up. There wasn't actually a dramatic pause between the orders, just Rule of Drama in showing the actions/reactions intercut.
    • Just having re-watched the scene in question and Kirk does order a defensive posture -he calls for a general alert and has "defense screens" energized (we even have a spiffy graphic showing that something is reinforcing the hull compartments)- even before the Reliant lies about the coils. There is no indication at that point the Reliant is intending to attack, but Kirk is already taking precautions and having Spock scan the ship for explanations. Then immediately before attack Khan raises shields and locks phasers, at which point Kirk orders exactly the same. In hindsight it is a miscalculation, but his actions were a judgement call based on available evidence and it wasn't as unreasonable as is made out. He's not sitting around doing nothing, he is taking a defensive posture and looking for explanations.
  • Because he made, by his own admission a few minutes later, a catastrophic moronic total newbie mistake. Maybe he'd been off the bridge and driving a desk too long and lost his old instincts for when a situation has gone bad, maybe he was just having an off day. The most professional people make mistakes from time to time, and in certain professions (soldier, heart surgeon, airline pilot, etc) those mistakes can lead to a lot of people getting killed needlessly.
    • "Wonderful stuff, that Romulan Ale."
    • In the game Star Trek: Starfleet Academy there is a simulation of the "Battle of the Mutara Nebula", that Captain Kirk notes ruefully is used to reinforce the need to take the proper defensive precautions when encountering a non-communicative ship he neglected in the actual incident.
    • The actual reg is "General Order 12: On the approach of any vessel, when communications have not been established...". Saavik was interrupted before completing the quotation of the order but it is implied that the ship is supposed to go to yellow alert when faced with a non-communicative ship.
    • The novel "Rules of Engagement" confirms this, and also states that a Starfleet vessel is not to fire upon a potential hostile unless fired upon first.
    • Fair enough, but the Enterprise has shields for a reason...
  • On that note, what was Khan thinking? It's repeatedly pointed out that the Reliant is a glorified science vessel, a light cruiser, while the Enterprise is a ship of the line which could smash it without breaking sweat if Kirk had raised shields. So what was Khan's plan? Call up and hope Kirk doesn't notice his old crewman acting like a robot? Open fire and make like a bug on a windscreen? Sit there and let Kirk get suspicious? C'mon, Khan, you're meant to be a super-genius!
    • His plan was to take Kirk by surprise, disable the Enterprise, then call him and gloat before destroying him. Which nearly worked, except for Kirk's quick thinking and Khan's eagerness to get the Genesis Device.
    • Khan didn't know Starfleet ships could log into other ship's computers and screw with their system; if he had known that (or thought to ask one of his brainwashed slaves) he would have won the day easily. Besides, even ignoring that I think you're overstating the case— the Reliant seems more than able to hold its own, even when both she and Enterprise are equally damaged and under-manned.
    • According to the novelization, Khan *did* use Ceti eels on Reliant's Engineering crew, however it would appear that he only asked questions that related directly to his own strategy and plan (e.g. "What can we tell Kirk's ship to explain away why we're not talking?")
  • Khan expected he would have total surprise on Kirk. It's not like Kirk was expecting him to suddenly turn up.
    • Khan couldn't have done the former of those — Chekov and Terrell were imprisoned on Regula One by that point.
    • Also, remember that, as Spock puts it, Khan is using "two-dimensional thinking," i.e., navigating his ship as if on an ocean instead of in a weightless vacuum. From this we can infer that Khan, whatever his strengths, is no tactician. Khan is also blinded by his desire for revenge, in keeping with the Moby-Dick theme of the movie, which would have further dulled his instincts.
    • Khan's a tactician, his problem is that all his tactical experience is in terrestrial warfare. He's navigating like he's on an ocean because he probably has experience in aquatic combat. Take a great tactician whose specialty is, say, tanks in the desert, and then put him in charge of an aircraft carrier group, he'd probably flounder a fair bit too.
    • Moreso on the terrestrial (i.e. land) than aquatic if you assume submarine warfare, where the Z-axis could come into play as well. Never did understand Spock's quote as a kid, until years later when I realized he literally meant two-dimensional.
  • According to Memory Alpha specifications of the USS Reliant, it has six dual phaser banks and twin forward and aft torpedo launchers. Not exactly under-equipped when it comes to weaponry. Khan probably assumed he could match wits tactically with Kirk, or give him a good run for his money at least. Besides, he was out for REVENGE - that hardly puts you in the most objective state of mind. He wanted to hurt Kirk - and he succeeded.
  • I think Kirk's failure with raising shields was done on purpose. Throughout the whole film, Kirk is mourning over how much he's past his prime as a commanding officer. It's this failure, and realizing Khan was responsible, that makes him pull himself together to stop Khan and his followers for good.
  • Also, we never find out what precisely General Order 12 says. For all anyone knows, it might've said something along the lines of "the ship should go to Yellow Alert, and ready ship's defense systems."
    • Kirk's chagrin (and his issuance of a standing order to Saavik to continue reminding him of the regulations) after the immediate danger has passed implies that General Order 12 demands a stronger defensive posture than he ordered.
  • The Reliant is a Miranda class starship. The Memory Alpha article understates the actual abilities and role of the class. Various sources and games clearly show the class rated as a medium cruiser. In a straight fight the Enterprise has the advantage, but Khan could reasonably assume that the element of surprise would make the odds at least even.
    • If you think about it, the real question is why this mini-tank of a starship is running around scanning lifeless planets? It seems like a job better suited for a dedicated science vessel like USS Grissom.
    • That's likely why they developed the Oberth-class in the first place. They could simply have had none available at the time.
    • The USS Reliant seemed to be attached to Regula One, where Genesis was being tested, and due to the nature of the project Starfleet wanted a ship that wouldn't draw attention (like the Constitution class) but could actually defend the project—and based on what we saw in Star Trek III, the Oberth class had no chance of doing that.
    • The real reason we didn't see an Oberth class is the fact that the model hadn't been built yet. Didn't help that ILM allegedly hated the idea of doing a Connie-on-Connie battle because the TMP Enterprise was hard to use—not to mention Nicholas Meyer decided that it would be hard to tell the ships apart.
    • An in-universe explanation could be that a cruiser, like the Miranda-Class, is considerably faster than a survey/science ship like the Oberth-Class. The Nova-class, Starfleet's state-of-the-art science ship of a century later has a top speed of warp factor 6, as established in VOY: Equinox. Since numerous Mirandas take part in fleet operations in DS9—also set around a century later—they would have to have a high enough cruising speed to keep up with that era's capitol ships. Project Genesis required a ship fast enough to survey several planets in several different star systems in a reasonable amount of time, and that's something an Oberth probably couldn't do.
  • In fairness, the primary mission of Starfleet has always been scientific exploration. That's why in Star Trek VI, the battleship Excelsior has been busy cataloguing gaseous spacial anomalies for an extended period of time, and the battlecruiser Enterprise has been seen handling so many minor science missions throughout TOS, rather than defending Federation territory.
    • Starfleet seems to seek a balance between scientific endeavors and exploration, and deterrence. So they built Jack of All Stats ships that can do the peaceful scholar routine, and quickly retask to dealing with uppity Klingon and Romulan interlopers. As was later lampshaded in Deep Space Nine and "The Vulcan Hello", the Federation is Beware the Nice Ones made manifest as an interstellar society. Their dealings with alien races similarly is heavily laden with carrot-and-stick politics, where they offer peace and enlightenment, from the bridges of their heavily armed starships, allowing them to negotiate from a strong position.
  • Also of note is that while Starfleet ships seem to pack far more weapons than, say, Klingon battlecruisers or Romulan warbirds, both of those races tend to pack their weapons in the front for attacking, while the Starfleet ships have numerous weapons laid out to cover their flanks, allowing them to be much more defensive in tactics (and to fire cool broadsides as if they were in a Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE movie, which was entirely what they had in mind making this movie.
  • Both this movie and it's prequel involve the same early plot point, namely having a promoted (and thus usually desk-bound) Admiral Kirk commandeering Enterprise in response to an emergency. In the first movie, he justifies doing so to her new Captain (Decker) by invoking his greater experience - but it quickly becomes apparent that Kirk's technical knowledge is behind the times, and it takes Decker's intervention to save the ship when Kirk pushes too hard too soon. Later on, Kirk's experience with the non-technical aspects of command does pay off when he takes a non-aggressive approach towards V'Ger over Decker's objections. note  This time round, Kirk's experience (it being fair to assume that in approximately 30 years of spacefaring, he'd probably had more than a few encounters with approaching Federation ships which turned out to have a benign explanation) works against him, with catastrophic results. Given the confidence with which he assumed command (albeit with Spock and Bones having urged him to find a way back to a starship command), it's the realisation that his command experience seems to have made him negligent note  which has him hovering near his own Heroic BSoD for the next acts of the story.
    • And yes, in a reversal of the previous movie's setup, Kirk exploits his technical know-how to get out of the peril in which his leadership mistake has placed the ship. He doesn't derive any comfort from this, however.
  • In short, yes, it is a bone-headed mistake, and presented as exactly that. Note Kirk's response after he's driven Reliant off: "I did nothing! Except get caught with my britches down. Must be getting senile." Kirk still has his experience, but he's badly out of practice in actual command.

     Kirk is A Do-Nothing Idiot at the End 
  • Kirk is very un-Kirk-like throughout this film, but he's especially dumb at the end. In the Original Series he was always going down to engineering to push Scotty into doing that couldn't be done. When he hears the mains are off in TWOK he sits on the bridge and pretty much accepts death. He doesn't go down to scope out the situation, and, most importantly, he doesn't order anyone into the radiation room to die to save everyone else. Who cares if "no human can tolerate" it? Send in another guy when he dies. And another. And another. If 10 guys equal one Spock then that's still 290 less than 300.
    • Kirk says "Scotty, give me warp speed in 3 minutes or we're all dead," and latter calls down again to ask "what's going on down there?" while Spock is doing the actual repair work. That's pretty consistent with the series. (Especially when his place was on the bridge, not going down to Engineering.)
      • Kirk calls down several times and gets no answer. Not even a low level engineer is responding to direct calls to the bridge. Spock leaves without Kirk noticing until the ship escapes, so he wasn't delegating responsibility. As for TOS, give it a watch again. Kirk is always in engineering during a crisis. He rarely calls down. Kirk in TOS is essential to solution process. Scotty rarely has ideas on his own.note 
    • The real question might be "why doesn't Scotty order someone in to fix the warp drive"? The answer is probably "there wasn't anyone left in Engineering sufficiently skilled to do it." Scotty was already overcome by the radiation, and Engineering had lost most of its people, which was mostly trainees anyway, in the initial attack. Spock might have been the only one onboard who could fix the Warp drive at that point, which Spock himself realized.
      • We don't get a sense of that, though. There are no dead bodies laying around. I doubt Scott personally went in and took the mains offline. He had someone do it and there are plenty of people in there. Maybe if they had a pile of bodies in the chamber it would make more sense.
      • Bodies from the earlier attack would have already been removed. Scotty did seem to personally be suffering from radiation exposure when he took the mains offline - he collapses in the midst of reporting what he's doing to Kirk (good thing McCoy is there to catch him). He's lying on the floor when Spock comes in to fix the engines.
    • Just after Khan's initial attack, there's a scene in Sickbay with piles of bodies. And yes, most of them are in Engineering suits.

  • Why exactly does Kirk go ballistic (KHAAAANNNNN!!!) when Khan leaves him and the others stranded? He already had an escape plan in place and he knew he just had to wait. I can understand faking a little so Khan wouldn't suspect, but come on!
    • Kirk was probably just really mad at Khan for all of the horrible things he did to him and those close to him. After seeing all of the people Khan tortured and killed, having to hear him gloat probably just made Kirk snap.
      • Kirk wanted Khan to think he had won. And what better way to bait Khan into thinking that then by convincing him that he had caused the nerves-of-steel Captain Kirk to completely lose his shit?. Acting all cool like he had a plan would be the worst thing Kirk could have done short of just telling Khan that the Enterprise would be back to pick him up in a few hours.
      • The important thing to remember is that Kirk was acting at that point. He knew that his landing party would be rescued, because Spock had already sent him the awkwardly-worded coded message. He needed Khan to think that he had dealt Kirk a finishing blow, and Shatner-level overacting was the key to that.
      • Of course you have to ask yourself what Saavik, McCoy, Chekov, David and Carol were thinking at this point. Kirk deliberately kept his plan a secret (for some reason) and as such they had all just watched their seasoned battle hardened Admiral completely buckle under the pressure; couldn't have been good for their morale. Although McCoy and Chekov admittedly could have realized what was happening being both experienced officers and close comrades. If you pay attention, it is likely at least McCoy knew.
      • Plus in David and Carol's case, they would have been just plain confused about what the heck is going on. Especially David, look at it from his perspective. David was under the impression that Kirk was responsible for the massacre of the scientists and intended to seize Genesis. Then suddenly some guy named Khan calls in and tells Terrell to kill Kirk. Terrell then talks about trying to obey and then kills himself. Then Chekov passes out and some weird creature crawls out of his ear, which is destroyed. Then Khan takes Genesis and Kirk tells him that Khan wanted him. Then Khan says that he's marooning Kirk just as Kirk did to him. Then Kirk screams Khan's name. David is probably completely baffled about this turn of events.
      • A few moments later, Kirk is totally cool-headed and giving out orders. Probably clued everybody else in to the fact that things were not as bad as they appeared. Kirk's long-time comrades also know that any time Jim Kirk starts acting totally out of his head, it's because he's running a longer game than the immediate moment and acting like he's lost it is his way of throwing people off the scent.
      • Or he's had his mind switched with a former girlfriend. Or replaced by an android duplicate. Or split into two by the transporter...
      • It's still possible that he really was angry and frustrated that Khan would just keep on going killing and most likely intended to go on to finish off the Enterprise. So if anything, he is at least letting out his aggression.

     Kirk’s Tactics 
  • Does anyone else think that Kirk committed yet another tactical error during the nebula battle, by holding course after giving away his position, not making any evasive maneuvers, and risking a counter-attack (which actually happened) or even collision?
    • I'd also point out that the evasive maneuver he does order is a banking turn to starboard, maximizing the area of Enterprise's hull exposed to Reliant's weapons. Kirk virtually guaranteed that even without targeting sensors, Khan would score a hit.
      • On the other hand, Enterprise had just surprised Reliant by manoeuvring so as to be aft (aka "on Reliant's 'six'"), forcing Khan to waste an aft torpedo shot and rely on his less-damaged impulse engines (thus marginally greater speed) to escape. Bearing in mind that neither ship has a working tactical view due to being in the nebula, and - for the same reason - both ships' visual capacity and sensors are hugely compromised, it might be fair to point out that Reliant was exceptionally lucky to have been able to pull a 180 [[note]]under manual control, while accelerating(!) and find Enterprise dead ahead. Nicholas Meyer has said many times that the nebula battle was directly inspired by reading about submarine combat, and in that sense Kirk's tactics - holding course towards the last-known position and direction of your opponent when you have the advantage note  - are correct.
      • In addition, once Reliant is revealed in the monitor to be approaching head-on it becomes a matter of damage limitation; Kirk's only options are to turn left or right, because a vertical move would expose the upper saucer section (including the bridge) and/or the deflector dish (without which Enterprise is effectively dead in space) to direct fire. The port side is already damaged (relying on force fields to cover hull breaches) and so it becomes a calculated risk to turn the undamaged starboard side away from fire and trust the fields to hold. Additionally, Enterprise's design (three phaser banks fore, port and starboard at 90 degree angles under the saucer) means that a turn will provide the quickest opportunity to return fire.
      • I should have been clearer. The issue isn't with the turn, so much, as the 30° roll to starboard, which gave Reliant a bigger target profile than it would have had otherwise. An aircraft banks during a turn for a reason: the roll creates a cushion of air that helps an aircraft to redirect its momentum. Spaceships not only don't have to do this, it's actually wasteful. To enter, and then correct for the movement along it's roll axis, a starship would have to fire RCS thrusters twice for no good reason. In hindsight, it might have been more Sulu's fault than Kirk's, but Enterprise exposed a way more of her belly to enemy fire than she needed to during the maneuver. In fact, a slight roll to port during the turn might have actually minimized Enterprise's profile and lowered Khan's odds of scoring a hit.
      • Given it's engine setup Enterprise doesn't seem capable of that kind of manuver with the speed needed to get out of the way in time as the Impulse engines on the back of the saucer can only seemingly move forward or in reverse with side to side movement done via thrusters only and turns done via banking to reorient the Impulse engines. And yes spaceships shouldn't need this kind of setup but it's what most ships in Star Trek have. It might have something to do with the main deflector needing to be pointing forward in order to do it's job of shielding the ship from any space debris or objects that get in the ships path at high speeds. So engines allowing high speed movement to the side are not installed as they'd be unreliable for safe travel.

