Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Recap: The Cage (4 of 4)

This is the fourth and final part of a recap of the original Star Trek pilot, "The Cage", that I posted to the rec.arts.startrek.misc newsgroup back in November 2005 under the screen name Empok Nor. The first three parts are, as Vina would put it, here and here (and here).

The starship Enterprise, under Captain Christopher Pike, has been lured to the planet Talos IV by a fake distress call, and Pike captured by the telepathic Talosians. The Talosians are making Pike relive past episodes in his life via telepathic illusions, accompanied by a young woman named Vina who insists that she is not an illusion. The Talosians finally hit on the idea of tempting Pike with a life he can't have: selling wild animal-women as sex slaves (and with Vina, as always, in the starring role). We pick up the story in

A corridor of the Enterprise. Spock and the Geologist are getting kitted out in their field jackets. Spock says, "We've located a magnetic field that seems to come from their underground generator."

"But could that be an illusion too?" wonders the Geologist as Tyler and Garison walk past. Spock doesn't answer. The two of them follow Tyler and Garison (who has his backpack on again) into the transporter room. Colt and Number One are already inside.

"You all know the situation," says Number One. "We're hoping to transport down inside the Talosian community."

"If our meansurements and readings are an illusion also," Spock observes, "one could find oneself materialized inside solid rock."

"Nothing will be said if any volunteer wants to back out," says Number One.

Nobody wants to back out, and they all take their places on the transporter stage.

Pitcairn motions to Yamata, and the transporter hum rises.

Number One and Colt dematerialize, but the other four do not.

"The women!" Spock exclaims. You've got to give him credit for not saying "the girls!"

Pitcairn and Yamata frantically press various buttons. Spock rushes off the transporter stage, looking worried.

Let's take a moment now to speculate on how the Talosians managed this. There was nothing illusory about what took place: Number One and Colt beamed down, and the others didn't. At this point, the Talosians haven't demonstrated any telekinetic ability, although they might have it. In that case, they might have disabled all but two of the transporter pads. OTOH, the Talosians seem to prefer to manipulate minds rather than machines. In that case, they would have manipulated Pitcairn and/or Yamata into switching off the other pads without realizing they were doing it.


The cell, as Number One and Colt materialize. Number One turns and exclaims, "Captain!"

We pan left to see Default Vina putting the moves on Pike. "Captain?" Number One repeats.

Vina removes her hands from Pike, looks up, and shouts, "No! Let me finish!" Given that it's been 18 years since she's been with a man, you can see her point. She storms off.

Number One is puzzled. "But, we were a landing party of six."

"We're the only ones transported," Colt observes.

Vina, who knows exactly what's going on, snarls, "That's not fair, you don't need them."

With startling swiftness, Pike tears open Colt's field jacket and pulls out her laser pistol. Then he turns and looks at Number One, who already has hers out. She hands hers over, and he checks both. "They don't work," he says.

Once again, a pause while we consider what's actually going on. The Talosians might have telekinetically disabled the lasers, but most likely, they're keeping Pike and Number One from seeing that the lasers are still operational.

"They were fully charged when we left," says Number One. She pulls out her telecommunicator and fiddles with it. "It's dead, I can't get the signal." Did Number One actually activate her telecommunicator, or did she only think she did? Probably the latter. Looking up at Pike she wonders, "What is it?"

Pike shakes his head. "Don't say anything," he tells her. He walks over to the stone block wall and lets the laser pistols drop onto the floor in front of the sliding stone. "I'm filling my mind with a picture of beating their huge misshapen heads to pulp! Thoughts so primitive they block out everything else. I'm filling my mind with hate." The thought he's hiding from the Talosians is: I know these laser pistols are still fully charged, and you're keeping me from seeing it. They're still dangerous, so I'm dropping them next to your little trap door and hoping you'll try to take them. And then . . .

"How long can you block yourself?" Vina chides him. "A few minutes? An hour? How can that help?"

"Leave him alone," Colt tells her.

"He doesn't need you," Vina insists. "He's already picked me."

Colt is mystefied. "Picked her?" she says to Pike. "For what? I don't understand." Pike, though, is too busy hating the Talosians to answer her.

"Now there's a fine choice for intelligent offspring," Vina snarks.

"Offspring?" says an even more puzzled Colt. "As in children?"

Nodding toward a busily hating Pike, Number One observes, "Offspring as in he's Adam, is that it?"

"You're no better choice," says a catty Vina. "They'd have more luck crossing him with a computer."

