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Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) | Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) | Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
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Star Trek: Generations (1994) | Star Trek: First Contact (1996) | Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
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Star Trek Films (Reboot)
Star Trek (2009) | Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) | Star Trek Beyond (2016)

The Reboot Star Trek Movies - Part 12

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
d. J.J. Abrams, 132 minutes

Film Plot Summary

In the year 2259, on the jeopardized "Class M" planet of Nibiru were officers Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Chief Medical Officer Lieut. Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban) of the USS Enterprise. They fled from a temple situated at the base of an active volcano when pursued by a group of primitive, native Nibirans (with white-clay painted on their faces). Kirk had stolen a sacred scroll, and the two ran on foot to their Shuttle One craft piloted by Third Officer Hikaru Sulu (John Cho). Via communicator, Kirk ordered that Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto), who was on-board the shuttle, must "neutralize the volcano." Spock was aided by his girlfriend, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), in donning a protective copper-colored environmental suit. He was about to be lowered via cable into the volcano to detonate a 'cold-fusion' device ("a super ice-cube"), into order to stop an eruption that could potentially wipe out all life on the planet. Spock was mostly concerned that their mission maintain and obey the Prime Directive - that they must not be seen nor heard, nor interfere with the developing, indigenous alien civilization.

As the operation to drop Spock via a cable zipline into the hot volcano commenced, ash choked the shuttlecraft's engines and caused overheating, and Sulu was forced to curtail the drop. As he attempted to pull the cable back up, it abruptly snapped and Spock was accidentally dropped in a free-fall into the lava-spewing volcano, yet he survived. Sulu and Uhura had to abandon the shuttle, and swim to the USS Enterprise that was being harbored underwater. Shortly later, Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy dove off a cliff into the ocean and also swam to the dark, hulking shape of the Enterprise, where they entered a hatch and were greeted by an unhappy Chief Engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (Simon Pegg). There were frantic efforts to save Spock's life - including thoughts of bringing the Enterprise out of hiding.

Spock was still inside the volcano and was activating his device to halt the eruption (with a 3-minute timer), as ash and lava spewed down on the natives and destroyed the temple. The rules of the Prime Directive were blatantly violated when the Enterprise rose out of the water, hovered above the volcano, and a displeased, frowning Spock was beamed back on-board into the transporter room. He had been prepared to die inside the volcano after the "cold fusion" device was successfully detonated inside the active volcano, to halt the devastation and render it inert by freezing. The Enterprise officers, relieved that Spock had been saved, were unaware (Kirk thought it was no "big deal") that the native Nibirans now believed the Enterprise (emblazoned with NCC-1701) had saved them and began to reverently worship its deified image, drawn in the reddish earth.

As the Enterprise zoomed back to Earth, its engine thruster trails revealed the film's main title: Star Trek: Into Darkness.

In the futuristic city of London, England, back on Earth, in the Stardate year 2259.55, husband and wife Thomas Harewood (Noel Clarke) (a Starfleet officer) and Rima Harewood (Nazneen Contractor) drove in a hovercar to the countryside, to the Royal Children's Hospital. They visited the room of their daughter Lucille (Anjini Taneja Azhar), an unresponsive patient in a coma. Thomas retreated to a balcony, where a rogue figure approached, later identified as John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), and claimed: "I can save her."

Elsewhere in a San Francisco apartment, Kirk awoke after spending a night with two Caitian females who had cat-like tails. He was summoned by Starfleet on his communicator to report to the headquarters with Spock, to meet in the office of Admiral Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood). Kirk speculated that he might have been chosen for Starfleet's first 5-year exploratory mission into uncharted deep space, but Spock was less sure. Pike asked about Kirk's survey of the recent trip to Nibiru noted in his Captain's log, calling it "uneventful." Pike suspected that Kirk's log entries were falsified, that Spock had detonated a "cold-fusion" device to prevent the volcano, and that the natives had seen the USS Enterprise (a violation of the Prime Directive), because of Spock's contrary account of the trip. Kirk accused Spock of betraying him, even though he saved his life.

Furious with Kirk, Pike accused his "maverick" commander of multiple infractions: lying on an official report, going beyond the bounds of his original mission - to only survey the planet, a lack of humility and respect for authority, a disregard for the rules ("playing God"), and a magnified belief in his own infallibility. Due to the mandate of Starfleet's regulations, determined in a Starfleet Command tribunal headed by Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller), it was decided that Kirk was to be relieved of his command of the USS Enterprise: "They've taken the Enterprise away from you. They're sending you back to the Academy."

Back in a London laboratory, the unidentified man on the balcony extracted his own blood from his arm into vials. One vial was placed into a container along with his Starfleet Academy ring, and sent in a package to Harewood. In his daughter's hospital room, Harewood (wearing his Starfleet uniform) took the vial and inserted it into her intra-venous (IV) machine. As the blood dispersed and flowed into her body, there was a drastic change in the child's vital signs displayed on a wall. Harewood was relieved that she had been cured almost immediately.

