Study Guide

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Summary

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Summary


In the previous film, The Search for Spock, the crew of Enterprise broke every law in the Starfleet handbook to bring their buddy Spock back to life. They even sacrificed Enterprise herself. Now stranded on the planet Vulcan in a Klingon spacecraft, the crew decides to return to Earth and accept punishment for their actions.

Meanwhile, a gigantic probe has appeared in Federation space. It's headed directly toward Earth, disabling the electronics of any ship that gets in its way. It's also releasing a bizarre audio signal that sounds strangely familiar to our ears.

The probe wreaks havoc when it reaches Earth, causing widespread power outages and kicking up extreme weather events. Starfleet determines that the audio signal is an attempt at communication, but lacking the ability to understand the message, they worry that the end is near.

As they fly back to Earth, the Enterprise crew learns about this sticky situation. Spock, in a stroke of genius, realizes that the audio signal is a modulated version of the song of the humpback whale—a species that has been extinct for hundreds of years.

The crew decides to time travel back to the 20th century and snag some humpbacks because that's apparently an easy thing to do. Once they make their quantum leap, they discover humpbacks in San Francisco and set their cloaked ship down in Golden Gate Park.

Kirk separates the crew into teams. Uhura and Chekov will search for a nuclear reactor they can use to recharge the ship; Sulu, McCoy, and Scotty will work on constructing a whale tank; and Kirk and Spock will be in charge of finding some humpbacks.

After discovering a local whale institute, Kirk and Spock meet Gillian Taylor, an expert in the field. She has two humpbacks in her care—Gracie and George—but they're going to be released into the wild in a few days, throwing a wrench into Kirk's plans. Kirk tries to convince Gillian that he can take care of the whales instead.

Meanwhile, the crew is taking care of business. McCoy and Scotty trick the head of a plastics factory into giving them the raw materials needed for the tank, while Uhura and Chekov have successfully located a nuclear reactor in a naval vessel.

When Uhura and Chekov perform their heist, however, things go wrong. Although Uhura makes it back to the ship, Chekov is arrested by the Navy and injured in a subsequent escape attempt. He ends up in a coma and is brought to a local hospital.

The next morning, Gillian learns that the whales were released early. They're already gone. Furious, she heads to Golden Gate Park, where Kirk told her he was staying. The crew beams her aboard the ship and reveals the whole insane truth to her.

Before they can snag the whales, however, they must get Chekov out of the hospital. McCoy, Kirk, and Gillian rush over in disguises and smuggle him out, and McCoy easily heals their wounded comrade.

Finally, they pick up the whales, who are currently being chased by a group of whalers. Those schmucks don't have a chance against our crew's futuristic technology, clearly.

And now...we go back to the future. We've been waiting so long to say that.

The crew arrives mere moments after they left, with the probe still in the middle of its assault. After they crash-land into the water, Kirk releases the whales, and they start singing their song. The probe responds in kind before slowly backing away from Earth. It leaves.

Their mission complete, the crew must now face their punishment. As it turns out, all charges are dropped except for one against Kirk. His punishment is to be demoted from admiral to captain, and he's given control of the newly rebuilt Enterprise—which, of course, is no punishment at all. It's exactly what the guy wants.

