written by Harve Bennett
STORY OUTLINE, dated September 16, 1982
report & analysis by David Eversole
We open on the primordial surface of Genesis. As the opening credits roll, we see the photon torpedo canister - Mark IV - which contained the body of Spock. The camera pulls back, up and away from the surface, dissolves through the atmosphere to the star field surrounding the planet. And then a giant Romulan Bird of Prey decloaks.
On the Romulan bridge, we see the Commander, a handsome swarthy man who bears a resemblance to the 20th Century actor Omar Sharif. He is the Captain of a spy vessel, and is deep in enemy territory.
The Romulan Commander and a landing party beam down to Genesis and make a fantastic discovery - the newly formed planet has unlimited supplies of raw dilithium. As the Commander glows with triumph, he is summoned to another part of the forest by his men. They have discovered the torpedo canister.
When it is opened, it is empty.
The U.S.S. Enterprise is en route to Earth after her battle with Khan. Kirk's log informs us he has dropped Carol and David Marcus off at their laboratory to continue work on Project Genesis. Kirk also notes his concern over the ship's morale, particularly that of Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Bones' depression is especially acute.
Kirk expresses his concern over his crew, and his grief at the loss of Spock, to Sulu. Sulu calms him, suggests he take an hour's rest to gather his resolve.
Kirk goes to his quarters, is very surprised to find the beautiful half-Vulcan/half-Romulan Lieutenant Saavik there. Something is wrong, she is trembling. Kirk moves in to comfort her. When questioned about her loss of composure, she says, "I have seen Spock." Before Kirk can question her further, Scotty calls, urgently summons him to Sickbay.
In Sickbay, Kirk discovers the source of Scotty's distress. Bones sits there, "drunk as a skunk." Bones believes he killed Spock, thinks he should have done more to save his life. Plus, Bones is sure that Spock wanted him to remember something, but he cannot remember. Kirk tells Bones he needs to buck up, and stop languishing in guilt. Bones agrees, but begs Kirk to take him to Vulcan. Bones believes his own ignorance is destroying him. Perhaps on Vulcan he can find out the truth. Kirk agrees to consider it.
Alone, Bones goes to his bathroom, splashes water on his face, glances into his mirror. The face of Spock stares back at him. Bones whirls to see if Spock is behind him. No one is there. When Bones looks back at the mirror it is his own anguished face that stares back at him.
On the bridge, Kirk speaks to the Starfleet Commander, asks permission to take Bones to Vulcan. Permission is denied. When the transmission is cut, Kirk turns to Sulu, orders him to lay in a course for Vulcan.
On the Genesis Planet, the Romulans set up mining operations, supervised by the Commander and his formidable female Sub-Commander. As the operation begins, the Romulans are spooked by strange sounds in the night.
Upon arrival at Vulcan, Kirk, Bones and Saavik beam down and find themselves attacked by a band of hostile renegade Vulcans. They are rescued by Prime Minister Sarek, Spock's father, and a group of Vulcan Regulars. Sarek is cold and somewhat angry - "This is all your doing," he tells Kirk.
In the Prime Minister's quarters, we learn that the implications of the Genesis Device and the death of Spock have shaken Vulcan. Many young Vulcans fear universal Armageddon, and have taken up their ancestors' war-like traits, demanding that Vulcan do something about the intellectually inferior Humans. Sarek, elected Prime Minister as a peace-maker, is barely hanging on.
Kirk and Bones are further shocked to learn that Spock may not be dead after all. Sarek asks why they left him on the Genesis planet. He says that they are ignorant to imagine that they absolutely knew Spock was dead. "Spock might be in a transcendental state," Sarek says. When Kirk asks what he can do, Sarek tells him to bring Spock to him, and hope he is still there when Kirk does so.
Bones asks for Kirk's permission to remain on Vulcan. There is much he wants to learn. He is sure Spock has planted information in his head, and he must find out what it is. Kirk allows him to stay.
A Federation Light Cruiser approaches Genesis, discovers the Romulans, and is attacked and destroyed without warning.
The Enterprise arrives in orbit about Earth, and the Starfleet Commander immediately beams aboard and meets Kirk in his quarters. He is pissed at Kirk, tells him he has mishandled the Genesis affair. The entire galaxy is up in arms at the implications of the destructive powers of the Genesis Device. And, what's more, Kirk has disobeyed orders and stopped at Vulcan. Kirk explains that he now believes Spock may be alive. As Kirk makes his impassioned plea to return to Genesis to find out what happened to Spock, we see that the Starfleet Commander is beginning to think Kirk has lost his mind. He relieves Kirk, confines him to his apartment, and orders him examined by psychiatrists. As the Starfleet Commander leaves, he tells Kirk his crew will be disbanded and sent to other assignments.
