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The Voyage Home

Universe : Prime Timeline
Location of Event : Earth [1]
Year : 2285 [1]
Nature of Event : Past Incursion [1]

In 2285, Admiral Kirk and several of his officers stole the USS Enterprise from Spacedock and took it to the Genesis planet in an effort to reunite the katra of Captain Spock with his regenerated body. Although they were ultimately successful in this goal, the Enterprise herself was destroyed during the attempt and the renegade officer found themselves in possession of a stolen Bird of Prey. They travelled to Vulcan to allow Spock's katra to be replaced in his body by a Vulcan priestess. [2]

Over the following months Kirk and his officers remained on Vulcan whilst Spock was rehabilitated. Meanwhile the controversy over the Genesis planet continued; the Klingons were enraged at what they termed Kirk's murder of the Bird of Prey's crew. They demanded that he be extradited so they could place him on trial for his actions, and were little mollified by the fact that the Federation instead planned to charge him with violation of Starfleet regulations. On Vulcan, Kirk and crew voted to return to Earth in the HMS Bounty, their captured vessel, and face the consequences of their actions. Spock chose to return with them so as to testify as to what had happened. [1]

On route to Earth, Uhura began to receive distress calls from the planet. An enormous alien vessel, apparently a probe of some kind, had approached Earth whilst transmitting a message of such enormous power that it neutralised all Starships and space stations which approached it. On arrival at Earth the probe directed the transmission at the planet's oceans, vaporising huge amounts of water. This produced a blanket of clouds which covered the entire globe. Combined with the effect of the probe on the planetary power grid, a disaster unparalleled since the V'Ger crisis was threatened. The President had no choice but to transmit a planetary distress signal warning all spacecraft to keep their distance. [1]

On the Bounty Spock managed to identify the probe's transmissions as being identical to the songs sung by humpbacked whales. He theorised that the whale song may have been an aspect of some advanced form of communication with an alien intelligence. When humpbacked whales became extinct centuries before the aliens sent the probe to find out what had happened. [1]

Reasoning that there is no way to answer the probe except by producing a humpbacked whale, Kirk decided to travel back in time to the late 20th century by using a slingshot manoeuvre around Earth's sun. [1] This method had been successful in throwing the USS Enterprise back in time on three other occasions [3] - once whilst breaking free of a disintegrating planet [4], once whilst passing close to a black star [5], and once as a deliberate act as part of a historical investigation. [6]

The slingshot was successful, and the Bounty arrived in 1986. Kirk landed in a park in San Francisco, using the cloaking device to hide it from view. Unfortunately the slingshot had required so much power that the dilithium crystals had become damaged and were beginning to decrystallise. Spock suggested that high energy photons could be collected from one of the nuclear fission reactors used at the time and used to repair the crystals. Kirk decided to split his crew up; Commander Scott, Lieutenant Sulu and Dr. McCoy were assigned the problem of building a holding tank for the whales, Commander Chekov and Lieutenant Uhura were assigned the problem of locating a fission reactor, and Admiral Kirk and Captain Spock went looking for whales. [1]

Although the 23rd century crew found life on 20th century Earth confusing and difficult to adapt to, each team was ultimately successful. McCoy and Scotty managed to convince the Plexicorp company to provide materials for the whale tank in return for the formula of transparent aluminium - Scotty reasoning that this was not a temporal violation as for all they knew it was Plexicorp who had originally invented this material. Sulu was able to obtain a Huey helicopter to transport the materials to the Bounty. Kirk and Spock located a pair of humpbacked whales named George and Gracie who were being held in captivity. Meanwhile Uhura and Chekov located a large warship powered by a nuclear reactor - ironically none other than the USS Enterprise. [1]

Whilst Kirk established a friendship with Dr. Gillian Taylor, the director of the cetacean institute which held George and Gracie, Uhura and Chekov infiltrated the Enterprise and began to collect the photons from the reactor. Unfortunately their presence was detected, and whist Uhura was able to beam out in time Chekov was badly injured whilst attempting to escape on foot. [1]

The following morning Dr. Taylor went to the Cetacean Institute only to find that George and Gracie had been released into the wild; the institute had been unable to continue funding the whales, and in any case the pregnant Gracie was considered unlikely to be able to give birth successfully whilst in captivity. The release had long been planned, but the date had been brought forward without Dr. Taylor's knowledge. Distraught at losing the whales she went to the Bounty and met with Kirk. He enlisted her help in mounting a rescue mission for Chekov, recovering him from the hospital he was taken to and returning to the ship. Although Kirk planned to leave Taylor on Earth she stowed away aboard the Bounty, deciding that with no ties on Earth she would be happier in Kirk's time - and in any case, if George and Gracie were to live in the future then they would need a Cetacean expert to look after them. [1]

The Bounty successfully beamed up the whales, rescuing them from a whaling ship which had been in pursuit, and returned to its own time, actually arriving mere moments after it had left. The ship lost power when it approached the alien probe and crash-landed in San Francisco bay. The crew abandoned ship whilst Kirk released the whales. George began to sing almost immediately. Both the nature and content of his communication with the probe remains a mystery; all that is known for sure is that after a few minutes the probe ceased transmission and set a course away from Earth. [1]

In the aftermath of their return, Kirk and his officers were brought before the Federation council to plead guilty to the charges facing them. In light of their recent actions all charges were dismissed save one - that of disobeying an order. This charge was levelled only at Kirk; as punishment he was demoted to Captain and, in the words of the President, "as a consequence of your new rank, you be given the duties for which you have repeatedly demonstrated unswerving ability - the command of a Starship." Kirk and his officers were immediately assigned to a new vessel, none other than the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A. [1]

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 Star Trek IV : The Voyage Home
2 Star Trek III : The Search for Spock
3 Various Original Series episodes
4 TOS 1 The Naked Time
5 TOS 1 Tomorrow is Yesterday
6 TOS 2 Assignment: Earth
Film: Star Trek IV : The Voyage Home
Film: Star Trek III : The Search for Spock
Series : TOS Season
Episode : Various Original Series episodes
Series : TOS Season 1
Episode : The Naked Time
Series : TOS Season 1
Episode : Tomorrow is Yesterday
Series : TOS Season 2
Episode : Assignment: Earth

© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 33,700 Last updated : 14 Apr 2005