Shortly later, Officer Harewood entered the Kelvin Memorial Archive in downtown London as the stranger watched him from across the street. He took an elevator in the Starfleet data archive building from floor B7 to B10, and walked along the Archive's hangar floor (where Starship shuttles were being constructed by workers) while clutching a glass of water. At his workstation, Harewood sat at his computer console and sent a message to Admiral Marcus. Then he removed a Starfleet ring from his finger, and dropped it in the glass of water. After fizzing for a few moments, the mixture caused a massive explosion and destroyed the entire building - and it was later reported that 42 people died. [Note: It appeared that the stranger - John Harrison, an ex-Starfleet officer - had coerced Harewood into bombing the facility in exchange for healing his daughter.]

In a local San Francisco bar, a depressed Kirk was joined by Admiral Pike, who soon announced that Starfleet Command had given the USS Enterprise back to him. First Officer Spock had been reassigned to the USS Bradbury (under the command of Captain Frank Abbot (Beau Billingslea)), and Pike had been able to assign Kirk to become his First Officer on the Enterprise. Kirk was in disbelief and speechless, after Pike explained he had been given a second chance: "The truth. That I believe in you. That if anybody deserves a second chance, it's Jim Kirk." The two were called by Starfleet, via communicator, to a meeting in the Daystrom Conference Room at Starfleet Headquarters.

Later that night in Starfleet Headquarters, an emergency meeting had been convened by high-ranking officers, led by Admiral Marcus. In the hallway just before the meeting, Kirk informed Spock that he had been demoted as Pike's First Officer on the Enterprise, and that Spock had been reassigned. Kirk continued to squabble with Spock about his damaging yet truthful report: "Where I come from, if someone saves your life, you don't stab him in the back." As the meeting commenced, Admiral Marcus explained the London terrorist attack, and the retaliatory response against rogue Starfleet Commander John Harrison, who was responsible and was deliberately fomenting a war against Starfleet:

By now, some of you have heard what happened in London. The target was a Starfleet data archive. Now it's a damned hole in the ground, 42 men and women are dead. One hour ago, I received a message from a Starfleet officer, who confessed to carrying out this attack, that he was being forced to do it by this man, Commander John Harrison. He's one of our own. And he is the man responsible for this act of savagery. For reasons unknown, John Harrison has just declared a one-man war against Starfleet. And under no circumstances are we to allow this man to escape Federation space. You here tonight represent the senior command of all the vessels in the region. And in the name of those we lost, you will run this bastard down. This is a manhunt, pure and simple, so let's get to work. Earth's perimeter sensors have not detected any warp signatures leaving the system, so we know he can't be far. You will park your ships in a blockade formation then deploy search vehicles and landing parties to run down every lead. This man has shown willingness to kill innocent people, so the rules of engagement are simple. If you come across this man and fear for your life or the lives of those nearby, you are authorized to use deadly force on sight.

Kirk thought it was suspicious that Harrison would bomb a non-vital Starfleet "archive" ("It's like bombing a library"). He postulated that the bomber knew that a senior-command meeting would be called and attended by Starfleet officers at HQ - that could then be attacked. Suddenly, the conference room's window was assaulted by phaser blasts from a small Federation jump-ship, piloted by Harrison. Security guards entered to fire back, but several officers were killed and Pike was lethally wounded. To take down the gunship, Kirk unspooled a fire-house unit from a corridor panel, wrapped it around his phaser rifle, and tossed it at the jumpship's engine intake. As the jump-ship sucked the hose, gun and panel into its intake, the ship was disabled and wildly veered away. Harrison was forced to escape - he vanished by beaming himself away via transporter. Kirk and Spock were at Pike's side as he died - the death of Kirk's mentor caused immense grief.

Elsewhere, Harrison was transported or beamed down onto a rocky, harsh landscape of an unidentified planet, to hide there.

The next morning, Spock reported to Kirk about the jumpship's wreckage. Chief Engineer Scott had discovered Harrison's portable trans-warp beaming device that had taken him to an unknown destination ("to the one place we just can't go"). Kirk and Spock then reported to Admiral Marcus in Starfleet HQ, about Harrison's location: Kronos - the Klingon Empire's homeworld: "He has taken refuge in the Ketha Province, a region uninhabited for decades....He knows if we even go near Klingon space, it'd be all-out war." Kirk made a bold request: "I request my command be reinstated and your permission to go after him." Marcus then described in detail how he feared that they were already at war with the Klingons - the Archive had housed Starfleet's Black-Ops Division to study Klingon technology and plan new strategies and weapons for a potential war with the Klingons:

Since we first learned of their existence, the Klingon Empire has conquered and occupied two planets that we know of and fired on our ships half a dozen times. They are coming our way. London was not an archive. It was a top-secret branch of Starfleet designated Section 31. They were developing defense technology and training our officers to gather intelligence on the Klingons and any other potential enemy who means to do us harm. Harrison was one of our top agents.

