Spock hijacks the Enterprise to return an injured Captain Pike to Talos IV.
A call supposedly sent by former Enterprise commanding officer, Fleet Captain Christopher Pike diverts the starship to Starbase 6. Pike, crippled, scarred, and completely paralyzed in a recent accident, is abducted and brought aboard the Enterprise by Spock. Starbase Commodore José Mendez and Captain Kirk join them there—to discover the starship locked on course for the forbidden planet Talos IV. To visit this world demands the death penalty, and Kirk is forced to convene a court-martial against his Vulcan friend.
The entire proceeding, however, is meaningless—for after a series of surprises, it is revealed that Mendez was never actually aboard the Enterprise. His presence on the ship and in the shuttlecraft with Kirk had been an illusion created by the Talosians working in league with Spock. The mystery is explained as an attempt to get Pike to Talos IV. Once there, the benevolent inhabitants intend to use their powerful mental abilities to enable Pike to lead a happy life despite his injuries and paralysis. Kirk allows Pike to beam down to the planet—and Starfleet Command drops all charges against Spock.