     No Log? No Warning Buoys? 
  • As seen at the end of "Space Seed", Kirk held an official trial of sorts when he exiled Khan and his followers, which included Marla McGivers, one of his crew, to Ceti Alpha V. When the Reliant goes to the system, however, they don't seem to know anything about it until Chekov remembers "oh yeah, this is where we left Khan," a little too late. So did Kirk not leave any official notice about where Khan was exiled? No warning buoys or other notices to prevent someone just stumbling on the super villain prison? Or did Reliant just not check existing Starfleet Records of the system they were about to survey?
    • Maybe Starfleet doesn't want to risk drawing attention to Khan. Specifically, they don't want to draw the Klingons' attention to Khan. At the time of his exile, the Klingons were still dealing with the effects of the augment virus. That means that they would probably love to get their hands on a group of human augments for medical purposes (or, less euphemistically, medical experimentation). That would be a huge problem for Starfleet, because Khan and his followers feel no loyalty to the Federation, and they've all just memorized the technical details of the Constitution-class starship. The film stresses that Khan is a poor starship captain, but he was still able to use that knowledge to cripple the Enterprise. Imagine what a battle-hardened Klingon captain could do with it.
    • If Starfleet is really worried that the Klingons would come scoop up Khan then they should have gone and picked him up themselves and moved he and his followers to a more secure location, like prison. They had the perfect excuse that they were all 20th-century war criminals.
      • Given Kirk's experiences with Federation prisons, he may have decided it was more merciful to maroon Khan and his followers.
      • Kirk's motive appears to be the grudging admiration that Kirk, Scotty, and McCoy show for Khan when they first realize who he is. Marooning Khan gives him and his people a chance to channel their ambition in a more positive direction - by building a world instead of conquering one. However, it still seems a mistake to not inform Starfleet at least of what he had done, and the movie seems to show that he didn't do that. Reliant obviously has no clue what they're getting into when they go to the Ceti Alpha system.
    • When Captain Pike decided "nobody from the Federation should ever go to Talos IV again," Starfleet's response was to write the very public General Order 4, saying "go to Talos IV and we'll execute you."
      • Starfleet probably stopped doing that after they realized that they weren't willing to enforce the ban on Talos IV. In fact, you could probably make the argument that declining to punish Spock for any of the other very serious crimes he committed in "The Menagerie" (falsifying records, assault, kidnapping, hijacking the Enterprise, conspiring with the Talosians to affect a mutiny, gross insubordination, et al.) indicates that Starfleet would rather just forget the whole thing.
  • Kirk maroones Khan on Ceti Alpha V. Reliant thought they were surveying Ceti Alpha VI - which had in fact exploded six months after Khan was marooned on Ceti Alpha V. That explosion turned Ceti Alpha V from a verdant paradise into a howling desert and changed its' orbit - if the explosion had that serious an effect on a nearby planet, a warning buoy would be utterly destroyed. And presumably Starfleet noticed that a planet they thought was Ceti Alpha V had exploded, so saw no need to keep sending ships to check up on Khan, nor to keep a warning about going to Ceti Alpha in the files.
    • That might explain what would have happened to any warning buoys, but not Kirk's log. He held a formal legal proceeding that resulted in one of his crew being marooned there with Khan and all of his followers. Nobody would delete the formal records just because the planet seemed to have blown up later - they would just add the fact that the planet had blown up. Two possibilities occur to me:
      • Kirk didn't keep an official record after all, perhaps deciding that his treatment of Khan wasn't exactly according to regulations (he exiled a group of condemned war criminals rather than returning them to Earth). If that's what he did it would require the crew to come up with a false "official" explanation for what they were doing during those stardates and what happened to Marla McGivers, with no mention of Khan at all.
      • Kirk did file an official log telling the whole story, but Starfleet decided Khan's survival should be classified. This is a possibility if they wanted to back up his judgement to exile them but didn't want anyone visiting the 20th-century super villain. It would still have been sloppy of them to not give a general "don't go to this system" warning in the Starfleet databanks, with details available at higher security classifications.
  • The galaxy was far larger in TOS times than it appears in TNG. The chances of someone randomly encountering Khan’s planet was likely considered essentially zero. A buoy— no matter what it transmitted— has the unfortunate side effect of broadcasting “THERE’S SOMETHING IMPORTANT HERE”. Probably the Feds classified it then it was more or less forgotten. Silly Into Darkness motivations aside, the only real interest here was historical, and Starfleet was probably spooked enough at Khan’s takeover of the Enterprise that they approved no such missions to the planet.
    • Actually it's usually the other way around - the galaxy appears to be a much smaller place in TOS times. Kirk takes the Enterprise to the galaxy's edge in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" near the beginning of the five-year mission and from Earth to the center of the galaxy and back again in Star Trek V. Compare that to Voyager needing 70 years just to cross the Delta quadrant back to Federation space.
      • I don't think that was meant literally. In the same way that the world isn't literally smaller in the information age. The galaxy was "bigger" in the sense that there was far less known about it. Enterprise 1701 spent most of if its time exploring the edges of known space; Enterprise 1701-D spent a good chunk of its time exploring the interior of Federation territory. TNG's galaxy is metaphorically smaller because it's more civilized, more well-documented, it's usually less dangerous, and being traversed by faster, more reliable starships (as least when those ships aren't moving at the speed of plot).

     Facing Death 
  • At the end, when reflecting on Spock's sacrifice, Kirk notes that he himself has never faced death before; all he's done is trick his way out of it. But in the first season episode "The Squire of Gothos" Kirk uses himself as a distraction to allow the Enterprise to escape orbit (which would have led to his death one way or another if Trelane's parents hadn't showed up). In "Obsession", he uses himself as bait to trap the cloud creature (admittedly, he had an escape plan, but he could have died had something gone wrong); in "The Immunity Syndrome", he wanted to go on the suicide mission himself to spare Spock and McCoy. In "The Empath" and "Whom Gods Destroy", he also demonstrated a willingness to die to protect his friends and/or the ship as a whole. How do all of those not count?
    • Well, obviously, he didn't actually die in any of those situations - he "tricked" his way out. This time he ends up paying, in the form of Spock dying. People under his command have died, but he's never faced death in the form of "one of his closest friends dying as a result of his decisions." Kirk decided to put Khan on Ceti Alpha V, Kirk neglected to check on him anytime later, and Kirk failed to be ready when Reliant started acting suspiciously. Spock's death is his fault in a way he's never faced before because his tricks have always worked before. This time they didn't (until the next movie, anyway).
    • Actually his decision to follow orders to explore the Galactic Barrier got his old friend Gary Mitchell killed.
      • A good point, although Kirk might not regard himself as being personally responsible for Mitchell's death. He was following orders, not neglecting to follow a regulation, as he was when Khan managed to get the drop on him.
    • Also, Kirk in the series was a king of Just Ignore It, and Bones has to keep yelling at him about it. Survivor's Guilt would make his own death not so bad, but Spock is the "noblest half of myself", so that makes it all the worse.
    • After leaving the Kobayashi Maru simulation, Spock remarks to Kirk, "As I recall, you took the test three times." So did Kirk cheat each time, or otherwise avoid facing death all three times?
      • I think the implication was that the first two times Kirk took the test he didn't cheat, and the test ended as it was supposed to end, with the cadet losing. Kirk failed because he didn't learn the intended lesson: accept that you may find yourself in a no-win scenario. What Kirk did take away from the first two attempts can be summed up as, "Screw that!" Incidentally, I don't know that the simulation necessarily has to end with the cadet's death at all. Presumably, if the cadet declines to violate the Neutral Zone, they aren't ambushed. In that case, the death they would be facing would be that of the freighter crew. Knowing what kind of man Kirk is, that outcome would probably bother him more than losing a fight with the Klingons ever would.
      • Yes there have been people in Star Trek Lore that have survived the Kobayashi Maru simulation by refusing to rescue the ship. In that case their crew survives but the test runner will grill them on why they decided to leave all those people to their deaths. At least one character, I think it was Sulu actually, "passed" by giving the Admiral in charge a very logical and thought out justification as to why he thought the whole thing was just a Klingon trap and nobody was in danger at all and the Admiral couldn't find any faults in his logic and said it was a correct command decision.
      • It was a simulation, and Kirk knew it. He wouldn't have considered it "facing death" any more than we would a game of paintball.

     "I know what he blames me for." 
  • When Kirk finds Chekov and Terrell on Regula I (not yet knowing how compromised they are), Terrell explains that "He blames you for the death of his wife." to which Kirk responds that he knows what Khan blames him for. This raises the question. Khan came out of nowhere in the Reliant to attack the Enterprise and only explained to Kirk via viewscreen that "It is quite obvious the meaning of this attack." and promptly went on about how he was going to destroy Kirk. They never got to discussing the issues on Ceti Alpha V/VI. All they discussed was Kirk handing over Genesis along with himself in order to spare the rest of his crew. The narrative seems to imply that nobody had so much as thought about the Ceti Alpha system since Khan and his people were exiled there and sealed the book, else it would not have been considered suitable for the Genesis Experiment in the first place. So how did Kirk know what Khan blamed him for?
    • My best guess is that Kirk is already in a bad way with other shit in the movie, and probably put two and two together that he did something wrong at the end of "Space Seed".
    • It's essentially a dismissal by Kirk. He knows that Khan won't be reasoned with and is probably insane, so what exactly motivates him further isn't all that important to Kirk.
      • It is a dismissal and a way of saying, "Shut up!"
      • Pay close attention to Shatner's delivery of the line (Meyer is really a great director). "I know what he blames me fo—..." (Kirk looks dejected) What is happening in this exchange is that Kirk has just realized that he's gotten Lt. McGivers killed by exiling her with Khan to Ceti Alpha V, all those years ago, and it's the 2nd time today that he learns his actions have gotten one of his crew killed. Kirk is starting to get kinda pissed at himself.
    • Kirk has made plenty of enemies over his life and it's a fair assumption he knows from experience what a vengeful man looks like. Kirk probably could tell from Khan's body language and how he spoke that Khan wasn't just getting back into his world conquering hobby from the old days like they'd feared but that Khan was coming after Kirk for payback, which could only mean something had happened on Ceti Alpha that Khan blamed Kirk for. The rest wouldn't be hard to figure out.

Captain Spock

     Spock’s Funeral 
  • How come, only Spock gets the glorious funeral? Didn't a whole lot of other crewman, including Scotty's nephew, die in the fighting against Khan? If they would have shot all those people onto the Genesis planet, they all would have been resurrected like Spock, and Scotty could have brought his nephew home alive. All in all, the Genesis device (like the transporter) is yet another Trek gizmo that can only bring certain people back to life, and then its resurrection powers are swept under the table, rather than shown for the society altering device that it really is. Think about it: Fire the Genesis device over a graveyard.....
    • I can't think of a single thing that could go wrong.
    • Why would you want to do that? The resurrected Spock was mindless.
    • I don't think they knew the Genesis Planet would resurrect Spock.
    • Again, nothing says there weren't. However, it would have rather dissipated the emotion of Spock's death to have a montage of standard regulation services before or after other words, Rule of Drama. And, in the novelization, it's mentioned that the torpedo-coffin was redirected to land softly instead of burning up (presumably like the others), by Saavik.
      • This. Spock's funeral was the only one that was relevant to the plot.
    • They probably brought the humans' bodies home to Earth for burial. Being shot into space was presumably Spock's own stated funeral preference, kept on file along with his will, as he was the son of two worlds and space was really more "home" to him than Vulcan. Aiming the coffin/torpedo at the nascent Genesis planet was a romantic touch that Kirk felt was appropriate, given Spock's role in creating the place.
    • Officers always get fancier funerals. Look at the news a few years back. A dead butterbar gets mentioned on national news, but an enlisted is lucky if he gets mentioned in the local paper.
    • Spock wasn't just an officer, he was the cadets' long time instructor and The Captain of that ship, one who stepped aside for Kirk, admittedly, but if ANYONE of that crew deserved a full honors funeral, it would be him.
      • And, really, of the dozens of Red Shirts we've seen die, not a one got a funeral.
    • Because Spock's the character the audience most cared about and was emotionally invested in. In-universe, they probably did get their own send-offs and emotional farewells from their friends and loved ones. But the filmmakers didn't show us them because they reasoned, not entirely unreasonably or irrationally, that the audience wouldn't really give too much of a shit about seeing Red Shirt #2214985's heartrending send-off, while they would care about Spock's.
    • In addition to being pretty much commanding officer but for Kirk, let's not forget he's basically made the Heroic Sacrifice that saved the ship at the end of the day. His death counted for something over and above the (admittedly tragic, but meaningless) deaths of the assorted cadets/crew.
    • It's actually a lampshaded in the next movie, Spock's dad wants to know why the hell they didn't bring his body back to Vulcan and doesn't really get a good answer.

     Spock’s Resting Place 
  • Okay, I know the "real" reason (to set up the plot of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock), but why exactly did they leave Spock's body on the Genesis planet in the first place? I know Kirk's spiel about "giving his life" to save the new world was supposed to be an explanation, but that really doesn't make any sense, either (especially since said "world" didn't really exist at the time Spock sacrificed himself). And while he didn't know about the katra and thus couldn't have known Spock could be saved, didn't Kirk think that MAYBE Sarek and Amanda would have appreciated the chance to bury and properly mourn their only child back on his home planet? As for Spock's wishes, somehow I doubt "just dump me on the nearest rock and move on" was part of his final resting plans. Rule of Drama or not, this has always bugged the hell out of me.
    • The other structural reason is to provide the closure for Spock's death without having to vault forward in time long enough to have a funeral on Vulcan. Narratively, I would agree that it doesn't make a lot of sense.
      • I have to disagree. From a character perspective, it makes sense that Spock would want to be "dumped on the nearest rock". First, funeral rites are highly illogical, and I doubt Vulcans are overly concerned about such things. Speculation aside, though, Spock's relationship with his father is strained, to say the least, because Spock struggled to control his emotions his entire life (and Sarek, being a high-ranking Vulcan, didn't need or want a problem child). His relationship with Amanda is better, but is also strained, because of his emotional restraint (and I'd guess there's a healthy dose of shame involved for him, because he loves her). Even if you set that aside, Spock's first devotion was to duty. It would be extremely inconvenient to force Enterprise back to Vulcan to deliver his body, and disrupting the mission in death is the last thing he'd want. YMMV.
      • Whether funeral rites are illogical are not, the Vulcans do care about them. We know this from the next movie. Vulcan society is highly ceremonial and ritualistic.
      • I believe this is already addressed further up the page. No, I'm sure "Dump me on the nearest rock" wasn't the exact final wish Spock had on file, but I see no reason not to believe that "In the event of my death in the line of duty, I wish to be buried in space" was on file. His coffin landing on the Genesis planet was probably due to someone adding their own bit of all-too-human sentimentality to the proceedings. (Also keep in mind that originally, this was not done with setting up Star Trek III in mind; the original intention was that Spock would die for real, since Leonard Nimoy didn't want to continue with the role due to some disagreements with Paramount.)
      • Makes one wonder if Spock's file registered the desire have his body disposed of the Starfleet way rather than the Vulcan way. In other words, "continue to stick it to Sarek even though I'm dead"!
      • The coffin surviving its landing was explained by David in the next movie. "The gravitational fields were in flux, it must have soft landed." Translation: with the planet still in its formative stage, there was enough instability to its gravity and atmosphere to allow the coffin to make it through without burning up and land without appreciable damage from the impact.
      • The novelization of Search for Spock (and partially started in the Wrath of Khan novelization) offers the following explanation: Spock had it in his will that were he to die in the line of duty, he was to be committed to space. When Sarek shows up chastising Kirk, that's what Kirk tells him. However, they figure out that Spock knew that if he did see death coming and had enough time for the katra transfer, that part of the transfer process was basically instructions overriding his will. What he didn't count on was McCoy having an adverse reaction and not properly receiving the message. As for the coffin landing, that is explained by Saavik disobeying Kirk's order. Kirk ordered a trajectory that would have the coffin burn up upon entry in to the atmosphere. Saavik decided Spock would rather his body be part of the new world, so altered the course so the wave would rearrange his molecules. The wave was still active, but instead regenerated the body instead of integrating it.
    • The concept of "burial in space" obviously comes from the tradition of "burial at sea", which has certain practicalities. Life on sailiy vessels was extremely dangerous for a variety of reasons and often voyages would take months. You just couldn't keep dead bodies lying around. Life in space has similar issues. Resources and space would be at a premium and transferring bodies from the far reaches of space back to their home planet would be a waste of valuable resources. In this case it's mitigated since the Enterprise is not on a deep space exploration mission and would be returning to Earth at the end of the mission no matter what. However, they weren't expecting combat so the facilities to maintain that many bodies on a trip farther out that expected might be another reason.