Kirk again asserted that he was not afraid to pursue Harrison in the uninhabited province of the Klingon empire. Marcus authorized Kirk to use 72 of Section 31's new variety of advanced, long-range and untraceable photon torpedoes ("invisible to Klingon sensors") to covertly eliminate Harrison: "You park on the edge of the Neutral Zone, you lock onto Harrison's position, you fire, you kill him and you haul ass." To complete the new mission, Kirk was reinstated as the Commander of the USS Enterprise, with Spock as his First Officer.

In a Starfleet hangar, Spock and Kirk prepared to board a shuttle craft to take them to the enormous space station where the USS Enterprise was docked, along with Dr. McCoy. Spock thanked Kirk for his reinstatement, but then objected to their mission - continuing their ongoing argument: "It is now my duty to strongly object to our mission parameters....There is no Starfleet regulation that condemns a man to die without a trial, something you and Admiral Marcus are forgetting. Also, pre-emptively firing torpedoes at the Klingon homeworld goes against...Regulations aside, this action is morally wrong...Captain, our mission could start a war with the Klingons and it is, by its very definition, immoral." Kirk responded angrily: "I'm not gonna take ethics lessons from a robot!" They were all interrupted and surprised by the entrance of blonde science officer Dr. Carol Wallace, an advanced weapons expert allegedly assigned to join them by Admiral Marcus. [Note: She was actually the Admiral's daughter, Dr. Carol Marcus, and had assumed a false identity.]

On board the Enterprise, Chief Engineer Scott refused to allow the new photon torpedoes to be loaded, due to many unknowns, and the fact that he was not allowed to inspect them: "I cannae authorize any weapons on board this ship without knowing what's inside them...I cannae detect the type of fuel that's in the compartments on these torpedoes because it's shielded." Scott argued to Kirk that any instability around the Enterprise's warp core could endanger everyone: "It's a radioactive catastrophe waiting to happen. A subtle shift in magnetic output from, say, firing one or more of six dozen torpedoes with an unknown payload could set off a chain reaction which would kill every living thing on this ship. Letting those torpedoes on board the Enterprise is the last straw!" Scott also complained about Starfleet Command misappropriating his "transwarp equation" - that was now in the hands of Harrison: "And now some madman's using it to hop across the galaxy!" Denouncing their mission as a "military operation," Scotty was reluctantly forced to resign, and his assistant Keenser (Deep Roy) joined him. Shortly later, Pavel Chekov was promoted to Chief Engineer.

The USS Enterprise was unmoored from its docking area to proceed with its launch toward Kronos via its warp drive. During their journey, Kirk announced the general orders, objectives, and challenges of their mission - en route, he modified Admiral Marcus' original order to kill the fugitive John Harrison:

As most of you know, Christopher Pike, former captain of this ship and our friend, is dead. The man who killed him has fled our system and is hiding on the Klingon homeworld, somewhere he believes we are unwilling to go. We are on our way there now. Per Admiral Marcus, it is essential that our presence go undetected. Tensions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire have been high. Any provocation could lead to an all-out war. I will personally lead a landing party to an abandoned city on the surface of Kronos where we will capture the fugitive, John Harrison, and return him to Earth so he can face judgment for his actions.

The deeply-principled Spock was relieved that Kirk had now decided to only arrest Harrison rather than kill him. In the shuttle bay, Spock confronted Dr. Carol Wallace/Marcus who was analyzing one of the torpedoes - he directly accused her of using a fake identity and wanted to know why:

What are you doing aboard this ship? There is no record of you being assigned to the have lied about your identity. Wallace is the surname of your mother. I can only assume the Admiral is your father.

As she began to answer him, everyone on the Enterprise was violently jolted to the floor. An emergency stop of the warp core had been manually activated by Chekov, due to a possible coolant leak. Repairs were underway, while they were left stranded (out of warp speed) only 20 minutes from their destination of Kronos. Kirk assigned Sulu to be the ship's commander, with specific instructions to be transmitted to renegade Harrison: "Tell him you have a bunch of real big torpedoes pointed at his head and if he doesn't play nice, you're not afraid to use them." Kirk had already recruited Spock and Uhura (who knew the Klingon language) to join him in a K'normian trader-ship previously-confiscated a month earlier (during the "Mudd Incident"), to fly to Kronos, for an expected two hour mission. Two of the security lieutenants joining them, including Hendorff/Cupcake (Jason Matthew Smith), were told to remove their Starfleet red shirts and disguise themselves as K'normian arms dealers.