In the film's closing moments, the crew reassembles aboard the latest and greatest edition of the USS Enterprise and prepares for yet another adventure into the wild unknown.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • We start with a dedication to the victims of the space shuttle Columbia accident, which occurred a few weeks before Star Trek began shooting.
    • A variation of the main theme of the series swells, and the title card explodes into outer space. We're already off to an action-packed start.
    • We see a ship pass a nebula. This is the USS Saratoga. Inside, Starfleet officers—they're the good guys—discuss a probe that's approaching them. The captain tells the communications officer to send a message of peace.
    • Meanwhile, the captain calls Starfleet to relay her findings. She says that the probe is heading directly toward Earth.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • We cut to Starfleet HQ on Earth. A council is watching a video that shows a group of Klingons creeping aboard Enterprise before the ship suddenly explodes.
    • (In case you're confused, this is what happens at the end of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.)
    • When the video cuts to a shot of Admiral James T. Kirk, a Klingon representative pauses it. He angrily calls Kirk "the quintessential devil in these matters," which is an amazing insult.
    • Even worse, the Klingon calls Kirk a "terrorist." He claims that Kirk is responsible for the murder of that crew, as well as the subsequent theft of their ship.
    • The ambassador accuses the United Federation of Planets of instigating a conspiracy by simultaneously making a treaty with the Klingons and subverting it through Kirk.
    • The Klingon talks about the Genesis Project, which is another bit from The Search for Spock. All you need to know is that he sees this as part of the conspiracy. Also, chemtrails, anyone?
    • Finally, the Klingon gets to his point: Kirk must be extradited to the Klingon Empire for punishment.
    • Someone speaks up in opposition. This person calls Klingon justice "a unique point of view."
    • The speaker approaches the front of the room. It's Sarek, Spock's father.
    • Sarek says that the Klingon is full of it. The Genesis Project wasn't a weapon: it was used to create life. Just look at the name. Duh.
    • Sarek also says that the Klingons attacked Enterprise first. The ambassador responds by calling Sarek an "intellectual puppet"—and now we feel like we're watching Alex Jones' radio show.
    • Sarek continues. The Klingons attacked another Federation ship. They killed Kirk's son. Isn't self-defense justified in that case?
    • The president of the council interrupts. Kirk will be charged with "nine violations of Starfleet regulations," but nobody is getting extradited anywhere.
    • The Klingon ambassador gets all fire and brimstone, saying that there will be no peace as long as Kirk is alive. He peaces out.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • The scene shifts to a desert landscape coated in an orange haze. This seems to be planet Vulcan, home of Spock and Sarek.
    • Aw, yeah, there it is—captain's log time. Kirk says that the crew is in the "third month of [their] Vulcan exile." They've been here since the events of The Search for Spock.
    • Dr. "Bones" McCoy recently renamed their commandeered Klingon vessel the HMS Bounty. This is a reference to a famous British naval mutiny.
    • The crew has a decision to make: should they return to Earth and accept their punishment? Everyone agrees, so it's all set—they'll leave the next day.
    • Kirk and McCoy take a stroll. McCoy complains about having to travel in a stinky Klingon vessel, but Kirk suggests that the cloaking system might come in handy.
    • Suddenly, Kirk looks up to the sky and smiles. There's a figure in a white robe standing on an overhanging cliff. We think we can guess who it is…
    • Aw, drat—we thought for sure it was Luke Skywalker. Actually, it's Spock—Enterprise's first mate and introvert extraordinaire.
    • Spock takes off his hood as he enters a building. He orders a computer to "resume testing."
    • The computer asks Spock a rapid-fire series of questions, touching on everything from history to chemistry to chess. Spock nails the questions with little effort.
    • But then a question comes up that stumps him. It's pretty simple, actually: "how do you feel?"
    • Spock stands perplexed, and the question repeats on a loop. He's rescued from this existential crisis by his mother, Amanda, who appears and asks what's going on.
    • (Spock's father is Vulcan, but his mother is human. That makes him half-human and half-Vulcan.)
    • (While we're giving context, we should note that Spock is undergoing a recovery period. He died back in Star Trek II and was resurrected in Stark Trek III. It was a rough couple of years.)
    • Upon hearing the question, Amanda explains that Spock should be able to answer it easily because he's half-human.
    • (Jeez, more context. Unlike humans, Vulcans are unemotional by nature. They make decisions exclusively using logic. Because he's half-human, Spock has a foot in both camps.)
