I vaguely recall a quote from Scotty of Star Trek:TOS where he indicated that it's important to always leave a little extra behind so that you can pull it out at the right moment so that you appear to be a genius. Whether this was in TOS or another movie I don't know for sure. Does anyone have memory of the exact quote?

  • 9
    There are two secrets to success. #1. Don't give away everything you know.
    – Gusdor
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 7:14
  • "Does anyone have memory of the exact quote?" Could you please state that more precisely? Because your curretn question lets only imagine what you want to know. And your curretn question is simply answeed by saying "yes I do." or "No I don't.".
    – Zaibis
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 7:20
  • And this reminds of B'elanna vs. Janeway, first episode of VOY I guess…
    – o0'.
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 9:47

2 Answers 2


This is from Star Trek III:

Kirk: How much refit time till we can take [the Enterprise] out again?

Scotty: Eight weeks, sir. (as Kirk opens his mouth) But you don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it for ya in two.

Kirk: (considers) Mr. Scott. Have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of four?

Scotty: Certainly, sir. How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

This idea is also referenced twice in "Relics", a 1994 episode of The Next Generation. The first is the one birdman3131 mentions in another answer. The other comes in the climax of the episode:

Scotty: Shunt the deuterium from the main cryo-pump to the auxiliary tank.

Geordi: The tank can't withstand that kind of pressure.

Scotty: Where'd you get that idea?

Geordi: What do you mean, where did I get that idea? It's in the impulse engine specifications.

Scotty: Regulation forty two slash fifteen, pressure variances on IRC tank storage?

Geordi: Yeah.

Scotty: Forget it. I wrote it. A good engineer is always a wee bit conservative, at least on paper.

The Next Generation Season 6 Episode 4 "Relics"

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    +1 Bah!! I was just about to post this... You win this time!
    – Daft
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 17:56
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    @Daft [blows smoke from pistol] Better luck next time Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 18:03
  • Both are great answers. Rockstars all.
    – McArthey
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 18:29
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    I read this with a Scottish accent...
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 3:58
  • 1
    Scotty is a project manager's worst nightmare.
    – Gusdor
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 12:34

This is the closest I can find, from TNG: Relics

Geordi La Forge: Look, Mr. Scott, I'd love to explain everything to you, but the Captain wants this spectrographic analysis done by 1300 hours.

[La Forge goes back to work; Scotty follows slowly]

Scotty: Do you mind a little advice? Starfleet captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. But the secret is to give them only what they need, not what they want.

Geordi La Forge: Yeah, well, I told the Captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.

Scotty: How long will it really take?

Geordi La Forge: An hour!

Scotty: Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would 'really' take, did ya?

Geordi La Forge: Well, of course I did.

Scotty: Oh, laddie. You've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

  • See it on YT Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 22:18
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    The first thing popped into my mind reading the question.
    – mg30rg
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 10:42
  • 2
    The best part? Everyone still thinks Geordi is a miracle worker. =)
    – corsiKa
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 19:31

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