In a ceremony in the torpedo bay, Kirk bids a sad farewell to his friends.
In his San Francisco apartment, Kirk reads the book Spock gave him as a birthday present. Kirk pauses, looks over his glasses, sees Spock sitting in the room with him. "Why are you doing this to me?" Kirk asks. No answer. "This is one hell of a mess you've got us all in, and the least you could do is talk to me," Kirk yells. Still no answer. The image of Spock disappears.
Sulu visits Kirk, looks about the room suspiciously, checks plants, objects to see if there are any eavesdropping devices secreted there. He updates Kirk: Scotty has been named Chief Engineer of the U.S.S. Excelsior, which is the newest Starfleet vessel, one capable of speeds far in excess of Warp 10. Uhura is a dispatcher at the Space Shuttle Dock. Sulu has been named Captain of the Enterprise, with Chekov and Saavik at his side. When Sulu is certain there are no bugs planted in the room, he turns to Kirk in a burst of energy. "Let's go," he says. "We're busting you out of here." When Kirk protests, asks Sulu what if he really is mad, Sulu assures him, "You're not mad. I have seen him too. We've all seen him."
Sulu dispatches the guard at Kirk's door with akido, and they head for the space shuttle dock, by way of the old city.
Much as in the final film, Kirk makes his way to the Enterprise, where we learn that Scotty has put the ship on full automatic. When Kirk tells his crew that they are committing an act of mutiny, the response is, "Long live Spock, sir." The Enterprise moves out, is followed by the Excelsior, which comes to a screeching halt, sputters and dies. "There's nothing," exclaims Scotty, "that a few well-placed pieces of chewing gum won't do to a hyper-warp engine." The Enterpirse warps toward Genesis.
On Genesis, something is wrong with the planet itself. It is rumbling and beginning to shake. Additionally, a "ghost-like figure" has been plaguing the Romulan mining operations. First, equipment goes missing, then a few Romulans disappear in the night. The Commander is summoned to view the dead body of a Romulan soldier. His neck has been broken. "There is no ghost here," the Romulan Commander exclaims as he removes something from the dead Romulan's clenched fist.
It is a Starfleet belt buckle.
Near Genesis, the Enterprise finds itself face-to-face with an imposing Vulcan vessel. Kirk and crew are afraid it is the rebel faction. After a tense few moments, the Vulcan vessel asks for coordinates to the Enterprise's transporter room. Bones is beamed aboard. "You took your sweet time about it," he grouses.
On Genesis, the Romulan Commander has patrols out searching for the "ghost." He is called by his Sub-Commander. A Federation starship is approaching. The Commander orders the Bird of Prey cloaked. The Sub-Commander tells him they have little "cloaking power" left, but does as he orders.
The Enterprise and the Bird of Prey engage in a fierce battle, and the Enterprise is mortally wounded. Kirk barks orders, "Uhura, signal surrender Mr. Saavik, execute General Order III Mr. Scott, feed all power to transporter room. Set timers at five minutes."
When they all beam down to Genesis, Saavik frets that the battle has been lost. She gets a "Kirkian reply." "The battle has just been joined. In exactly three minutes, it will enter phase two."
As in the film, the bulk of the enemy beams aboard the Enterprise and perishes when the ship explodes. On the planet below, the Enterprise survivors watch as their mother ship burns up in the atmosphere.
The Romulan Commander is enraged by the loss of his people, vows vengeance when he learns that Kirk and the others are on the planet. The ominous rumblings from the planet reach a high level.
Night falls on Genesis, and our brave crew huddles against the elements. Saavik is frustrated, but Kirk tells her there are always possibilities. She tells him there is no need for bravado now.
From the outline:
There is no simulator to reprogram. The ship is lost, Spock is an illusion, and Saavik has always loved Jim Kirk. There is nothing else to say. Jim Kirk holds her tight.
The following morning, the planet's rumbling and moaning is worse. Kirk and Bones reconnoiter, discover the Romulan dilithium mines. The Romulan Commander appears behind them, takes them prisoner. At the main camp, we discover that Scotty, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and Saavik have also been taken prisoner.
Kirk and the Romulan Commander talk. Both know what is at stake. The unlimited supply of dilithium means unlimited use of the Romulan cloaking systems. Birds of Prey can stay cloaked indefinitely, wander freely about the galaxy, undetected. But the Commander wants something more from Kirk. He wants to know the secret of forming planets which have unlimited dilithium. Kirk philosophically muses about the historical battles fought over gold, spices, oil. The Romulan Commander promises to begin killing members of Kirk's crew in one day if Kirk doesn't divulge the secret.