    • Amanda explains that Spock is leaning on his Vulcan side because he's undergoing his recovery in a Vulcan environment.
    • Spock responds that he "can't wait here to find" his feelings because he needs to go to Earth with the crew of Enterprise.
    • Amused, Amanda tells Spock that he's only alive today because the crew of Enterprise made the illogical decision to risk their lives to save him.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • We're back on Saratoga as the crew members look at sensor data. As they do, a strangely familiar squealing sound rises in the background.
    • The probe approaches the ship. It's a gigantic, sleek cylinder with a beam of energy holding an orb below. Strange, to say the least.
    • Suddenly, the probe emits an energy wave that shuts down all of Saratoga's systems, leaving the ship on reserve power.
    • The crew tries to contact Starfleet, but it doesn't seem like the message is going through.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • Back in San Francisco (where Starfleet HQ is located), the Federation president asks an admiral for a status report. This is some high-stakes stuff.
    • The probe is still heading toward Earth. Several Klingon ships have been destroyed, and a few Starfleet vessels have been disabled.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • On Vulcan, our heroes are putting the finishing touches on Bounty.
    • Before they leave, Kirk says goodbye to Saavik, who's staying on Vulcan. Saavik is an officer from Enterprise we met back in Star Trek II.
    • Saavik tells Kirk that his son died "most bravely." That happened in the last movie. You'd be really lost if you hadn't seen that, huh?
    • Spock boards the ship. He addresses Kirk as "admiral" rather than Jim, which shows that he's still not back to his normal self.
    • McCoy is skeptical that Spock will be able to do his job in this state, but Kirk waves his concerns aside.
    • And with that, Bounty lifts off.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • The probe approaches a space station. Officers try to order an evacuation, but it's too late—the probe has already killed their power.
    • Oh, no—the probe is right above Earth. As it sits there, the luminescent orb glows brighter, seemingly causing a series of weather disturbances on the planet's surface.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • Bounty swoops through space. They'll be home in an hour and a half. That's shorter than our commute.
    • Commander Pavel Chekov observes that they haven't seen any Federation ships yet. That's weird.
    • Similarly, Nyota Uhura, the ship's communications officer, has been receiving all sorts of strange signals.
    • McCoy tells Spock that he's glad to have him back.
    • As they talk, it becomes clear that McCoy wants to know what it was like to be dead. Morbid.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Back on Earth, clouds swirl. Lightning strikes. Water shoots up from the ocean. It's getting apocalyptic up in here.
    • At Starfleet HQ, it's learned that power is out across the planet. Cloud coverage has reached 100 percent.
    • The president talks with Sarek, who suggests that they send out a distress signal "while [they] still have time."
    • That's ominous.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Bounty receives the Federation's distress signal. Kirk chews scenery like a goat chews on grass as they watch the president's message.
    • Spock doesn't think that the probe is intentionally causing damage, but McCoy passionately disagrees.
    • Our Vulcan buddy goes even further, arguing that the probe's message might not even be directed at mankind. After all, it's not aimed at land—it's aimed at the ocean.
    • Kirk gets an idea. He tells Uhura to modulate the audio "accounting for density and temperature and salinity factors," which is a fancy way of saying "make it sound like it's underwater."
    • The sound modulates until settling into a much gentler register. Spock immediately deduces what's going on, but he has bad news—they have no way to respond to this message.
    • Spock abruptly leaves the bridge to "test [his] theory." He browses through a computer screen until he finds what he's looking for: a picture of a humpback whale.
    • McCoy asks the obvious question: who in the bloody universe wants to chat with whales?
    • Humpbacks went extinct in the 21st century, Kirk observes. Could this probe be coming to Earth to find out why it lost contact?
    • Since humpbacks are extinct, Earth is in a tough spot. Humans wouldn't know how to replicate a whale song if they tried.
    • Kirk suggests blowing up the probe (because of course), but Spock says that this would be futile. He has an alternate suggestion: time travel.
    • For real? This is happening?
    • Kirk gives the order to prepare for "time warp" because apparently that is a thing you can just do. He tells Scotty to start preparing a makeshift humpback pen as well.
    • As usual, McCoy points out the absurdity of all of this. Also, as usual, Kirk laughs off McCoy's concerns.
    • Starfleet receives a message from Kirk explaining his plan. The signal cuts out as the weather intensifies, however, sending wind and rain streaming into the building.