As the five trader-ship occupants piloted toward a dark cloud above Kronos (and the Ketha Province), acting Captain Sulu transmitted a targeted com burst to Harrison, strongly warning him to surrender in two minutes, or he would be obliterated by the Enterprise's entire payload of "advanced long-range torpedoes." While flying toward Kronos and Harrison's location about three minutes away, Spock predicted that Harrison would most likely resist and attempt to kill them. Spock then defended his lack of feeling at the volcano to both Uhura and Kirk when he had expected to die. He recalled Admiral Pike's death when he mind-melded with him and felt his last dying emotions:

I joined with his consciousness and experienced what he felt at the moment of his passing. Anger. Confusion. Loneliness. Fear. I had experienced those feelings before, multiplied exponentially on the day my planet was destroyed. Such a feeling is something I choose never to experience again. Nyota, you mistake my choice not to feel as a reflection of my not caring. Well, I assure you, the truth is precisely the opposite.

Suddenly, phaser blasts rocked their ship when they came under fire by a D4-class Klingon vessel - a battle cruiser on random patrol. Without offensive capabilities, and after trying unsuccessfully to evade capture, Kirk was forced to land when three other D4-class ships surrounded them. Uhura forecast their fate: "They're gonna want to know why we're here. And they're gonna torture us. Question us. And they're gonna kill us." With no alternative, Kirk then proposed that they "come out shooting." Outnumbered and outgunned, Uhura first tried to negotiate by leaving the vessel and speaking to a patrol group of about a dozen helmeted and armored Klingon warriors. She described their mission, in Klingon: "There is a criminal hiding in these ruins. He has killed many of our people." As the Klingon Patrol Commander prepared to kill Uhura with an unsheathed blade, a mysterious hooded figure appeared with a rapid-fire phaser and cannon, shooting blasts at the Klingons.

Kirk, Spock, and the two Lieutenants joined Uhura outside their vessel to fight off the remainder of the reinforced Klingons, using weapons and hand-to-hand combat. After the Klingons were eliminated and their ships were destroyed, the seemingly-invincible shooter confronted Kirk and revealed himself to be John Harrison. He asked: "The torpedoes, the weapons you threatened me with in your message. How many are there?" When told there were 72 aimed at him, he promptly surrendered. Kirk punched Harrison in the face and delivered several more punches and beatings, in retaliation for Pike's murder, but Harrison was unaffected - he hardly reacted at all and glared back.

The "superman" criminal was arrested, boarded onto the Enterprise and imprisoned in the ship's brig. As Dr. McCoy withdrew blood from his arm, Harrison noted he was somehow aware of a malfunction in the ship's warp core, and then warned: "Ignore me and you will get everyone on this ship killed." Spock warned Kirk that Harrison might manipulate him, if spoken to." Kirk turned to face Harrison, with anger in his voice: "I was authorized to end you! And the only reason why you are still alive is because I am allowing it."

Harrison gave Kirk two intriguing facts:

  • a list of spatial coordinates: "23-17-46-11" - a location not far from Earth
  • an ominous suggestion to take a closer look at the inside of one of the 72 prototype torpedoes

Back in San Francisco at a port-side bar, Scotty and Keenser were commiserating about their recent resignations. Via communicator, Kirk informed Scotty of the coordinates, and then apologetically admitted: "You may have been right about those torpedoes." Kirk was faced with the problem of how to open one of the sensitive photon torpedoes. Spock revealed that the weapons specialist on-board, Carol Wallace, was actually "the Admiral's daughter" - Carol Marcus. She apologized to Kirk for forging her transfer documents and for changing her identity, and then explained:

My father gave me access to every program he oversaw, then I heard he was developing these prototype torpedoes. When I went to confront him about it, he wouldn't even see me. That's when I discovered the torpedoes had disappeared from all official records.

She then cautioned Kirk: "It's too dangerous to try and open one of these torpedoes on the Enterprise. But there is a nearby planetoid. I can open one up there." Dr. McCoy and Dr. Marcus were sent to a nearby deserted planetoid to safely open and examine one of the photon torpedoes. Uhura notified Kirk that there was no response from Admiral Marcus about the capture of Harrison. Chekov reported that the damage to the warp core was substantial, and Kirk responded that it probably wasn't Chekov's fault.

On the remote planetoid, Dr. Marcus and Dr. McCoy began to examine one of the torpedoes after opening the warhead and accessing the fuel compartment. The first step was to cut the 23rd fiber-optic cable (in a bundle) resting against the inner casing. As he cut the cable, the panel slammed shut on McCoy's arm, and the torpedo automatically armed itself - ready to detonate in 30 seconds. Dr. Marcus pulled out the entire knot of wires in a compartment to deactivate the torpedo, with only 2.57 seconds to spare. Another panel opened on the top of the torpedo, revealing a translucent capsule or cryotube with a frozen man in a state of suspension inside.