Commander Montgomery Scott

     Taking the Scenic Route to Sickbay 
  • Why in the name of everything that's holy did Scotty take his dying nephew to the bridge and not directly to Sick Bay?
    • In the novelization, Kirk and Spock leave the bridge to check the damage in Engineering, and run into Scotty with his dying nephew part of the way there. Presumably, this was thought to take too much screen time, so Scotty showing up on the bridge was used instead (even if it makes no sense). Alternately, Scotty has got to be pretty distraught at the time, to the point where maybe he pushed the wrong button in the elevator...?
    • Rule of Drama. Kirk says "Let's see how badly we've been hurt.", and whaddya know, Scotty shows up with his dying nephew. Cue Oh, Crap! reactions by Kirk and company.
    • The ship was heavily damaged. Scotty may have had to take the turbolift to the bridge before he could go back down to sickbay.
      • That's how the Novelization explains Scotty's arrival on the bridge: he wasn't able to reach sickbay from engineering.
      • SF Debris speculated that this might have been the original scene where Spock died, and when it was changed they changed which character did what to attempt to keep the emotional impact.
      • He also jokingly suggested a far less likely, but infinitely more amusing explanation: Scotty was plastered.
      Scotty: He's badly hurt, so I brought him up here to Sick Bay!
      Kirk: This... This is the Bridge, Scotty.
      Scotty: And then I'm headin' back down to finish drinkin' the engines! ...I-I mean, repairing the scotch! Er...crap..
      • Alternatively (and more flatteringly), Scotty was in shock at the realization of just how BAD Peter's injuries were - whether he went straight to Sickbay or not, Peter was certainly dead either way. In his shock, he just automatically ordered the lift to take him to the bridge, completely on autopilot, without him being conscious of it - maybe his mind thought of "report to the captain" or even the idea that McCoy was there (since he frequently is) and he could get Peter attention sooner.
    • This was also a partial holdover from an earlier draft of the script, where Spock's death was at this point, rather than the climax. In that case, it's entirely reasonable why Scotty would initially bring him to the bridge, since that's where Kirk is. When they moved that to the climax, Preston's death happened instead, just making less sense why Scotty goes to the bridge first.
    • Another possibility. In each series/movie, a turbolift car is ALWAYS at the ready on the bridge. During the attack, all cabs were likely being used, so the Enterprise computer rerouted the closest turbolift car to the Bridge. Through sheer bad luck, that happened to be the one Scotty and Peter were in.
    • The Director's Cut of the film explicitly shows that the turbolift was knocked out of commission due to damage from the Reliant's first attack when Kirk returns from Regula and he and Spock have to take an alternate route to get back to the bridge. Scotty was probably trying to find another way to the medical bay but in his grief he ended up getting lost. With this in mind, his arrival at the bridge can be seen as a silent heartbreaking plea for help.

     Scotty taking the mains offline 
  • What was the point of taking the main engines off line? Scotty says "radiation", but there is still radiation all over the deck to the point that Scotty conveniently passes out. After Spock puts the engines back on there is no radiation in main engineering anymore. Only in the chamber. No one worries about it anymore.
    • My guess is that taking the mains offline let the radiation die down to safer levels in most of engineering, but that the dilithium chamber would still be dangerous for a long while. After Spock fixes it there is still lethal radiation in the chamber, which is why Kirk can't go in, and they probably took the mains back off line again to fix everything and let the radiation die down to safe levels as soon as they had escaped the Genesis wave.
    • Mr. Scott did not collapse due to radiation; he collapsed due to a combination of physical exhaustion from being on constant duty since Khan's initial attack, repairing the drives and all the other systems with a skeleton crew of only a few experienced engineers and what few cadets were still alive and fit for duty, plus the emotional exhaustion of losing so many crew so quickly and tragically (this was, after all, Enterprise's bloodiest mission by far)- including, canonically, his own nephew. As for the dilithium chamber, if that's what that was- when Spock enters it, to the right a sign is posted that clearly reads "Allow 2 Hours After Engine Shutdown Before Entering" or words to that effect. The above guess is correct, shutting down the mains was the only way to make the room safe for repairs. Quite the design flaw.
      • According to the ancillary materials Starfleet Engineering considered that the damage needed to make this procedure necessary in the field would be enough to have destroyed it first. They just underestimated how much of a tough old bird the Constitution classes really were. Scotty collapsed because he was already working miracles beyond anything Starfleet thought possible.

Commander Pavel Chekov

     Why didn't Chekov request emergency beam out when he realized he was in Khan's lair? 
Actually, I know the answer is in the novelization, that the magnetic/whatever storm conditions on the planet are so strong that beaming is difficult, and that even the roof of the cargo container is enough to prevent transport.
     No Medical Scan? 
  • Chekov bluntly tells Kirk, "They put creatures in our bodies!" when he's found in the storage locker. Why doesn't McCoy automatically scan them and see if they're compromised? Why doesn't Kirk order this? Why is this line here just to be ignored by everyone?
    • McCoy probably did scan them right after they were found in the locker, but didn't focus on scanning their skulls for invasive alien lifeforms and so missed that until later.

     That Can’t Be Healthy 
  • So is Chekov deaf in one ear forever or what?
    • Probably not: eardrums heal, and it's unlikely to be something 23rd-century medicine can't just replace anyway.
    • Just chewing through the eardrum wouldn't be enough for the eel to reach his cranial cavity, however. It must've gnawed its way through the temporal bone from the middle ear cavity, too, which probably would destroy Chekhov's hearing and sense of balance on that side.
  • Why the hell is Chekov even alive? Even in the 23rd Century, it's kinda hard not to die when a worm the size of a mouse eats out your brain.
    • Well, that's a stated fact, it's what happened to Khan's wife. That said, they got the thing out of his head before it grew to that state. Maybe he psychically forced it to vacate?
    • The Ceti eel doesn't eat the brain; its larvae cluster around the brain's surface (cerebral cortex). That would place it in the subarachnoid space, feeding off the host's cerebrospinal fluid and/or blood. Its presence would apply pressure to the brain's surface as it grew, causing cortical degeneration and eventual death by compression of the medulla oblongata into the foramen magnum, but it wasn't inside Chekhov's skull for more than a few days and didn't have time to get much bigger.
    • He obviously doesn't recover instantly, though; when Chekov appears on the bridge later, Walter Koenig plays up how stiffly and slowly he's moving, just like someone struggling to maintain balance. There's also a closeup moment ("Torpedoes ready!") where he's sweating very heavily, moreso than the rest of the crew. Chekov is in a bad way, but he dragged himself out of sickbay for the chance at some paybacks.

  • Kirk and Dr. Marcus have a frank discussion about David, revealing (to the audience) that David is Kirk's son. Throughout it all, Chekov, who has been stated to be "coming to" and is holding a cloth to his ear. So is Chekov listening to the whole conversation and probably thinking how very awkward that is?
    • Either that or he's too concentrated on thinking "don't throw up...don't throw up...don't throw up..." to realize Kirk is having a heart-to-heart with an old flame. He did just have a mind-controlling bug crawl out of his ear after all.
    • Chekov just had a giant bug untangle itself from his cerebral cortex (according to Khan) and crawl out his ear. It's astounding that he's alive at all—I don't think eavesdropping and memory-retention were realistic goals for him at the time.
    • Speaking of which, why did the ceti eel crawl out of his ear at that time? Could Chekov resist Khan because the eel had never attached itself to his brain properly? Surly it didn't leave just because Chekov wouldn't kill Kirk. . .did it?
      • SF Debris in his review gives an explanation which sounds fairly plausible: The other ceti eel tried to force the other Starfleet guy to act against his morals, and he ended up shooting himself with a phaser, killing both. The eel in Chekov could sense this and learned from it, and when it reached a similar situation with him resisting, it decided to leave rather than risk the same fate.
      • That would require the eels to be sentient enough to understand that they are forcing their hosts to act against their morals. I suppose that could be the case, but the eels don't show any other sign of being that intelligent. They can't figure out a way to escape from the plastic bin Khan keeps them in, for instance.

     How Do You Lose a Planet? 
  • Wait, so the entire reason this all happened is because Chekov thought he was beaming down to Ceti Alpha VI but got a faceful of KHAN instead and wasn't on guard for it. But... if Ceti Alpha V's ecosystem was messed up by CA VI exploding, why did the entire crew of the Reliant think that the planet was the sixth? Shouldn't that only mess up the count from the "seventh" planet on? Couldn't anyone count the planets from the star and notice one was missing and one was not as it should be according to the very star charts Kirk filed? Plot Hole! But this movie is so good, you shouldn't care.
    • The Ceti Alpha system appears to have only had six planets to begin with; it's the only plausible explanation for the Reliant crew missing the freaking obvious. Still, it's not so much Fridge Logic as it is the Idiot Ball from hell...
    • Well still a goof of grandest Idiot Ball proportions, if the system only had 6 planets to start with, it IS possible they just parked at the one furthest from the sun and assumed it was the sixth one.
    • They spend paragraphs trying to explain this away in the EU novel "To Rule In Hell". The Ceti Alpha system was way out in the sticks and nobody had been there since Kirk, Reliant approached from the outside of the system and assumed the outermost planet was Ceti Alpha VI, Kirk's logs weren't shared with the Genesis Project crew, and Chekov had forgotten about Khan in the intervening years until they found the Botany Bay.
    • I always just assumed that Ceti Alpha V was where they were expecting Ceti Alpha VI would be and as a result never bothered to check the rest of the system. Pure laziness as a result of trust in their star charts.
    • I always assumed that there were more than six planets. Could be seven, eight or ten. Six blows up, so that leaves one less planet. Six, seven or nine. And Khan said that the orbit was messed up (explaining why the planet looked different than when Khan was dropped off in "Space Seed") and one can infer that this means the orbit is no longer what it was. Perhaps the explosion knocked the planet in such a way that Ceti Alpha V was now on the other side of Ceti Alpha VII. And so, it would appear to be Ceti Alpha VI, as Ceti Alpha VII would appear to be Ceti Alpha V.
      • If the orbit got elliptical VI and VII might switch places in "distance from sun" in part of their respective orbits. While Pluto still was a planet it did so with Neptune.
    • Maybe Ceti Alpha isn't a single system, but a cluster of stars numbered from I to VII, and the Reliant was in wrong star system. Although you'd expect someone would have noticed a star was missing...
    • It's also possible that after months of "Standard Orbit...scan the planet...there's something there...ok, next planet..." the routine got really boring and somebody fell asleep at the starcharts.
    • For what it's worth, the novelization says that the Ceti Alpha system had 20 planets.
    • Solar systems are big. From Earth orbit, all the other planets are little dots indistinguishable from stars. If you went to where Mars was supposed to be and found a planet that fit the description, would you travel millions of miles through space just to make sure it's really the fourth planet? Even if you did do that, you could still come up one planet short just because the planets aren't usually in a straight line and one of them could be on the other side of the sun.
      • In the novelization, the crew of the Reliant notice that there are only 19 rather than the 20 planets that there are supposed to be, but chalk it up to inaccurate data. It would still mean that they are going to the 5th planet from the sun, Ceti Alpha V.
      • It's one of those things that could have been easily dealt with if anyone bothered to think of it in the writing process. Just replace Ceti Alpha VI to Ceti Alpha IV in the script. Yes the distances between planets in the solar system is big to us. That's not the case in Star Trek where it's literally a short trip and quick scan. Also the idea that Ceti Alpha V actually being roughly where Ceti Alpha VI should be is ludicrous. Khan mentioned the orbit shifted slightly, not moved to where another planet had a stable orbit. Nothing would have survived that big of a shift.
    • There is always a good chance that Ceti Alpha VI did not explode. Remember, the only evidence we have that it did is Khan's word... and Khan is completely insane. (See WMG for more.) Obviously Ceti Alphas V and VI are similar in size and have similar orbits, or possibly even share an orbit. A long-range scan would have shown a planet that was hostile to life, and the Reliant crew might have presumed that this was Ceti Alpha VI and not bothered to scan the other planet in the vicinity. Unfortunately, this was one corner they shouldn't have cut.
    • It makes you wonder how does Khan knows it exploded anyway. Does he has telescopes or any other way to detect what is happening in the near vicinty of his planet? I don't think so, he probably just assumed it exploded after the environmental catastrophe but maybe the other planet is still there and some other thing cause the orbit change and/or did not turn the other planet into dust.
    • Speculation: Khan and his people were left on Ceti Alpha V, the fifth of five planets that had been charted in the system at that time. Shortly after being left there they discovered a previously uncharted planet (yeah, they had telescopes, why not?) and called it Ceti Alpha VI. This is the planet that exploded and shifted the orbit of Ceti Alpha V. Later, the Reliant (or someone) discovers what appears to be a previously uncharted planet and calls it Ceti Alpha VI, not realizing that it’s actually the previously charted Ceti Alpha V because it’s not where it’s supposed to be.
  • The Reliant crew were depicted as bored out of their minds. After surveying thousands of planets, they were totally half assing it.

     Just Lie to Him 
  • Chekhov's reluctance to tell Khan why he and Terrell were on Ceti Alpha led to Khan using the Ceti eel to make them talk. So when asked as to what Chekhov and Terrell they were doing there, why didn't they feed Khan some story or half-truth like "we're here on a routine survey" or "we have orders to explore this system"?
    • Actually Khan probably would have used the eels on them anyway, in order to capture their ship more easily. Lying would have just postponed the inevitable for a few minutes.
      • Yes, but neither Chekhov nor the captain knew about the eel, so this doesn't explain their reluctance. They could even tell them most of the truth, e.g., "We detected life on this planet and are checking it out."
      • Chekov knows from the last time that Khan will want to capture their ship, and will proceed to some form of torture as soon as they stop cooperating, so lying isn't going to help his situation - perhaps he even hopes to goad Khan into starting a long interrogation by torture by staying silent. That would give the Reliant time to get suspicious and send down another landing party. Unfortunately Chekov didn't know about the eels.
      • Only one problem; Chekov wasn't in the episode where they find Khan and his crew.
      • They both recognize each other, and Chekov talks about what happened in the episode, so even though Chekov didn't appear on screen in the TV episode in the context of the movie he was there. (He must have been standing Behind the Black.)

Lieutenant Saavik

     Saavik’s Rule-Fu 

  • Saavik, you can quote the entire Starfleet reg book from memory, and you throw a fit because Spock used a content-sensitive code in a situation where regulations demanded he encode his message?
    • I'd hardly call, "You lied." to be throwing a fit, even by Vulcan standards. Recall the witty retorts between Spock and Valeris in ST:VI as they accuse the other of lying to stall for time. I'd assume it's a game Vulcans play with each other since honesty is exceptionally important in their culture (logic only works if the data you're given is true) yet they understand that it's necessary to lie if duty demands it.
      • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, however, we learn that a Vulcan throws a fit, they do it so subtly that even other Vulcans might not notice. Pay attention to the scene in Spock's quarters, one of the characters is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
    • I thought that the line "You lied" simply meant that she was impressed that Spock managed to lie so convincingly. Lying must be pretty hard for Vulcans.
     It's not like she's really steering the ship 
  • When Spock yields command to Saavik to take the Enterprise out of spacedock so she can get some real experience, having only done it in simulators before, Kirk gets really nervous. Why? Saavik may be giving the orders, but Sulu is the one actually controlling the ship. Even if Saavik makes a mistake, Sulu isn't going to just blindly follow the command and ram the ship into the dock.
    • I'm an adult man with plenty of driving experience, and yet when I drive my mother anywhere, anywhere, she reacts at every stop I make by subtly pressing her foot down and sometimes grabbing for the handle above the door. Kirk isn't solely freaking out about it being Saavik, he's freaking out because he's being reminded yet again that he's definitely not in control of ship motion here.