Number One isn't going to stand for this sort of nonsense. "Well, shall we do a little time computation? There was a Vina listed on that expedition as an adult crewman. Now, adding eighteen years to your age then . . . "

Number One is interrupted by the arrival of the Keeper.

"It's not fair," storms Vina. "I did what you asked!"

The Keeper ignores her and addresses Pike. "Since you resist the present specimen, you now have a selection."

Pike is still busy hating the Keeper. "I'll break out of this zoo somehow and get to you. Is your blood red like ours? I'm going to find out."

The Keeper ignores Pike's unfriendly response, determined as always to keep the conversation on track. "Each of the two new specimens has qualities in her favor. The female you call Number One has the superior mind and would produce highly intelligent children. Although she seems to lack emotion, this is largely a pretense. She often has fantasies involving you." (These last two sentences are spoken in a different voice. They redubbed the Keeper's voice for the televised version of "The Menagerie" because the owner of the original voice, Malachi Throne, was a guest star in the episode. Since these two lines didn't make it into the original, they've still got Throne's dub.)

If someone told me Number One often had fantasies involving me, it would definitely make me lose my train of thought, but Christopher Pike is made of sterner stuff. "All I want to do is get my hands on you," he tells the Keeper, and you can tell he doesn't mean it in a good way. "Can you read these thoughts? Images of hate, killing."

Undeterred, the Keeper continues, "The other new arrival has considered you unreachable, but is now is realizing this has changed." Colt is staring at the floor. "The factors in her favor are youth and strength, plus ususually strong female drives." Which presumably means that Colt is jonesing to find a man to marry and start a family. Ah, Gene, I love you, but you are such a pig.

"You'll find my thoughts more interesting," Pike snarls. "Thoughts so primitive you can't even understand. Emotions so ugly --" Pike cuts off as a wave of pain passes through his body. We don't know what he's experiencing, but it looks bad. Number One and Colt look helpless. Vina looks dismayed.

"Wrong thinking is punishable. Right thinking will be as quickly rewarded," says the Keeper, channelling Big Brother. "You will find it an effective combination." He turns and leaves. Asshole.

Pike comes back panting for breath, and finds himself being held up by Number One and Colt. As Number One starts to speak he says, "No, don't help me. I have to concentrate. They can't read through hate."

The elevator doors open again, revealing the Keeper. Vina looks sadly at Pike.


The Enterprise bridge. Spock enters from the turbolift, followed by Boyce and the Geologist. Tyler has moved to the helm station, and Vincent is at navigation. Valdini, still standing next to the turbolift, comes to attention as Spock passes, then returns to at-ease.

"Address intercraft," says Spock as he sits in the captain's chair.

"Open, sir," says Vincent.

"This is the Acting Captain speaking," says Spock. "We have no choice now but to consider the safety of this vessel, and the remainder of the crew. We're leaving."

Tyler turns and starts punching controls.

"All decks," says Spock, "prepare for hyperdrive. Time warp factor --"

"Mr. Spock, the ship's controls have gone dead!" Tyler exclaims.

The lights on the bridge start going out.

"Engine room," Spock calls out.

"Open," says Tyler as he rushes to the engineering station.

"Mr. Spock here. Switch to rockets, we're blasting out."

"All systems are out, bridge," says an anonymous voice from Engineering. "We've got nothing."
Rushing to the captain's chair, Tyler exclaims, "There's nothing! Every system aboard is fading out!"

Acting Captain Spock looks around the darkened bridge, helpless.

And again, we're left with the question: were the Talosians able to shut down the ship's power, or does the crew just think they have?


The elevator opens, and the Keeper steps out. A soft version of the Talosian theme is playing.
In the cell, Vina is asleep on the comma-shaped bed, Number One (still in her field jacket) is sitting on it, slumped over, and Pike and Colt are on the floor leaning against it. Pike is the only one still awake. He catches sight of the moving block rolling slowly open, but presumably he's still blocking the Talosians enough to keep them from knowing about it.

The Keeper reaches in for the laser pistols, and Pike springs into action, grabbing him by the arm and jerking him into the cell. This is the first time we've seen the two of them in physical proximity, and the Keeper is surprisingly small. (GR cast a woman as the Keeper.)

The women are all awakened by the ruckus, and watch as Pike wrestles the Keeper to the ground and grabs him by the throat.

"Now you hold still or I'll break your neck," Pike warns the Keeper.

"Don't hurt him, they don't mean to be evil," Vina pleads.