A spacecraft shuttle took Scotty to the location of the coordinates - the planet of Jupiter and one of its orbiting moons. He was alarmed as he viewed an enormous flat structure orbiting the moon - it was a secret Starfleet shipyard or space-dock. After halting and hovering above the structure, a massive set of hangar doors opened up below him in the side of the structure. He watched as a small fleet of shuttles flew toward the opening. Scotty piloted his craft to infiltrate and enter the structure along with the other shuttles, where he noticed a huge federation battleship known as the USS Vengeance under construction. [Note: It had orginally been designed under the direction of Khan Singh (aka John Harrison) for the purpose of preparing the Federation for what was deemed an inevitable war against the Klingon Empire and its other rivals.]

Back on the Enterprise, where the disarmed torpedo had been returned by McCoy and Marcus, she described the cyrotube: "This fuel container's been removed from the torpedo and retrofitted to hide this cryo tube." McCoy dismissed the ancient cryo-tube: "We haven't needed to freeze anyone since we developed warp capability" - and was surprised that the cryo-sleeping individual was 300 years old. Kirk confronted Harrison to know why a man was inserted into the torpedo - and was told Harrison's back-story - he identified himself as a genetically-engineered superhuman asleep cryogenically for 300 years, after waging an unsuccessful war on Earth to eradicate all those inferior to himself and his superhuman comrades. He and his crew were exiled into space at the end of the 20th century. He had given himself the name "John Harrison" a year earlier --- his real name was Khan:

There are men and women in all those torpedoes, Captain. I put them there....A remnant of a time long past. Genetically engineered to be superior so as to lead others to peace in a world at war. But we were condemned as criminals, forced into exile. For centuries we slept, hoping when we awoke, things would be different. But as a result of the destruction of Vulcan, your Starfleet began to aggressively search distant quadrants of space. My ship was found adrift. I alone was revived....John Harrison was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Admiral Marcus to help him advance his cause. A smokescreen to conceal my true identity. My name is Khan.

Kirk asked an obvious question: "Why would a Starfleet Admiral ask a 300-year-old frozen man for help?" Harrison/Khan continued: "Alexander Marcus needed to respond to an uncivilized threat in a civilized time and for that, he needed a warrior's mind. My mind. To design weapons and warships." Apparently, Admiral Marcus had awakened only Khan, to exploit him to use his superior intellect and savagery to develop advanced weapons to start a war with the Klingons. Marcus had used Khan to "realize his vision of a militarized Starfleet."

It was also revealed that Admiral Marcus had planned for Kirk, on his covert mission to Kronos, to fire the torpedoes on the unsuspecting Klingons on Kronos, and that he had also purposely sabotaged the Enterprise's warp core, to leave them stranded and assaulted by the Klingons, in order to ignite the war that he had always wanted:

He sent you to use those weapons. To fire my torpedoes on an unsuspecting planet. And then he purposely crippled your ship in enemy space, leading to one inevitable outcome. The Klingons would come searching for whomever was responsible, and you would have no chance of escape. Marcus would finally have the war he talked about. The war he always wanted.

Khan stated further that Marcus had taken his crew members from Botany Bay, 72 of his remaining comrades from the past. Khan had placed them in the torpedoes for their protection, but they were discovered, seized and held as hostages by Marcus, to force Khan to do his bidding. Khan claimed he had committed terrorist acts (the blowing up of the Archive in London) on the assumption that his crew had been killed:

Marcus took my crew from me....He used my friends to control me. I tried to smuggle them to safety by concealing them in the very weapons I had designed, but I was discovered. I had no choice but to escape alone. And when I did, I had every reason to suspect that Marcus had killed every single one of the people I hold most dear. So I responded in kind. My crew is my family, Kirk.

The conversation was interrupted by the incoming of a larger, unmarked Starfleet Federation warship: the USS Vengeance, more than twice the size of the Enterprise. It was not coming from the direction of Klingon space, but had been recently launched from the spacedock. The ship, at the edge of the Neutral Zone, was commanded by Admiral Marcus - who complained that Kirk was in violation of his orders by taking Harrison into custody rather than killing him. Kirk pretended to believe that Marcus was there to help with the repair of their malfunctioning warp drive. Kirk also informed Marcus that he was planning on returning Harrison to Earth to stand trial. Marcus demanded otherwise:

I took a tactical risk and I woke that bastard up, believing that his superior intelligence could help us protect ourselves from whatever came at us next. But I made a mistake. And now the blood of everybody he's killed is on my hands. So I'm asking you, give him to me so that I can end what I started....