Captain Terrell

     Who is this man, Chekov? 
  • Khan Noonien Singh is one of the greatest tyrants in Earth history. He's repeatedly mentioned in the same breath with people like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Khaless. How then, does a Starfleet Captain have no idea who he is? Did Terrell flunk Earth History at the Academy?
    • If you'll recall, about the whole first half of "Space Seed" was spent trying to figure out who Khan and his followers were. And one of those people who initially didn't recognize him was a professional historian. It doesn't make a ton of sense, but for whatever reason, Khan's appearance doesn't seem to be well-known by the 23rd century.
    • Would you be able to identify Napoleon if you were unexpectedly face to face with him and he wasn't wearing a 19th-century French military uniform?
      • And that is still a hundred years closer to us than Khan was to Kirk. Khan was three hundred years away from Kirk. To put in perspective; 300 years ago from 2019 the world's biggest conflict was the War of the Quadruple Alliance, and that was a major conflict which ended with treaties still considered important today. Would many people be able to even name some of the generals of that conflict, much less recognise them? Even professional historians, unless specialising in the era, would struggle. Moreover, there isn't even a huge globe spanning nuclear war between us and the Duke of Berwick or Count de Mercy like there is between Kirk and Khan. Just think how many records and images were lost in the nuclear fires of WW 3, gotta be a lot.
      • That makes sense for the images of Khan, but we've seen that Khan, himself, remains very well-known even into the late 24th century. He's name-checked almost every time genetic augmentation is discussed in the franchise. In fact, it's implied that Khan, specifically, was a huge part of the reason that the Federation banned genetic augmentation in the first place.
      • All of those 24th-century mentions of Khan are also after the events of "Space Seed" and this movie, so Khan would of course be mentioned as a prime example of why genetic augmentation is a bad idea. His re-emergence as a threat in the 23rd century made him the most recent incident.
    • Khan himself might be (in)famous, but it's considerably less well known that he's alive and exiled to a backwater planet rather than long dead as one would normally expect. That makes it more understandable that Terrell would not make the connection between his captor and the historical Khan Noonien Singh.

Khan Noonien Singh

     Where was the Botany Bay headed anyway? 
  • Khan seems to have a tremendous persecution complex in that he feels that everything bad that has happened to him is somehow Kirk's fault. But Khan and his fellow Augments lost the Eugenics Wars and fled Earth in the S.S. Botany Bay, a sleeper ship designed for interplanetary travel which they had instead taken off into interstellar space to escape punishment for their war crimes back on Earth. The ship does not seem to have been headed to any particular destination, and during the three centuries it was coasting along through space a dozen of the stasis chambers had already failed, killing the Augments inside.
    • Where was the Botany Bay going? Given the limited knowledge of the time period in which it was launched, did they even have a specific Class M planet to which they were headed?
    • Was Khan really any worse off? Odds are that had the Enterprise not found and recovered them, they would have all died off one by one (Khan included) as the stasis chambers continued to fail over the years. Even if the Botany Bay was headed for a specific destination, it probably did not have much more time to reach it as aging systems broke down. Realistically, Kirk actually saved his life!
      • That's part of the point. Khan's desire for revenge is an irrational obsession, à la Moby-Dick. Not only that, but judging how he quotes from Moby-Dick Khan seems to know the book well enough to know he's acting like Captain Ahab but he's too angry/crazy to care.
    • Most likely, the chambers were not the only part to break. Either their navigation system failed to stay on course, or the systems intended to awaken them didn't go off and they flew right past their intended target, still snoozing.

     Khan’s Tactics 
  • Why was Khan inferred to be unable to account for the third dimension in the Enterprise/Reliant battle? It is not as if there wasn't fighting involving three dimensions in 20th-century naval warfare, especially if you take into account submarines and air strikes.
    • Maybe because the chess board he was left with on Ceti Alpha V wasn't a 3D chess set?
      • Look more closely - it's a Checkers set. Genius-level intellects and they play Checkers instead of Chess?
      • I find that image rather endearing... even genetically-engineered supermen might play a game that's unchallenging fun once in a while.
      • Then again, it might be Fridge Brilliance. Think about it - compared to chess, checkers favors bold, aggressive play with less of a focus on the long game... like say, hijacking a ship, trying to steal a super weapon just because it's there, and getting some revenge, with no actual long-term goal.
    • Seriously though, most people who haven't directly experienced combat where the third dimension comes into play have trouble with the concept as it's not intuitive to humans, who spend most of their lives moving in two dimensions. Chances are that most of the battles Khan participated in on Earth were ground-based. As Spock says, he's intelligent, but inexperienced.

     Why did Khan Want Genesis? 
  • So what did Khan want with Genesis anyway?
    • Nothing, really. He just saw an opportunity to escape into space, and draw Kirk into a battle, so he went with it.
      • But he tried to get information about it from Kirk (The stalling to "get" the information was the only thing which saved the Enterprise from being blasted to high-hell after Khan was finished gloating), he even takes time out of trying to kill Kirk in order to go to Regula 1 and steal it from them. So he obviously went out of his way to obtain it.
      • He wanted a one-hit planet-killing torpedo. The Genesis device was supposed to create life, but, as McCoy realized, it has to wipe out all existing life on a planet to do it. Khan was probably going to have his followers build a whole arsenal of them to pave the way for a new empire.
    • If you're a deposed dictator who wants to get back into the business of conquering and subjugating foreign nations, wouldn't you be intrigued by the existence of something that could very easily be used as a super weapon?
    • It's also remotely possible that Khan just wanted to use Genesis to create a new home world for he and his people. Either way, the man's just a touch emotionally compromised and isn't going about any of it the best way. It does seem that he first became interested in Genesis because Admiral Kirk was in charge of the project.
    • Mutually Assured Destruction doesn't hurt, either. Khan had one starship with which to evade Starfleet forever. A doomsday device wouldn't go amiss in getting them to leave you alone.
      • Especially since he apparently had a lot less than the 72 Augments he started out with. Realistically, an Augment is only a bit stronger than a Vulcan. The simple fact is that Khan did not have the means to even go back and conquer Earth, much less the entire Federation. Given his lack of experience in space combat, Khan would get creamed in an engagement against more than one starship. As it was, it was only Kirk's lack of vigilance that enabled him to nearly take Enterprise. So, ground combat is out. Space combat is out. Terrorism would be his only possible weapon, offensive or defensive. Genesis provided exactly that. He might also want the bargaining chip. With as few Augments as he had left, there was not enough of a gene pool for them to become a viable species onto themselves. Khan would need to obtain genetic engineering resources (or else the Federation's secret stash of Augment embryos, if he knew of them).

     In the Original Klingon 
  • How does Khan know about Klingon proverbs? The Botany Bay was launched in the 1990's, long before first contact with the Klingons.
    • Odder still, "Revenge is a dish best served cold" is a regular human proverb, dating back at least to the 1840s in French. Why would Khan, of all people, misattribute it to Klingons? Beats me.
    • Maybe those Starfleet cargo carriers were packed with the Federation version of Encyclopedia Britannica.
    • In the Original Series episode "Space Seed", Khan is given access to the Enterprise's library files and reads a multitude of information. Presumably, this includes information on Klingon culture.
    • I wonder if this is some sort of obscure joke on Khan's part — one that might make sense only to him.
      • More like an obscure joke on Nicholas Meyer's part. He did it constantly in The Undiscovered Country. Vulcan proverb, only Nixon could go to China. Shakespeare in the original Klingon. And even though Chekov had a habit of claiming everything as Russian, including him referencing Cinderella as a Russian fairy tale would count, too.
      • The Russian version of Cinderella (Vasilisa the Beautiful) is much cooler than the Western version. It involves the Baba Yaga and a flaming skull.

     Khan Didn’t Memorize the ‘‘Whole’’ Book 
  • When the Reliant approaches, Kirk and the crew are alerted to the fact that they're about to be fired upon when the Reliant locks phasers on the Enterprise. However, during Kirk's distraction scene, Sulu locks phasers onto the Reliant, and Khan doesn't notice until it's too late. Was Joachim or whoever not watching the console for something like this?
    • It can probably be chalked up to Khan and his crew's lack of experience in starship operations. Kirk even downright admits that the only reason they survived that first firefight was because he knew more about Starfleet ships than Khan did. Neither Khan or Joachim knew where to find Reliant's manual override, and they didn't think to change the access codes, so clearly they didn't have more than a very basic understanding of starship-to-starship combat. It's not unreasonable to assume that they didn't know enough to watch for a weapons lock.
    • The Constitution-class Enterprise had undergone a refit since "Space Seed". The Miranda-class that Reliant belonged to didn't even exist yet! So once Khan and his minions made off with the Reliant, they would have been playing catch-up based on Khan's out-of-date knowledge of the Enterprise. This was in fact Khan's first engagement in starship combat! Superhuman intellect or no, there was only so much that reading the manuals could have helped him to learn. Especially since Starfleet tactical manuals were probably not written under the assumption that the reader was somebody who had stolen a starship and trying to do battle against actual Starfleet personnel in another Starfleet ship! They were bright, but they were amateurs.
    • Both the film and novelization of Star Trek The Motion Picture make a point that the Enterprise refit included channeling phaser power through the warp engines for increased power. This resulted in the scene where Kirk, not being aware of this, gave the wrong order to destroy the asteroid with phasers and Decker had to change the order to use photon torpedoes. Decker and Scott thought this change was insane and had been working to revert it so that phasers would still be available if warp power was lost. The Miranda class had this "improvement" which can be shown later in the movie when Joachim tells Khan that they have to retreat because the photon controls and warp drive were damaged; the warp drive damage meant that they had no phasers either. But Khan did not know that the Enterprise had been changed! Presumably he had access to current Star Fleet design information after taking over Reliant and assumed the same was the case for the Enterprise when in fact the Enterprise could use phasers even with disabled warp power which happens in the first attack when Khan believes that he has crippled the Enterprise.
    • Also, note who tells Kirk that Reliant is locking phasers: Spock. One of, if not the, best Science Officer in all of Starfleet. And he's got his eyes glued to his Plot Relevance Scanner when he says it. It's probable that, with so many different races and ways of building starships out there, there's no one, sure, positive way to add a "YOU'RE BEING TARGETED, DUMBASS!" warning light on the bridge somewhere, so you rely on a very competent Science Officer who knows how to read the signs and energy outputs to determine that it's highly likely that at this moment, the enemy vessel is locking their weapons on us, and we should probably do something about that. Khan, on the other hand, probably didn't think the science station would be at all useful in a battle, so probably didn't even have anyone operating it. . . and even if he did, they certainly didn't know all the tricks Spock had picked up over all his years as Science Officer on Enterprise.
    • Presumably if anyone noticed they'd figure it was a futile gesture, as Enterprise's phasers couldn't damage Reliant through it's shields thanks to the damage they'd inflicted and they had no idea Kirk could remote kill their shields. In fact in battle it wouldn't be out of ordinary to be targeted by the enemy regardless of what happened. Maybe them being targeted at exactly the moment Enterprise was suppposedly surrendering might have been suspect but that assumes someone was checking the screen at that exact moment. Likely Joachim casually was looking back and forth between his console and Khan monologing at Kirk, missed the moment they were actually targeted but noticed they had a phaser lock figuring it was from minutes ago when they were still shooting at them and thought "Oh that's cute they're still locking onto us like they stand a chance." And then once the shields dropped it was too late.

     Joachim Had a Point 
  • Khan and his followers had a warp-capable, battle-ready starship at their disposal and had gotten away from the Ceti Alpha system. Why did they not just go on their way? Joachim had a point; they were free from their exile and had thwarted Captain Kirk. Did they really need to get back at Kirk and company? And don't say "because we wouldn't have a story"!
    • They didn't need to, no, and as we see from Joachim, many of the followers have other plans but are still loyal to their megalomaniacal, revenge-crazed leader. The whole point of that scene is that Khan is acting irrationally, and it ultimately gets him and everyone else killed.
    • Because he tasks him. He tasks him and he will have him! In other words, Khan, like Ahab was so utterly blinded by revenge that he couldn't look at things rationally, or even accept the rational when it's pointed out to him.
    • The really sad part is that They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot because their movie had to be self-contained (and within a reasonable budget). Had TNG existed at the time, having Khan's children or grandchildren pop up as masters of an augment Hegemony (after taking over whichever gangster-, Nazi- or cowboy-planet they chose) would have been an entertaining link between the eras.
      • By all accounts, making the previous movie was enough of a negative experience for cast and crew (to say nothing of Paramount's horror at the way the budget spiralled out of control) that this movie was considered to be a "Last-Chance Saloon" of sorts for Star Trek. Leonard Nimoy himself admitted that he agreed to return mainly as a result of his character being killed off, and that he fully expected this movie to be the last. note  In making a movie which was relatively painless for the cast and crew, was of a quality which held up with the best of the franchise and (crucially) took almost nine times its budget at the box office, Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer pulled off nothing short of a minor miracle. In short, without this movie there would have been no TNG.

     Ceti Alpha V: Fountain of Youth? 
  • This is a small and silly one, but if Khan & Co. had been marooned on Ceti Alpha V for fifteen years, why did all his crew look like they were in their late 20's at most? You could argue that their superhuman genes were behind it, but since Khan himself aged normally, that doesn't really work. Conversely, they were too old to have been born to the original crew in the intervening fifteen years.
    • The expanded universe fluff mentions that the original survivors started pairing off and having children soon after they were marooned, and over the course of fifteen years most of them died from in-fighting, accidents, disease, or the Ceti Eel. As for the new ones, Khan apparently mentioned in a diary that they aged at an accelerated rate (He noted that at age 10, Joachim looked as though he were 15). It's all on the Memory Alpha wiki.
    • Khan doesn't look that different from "Space Seed" except that he's wearing rugged clothing and some other cosmetic details, and that his hair is white. Might be the pressures of leadership: Look at the effect of the US Presidency on its officeholders' hair color, and none of them has ever had to guide a civilization through anything like the rigors of Ceti Alpha V.
    • An easy explanation would be that they were genetically engineered to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. In the Star Trek universe, genetic engineering can do anything, even keeping you looking twenty-five for most of your life (see: ‘’TNG: Unnatural Selection’’).

     Khan the Trendsetter 
  • Where did Khan get the contemporary Starfleet belt buckle he was wearing as a necklace? I'm pretty sure he was wearing it before his encounter with the Reliant crew.
    • The cargo container had a crate full of belt buckles?
      • Except that Starfleet Uniforms didn't have belts when Khan was marooned. It can only really be explained by "wardrobe goof".
      • I think the IDEA was that it belonged to his wife. Probably more of a "Did Not Do Research" moment.
    • Perhaps a Starfleet landing party had gone down, gotten stranded, and died sometime between this and the last movie, and Khan found their bodies and took one of the belts.

     Khan's Plan to Find Kirk 
  • Why would Khan think that Kirk specifically would be on the case?
  • Related to this, what was Khan's plan B if the first ship on the scene was Kirk-less?
    • I can think of a couple of scenarios that don't seem particularly likely, but are at least plausible: In the first, Chekov knew about Kirk's history with Carol Marcus—possibly even knowing that David is Kirk's son—and gave that information to Khan under the influence of the Ceti eel. Khan, knowing the kind of man Kirk is, was hoping that when Carol and David disappeared Kirk would come looking for them. In the second, stealing the Genesis device was only step 1 of his plan. Realizing that he had no practical way of killing Kirk directly, he might have been planning to extract revenge by proxy; using Genesis on a populated Federation world. Kirk being aboard closest ship to the Mutara Sector was just a happy coincidence for Khan. As to what he would have done if another starship had responded first, maybe he would have ambushed that vessel like he did Enterprise, or just conceal Reliant in the Mutara Nebula and and watch as that ship is conducting its investigation.
    • Khan had Chekov deliberately name-drop Kirk in his conversation to Dr. Marcus, then waited until after Regula contacted Starfleet before jamming them. Chekov even says to Khan that Regula will attempt to contact Kirk to verify the order and Khan indicates it's part of his plan. It doesn't take too much of a leap to imagine that Kirk is going to come out himself, especially given what he knew of Kirk's character from Space Seed. If, by chance, the first ship is Kirk-less he'd probably contrive a way to contact it and name-drop Kirk again and lather, rinse, repeat until Kirk showed up. I always figured it was pure chance that Kirk and Dr. Marcus also had a history.
      • Yeah if another ship showed up Chekov probably would have just said something like "Yeah they sent a message saying Admiral Kirk gave them an order then was abandoned when we got here." And kept mentioning Kirk to any ship investigating and letting them report back until either Starfleet sends him or Kirk himself (who Khan knows is now and Admiral with the presumed authority to conduct his own investigation) decides to come over to see just what the hell is going on and why all these people claim he's giving orders to Regula One when Kirk knows full well he's not, at which point Khan strikes. At absolute worst all this does is make Starfleet assume Kirk is involved in treasonous shady business and arrest him and kill his career, which wouldn't quite give Khan the same satisfaction as direct revenge but would at least be something.