    • On Bounty, Spock is finishing up the calculations for time travel. In his head. Think about that the next time you're in algebra class.
    • Our heroes shoot to land on the Pacific coast of the United States in the 20th century. They'll need to slingshot around the sun to achieve this.
    • The ship leaps into warp drive. By the time they reach Warp 5, the ship starts rattling and falling apart. This is going well.
    • As they approach Warp 10, which they'll need to hit as they slingshot around the sun, a rupture forms in the side of the ship. Oh, no.
    • Somehow, however, they make it. Phew.
    • We're treated to a wonderfully '80s sequence of computerized imagery that presumably represents time travel.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • Inside the ship, the crew wakes in a daze. They must have passed out while traveling through time.
    • The crew members look through the viewfinder and see Earth. So far, so good.
    • By analyzing the pollution content of the atmosphere, Spock determines that they "have arrived at the latter half of the 20th century." Score.
    • The crew members cloak the ship and head toward the West Coast. As they approach, they receive whale songs over the radio. And they're coming from San Francisco.
    • Scotty, the ship's chief engineer, asks Kirk to come down to the engine room. He has bad news: time travel has drained the "crystal" they use to power the ship. They only have 24 hours to stay cloaked, and they'll have no way to break out of Earth's atmosphere afterward.
    • Spock has an idea. Nuclear power was used in this era (and abandoned soon after), so they can use photons from a nuclear reactor to charge up the crystal. He suggests that they'll be able to find one in a naval vessel.
    • Kirk orders Sulu, the pilot, to land the ship in Golden Gate Park, which is totally the most incognito place to hide a spacecraft.
    • Kirk breaks the crew up into teams: Uhura and Chekov will take care of the "uranium problem"; McCoy, Scotty, and Sulu will work on the whale tank; and Kirk and Spock will find themselves some whales.
    • Kirk warns the crew to be wary: the customs here will be strange and unfamiliar. Also, these people haven't ever seen aliens before.
    • In response, Spock rips off a piece of his robe and fashions it into a headband, which he uses to cover his pointy ears and eyebrows. Amazing.
    • The cloaked ship lands beside two bickering garbage men who are nearly bowled over by the resulting surge of air pressure. The ship's hatch opens, which to them seems to be appearing out of thin air. They run away as fast as they can.
    • The crew emerges. This is totally subtle, guys.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • A sweet '80s musical transition brings us to the bustling streets of San Francisco. Kirk nearly gets hit by a cab and curses at the driver.
    • The crew is shocked by this bizarre world. They even use money here. Can you imagine?
    • Spock and Kirk leave to get some of this "money." They end up in a pawn shop, where Kirk sells a pair of vintage 18th-century glasses for 100 bucks.
    • Hilariously, Kirk tells the crew not to "splurge" as he hands out this veritable fortune. They split up into their predetermined groups.
    • Spock and Kirk see an ad for two humpback whales—George and Gracie—at the Cetacean Institute in Sausalito. That's convenient.
    • Spock and Kirk try to get on a bus, but they're denied because they don't have exact change. They don't even know what that is.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • We catch up with Sulu, McCoy, and Scotty.
    • Scotty and McCoy are discussing how to make the whale tank, but Sulu is looking around just grinning like a Cheshire cat.
    • Scotty would normally use transparent aluminum, but that hasn't been invented yet. They need an alternative. But what?
    • Our heroes see a sign: a giant ad for the yellow pages.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • The scene shifts to Chekov and Uhura as they go through the yellow pages in a phone booth.
    • Chekov asks a police officer to direct him to "the naval base in Alameda" where they store "nuclear vessels," which he pronounces as "wessels." The officer can't understand a word.
    • Chekov and Uhura try asking passersby, but no one gives them the time of day.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • A punk rocker blares music on the bus across from Spock and Kirk. Kirk asks him to turn it down, but the kid just pumps it up even louder.
    • Finally, Spock gives the punk a Vulcan nerve pinch, knocking him unconscious and incidentally shutting off the boombox. This is met with uproarious applause.
    • Spock asks Kirk why he's been using so many "colorful metaphors," by which he means "curse words." Kirk says that it's just the custom of this era. Social commentary FTW.
    • Kirk and Spock arrive at the Cetacean Institute and join a tour. It's led by Dr. Gillian Taylor, an assistant director at the facility.
    • The tour is lovely and informative. Gillian emphasizes that whales are fundamentally gentle and humanlike—which is ironic because humans are currently driving whales to extinction.