Besides the demand to release Khan into his custody, the Admiral also gave his perspective on the 72 torpedoes after Kirk sarcastically suggested that they be fired at the Klingon empire to foment a war:

He put those people in those torpedoes. And I simply didn't want to burden you with knowing what was inside of them. You saw what this man can do all by himself. Can you imagine what would happen if we woke up the rest of his crew?...He's playing you, son, don't you see that? Khan and his crew were condemned to death as war criminals. And now it is our duty to carry out that sentence before anybody else dies because of him.

Seeming to acquiese to Marcus' demands, Kirk falsely revealed that Khan was located in Engineering (he had actually been moved to the MedBay). Then, Kirk ordered Chekov to enter warp speed and return to Earth, to bring the "fugitive" to stand trial as a war criminal and to expose his secret alliance with the Admiral.

At warp speed, there was a danger, according to Chekov, that the core would be seriously damaged. After listening to another warning from Khan, Dr. Marcus told Kirk that they were unsafe at warp speed - the advanced capabilities of the USS Vengeance could easily catch up and fire on them. Indeed, the Enterprise was attacked near the Earth's Moon by the Vengeance's photon torpedoes - it was severely damaged with a major posterior hull breach that killed dozens of crew members, and ended their warp-speed flight. Dr. Carol Marcus insisted on speaking to her father, to end the carnage by informing him that she was on-board. When hailed, the firing abruptly stopped and the Admiral asked: "What are you doing on that ship?" She begged him to reconsider, and pleaded: "I don't believe that the man who raised me is capable of destroying a ship full of innocent people. And, if I'm wrong about that, then you're gonna have to do it with me on board."

In response, Admiral Marcus simply beamed Carol onto the Vengeance warship with his transporter to save her, and then sentenced everyone else to death: "Captain Kirk, without authorization and in league with the fugitive John Harrison, you went rogue in enemy territory, leaving me no choice but to hunt you down and destroy you." And Marcus refused to listen to Kirk's sincere attempt to save his crew, and divulge Harrison's location. In fact, Marcus admitted that he had intended all along to destroy the Enterprise and its crew.

However, before the USS Vengeance could destroy the Enterprise, it suffered a major power outage and the warship's weaponized phasers powered down and its shields became ineffective. One of the officers called out: "Someone in engineering just manually reset our systems!" During a long interval when the Vengeance's systems were offline and resetting, the Enterprise was spared. The outage was caused by an act of temporary sabotage by Scotty, who transmitted a message to Kirk that he had earlier journeyed to Jupiter, found a secret shipyard or spacedock, and had stealthily infiltrated into the Vengeance before its launch. Although the Enterprise's options were limited because of extensive damage according to Spock ("We cannot fire and we cannot flee"), Kirk decided on another option. He put Spock in command, then rushed to the MedBay to ask Khan about the Vengeance's capabilities. Khan responded: "Dreadnought class. Two times the size, three times the speed. Advanced weaponry. Modified for a minimal crew. Unlike most Federation vessels, it's built solely for combat."

Kirk decided to ally himself with Khan to travel to the USS Vengeance, after arguing that with Khan's help, he would be helping his 72 crew ("You said you'd do anything for your crew. I can guarantee their safety"). McCoy informed Kirk that an injection of Khan's blood into a dead tribble rapidly regenerated the creature's cells, for some unknown reason.

Since the transporters were down, Kirk and Khan (in thruster-powered, jet-pack space-suits) planned to board the enemy ship by entering through the ship's airlock opened manually by Scotty. During the space-walk-flight between vessels, Kirk veered off course and his visual display was damaged ("I'm flying blind") after his helmet's visor was cracked when hit by space debris. Khan saved Kirk's life a second time as they both navigated the dangerous debris field, and entered the Vengeance through the hangar's door (Scotty was successful in manually overriding the airlock's controls on the door, even though confronted by a security guard). On deck 13, the two were reunited with Scotty and proceeded with phasers to the bridge.

An incoming transmission of Ambassador Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) on New Vulcan was received by temporary Commander Spock, his counterpart. Shortly later, Spock Prime revealed Khan's history - he was the same Khan from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), who was defeated but at a terrible cost:

Khan Noonien Singh is the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise ever faced. He is brilliant, ruthless, and he will not hesitate to kill every single one of you.

On the bridge of the Vengeance, Carol approached her father and slapped him across the face before being led away by guards. The trio of Scotty, Khan, and Kirk approached the bridge on foot, on a safer path adjacent to the engine room where weapons couldn't be used safely. However, they had to engage in a fistfight with some of the enemy's crew, after which Khan disappeared ahead of them. Suspicious of Khan's intentions after finally locating him, Kirk spoke an aside to Scotty: "The minute we get to the bridge, drop him." The trio burst onto the bridge, shooting all of the crew with stun phasers except for Admiral Marcus and Carol. Scotty obeyed orders and stunned Khan, who fell to the deck unconscious. After Kirk placed Admiral Marcus under arrest (although the Admiral vehemently objected), Khan revived and made a retaliatory attack on Scotty and Kirk. In the struggle, Carol's leg was broken by Khan when he stomped on it, and Marcus - who was about to activate the ship's auto-destruct sequence, had his skull crushed between Khan's bare hands as he snarled: "You should have let me sleep."

