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

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

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

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

               Uncomfortable, Scotty exchanges a glance with Bones --

                         Shore leave, Admiral.


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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.

  • 11
    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.
    – Tablemaker
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 19:24
  • @TylerShads hahaha.. I never took it that way. You should make that an answer.
    – Reactgular
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 19:27
  • 4
    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
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 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
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 8:45
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    Even though this is an old question, and an answer has been accepted over a year ago, I strongly disagree with the STD reference. Any long-time Trekkie knows that A) Scotty was known to kick back a few, and B) Star Trek would never reference or infer that one of its characters had an STD. It's just way outside of Roddenberry's character development. If Kirk was never a suspect for STD then there's no way that Scotty would be, as his love-life was non-existant. As such, I'm more apt to believe it was a reference to a hangover. Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 18:16

10 Answers 10


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).

  • I think this answer provides the best reasoning for STD. Thanks.
    – Reactgular
    Commented Jul 20, 2013 at 13:36
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    "A wee bout" just means he has a headache and feels like crap, as opposed to being bedridden and nauseous. "A wee bout" suggests a small, or slight amount of discomfort. How does someone get "a little bit" of an STD? Meh. Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 14:24
  • @AndrewMattson While you have a point, bear in mind the movie is set in a universe where the doctor gives you a pill and you grow a new kidney.
    – Longspeak
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 14:39
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    @Longspeak - think about the characters in question, as well, though. Scotty is known for his love of ales and spirits, not for his sexual carousing. "Shore leave" in the context of the character, would be a hangover, not an STD. He gets the alien drunk tapping into his store of vintage whiskey. He gets into a brawl with Klingons at a bar (though it was more over an insult at the Enterprise than drunken behavior). An "infection" is out of character. Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 14:48
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    @AndrewMattson I'm not disagreeing; I always thought it was something drink related. I'm just saying it's a universe where someone CAN get "a little bit" of an STD. I mean in the same movie as the kidney thing, Chekov gets "a little bit" of a life threatening brain injury which gets cured by a magic device McCoy keeps in his pocket. :p
    – Longspeak
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 14:55

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.

  • 2
    ^^^ This is correct Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 14:25

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.

  • interesting take on it. I like this answer, but there is no way to confirm it's correct.
    – Reactgular
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 15:36
  • 3
    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.
    – sksamuel
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 16:47
  • "but there is no way to confirm it's correct" Well, actually there is one. You could track down and ask the writers of the scene, what the joke is about. I guess what you meant to say is "there is no easy way to confirm it". (Yeah I know, I'm pedantic. ;)
    – magnattic
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 17:10
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    This answer is the one I always think of when i see this scene. Shore leave seems to be something that Scotty "endures" usually through drinking. LOL
    – MrInfinity
    Commented Dec 5, 2021 at 17:09

Being a Navy engineering vet myself (MM2), "wee bout" and "shore leave" put together suggests a wild night of partying followed by a bad hangover. The STD thing has never jived with me for several reasons:

  1. His age.
  2. His character.
  3. He's an engineer. We engineer types are reclusive in nature and like to hang out with other engineers (even at the bars), and we have a harder time with the ladies. You see a perfect example of this in Star Trek (2009).
  4. STD's, diseases, cancer, aids, etc etc are all wiped out in the Star Trek world.

Scotty was hungover. It's simple. In the original series we see Mr Scott enjoy a drink or make references to one. While on shore leave, he drank too much.

  • This should be the chosen answer. He's hungover, nothing more. STD is not suggested, in any way. Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 14:22

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.


In the book version of the movie, written by Vonda McIntyre, it's explained the Scotty had suffered a heart attack.



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.


I thought it too was a reference to Scotty being a workaholic because of this scene from "The Trouble With Tribbles".

Capt. Kirk: Another technical journal, Scotty? Scott: Aye. Capt. Kirk: Don't you ever relax? Scott: I am relaxing.

In other words, Scotty loves him some Enterprise and can't stand to be away from it. Having to take shore leave is not something he wants to do.


shakes head

No, no no no, no no.

The "wee bout" was "shore leave", i.e., vacation.

I.e. Scotty hates taking time off and wants to just work and study.

That's the joke.

When Scotty showed up on TNG he had just been in the transporter for a hundred years, supposedly retired, and wants to read technical manuals. The whole episode is about him letting go of his working engineering life and being able to live like a retired person.

My interpretation is in character.

Weirdly, nobody else see this.

All y'all saying "Scott got the clap" - have you ever even WATCHED Star Trek?


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