Throughout their conversation, the Romulan has been twiddling something in his hands. Finally, Kirk sees what it is. It is the Starfleet belt buckle. Its impact on Kirk is to revive his reason for being on the Genesis Planet.
That night, someone approaches the bound prisoners, steps behind Saavik. Instructions are whispered to her by this shadowy figure. Instructions in the Vulcan language! She is freed, and watches as the figure disappears into the inky blackness of the Genesis night. Then she frees the others, leads them away from the Romulan camp. She will not answer any of their questions.
They reach a cathedral-like place in the forest, and Saavik points.
From the outline:
In the distance, backlit by an eerie light, amid the growls of the strange land, stands what appears to be Spock.
The Enterprise crewmembers rush forward, overjoyed to see him, but stop short at the sound of an animal-like roar.
Spock is bearded, ragged, and seems mad. He is a primeval Vulcan, in turmoil -- sanity vs. madness, logic vs. passion. He yells at Kirk, "You left me here to die." Spock curses the Romulans, "Monsters. I will kill you all."
McCoy gets in Spock's face despite warnings from the others. "You green-blooded idiot, how dare you turn on all your friends? You think I don't know what lurks under your cool, calm nonsense all these years! You animal - you're mine, all mine--"
Spock grabs Bones in a viselike hug, begins crushing the very life out of him. Bones raises his arm, plunges a hypodermic into Spock. "You green-blooded son of a bitch-I read the book."
Spock falls into a coma, and soon the rumbling of the planet grows worse. A full blown quake strikes. Kirk surmises that since the planet was formed so quickly, it is accelerating its growth and its destruction.
The Romulan Commander stalks them, despite warnings from his Sub-Commander telling him the planet is doomed. Saavik ties into the Romulan frequency with her communicator. Kirk pretends to be the Romulan Commander, orders the Sub-Commander to beam them up.
The Romulan Commander appears at the edge of the clearing, raises his weapons, aims at the Enterprise survivors. They are beamed up before his eyes.
The Enterprise crew makes their way to the Romulan bridge. The Sub-Commander reaches for her phaser, but Saavik grabs one first, vaporizes her.
Kirk offers to beam the Romulan Commander and his soldiers aboard as prisoners. The reply is static. "To hell with him," Kirk says. Scotty and the others fumble about, trying to decipher the controls, and finally the ship goes into warp as Genesis explodes.
Kirk and Saavik ride an elevator to the Romulan sick bay. Both realize that the rules were different on the planet, but here, back on duty, their love has no chance. It is against the rules, though Kirk devilishly says he has been known to break a few rules.
As Kirk arrives in Sickbay, Uhura calls from the bridge of the Romulan vessel. The Excelsior is approaching, and Uhura wants to know what she should do. "Do the logical thing," Kirk says, "Surrender."
From the outline:
Kirk and Spock alone. "They'll make you pay a price for this, Jim. A court-martial for sure."
"I know. I've already figured my plea, nolo contendre, and I'll throw myself on the mercy of the court. With any luck, they'll bust me down to Captain and send me out again."
"In a new Enterprise," adds Spock.
"I hope so," says Kirk.
There's a moment, then Spock says, "Jim. . .", and Kirk looks up, "Yes?"
"Thank you for coming back for me."
As the Bird of Prey heads for home, we FADE OUT.
Unlike a number of fans, "The Search For Spock" is one of my favorite Star Trek films, though I fully admit it has more than its share of flaws. The basic theme of loyalty to friends, going the lonely mile for them, strikes home with me.
This outline, though rough, contains the basic elements that made the final film a success. The detour to Vulcan near the beginning was not needed, and I'm glad it is gone. Plus, it is far better to have Kirk, our leading character, in charge of the "bust out."
In this outline, Bennett never reveals what the secret was that Bones was supposed to remember. I wonder if he originally planned to keep it for another film.
Harve Bennett (1930-2015): Born Harve Bennett Fischman, he was most famous as a producer, writer and co-writer of the second through fifth Star Trek movies. He began his show business career as a child contestant on the radio program Quiz Kids, then went to film school and worked in television. He produced The Mod Squad, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman and Time Trax, among others. Telefilms and mini-series he produced include, Rich Man, Poor Man, The Jesse Owens Story and A Woman Called Golda. He always hoped his "Starfleet Academy" film script would be produced.
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