    • We see some gruesome video of whale hunting. Spock responds by saying that it is "not logical" to hunt a species to extinction.
    • Gillian leads the group to the large seawater tank where George and Gracie live.
    • To Kirk, this is the jackpot. They can just beam the whales up to the ship from here.
    • The tour continues. Gillian explains that they will soon be releasing the whales into the open sea, which might throw a wrench into Kirk's plans.
    • The group descends into a large, windowed room where everyone can look directly at the whales. It's magical. We even hear the whales singing.
    • Suddenly, a strange figure swims up to the whales. It's Spock, that Vulcan weirdo.
    • Spock rests against a whale and places his hands on its head. By now, the crowd has noticed, and Gillian rushes up to the surface with Kirk in hot pursuit.
    • Furious, Gillian confronts Spock. Kirk pretends to be on Gillian's side, but Spock blows his cover by calling him "admiral" and talking about the extinction of humpbacks in the past tense.
    • Gillian tells Spock and Kirk to leave, or she'll call the cops.
    • Spock and Kirk stroll past the Golden Gate Bridge. Kirk tells Spock that he doesn't always have to tell the truth, which is something Vulcans always do.
    • Either way, Spock was able to telepathically communicate with the whales. That's a good thing.
    • Back at the institute, Gillian is wistfully looking at the whales when her coworker Bob approaches. They talk about how sad she is that the whales are leaving.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • Uhura and Chekov are walking along the beach when they see a giant naval carrier. Chekov contacts Kirk and tells him the good news.
    • Here's some even better news: the naval vessel is called Enterprise.
    • The plan is to beam inside, grab the photons, and leave before anyone knows what's up. Sounds easy enough.
    • As Kirk and Spock stroll, a blue truck approaches. It's Gillian. Kirk flirts for a bit until she offers them a ride. That's that classic Kirk charm we've heard all about.
    • Gillian asks what Spock and Kirk were doing at the tank. Kirk responds by asking her what will happen when they release the whales.
    • Sadly, Gillian says that the whales will have to "take their chances." Then she brings up the extinction comment, observing that Spock used the past tense. Observant.
    • Spock's response is strange; he says, "Gracie is pregnant." Gillian hits the brakes and turns to him. How could he possibly know that?
    • Kirk says that isn't important. He can't tell Gillian where they're from, but he promises that they're here to help. Of course, he just has to invite her out to dinner as well. Because he's Kirk, you know?
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • We catch up with Scotty and McCoy at the Plexicorp plastics factory. McCoy is pretending that Scotty is a famous Scottish professor there for an inspection. It works like a charm.
    • Meanwhile, Sulu is admiring a helicopter. He asks the pilot if he can ask some questions about it.
    • Back at Plexicorp, Dr. Nichols, the head of the factory, brings Scotty and McCoy into his office.
    • Scotty tells Nichols that his factory has a problem: they're still using polymers. He claims that he can show them a production method that would reduce the width of their plastic by one-sixth. That's huge. Or tiny.
    • McCoy suggests that Scotty use Nichols' computer, which Scotty hilariously thinks is voice-automated. He even uses the mouse like a microphone.
    • After getting the hang of things, Scotty performs a series of insane, rapid-fire calculations that explain the process of creating "transparent aluminum."
    • Obviously, Scotty and McCoy are trying to make a deal, so they step away for a sidebar. McCoy is worried about changing history, but Scotty is totally blasé. Go for it, dudes?
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • Gillian pulls up to Golden Gate Park and drops off Spock. He transports back to the ship immediately.
    • Kirk and Gillian go on a date at a pizza restaurant. Kirk is laying on game so thick we can hardly breathe.
    • Game having been laid, Kirk makes Gillian an offer—he can take the whales somewhere they'll never be found by hunters.
    • Gillian laughs. How reliable can Kirk be if he has a friend like Spock?
    • Suddenly, Kirk's tricorder starts beeping. Gillian assumes that it's a pager.
    • Like your dad at a family dinner, Kirk just can't wait and answers the call. Gillian hears Scotty talking all sorts of technical gobbledygook. As usual, subtle.
    • Gillian jokingly says that Kirk is from outer space. Kirk responds that no, he's not from outer space—he just works there.
    • Laughing, Kirk says that he will tell her the truth. He gives her the whole spiel: he's from the 23rd century, he's seeking to repopulate humpback whales, and so on.
    • Gillian is annoyed and disbelieving. It doesn't matter, anyway, she explains. The whales are being shipped out the next day.
    • Upon hearing this, Kirk hurriedly grabs the check and leaves the restaurant.
  • Scene 19

