Here’s a little video I pieced together, imagining Sybok’s attack on Kirk.
Sybok converted each of the Enterprise’s crewmembers by aggravating painful memories. We don’t see what he did to the four supporting players, but we do witness his attacks on McCoy and Spock. Just as Sybok is about to dig into Kirk’s memories, the captain stops it short. Kirk’s resistance may have been more impressive if Sybok had tried and failed, rather than not even getting the chance to try.
If Sybok was allowed to dig a little bit, the painful memories from Kirk’s past that he probably would have played on include the death of David, the hurt that Kirk felt at the death of Spock, and the tragedy of the transporter accident from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That may seem like an odd story to include. But one of those people is meant to be Lori Ciana, with whom Kirk fell in love, revealed in the novel The Lost Years.
The scenes from the TV show don’t fit very well visually, because of the unfortunate discrepancies in aspect ratio. I could have adjusted it, but that would reduce the image quality of the clips from the show, which already are of a lower quality from the films. For a two-minute fan compilation, I can afford to shrug that one off.
From the show, I’ve included a shot of Kodos the Executioner, playing on Kirk’s childhood trauma which was explored in Shatner’s novel Collision Course, a shot of Kirk’s old friend Gary Mithchell in his last lucid moment, Kirk discovering the dead body of his brother, and the death of his father. This bit is non-canonical, and doesn’t make any sense to include in this timeline. But it’s cool, so I threw it in there. The greatest pain in Kirk’s life may have been the death of Edith Keeler. He loved her, but he’s loved other people who have died. The real pain associated with Edith is the terrible choice he was forced to make. Captain Kirk is a man who always finds a way out, even if the situation is grim and the odds are against him. (Okay, so he didn’t find a way out of that one either.) The death of Edith marks the first time Kirk was forced to face his own limitations. He lost a woman he loved, which is painful enough. But being forced to allow her death hits at the deepest insecurities the character has.
But of course, it was that experience that strengthened him for the challenges ahead. Steeling his will to bring justice to the frontier, nothing could scare him. If his pain was taken away then he might not have the courage to confront the evil God-imposter, or to surrender his prejudice against the Klingons.
The music is taken from the episode “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Since I believe Kirk’s pain finds it home in the events chronicled in that story, it makes sense that all of his pains would be scored likewise.