I ask, oddly enough, because while in the shower, I was thinking of Star Trek IV, where that cetacean biologist (I think her name was Jillian?) just goes on the Enterprise, and ride along to the future with the crew. I thought about what happened later. Here's the series of events, I would think, from the 20th century human POV (bear with me if I get stuff wrong, it's been a long time since I have seen the movie).
- Shortly before they release the whales, some odd people start snooping around the aquarium, one who dives in and swims with the whales. Maybe they'd make a connection because she spoke with them, and must have told others about it.
- There is a break-in at the Alameda Naval Base (anyone who says "wessels" in the comments section will be shot) by a Russian-accented operative. This probably would never be connected to the disappearance.
- When the whales are released, they are radio tagged. I assume they stopped working after they were sealed in the Klingon vessel. Did anyone notice, or did they assume the Russian whaler got them?
On top of all this, their main cetacean biologist at the aquarium just vanishes. I mean, she had coworkers, friends, bills... what happened? Did they assume she was kidnapped? Was there a police investigation launched?
Last year, a friend of someone I know did a vanishing trick. She was in an abusive marriage, and suddenly she just vanished, leaving all her stuff (including her baby) behind. It was VERY suspicious. But it turned out she ran away and didn't tell anyone including her own parents. When I worked retail, I had an assistant vanish on me. She was also in an abusive relationship, and she had four very large brothers who went nuts looking for her. We were sure that she had been whisked away or beaten, because they were always suspicious of him. For a week, we all called back and forth going, "Did you hear from her?" After a week, I didn't hear anything. I found out a year later, she just eloped and was afraid to tell her family for about a month.
But back to fiction. Jillian seemed the friendly sort. She loved whales, had a bubbly, perky, and confident personality. I bet she had lots of friends. But it seems kind of flighty to just jump on some spaceship because there are people who claim they are from the future and need to steal the whales you've studied to keep some uber-whale-alien mothership from bombarding the Earth (or whatever it was doing). But she did. She grabbed Cap'n Kirk as he was beaming up. "I'm going with you," she said, and that was that. No one gave her some speech about altering timelines or the Prime Directive (of course, Scotty taught some company to make transparent aluminum). I can only imagine her schoolgirl crush to the captain ended and she was left, without friends or recent relatives, in a place where she didn't really fit in. And in the past-future, she left a series of police reports, speculations, and possible relatives who had no body to bury. Her pretty face and professional status must have made good press, and I bet her disappearance would be all over the media. Maybe some guy in the Crimes Unit probably got fired over never finding out what happened.
I'd feel bad leaving in such a manner. I could imagine some of you flipping out if I just vanished. "What happened to Punkie?" While I don't have parents, my wife and son would be really left with a loose end; dying without knowing. That's really sad.
I know it was just a movie, but still.