"I've had some samples of how 'good' they are," Pike growls.

The Keeper turns into the ape creature from Act Two and snarls at Pike. Pike keeps his hands firmly around the thing's neck and warns, "You stop this illusion or I'll twist your head off!"

The Keeper can read Pike's mind, so he knows the captain's not kidding. He resumes his real appearance. "All right," says Pike, "now, you try one more illusion, you try anything, and I'll break your neck." The Keeper knows Pike's not kidding about that, either.

Next comes Plan B: "Your ship," the Keeper gasps. "Release . . . me . . . or . . . will . . . destroy . . . it."


The Enterprise bridge is still dark. There are a couple of portable lights pointed at the helm-navigation console, which is in a state of partial disassembly as the crew try to figure out what's wrong.

"Nothing," says a frustrated Spock as he sets down a bag of tools. "Without the batteries we lose gravitation, oxygen."

There's a sudden burst of noise. "The computer," Tyler exclaims as he rushes over to the library station, displacing the crewman manning it.

We see the computer's screen as it flashes brief pictures of satellites, re-entry vehicles, the Earth's moon, maps of the Earth.

"I can't shut if off!" Tyler exclaims. "It's running through our library: tapes, micro-records, everything! It doesn't make sense!"

"Could be we've waited too long," says Spock.

We see the computer's screen as if flashes brief pictures of starscapes, human anatomy, a man on horseback, the Monitor duking it out with the Virginia, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln.
"They're collecting all the information stored in this fly. They've decided to swat us," Spock continues.

More presidents: Washington, Lincoln, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ. Plants, animals, Chesapeake Bay, Earth's solar system, more satellites . . .


The cell. Pike jerks the Keeper to his feet.

"He's not bluffing, Captain," says Vina. "With illusion, they can make your crew work the wrong controls or push any button it takes to destroy your ship."

Looking at the Keeper, Pike says, "I'm going to gamble you're too intelligent to kill for no reason at all." He drags the Keeper over to Number One, and leaves her with her arm around his throat while he picks up the laser pistols. He points one at the transparency and fires, with no effect. The transparency remains undamaged. He tosses the laser onto the bed and fires the other one, adjusts the setting, then fires again.

Walking over and pointing the laser pistol at the Keeper's head, he continues: "On the other hand, I've got a reason. I'm willing to bet you've created an illusion this laser is empty. I think it just blasted a hole in that window, and you're keeping us from seeing it. You want me to test my theory out on your head?"

A hole appears in the transparency.

"Captain," says Colt, gesturing at the transparency.

Smiling, Pike leads the Keeper through the hole, followed by Number One, Colt and Vina. They get into the elevator.


The surface of Talos IV. The rocky outcrop now has a great big notch in it. The metal doors are gone, and so is half of the elevator itself. As they exit the elevator, Pike orders, "Make contact, Number One." Vina walks off, and Pike and the still-captive Keeper follow her. Number One and Colt remain standing by the elevator.

Glancing at the damage, Number One remarks, "They kept us from seeing this, too. We cut through and never knew it." She takes out her telecommunicator and opens it, but nothing happens. Hurrying over to join Pike, she says, "Captain," and shows him the nonfunctional telecommunicator.

"As you see," says the Keeper, "your attempt to escape accomplished nothing."

"I want to contact our ship," says Pike.

"You are now on the surface, where we wished you to be. With the female of your choice, you will now begin carefully guided lives."

"Start by burying you?" says Pike.

"That is your choice," says the Keeper coolly. "To help you reclaim the planet's surface, our zoological gardens will provide you with a variety of plant life."

"Look," says Pike, "I'll make a deal with you. You and your life, for the lives of these two Earth women."

Again, the Keeper refuses to allow the conversation to move away from his preferred subject. "Since our lifespan is many times yours, we have time to evolve you into a society trained to serve as artisans, technicians --"

"Do you understand what I'm saying?" Pike interrupts. "You give me proof that our ship is all right and send these two back, and I'll stay with Vina."

Number One glances down at her laser and twists a control on the barrel. A low hum starts to build up. Colt's eyes bug out. "It's wrong to create a whole race of humans to live as slaves," Number One says levelly.

The Keeper looks appalled. "Is this a deception? Do you intend to destroy yourselves?" Despite her outward composure, Number One must be really, really pissed if the Keeper can't tell from reading her mind that she means it.

"What is that?" asks Vina.

