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Christopher Pike

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For the mirror universe counterpart, please see Christopher Pike (mirror).

Christopher Pike was a 23rd century Starfleet officer. He was captain of the starship USS Enterprise from 2251 to 2262, as the successor of Robert April and immediate predecessor to James T. Kirk. Pike was a native of Mojave on Earth.



Encounter at Rigel

RigelVII-Holberg917G fortress

Kalar fortress on Rigel VII

In 2254, Pike led a landing party to Rigel VII, in which they were attacked by Kalar warriors in what seemed to be an abandoned fortress. Three crewmen, including Pike's own yeoman, were killed, while an additional seven, including Spock, were injured, some severely. The loss weighed heavily on Pike; with all the strain and overwork that followed, he began to question his own continuance as starship commander.

The Enterprise then set out for the Vega colony to hospitalize the sick and injured, but intercepted an old-style radio-interference distress call carrying the call letters of the SS Columbia, a survey expedition from the American Continent Institute which was lost in the Talos star group in 2236.

The Talosian Incident

Mojave remastered

Vina, Pike, and Tango near Mojave

At Pike's reluctant command, the Enterprise diverted and traced the signal to the crash site on Talos IV. After an initial encounter with supposed survivors, including an out-of-place young beauty named Vina, it was revealed that the native Talosians had used telepathy to create the illusion of an encampment; all the survivors except Vina were dead.

Pike was overpowered and kidnapped, and placed in a Talosian zoo where they attempted to get him to mate with Vina to create a population of illusion-controlled Human servants. They forced Pike to relive old memories and placed him in illusory scenarios of lives he could have if he abandoned his career as a starship captain. The scenarios including reliving the fight on Rigel VII, a picnic on Earth with his favorite horse Tango, and an illusory day in the life of an Orion slave-trader dealing in green animal women. When Pike refused to mate with Vina, the Talosians began to take steps to convince Pike to breed with other females of his crew; to this end, Yeoman J.M. Colt and Pike's first officer, Number One, were captured.

Pike managed to capture and hold captive a Talosian inside his cell. Pike then threatened to break the Talosian's neck if he resisted, and all the illusions ceased from that point forward. Escaping with the others to the outside of the Talosian complex, Pike had Number One set a phaser to overload, in an effort to make a statement to the Talosians about holding humans captive. The Talosians believed this violent reaction made humans unsuitable for breeding and agreed. Vina's true appearance was then revealed, and Pike convinced the Talosians to restore her illusion of health and beauty while letting himself and his crew members go free. Although the experience with the illusory worlds restored Pike's confidence in his command, it was recommended that all contact with the Talosians' powers be restricted. General Order 7 was enacted, threatening the death penalty should any travel there, for fear of the Federation falling to illusory indulgence. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II")

Tragic fate

After a long tour as captain of the Enterprise (eleven years, four months, and five days of which were spent with junior science officer Spock as a loyal member of his crew), Pike was promoted to fleet captain in the mid-2260s, at which point James T. Kirk took command. Only a few years thereafter, he was aboard a training vessel, an old Class J starship, when a baffle plate ruptured and exposed many helpless trainees and cadets to delta-particle radiation. Pike dragged many cadets from the danger, but in the process was hopelessly crippled by the rays. The disfigured Pike was put on a form of advanced life support which sustained his withered body and life functions, but he was too weak and incapacitated to ever move or respond to physical stimuli again. A wheelchair that was tuned to his brain could use blinking light signals to respond to simple queries in the affirmative (one flash) or negative (two flashes), but that was the extent to which he could communicate.

Return to Talos

Talosians 3

The Talosians

In 2267, after being contacted by the Talosians, Commander Spock devised a plan to divert the Enterprise (of which he was now first officer under Captain James T. Kirk) to Starbase 11, where Pike was hospitalized, with a fake message. Spock's intention was, risking execution if caught, to deliver Pike to Talos IV, where the Talosians could tap Pike's mind with telepathy and illusions so he would be spared dying helpless in his lifeless body.

Pike, also contacted beforehand by the Talosians, at first refused Spock's plot to spirit him away to Talos IV. However, on the journey to the forbidden planet, images of Pike's earlier experience on Talos IV – presented during Spock's on-board court-martial (a court-martial later revealed to have been concocted by the Talosians) – convinced Pike to accept the Talosian's offer.