Then, Khan betrayed Kirk, took command and control of the Vengeance, and transmitted a message to the Enterprise that he would exchange his cyro-genically frozen crew members for Spock's/Kirk's crew: "Your crew for my crew...Give me my crew." His intentions were to continue the work being done before they were banished. During heightened negotiations, he threatened to kill every living being on board the Enterprise, if Spock did not order the lowering of the shields so that the Vengeance could transport-beam the 72 torpedoes (with the frozen bodies of his crew) onto his warship. After the successful transport of the advanced long-range torpedoes, Khan beamed Kirk, Scotty, and Carol back to the Enterprise, in exchange. However, Khan also resumed firing with phasers locked on the ship.

Khan was unaware that earlier, Dr. McCoy (under Spock's orders) had tinkered with the torpedoes and armed or activated them. After their transport to the Vengeance, Spock triggered the torpedoes to detonate within the Vengeance's cargo bay hangar. The explosions hopelessly crippled and disabled Khan's warship. He was both enraged and anguished, believing that his crew had been lost. However, Spock learned from Dr. McCoy that the cryo-tubes had been removed before transport, and still remained on the Enterprise in the Medbay ("Seventy-two human popsicles safe and sound in their cryo tubes").

Suddenly, the Enterprise lost power and gradually began to veer sideways, spin and descend toward Earth. Spock ordered the crew to completely evacuate and abandon the ship via shuttles, but they refused to let him sacrifice himself. As gravity systems failed, Kirk and Scotty proceeded to the inoperable, misaligned warp core in Engineering via catwalks and hallways, to stabilize the ship. There, Kirk volunteered to singlehandedly halt the ship's wild descent by re-aligning the housings in the warp core's protective chamber, but he lethally exposed himself to radiation poisoning. With the warp core back online, the ship entered Earth's atmosphere without incinerating upon re-entry. Its free-fall was curtailed just below a cloud layer when multiple thrusters fired and the ship completely stabilized. However, Spock realized that in the act of saving the ship, Kirk was lying contaminated in the chamber behind a locked door.

During Kirk's last dying moments, Kirk commended Spock and explained how he had followed Spock's earlier example on Nibiru in heroically saving everyone: "And this, this is what you would have done. It was only logical." Knowing what his inevitable fate would be, Kirk added: "I'm scared, Spock. Help me not be. How do you choose not to feel?" Spock was in agony and answered: "I do not know. Right now I am failing." Kirk replied: "I want you to know why I couldn't let you die. Why I went back for you." Spock emotionally finished his sentence, as a single tear fell from one eye: "Because you are my friend." They pressed their palms together on opposite sides of the glass door - a Vulcan salute with split fingers, as Kirk expired. With a primal scream, Spock raged with hatred against the one he blamed for his friend Kirk's death - "KHAN!"

Meanwhile, the Vengeance had also lost power and was out of control, as Khan suicidally directed the enemy ship's fall toward Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco. Spectators on SF streets gazed up at the smoking, hulking enemy warship as it lunged toward Alcatraz Island, plummeted downward and skimmed across the Bay, leveled parts of the city (Fisherman's Wharf and Telegraph Hill) and mowed down everything in its path. After bulldozing through many of the city's streets and taking down a number of buildings (although it was a few blocks from its initial target), Spock ordered a search for signs of life - fearing that Khan would survive. Indeed, Khan jumped 30 meters to escape through a hull breach in the flaming craft. Spock was determined to pursue Khan and ordered Chekov to beam him down to Earth from the Enterprise to chase after him. After a foot race, Spock confronted Khan on the top of a moving, floating, unmanned garbage barge, and the two evenly-matched combatants engaged in a vicious hand-to-hand fight.

Meanwhile in the Enterprise's Medbay, saddened crew members (including Dr. McCoy, Dr. Marcus, and Scotty) - with subdued silence, gathered around an open body bag holding Kirk's corpse. McCoy sat down next to the previously-dead tribble and noticed that it was breathing and regaining its life. Postulating that Khan's genetically-enhanced blood might also regenerate or reanimate Kirk from death, he removed one of Khan's frozen crew members from his cyro-tube (and ordered it kept alive in a medically-induced coma), while placing Kirk's body into the sealed cyrogenic capsule to "preserve his brain function." But then he realized that he had depleted all of Khan's blood supply, and communicated to the Enterprise's bridge: "I need Khan alive."