     Seems Legit 
  • Why would Khan & company accept at face value that they can—without effort—eavesdrop on Enterprise Spock talking to buried alive Kirk?
    • Because they were listening in through Terrell's wrist communicator. When Terrell tries to resist the order to kill Kirk he pulls it off his wrist and drops it on the floor. Kirk picks it up again to rant at Khan a few moments later. They thought it was legit because Kirk didn't know Terrell and Chekhov were under Khan's control and letting them listen in.

     Why would Khan assume he was leaving Kirk "buried alive"? 
  • Granted, Khan may not have yet taken the time to read up on the size and extent of the Federation and Starfleet given his single-minded obsession with Kirk. But the Regula facilities, both the space station and the underground complex on the planet, were built and supported by Starfleet, not independent. Even if Khan destroyed the Enterprise, sooner or later other Starfleet ships would be assigned to investigate Regula and most certainly informed about the existence of the underground caverns. Was Khan planning on keeping Reliant in orbit above Regula, trying to fight off any approaching ships, for years to come?
    • Possibly he was planning on destroying the Regula station once Reliant was repaired. Given how linear (for want of a better term) his thought processes tend to be, he just hadn't considered that Starfleet would know about the cavern. He's not exactly working on all thrusters, to borrow a phrase, by this point anyway.
    • Perhaps he thought the Federation would be too busy dealing with their new Emperor-for-life and his unstoppable Genesis super weapon to try hunting down where Admiral Kirk went to.
      • Given his ego, not entirely implausible.
    • Also most of Starfleet at least may not have known about the cavern, as it was only hinted at in Carol's briefing on the Genesis device, and it took an Admiral's security clearance just to get that.
      • No. In her immodest boasting about what they had accomplished so far, Carol explicitly states that the Starfleet Corps of Engineers spent ten months working to excavate the caverns for the project, as compared to the single day it took the scientists to fill the main cavern with life. So unless Starfleet kills their personnel after they complete top secret construction projects, then the existence of the cavern complex would be well-known to them given all the time and effort that went into digging the thing. They may not have known what exactly the tunnels (and the space station) were going to be used for. Khan may not have known until his puppets went down there because the Reliant crew was tasked with a different function for the project (finding a suitable planet for Phase 3) and weren't told. But Starfleet definitely knew that they were there, and given the severity of the situation (especially if both the Reliant and the Enterprise were MIA along with the Genesis Device) would have told any ships sent to investigate to check them out.
      • Some engineers knew about the tunnels, sure, but they didn't know about the cavern and it's abundant food and air supply. How long would they expect someone to live in just those tunnels? If the Federation were in the midst of dealing with Khan and his super weapon it might not be worth their while to send a ship out to try to find Kirk on a lifeless planetoid.
      • As a side note, according to the novelization of Star Trek III, the life in the Genesis cavern on Regulus also rapidly mutated into a very unsafe environment. So if Kirk really had been abandoned there he probably wouldn't have survived very long.
      • I never said that Starfleet would send anyone specifically to come and rescue Kirk. But since Genesis was the ultimate weapon known to Federation science at the time, Starfleet most definitely would dispatch multiple ships to investigate Regula as soon as they realized that Enterprise was no longer responding to contact. At that point it would look as if the Regula One station, the Reliant and the Enterprise, all involved with Genesis, had all mysteriously gone silent. This would give the definite impression that somebody was specifically after Genesis, even if Khan headed off into deep space never to be heard from again. Starfleet would have no higher priority than finding out what happened, and that would entail investigating Regula, including checking out both the station (unless it were destroyed) and the underground complex in order to gather information. Logically, Kirk and company would not have to survive more than a few weeks, possibly less, before Starfleet showed up looking for answers.
  • Khan meant it metaphorically.

     Telegraphing the Threat 
  • There's an discussion above about why Kirk didn't raise Enterprise's shields earlier than he did. Part of the argument against Kirk's command decisions is the fact that whoever was in command of Reliant had raised her shields—indicating that at best, Reliant was reacting to a threat that Enterprise wasn't aware of, and at worst that Reliant was preparing to engage Enterprise, itself. So why did Khan order shields up? It seems like blind luck that Enterprise didn't respond by immediately taking a full, battle-ready posture (which would drastically lower Khan's odds of winning the firefight). Why not raise shields simultaneously with his opening fusillade? Granted, a quick shot of Enterprise's weapons console showed they were charging phasers, but Starfleet has a reputation for never firing first; so it's a pretty safe bet that Reliant wasn't in any danger until after Khan opened fire.
    • There are only a few seconds between Reliant raising shields and firing. Khan probably figured he wasn't going to give Kirk enough time to react anyway, so might as well play it safe and guard Reliant against any shots the Enterprise could get off before he disables them.
      • Another possibility is that the scene actually plays out faster than the viewer sees, because they don't want to split screen and show both ships simultaneously. But a lot of that action is happening at the same time, so when they say on the Enterprise that Reliant is raising shields, Khan is already saying lock phasers simultaneously to that.

     How do Khan and his followers from 300 years ago become proficient in operating a 23rd century Star Ship with no training? 
  • Khan and his followers are from the 20th century. They have exactly zero experience or training in 23rd century star ship operations. So how do they operate the Reliant so proficiently? Yes, I know they are genetically-enhanced and have the ability to read technical manuals instantly (as established in "Space Seed"), but there has got to be a lot more involved to operating a 23rd century ship then the ability to read and memorize technical manuals. We're talking about technology that didn't even exist at all in their time. It's hard to believe they would even be able to comprehend what it is, let alone use it effectively. For comparison, imagine a captain and crew of an 18th century ship attempting to operate a modern nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier. Even if they had the ability to instantly read and memorize information, would that really be all they needed to run it effectively?
    • They probably got the basics from the technical manuals—at least enough to understand a modern starship's capabilities, if not actually how to operate it. That part's probably being handled off-screen by a skeleton crew of Starfleet personnel with Ceti Eels wrapped around their brains. That's really the only plausible way that Reliant could have made repairs in any reasonable amount of time after they were forced to withdraw from the first firefight (the augments might be arrogant, but even Khan couldn't want someone who has never even seen a warp reactor to tinker with the warp reactor). They were probably planing to learn as much as they could from the Starfleet crew, and then airlock them as soon as they felt like they could run the ship on their own.
    • The novelization indeed has most of Reliant's engineering crew enslaved by Ceti eels, and still running and repairing the ship for their new masters. Note that Kirk's trick of the prefix code works because Khan's crew are not experienced, and can't find the override quickly enough.
     Eels would probably work better than torture 
  • Khan had access to mind-control eels. Why didn't he just use those on the Regula science team to get the info he wanted instead of trying to torture it out of them and giving them the opportunity to die without breaking?
    • In the novelization Joachim tries to get Khan to use the eels on the scientists, but it's only after he's already killed most of them via knife. Apparently Khan was in the mood to do some stabbing. The last survivor that Khan tries to use an eel on is a Deltan, and she uses her Deltan powers to commit suicide as soon as she's realizes what's about to happen.

Engineering and Starship Operations

  • The Reliant came into close range and was practically next to the Enterprise when it attacked. Standard-issue Starfleet communicators are shown to be able to contact a starship from tens of thousands of kilometers away at the very least. Even if the Reliant communications system really had been malfunctioning, shouldn't anyone aboard have been able to simply whip out a communicator and call the Enterprise, or vice versa? At that distance the state of Reliant's communications system should have been irrelevant, since Enterprise's was working. It was bad enough that Kirk was falling for such an obvious trap, but nobody on Enterprise thought of that?
    • Kirk orders that they try the "emergency channels", which probably includes hailing all communicators. Not that it matters, because Uhura explicitly says they have audio communications, as the excuse of "Chaber's Coil overloading communications" is a voice message. Once they'd spotted the excuse of the Chamber's Coil not overloading the comms, they already knew something was up. Reliant's silence was part of the reason Kirk ordered Yellow Alert even before the Chamber's Coil excuse. It wasn't lack of communication that was the issue, it was lack of visual communications and valid explanation for that lack.
    • Which only makes Kirk's blunder even worse. He cannot have a conversation with the Reliant because they don't have video available? Common sense would argue that if they were making excuses as to why they could not establish video communications with Enterprise, then whoever was actually controlling the Reliant obviously didn't want to be seen. This would suggest that the ship had been captured by non-Starfleet individuals.
    • Also, shouldn't the Enterprise's Everything Sensors have detected that Reliant had only a fraction of the number of people aboard that it should have had?
      • We're not sure how many people Reliant was supposed to have in the first place. Memory Alpha says 25-35. Expanded Universe sources say around 220. Khan had maybe 50 people with him. In the novelization he also used Ceti Eels on most of the engineering crew, so they were still aboard - that's still probably less than 220. Maybe Spock would have noticed there weren't enough crew aboard if he hadn't been focusing on seeing if their chambers coil emissions were normal.
      • It's another sign of how rusty Kirk's command instincts are. TOS Kirk likely would have thought to order Spock to scan for lifeforms, either to count the crew or see if the ship was crewed by non-Federation species. This Kirk didn't think of this, or a lot of other things, because he's let his skills atrophy. He correctly recognizes "This is damn peculiar," he just doesn't have any of his usual bold ideas for what to do about it.

     Radiation Suits 
  • Scotty had to take the Enterprise's main power source offline because of radiation. However, Kirk tells to Scotty to reenable the warp drive to escape a pending detonation of the genesis device. Spock goes down to engineering to fix the power source, but Dr. McCoy and Scotty will not let him proceed because of the deadly radiation in the room with the power source. However, the ship is about to be destroyed with all hands unless they get the warp drive working, so logically it is one of those tough times when a commanding officer needs to order a crew member to his death to fix the power source. Furthermore, if Spock feels he should do it and can take the rads better, why is the engineering staff impeding him instead of suiting him up in a radiation suit as fast as they can to allow him an outside chance to survive the repair job?
    • Scotty was unconscious when Spock arrived, and McCoy doesn't know that the ship is doomed. The information that the Enterprise won't be far enough away when Genesis initiates is conveyed by a silent head shake on the bridge. McCoy isn't being irrational, he just doesn't know the danger, and Spock doesn't have time to explain, as he says when he nerve-pinches the good doctor to get past him.
    • In point of fact, Spock had no chance of surviving. Spock's greater radiation tolerance was barely enough to let him live long enough to actually finish the repairs before dropping dead. Of course, if Spock is the only crew member physically capable of doing the repairs, then you have to send him in, so your objection still applies.
      • Because they don't want Spock to die. That simple. People don't always act rationally or think things through, especially in the middle of a life-or-death crisis.
      • It does seem odd that on a nuclear powered SPACE-ship with 23rd century technology they have no a) radiation suits or b) robots that could do the repairs by remote control. Don't the environment suits have radiation protection?
      • In the novelization of the movie, Scotty states that the suits and robots they had available would "freeze up" due to the excessive radiation (presumably ionizing) affecting their motor circuits.
      • So... their radiation suits are so vulnerable to radiation that they will be paralyzed by radiation that a human(oid) can (temporarily) withstand? That's actually quite poor engineering.
      • More like Truth in Television. Electronics is really sensitive to radiation, which is why all electronics in satellites and such has to be specially hardened and lags for decades behind current microprocessor designs. And it got worse over time. On the other hand humans (and other animals) can take a quite large dose of radiation and still carry on for some minutes (or longer). If that's all that's needed...
      • I always assumed that there was no time to suit him up. Considering that in Star Trek, the clock will always stop at one, then he was correct in assuming that the time required in suiting up was not an option. Don't ask why no-one else suited up. Rule of Drama.
      • Hey, flame-retardant firefighting gear isn't designed to actually let you survive inside a roaring fire, its just intended to help you get closer to one. Same logic could apply to Starfleet radiation suits.
      • One sudden bit of Fridge Logic is "with dozens of engineering grunts down there, why don't they keep one guy in a rad suit 24/7, just in case something goes wrong?"
      • If you watch the Director's Cut version of Kirk's inspection, you do see one suited-up crew member inside the chamber. Doesn't mean it's normally a permanent station, however.
      • When the system is operating normally, the radiation levels are low enough so that a suited up person will be ok. When Spock went in, there was a lot of damage, and the radiation levels were a LOT higher. A suit simply wouldn't provide enough protection. Even if Spock had suited up, it still would've killed him, and on top of that, the suit would've slowed him down when time was of the essence.
      • Possibly that one guy (or several guys) who was suited up was killed, ran away, or was otherwise occupied trying to keep Engineering from falling apart/being consumed by flames/releasing a Negative Space Wedgie due to a containment failure. Or maybe it was just Cadet Preston's turn to be in the suit that day, and nobody thought to pick somebody else after he died.
      • The novelization strongly implies that the coolant pipes are so heavily reinforced that Starfleet Engineering had calculated that anything that hit the engine room hard enough to break one would already have destroyed the rest of the engine room, so no point in worrying about it. Turns out they got their math wrong.
      • The dialogue strongly suggests that Spock would have sent Scotty (who was suited) in, if Scotty hadn't been almost unconscious at the time
        McCoy: You're not going in there!
        Spock: Perhaps you're right. What is Mr. Scott's condition?
        McCoy: Well, I don't think that he— (gets nerve-pinched)
        Spock: Sorry, Doctor, I have no time to discuss this logically (Begins pulling Scotty's gloves off).
      • I dunno; to me, that looked like Spock deliberately misdirecting McCoy so he'd be in perfect position to nerve-pinch.
      • Why can't it be both?
      • I was surprised thought that those hot, uncomfortable looking protective garments that the engineers wore during the movie-era apparently don't provide some measure of protection from radiation.
      • They do. They let you live long enough to finish the job and save the ship. Some radiation can only be stopped by extreme measures (lead, concrete, etc.) and a radiation suit just won't be able to stop everything.
    • The suit did do at least some bit of good: the gloves Spock borrowed presumably kept his hands from melting off until he could finish the repairs.
    • There is a guy with a radiation suit at the ready, but he's clearly out of it as he's still knocking his head against a support pole when Kirk rushes down to the chamber.