"The weapon is building up an overload, a forced-chamber explosion," Pike explains. "You still have time to go underground." When Vina doesn't move, Pike shoves her toward the elevator and barks, "Well, go on!" Glaring at the Keeper, he adds, "And just to show you how primitive humans are, Talosian, you go with her."

"If . . . if you all think it's this important," says Vina uncertainly, "then I can't go either. I guess if they have one human being they might try again." It looks like the Talosians don't own Vina any more.

Pike notices the elevator returning to the surface with Beavis and Butthead. "Wait," he tells Number One, and she ratchets her laser back down to normal.

"Their method of storing records is crude and consumed much time," Butthead thinks at the Keeper. "Are you prepared to assimilate it?"

The Keeper nods, then stands there while the veins in his head get all throbby. After twelve seconds spent assimilating crudely stored records, a thoroughly appalled Keeper turns to look at Pike. "We had not believed this possible. The customs and history of your race show a unique hatred of captivity. Even when it's pleasant and benevolent, you prefer death. This makes you too violent and dangerous a species for our needs."

"He means that they can't use you," Vina explains. "You're free to go back to the ship."

Pike is nonplussed. "So that's it? No apologies? You captured one of us, threatened all of us . . . "

"Your unsuitability has condemned the Talosian race to eventual death," Butthead points out. "Is this not sufficient?"

"No other specimen has shown your adaptability," the Keeper adds. "You were our last hope."
Pike, being the good guy that he is, starts trying to figure out some way to help his former captors. "Wouldn't some form of trade, mutual cooperation . . . ?"

"Your race would learn our power of illusion, and destroy itself too," says the Keeper.

Number One's communicator signals. "Captain," she says, "we have transporter control now."
Pike looks at the Keeper, looks up at Beavis and Butthead, and says, "Let's get back to the ship."
Vina shakes her head. "I can't. I can't go with you."


A close-up of some flashing lights on the transporter console. Pitcairn is saying, "Sir, it just came on, we can't shut the power off."

We pull back to see Spock and Vincent standing in the transporter room as a comm whistle sounds. "Mr. Spock here."

The voice of Tyler announces, "All power has come on, Mr. Spock. The helm is answering to controls." I guess they put the helm console back together again. Or else they only thought they disassembled it.

Spock and Vincent are hurrying out of the transporter room when they are brought up by the sound of the transporter operating. Colt materializes on the transporter stage, then steps off and turns to watch as Number One does the same. She also steps off and turns to watch, but nothing else happens.

"The Captain," exclaims Vincent.


On Talos IV, we see Vina standing by the rocky knoll. The Keeper turns to look at her, and his veins start throbbing.

Vina's hair slowly turns from blonde to gray and her face starts getting wrinkled. Her nose literally gets bent out of shape, a scar runs from her forehead across to her right cheekbone, another twists her mouth to the left. Her spine twists to the right, and her left shoulder becomes a huge, misshapen lump. Her hair fades from gray to white.

Pike looks appalled.

"You see why I can't go with you?" Real Vina whispers.

Pike looks at the Keeper. "This is the female's true appearance," he confirms.

"They found me in the wreckage," says Real Vina, "a dying lump of flesh. They rebuilt me. Everything works. But they had never seen a human. They had no guide for putting me back together." She turns and hobbles back to the elevator as a minor key version of the Vina theme plays.

The Keeper says, "It was necessary to convince you her desire to stay is an honest one."

"You'll give her back her illusion of beauty?"

"And more."

The full Vina theme returns as we see Default Vina turn and take the hand of an illusory Christopher Pike. She leads him up to the elevator, which is flanked by Beavis and Butthead.

"She has an illusion, and you have reality," the Keeper says to Pike. "May you find your way as pleasant."

Pike watches as Default Vina and Illusion Pike descend in the elevator.


The Enterprise transporter room. Colt is sitting on the transporter stage, and Spock is standing next to her, as Pitcairn says, "Mr. Spock, the system is coming on again." Number One joins Spock by the transporter console. Say, since Number One is in there, shouldn't Pitcairn have addressed his comment to her?

Colt turns around and watches as Pike materializes.

"What's happened to Vina?" asks Colt.

"Isn't she coming with us?" asks Number One.

"No," Pike says. "No, and I agreed with her reasons." He steps off the transporter stage, leaving the two women to exchange puzzled looks.


The Enterprise bridge. Pike, Number One, Colt and Spock emerge from the turbolift. Valdini comes to attention. Boyce comes up to Pike and says, "Hold on a minute."

