Nero waited 25 years then intercepted Spock, captured him, and marooned him on Delta Vega. But Spock settled within walking distance of a Federation science lab (where Scottie ended up). He brought young James T. Kirk there to get beamed back to the Enterprise. Why didn't he just take a short walk over there sooner and perhaps ask to make a phone call about Nero and what he may be planning, ask for transport to Vulcan or Earth, etc?

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    I do not recall the movie entirely, but I believe that he marooned him on Delta Vega just before the destruction of Vulcan. Jun 29, 2018 at 7:23

2 Answers 2


This answer involves a speculative leap.

After landing on the planet, the escape pod informs Kirk of the location of the outpost:

COMPUTER VOICE: Location: Delta Vega. Class-M planet. Unsafe. There is a Starfleet outpost fourteen kilometers to the northwest.

Kirk has been walking towards that outpost when, chased by the local fauna, he stumbles into a cave and is saved by Ambassador Spock, who then initiates a mind meld:

KIRK: Whoah, whoah. What are you doin'?

SPOCK PRIME: Our minds. One and together.

And, following the mind meld, Ambassador Spock whips out his knowledge of the base:

SPOCK PRIME: Jim, we must go. There is a Starfleet outpost not far from here.

We could speculate that Spock learned of the Starfleet outpost by mining that detail from Kirk's mind when they were "one and together"; Kirk, of course, knowing about it from the escape pod computer. If Spock was not aware of the base before the mind meld - or knew, from his timeline, that such a base existed, but not where he was relative to it - then that would explain why he hadn't gone there before the meeting with Kirk.

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    I always assumed that Spock, based on his later behavior, was reluctant to contact the Federation and further influence the timeline with his knowledge of the future. He assumes here that Kirk is captain of Enterprise as in the original timeline, which should have made Kirk and the Federation eminently capable of dealing with Nero. Jun 29, 2018 at 13:46
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    @jeffronicus that's another excellent speculative idea - that Spock would not go alone to the outpost, but that once Kirk arrived they could go together because Kirk could carry actions forward. I suggest you write that up as another answer.
    – gowenfawr
    Jun 29, 2018 at 13:47
  • I find it hard to believe that Spock couldn't figure out on his own that there was a Federation base just 14 km away.
    – Schwern
    Jun 29, 2018 at 22:20
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    On a featureless ice planet with wind-blown snow? He's a Vulcan, @Schwern, not a GPS unit!
    – gowenfawr
    Jun 29, 2018 at 22:56
  • @Jeffronicus. Good idea but I think you're cutting the screenwriters too much slack. Spock would have known that a crazy Nero with his stolen red matter was going to influence the timeline way more than Spock could ever do. The best way to preserve the timeline would have been to try to get someone to help him neutralize Nero.
    – Joe C
    Jun 30, 2018 at 3:45

There are many explanations possible here. The fine details are simply not part of the movie.

  1. How do you know Spock hadn't already been traveling towards that outpost? For all you know, he was taking a break when Kirk showed up. We don't know where Nero dropped Spock off. He may have been stranded considerably further than Kirk, since Kirk was launched by a Starfleet vessel with the express intent to be picked up by Starfleet personnel from the outpost. Spock, on the other hand, was dropped somewhere he could watch Vulcan.

  2. Spock's homeworld was just destroyed, and this Spock wasn't even aware that anyone was rescued. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that he wanted some alone time.

  3. Spock may have been sheltering from the cold. He had a fire going, and we do not know how long him and Kirk spent in that cave before actually moving on. Given the low visibility when Kirk didn't spot the approaching creature, the weather wasn't being particularly hospitable.

Gowenfawr and jeffronicus' suggestions are possible too. Though I'd expect either case to be explicitly mentioned given that they'd be an interesting addition to the script.

Why didn't he just take a short walk over there sooner and perhaps ask to make a phone call about Nero and what he may be planning, ask for transport to Vulcan or Earth, etc

  1. Spock doesn't know Nero's plan. Nero didn't even know Nero's plan after punishing Spock.
  2. Vulcan was already destroyed at this point, and both Spocks were made painfully aware of that fact.
  3. Before the destruction of Vulcan, Starfleet's fleet had been destroyed. Spock likely witnessed this, as he was already on the planet, Nero was already drilling Vulcan, and the fleet must have engaged Nero in plain sight of Spock. The appearance of the Starfleet fleet means that Starfleet is already aware of Nero's presence. Spock doesn't need to inform them about it.
    • Also note that Vulcan, as a Federation member, would be in contact with Starfleet as well, even before Nero started drilling. This is presumably how Starfleet was initially made aware of Nero's presence to begin with.
  • The idea that Kirk just coincidentally happened to be marooned on the same planet, at the same time, in the same place as Spock to be extremely unsatisfying. In universe, it's unlikely to the extreme. Out of universe, it's lazy screenwriting.
    – Schwern
    Jun 29, 2018 at 22:23
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    @Schwern It is not that coincidental. Spock was placed there because it gave front row seats to Vulcan's destruction. Kirk was sent there just before the Enterprise departed from what used to be Vulcan. It stands to reason that both Nero and young Spock would've picked the planet closest to Vulcan to suit their purpose.
    – Flater
    Jun 30, 2018 at 1:57
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    You've mentioned that Spock's home-world was destroyed and this was after the destruction of Vulcan a few times. That means you did not understand my question. Nero marooned Spock THEN destroyed Vulcan. Why did Spock just camp in a cave from when Nero dropped him off until Jim got there? There's a good chance Spock didn't know Nero was going to destroy Vulcan, but that doesn't explain why he'd just camp in a cave when there's a Fed outpost within walking distance. You'd walk over and "Hey, do you have anything to eat? Is there a rocket out of here soon? A crazy man stole my red matter ..."
    – Joe C
    Jun 30, 2018 at 3:39
  • @JoeC 1. Spock is specifically told by Nero that he intends to make him watch Vulcan be destroyed. We see that during the mind meld. 2. Why do you assume Spock's camp site is exactly where Nero dropped him? When he saw Vulcan, the skies were clear. When he was in the cave, there was an icey storm. We don't know how far Spock traveled betweem the dropoff location and the cave. The weather is a perfect reason to take shelter in a cave.
    – Flater
    Jun 30, 2018 at 12:12
  • @Flatter So your answer is that Spock was, indeed, attempting to be rescued from Delta Vega and alert someone that a crazy man was running around with red matter possibly intending to destroy entire planets. He just happened to be in a cave waiting out a storm 14K from the Fed science lab right when James T got there. Sounds OK, maybe, but that is not what you wrote in your answer. Your comment seems to be more of an answer than your answer.
    – Joe C
    Jun 30, 2018 at 15:37

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