     Why Not Use the Transporters? 
  • Kirk suggests that they beam aboard Reliant to turn off the Genesis Device and David says that they can't. Well, okay, but what's to stop them from beaming Genesis onto the Enterprise and then beaming it into deep space, like they did with Nomad in "The Changeling"?
    • Because that won't stop the device from activating, and it won't make it any easier for the ship to get out of range when it does.
    • Yeah, but they were desperate. They didn't stand much of a chance flying away at impulse power either, so beaming the device away would have given them at least slightly better odds, wouldn't it?
      • Maximum range of the Genesis device: the entire width of the nebula. Maximum range of the transporter: enormously less. Without the Enterprise's warp drive, beaming it would have been the equivalent of your house being 200 feet away from a detonating nuclear bomb instead of 100 feet, IOW, not really being any safer at all.
    • Beam it into the transporter pattern buffer, keep it there for a few days while they repair the warp drive, beam it back out, and warp off before it explodes. Or stick it in the buffer and deliberately degrade the pattern until its dangerous components turn to mush.
      • I'm sorry, did you say "days?" When the timer was set for 4 minutes? Have fun with that.
      • Or just beam it out on "Scatter Mode". They've done that before too. Or here's an idea: OPEN UP WITH ALL WEAPONS. Or, failing that, beam over an antimatter bomb right next to the stupid thing.
      • Toy just pointed out a major problem with transporter tech. Doing things like that could fix problems in a lot of episodes and movies but no one ever thinks of it. The plot always demands they do not.
      • ^That actually happened in the Voyager novel "Echoes", which involved a planet being transported(but not Transported) one universe over every X hours and Y minutes. This worked fairly well until they reached a universe where the planet had been destroyed. The Voyager in that universe eventually hit upon the solution of holding as many people as possible in their pattern buffer. They got the entire sentient population of the planet, but it'd only work once.
      • They did it in a Voyager episode, too. They were smuggling telepaths through psi-unfriendly space, and the transporters were conveniently in "test cycles" during every inspection.
      • And let's not forget that Scotty managed to stay in a pattern buffer for, what - 70 years? So, it seems very clear that it's possible to keep things in there for a while... but as stated above, it's TOO useful.
      • Ah, but Scotty stayed in the pattern buffer for seventy years based on a technique he had developed, which the Enterprise-D crew were shocked had worked. Keeping something in the transporter buffer wasn't a viable option at the time of TWOK. An in-universe Science Marches On.
      • Except that it was done with several Klingons in "Day of the Dove" (TOS) 16 years before TWOK.
      • Let's not forget that Scotty put himself AND another crewman into the "Transporter Suspended Animation Thing," but said other crewman was not so lucky.
      • "Not so lucky" would have been perfectly acceptable in this case. The signal degraded too much for the Device to be rematerialized? Problem solved.
    • It's quite possible that the energy wave produced by the device during its build-up would interfere with a transporter.
      • Seems likely— generally speaking transporters are pretty delicate, think about how many planets and weather conditions they don't work in, or how many times they could work but the targeting scanner can't get a lock on the item.
    • Actually, I wonder if energy was the reason this Enterprise couldn't do this. My knowledge of the physics involved is shaky at best, but it seems that a device like Genesis— a device that could affect an entire star system—would have a massive amount of stored energy. From what we've learned about Starfleet transporters, they work by converting matter to energy, briefly storing that energy, directing that energy towards a target, and finally converting that energy back to matter. This would require an unfathomably huge amount of (among other things) computer memory to pull off. Since Genesis' stored energy would not simply disappear during transport, it seems possible that the heavily damaged Enterprise simply didn't have the available resources it would need to transport the Genesis Device.
      • As an aside note, this is one of the many reasons why Star Trek-style teleportation is straight-up impossible in the real world (because even a human requires rather a lot of memory, to say the least).
    • They are in a crippled ship that is in the middle of a nebula that scrambles the sensors so bad they can barely run the view screen and are unable to solidly lock weapons. If they can't lock the weapons, then they certainly cannot lock the transporters.
      • At the end of the battle, Enterprise ordered Reliant to prepare to be boarded, and later Kirk suggests that a team beams over to Reliant and disarm Genesis manually. Both suggest that they could use the transporters in the nebula—although I suppose that it could also mean that Kirk doesn't understand how transporters work.
      • No, he understands, you've got a gap though. Pad-to-pad beaming is much, much easier than pad-to-point or point-to-point beaming, which is why when a group has to go to another ship, they almost always go down to the transporter room, step onto the pad, and beam to the other ship's pad in their transporter room, rather than just beaming from their bridge to the other ship's bridge or whatever. Aside from protocol, it's much safer and less energy-intensive. So when Kirk's saying they could beam over to the Reliant, he's saying they'd beam from the Enterprise's pad to the Reliant's pad, which might be possible even if all other options aren't. Think of it like networking two computers directly with a cable between them, as opposed to going through a hub or wireless option.
    • Perhaps transporting or destroying the activated genesis device would cause it to immediately detonate. The genesis wave may have already been created, and the device is just holding it back for a few minutes to perform final adjustments to the genesis wave before releasing it, and/or as a safety measure to give a starship enough time to warp away.
    • One thing no troper has mentioned yet: how can they beam the Genesis device off Reliant if they don't know where it was? Sure, we know that Khan had it taken from the transporter room and put on the bridge so he could have it under his control, but no one on Enterprise would know this; it wasn't on the bridge-to-bridge view screen. They might have aimed at the center of the energy build-up, if they could detect the exact center, but by the time the wave reached Enterprise, the entire Reliant was shown.
      • The Genesis torpedo itself is shown sitting on the transporter pad on Reliant. It's only the control panel that Khan moved to the bridge. Since Spock can pick up the energy build up on his scanners he could presumably also determine where it was on Reliant.

     Lack of Options on the Command Console 
  • When Spock takes over the Reliant via the "command console" and lowers her shields, why doesn't he do something more destructive like order Reliant to dump all her fuel into space or blow out all her airlocks?
    • Considering Khan had just knocked out their main power and weapons, Kirk and Spock needed to do something incredibly simple. Dumping fuel would still leave Reliant with enough power to blast Enterprise, and opening the airlocks would do nothing as ships are built with multiple failsafes to prevent total loss of atmosphere.
    • I'm wondering why they didn't use the command console in comparable situations later on in Trek. We've seen other instances of one or another crew having to bring in a Starfleet ship that had been hijacked or whose captain had gone renegade or that was taking orders from an admiral attempting a coup. TNG's "The Wounded," Deep Space Nine's "Defiant" and "Paradise Lost," Voyager's "Equinox," to name a few.
      • Renegade Starfleet officers would be fully aware of the code and would have to be carrying an Idiot Ball the size of a small solar system to not change it. Spock worried that the command console plan might fail on account of Khan changing the code. As for hijackers, well lets just say that they were also aware of the command console codes or something.
      • They actually did use this tactic in "The Wounded" - it was only partially successful, though.
      • Khan's line suggests that there was a way to override the remote access, and that the only reason the trick worked at all was that the crew was unfamiliar with the ship and couldn't block it quickly enough.
    • Kirk also had no idea where Reliant's real crew was. Blowing out their airlocks or ordering an Auto-Destruct or something could have killed the Reliant crew along with Khan and his followers. It's also possible that the command console code can't access vital functions, but only stuff you would need to recover an out-of-control ship, like ordering the shields down so you can beam a recovery crew over.

     Applying the Phlebotinum 
  • Having watched only the movies and the TV series, I'm curious: what exactly did Spock do to fix or reconnect the mains? Without technical insight on his actions, all a casual moviegoer (like myself) sees is him put his thickly-gloved hands into a tube and fiddle with something inside while working against a strong blast of (presumably radioactive) vapors. That's not exactly conductive to delicate work, whatever it was.
    • That's basically like asking how a warp engine works. All we know is that he needed the glove to keep his fingers from melting off as he reconnected/rerouted/fixed whatever was preventing them from going to warp. The precise technical details are really irrelevant to the plot. I imagine the work was not so delicate that it could be done while wearing gloves, and it's just Spock's high pain threshold and ability to work by memory and sense of touch that allowed him to do it.
    • If you must have an answer, perhaps he was manually re-aligning the dilithium crystals in the articulation frame so that they could once again regulate the matter/antimatter reaction in Enterprise's warp reactor. That's what I always assumed he was doing, and it without further information it would seem to be the most likely explanation... but really, it doesn't matter.
      • This seems most likely, especially in light of Alt!Kirk's actions in the mirroring scene of Star Trek Into Darkness.
      • Maybe the Phlebotinum was just clogged in the tube? He had to reach in there and clear the radioactive phlebotimuck so that the energy could flow.
    • With regards to the above suggestion (pardon my going exceptionally nerdy here), the dilithium chamber's stuck behind a blast door or two that was sealed during the first attack by Khan; the only visible part of the warp drive in the set at this point is the deuterium/matter inlet side. I always figured it was fixing the warp coolant lines, as deuterium's not radioactive like that, and you can't screw with antimatter, even with gloves; the coolant would most likely be radioactive as shit from being in contact with the warp plasma. The only counter-argument to that is that as established in First Contact, warp coolant tends to dissolve organic material on contact, so on that basis, Spock should've been soup the minute he opened that port. But it's the option that makes the most sense, IMO.
    • It may not necessarily be the dilithium chamber he's working with. If I remember my technical tie-ins, the refit iteration of the Enterprise used a "linear intermix" warp core, in that matter and antimatter were combined down at the bottom of the ship, and the results were channeled upwards, and Main Engineering (near the top of the secondary hull) was where the conduits split between heading aft to the warp engines and heading further upwards (past the torpedo bay) to the impulse enginesnote . What Spock is working with in that scene might well be the node or manifold that siphons off energetic plasma to power the rest of the ship's systems — hence them being damaged led to power fluctuations elsewhere, and probably got warp power cut so as not to feed back and cause an overload of the warp core or something. Plus, Scotty said earlier that he had the "main energizer bypassed like a Christmas tree", so it's possible that some of those jury-rigged connections simply gave out, and with radiation sickness overcoming the (surviving) engineering crew, nobody could go in and fix it until Spock got there.

     Loose Lips Prevent Sinking Ships 
  • Every indication is that every Starfleet cadet (or at least, every one on the "command" track) takes the Kobayashi Maru scenario... and everyone takes it under that name. Starfleet must seriously have some tight-lipped cadets, if they expect to run a simulation the point of which is a "twist ending" — the lack of way to win it — and don't feel the need to change its name every now and again. In the Abrams film, this becomes even a bit stranger, since there's this well-attended public hearing dealing with Kirk's having cheated on it. How can they do this, without giving the game away?
    • It's entirely possible that they run multiple scenarios involving a ship named Kobayashi Maru. Indeed maybe every 'generic ship' in every simulator scenario has that name. When and where the no-win version pops up would be random, or at the discretion of the instructor. Ignoring the Abrams version, you then simply theorize that they don't tell you it's unwinnable, which explains why Kirk took it three times, and that Kirk himself didn't know it until he reprogrammed it. The Enterprise command staff knows it's unbeatable because they're the instructors. Kirk tells Saavik because he's Kirk, and also because Vulcans already have a handle on the no-win scenario idea.
    • Not to mention that when Kirk asks McCoy to join him on his third attempt, asking if it bugs him that no-one has ever beaten it, McCoy flatly responds that "it's the Kobayashi Maru... NOBODY beats it." Heavily implying it's somewhat common knowledge. However, it's not outside the realm of possibility that cadets/officers who take the test consider it a rite of passage, and don't discuss the true nature of it with those that haven't taken the test yet.
    • There's also the question of why you would allow multiple attempts at an unwinnable test, anyway. Just to be cruel? Saavik is informed immediately that the test can't be passed; if they did the same with Kirk, it is hard to see why they would let him take it again, 1: because you'll behave differently if you know that it can't be won, so the test becomes unable to measure what it's meant to, and 2: because, as we've seen, it's an invitation to cheat.
      • The test's a Secret Test of Character already, perhaps letting students take it multiple times just to drive home the idea that a no-win scenario is a real possibility that comes with a life in the command chair—though I wonder how it affects a cadet's score if he or she takes that long to get it. A major theme of both Wrath of Khan and its sequel Search for Spock were loss. Kirk didn't win the no-win scenario, he just managed to delay his eventual defeat for a few decades; he didn't believe that he could loose until he lost his best friend, his son, his ship, and his career.
    • It's highly unlikely that every other test they have at the Academy has a 100% success rate. You fail a mission and you go back and review your performance, examine the scenario, think outside the box, etc. to learn from your mistake. You retake the test to apply what you learned and see if your solutions work. With the Kobayashi Maru the trick is that there are no winning solutions. Don't believe them? Try again and see. The lesson is to teach these over-achieving, Type A personality command track cadets that no matter how good you, your crew or your ship are, there are situations where you cannot succeed. It's recognizing the difference between "Nobody has ever beat this mission." (implying no one has yet found the solution and that if you're good enough you might be the one to beat it) and "This mission literally cannot be beaten." It's to teach cadets that the only way to "beat" the no-win scenario is to avoid it in the first place—in this case that means not entering the Neutral Zone to rescue the eponymous ship.
      • Even then that is a loss. The purpose of the test is to confront a captain with a true no-win scenario: try to rescue the ship, and your entire crew is killed in a surprise attack. Leave the ship behind, and you have consigned roughly 300 people to a slow, agonizing death as they either suffocate or get caught by Klingons. The closest there ever was to a 'real' victory was Mackenzie Calhoun, who blew up the ''Maru'' because he thought it was a trap.
      • Ah, but Saavik is explicitly told that it is a no-win scenario, that it cannot be beaten, and the purpose of the test is disclosed to her plainly. In her case at least, retaking it would be useless for all involved, since it would no longer be testing anything meaningful.
      • Actually Saavik is the one who complains that it was a no-win scenario, it's not pointed out to her, Kirk merely runs with her implication when he critiques her critique of the test.
      • Everyone is told it's a no-win scenario once they've failed it. The difference is that Vulcans would take that lesson to heart rather than Kirk's approach of having too big an ego to even consider being in a no-win scenario. You don't have to retake it, but they apparently don't stop you from doing so either.
    • There are two constants to the Kobayashi Maru test: that it is unwinnable, and that it involves trying to save a ship named the Kobayashi Maru that is in distress; everyone knows these two things. Everything else about the test changes either from year to year or cadet to cadet, in ways that are either subtle or major. (In the most recent movie, note that Spock has been putting the test together for the last several years, thus implying that it changes at least on a yearly basis.) In fact, in the TNG episode where Wesley is shown being put through tests for Starfleet, the overall scenario and message is the exact same as that of the Kobayashi Maru... he's put in an unwinnable situation where he can't save everyone and has to make the best decision out of a lot of very hard ones. This would actually tie in to something from one of the "Shatnerverse" novels, where a modern Starfleet officer refers to Kirk as the first person to pass the Kobayashi Maru. Kirk's a bit surprised that other people have passed it, whereupon she explains that it's no longer a test about how you'll do in a no-win scenario... it's a hacking test, judging your ability to gain access to the system and what you'll do when you do, and pretty much everyone passes it now. Presumably the actual no-win scenario test of character is something else now, like what Wesley went through.
      • There is a comment in the novelization indicating that the test is regularly updated and that Saavik's plan might actually have worked if they had not added additional Klingon battlecruisers.
    • In real life, it is illegal to discuss what material the NCLEX (the licensing exam for nurses in the United States of America) covers. It happens anyway, but this troper has yet to hear of someone getting in trouble for doing just that. Maybe Starfleet treats the Kobayashi Maru the same way.
    • In this troper's opinion, the knowledge that the Maru can't be beaten won't stop anyone, much less Type A people on the command track, from taking it over and over again so that they may be the first person to do the impossible. I am interested though how they would rate it in the reboot? Spock specifically says the point is for people (i.e. captains) to realize they can't prevent/cheat death but both possible outcome scenarios involve a crew dying. How you decide if a cadet has successfully passed it? Fridge Brilliance kicks in that the test is unbeatable because no one can properly feel the ramifications of a crew dying in a stimulator.

     Khan recognizing Chekov 
  • How exactly does Khan recognize Chekov? Space Seed was a first-season episode, and Chekov didn't show up until the second season...
    • There are episodes of TOS with Chekov in them that have earlier Stardates than Space Seed. The episodes aren't necessarily in chronological order. Thus we know he was on the ship, even if he doesn't appear in the episode itself. From there it's easy to assume the encounter simply happened off-screen.
    • In the DVD Commentary Nicholas Meyer acknowledges this problem, but takes a 'Meh, screw it' attitude towards it, finding the needs of the plot more important than the continuity gaff. Walter Koenig, however, suggested that Chekov was aboard Enterprise during Space Seed, but didn't have a bridge post yet. He also gave a bit of amusing backstory for how the two met: Khan needed to use the bathroom, but had to wait because Chekov was in there, and he was taking his sweet time. Apparently, Khan was still holding a grudge. It reached This Is Unforgivable! levels when Khan realized that Chekov expended all the toilet paper too.
    • In the presumably semi-canon novel To Reign In Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh by Greg Cox, Chekov was part of an off-camera security team that led a failed attempt at retaking Main Engineering from Khan and his followers during the events of Space Seed. Khan himself recognized the audacity and bravery of Chekov, even though he was an enemy. Later, as Khan, Lt. Marla McGivers and Khan's followers were sent down to Ceti Alpha V, the very same Chekov led another security team to help the castaways set up shop on the planet. That is the closest to canon answer we may ever get for how Khan recognizes Chekov.
    • Koenig also says that he noted the plot hole upon reading the script, and "agonized over (whether or not he should point it out) for a good three or four seconds" before deciding to keep his mouth shut because he had a juicy part in the film and didn't want it to get rewritten for someone else, and thus potentially have Chekov marginalized or all but written out of the film completely (like, say, Sulu and Uhura, who don't have very much in the way of screen presence in this installment).