On Talos IV, with the help of the Talosians, Pike lived out a life of illusion with Vina in which his devastating handicap no longer existed. Pike went into retirement from Starfleet active duty and lived on Talos IV permanently, with no further outside contact, since the secrecy of the Talosian power made his fate largely unknown. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II")

In memoriam

The Christopher Pike Medal of Valor was named in Pike's honor. Benjamin Sisko and Solok received the award in the 24th century. (DS9: "Tears of the Prophets", "Take Me Out to the Holosuite") On the planet Cestus III, Pike City was named after him. (DS9: "Family Business", "The Way of the Warrior") There was also a shuttlecraft Pike carried on board the USS Enterprise-D. (TNG: "The Most Toys")




Captain Pike was played by Jeffrey Hunter in the original unaired pilot, "The Cage", and in segments of archive footage from that episode which were included in "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II". Actor Sean Kenney portrayed a disfigured Pike in "The Menagerie" two-parter, because the part of a wheelchair-bound Captain Pike was a bit role in the context of the script and would not justify the expense of hiring back the more popular Jeffrey Hunter for such a short part, especially since he had moved on to other projects. Hunter's stunt double for the role, Robert Herron, made appearances in "The Cage" and "The Menagerie, Part II".

The American author Kevin McFadden (b. 1954) took Christopher Pike as his pen name.

James Blish noted that the scripts were "heavily revised in various handwritings and Pike confusingly appears from time to time as 'Captain Spring' and 'Captain Winter.'" The revised draft of "The Cage" from November 20, 1964 lists him as Captain James Winter. [1]

Writer D.C. Fontana once commented that, in her opinion, Jeffrey Hunter regularly appearing as Pike would have resulted in "a good captain," if "The Cage" had been approved as the pilot for a series. "He wouldn't have been Captain Kirk; his approach would have been very different, but I think he would have been perfectly fine," she said. (Star Trek Magazine issue 128, p. 45) Actor Mark Lenard once voiced an alternative opinion, remarking, "Using a straighter fellow like the original choice, the character would have been stiffer than [William] Shatner with less of a personality. I don't think it would have worked as well with Jeffrey Hunter in the lead." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 77)

According to the unofficial reference book The Trek 25th Anniversary Celebration (p. 51), Pike was to have been mentioned in the original version of the episode "Bem", undeveloped for TOS. The book claims that Kirk was to have cited Pike's reports, reminding Spock that, according to those reports, he had trouble adjusting.


Outside of the canon information derived from his one filmed appearance, Diane Carey's Final Frontier novel lists his full name as "Christopher Richard Pike."

His adventures as captain of the Enterprise were the center of Marvel's Star Trek: Early Voyages comic book series, establishing his father as retired Admiral Josh Pike. Pike was also featured in a handful of novels and comics, some of them depicting his life after being crippled and left on Talos IV, some of them depicting his earlier adventures. The Pocket novel Vulcan's Glory by TOS script writer D.C. Fontana states that Pike previously commanded the starship USS Yorktown, a reference to the original name intended to be given the Enterprise. Some stories have also said that Pike served as the executive officer on board the Enterprise under Captain Robert T. April.

Pike wearing one rank stripe as captain, while James T. Kirk wore two on the same style of uniform, gives rise to the theory that during "The Cage" Pike was actually a commander (or even a lieutenant) in rank, and was addressed as captain by way of his position on the ship rather than his actual rank. However, most texts and background information simply refer to Pike as a Starfleet captain with this also assumed as his actual rank.

In the Star Trek novel Enterprise: The First Adventure, Pike is promoted to commodore upon relinquishing command of the Enterprise. This could indicate that "fleet captain" was considered a position and not a rank.

Pike is also the main focus of the non-canon novel Burning Dreams, which gives a detailed account of his life and career, as well as The Captain's Table #6: Where Sea Meets Sky. Burning Dreams establishes that after the incident on Talos IV, Pike spent much of the rest of his career wondering if his life and everything that he was experiencing in life was an illusion and if he was still in the cell on Talos.

In the Deep Space Nine novel Unity, Ezri Dax said that Pike was part of the joint Starfleet-Trill mission where the Neural parasite was first discovered. At that time, Pike was a fleet captain.

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