In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Spock's half-brother Sybok exposes the "secret pain" of people he encounters.

Sybok forces McCoy to reveal that he had hastened his own dying father's death, only to learn of a cure shortly after. Spock's secret pain is rooted in Sarek's displeasure with Spock's humanity.

Kirk, however, does not permit his pain to be exposed.

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What is Kirk's secret pain?

Any relevant details from script notes and drafts of screenplays, novelizations, and interviews would be most appreciated.

(I tried to ask William Shatner this at the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration, but the queue was just too long....)

  • 11
    Saw the title, assumed "pain" was a typo for "plan" :-P
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 18:41
  • 6
    Does it really matter? Damn it, Praxis, you're a Stack Exchange user. You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They're the things Kirk carries with him, the things that make him who he is. If he loses them, he loses himself. Kirk doesn't want his pain taken away! He needs his pain! Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 18:50
  • 12
    It was that he not only had to watch this movie when it we completed, but that he knew he'd have to bear most of the blame for it...
    – Tango
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 19:00
  • 1
    Kirk was haunted by not getting the green woman's communicator number the morning after they made their interstellar love connection. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


The relevant bit from the film's official novelisation is slightly different from the wording in the film. There's also some internal dialogue from Kirk himself.

The very thought made images shimmer and swirl in the shadows: Enterprise, as her fiery hull streaked through the sky toward Genesis like a falling star as she plummeted to her death. David, my son, my own flesh and blood, dead before I had the chance to really know him. Lost chances with his mother, Carol...

"I don't need Sybok to take me on a tour of them." "Jim," McCoy pleaded, his eyes dulled by euphoria, "if you'd just unbend and allow yourself'

"To be brainwashed by this con man? You said it yourself, Doctor, remember?" "I was wrong," McCoy countered. "This "con man' took away my pain! No psychiatrist in the universe has ever..."

"Dammit, Bones, you're a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can't be dispelled with the wave of a magic wand. They're things we carry with us - the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away. I don't want to forget David and Carol and losing the Enterprise. I need my pain."

  • Well, that's disappointingly obvious. I was hoping for something juicier. Nonetheless, +1 for helping to make a little more sense of this dreadful movie. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 1:16
  • Hmm, so are they screwing up every other movie again? I thought this one was suppose to be the "good" one.
    – Nelson
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 3:17
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    @Nelson This seems to require a TBBT quote. Raj Koothrappali: "Are you joking? Star Trek V is the standard against which all badness is measured!" Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 6:16
  • 1
    @jpmc26 - The asterisk was a rogue editing mark. The layout is much the same as can be found in my ebook version. You'd have to look at the paper version to find out if it's the same.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 15:27
  • 1
    @Valorum : The truly shocking thing is that Dillard's novelizations are actually not the worst (the Vonda McIntyre ones come to mind).
    – Praxis
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 22:24

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