     Why use a ship full of cadets? 
Why were Starfleet really so desperate to investigate the situation there and then that they had to give it to a ship crewed mostly by unexperienced youngsters and risk their lives so readily on an unknown, potentially hostile situation, just because the Enterprise was the only ship readily available?
  • Lots of potential reasons:
    • Time pressure: Genesis is really damn sensitive, even hours could count if someone is really up to no good so the closest ship has to be the one to respond.
    • Kirk's ex is contacting Kirk over this and she thinks that Kirk has screwed up. Starfleet may just think that all it is is garbled communications and misunderstandings, so send Kirk to clean it up. With no expectation of trouble, why not send the cadets; good experience for them.
    • The cadets are getting near active duty, why not? Again, good experience for them.
    • Security; Kirk is already fully briefed on Genesis, why risk the security clearance by reading in another Captain if they don't have to.
      • Enterprise's senior staff is also made up of some of Starfleet's most trusted officers—Starfleet would probably be very comfortable letting them deal with a highly sensitive mission.
    • Possibly they expected Enterprise just to scout it out and call for back up if they needed to. Even if they thought there was a security risk, they probably thought that any perpetrators would be long gone before Enterprise could even get there, Reliant intercepting and ambushing them would not even be on the list of things they expected to happen.
      • Basically it all boils down to Starfleet just not expecting Enterprise to meet any resistance or have to do anything that happened in this movie.
    • There's also the possibility Kirk was taking some liberties with the truth. It would be very in-character for Kirk to shoot a message to off to Starfleet that basically said, "Something's wrong with Genesis. Enterprise moving to investigate. Kirk out." and just take off without waiting for a reply. If you really want to look for one, it would be easy to see a sort of tortured justification: I want to find out what's going on; I'm a high-ranking Starfleet flag officer; therefore, Starfleet wants me to find out what's going on.
      • Kirk was an admiral at the time. As in: person-who-gives-orders-to-starship-captains. He actually could just choose to take the Enterprise and go investigate without needing permission from Starfleet Command because he himself was a representative of Starfleet Command!

    Hull Breach In Engineering 
  • Wouldn't everyone in Engineering have been sucked right out into space as soon as Khan's phaser blast hulled them in? I see a couple of guys falling over, then another guy climbing a ladder, then those same two guys crawling out of the warp core under a closing bulkhead. In reality, if the hull is even minutely breached in a space-faring vessel, wouldn't you get sucked out as though being pulled through a very uncomfortable straw?
    • By the time the Enterprise-B is commissioned in Generations they have automatic force fields that activate to prevent depressurization from a hull breach, so that tech might already be present in engineering here. And no, you wouldn't be sucked out through a tiny hole in a ship pressurized at Earth-normal atmosphere.
Artistic License – Space
  • Data: Correction, sir, that's blown out.
  • Also, aside from the above points about automatic force fields and the way depressurization works, even with the extensive phaser damage along the length of Main Engineering, it's still a pretty large space with a large mass of air, and depending on the thickness of a phaser beam/blast or its area of effect, the actual size of the hull breach would be small in comparison, which limits the flow rate out of the compartment. In addition, emergency bulkheads started being lowered shortly after the damage, and you do see the crew grabbing for respirators as well.
  • One must remember that the Engineering is much deeper inside the ship, rather than being close to outside hull. It's possible that the impact of phaser blasts sent shockwaves which compromised the integrity of internal structure and installations, which led to explosions. If you look at the same scene again, we first see the walls rattling and giving off smoke before they explode, followed by the main conduit bursting a little while later.
  • An even bigger problem might be what the phasers are actually doing to the hull as it's being penetrated. Is it mechanically ripping the hull apart? I hope not, because that's a shrapnel nightmare for the crew on the other side. Is it actually vaporizing the hull? That's probably even worse, and would go a long way towards explaining the horrific burn wounds we see on the survivors in sickbay—and if that's true, most of them probably have some horrifying lung damage, too. Point is, if you're close enough to a hull breach to be blown into space, you're probably already in a lot of trouble.

     Mission Briefing 
  • So Kirk informs Starfleet about a weird message from Carol Marcus regarding someone taking Genesis. He informs Starfleet and apparently they immediately dispatched the Enterprise. First, wouldn't the first step be to try and contact Reliant since that's the ship attached to the project to see if they know anything? Second, why do they act surprised and seeing Reliant at all? Were they not informed that the ship was attached to the Genesis Project? Wouldn't the fact that Starfleet had been unable to contact Reliant have been relayed to Kirk?
    • Could it have been a counter-SIGINT thing? Project Genesis was highly classified, and the Klingons and Romulans might notice a spike in radio traffic between Starfleet Command and the Regula sector. Starfleet headquarters frantically trying to make contact with an ostensibly unimportant and remote star system would probably make them pretty curious as to what the Federation is hiding there. Starfleet quickly dispatched Enterprise because two Federation starships rendezvousing in the area might actually draw less attention than Starfleet repeatedly hailing both Regula One and Reliant, and getting no answer.
    • Reliant isn't supposed to be hanging around near Regula One, she's supposed to be off finding a Genesis test site in the remote corners of the Federation. That explains why Enterprise is dispatched to investigate as the closest ship available and why Kirk is surprised when Reliant shows up while they're still on their way from Earth to Regula One. It's likely Starfleet did try to contact Reliant, but expected them to be too far away from Regula to do anything useful, so they sent Enterprise in to investigate immediately. It can take a long time to get a response to a transmission if a ship is in a remote location, so it wouldn't have been unusual for Starfleet to not have gotten an immediate response from Reliant. Both Starfleet and Kirk seem to have assumed that the threat was something like the Klingons or the Romulans, rather than a hijacked Starfleet vessel, which is an assumption that came back to bite them hard.

     Giving Command to the Cadet 
  • This is admittedly a nitpick, but it's always bugged me. When Kirk is called to the engine room after the film's climax, he hurries off the bridge after telling Saavik to take the conn. This hasn't been a training cruise for quite some time, however; this is a deadly serious, highly classified Starfleet mission. The only real choice to take the conn at this point is either Sulu or Uhura—both senior line officers with decades of experience. Chekov would also be a reasonable choice, because as the former XO of a Starfleet cruiser, he'd obviously have significant command experience—though he's not technically a member of Enterprise's crew. Khan's threat has passed, but Enterprise is in shambles, and Kirk has no way of knowing whether or not they're completely out of the woods, yet. Why is he giving the bridge to literally the least qualified officer there?
    • Chekov was a) not an assigned member of the Enterprise crew and therefore not technically in the chain of command, b) still recovering from having a bug in his brain, and c) possibly in line to face a court martial for his actions in assisting Khan, even though it was under duress from said brain bug; so he probably wouldn't have been Kirk's first choice. In fact it might have been considered bending the rules to let him take the weapons station during the final battle.
    • Sulu is a good choice to take over, and he commanded the Enterprise several times during the original series, but perhaps Kirk wanted to keep his most experienced helmsman at the helm while the Enterprise was traveling through the remnants of a nebula, fleeing an energy wave with unknown characteristics with a jury-rigged warp drive that could fail unexpectedly at any moment. In the novelization Sulu is injured during the battle in the nebula (David performs CPR and saves his life), and so Sulu isn't available to take the conn at that point.
    • Uhura was never given command of the Enterprise during the original series, so it's possible that she isn't a "command-line" officer with proper command training, which means she isn't in the chain of command.
      • In Uhura's defense, she was a lieutenant in the command division in her first two appearances, and she took over as first officer during Commander Spock and Mr. Scott's absence in "The Galileo Seven." Also, in the animated series, she took command of Enterprise on two occasions—though, TAS is, at best, mostly apocryphal with a few canon details sprinkled in. The expanded universe would actually have her become the head of Starfleet Intelligence at some point after serving aboard Enterprisenote .
      • Uhura was indeed wearing a gold uniform for her first few appearances in the earliest original series episodes, (including the pilot, but nobody wore red during the pilot, only gold and blue), but as you say, that could be chalked up to Early-Installment Weirdness. A gold uniform isn't necessary to indicate command training anyway, as Scotty obviously had command training but always wore red. In any case, does Uhura need a "defense" because she isn't a command-line officer? Not everyone wants their own command.
    • Saavik is a command-line cadet (or she wouldn't have been commanding the Enterprise in the Kobayashi Maru simulation at the beginning of the film), she has been formally assigned to Enterprise, and she already had the conn several times earlier in the film. If you're not going to choose Sulu, then Saavik becomes the obvious next best choice, especially if the major threat seems to have already been dealt with.
    • Or Kirk could have not been thinking this through because he realized what Spock's empty chair and Bone's tone of voice probably meant, and he just said the first name that came to him as he hurried out.

     "They're not going anywhere!" 
  • Joachim pressed for getting the Reliant out of there after Kirk's hacking into the Reliant's computers to permanently drop shields and allow him to seriously disable Reliant. At the time, Enterprise's warp was offline because as Scotty said, "They knew exactly where to hit us". Enterprise did the exact same thing and took out Khan's engine area leaving him with impulse only. This raises the question as to why they were concerned about Khan having the Genesis device and being able to threaten the entire galaxy with it. With his warp drive damaged beyond his ability to repair (if it wasn't, why didn't he make it a priority?), he wasn't going anywhere outside of the Regula/Mutara system anytime soon. And there were no other inhabited areas anywhere near Regula.
    • Kirk's hacking of Reliant's shields is not permanent. Khan is unable to stop Kirk's counterattack because he doesn't find the override in time. After the counterattack they presumably do find the override and change the prefix code while repairing Reliant, as Kirk doesn't try to use the prefix code again. Part of the point of going into the Mutara Nebula is so that Reliant's shields will be useless. Joachim tells Khan that if they go into the nebula their shields would be useless, and when they do go in Khan orders the shields raised and Joachim tells him "as I feared, inoperable." This conversation would be pointless if their shields had been permanently disabled in Enterprise's first counterattack.
    • When the Enterprise counterattacks, Joachim says "they've damaged the photon control, and the warp drive," when answering Khan why they can't fire. The Motion Picture tells us that the new refit of the Enterprise can't fire phasers while the warp drive is down note . Reliant seems to have this same design flaw. Joachim's damage report basically says "they've taken out all of our weapons." After repairs he tells Khan "main power is restored" and Khan says "Excellent. More than a match for poor Enterprise." This seems to indicate that Reliant's warp drive was repaired. Once he had beamed up Genesis from Regula One Khan could indeed have gone off and threatened the galaxy, but he was too obsessed with completing his revenge against Kirk by destroying the Enterprise.

The Genesis Device

     The Genesis Planet 
  • Just one thing that I've never settled. When the Genesis Device is activated at the end, how does a single, Miranda-class starship have enough mass to be reworked into an average-size M class planet?
    • The nebula provided the necessary mass.
    • Yeah, it kinda looks like it is drawing in matter from the entire sector. Also explains why the Enterprise would need warp power to escape.
    • Yeah, notice the nebula disappears when the explosion goes off.
      • It wouldn't even need to be the entire nebula. Nebulae contain a LOT of mass. Like enough mass to form many MANY stars. There would be more than enough gas there to convert into solid matter to form one planet. Now the star that genesis was orbiting had to be the same star that Regulus was orbiting. The genesis device probably couldn't create a star too, although all it takes is gravity to turn nebula gas into a star...
      • Yeah, the Mutara Nebula was probably the molecular cloud of a star that had already formed.
    • No matter how you think about it, the creation of the Genesis planet is awfully convenient. After all, turning nebula mass into planetary matter isn't what Genesis was designed to do. It just... happened to work exactly right. And the planet happened to be the correct distance from the star to maintain the right kind of life. All this is just luck?
      • We don't *know* they didn't design it to work with nebulas. All we know is that they were going to do the original test on a dead planet.
      • The fact that Marcus's briefing makes no reference to nebulas tells us that it was not designed to have anything to do with them.
      • This is a common assumption among viewers/readers that, just because we don't see something happen, it didn't happen. There was probably much more to Marcus's briefing than what we saw, and the movie makers wouldn't show any mention of a nebula because it would be a spoiler for what happens later in the movie.
      • The Genesis Device seems to be half guesswork and half accident on the part of its own designers. Even they don't seem to fully comprehend how the damn thing works, they're constantly shocked at their own creation. Considering that it's Star Trek, it's entirely possible some scientist said "Well, I cross-wired a bunch of the latest tech together in a configuration that seemed logical to me. But we'll have to turn it on to see what it does."
      • That's why it implodes in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
      • Well, there was the whole "proto-matter scandal". On one hand, David seemed fully aware of what the problem was, implying he knew this was a possibility. On the other hand, it's so vaguely explained that it could be exactly this.
      • The Genesis Wave trilogy expands upon this by pointing out the Genesis Planet only failed because it had to create the entire planet from scratch. As a result, the creation matrix that normally would have just formed the plants, water, atmosphere, etc. was almost completely expended on creating a great big ball of rock first - hence the inherent instability of the planet.
      • Saavik and the science team on Grissom in the next movie have no problem believing that Genesis created a planetary system from a nebula. Since Genesis converts matter into new forms, perhaps it doesn't matter what the source of the original matter was - nebula or planet.
      • The Genesis Device (in its final form) was programmed to use however much matter was available (that's the explanation in the novelization, anyway, and onscreen evidence indicates this was the intention in the script, as well, even if it was never explicitely stated). Use it on the moon, you get a habitable body the size of the moon. Use it on a planet the size of Earth, you get a habitable planet the size of Earth. Used in the Mutara nebula, it had enough matter to create one main-sequence star and one Earth-like planet (maybe Mutara is a small nebula?) Given enough matter, and depending on exactly what it was programmed to do with it, Genesis could create an entire solar system, possibly with multiple habitable planets. Say, a Vulcan-like world on the inner edge of the "Goldilocks zone," an Earth-like one in the middle, and a frigid planet at the outer edge of habitability.

  • Dr. Carol Marcus says that the Genesis Device takes a "moon or other dead form" and transforms that "dead moon" into "a living, breathing planet", implying that a planet is differentiated from a moon by the ability to sustain life.
    • At the time the movie was made, there was no technical definition for "planet". It took a big group of scientists to do that, and it resulted in Pluto getting the boot (and America's hearts!) It's not unreasonable to assume that Federation scientists agreed that a "planet" was a habitable body of a certain size (gas giants are habitable for some Star Trek critters), and by the time of The Next Generation, had somehow changed the meaning.
    • Frankly, I would be more concerned with the fact that the Genesis Device can apparently make any planet/asteroid/moon/rock/whatever into a habitable biome regardless of distance from its sun, gravitational force, or mineral components. Come on... really? Granted, I usually let this slide because Wrath of Khan is otherwise so awesome.
      • This is implicitly untrue based solely on the plot of the movie. If all they needed was a lifeless planet to test on, they wouldn't have needed Reliant to go find one. Lifeless planets are everywhere. The frustration the Reliant crew shows at the beginning of the movie when their candidate planet shows possible life signs is another strong indicator that it can't be just any planet. Logically they are looking for a lifeless planet that is inside the 'sweet spot' of a solar system where life can be supported if it were introduced artificially. Finding a lifeless planet within life-supporting distance of a star is going to be much harder in the Star Trek universe where life is found all over the place.
      • Again, the people who made the Genesis Device are less scientists and more scienticians. I'm sure someone could, or has, come up with a technobabble explanation for it... perhaps the Genesis Device tailors an environment that produces more heat for a planet that would be too far away from its sun, or adds atmospheric gasses that deflect more light and heat if it's too close, or... I don't know, it's Star Trek, hard science has less of a place in it than a McDonalds has in a Buddhist temple. Besides, worked for Firefly.
    • Pretty simple, really. The commonly used terms of "planet" and "moon" evoke images of life-bearing and barren, respectively. Hell, even among Sci-Fi types, nearly 30 years later, people don't get that the planet that they destroy the second Death Star shield generator was a moon around a lifeless gas giant. The gas giant was Endor, the moon was never actually named.
      • It was called "the forest moon of Endor" and "the sanctuary moon" in the film itself, which makes it even more annoying when people keep calling the moon itself Endor.
      • Well, the line "A small rebel force has penetrated the shield and landed on Endor" didn't help matters.
      • Just because they use the term "the forest moon of Endor" doesn't have to mean "the forest moon circling Endor". It could be "the forest moon that is named Endor". After all, when people talk about "the city of Chicago" they mean the place itself, not some unnamed city that happens to be close to some vague place called Chicago.
      • Same for the location of the rebel base in the first movie. The base is often said to be on the planet Yavin when it's really on Yavin IV, the fourth moon of the gas giant Yavin.
      • If the forest moon is the only remarkable aspect of Endor, it makes perfect sense to just shorten references to the moon to "Endor" in casual conversation. Basically, is the only reason to go there to visit the forest moon? Yes? Then everyone would know that when you say "I'm going to Endor" you mean "I'm going to the forest moon of Endor".
    • Possibly Carol mentions using it on a moon because that's what she hopes Genesis technology will ultimately be used for: to turn the lifeless moons of inhabited planets into additional living space for those planets' populations. We know that Earth is crowded enough that by Picard's time, they'll be considering the construction of a whole new continent to provide room for more people; if Genesis had worked out, Carol might've been able to avert that need by turning our own Luna into a green world. (Granted, there are probably already settlements there in Kirk's time, but those people could be evacuated during the Genesis wave that would obviate their need for pressure domes and so forth.)
    • There's apparently been a change in how star systems are referred to as well. By today's conventions it should be the Alpha Ceti system, not Ceti Alpha.