"Oh, I feel fine," says Pike. "Just fine."

"Yeah, you look a hundred percent better," says Boyce suspiciously.

"Well, you recommended a rest and a change of pace, didn't you?"

"Mm hm."

"I've even been home," Pike says. "That make you happy?"

Boyce is puzzled, but doesn't respond. Turning away from the doctor, Pike bumps into Colt again. "Yeoman," he says.

"Yes, sir," Colt says with a long-suffering look in her eyes.

"I told you that when I'm on the bridge I want . . . " he trails off as Colt holds up a clipboard. "Oh yes, the, ah, report. Thank you." Pike notices Tyler watching them, and a brief but intense glare sends the navigator on his way.

Summoning up her reserves of courage, Colt asks, "Sir, I was wondering, just curious. Who would have been Eve?" Tyler, standing next to Vincent, is looking back in their direction.

Number One says sharply, "Yeoman, you've delivered your report."

"Yes, ma'am," says Colt stiffly, then to Pike, "Yes, sir." She turns and heads back to the turbolift.

Tyler, on his way back to navigation, pauses by Pike and says, "Eve, sir?" Another glare from Pike sends him on his way with another "Yes, sir."

As Pike takes a seat Boyce comes up. "Eve as in Adam?"

"Eve as in all ships' doctors are dirty old men," Pike answers. Boyce grins and claps Pike on the shoulder as he heads for the turbolift.

"What are we running, a cadet ship?" Pike demands. "Number One, are we ready or not?"

"All decks show ready, sir."

"Engage." Pike returns his attention to Yeoman Colt's report as Clipboard Guy resumes his position to the left of the captain's chair and the Star Trek theme comes up. In the viewscreen, Talos IV recedes into the distance.

The Enterprise vanishes into the starlit distance.

MAJEL BARRETT (as Number One) JOHN HOYT (as Doctor Boyce)
PETER DURYEA (as Tyler) LAUREL GOODWIN (as Yeoman Colt)

(In addition, Meg Wylie played the Keeper, Georgia Schmidt and Serena Sands played Beavis and Butthead, Jon Lormer played Dr. Theodore Haskins, Leonard Mudie and Anthony Jochim played survivors #1 and #2, Ed Madden played the Geologist, Adam Roarke played C.P.O. Garison, Clegg Hoyt played Transporter Chief Pitcairn, Mike Dugan played the Kaylar, Robert Philips played the Fleet Officer, Joseph Mell played the Orion Trader, and featuring Tango the Wonder Horse as himself.)

Stephen E. Whitfield reports that filming of "The Menagerie" took twelve days (so that filming ended either on 9 December or 23 December 1964, depending on which source you rely on). Postproduction ended in February 1965 after a total of $630,000 was spent. When the pilot was eventually screened for the suits at NBC, they liked it, but thought it was "too cerebral", which was suitspeak for "way too smart for the dimwits who watch network television", so the pilot was rejected.

Eventually, Star Trek did make it onto the air, with an almost entirely new cast. As the first season wore on, the production crew found themselves coming closer and closer to punting a scheduled airdate. In desperation, GR dug out "The Menagerie", wrote a two-part episode around it, filmed roughly forty minutes' worth of new footage with the new cast which he intercut with the old footage, and sent the result off to NBC. The two-part episode also bore the title "The Menagerie", so it became customary to refer to the original, unaltered pilot by its former title, "The Cage".

With the broadcast of the two-part episode, the story of Captain Pike's visit to Talos IV entered Star Trek canon. Until the premier of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987, "The Menagerie" was the only Star Trek story featuring a crew other than Captain Kirk's: something of an anomaly. TNG, though, redefined Star Trek: it was no longer a show (and series of movies) about Captain Kirk; it was now a franchise about a wider universe, of which the adventures of Captain Kirk were only a part. In the wake of TNG, Pocket Books began publishing original novels featuring Captain Pike and his crew, the first being D.C. Fontana's 1989 novel Vulcan's Glory. This was followed in 1991 by Michael Jan Friedman's Legacy and Peter David's The Rift, in 1998 by Jerry Oltion's The Captain's Table: Where Sea Meets Sky, and in 2006 by Margaret Wander Bonanno's Burning Dreams. Fontana's novel takes place two years before "The Cage", the first section of David's novel takes place a few days after "The Cage", and the novels by Oltion and Friedman seem to take place a few months after "The Cage", while Bonanno's novel covers Pike's entire life.

