When the Enterprise is on it's way to Kronos it drops out of warp because of some unknown leak in the core. At first it's implied that it's the torpedoes (which it wasn't because they were not even weapons), then it's suggested that Carol Marcus was somehow responsible (she was later cleared).

How then did the warp drive fail?

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    I changed the title to make it less spoilery while still retaining the essence of the question - this film hasn't been released overseas yet and the question title already told me too much.
    – Nobby
    May 10, 2013 at 14:24
  • BTW, the torpedoes were indeed live weapons, though it's unclear how that's possible given their "modifications." May 21, 2013 at 15:44
  • @DavidHarkness they are live weapons and would be dead after they explode ;)
    – Reactgular
    May 27, 2013 at 23:27
  • @MathewFoscarini - As I said, but my point is that since they were fully functional with a complete stasis chamber inside, why not originally design them to be much smaller? What superfluous circuitry and mechanics were removed to make room, and why was it included in the first place if it wasn't essential for the torpedo to function? May 28, 2013 at 6:23

2 Answers 2


At a high level, Admiral Marcus was the saboteur. How he had the Enterprise sabotaged isn't explained in the film, but Marcus and Section 31 have plenty of access to sabotage the Enterprise.

It could have been done in advance, installing a faulty piece of equipment prior to the Enterprise leaving, designing it so that it would fail after the Enterprise had been at warp long enough to have reached the edge of Klingon space. Or there could be Section 31 operatives on board who sabotaged the ship at the right moment.

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    I'm going to upvote this but I'm a little reluctant to mark it as the answer... it's pretty much where I'd got to. It could be one of these things but we don't really know...
    – Liath
    May 20, 2013 at 9:56
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    @Liath FWIW, I try to revisit my answers on stuff like this once Blu-rays are released. Maybe there'll be a deleted scene, or something in a commentary that will address this.
    – user209
    May 20, 2013 at 14:17
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    @Liath - It was pretty clear that Marcus had arranged the sabotage from the exchange between Marcus and Kirk when they faced off at the edge of the neutral zone, but like Keen I don't recall any scene which showed specifically who specifically caused it or how. May 21, 2013 at 15:42
  • @Liath Well, be it so, of course we cannot know if the movie doesn't tell us. But yet the movie makes it pretty clear that it was Admiral Marcus's deed, if only indirectly.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 1, 2013 at 21:44

They never implicated Carol Marcus during the film. She had the full trust of Spock, because she was the Admiral's daughter.

Kirk knew before anyone else that it was sabotage. When they are about to regain warp power and Chekov says "I take full responsibility for the failure". Kirk says "I don't think it was your fault." Or something like that.

The film states specifically that it was the Admiral. We could assume that he had someone do it for him, but his name is used to identify who did it. This is mentioned twice during the film. Once by Spock when he's talking to Kirk, and once by the Admiral when he's talking ship-to-ship with Kirk.

The Admiral's plan went wrong. The Enterprise was support to fire the torpedoes first before the ship broke down stranding them in Klingon space. Because it broke down first, Kirk takes a landing party to capture Khan. Kirk never intended to fire the torpedoes anyway.

They try to report back to Earth that they captured Khan alive, but they never get a response. Uhura says someone is blocking the signal, then the Admiral appears in his new ship to destroy the Enterprise.

The Admiral assumed the torpedoes would start a war, the stranded Enterprise would be destroyed by Klingon's covering up what the Admiral did.

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    "What's his name" is Chekov.
    – wallyk
    May 25, 2013 at 15:29

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