Captain's Log, Stardate 9522.6: I've never trusted Klingons, and I never will. I can never forgive them for the death of my boy. It seems to me our mission to escort the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council to a peace summit is problematic at best. Spock says this could be an historic occasion, and I'd like to believe him. But how on Earth can history get past people like me?
[last lines] Captain's Log, Stardate 9529.1: This is the final cruise of the Starship Enterprise under my command. This ship and her history will shortly become the care of another crew. To them and their posterity will we commit our future. They will continue the voyages we have begun and journey to all the undiscovered countries, boldly going where no man - where no one - has gone before.
[at Kirk and McCoy's trial] Indeed, the record shows that Captain Kirk once held the rank of admiral, and that Admiral Kirk was [rapid and agitated] broken for taking matters into his own hands in defiance of regulations of the law! Do you deny being demoted for these charges?! Don't wait for the translation! Answer me now!
Spock: Good morning. Two months ago, a Federation starship monitored an explosion on the Klingon moon, Praxis. We believed it was caused by overmining and insufficient safety precautions. The moon's decimation means a deadly pollution of their ozone. They will have depleted their supply of oxygen in approximately 50 Earth-years. Due to their enormous military budget, the Klingon economy does not have the resources with which to combat this catastrophe. Last month, at the behest of the Vulcan ambassador, I opened a dialogue with Gorkon, Chancellor of the Klingon High Council. He proposes to commence negotiations at once.
Spock : [to Leonard McCoy] I'd give real money if he'd shut up.
[The Enterprise and Excelsior crews have just averted the assassination of the Federation president]
Azetbur: What's happened? What's the meaning of all of this?
James T. Kirk: It's about the future, Madame Chancellor. Some people think the future means the end of history. Well, we haven't run out of historyquite yet. Your father called the future the undiscovered country. People can be very frightened of change.
About Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
“Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” begins, as so many “Star Trek” stories do, with a story set in the future but parallel to contemporary developments. In this case, as the Klingon empire begins to self-destruct after a Chernoble-type explosion on one of its moons, the obvious reference is to the disintegration of the Russian empire.
“Star Trek” has always been more allegory than science fiction. There is a kind of integrity, indeed, in the deliberately low-tech sets; the movies have always remained true to the klutzy art direction of the TV series, and in a post-”2001” and “Star Wars” age the bridge of the Enterprise still looks as if it were made out of old Captain Video props and a 1950s housewares show.
Why on earth (or anywhere else) would Paramount want to retire this crew, which is as familiar and comforting as old family friends, and which does its job with the effortless grace of long familiarity? In Shakespeare, the “undiscovered country” is death. And elsewhere the bard refers to one who dies as being like an actor who goes off to “study a long silence.” I don’t know if that will work here. I doubt frankly that the crew of the Enterprise can stop talking long enough to die.
A "Star Trek" film is such a collection of wild cards that this latest one refers to Richard Nixon, Sherlock Holmes and Peter Pan, among other notables. The plot alludes to ecology, racism, the cold war, detente and Nazi Germany. William Shakespeare is a generous contributor to the screenplay, although it is credited to Mr. Meyer and Denny Martin Flinn (from a story by Leonard Nimoy and Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal—punctuation theirs). In this kind of anything-goes atmosphere, creative ferment is whatever one makes of it, and the "Star Trek VI" principals have done their best to make it fun. That's no small achievement after 25 years.
He was not well, and maybe there were more tactful ways of dealing with it, because at the end of the day, I was going to go out and make the movie. I didn't have to take him on. Not my finest hour.
Nicholas Meyer, recalling his final meeting with Gene Roddenberry before his death; as recounted in Star Trek Movie Memories (1995) by William Shatner, pp. 366–367
If I’m interpreting him correctly and if I’m believing what he said, Mr. Roddenberry really believed in the perfectability of man, of humans, and I have yet to see the evidence for this. So ‘VI’ is a film in which the crew of the Enterprise has all kinds of prejudice, racial prejudice, vis-a-vis the Klingons. And some of their remarks, including how they all look alike and what they smell like, and all the xenophobic things which we grappled with — that was all deeply offensive to him because he thought there isn’t going to be that. In fact, in his original ‘Star Trek’ concept, there wasn’t any conflict. So he always had problems with writers who were trying to write conflict, because that’s what drama is, so he was very distressed with the world of the Enterprise – the kind of ‘music’ I was writing.
IGN: I was at the Star Trek convention in New York City a few months ago that you attended. You mentioned in relation to Star Trek VI that you see the film now as having a sort of naive aspect...?
Meyer: There are a couple things in that movie... yes, I think there are things in the movie that are either naive or that make the… The naiveté doesn’t exactly make me wince, but there are things that make me wince in it. The naive thing I suppose is simply that we thought, in the words of Francis Fukuyama, that we had reached the end of history and we were entering a brave new world minus the Soviet Union where everything was going to be peaches and cream. And, in fact, we've entered a world which is arguably much more dangerous than [being] eyeball to eyeball with the USSR. And in that sense, yes, we were naive. We were extremely prescient in that we predicted the Soviet coup before it happened. That was kind of amazing. But I also think that the scene where Spock is doing the Vulcan mind meld on [Kim Cattrall’s character] Valeris to get information sort of looks like waterboarding to me, and doesn't make me very happy to see it.
There seem to be two conflicting impulses in "Trek VI": a desire to wrap up the epic with panache, and another desire to get back on track after the misfire of "Star Trek V."
There's an urgency about "Star Trek VI" that comes from its deliberate topicality. Meyer and Flynn—and Nimoy—have returned "Trek" to its usual '60s TV strategy: making a thinly veiled allegory about current events—in this case, the Soviet Union breakup. They've loaded up "Trek VI" with contemporary parallels: including a Gorbachev figure, Chairman Gorkon (David Warner) and the economic paralysis of the Klingons (i.e. Russians) after years of military overspending.