Guide Crash into Darkness (The Cleaven Gene Book 1)

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We've lost the captain. Do you read? Pike wakes up without his jacket, communicator, and laser, inside an underground cell with a transparent wall, through which he sees several creatures of different species in nearby cells. Several Talosians arrive and make callous scientific observations about him, which he perceives not through sound but telepathy. They note that Pike is more adaptable to his new surroundings and prepare to begin "the experiment. The Talosians intend to make Pike experience illusions based on his memories, in order to interest him in Vina.

Pike is not interested in participating, telling Vina he is " not an animal performing for its supper, " but he is interested in learning the parameters of the illusions and of his captivity.

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Nevertheless, he manages to survive the illusory attack from the Kalar and is returned, with Vina, to his cell. He learns from Vina that the Talosians have severely weakened their world and themselves by reliance on their telepathic powers. They want Captain Pike and Vina as breeding stock for a new, stronger race to repopulate the barren surface of the planet.

The Talosians punish Vina for revealing this information to Pike. The Talosians provide him with a vial of liquid nourishment and insist that he consume it, even offering to make it appear as any food he wishes. Pike proposes to starve himself instead, which results in the Keeper punishing him with an illusion of being surrounded by scorching flame and threatens to punish him more severely for continued disobedience.

Pike appears to relent by consuming the liquid, but then displays another outburst of attempting to break through the containment, unexpectedly startling the Keeper. Pike realizes that the Keeper was unable to read his mind during his outburst of anger and tries to inquire more as to why this is.

The Keeper, still unable to probe Pike's mind, attempts then to distract Pike by changing the subject to Vina. Pike relents again, and the Keeper reveals that Vina was the sole survivor of the Columbia crash and confirms what she inadvertently revealed previously — that Pike and Vina were being kept to propagate Humanity and repopulate Talos IV. The conversation ends with Pike demanding that the Talosians punish him instead of her, since he is the one being uncooperative, which the Keeper regards as an excellent development in their relationship.

The next illusion is a pleasant picnic just outside Pike's hometown of Mojave , with Vina attempting to entice Pike with the familiar setting, but with Pike still resisting, knowing that all of it is just a mere illusion. Vina then realizes that scenarios with which Pike is already familiar have not been successful in enticing him to cooperate, and surmises that he might be more easily swayed by a forbidden fantasy.

The Talosians next tempt Pike by making Vina appear as a dancing Orion slave girl. The Enterprise tries without success to channel the starship 's power to the surface to blast a way to Pike.

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Then Spock locates the Talosians' power generator and prepares a landing party. However, only the females Number One and Yeoman Colt are the only ones transported, as the Talosians seek to give Pike a choice of mates; and their weapons and communicators appear not to work. Vina resents the competition; Number One says records indicate Vina cannot be as young as she appears. As the rescue attempts have failed, Spock orders the Enterprise to leave orbit, but the Talosians immobilize it and scan its records, convincing Spock that the ship's utility to the Talosians is at an end and that they will now "swat… this fly.

Pike determines that any strong emotions keep the Talosians from controlling his mind and uses this to his advantage. While Pike feigns sleep, the Talosian magistrate tries to recover the female officers' lasers from the cage. Pike seizes the magistrate and ignores the illusions. He reasons that the malfunction of the lasers was itself an illusion and uses the laser pistol to compel the magistrate to stop deceiving him.

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