I'm truly loving the Shatinator's explanation, when Scotty left for his retirement James Kirk was "back" and Scotty knew him to be alive.
Keeping it out of the Shatnerverse, I think this could make for an interesting book.
"Kirk's back in the 23rd century and he's pissed. One man, alone... This time...it's personal."
Heh, heh...but no really: the tale could be seminal...the epic journey to save a comrade that didn't
end in success. My God, Bones...what ever happened on that mission when the angels wept?
I may try working this out in my head. How do you make the epic hero lose yet still win insofar as keeping the tale in the idealistic pantheon stories where the hero always wins?