| Thirteen years before James T. Kirk
takes command of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Captain Christopher
Pike and his starship crew receive a distress signal from the planet
and beam down to investigate. Tracking the beacon, the landing party
discovers crash survivors from a missing scientific expedition; among
the survivors is a beautiful human female, Vina.
Pike is concerned for the woman's safety, yet allows himself to become
distracted by her beauty and is subsequently captured by the Talosians
who live beneath the planet's surface. The distress signal and
expedition survivors, except for Vina, are revealed to be but illusions
created by the Talosians to lure the Enterprise and Pike to the planet.
Talosians are a strong race, yet after decades of illusory indulgence,
they have physically atrophied and need sturdy beings to rebuild and
repopulate their barren planet. In Pike, with Vina, the Talosians hope
they have finally found the one being who can serve as their breeding
stock for a healthier and even more powerful race.
Talosians use their power of illusion to interest Pike in Vina,
presenting her in various disguises: a Rigellian princess in distress,
a green Orion
animal woman, and a loving, compassionate companion. When Pike resists,
the Talosians lure Pike's female first officer and yeoman from the
offer further temptation. By then, however, Pike has discovered that
primitive human emotions neutralize the Talosians' ability to read
minds, and he eventually escapes to the surface of the planet along
with his fellow prisoners.
confront Pike and the
three prisoners before they can beam up, but the captain refuses to
negotiate, threatening to kill himself and the others rather than
submit to the Talosians' demands. Frightened at losing their only
source of repopulation, the Talosians inspect the U.S.S. Enterprise's
records and discover that the human race is far too independent to be
of adequate service to them.
with no other choice, the Talosians release the humans. After the first
officer and yeoman beam up, Pike remains behind with Vina, urging her
to leave with him. Despite her growing attraction to the captain, Vina
is unable to leave the planet. It is revealed that an expedition had
indeed crash landed on Talos IV. Vina, the only survivor, was greatly
injured and disfigured. With the aid of the Talosians' illusions,
however, she is able to appear beautiful and feel healthy.
Talosians pledge to continue to provide Vina with the appearance of
health and beauty while allowing her to roam the planet free of
intervention. Realizing that she will be in good hands after all, Pike
returns to the U.S.S. Enterprise. The Talosians, in an act of
good will, send the captain an image of Vina on the starship's
viewscreen. Not only is she beautiful again, aided by the Talosians'
illusory powers, but by her side is another illusion — that of the
handsome Christopher Pike.