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Protein complex was a food offered by Talosians to their captives in the menagerie. The complex was a liquid substance contained in a vial. If the appearance and taste of the complex was not appealing, a captive could imagine this complex to be any food.

In 2254, as a prisoner of the Talosians, Captain Christopher Pike drank a vial of this substance. (TOS: "The Cage", "The Menagerie, Part II")