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Admiral Kirk arrives aboard the Enterprise for an inspection of the training crew. While inspecting the crew as they stand in line. He comes to Scotty and says the following.

From The Script

                                       KIRK
                                 (continuing to Scotty)
                         Mr. Scott, you old space dog. You're
                         well?

                                       SCOTTY
                         I had me a wee bout -- but Dr. McCoy
                         pulled me through.

                                       KIRK
                         Oh? A wee bout of what, Mr. Scott?

               Uncomfortable, Scotty exchanges a glance with Bones --

                                       BONES
                         Shore leave, Admiral.

                                       KIRK
                         Ah.

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I've have seen this film a number of times, and always wondered. What was wrong with Scotty. It's clear that he went to Dr. McCoy for treatment of something, but that it was a personal thing so McCoy says "Shore leave" to the Admiral.

I don't remember anything happening to Scotty in the first Star Trek film that could be related.

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7  
Might just be as simple as a STD joke. Typically Shore Leave stereotype is navy or whatever branch of armed forces come home simply for sex. –  TylerShads Jun 3 '13 at 19:24
    
@TylerShads hahaha.. I never took it that way. You should make that an answer. –  Mathew Foscarini Jun 3 '13 at 19:27
2  
I have heard that it was a reference to a real life health problem James Doohan had and according to IMDb Trivia it was a heart attack. But at the moment I can't find any reputable secondary sources for this. –  Oliver_C Jun 3 '13 at 21:19
1  
@TylerShads Should this be re-tagged to "Wrath of Khan" given Star-Trek-2 could be mistaken for into darkness? –  Liath Jun 4 '13 at 8:45
    
@Oliver_C The heart attack connection seems like the right answer to me. –  Mathew Foscarini Jun 16 '13 at 15:40
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5 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I agree with the other posters on here that suggest it alludes to an STD.

The phrase "a wee bout" suggests an infection, not anything drink related, plus the use of the words 'sea dog' and 'shore leave' are usually connected with the old tales of sailors having a girl in every port (and a port in every girl).

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I think this answer provides the best reasoning for STD. Thanks. –  Mathew Foscarini Jul 20 '13 at 13:36
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As pointed out, there doesn't appear to be an official explanation for this. However, due to several television episodes that show Scotty's penchant for drink (alcohol), plus the habit sailors have for getting very drunk on shore leave, it is quite possible that Scotty was simply talking about a hangover that Bones assisted him in shortening.

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture took place almost a decade earlier than Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, despite there being only three years between their production; so this is definitely not a reference to anything in ST:TMP.

@TylerShads answer in comments above is one strong possibility -- that this is an oblique reference to Scotty having acquired an STI. It could be something more innocent, like a significant stomach bug brought on by too much drink and rich food.

There is, however, no canonical answer to the question. Even the novelizations do not provide details.

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I always thought it was just a joke in reference to the fact that Scotty had been persuaded to take vacation time. Maybe it seems more that way in British English but definitely to me the exchange like this made sense:

"You're well?" - just means "how are you doing", seems like Kirk hasn't seen him in a while, which would make sense if Kirk is an admiral now and Scotty is still active on board a ship.

"Wee bout" - Scotty lining up his joke

"Oh? A wee bout of what, Mr. Scott?" - Kirk seems surprised Scotty is saying he had some illness

"shore leave" - ahh he wasn't ill, but taking time off is like an illness to Scotty.

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interesting take on it. I like this answer, but there is no way to confirm it's correct. –  Mathew Foscarini Jun 16 '13 at 15:36
2  
No way to confirm any of them are correct :) But I think it more likely they were just joking about (Scotty was a workaholic like Picard) than introducing some illness for no reason. –  monkjack Jun 16 '13 at 16:47
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Given that Kirk is the only one apparently having sex in the Star Trek universe, it seems more likely that Scotty had some malaise actually from shore leave, like a hangover, dysentery, a broken limb, etc.

In that world, each impairment would be cause for not being on duty, but also trivially and nearly instantly cured by medicine.

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