As with any non-canon works by different authors, there are inconsistencies among these novels, most notably concerning Number One's actual name. According to Fontana, the people of Number One's planet have no names, only ranks, so that Number One's name, to the extent that she has one, is literally Number One; according to David, Number One does have a name, but one that her crewmates find unpronounceable, hence the reliance on her title; and according to Oltion, Number One's name is Lefler. In contrast to Number One's real name (or lack thereof), David did choose to follow Fontana's lead in naming Pike's chief engineer Caitlin Barry.
Apart from the obvious differences in terminology and crew complement, "The Cage" is notable for what it doesn't have: the Starfleet and the Federation. Number One notes the absence of Earth ships or colonies near the Talos star group; the survivors ask the Enterprise crew about Earth; Boyce's jumpsuit has the Earth on its breast pocket. Instead of going to a starbase for medical assistance, the Enterprise is headed for "the Vega colony".

Some other observations: it's become commonplace to refer to the green women Vina appeared to be as Orion slave girls, but from the context it's apparent that Orion is actually an Earth colony. Pike suggests that he might become an Orion trader, and the Orion Trader in Pike's illusion seems to be a human. Boyce refers to "green animal-woman slaves", but doesn't refer to them as "Orion slaves", suggesting that the animal-woman slaves are simply the Orion colony's stock in trade; the green animal-woman slaves might very well come from some other world. On the other hand, the Fleet Officer does remark that the planet's inhabitants "like being taken advantage of", implying that the green women are indeed native to Orion, and that settlers from Earth have taken over the planet and are enslaving and selling its green-skinned native inhabitants. (If you think about it, this is a much darker picture of the future than we're used to seeing from Star Trek.) In subsequent episodes of various Star Trek series, of course, it's become canon that the green slave girls are indeed from Orion.

Where did the images of Dr. Haskins and the other survivors come from? The logical answer is that they came from Vina. She was part of the complement of the S.S. Columbia; after the Talosians rescued/captured her, she would have spent the next eighteen years re-living various memories, including presumably memories of her time aboard the Columbia. Haskins and the others must be suitably aged versions of Vina's memories of her crewmates.

Much of "The Cage" is presented to us from Pike's point of view. We see what he saw, including the various illusions the Talosians projected into his mind. This raises the question of what an objective outside observer would have seen. He would, for instance, have seen the first landing party from the Enterprise interacting with various bits of thin air. Was Vina physically present? The fact that she disappeared along with the rest of the "survivors" seems to indicate that the real Vina remained underground in her own cell; while the Talosians projected an illusion of Survivor Vina into the minds of Pike and the others, they were also projecting an illusion of the landing party into Vina's cell: two interactive illusions.

The Enterprise crew really did beam down the laser cannon, and really did fire it at the rocky outcrop, because Number One noticed that the outcrop had been blasted when they returned to the surface. Did the Enterprise really lose power when Spock tried to leave orbit, or was that an illusion? Possibly the former, because the Talosians did demonstrate some telekinetic abilities when they operated the transporter to beam Yeoman Colt, Number One and Pike up from the surface, and when they operated the library computer on the bridge. Also, if the loss of power was an illusion, presumably the Talosians would have preferred to maintain that illusion by hiding the fact that they were accessing the ship's records. The fact that the bridge crew saw the library computer station come back online strongly suggests that it really had been offline, along with the rest of the ship's systems.

When did Vina enter Pike's cell? She didn't seem to be there at first, but when Pike's Rigel VII illusion ended, she was. Then, when the Talosians punished her, she vanished again. Did she enter through the back wall, unnoticed by Pike, and then leave the same way, or was she an illusion the whole time? When the Mojave/Orion illusion began, Pike was alone, but when it ended, he was with Vina. Vina remained with him until his escape, when she joined him on the surface, so presumably she was definitely physically present in his cell at the end of the Mojave/Orion illusion, unless Vina never left her own cell in the Talosian menagerie at any point, and was always an illusion, including during Pike's escape to the surface. If Vina had beamed up to the ship with the others and returned with them to Earth, that would settle the matter; as it is, we'll never be entirely certain if she was ever physically present with the others.

Internal chronology: Per Memory Alpha, it is now generally accepted that "The Cage" takes place in the year 2254, placing it eleven years before the second TOS pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and ninety-nine years after the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Terra Prime" (and ninety-three years after the events depicted in Riker's holodeck program in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "These are the Voyages", though the episode itself is set in the year 2370).

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