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The Cage

The Cage was the original pilot episode of Star Trek, made in 1964, but first broadcast on television in 1988.

Much of the footage was recycled in the later episode The Menagarie, which re-visited the events of the plot. However, the process of editing ended up destroying the only known colour print - and a copy was not found until decades later.

It had most of the essential features of Star Trek, but many differences, in cast and terminology. The Captain of the Starship Enterprise was not James T. Kirk, but a Christopher Pike. Mr. Spock was present, but not as First Officer - that role was taken by a character known only as Number 1, played by Majel Barrett. The network reportedly called the pilot 'too cerebral' and slow; but rather than rejecting the series outright commissioned a new pilot - Where No Man Has Gone Before.

The Enterprise receives a distress call from a planet known as Talos IV; claiming to be from a crashed colony ship. It was sent at light-speed and had been in transit for 20 years. Upon arrival they find a healthy-looking colony, and evidence of an alien civilisation on the planet. Captain Pike is captured by them. It is revealed that the colony (bar one person, Vina, who was a child at the time of the crash and is disfigured) was an illusion caused by the Talosians, and their real intent was to lure more humans to the planet so they could obtain a breeding pair for their zoo - hoping that they will one day be able to use their descendants as a workforce for the rebuilding of their planet. Upon discovering that humans find captivity cruel, the Talosians give up and release Pike. Vina is allowed to stay on the planet, where she may continue to enjoy the illusion the Talosians have been providing her of life without her injuries.