    Scene 19

    • We cut to the USS Enterprise. No, not the starship—the naval vessel.
    • A guard patrols the narrow hallways of the ship. Meanwhile, Uhura and Chekov use their tricorders to find the reactor before slapping on their photon-stealing device.
    • At the same time, Gillian drops off Kirk at Golden Gate Park. Gillian still doesn't believe him, but he continues his smooth talking without hesitation.
    • As Gillian pulls away, she sees a flash of light and turns around. Kirk is gone. Huh?
    • Aboard the ship, Kirk gets a status update. The whale tank will be ready the next morning, and the uranium crew is in the middle of its heist.
    • The photon heist is taking forever, however. By now, the Navy has noticed that its power is being drained and is monitoring the situation.
    • Finally, the deed is done. Chekov and Uhura call for an evac, but the signal isn't getting through. Uh-oh. At the same time, the Navy has discovered them and is sending guards down.
    • Luckily, our heroes manage to contact Scotty. Uhura beams out first. Before Chekov can be transported, however, the guards surround him. That's bad.
    • A naval officer interrogates Chekov and mocks his Starfleet ID card. The interrogators are particularly skeptical of Chekov because he's Russian.
    • As the interrogators discuss Chekov's Russian-ness, Chekov grabs his phaser and points it at them. They don't relent, so he pulls the trigger—but nothing happens. Typical shoddy Romulan craftsmanship.
    • Chekov makes a break for it, and a huge chase ensues. Finally, he reaches the surface, but he falls off a platform as he runs. It's a pretty nasty fall.
  • Scene 20