The fight between Khan and Spock continued, and moved to another garbage barge vehicle passing below. To aid Spock, Uhura beam-transported herself to their location, and stunned Khan with repeated phaser stun-blasts. Spock assisted by bashing Khan in the head with a metal piece of the barge, and then broke his arm. Uhura prevented Spock from killing Khan: "He's our only chance to save Kirk!", although Spock rendered him unconscious and took him captive.

Elsewhere in San Francisco, about two weeks later, Kirk woke up in a hospital bed. McCoy explained that the heavy irradiation had necessitated a difficult blood transfusion with Khan's blood: "I synthesized a serum from his superblood." Kirk thanked Spock: "You saved my life," and he returned the favor: "You saved my life, Captain. And the lives..." Kirk interrupted with a simple two words: "Thank you."

The cyrogenic capsules were shut away in long-term storage in a dark warehouse. Khan had been sealed frozen and asleep into a cryo-tube next to his crew members.

In the film's final sequence set at Starfleet headquarters, Kirk had recovered and one year later, he was delivering an address at a commemorative re-christening ceremony for the USS Enterprise, that had been repaired and rebuilt. The ceremony also served as a memorial service for those who died as a result of Khan's actions, including those killed when the USS Vengeance crashed. He reminded everyone in the audience that Starfleet risked becoming as warlike as its enemies:

There will always be those who mean to do us harm. To stop them, we risk awakening the same evil within ourselves. Our first instinct is to seek revenge when those we love are taken from us. But that's not who we are. We are here today to rechristen the USS Enterprise, and to honor those who lost their lives nearly one year ago. When Christopher Pike first gave me his ship, he had me recite the Captain's Oath, words I didn't appreciate at the time. Now I see them as a call for us to remember who we once were, and who we must be again. And those words?

The film ended with a voice-over narration of the familiar Captain's Oath, as the Enterprise embarked on a 5-year mission into deep space. The Oath stated that the Enterprise's true mission was exploration of new worlds, life, and civilization:

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her five-year mission, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

In a brief epilogue, turbolift-doors opened as Kirk entered the Enterprise's bridge and resumed his place in the Captain's chair occupied by Sulu. Scotty reported that the core was "purring like a kitten" and "ready for a long journey." Dr. McCoy complained about the lengthy mission they had just commenced ("Five years in space. God help me"). Dr. Marcus was greeted as "part of the family." When Kirk asked Spock about their destination, Spock trusted in his Captain and replied: "I defer to your good judgment, Captain." Kirk ordered Sulu: "Take us out," and heard the reply: "Aye, Captain," before the engines engaged in warp-speed.

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

This was the twelfth film of the entire series - it was a sequel that appeared four years after a major relaunch or reboot of the previous film, Star Trek (2009) (also by director J.J. Abrams), featuring the same main characters (all new cast members).

The film's chronological setting was in the year 2259, a year after the events of the previous film. It reprised Chris Pine as James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise in the mid-23rd century, and Zachary Quinto as Spock. The mission of Captain Kirk and his crew on the Starship Enterprise was a manhunt to capture terrorist mastermind John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) (aka genetically-augmented super-human warlord Khan Noonien Singh, from the earlier film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)), a Starfleet renegade commander/agent who had fled to his Klingon homeworld of Kronos, where he soon instigated a war between the Federation and the Klingons.

Although some have regarded this action-adventure sci-fi film as a remake of the 1982 film, it was mostly an homage film with some similarities.

Beyond the darkness, lies greatness.

Earth Will Fall.

This was noted as the last Star Trek film starring Leonard Nimoy as the Vulcan Spock, due to the actor's death in 2015 at the age of 83.

Academy Award Nominations (one): Best Visual Effects - the Oscar was won by Gravity (2015).

With a production budget of $190 million, with box-office gross receipts of $228.8+ million (domestic) and $467.4+ million (worldwide). Of the first 13 films in the entire Star Trek franchise, it was the second-highest grossing (domestic) film, behind Star Trek (2009) at $257.7 million. It was also the 11th highest-grossing (domestic) film of the year 2013.

Native Nibiran

Captain James T. Kirk
(Chris Pine)

Chief Medical Officer Lieutenant Commander Leonard "Bones" McCoy M.D.
(Karl Urban)

Third Officer Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
(John Cho)

Science Officer Commander Spock
(Zachary Quinto)

Chief Engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott
(Simon Pegg)

(Deep Roy)

Communications Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
(Zoe Saldana)

Navigator Ensign Pavel Chekov
(Anton Yelchin)

Starfleet Officer Thomas Harewood
(Noel Clarke)

Rima Harewood
(Nazneen Contractor)

John Harrison / Khan
(Benedict Cumberbatch)

Admiral Christopher Pike
(Bruce Greenwood)

Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus
(Peter Weller)

Science Officer Lieutenant Carol Wallace (aka Carol Marcus)
(Alice Eve)

Klingon Patrol Commander

Spock Prime
(Leonard Nimoy)

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