     How Hard Could it Be to Find a Dead Rock? 
  • The Reliant has been looking for a lifeless space body on which to test the Genesis device. "So far, no success." Is it really that hard to find a planet or moon that's completely lifeless? As of 2010, we've yet to find a single planet other than Earth that has life.
    • If you go by actual science, the Reliant had to find a lifeless space body that existed in a location that would provide ideal conditions for carbon-based life: the Goldilocks zone. Not too close or too far from its parent star. One could probably use the Genesis device on Mercury or Pluto, but any life generated there would burn or freeze to death in short order. It's possible in the Trek universe that most known planets in Goldilocks zones are already host to life of SOME kind.
      • It also has to be borne in mind that this still in the testing phase of development. When you are still in the testing phase the requirements are always far more stringent than in-vivo usage. Any errors in a testing phase have to be because of a fault in the thing you are testing, and they cannot be even slightly possible because of external factors. So it would have to be sterile (otherwise it is "how do you know that you weren't just amplifying existing life") and it has to be in the Goldilocks zone so that any failure to thrive cannot be because of distance to the star, and it has to be the right mass so that any failure due to gravitational factors are not because of mass present, and it has to receive less than a certain level of radiation, etc and so on. We could probably list at least a couple of hundred really specific factors with even modern scientific knowledge, and imagine how many more science in the 23rdC could come up with or related to how Genesis works. Even with so many planets to choose from, it could still give Reliant a massive headache to find one that ticks all the boxes (and that list of factors probably includes "off the main space lanes and not near any borders" in order to preserve the secrecy of the project). They probably also want more than one candidate too, so they can pick the 'best' (and, eventually, replicate the experiment).
    • Alternatively, the scanners are picking up what may be just 'a speck of pre-animate matter' but which turns out to be Khan and several of his followers and a ship about a quarter the size of the Enterprise. Really, speck?
      • There are two possibilities. Terrell ask if it's possible the ship's sensors were out of adjustment, and even if they were, it's possible the constant sandstorms were disrupting their sensor readings.
    • I, the original poster, have since bought the novelization, and its explanation is: It's even more complicated than we thought. The test planet has to be of the right size, orbiting the right kind of star, within the star's biosphere, and in a star system otherwise uninhabited. Ceti Alpha V was the sixteenth planet they surveyed.
      • If "in a star system otherwise uninhabited" was one of the criteria, then why didn't Chekov remind anyone that there was a community of marooned outlaw Augments living on (so far as he knew) Ceti Alpha VI?
      • Chekhov didn't remember that Khan and his people were on Ceti Alpha VI until he saw the name of the ship on a belt buckle in the cargo containers. He had completely forgotten about Khan until that point.
      • Given that Chekov wasn't part of the bridge crew during the original episode, he might not even have known what planet Khan and his people were marooned on. After all, if the man's existence is supposed to be classified, it wouldn't be common knowledge amongst the Enterprise crew which planet they'd arrived at. It was only when he saw the name 'Botany Bay' that Chekov realised where they were.
  • We really don't know how common life-bearing planets are in real life anyway. Yes we're pretty sure there's nothing living on the Moon, and nothing above the microbial level on Mars, but we don't even know if places like Europa might have life, and we really don't know anything at all about how common life might be in other solar systems. Maybe it actually is difficult to find a planet without life of any kind on it.
    • Hell, as of 2020, there's circumstantial evidence of life on Venus of all places. Life, uh, finds a way.
  • Basically, Genesis was doomed to failure, protomatter or no, except as the best planetkiller weapon ever. Given that various iterations of Enterprise have found life in exceptionally unlikely places, there's pretty much nowhere to set off Genesis without destroying pre-existing lifeforms.

     Forgot About Our WMD 
  • As the main characters frequently point out, Genesis is the most powerful weapon in probably the whole galaxy. Why wasn't this technology dug up and weaponized by the Federation for its later wars? There wouldn't have been a Wolf 359 or Dominion War if Federation starships could just do Genesis at their targets.
    • At the end of the third movie, everyone with the potential knowledge to recreate Genesis is either dead, or has no desire to share its secrets with Starfleet. It's given a brief Shout-Out in Voyager as something deemed too dangerous to exist (remember, if we've got it, it's only a matter of time before they've got it too; see also atomic weapons).
    • "Genesis was perfectly named— the creation of life, not death." Sarek hit it on the nose in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (although he was incorrect in saying it was the Klingons who first shed blood to possess its secrets). Only bad people would use the Genesis device as a weapon.
      • Incidentally, I noticed that Klingon line, too, but I actually wondered if that wasn't the official Federation story as to what happened with Genesis. Starfleet Command looked at the facts: a known war criminal who we marooned rather than bringing to justice, and never bothered to check up on, hijacked a heavily-armed Federation starship, which he used to attack a science station and a Constitution-class battlecruiser, and steal what was potentially the most powerful weapon of mass destruction ever built; and decided it was better for everyone if Klingons did it.
      • Or, more likely, Khan wasn't relevant to the topic at hand. The topic was the Klingon ambassador demanding the extradition of Kirk over the death of Kruge and his crew. When it comes to the specific conflict being debated, Klingons did shed the first blood, and did so attempting to possess the secrets of Genesis. What Sarek said was entirely an accurate description of events.
    • Aside from Carol Marcus, everyone involved with Project Genesis is dead and all their data was lost when the Genesis Device destroyed Reliant and Regula 1. Once they knew it wouldn't work as a terraforming tool, there's no way the Federation would give funding to develop it as a weapon of mass destruction. The other problem is that if the Federation had the technology at the Battle of Wolf 359 and defeated the Borg, that would have made them even more determined to assimilate the Federation to get that knowledge.
    • Because it isn't. Bones is horrified by the device's destructive potential, but what the hell does he know about weapons of mass destruction? A Federation starship even in the 2280s could probably wipe out all life on a planet just using photon torpedoes, or setting off some kind of phlebotinum reaction in the atmosphere. Contrary to popular opinion, there is more to creating a usable weapon that simply the ability to make really big explosions. Alternatively, Starfleet may simply have decided that the technology is too powerful and too unstable to use in starship combat. It's revealed in Star Trek III that the device uses Protomatter, a ridiculously unstable energy source, to fuel the Genesis Reaction.
      • That explanation is basically confirmed in the Genesis Wave series of novels: Starfleet realized that if the Borg ever assimilated Genesis technology and combined it with their transwarp network, it would be Game Over for the galaxy.
      • TOS established that at the very least the Constitution-class Federation starships of the 2260s could render a planet uninhabitable (and since Starfleet has bothered to make a General Order specifically to order that — one that Scotty quickly recognizes from memory — it can be expected it's not just the Connies that can do that). So, indeed, the destructive potential is far from unprecedented.
      • Federation ships might have to do it in a more calculated way... firing phasers at fault lines, picking specific targets with torpedoes, detonating special warheads high in the atmosphere. Which is pretty different than "Press button, cause genocide." Also, there's the whole matter of "render uninhabitable"... if you use the Genesis Device, not only do you destroy the enemy, but hey look! A nice, habitable planet that retains all of the old one's strategic value! How thoughtful!
    • Is a device that works on planetary surfaces going to be especially useful in space battles anyway? For all we know it might be impossible to use it against a fleet target because of some interplay of gravitational effects or materials present or something. If so, since the Federation aren't customarily interested in razing inhabited planets (themselves usually covered by orbital defenses), it's not actually very useful as a weapon.
    • The Genesis wave may be incapable of penetrating shields; the Enterprise had no shields in the Mutara Nebula. And it can't catch ships with a warp drive. And as noted above, starships can devastate planets anyway. Combined with the Protomatter and the unknown cost and complexity of setting it up, and it may just not have been effective enough to override the Federation's ethical objections to using it.
      • The Genesis wave wasn't the problem. The problem was that when the bomb went off they would have been stuck in the solid rock of the newly forming planet. But that's nonsense as well since full impulse power (warp .5) can cross a solar system in a very short time (see TMP). Unless they were moving only on thrusters. But then how would they have flown around fighting Khan?
    • Another factor to consider: using a weapon against the Borg lets you kill a few of them (or a few ships) but then they adapt to it. The absolute last thing the Federation needs on its hands is a Borg Collective that is capable of tossing Genesis torpedoes around.
    • Given that the Federation and the Klingon Empire are getting along pretty well at the start of TNG, and the Klingons were absolutely livid about Genesis's existence in the Kirk-era movies, it's likely that an outright ban on all research into Genesis was one of the stipulations of their improved Picard-era relationship. We know the Federation sticks to such agreements with regards to not equipping their fleet with cloaking devices; Genesis weaponry, like the genetic augmentation of sapients, is probably another thing that's banned by their equivalent of a Geneva Convention.

  • Kirk needs to go through some procedure to show a Star Fleet Captain and a Veteran Medical Officer some classified information that obviously neither of them knew. Earlier, Chekov and Terrell are sickeningly persuaded to tell Khan what they were doing on the planet. Terrell, an officer with an equal rank of Spock, Star ship captain, and his commanding officer, would presumably know nothing about the Genesis project. They were, after all, at the disposal of the scientists, so if they were curious what it was Starfleet had them working on for the scientists, the scientists easily could have (and in the case of David, probably would have) simply told them that they didn't need to know. If anything, all they would have known was that it created life. This is presumably all that they would have known, since Spock is really only guessing (correctly, as it turns out) what the Genesis Device would do to living people, and since Khan allegedly has a superior intellect, then presumably, he would have made the same unusual leap in logic, presumably. But that still leaves the bizarre nature of how the officers on the Reliant all knew what was going on. For all we know, they were just given very strange orders like "find a completely lifeless planet."
    • Or it's quite possible that Terrell was fully briefed, since his ship was assigned long-term to the project.
    • I'd assume that Terrell knew more than Spock did because the project was relevant to Terrell's orders, while Spock was doing something entirely unrelated.
      • Exactly: Chekov's log entry specifies that they're looking for a Genesis test site.
    • It's just like classification is handled now, there are two factors determining whether a person can be told classified info; security clearance, and need-to-know. Spock and Terrell could have the exact same clearance level, but Spock simply doesn't have a reason why he should know about Genesis, while Terrell has a very good reason to know about it.

    Space Rodents 
  • How does a rat get on a space station anyway?
    • Escaped experimental animal?
    • Escaped pet?
    • Inside a shuttlecraft, inside transported cargo, inside cargo dropped off by shuttlecraft or small ships instead of transporting... Rats are invasive and clever, and there are plenty of openings aside from personnel transporters. They're not used for everything.

    Helmets Off 
  • It is made very clear that Ceti Alpha V must be absolutely lifeless to be used for the Genesis experiment. Yet on entering the Botany Bay Chekov and Terrell take off their helmets. Are they not at all concerned that the microbes they are now breathing onto the planet surface will contaminate the planet? Becomes academic when Khan and his crew show up of course.
    • At that point, it was already clear that the planet was contaminated. The cargo container that Khan and Company were using as a shelter indicated that someone was living, or had been living on the planet; disqualifying it as a Project Genesis test site. Thus, the the instant they found Khan's shelter, the mission changed from a life form survey to an investigation of a structure of human origin that absolutely should not be there.
    • They're both waving around tricorders. One presumes that they worked out pretty quickly what was and was not easily breathable.

     Blow it up before it can blow itself up 
  • Khan starts the Genesis Device countdown to activation, and the energy wave is detected by the Enterprise. They don't have the power to run, and no way of making the necessary repairs in time. However, they were positioned at pretty much point-blank range with a perfect target-aspect on Reliant. Why not just open fire and obliterate the Reliant, destroying the Genesis Device in the process? That would stop the detonation, kill Khan, and Spock wouldn't need to dive head-first into hard radiation.
    • Will destroying the Genesis device prevent it from blowing up, or will it just set it off earlier? That it requires a "build-up" implies that the device wouldn't be at full power if it was destroyed early, but that might still be more than enough power to destroy the Enterprise parked right next to Reliant.
    • Also, the nebula prevents the normal targeting systems of the Enterprise from performing reliably. Trying to destroy Reliant under those conditions might take longer than 4 minutes. Also, the nebula prevents the Enterprise's shields from functioning, so destroying the Reliant, a ship with an anti-matter warp core, while parked right next to it is not necessarily safe either.


    Wonderful Stuff, That Romulan Ale 
  • This beverage has appeared in both Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which seems to point to it having been an invention of Nick Meyer's (writer/director for both films). I think it was in other films too, but that's really not the point. Is it a hard liquor or a wine? It doesn't look carbonated, so that rules out the possibility of it being an Ale as Earthers would refer to it. Also, the way people drink it varies between these two movies (and they are shown actually drinking it, as opposed to Star Trek V or Nemesis.) In Star Trek II, for example, McCoy pours a third of a tall glass out as a serving for him and Kirk, each. They then proceed to sip it as though it were a hard liquor. But then, in Star Trek VI, Kirk is shown downing an entire wine glass (ostensibly a pretty good-sized one) at a sitting. Maybe I'm just not much of a drinker, but I've never seen anyone down an entire wine glass full of hard liquor in one go without becoming violently ill; i.e., he's drinking it as though it were wine. Which is it, hard liquor or wine? If the two different versions (II and VI's) are of different proofs, why do they look identical in appearance?
    • The name seems to be a minor mistranslation or even a marketing name - Romulans probably called it something that got translated to "ale" and the name stuck. The main thing we know about it is that it leaves a nasty hangover, but that doesn't prevent it from being a drink you can just belt down in one go. In fact, the pronounced hangover effects might be one of the excuses for it being illegal, along with the political reasons: it's not just an alcohol hangover, but there's something else in it that's toxic to many non-Romulans that gives it the extra punch. Still, even if you can gulp it down, most people in the Federation probably won't because it's expensive and rare. Sip it and enjoy it slowly, to make it last longer.
    • "Ale" likely is a mistranslation, or perhaps just easier to pronounce than the Romulan name. As to why they sip and gulp, it could be like some of our liquors. You can sip a shot of rye whiskey, or mix it with ginger ale if you're sharing it around socially. Maybe they're having Romulan Ale and 7-Up with the Klingon delegation. What is more fitting than adding water to the wine at a diplomatic function? Strangely, Romulan Ale is bright blue no matter what it is mixed with, and the hangover effect is not diluted.
    • There's also the whole Neutral Zone issue. Relations between the Federation and the Star Empire are in a tense Cold War-like state; Romulan ale would be analogous to Cuban cigars in the United States. McCoy's line about "a border ship bringing a case every now and then across the Neutral Zone" implies that it was smuggled, and that he's got connections to get "the good stuff."
    • I get the impression it's meant to be a kind of beer in terms of what you do with it. Just not its composition. I.e. you drink it down and you get drunk from it.
    • It's extremely potent stuff, owing to the differences between Vulcan/Romulan and Human biology. The Romulans probably knock it back like beer, for humans it's more of high-proof liquor, described as "instant drunk."
    • "I've never seen anyone down an entire wine glass full of hard liquor in one go without becoming violently ill" - The OP has never been in an Edinburgh pub on a Saturday night!
     The effect of Ceti Eels in the brain 
  • According to Khan, people under the effect of Ceti Eels are extremely vulnerable to persuasion. However, the movie makes it seem like people under that effect are only vulnerable to persuasion by Khan, and no one else. For example, when Kirk finds Terrell and Chekov on the station, shouldn't they obey HIS every command due to the effects of the eels? Why are they so loyal to the instructions Khan originally gave them? Shouldn't they be vulnerable to persuasion from literally anyone?
    • The words Khan uses when describing the effect of the eels are, "this has the effect of rendering the subject extremely susceptible to...ahh...suggestion." Khan's words suggest it's like a hypnotic effect. It seems likely then that Khan implanted strong suggestions of absolute loyalty to him immediately after the initial infection and that he trusted those initial suggestions to override later attempts by someone else at controlling them, at least for the short term. It's also possible that the period of extreme susceptibility to suggestion doesn't last very long. In that case Khan implanted loyalty to him and then waited until they were no longer as suggestable before leaving them at the Genesis lab, knowing his suggestions would hold as long as he needed them to. Note that the only way Khan could have discovered how this form of mind control worked and practiced doing it prior to Chekov and Terrell showing up was on the twenty of his own people who were infected.