    Scene 20

    • The crew members are worried about Chekov, but they continue their preparations.
    • Gillian arrives at the institute. To her horror, she finds the whales' pen empty. She learns from Bob that the whales were taken away the previous night.
    • Our girl freaks, slapping Bobby right across the grill. She rushes into her car and hurries away. We think we can guess where she's going...
    • Meanwhile, a helicopter flies over the bay carrying a large, flat object beneath. It's piloted by Sulu. Groovy.
    • The 'copter is above Golden Gate Park when Gillian arrives. She leaps out of her car and sees it passing the object to a floating man. That would trip us out.
    • Gillian runs around like a chicken with its head cut off until she collides with the ship. Kirk observes this from within and teleports her aboard.
    • Gillian is still screaming when she rematerializes, shocked that Kirk told her the truth.
    • Kirk shows Gillian the whale tank, which is almost complete. That's when she drops the bad news—the whales are gone.
    • Kirk is frustrated. Before they can discuss it further, however, he receives a message from Uhura. They've found Chekov at Mercy Hospital. He's in critical condition, and they've got to save him.
    • What follows is an amazing cut: we go from the inside of a spaceship to the inside of the hospital, with McCoy, Gillian, and Kirk dressed up as doctors.
    • Our heroes locate Chekov. With Gillian posing as a patient, they talk their way into the room where surgery is about to be performed on Chekov.
    • McCoy gets to work with his space-age medical technology. The other doctors are understandably confused, so Kirk locks them in another room.
    • After a minute or so, Chekov wakes up. He's alive. We're happy as can be.
    • Our heroes grab Chekov and make a run for it. Hijinks ensue. Luckily for everyone involved, they're transported out in the nick of time.
    • Back at the park, Kirk asks Gillian for the whales' tracking frequency. She's confused—she wants to come with them. That's a definite no, Kirk replies.
    • As Kirk transports away, however, Gillian leaps into his arms. They're both transported aboard.
    • Finally, Bounty launches. Everything is going swell so far.
    • There's just one problem: Spock is having trouble making the time travel calculations. That seems like a crucial detail.
    • The ship makes contact with the whales. We see them lazily swimming through the ocean in the ship's viewfinder.
    • There's another signal coming through, however. It's from a whaling ship. Those scoundrels.
    • Our heroes leap into action. They swoop toward the whaling vessel, blocking their harpoon with the body of the ship.
    • Bounty uncloaks, sending the whalers into a panic. They have no idea what this gigantic craft might be.
    • Meanwhile, Scotty transports the whales into the tank. It seems like the structure might buckle at first, but in the end, it works perfectly.
    • Our heroes are ready to go into warp speed. Ever the player, Kirk shows Gillian the whale tank while they make preparations.
    • Gillian is in awe. Kirk tells her that she should have stayed behind, but she says that she's the best person to take care of these whales in the future.
    • By now, the ship is hitting rip-roaring speeds. Things aren't looking good, however. They might not even reach the sun. In desperation, Spock takes direct control of the thrusters.
    • Spock nails it. Our heroes once again arc around the sun and…
    • It seems like it worked. This suspicion is confirmed when the power starts flickering and our heroes see the probe on the view screen.
    • The ship is breaking apart. Our heroes lose control and crash into San Francisco Bay.
    • Desperate, Kirk runs down to the whale tanks as the rest of the crew evacuates. The room is mostly flooded at this point, so Kirk frees Scotty and Gillian and sends them up to the surface.
    • After Scotty and Gillian are safe, Kirk rushes into the room and frees the whales from their tank. By now, the rest of the crew members are standing on top of the ship, so Kirk swims up to meet them.
    • To the crew members' joy, they see the whales swimming away. They're not singing, though.
    • Why?
    • After a long moment, it finally happens—the song begins. The probe slowly backs away from Earth and responds with some music of its own.
    • This goes on for a little bit. Then, out of nowhere, the glowing orb retracts into the probe, and it flies away from Earth. Talk about anticlimactic.
    • The crew celebrates as the weather calms and power is restored to Starfleet.
  • Scene 21

    Scene 21

    • We're in the same Starfleet council room where we began the movie. The president asks to see the "accused," and the Enterprise crew comes to the front of the room.
    • Spock joins the crew, though he is not being charged with anything. He says that he wants to "stand with [his] shipmates."
    • The president lists the crew's many crimes. Kirk pleads guilty on behalf of the group.
    • Due to the whole saving-the-world thing, however, the crew is acquitted of all charges except for one: disobeying a superior officer. That one's aimed solely at Admiral Kirk.
    • This means that Kirk is reduced in rank to captain, and he will be put in charge of a starship. Though this is framed as a punishment, Kirk (like everyone else in the room) is as pleased as can be.
    • Everyone celebrates. Kirk embraces Gillian, who's now decked out in appropriately futuristic digs. She's going to be working on a science vessel. But what about the whales?
    • Kirk wants Gillian's phone number, metaphorically speaking, but all she'll give him is a kiss on a cheek. That'll be good enough for now.
    • Meanwhile, Spock approaches his father, Sarek. They share a heartwarming moment, as far as Vulcan moments go.
  • Scene 22

    Scene 22

    • We cut to the exterior of a space station as the crew approaches in a shuttle.
    • The crew members see the freshly built, latest rendition of USS Enterprise, and the music swells.
    • For a moment, we see the crew members aboard their new ship, but before we can settle in, they launch straight into warp speed.
    • As usual, Enterprise is off on another adventure.